Newletter Masthead
September 1999 · Vol. 24, No. 3, Special Section pp. I-III

AAPL timeline: 1967 - 1986

December 1967: Jonas Rappeport (JR) begins correspondence to locate directors of forensic psychiatry fellowship programs.

March 12, 1968: JR sends letters regarding a meeting of Program Directors of Forensic Psychiatry Training Programs. Meeting to be held in the Andover Room at the Boston Sheraton Hotel, Sunday May 12, 1968 at 6pm. A follow-up letter of March 18 notes that the meeting will last no more than 2 hours "because this is Mother’s Day," and describes the purpose of the meeting.

May 29, 1968: JR letter to Seymour Pollack [and presumably others] thanking him for attendance at above, and looking forward to next year’s meeting. "Through the development of a special forensic psychiatry organization it should be possible for us to continue our exchange of information and, hopefully, to further forensic psychiatry."

May 5, 1969: Organizational Meeting at the Bal Harbour Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. [quotes from meeting minutes by Ames Robey, Temporary Secretary]

"Following a meeting of the Forensic Psychiatry Program Directors on May 4, 1969, it was decided that an organization meeting for an association for forensic psychiatrists should be formed. The meeting was called to order at 5:10 pm on May 5, 1969. Those present were all psychiatrists and included Drs. Balcanoff, Davidson, Halleck, Nabors, Perr, Portnow, Rappeport, Robey, Sadoff, Satten, Schwartz, Suarez and Thomas." Dr. Rappeport chaired the meeting.

"The purpose of the organization would be to advance the body of knowledge in the area of psychiatry and the law, to act as an agency of exchange of information, knowledge and ideas between members and at the interface between psychiatry and the law, and to indicate and study where contributions to the legal and penal system could be made by the behavioral sciences. It was emphasized that training of psychiatrists in how better to testify in court was not the major function of group and membership, which is suggest [sic] to be by invitation, was to include only those who shared the goals outlined above."

The organization was to have an informal relationship with the American Psychiatric Association, and -by unanimous decision - membership would be limited to APA members. "There is no intent to make the organization multidisciplinary."

Four names were proposed for the organization: 1) The American Academy of Forensic Psychiatrists; 2) The American Academy of Psychiatry and The Law; 3) The American Academy of Psychiatry in The Law; and 4) The Isaac Ray Society.

November 16, 1969: 1st AAPL Meeting in Baltimore at the Friendship International Hotel, Kennedy Room. The Sunday 9am – 5pm schedule included opening remarks by Jonas Rappeport, committee reports, future plans and an afternoon scientific program. This included two panels: Dr. Melvin Heller presented "Dangerous [sic], Diagnosis and Disposition" and Dr. Harold Boslow presented "Treatment of the Dangerous Offender." The discussion panel consisted of Drs. Rappeport, Sadoff, Robey, Thomas and Satten. Dr. Usdin moderated. Monday morning featured a tour of the Patuxent Institution and a "Free buffet lunch and discussion." The meeting ended at noon.

April 1, 1970: 74 psychiatrists listed as Charter Members. On the list of those originally invited to join was a hand-written note next to the name Thomas Szasz MD – "He is not interested in joining at this point." The initial dues were $10 per year. By November 1970 there were 142 members. By November 1972, there were 196 members and the dues had been increased to $25 per year.

May 10, 1970: There was discussion of membership issues, with Drs. Bernard Diamond and Seymour Pollack recommending one class of membership. Dr. Walter Bromberg recommended that the sole requirement for membership be full membership in the APA. A motion that there be only one class of membership, with the APA requirement, was passed. Dr. Diamond urged that "the Academy" write to the APA requesting the resumption of the Isaac Ray Award program. Dr. Bromberg suggested that the Academy accept the responsibility to present a panel during the APA meeting each year. Both recommendations were heartily endorsed.

November 14-15, 1970: 2nd Fall Meeting of AAPL at the Marriott Motor Hotel in Philadelphia. The program began Saturday at 1pm and ended Sunday noon. It included: an afternoon business meeting and presentation on the "Future of the Maximum Security Hospital" by C.B. Scrignar MD; a "Dutch Treat Cocktail Party" and dinner in the evening, followed by Jerome Miller DSW, Commissioner of Youth Services in Massachusetts, presenting "On the Dynamics and Politics of Accelerated Institutional Change." Sunday morning featured a panel on "Psychiatry in Corrections."

February 10, 1971: Memo from Dr. Rappeport to officers, councilors, chairmen and committee members advising them of a private meeting with Judge Bazelon on Sunday May 2 prior to his talk that evening. Dr. Rappeport suggested construction of a booth for the APA meeting (to be shared with the Patuxent Institution) and enclosed a sketch of work plans. He also noted that Ames Robey’s "computor" [sic] was working, and apparently contained the current membership list.

