chapter  1
26 Pages

Pathology and Neuropathology in the Forensic Setting JAN E. LEESTMA, MD, MM

ByELAINE WHITFIELD SHARP, JD

Medical professionals have had a long history of providing valued services to the legal profession as advisers, experts, and sometimes also as attorneys. The legal system has often looked to the medical profession for guidance in attempting to offer justice to the people. Many times this service is advisory to the court, as a so-called friend of the court (amicus curiae) regarding interpretation of complex issues of a medical-technical nature. More often, medical professionals are approved, selected, and may be engaged by the court or jury (triers of fact) to assist counsels for prosecution or defense in their cases and the court in its judgments. In the course of legal history, the role of the expert (medical and otherwise) has had varying influence on the judicial process and has been subject to evolving standards before the court that will be discussed in detail in Chapter 2.