Volume 35, Issue 4 (July 1990)
A Review of Criminal Court Consultation
This is a collection of 18 essays plus an introduction by the editors. The latter is icularly useful, as it emphasizes a matter of central importance to the use of mental th professionals in the courts: the issues which arise in litigation are framed by the icable law, not by psychiatry or psychology. Accordingly, the consultant should mpt to clarify the “legal criteria that define the [psychiatric-legal] issue” at the outset is or her work. Nothing has done more to obfuscate the often difficult interactions he courts and the medical and psychological consultants than failure to understand , for example, whether or not antisocial personality is regarded as an “illness” for nostic or treatment purposes is not determinative of whether it should be an exculpatory factor with respect to the legal issue of criminal responsibility. This is not to say the law makes the questions to be addressed clear; it is difficult to imagine concepts vague than those on which competency to stand trial and criminal responsibility lly turn. Lack of determinate legal meanings invites substitution of alternative concepts of the disciplines on which courts rely to assist them in resolving the cases before . Yet this substitution of terms confuses the task of rational adjudication.