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Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility

Mitigation

2013

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Deconstructing Antisocial Personality Disorder And Psychopathy: Guidelines-Based Approach To Prejudicial Psychiatric Labels, Kathleen Wayland, Sean O'Brien Jan 2013

Deconstructing Antisocial Personality Disorder And Psychopathy: Guidelines-Based Approach To Prejudicial Psychiatric Labels, Kathleen Wayland, Sean O'Brien

Faculty Works

Prejudicial psychiatric labels such as antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy have an inherently prejudicial effect on courts and juries, particularly in cases involving the death penalty. This article explains how and why these labels are inherently aggravating, and also discusses the mental health literature indicating that they are subjective, unreliable and non-scientific. The authors conclude that no competent defense lawyer would pursue a mitigation case based on such a damaging and scientifically questionable psychiatric label. Further, a proper life history investigation conducted in accordance with the ABA Guidelines on the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases …