Law and Psychiatry: Caveat Lector (reviewing H. Newcomb Morse, Commentary on Legal Psychiatry (1989))

Charles Patrick Ewing, University at Buffalo School of Law

Abstract

Reviews the book, Commentary on Legal Psychiatry by H. Newcomb Morse (1989). Each of the first 24 chapters describes a psychological disorder and then presents either a brief analysis of its legal relevance or an appellate court decision dealing with the disorder. All of the cases are obscure, and not one was decided any more recently than 1969. Landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions in many of these areas are not even mentioned. The psychological and psychiatric concepts discussed are similarly outdated. No mention is made of any edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the standard diagnostic treatise that has been relied on by mental health professionals for decades.