The Tarasoff Dilemma in Criminal Court

    Volume 36, Issue 3 (May 1991)

    ISSN: 0022-1198

    CODEN: JFSOAD

    Page Count: 8


    Leong, GB
    Assistant professors of psychiatry and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA

    Silva, JA
    Assistant professors of psychiatry and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA

    Eth, S
    Assistant professors of psychiatry and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA

    (Received 9 July 1990; accepted 27 August 1990)

    Abstract

    The duty to protect, or Tarasoff duty, has been conceptualized as arising solely in the context of a clinical setting. A recent California Supreme Court ruling in People v. Clark adds legal, clinical, and ethical dilemmas to the oftentimes contentious Tarasoff issue.

    Though the Tarasoff issue is but a minor legal point in Clark, a possible consequence of Clark is that a Tarasoff warning could be deemed nonconfidential and admissible in a criminal trial. Psychotherapists could therefore be testifying in criminal courts as prosecution witnesses. While the possibility of a chilling effect on patients' disclosure of violent ideation in the context of psychotherapy first caused apprehension after the California Supreme Court's 1976 decision in Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California, this same Court's ruling in People v. Clark some 14 years later may ensure that this fear finally becomes realized.


    Paper ID: JFS13082J

    DOI: 10.1520/JFS13082J

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    Author
    Title The Tarasoff Dilemma in Criminal Court
    Symposium , 0000-00-00
    Committee E30