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NCJ Number: 78196 Find in a Library
Title: Insanity Defense (From Trial Techniques - A Compendium of Course Materials, P 197-221, 1980 - See NCJ 78190)
Author(s): J M Roll; J M Macdonald
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 24
Sponsoring Agency: National College of District Attorneys
Houston, TX 77004
Sale Source: National College of District Attorneys
College of Law
University of Houston
Houston, TX 77004
United States of America
Type: Instructional Material
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: These two papers tell prosecutors how to anticipate and refute the insanity defense and provide guidelines on the choice of expert witnesses and the cross-examination of defense witnesses.
Abstract: In an opening section, incompetency is differentiated from insanity. The papers suggest that refutation of the insanity defense should be based on the fact that psychiatry and psychology are inexact fields. The prosecutor should also remind the jury that the defense of insanity pertains to the defendant's state of mind at the time of the commission of the crime and not to the defendant's possible history of mental problems. The importance of pretrial preparation is also emphasized. For example, one paper recommends interviews with all mental health experts who will be called as witnesses at trial. In addition, during the voir dire, prosecutors should determine which prospective jurors are likely to be overly impressed with the testimony of mental health experts. Examples of questions, case citations, and notes containing references are included.
Index Term(s): Course materials; Cross-examination; Expert witnesses; Insanity defense; Prosecutors; Reference materials; Trial preparation
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