The Supreme Court rendered the opinion:
“the professional literature uniformly establishes that such predictions are fundamentally of very low reliability, and that psychiatric testimony and expertise are irrelevant to such predictions. In view of these findings, psychiatric testimony on the issue of future criminal behavior only distorts the fact ‐finding process.”10
– In a 1976 article in the Rutgers Law Review, authors Henry Steadman and Joseph Cocozza had also concluded, “There is no empirical evidence to support the position that psychiatrists have any special expertise in accurately predicting dangerousness.”11
– With 20 more years of research to draw from, Terrence Campbell wrote in a 1994 article in the Michigan Bar Journal, “The accuracy with which clinical judgment predicts future events is often little better than random chance. The accumulated research literature indicates that errors in predicting dangerousness range from 54% to 94%, averaging about 85%.”12
Dr. Margaret Hagen, Boston University lecturer and author of Whores of the Court, The Fraud of psychiatric Testimony and the Rape of American Justice, scoffs at any pretense by court psychologists or psychiatrists that they can reliably predict criminal or dangerous behavior: “Why not just flip pennies or draw cards? Why not put on a blindfold and choose without being able to identify the patients? It could hardly hurt [the diagnostic] accuracy rate that hovers at less than one out of three times correct…,” she wrote.22
No Science, No Cures
Further, the above cases show that in addition to not being able to predict violent behavior, psychiatrists certainly have no cures for it, a fact that even they admit.
– In 1994, psychiatrist Norman Sartorius, later president of the World Psychiatric Association, declared at a meeting of a congress of the Association of European Psychiatrists, “The time when psychiatrists considered that they could cure the mentally ill is gone. In the future the mentally ill have to learn to live with their illness.”23
– In 1995, after more than $6 billion in taxpayer money had been poured into psychiatric research, psychiatrist Rex Cowdry, Director of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, agreed with the WPA chief: “We do not know the causes [of mental illness]. We don’t have the methods of ‘curing’ these illnesses yet.”24
– In a national survey of psychiatrists about their “fantasies” and malpractice, the results of which were published in Psychiatric Times, Dr. Sander Breiner, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Michigan State University, found that psychiatrists’ number one fantasy was “…I will be able to ‘cure’ the patient.” The second ranking fantasy was “The patient wants to know what his or her problem is.”25
– When asked about the cures of psychiatry, those psychiatrists willing to be interviewed at the American psychiatric Association annual congress in 1995 and 2006, offered nothing but excuses: “A cure is certainly something we look forward to and have no earthly idea how to accomplish,” said one psychiatrist. “How many people have I cured?” said a psychiatric resident from Michigan, “Well, there are [sic] no real cures right now in psychiatry.” As for causes, a Norwegian psychiatristadmitted, “We don’t know what causes mental illness.”26
Lack of Science Creates Problems for Psychiatry
On June 29, 2006, the United States Supreme Court upheld the right of the state of Arizona to make laws that excluded many forms of psychiatric testimony in criminal cases. The court quoted a legal source in support of its decision, stating, “No matter how the test for insanity is phrased, a psychiatrist or psychologist is no more qualified than any other person to give an opinion about whether a particular defendant’s mental condition satisfies the legal test for insanity.” [Emphasis added] In other words, any lay person could just as feasibly give an opinion about “insanity” as a psychiatrist or psychologist.27
This is a long‐held view and answers why psychiatrists cannot determine if a person is likely to be a danger to himself or others, or to predict future criminal behavior.
