The Ethics of Forensic Practice: Reclaiming the Wasteland

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After beginning with a warm appreciation of Alan Stone’s scholarship and character, this article argues that Stone’s woeful characterization of forensic practice as a wasteland that has no genuine ethical guide to practice and little to contribute is vastly overstated. It claims that the basis for useful ethical practice is rooted in a proper understanding of the law’s folk psychological model of behavior and criteria. Then it suggests the proper bounds of forensic practice, including an aspirational list of do’s and don’ts. The view presented is deflationary and cautious compared to what the law permits and most practitioners do, but it still leaves forensic practitioners with a wide and important role in the legal system.

Publication Title

Journal of American Academic Psychiatry & Law

Publication Citation

36 J. Am. Acad. Psychiatry & L. 206 (2008)

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