Therapeutic Forgetting: The Legal and Ethical Implications of Memory Dampening

INTRODUCTION

Suppose we could erase memories we no longer wish to keep. In such a world, the victim of a terrifying assault could wipe away memories of the incident and be free of the nightmares that such memories often cause. Some memories, however, even quite unpleasant ones, are extremely valuable to society and ought not be eliminated without due consideration. An assault victim who hastily erases memory of a crime may thereby impede the investigation and prosecution of the perpetrator. In a world with memory erasure, our individual interest in controlling our memories may conflict with society’s interest in maintaining access to those memories.1 While true memory erasure is still the domain of science fiction,2 less dramatic means of dampening the strength of a memory may have already been developed. Some experiments suggest that propranolol, an FDA-approved drug, can dull the emotional...

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Memory For Murder A Psychological Perspective On Dissociative Amnesia In Legal Contexts

Mental health professionals and legal decision-makers often hear reports of memory impairment from both perpetrators of extreme violence such as homicide (e.g., Kopelman, 1995; Roesch & Golding, 1986; Schacter, 1986a), and from complainants and eyewitnesses (e.g., Loftus, 1993). Adult complainants, for example, have testified about their recovery of repressed memories for a violent incident(s) following a lengthy period of amnesia (e.g., Loftus, 1997; Porter, Yuille, & Lehman, 1999). Although these two types of cases differ in the timing of the memory loss (current vs. historical), both require a consideration of the validity of dissociative amnesia. Dissociative amnesia refers to amnesia for a traumatic (and, in this context, criminal) experience which has a psychological origin. Whereas dissociative amnesia refers to a process of forgetting following a traumatic experience, a dissociative state refers to an altered state of consciousness occurring during a traumatic experience. Dissociation is the more general term referring to the separation..

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Couple Age Discrepancy and Risk of Intimate Partner Homicide

Although national level studies in the United States and Canada find that extreme partner age discrepancy is a risk factor for intimate partner homicide in opposite-sex couples, these studies carry two caveats: They are limited to cohabiting marital or common-law couples and they are not detailed enough to explore alternative explanations for the age discrepancy-homicide risk association. Using the Chicago Homicide Dataset, which includes all homicides that occurred in Chicago from 1965 to 1996, we analyze the 2,577 homicides in which the victim was killed by a current or former legal spouse, commonlaw spouse, or heterosexual boyfriend or girlfriend, and in which the woman was at least 18 years of age. Within each of 14 categories of couple age discrepancy, we estimate the population of intimate heterosexual couples and calculate the population-based risk of homicide. The results replicate national level findings showing that the risk of intimate partner homicide is considerably elevated for couples...

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Aspects of Morbid Jealousy

Jealousy is a common, complex, ‘normal’ emotion. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word jealous as ‘feeling or showing resentment towards a person one thinks of as a rival’. This definition indicates that it is the belief in the presence of rivalry that is the key issue, and that whether or not such a rivalry truly exists is less important. Jealousy within a sexual relationship has clear advantages in evolutionary terms: behaviour that ensures the absolute sole possession of a partner allows the propagation of one’s own genes at the expense of those of a true rival (Daly et al, 1982). However, when the belief in rivalry is mistaken, much time and effort may be wasted in attempting to eliminate a false threat. Morbid jealousy describes a range of irrational thoughts and emotions, together with associated unacceptable or extreme behaviour, in which the dominant theme is a preoccupation with a partner’s sexual...

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Husband-Wife Homicide: An Essay from A Family Law Perspective

Homicide traditionally has been a matter between family, acquaintances, and friends.' This fact is not particularly surprising, given the reasonable expectation that one would have more reason to kill an acquaintance than a stranger. It would seem to follow that spouses and other intimates would have the most reason of all to kill each other. Yet we recoil from the very idea, clinging to the belief that intimate relationships are characterized by tenderness and love. That they are not always so characterized is evident in the fact of spousal violence and homicide. Most homicides are committed with firearms, and these weapons also play a role in the more specialized group of homicides that occur between spouses. One goal of all gun control proposals is to reduce the overall number of homicides by reducing the number of homicides committed with firearms. A particularly poignant subissue, however, is how to keep people from killing...

