Expert Witness Testimony
Dr. R. Gregory Lande, D.O. F.A.C.N.

     The newspapers hurled every possible invective against the medical witness. How could a learned man of science swear, in open court, that the murderer was insane? The newspaper reminded the readers about lurid details of the murder. Soon letters flooded the editor's office. The vast majority of readers joined the newspaper in condemning the judicial system, the medical doctor, and the general decline of civilization.
     Pretty typical stuff, right? The insanity defense stokes public passions like few other verdicts. What differs in this instance is when the murder occurred. The events briefly summarized above took place in the United States 150 years ago. Actually little has changed in the intervening years. In some respects the public and professional disputes were even more vitriolic in the past.
     The historical lineage of the insanity defense and the role of the expert medical witness are inseparably intertwined. In many cases the two strangle each other leaving the public as the victim.
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