– According to trial judge Ralph Adam Fine in Escape of the Guilty, “Although psychiatry clothes itself in the trappings of science and seeks to influence the standards by which we decide criminal responsibility, strict reliability in its diagnoses is rare.”28
– Chief Justice Warren Burger was incensed about the lack of a scientific basis for psychiatric testimony and opinions that were in conflict with each other: “No rule of law can possibly be sound or workable which is dependent upon the terms of another discipline whose members are in profound disagreement about what those terms mean,” he stated.29
– In 1982, Jeffery Harris, Executive Director of the U.S. Attorney General’s Task Force on Violent Crime, observed, “What amazes me is that in any trial I’ve ever heard of, the defense psychiatrist always says the accused is insane, and the prosecuting psychiatrist always says he’s sane. This happened invariably, in 100% of the cases, thus far exceeding the laws of chance. You have to ask yourself, ‘What is going on here?’ The insanity defense is being used as a football…and quite frankly, you’d be better off calling Central Casting to get ‘expert psychiatric testimony’ in a criminal trial.”30
Psychiatric diagnoses are not based on science, but opinion
– Canadian psychologist Tana Dineen reports, “Unlike medical diagnoses that convey a probable cause, appropriate treatment and likely prognosis, the disorders listed in DSM‐IV are terms arrived at through peer consensus”—literally, a vote by APA committee members—and designed largely for billing purposes.31
– Paula Caplan, psychologist and staff member of the American Psychological Association, attended a DSM hearing and reported, “Mental disorders are established without scientific basis and procedure. The low level of intellectual effort was shocking. Diagnoses were developed by majority vote on the level we would use to choose a restaurant. Then it’s typed into the computer. It may reflect on our naiveté, but it was our belief that there would be an attempt to look at the things scientifically.” 32
The determination of these disorders is often influenced by the pharmaceutical industry.
– A study published in the April 2006 edition of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics determined that 56% of the psychiatrists who determined which “mental disorders” were to be included in the fourth edition of DSM were drug ‐company funded. Lisa Cosgrove, a psychologist from the University of Massachusetts and Sheldon Krimsky, a Tufts University professor, conducted the study, entitled, “Financial Ties between DSM ‐IV Panel Members and the Pharmaceutical Industry.” It documented how pharmaceutical companies who manufacture drugs for mental disorders funded psychiatrists who defined the disorders for the manual. One hundred percent of the experts on DSM ‐IV panels overseeing so‐called “mood disorders” (which includes “depression”) and “schizophrenia/psychotic disorders” were financially involved with drug companies.33
Given the financial and political, not scientific influence, it is not surprising that studies show psychiatrists and psychologists are no more accurate at clinical judgments than laypersons (and most likely even worse).34
– A 2004 Texas study that challenged violent behavior predictions determined that expert witnesses called by the state were “wrong 95% of the time in making such forecasts in capital [involving the death sentence] cases.…” The Texas Defender Service, a nonprofit organization that represents individuals in capital murder cases, reviewed the records of 155 inmates and found that only eight of the 155 convicted killers later engaged in behavior that resulted in serious injury.35
– Vincent “the Chin” Gigante, the boss of a New York crime family, was convicted of racketeering and murder conspiracy. He was able to feign mental illness for more than 30 years. Whenever he went to trial, the mobster’s defense psychiatrists testified that he was “insane, psychotic, schizophrenic and infantile.” In 2003, Gigante admitted he was a fake and had knowingly—and easily—misled psychiatrists. 36
Worse, in some instances, the person whom the psychiatrist testified was dangerous was innocent.
– Randall Dale Adams, whose story was told in the epic documentary The Thin Blue Line, was sentenced to death in 1976 for the murder of a Dallas police officer. Dr. James Grigson, a psychiatrist for the prosecutor, testified that there was no doubt that Adams would commit future violent acts, even in prison. Diagnosing him as an “extreme sociopath,” Grigson asserted: “I would place Mr. Adams at the very extreme, worse or severe end of the scale. You can‘t get beyond that.” A life sentence would be inadequate, he said, of the veteran with no prior record.
