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Article
November 30, 1895

QUIS CUSTODIET CUSTODES?

JAMA. 1895;XXV(22):964. doi:10.1001/jama.1895.02430480042006

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Abstract

The New York Medical Record in one of its latest issues calls attention to the impropriety of the chief medical member of the New York State Lunacy Commission appearing on the witness stand as a paid medical expert in cases where insanity is involved. Its exceptions are well taken, since the Lunacy Commissioner is an officer who may in that capacity have later to pass on the same cases. He stands between the insane and the asylum authorities under certain circumstances, and his prejudging their case as an expert witness is in a way a violation of their rights as it is also a wrong to the public.

In Great Britain, we believe, no asylum officer is legally permitted to testify as to the mental condition of a person who may afterward be committed to his care, or, at least, to have any share in the certification of his insanity

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