Cases, Theories and Strategies for Prevention
By: James Selkin, Ph.D.
Following the tragic death of actress Marilyn Monroe in 1969, a new concept in psychiatry emerged in the United States. Psychological autopsies, investigations to reconstruct the state of mind of the deceased just prior to his or her death, originated in the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office. These psychological autopsies would evolve into a form of expert testimony by a “suicidologist” that would have a significant impact on the rulings of a multitude of criminal and civil court cases into the next century. In this work, Dr. Selkin cites specific court cases where expert testimony helped bring about the desired outcome, along with those that were not successful,