Werner U. Spitz
When death enters the courtroom, a myriad of difficult questions are raised, including: How/when/where did she die? Was someone else responsible and if so, who? Did she suffer and for how long? In order to properly answer these questions and many others, forensic pathological expertise is nearly always required.
Unfortunately, as with many other fields in which scientific testimony is elicited, there is a shortage of well-trained, full-time, board-certified forensic pathologists, and as a result, in expert, unqualified and invalid opinions abound in legal proceedings - with potentially tragic and/or financially devastating consequences.
This chapter on the Forensic Autopsy will enable lawyers, judges and experts to discern between proper forensic pathology and inadequate, often completely wrong assessments, and to keep the latter from the finders of fact. Among the range of issues examined include forensic reasoning on the following topics
Conscious pain and suffering
Alcohol and marijuana
Child and elder abuse
Written in straightforward language and designed for legal professionals, each issue is illustrated with case studies that demonstrate: (1) what forensic pathology looks like when it is properly performed and opined; (2) what it looks like when poor methods are used; and (3) examples of truly awful science and its dire consequences.
A wonderful introduction to the subject matter, the Forensic Autopsy is a must-have for litigators, jurists and experts when managing death-involved criminal and civil matters.
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