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June 8, 1984

Insanity Defense in Criminal Trials and Limitation of Psychiatric Testimony

Author Affiliations

From the Board of Trustees, Committee on Medicolegal Problems, American Medical Association, Chicago.

JAMA. 1984;251(22):2967-2981. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340460045023

At the 1982 Interim Meeting, the House referred to the Board of Trustees Resolution 15, which asked the Board to draft a policy statement on insanity as a full or partial defense for or circumstance in mitigation of criminal acts, and Resolution 21, which recommended that the American Medical Association support the concept that mental capacity be separated from the determination of guilt or innocence, and that psychiatric testimony be limited to the penalty phase of the trial.

The Board of Trustees submitted Report G (A-83) to the House of Delegates at the 1983 Annual Meeting, informing the House of progress made by the Board's Committee on Medicolegal Problems in studying the issues raised by Resolutions 15 and 21. Report G noted that while a strict limitation on psychiatric testimony of the kind suggested by Resolution 21 would violate defendants' Constitutional rights, less restrictive limitations under study by the Committee