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September 29, 1928


JAMA. 1928;91(13):962-964. doi:10.1001/jama.1928.02700130040013

The National Research Council has rendered a notable service in the interest of criminal justice by its investigation into the functioning of the office of the coroner in the United States.1 The coroner must determine from medical and legal points of view the causes of death in cases coming within his jurisdiction, and take such action as the circumstances demand. As a minor function the coroner acts as sheriff when that officer is disqualified by his personal interest in the outcome of a case or is otherwise incapacitated. In the determination of the cause of death, medicine and law are intimately intermingled. The coroner must establish not merely whether or not death resulted from violence but, if it did result from violence, whether the deceased or some other person was responsible. If the deceased is concerned the coroner must distinguish between accident and suicide. If another person is involved,

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