Prearraignment forensic evaluation: the odyssey moves east of the Pecos.
R. D. Miller,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law
18(3): 311-21, 1990.
Although the ethical guidelines of both the American Psychiatric Association and the American
Academy of Psychiatry and the Law explicitly prohibit the forensic examination of criminal
defendants before appointment of counsel, except for the purpose of providing emergency medical
care and treatment, the practice continues in many parts of the country. This article presents a recent
case in which this practice was challenged on appeal, to serve as a focus for discussion of the
evolution of, and rationales for and against, these ethical positions. It will also serve as a focus to
examine the legal views concerning such examinations, derived from the appeal of the decision in
the case itself as well as decisions in similar cases.