"Why did the defendant do it?"
Mental health professionals are asked to help courts answer this question. To serve justice, the law calls for evidence of the mental state at the time a crime is committed, of suicide intent in civil litigation, and of mental capacity in contract litigation. The law asks psychiatrists and psychologists to retrospectively determine mental states (e.g., employability, dangerousness), current competency (e.g., guardianship, competence to stand trial), and retrospective capacity (e.g., testamentary capacity, mental state at time of offense) -- daunting tasks made even more difficult by the passage of time, the uncertain credibility of witnesses, the paucity of collateral sources of information, and often the death of the person in question.
This is the first book dedicated entirely to the retrospective assessment of mental states. This fascinating book explores the role of the psychiatrist and psychologist, as an expert witness in litigation, in rendering a retrospective judgment of an individual's mental state. In this book, distinguished contributors apply their expertise in psychiatry, psychology, and law to the problems of retrospective assessment, with the goal of developing guidelines for more accurate retrospective assessment of mental states.
This remarkable book will prove indispensable for helping clinicians, lawyers, and judges better understand the complex and difficult process of retrospective reconstruction of mental states.show more