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February 1925

Insanity and the Criminal Law.

Arch NeurPsych. 1925;13(2):285-287. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1925.02200080132012

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White's treatise is an unusually interesting exposition of the relationship between the law and the expert psychiatric witness. It is particularly timely, since at the present time the general estimate of the alienist in his expert capacity is far from flattering. White clearly shows how helpless is the medical witness once he exposes himself to the innumerable technicalities of the legal process. The weakness of the position in which law places him is chiefly due to the fact that he cannot escape partisanship; in other words, he must be either a witness for the prosecution or for the defense. Even should he desire to do so, he cannot hope to be permitted to deliver a medical opinion with the necessary honest qualifications and reservations, such as, for instance, he might render after the examination of a mentally sick person in private practice. The personal and professional character of the great

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