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© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Forensic Psychology: Selected full-text books and articles

Research Methods in Forensic Psychology By Barry Rosenfeld; Steven D. Penrod Wiley, 2011
Handbook of Forensic Assessment: Psychological and Psychiatric Perspectives By Eric Y. Drogin; Frank M. Dattilio; Robert L. Sadoff; Thomas G. Gutheil Wiley, 2011
Forensic Case Formulation By Peter Sturmey; Mary McMurran Wiley-Blackwell, 2011
The Handbook of Psychology for Forensic Practitioners By Graham J. Towl; David A. Crighton Routledge, 1996
Forensic Mental Health Assessment: A Casebook By Kirk Heilbrun; Geoffrey R. Marczyk; David DeMatteo Oxford University Press, 2002
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