– On what basis was this diagnosis made? Adams recalls: “Dr. Grigson interviewed me for 15 minutes. He did not ask about the crime, only about my family. The only other thing he wanted to know was my interpretation of: a rolling stone gathers no moss and of a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. At trial he testified for 2 hours—1½ hours about his background, awards, expertise, etc.; ½ hour about our interview.” After a dozen years in prison, Adams was freed when another man confessed to the murder.37
– The Texas Defender Service study says that Grigson, known as “Dr. Death” and “a small cadre of others like him” have testified in death penalty cases, where at least 121 men have been condemned to die, and any have been executed, based on “evidence that is just as likely to be wrong as it is to be right.”38
– On July 9, 1995, the APA expelled Grigson from its ranks—for arriving at a psychiatric diagnoses without first having examined the individuals in question, and for indicating, while testifying in court, he could predict with 100% certainty that the individuals would engage in future violent acts. However, Grigson’s testimony was far worse than “grossly inadequate,” as the APA contended, it was fraudulent.39 Despite this, Grigson continued to testify for the State of Texas and made approximately $100,000 per year.40
A System That Has Failed
In Washington State, the King County Community and Human Services Mental Health, Chemical Abuse and Dependency Services Division is mandated to analyze treatment and recovery outcomes on an annual basis. The 2001 report is a damning indictment of the failure of psychiatric treatment generally. Patient benefit was measured, in part, in terms of being less dependent upon the mental health system, progress toward recovery, improved self ‐esteem and enhanced quality of life.” Recovered meant “is engaged in volunteer work, or pursuing educational or vocational activities, or employed full or part ‐time, or engaged in other culturally appropriate activities, and lives in independent or supported housing.” Note that there is no mention of cure. Of 9,302 patients serviced, less than 1% recovered, only 25% were less dependent and 75% remained dependent. However, in the “recovery category,” when determined how many patients “progressed, regressed, or remained unchanged,” less than 1% progressed. 41
Psychiatrists do not have any scientific or medical test to diagnose a person’s condition and rely upon faulty observation and opinion of behavior. They admit to not knowing the cause of a single mental disorder or how to cure them. The error in their opinions is enormous—they condemn the innocent, release the dangerous, induce violence in others through drugs and commit people who are not in need of help or turn those away who may genuinely be in need of it.
1 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition, (American Psychiatric Association, 1994), p. xxiii.
2 E. Fuller Torrey, M.D., The Death of Psychiatry, (Chilton Book Company, Penns., 1974), pp. 94-95.
3 E. Fuller Torrey, M.D., The Death of Psychiatry, (Chilton Book Company, Penns., 1974), pp. 95-96.
4 Rick Carroll, “Doctors Who Okd Kemper,” San Francisco Chronicle, 1 May 1973; “The Killings by Freed Mental Patients,” Los Angeles Times, 14 Nov. 1973; Statement by the District Attorney, People v. Kemper, Case No. 50628, Superior Court of the State of California, County of Santa Cruz, 20 Nov. 1973; “Suspect in 9 Killings Was Found Normal,” Los Angeles Times, 28 Apr. 1973.
5 “ONCE A KILLER; A GUNMAN CONVICTED OF SHOOTING NINE PEOPLE AND KILLING FOUR OF THEM IS TRYING TO BE RELEASED FROM A MENTAL HOSPITAL,” 48 Hours, 12 July 1999.
6 Bruce Wiseman, Psychiatry: The Ultimate Betrayal, citing Seymour L. Halleck, M.D., “A Critique of Current Psychiatric Rules in The Legal Process,” Wisconsin Law Review, Vol. 1966, No. 2, Spring, p. 389.
7 E. Fuller Torrey, M.D., The Death of Psychiatry, (Chilton Book Company, Penns., 1974), p. 96.
8 “ONCE A KILLER; A GUNMAN CONVICTED OF SHOOTING NINE PEOPLE AND KILLING FOUR OF THEM IS TRYING TO BE RELEASED FROM A MENTAL HOSPITAL,” 48 Hours, 12 July 1999.
9 Motion for Leave to File Brief Amicus Curiae and Brief Amicus Curiae for the American Psychiatric Association, Supreme Court of the United States, October term 1979, Case No. 79-1127, “W.J. Estelle, Jr., Director, Texas Department of Corrections v. Ernest Benjamin Smith,” pp. 14-15.
10 Chief Justice Burger delivered the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion on W.J. Estelle, Jr., Director, Texas Department of Corrections v. Ernest Benjamin Smith, No. 79-1127, decided 18 May 1981.
11 Joseph J. Cocozza and Henry J. Steadman, “The Failure of Psychiatric Predictions of Dangerousness: Clear and Convincing Evidence,” Rutgers Law Review, Vol. 29, No. 5, Late Summer 1976, p. 1099.
12 Margaret Hagen, Whores of the Court, The Fraud of Psychiatric Testimony and the Rape of American Justice, (Harper Collins Publishers, Inc., New York, 1997), p. 165, citing Terrence W. Campbell, “Challenging Psychologists and Psychiatrists as Witnesses,” Michigan Bar Journal, Jan. 1994.