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Alcoholic Blackout for Criminally Relevant Behavior

Some criminal suspects claim to have had an alcohol-induced blackout during crimes they have committed. Are alcoholic blackouts a frequently occurring phenomenon, or are they merely used as an excuse to minimize responsibility? Frequency and type of blackout were surveyed retrospectively in two healthy samples (n  256 and n  100). Also, a comparison of blood alcohol concentrations was made between people who did and those who did not claim a blackout when stopped in a traffic-control study (n  100). In the two survey studies, blackouts were reported frequently by the person himself (or herself) and others (67% and 76%, respectively) in contrast to the traffic-control study (14%), in which blackouts were reported only when persons were involved in an accident. These results indicate that although blackouts during serious misbehavior are reported outside the court, both the denial and the claim of alcoholic blackout may serve a strategic function.

The following vignette is based on a real case. Amsterdam, 1999. A 30-year-old man consumed a considerable

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Bias in Psychiatric Diagnosis

The word “name-calling” provokes negative associations, but the term “diagnostic labeling” has an aura of scientific precision, objectivity, and professionalism that lends it tremendous power. Language confers power (Miller and Swift 1977), and that power is “not distributed equitably across the social hierarchy” (Hare-Mustin and Marecek 1997, 106), a fact that has had tremendous impact on those who have sought mental health services. Diagnosis of physical problems has often been extremely useful, and in principle, psychiatric diagnosis can be helpful, too (e.g., Emily J. Caplan, chapter 5 in this volume). Unfortunately, psychiatric labeling has been conceived of and applied in extremely biased ways and is surprisingly unwarranted by scientific research, and thus it can result in serious harm (P. Caplan 1995). As Hare-Mustin and Marecek note: “a diagnostic label . . . has a profound influence on what we think of people so labeled and how they think about themselves” (1997, 105). In addition, diagnostic labels often create problems with employers and the...

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Woman Savagely Stabbed, Raped

File:# 72-12184

DEPARTMENT OF CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER-CORONER

Date: November 16,1972    Time: 1000 Hours

I performed an autopsy on the body of KATHLEEN LA CHANCE
at Office of Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner, 1104 N. Mission Rd.,
Los Angeles and from the anatomic findings and pertinent history I ascribe the death to:

MASSIVE HEMORRHAGE

DUE TO:   MULTIPLE STAB WOUNDS OF CHEST
FINAL: November 16, 1972

ANATOMICAL SUMMARY

           1. Multiple stab wounds
DESCRIPTION OF STAB WOUNDS AND INJURIES

Note:    For the purpose of identification the wounds are labeled numerically, however, this does not imply the order in which the wounds were inflicted. The descriptions that follow are made using the anatomic

There appears to be twelve stab wounds, ten located in the back within an area 12 inches and 19 ½ inches from the top of the head and 3 ½ inches to the left of the midline of the back and 3 ½ inches to the right of the midline of the back. Two additional stab wounds are...

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Differences in Characteristics of Criminal Behavior Between Solo and Team Serial Killers

Introduction

Numerous research and theory have been published in an effort to better understand and categorize the most aberrant of pathological behaviors, those of a serial killer. This research is not only used to understand these individuals and what causes them to act out in this manner, but is also applicable when thinking about prevention and early detection of such behavior. When one can accurately understand patterns of behaviors, and the characteristics of such patterns, one can then begin to understand and trace back psychological mechanisms and etiologies of such behavior. Understanding and identifying precursors to these behavioral patterns will aid in early detection and intervention. A considerable amount of this research has focused on solo serial killers specifically, or serial killers as an entire population. Very little research is available regarding differences between different categories of killers, such as solo and team types of serial killers. The current research aimed to increase specificity of the available research and examine whether there are key differences in various aspects of criminal behavior between solo and team serial killers.

