Psychiatric Expertise in the Sentencing Phase of Capital Murder Cases .

K. B. Dekleva,
Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 29(1): 58-67, 2001.
The role of forensic psychiatry in the sentencing phase of capital murder cases continues to attract intense attention in the psychiatric and legal professions as well as in the public eye. Such cases are high stakes, placing psychiatric experts under intense scrutiny. Issues of professional identity, roles, and ethics arise in capital cases, highlighting the increased psychiatric complexity and need for psychiatric expertise. This article will highlight these issues in the context of recent state (Texas) appellate and federal court rulings. The increased use of capital punishment and the need for increased psychiatric expertise in the sentencing phase of capital cases possesses important educational and ethics issues for our profession in its "quest for excellence."