The Mad, the Bad, and the Innocent: The Criminal Mind on Trial - Tales of a Forensic Psychologistby Barbara R. Kirwin, Catherine Crawford (Editor), Catherine Crawford
The New York area's premier forensic psychologistthe expert prosecutors turn to when a defendant claims insanitylooks back over her most celebrated cases to deliver a no-holds-barred critique of recent insanity defense abuses. Zeroing in on cases such as the Menendez brothers and Jeffrey Dahmer, Kirwin shows how unscrupulous defense attorneys and
The New York area's premier forensic psychologistthe expert prosecutors turn to when a defendant claims insanitylooks back over her most celebrated cases to deliver a no-holds-barred critique of recent insanity defense abuses. Zeroing in on cases such as the Menendez brothers and Jeffrey Dahmer, Kirwin shows how unscrupulous defense attorneys and overzealous prosecutors have perverted the true purpose of the insanity defense. of photos.
Kirwin is often called in by New York prosecutors when the defendant claims insanity. She has interviewed some of the region's most notorious, including serial killer Joel Rifkin, who confessed to killing 17 prostitutes; Stephanie Wernick (who killed her baby in a C.W. Post bathroom); and Richard Taus (a soccer coach who systematically molested his players). Kirwin uses interviews and tests like the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) to determine whether or not defendants are "faking bad," i.e., pretending to be insane. She gives a solid overview to the legality of pleading insane, a plea based on the British M'Naghten Rule, which states that a truly insane person does not know right from wrong, and she takes a firm and welcome stand against "designer defenses," such as Vietnam war syndrome, battered-woman syndrome, and any defense based on temporary insanity. But much of the book is episodic and messy, skipping between cases or leaving out crucial information, and repeating the case histories of several killers. It grows equally tiresome to read about how many of her subjects find her attractive or want to discuss her gunsdetails out of Cornwell rather than Conan Doyle. And it's a shame that Kirwin never fully explains how the MMPI works, and never gives examples of questionsand answersthat ferret out the true mental state of the subject. Her recommendations for the legal system are certainly provocativeno TV cameras in courtrooms, no warring experts (but, rather, one expert hired by the court), and no jury trials in insanity defense casesbut get short shrift at the end of the book.
Some fascinating tidbits, but an altogether haphazard study that might have been a useful reference text in the era of the abuse excuse.
- Little, Brown and Company
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 9.00(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.88(d)
- Age Range:
- 13 Years
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