Diagnostic Procedures in the Criminal Justice System

  • Fred J. Pesetsky
  • Albert I. Rabin

Abstract

Discretion exists in determining whether an individual will be entered into the criminal justice system. Victims may refuse to file complaints or swear out arrest warrants, the police may fail to make arrests, or prosecutors may drop a case for one reason or another. However, once an individual has been entered into the criminal justice proceedings by criminal charges being brought against him, he is subject to a process in which there is a considerable amount of discretion that is used in the application of legal sanctions. Legal decisions to which an accused may be subjected include not only the enforcement of those sanctions defined by law but also the determination of whether the individual should be excused from the application of those sanctions. Legal determinations that are exclusionary in function are predominantly concerned with the mental or emotional makeup of the individual. When the defendant’s condition is such as to indicate the presence of a mental illness, an initial consideration for exclusion from the criminal proceedings is that of determining his competency to stand trial. Our legal system is designed to exclude those mentally ill individuals who are unable to understand the nature of the proceedings against them or to assist in their own defense. Mental illness may also be a determinant that excludes the application of legal sanctions as an excusing factor implied in the verdict of “not guilty by reason of insanity.” These decisions require the input of medical and psychological data on which the legal decisions may be based.

Keywords

Depression Mold Schizophrenia Hydrochloride Expense 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fred J. Pesetsky
    • 1
  • Albert I. Rabin
    • 2
  1. 1.1905 Grovedale, JacksonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingMichiganUSA

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