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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 120650 Find in a Library
Title: Psychiatric Predictions and the Death Penalty: An Unconstitutional Sword for the Prosecution but a Constitutional Shield for the Defense
Journal: Behavioral Sciences and the Law  Volume:7  Issue:4  Dated:(Autumn 1989)  Pages:505-519
Author(s): J Wyda; B Black
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 15
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals are allowed by the Supreme Court to testify regarding capital defendants' propensity to future dangerousness.
Abstract: These predictions have been deemed unreliable by most scientific evidence. Juries deliberating capital cases will rely heavily on such testimony. The admission of this evidence is in violation of the safeguards mandated by the Supreme Court's own case law demanding that a capital jury's discretion be guided. The Court must structure a rule that does not infringe on the capital defendants' right to present evidence in mitigation that might implicate future dangerousness. 71 notes. (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Psychiatric testimony
Index Term(s): Capital punishment; Zoo crimes
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