Proving the Unprovable: The Role of Law, Science, and Speculation in Adjudicating Culpability and Dangerousness

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"In Proving the Unprovable, Professor Slobogin has done the undoable; he has produced a probing critique of the legal rules for admitting expert mental health testimony that had me turning the pages as if it were a suspense novel. After trenchantly analyzing current stands for admissibility, he suggests innovative approaches to protect the reasonable contributions that mental health experts can make. I doubt that any expert, no matter how experienced, who reads this book will view his or her task on the witness stand in quite the same way again."

—Paul S. Appelbaum, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Director, Division of Psychiatry, Law and Ethics, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Should courts stop trying to answer unanswerable questions? In Proving the Unprovable, Professor Slobogin takes on this profoundly important question, and offers an insightful, readable, and persuasive argument for a liberal approach to clinical mental health testimony Proving the Unprovable is a major contribution to our understanding of the law of expert testimony."— Richard J. Bonnie, John S. Battle Professor of Law, Professor of Psychiatric Medicine, Director, Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy, University of Virginia

"Christopher Slobogin's new book on two of the most challenging questions the law poses for itself - the questions of culpability and dangerousness - and the role of mental health experts in trying to answer those question, is classic Slobogin: thoroughly informed, candid, complex and subtle, and yet exceptionally clear and cogent."— Michael J. Saks, Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology, Arizona State University

"This extremely enlightening book is so readable and so ordered and logical that readers get answers to questions barely forming in their minds...It is highly recommended reading, even for veterans of this subject. It should be required fare for the less seasoned, for those considering entry into the forensic area, and for those taking postgraduate courses in forensics."—Doody's

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195189957
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 9/7/2006
  • Series: American Psychology-Law Society Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher Slobogin, Milton Underwood Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University Law School.

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Table of Contents

Part I: Introduction
Chapter One: The Need for Nuance
Part II: Culpability
Chapter Two: Diagnoses, Syndromes, and Criminal Responsibility
Chapter Three: The Case for Informed Speculation
Chapter Four: Redining Probative Value
Chapter Five: Beyond Relevance
Part III: Dangerousness
Chapter Six: The Current State of the Science and the Law
Chapter Seven: Are There "Experts" on Dangerousness?
Part IV: Conclusion
Chapter Eight: The Structure of Expertise

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