The Mad, the Bad, and the Innocent: The Criminal Mind on Trial--Tales of a Forensic Psychologist

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9780061013447: The Mad, the Bad, and the Innocent: The Criminal Mind on Trial--Tales of a Forensic Psychologist

Into the heart of a killer

The Mad

Over the past twenty years, renowned forensic psychologist Barbara Kirwin has confronted a terrifying lineup of murderers, rapists, paranoids, and psychopaths--including notorious serial killer Joel Rifkin--to distinguish the truly mad from the bad trying to cop an insanity plea.

The Bad

Here, in chilling detail, she recalls her most grisly cases and offers riveting psychological portraits of other infamous killers, including "Son of Sam" David Berkowitz, Colin Ferguson, Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, the Menendez brothers, Susan Smith, and John W. Hinckley, Jr.

The Innocent

Moving from prison holding cells to sensational courtroom trails, Kirwin tells the truth about the insanity defense and its abuse by criminal lawyers conjuring up outrageous defenses--from adopted child syndrome to postpartum psychosis to sleepwalking. As she pries open the criminal mind, Kirwin takes us on a riveting journey into the heart of darkness, where madness and evil thrive.

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Review:

"Americans are frightened and outraged by violent crime and their frustration at not being able to stop it. Bashing the insanity defense is universally seen as a way of getting tough on crime. Ironically, as we all seem to abdicate responsibility for our own lives, we seem to assert that everyone else, even the mentally impaired, is responsible for his." Barbara Kirwin is a forensic psychologist most often employed by prosecuting attorneys to distinguish the bona fide mental cases from the fakers. In The Mad, the Bad, and the Innocent she delivers a stinging critique of the American legal system's abuse of the insanity defense--both what she calls "designer defenses" that put violent psychopaths in mental hospitals, and the equally deplorable practice of sending schizophrenics to jail. Her writing style is engaging, but she lapses occasionally into a self-dramatizing mode that undercuts the seriousness of her concerns. The strength of The Mad, the Bad, and the Innocent is in the examples: dozens of fascinating case histories illustrate, better than any mere argument could, the complex issues involved in deciding who is sick and who is evil.

About the Author:


Barbara R. Kirwin, Ph.D., has been a clinical psychologist and forensic expert for over twenty-five years, has consulted on more than a hundred homicide cases, and has been a commentor on Court TV. She lives on Long Island in New York.

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