November 26-28, 1971: 3rd Fall Meeting of AAPL at the International Hotel in Los Angeles. This meeting started Friday 9am and adjourned Sunday 1pm. It began with a full day "TEACH IN on Psychic Trauma, Traumatic Neurosis, and Workmen’s Compensation." This was a series of presentation by attorneys with multiple discussion groups following. The Executive Committee met Friday evening and the hospitality room remained open until midnight. Saturday morning was filled with business; the afternoon with a presentation by John Suarez MD on "The Scope of Legal Psychiatry," with discussants Christopher Stone LLB, Bernard Diamond MD and John Irwin PhD. The day ended with an after-dinner presentation by Herbert Fingarette PhD. Sunday morning consisted of an international panel moderated by Jonas Rappeport: Jacques Bernheim MD, Professor of Forensic Psychiatry at the University of Geneva; Paul McQuaid MD from Dublin on "Typology of Juvenile Offenders;" and Frank Rundle MD, former Soledad Prison psychiatrist "dismissed over issue of confidentiality," discussing prison turmoil in Attica, San Quentin, etc.

June 12-13, 1976: Meeting held between AAPL members and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences to propose the American board of Forensic Psychiatry.

October 1976: The Annual Meeting was held in San Francisco at the St. Francis Hotel. The meeting theme was: "Psychiatry Under Siege." This meeting included a special presentation on the Tarasoff decision by Kurt Melchior, Esq., who argued the amicus brief before the California Supreme Court. The Executive Committee formally accepted the application for a New York Chapter of AAPL. Richard Rosner became its first president. The Executive Committee also voted overwhelmingly to co-sponsor the American Board of Forensic Psychiatry along with the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and The Forensic Sciences Foundation, Inc. There would be no "grandfathering" in the certification process.

1977: AAPL incorporated in the State of Michigan as a scientific corporation.

July 1977: AAPL Archives established at the Cornell University Department of the History of Medicine, with documents transferred from the University of Pittsburgh.

October 1979: 10th Anniversary Meeting at the Baltimore Hilton. The program was dedicated to Jonas Rappeport, who received a plaque "from the Academy" and a silver tray from a group of donors (which included Jacques Quen). The meeting featured "The Great Debate," described in the Newsletter as "the liveliest and best attended session of the Annual Meeting." Dr. Robert Sadoff’s team argued the position: "Psychiatrists cannot determine dangerousness." Dr. Melvin Heller’s team argued the position: "Psychiatrists must determine dangerousness." Dr. John Lion’s presentation was printed in its entirely in the Newsletter, Vol. 5, No.1, March 1980. It is reprinted in this special section.

Other events seem to have transpired at this meeting as well, according to the May 4, 1980 Executive Committee minutes. "Dr. Jonas Rappeport reported that the damage to the good name of AAPL’s Annual Meeting and the inconvenience to members suffered at the hands of the Baltimore Hilton have resulted in continued negotiations with the hotel upon the advice of legal counsel."

May 4, 1980: At the Executive Committee meeting, the New York Chapter was formally approved. Also approved was a decision to create a central office in Maryland. The famous address: 1211 Cathedral Street Baltimore, Maryland 21201. Dr. Rappeport was appointed to serve as Executive Director and Liaison.

October 18, 1980: The Executive Committee, upon a motion by Dr. Naomi Goldstein, voted to support the Equal Rights Amendment. ("RESOLVED, the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law adopt a position of support for the Equal Rights Amendment as a matter of conscience, a symbolic attempt to establish social, economic, and emotional equality for women.") Motions to contribute money to a pro-ERA organization, to send letters of support to state legislators, and to not meet in states which have not ratified the ERA were seconded, voted and defeated.

October 14, 1981: The Executive Committee formally approved the Northern California Chapter of AAPL. Under "Other Business," Dr. Sidley moved the formation of an AAPL Cravat Committee. The motion was approved, with Dr. Sidley appointed to chair the committee, also to include Drs. Ciccone and Blunt. An amendment to the motion forbidding consideration of the use of synthetic fabrics in any neckties representing the organization went un-seconded and "unappreciated."

October 1982: AAPL Annual Meeting in New York. The controversial Alan Stone talk ("The Ethical Boundaries of Forensic Psychiatry – A View From the Ivory Tower") criticizing forensic psychiatry for its lack of ethical guidelines was delivered at this meeting. At the very least, this talk has spawned a Newsletter article (Dr. Weinstein - Vol 7, No. 3), a 1982 article offered to the Newsletter but not published (Dr. Halpern, shared in personal correspondence 10/26/98) and two presidential addresses (Dr. Appelbaum in 1996 and Dr. Griffith in 1997).

April 1983: The AAPL "Midwestern Membership Group" was established, electing Dr. Resnick as its first president.

March 1986: AAPL Archives organized to current structure by Dr. Stanley Prentice.


Ed’s Note: For more early history and an opportunity to note a discrepancy, see cover of Newsletter April 1997. The first member to find it wins. Anyone interested in a "How many responses to Stone can you name?" contest?