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NCJ Number: 90619 Find in a Library
Title: Psychiatric Credibility in the Patricia Hearst Case (From By Reason of Inansity, P 195-215, 1983, Lawrence Zelic Freedman, ed. - See NCJ-90616)
Author(s): R Arens
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 21
Sponsoring Agency: Scholarly Resources, Inc.
Wilmington, DE 19805
Sale Source: Scholarly Resources, Inc.
104 Greenhill Avenue
Wilmington, DE 19805
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The guilty verdict in the Patricia Hearst case resulted from the internal and legally created conflicts in the two theories on which the defense chose to rest, rather than lack of credibility of the psychiatric experts who testified.
Abstract: Hearst was kidnapped by a quasi-revolutionary group, the Symbionese Liberation Army, 16 days before her 20th birthday. In April 1974, she was involved in a robbery of a California bank. The defense conceded the factual transaction of the robbery. It explicitly rejected the insanity defense. Instead, it claimed the legal excuse of duress for the bank robbery and the different defense of psychological coercion for the balance of Hearst's behavior. As a result, the jury faced two logically and psychologically irreconcilable claims to sustain the defense. The theory of duress rested on the concept that a reasonable person making a sound judgment could have a well-grounded apprehension that the perpetration of a noncapital crime would be the only means of escaping the imminent and direct threat of death or serious bodily injury. In contrast, the theory of coercive persuasion required a portrayal of Hearst as having retreated to a fantasy land because her perceptions and sensations had been critically impaired. Excerpts from the expert testimony and footnotes which contain references are provided.
Index Term(s): Coercive persuasion defense; Criminal responsibility; Insanity defense
Note: Original version of this paper was prepared for delivery at the conference entitled 'Psychiatry and the Law - Reaching for a Consensus,' held in Chicago on 12-13 October 1979.
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