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December 1, 1888

INSANITY; SOME POINTS OF MEDICOLEGAL INTEREST.Read before the Seclion on Medical furisprudence at the Thirty-ninth Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association, at Cincinnati, May 9, 1888.

JAMA. 1888;XI(22):769-771. doi:10.1001/jama.1888.02400730013001c

The present status of Medical Jurisprudence is far from satisfactory, especially the position of the alienist physician in the courts of justice. His testimony often seems to be of little value. His opinion as to the nature of insanity and degrees of responsibility is often not admitted by the court. The medical jurisprudence of insanity will probably never be on an altogether satisfactory basis, until a due knowledge and appropriate feelings on the part of the community, lead to the enactment of proper measures in the management of all defective classes, of which the insane is but a part.

Discussions of the subject in this organization, though it has no legislative power, may be productive of good because of the influence of a large body of scientific men, especially physicians, in making public sentiment.

The position of an expert on insanity before a jury, is exceedingly unsatisfactory to himself, and