Forensic Psychology

medical jurisprudence

medical jurisprudence or forensic medicine, the application of medical science to legal problems. It is typically involved in cases concerning blood relationship, mental illness, injury, or death resulting from violence. Autopsy (see post-mortem examination) is often used to determine the cause of death, particularly in cases where foul play is suspected. Post-mortem examination can determine not only the immediate agent of death (e.g. gunshot wound, poison), but may also yield important contextual information, such as how long the person has been dead, which can help trace the killing. Forensic medicine has also become increasingly important in cases involving rape. Modern techniques use such specimens as semen, blood, and hair samples of the criminal found in the victim's bodies, which can be compared to the defendant's genetic makeup through a technique known as DNA fingerprinting; this technique may also be used to identify the body of a victim. The establishment of serious mental illness by a licensed psychologist can be used in demonstrating incompetency to stand trial, a technique which may be used in the insanity defense (see insanity), albeit infrequently.

See C. C. Malik, A Short Textbook of Medical Jurisprudence (1985); C. Wecht, ed., Legal Medicine (1987).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Clinical and Forensic Assessment of Psychopathy: A Practitioner's Guide
Carl B. Gacono.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000
The Facts about Fiction: What Grissom Could Learn about Forensic Psychology
Ramsland, Katherine.
Journal of Psychiatry & Law, Vol. 37, No. 1, Spring 2009
Personal Construct Perspectives on Forensic Psychology
James Horley.
Brunner-Routledge, 2003
Bad Men Do What Good Men Dream: A Forensic Psychiatrist Illuminates the Darker Side of Human Behavior
Robert I. Simon.
American Psychiatric Press, 1996
The Handbook of Psychology for Forensic Practitioners
Graham J. Towl; David A. Crighton.
Routledge, 1996
Forensic Mental Health Assessment: A Casebook
Kirk Heilbrun; Geoffrey R. Marczyk; David DeMatteo.
Oxford University Press, 2002
Treatment of Forensic Patients: An Expanding Role for Public Psychiatric Hospitals
Linhorst, Donald M.; Turner, Marilyn A.
Health and Social Work, Vol. 24, No. 1, February 1999
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Forensic Psychological Testimony: Is the Courtroom Door Now Locked and Barred?
Peters, Martin.
Canadian Psychology, Vol. 42, No. 2, May 2001
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The California School of Professional Psychology Handbook of Juvenile Forensic Psychology
Neil G. Ribner.
Jossey-Bass, 2002
Forensic Evaluations of Adolescents: Psychosocial and Clinical Considerations
Halikias, William.
Adolescence, Vol. 35, No. 139, Fall 2000
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