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Minds on Trial: Great Cases in Law and Psychology Hardcover – March 16, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0195181760 ISBN-10: 019518176X Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"...a thoughtful, well-researched and especially clearly written book that merits serious attention."--The National Psychologist


"This is a book that not only teaches, but entertains as well. The authors, well-respected forensic mental health professionals, make expert testimony come alive in a series of well known and not so well known cases, providing examples of expert testimony at its best and worst. Their analysis of the testimony proffered in these cases should serve to remind all experts of their accountability and the effects their opinions have on the lives of others."-- Alan M. Goldstein, Ph.D., ABPP, Board Certified Forensic Psychologist, John Jay College of Criminal Justice - CUNY


"Minds on Trial accomplishes a rare feat: it is both solidly academic and utterly fascinating. Ewing and McCann present vivid accounts of the twenty most memorable moments that psychologists have had in the courtroom. The reader will learn a great deal about psychology and about law from this book, not least because he or she will not be able to put it down."-- John Monahan, Doherty Professor of Law and Psychology, University of Virginia


"Ewing and McCann have achieved the remarkable objective of a readable and scholarly reexamination of twenty of the most important criminal & forensic cases. In a style as engrossing as a good novel, they delve into defendants like Andrea Yates and Jeffrey Dahmer and experts like Park Dietz, Elizabeth Loftus, and Gisli Gudjonsson, and what their lives and work teach us about law, justice, and the nature of psychiatric disorders. This terrific combination of psychological substance and engaging writing style illuminates personal and the professional aspects of the famous crimes of our time. Even with cases like Tarasoff, about which I was conversant, I learned a great deal. I loved reading this book. Minds on Trial is destined to be a classic. Three cheers for this wonderful book!"-- Stanley L. Brodsky, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Psychology, The University of Alabama


"Minds on Trial...provides a thoughtful and interesting review of the sometimes controversial role of expert psychological evidence."--Applied Cognitive Psychology


About the Author

Charles Patrick Ewing is at SUNY Buffalo. Joseph T. McCann is at Binghamton University.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (March 16, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019518176X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195181760
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.1 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles Patrick Ewing, a forensic psychologist, attorney and law professor, is SUNY Distinguished Service Professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he has taught criminal law, evidence, juvenile law, forensic science, torts, and psychology, psychiatry and law. Dr. Ewing received his Ph.D. from Cornell University, earned a law degree from Harvard Law School, and was a post-doctoral fellow at Yale University. He is the author or co-author of eleven books: Preventing the Sexual Victimization of Children; Justice Perverted; Trials of a Forensic Psychologist; Insanity: Murder, Madness and the Law; Minds on Trial; Fatal Families; Kids Who Kill; When Children Kill; Battered Women Who Kill; Psychology, Psychiatry and the Law: A Clinical and Forensic Handbook; and Crisis Intervention as Psychotherapy. He is Editor of the journal, Behavioral Sciences and the Law, a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, a Diplomate in Forensic Psychology of the American Board of Professional Psychology, and past President of the American Board of Forensic Psychology.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Marty McCarthy VINE VOICE on June 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In "Minds on Trial," the authors, Charles Patrick Ewing and Joseph McCann select 20 cases from roughly the past 50 years in which there is a fascinating intersection between law and psychology. The work initially looks like a book the casual reader may have some difficulty getting through. Such is not the case as each of the 20 cases are broken down into manageable chapters and are written in such a way so as to engage even the casual reader.

The cases that are the most fascinating include, George Metesky and the work of the psychological profiler; The Guildford Four which shows the danger of involuntary confessions; Prosenjit Poddar and Tatiana Tarasoff and the development of the requirement now known as a "Tarasoff Letter;" John Demjanjuk and vicisitude of identification testimony conducted over several year; and the USS Iowa and the failure of equivocal death analysis.

In many cases, the case comes down to a "battle of the experts" which illustrates just how important expert testimony has become in our legal system. The authors' only apparent bias aoppears to lie against those expert witnesses whose opinion is bought and sold by fee. In many of the cases, such biased experts take the hardest falls.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Karen Franklin on November 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The authors provide a scholarly yet entertaining look behind the scenes to the expert psychological evidence in 20 renowned cases. Some of the cases involve household names - Lee Harvey Oswald, Patricia Hearst, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Hinckley Jr., Dan White, Judas Priest, Woody Allen, Mike Tyson. Others are seminal cases in which the names are less well known - the fascinating 1956 case of "mad bomber" George Metesky, credited with initiating the field of criminal profiling, the Guildford Four IRA bombing case in 1974 that led to psychological interest in false confessions (and Icelandic psychologist Gisli Gudjonsson's development of an instrument to measure interrogative suggestibility), and the case of Daryl Atkins, in which the U.S. Supreme Court abolished the death penalty for the mentally retarded.

This book is appropriate for both professionals in forensic psychology and law and also for laypeople who enjoy fact-based accounts of true crime. I assign my graduate students several chapters as examples of forensic topics. In particular, the chapter on the USS Iowa explosion, which catalogues the failure of the "equivocal death analysis" technique, is a great example of the shortcomings of forensic profiling. And the chapter on Colin Ferguson provides a vivid example of the whittling down of competency jurisprudence in the wake of the 1993 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Godinez v. Moran.

Minds on Trial is well-written, factually accurate, and educational. Yet it still works as entertaining bedtime reading. I recommend it highly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kchris on June 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has been very helpful to in my class but it is also a very interesting read! The trials that are being discussed are very fascinating, especially the use of social science in the trials. Very good book, in great condition
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mnm413 on February 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is an intelligent encapsulation of criminal behaviors, trials and outcomes. More importantly the book brings the law and the sciences into the spot light on equal footing demonstrating how they are now intertwined.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Diana Doxilly-Florence on December 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book. I got it for a class but loved the content. I had to take a criminology class and analyze the chapters, very informative as well. It also arrived in a timely fashion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By tina5646 on October 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book to be used in a college class but plan on keeping it in my personal collection. The book arrived fast and in greta condition!
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By Joshua J. Slater on December 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I picked this book up for class. The narratives are good, and this is an interesting read; however, since I was having to do more research for class for these cases, I did find quite a bit of info left out of the cases. In some instances, the book will completely stick with the common myths for the cases and not tell the whole truth behind the story. Case in point is the story of "The Mad Bomber." Rather than, tell the true story of of the resolution which simply involves a secretary finding a forgotten record, the book concludes that the Mad Bomber was caught by some high-profile forsenic scientist which is simply not true. This is a decent supplemental to keep class interesting, but be weary of the book's accounts. Stay Vigilant!
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