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'The witness who saw, /He left little doubt' : a comparative consideration of expert testimony in mental disability law cases in common and civil law systems

Perlin, Michael L., Birgden, Astrid and Gledhill, Kris 2009, 'The witness who saw, /He left little doubt' : a comparative consideration of expert testimony in mental disability law cases in common and civil law systems, Journal of investigative psychology and offender profiling, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 59-88, doi: 10.1002/jip.90.

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Title 'The witness who saw, /He left little doubt' : a comparative consideration of expert testimony in mental disability law cases in common and civil law systems
Author(s) Perlin, Michael L.
Birgden, Astrid
Gledhill, Kris
Journal name Journal of investigative psychology and offender profiling
Volume number 6
Issue number 1
Start page 59
End page 88
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Place of publication Chichester, England
Publication date 2009-01
ISSN 1544-4759
1544-4767
Keyword(s) expert testimony
criminal law
civil law
psychologists
risk assessment
mental disability law
Summary The question of how courts assess expert evidence - especially when mental disability is an issue - raises the corollary question of whether courts adequately evaluate the content of the expert testimony or whether judicial decision making may be influenced by teleology (cherry picking evidence), pretextuality (accepting experts who distort evidence to achieve socially desirable aims), and/or sanism (allowing prejudicial and stereotyped evidence). Such threats occur despite professional standards in forensic psychology and other mental health disciplines that require ethical expert testimony. The result is expert testimony that, in many instances, is at best incompetent and at worst biased. The paper details threats to competent expert testimony in a comparative law context - in both the common law (involuntary civil commitment laws and risk assessment criminal laws) and, more briefly, civil law. We conclude that teleology, pretextuality, and sanism have an impact upon judicial decision making in both the common law and civil law. Finally, we speculate as to whether the new United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is likely to have any impact on practices in this area. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Language eng
DOI 10.1002/jip.90
Field of Research 170104 Forensic Psychology
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2009, John Wiley & Sons
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30019826

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Psychology
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Created: Wed, 23 Sep 2009, 12:50:46 EST by Deborah Wittahatchy

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