13 Hiroshi Matsubara, “Diet mulls fate of mentally ill criminals,” The Japan Times, 8 June 2002.
14 “Serial Killers Life of a Cannibal Issei Sagawa History”; Internet address: http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/Spring03/Rawlins/sagawa.htm; Robert Whymant, “Crime pays for a Japanese cannibal/ Case of Issei Sagawa who killed and ate a Dutch woman in 1981″; The Guardian, 18 Feb. 1996; “The Japanese Cannibal; Issei Sagawa Murdered and Ate Part of His Girlfriend: Murder in Mind,” Sunday Mirror, 23 Feb. 1997.
15 Peter McGill, “The Cannibal Who Got Away With It,” Sunday Age (Melbourne), 21 June 1992.
16 Larry Rosenthal, “Mental Patient Who Killed Young Girl Innocent By Reason of Insanity,” Associated Press, 30 March 1990.
17 Mary B.W. Tabor, “Mental Hospital Escapee Is Held in Stabbing Death of Father,” The New York Times, 2 Oct. 1991.
18 Joe Sexton, “Man Charged In Needle Case Fled Hospital,” The New York Times, 5 Dec. 1995.
19 Transcript of Sentencing by the Honorable Associate Chief Justice Oliphant, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Her Majesty the Queen and Robert Bliss Arthurson Accused, 7 Oct. 1994.
20 Richard Perez-Pena, “Subway Death Stirs Call for More Curbs on Mental Patients,” The New York Times, 6 Jan.1995.
21 Howard Mintz, “Jury: Psychiatrist liable in patient’s road rampage,” San Jose Mercury News, 6 Apr. 2003.
22 Op. cit., Margaret Hagen, p. 165.
23 Lars Boegeskov, “Mentally Ill have to have Help—Not to be Cured,” Politiken, 19 Sept. 1994.
24 Hearings before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives, Subcommittee on the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies; Appropriations for 1996, Part 4, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, 22 March 1995, pp. 1161, 1205.
25 Sander Breiner, M.D., Inappropriate Psychiatrists’ Responses and the Avoidance of Malpractice Suits,” Psychiatric Times , Jul. 1998.
26 http://www.cchr.org/video/no science.wmv
27 Chief Justice Souter delivered the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion on Eric Michael Clark, Petitioner v. Arizona, No. 05-5966, decided 29 June 2006.
28 Ralph Adam Fine, Escape of the Guilty, (Dodd, Mead & Company, New York, 1986), pp. 1, 199.
29 Jonas Robitscher J.D., M.D., The Powers of Psychiatry, (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1980), p.170.
30 Carol A. Gallo, “The Insanity of the Insanity Defense,” The Prosecutor, Spring 1982, p. 6.
31 Tana Dineen, Ph.D., Manufacturing Victims, Third Edition, (Robert Davies Multimedia Publishing, Montreal, 2001), p. 86.
32 Paula J. Caplan, Ph.D., They Say You’re Crazy (New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1995), p. 90.
33 Lisa Cosgrove, et. al. “Financial Ties Between DSM-IV Panel Members and the Pharmaceutical Industry,” Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics , April 2006.
34 David Faust and Jay Ziskin, “The Expert Witness in Psychology and Psychiatry,” Science, Vol. 241, 1 July 1988, p. 32.
35 Henry Weinstein, “Texas Study Challenges ‘Violent Behavior’ Predictions,” Los Angeles Times, 31 Mar. 2004.
36 George McEvoy, “Oddfather’s Crazy Act Too Good To Be Fake?,” Palm Beach Post, 12 Apr. 2003. 37 Henry Weinstein, “Texas Study Challenges Violent Behavior Predictions,” Los Angeles Times, 31 Mar. 2004.
40 Bruce Vincent, “A Dearth of Work,” American Lawyer Media, 1995.
41 KING COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AND HUMAN SERVICES, Mental Health, Chemical Abuse and Dependency Services Division King County Ordinance # 13974, Second Annual Report: Recovery Model, 2001, pp. 3-5.