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Trials of a Forensic Psychologist: A Casebook

ISBN: 978-0-470-17072-4
280 pages
September 2008
Trials of a Forensic Psychologist: A Casebook (0470170727) cover image


A fascinating collection of ten high-profile cases illustrating the controversial, often contentious-yet essential-role of forensic psychology in the American justice system

Written by psychologist and lawyer Charles Patrick Ewing, one of the country's leading experts on forensic psychology, Trials of a Forensic Psychologist: A Casebook is a scholarly, thought-provoking collection of cases from the author's three decades of professional experience. Bringing to life the psychological and legal details of each case as well as the personal stories involved, this volume insightfully covers those issues facing forensic psychologists, including:

  • Ability to Waive Miranda Rights
  • Coerced Confessions
  • The Insanity Defense
  • Malingering
  • Battered Woman Syndrome
  • Evaluating Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse
  • The Implications of Extreme Emotional Disturbance
Informative, compelling, and educational, each of the ten cases presented in Trials of a Forensic Psychologist: A Casebook offers a rare glimpse at the work of forensic psychologists, how forensic psychologists are examined in court, the ways in which their expertise is used by the legal system, and the contributions they make to the system's ultimate goal of doing justice.
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Table of Contents



1. Waiver of Miranda Rights and Voluntary versus Coerced Confession.

2. Battered Woman Syndrome, Self-Defense, and Extreme Emotional Disturbance.

3. Insanity: Malingering versus Organic Brain Syndrome.

4. Insanity, Extreme Emotional Disturbance, or Both?

5. Voluntary or Coerced Confession?

6. Child Abuse Victim, Sexual Predator, or Both?

7. Battered Woman Syndrome, Duress, and the Death Penalty.

8. Validation of Alleged Child Sexual Abuse.

9. Murder or Manslaughter? Extreme Emotional Disturbance.

10. Insanity, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and Brief Reactive Psychosis.

Lessons Learned.



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Author Information

CHARLES PATRICK EWING, PHD, JD, is an experienced lawyer, forensic psychologist, and law professor at University at Buffalo Law School where he is a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor. He maintains an active forensic psychology consulting practice and is the author of several books including Fatal Families, Kids Who Kill, and Minds on Trial. He is the editor of Behavioral Sciences and the Law and the recipient of both the Distinguished Contributions to Forensic Psychology Award and the New York State Bar Association's award for outstanding contribution in the field of criminal law education.
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"Packed with case details as well as lengthy segments of trial transcripts from riveting, high-profile cases, Trials is well written and ideal as a teaching tool for students of mental health law or the social sciences." (California Lawyer, March 2009)

"…Charles Patrick Ewing, a law school professor...is one of the most renowned forensic psychologists in the United States, the author of a number of books, countless articles, and editor of a respected forensic psychology journal. As is evident from Trials, his expertise is widely sought around the country in high-profile criminal trials. And the man can write! The accounts of the 10 trials in this book are compelling. I can think of few if any forensic psychology books that I have read for pleasure or that I cannot put down, but Trials is indeed one. I found this to be an excellent book - well written, engaging, informative." (PsycCRITIQUES; 1/28/09)

"I found this to be an excellent book—well written, engaging, informative.  Trials gives the reader a sense of how forensic psychology fits in context in legal proceedings.  Ewing creates engaging, engrossing stories to convey the course of a forensic psychology case, and these narratives, I suspect, will stay with the reader far longer than the dry, technical materials on the subject one usually reads.  I can think of no better book to recommend to neophyte forensic psychologists, to give them a concrete sense of how their evaluation and testimony skills will actually be applied in the future.  But even the experienced forensic practitioner will enjoy the book, although for a different reason—to recognize a fellow practitioner of one’s craft practicing at a high level."
Philip H Witt, Somerville, NJ

"Cases in forensic psychology can be fascinating. When a highly skilled and experienced forensic psychologist like Charles Patrick Ewing describes real cases in plain English, the result is that rare combination of educational and enjoyable--equally suitable for the classroom in snowy January or the beach in June.  Jonathan Kellerman, move over.  Don't miss this one."
Kirk Heilbrun, Ph.D., Professor and Head of Department of Psychology, Drexel University

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