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by James Eisenberg
by James Eisenberg

Law, Psychology, & Death Penalty Litigation

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• 2004  176pp paperback   ISBN: 9781568870892

This book provides a thorough introduction to the role that forensic psychology plays in capital trials.  Acknowledging the important differences between capital trials and other criminal trials, psychologists working in this area must be well versed in the history of the death penalty, the landmark Supreme Court decisions, and current death penalty law.  The author takes a step-by-step approach in describing the various tasks that might confront the forensic psychologist in a death penalty trial including issues of competency to be executed, mental retardation, risk assessment, and related ethical dilemmas.  This book is essential reading if you are considering work in this area.

“The evaluation of aggravating and mitigating factors in the context of capital litigation is among the most complex and challenging kinds of assessments performed by forensic psychologists and forensic psychiatrists.  In Law, Psychology, and Death Penalty Litigation, James Eisenberg provides a concise view, both scholarly and practical, of the death penalty process in the United States, and offers guidance for conducting evaluations that are thorough and fair.  It is useful reading for anyone involved in the capital litigation process, or wishing to learn more about it.”
     -Kirk Heilbrun, PhD, ABPP, Professor and Head, Department of Psychology, Drexel University

“This book offers a straightforward, clear approach to the assessment of mitigating factors in capital litigation.  Eisenberg’s vast experience illuminates the concepts he sets forth, in his rich and detailed coverage of the characteristics of this population.  The reader will gain an appreciation for the multifarious issues at play in death penalty litigation, and will obtain a solid grounding in assessment considerations.”
     -Mary Connell, EdD, ABPP, Diplomate, Forensic Psychology

Table of Contents
    Chapter 1 - Introduction
    Chapter 2 - A Brief History of the Death Penalty
    Chapter 3 - Significant U.S. Supreme Court Decisions in Capital Cases Since 1970
    Chapter 4 - Stages of a Capital Case
    Chapter 5 - Aggravating and Mitigating Factors and Jury Instructions
    Chapter 6 - Mitigation
    Chapter 7 - Getting Started on a Capital Case
    Chapter 8 - The Role of the Psychologist in Death Penalty Litigation
    Chapter 9 - Special Issues: Competency, Sanity, and the Death Penalty
    Chapter 10 - Mental Retardation and the Death Penalty
    Chapter 11 - Antisocial Personality Disorder, Psychopathy, and Risk Assessment
    Chapter 12 - Case Study: Boo and Rail Do a Lick
    Chapter 13 - Ethical Issues in Capital Litigation
Appendix A - Key Areas to Explore in Defendant’s History
Appendix B - Facts About the Death Penalty

CE Program
A supplemental 7-credit, 70 question continuing education program is available for this book.  To order the complete program (this book and CE test module, or test module alone if you already have access to this book), go to: Law, Psychology, & Death Penalty Litigation - CE Program (7 Credits)

For information about our approved continuing education sponsorships
and acceptance by state, please click here:
Continuing Education

About the Author
James R. Eisenberg, PhD, ABPP, is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Criminal Justice Program at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio.  He has worked on over 200 death penalty cases and thousands of other criminal and civil forensic proceedings.  He is a Diplomate and Officer of the American Board of Forensic Psychology and a frequent presenter for the American Academy of Forensic Psychology’s Contemporary Workshop Series.  He is a member of the American Bar Association’s Task Force on Mental Illness and the Death Penalty.  For his presentation to the Honduran National Government on “The Death Penalty in the United States,” Dr. Eisenberg received a Speaker and Specialist Human Rights Grant from the United States Information Agency.
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