The role of psychiatry in death penalty defense.
J. C. Beck,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law
21(4): 453-63, 1993.
The author describes his experience as an expert in evaluating defendants convicted of capital
murder. He reviews the Supreme Court decisions and provisions of state law that have led defense
attorneys to obtain psychiatric evaluations of their clients. Three illustrative cases are presented, one
of an incompetent grossly impaired defendant, one of a defendant for whom the finding of mental
health played a role in over turning his conviction, and one for a defendant who was later found to
be retarded and therefore not executable. The clinical and social implications of psychiatric
participation in these cases are discussed.