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Mapping Crime: Understanding Hot Spots

About This Report

Much of crime mapping is devoted to detecting high-crime-density areas known as hot spots. Hot spot analysis helps police identify high-crime areas, types of crime being committed, and the best way to respond. This report discusses hot spot analysis techniques and software and identifies when to use each one. The visual display of a crime pattern on a map should be consistent with the type of hot spot and possible police action. For example, when hot spots are at specific addresses, a dot map is more appropriate than an area map, which would be too imprecise. In this report, chapters progress in sophistication. Chapter 1 is for novices to crime mapping. Chapter 2 is more advanced,...

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Body Dismemberment in Sexual Homicide Cases: Lust Murder or Rational Decision?

Introduction

Sexual homicide (SH) is a rare crime that represents only a small proportion of homicides committed every year (see Beauregard & Martineau, 2017 for a review). Despite the rarity of these offenses, SHs often monopolize media headlines and have the unique ability to provoke wide-spread fear in the community due in part to the apparent randomness of victim selection, but also because they are often characterized by gratuitous brutality as well as a combination of irrational behaviors (Roberts & Grossman, 1993). In some cases, certain acts committed during the crime-commission process become even more shocking and irrational than the murder itself. One of the most exemplary among these acts is the criminal dismemberment of the victim’s body, which is considered to be the ultimate act of aggression (Holmes, 2017). This act, whatever its motivation, is not only shocking but also demoralizing as it constitutes a way to deny the victim’s integrity (Black et al., 2017).

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The Prostitution of Lying in Wait

Kurt Michaels planned and executed the murder of JoAnn Clemons.' He and an accomplice waited at a construction site adjacent to some apartments where they could view the victim's third-story window After several hours, the light in the victim's apartment went out and the two set off across the parking lot, walked up the stairwell and, using a key supplied by the victim's daughter, entered the apartment.' The victim called out, "Who is it?" Michaels and his cohort entered her bedroom, struggled with the victim and killed her. The San Diego District Attorney capitally charged Michaels, alleging as one of the death qualifying circumstances that Michaels murdered while "lying in wait."

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Victims of Abduction: Patterns and Case Studies

INTRODUCTION

In July 1960, eight–year-old Graham Thorne, whose parents had just won the Opera House lottery, was abducted, held for ransom and then murdered by a man known as Stephen Bradley. The case attracted saturation media coverage, in part because, up until that time, cases of abduction and kidnapping were virtually unheard of in Australia. Since 1960, a number of other tragic cases of abduction have also generated widespread public interest and concern. They include the abduction and murder of Anita Cobby, Janine Balding, Samantha Knight and Ebony Simpson.

In 2005, police recorded 393 abductions in New South Wales (NSW). Taken at face value, police figures suggest that NSW has the highest recorded rate of abduction in the country (ABS 2005). Police abduction statistics and media reports of abduction, however, are in some ways quite misleading. Much of the media focus is on incidents of abduction where the victim is raped and/or murdered. Abduction, however, is not always committed for reasons of sexual gratification or to obtain a ransom. Some abductions are committed as part of a robbery, others occur in the context of domestic violence.

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Understanding and Managing Risk in the Context of Missing Persons

Introduction

An early assessment of a missing person report to determine the urgency of the investigation is critical. This can be compared to the triage used in assessing casualties and the speed of response needed to save lives. Core to this process is assessing the level of risk to the missing person and how immediate that risk is. The assessment and categorisation of risk and the particular circumstances of the case should shape the response, informing the investigative and search strategies. Risk should also be regularly reviewed to consider new information and evolving circumstances.

Making such an assessment of risk in relation to missing persons is often difficult, as only partial information may be known. Much depends on the judgement of the person trying to determine the risk and the skills and experience possessed by those people is widely varied.

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Risk Taking, Impulsiveness, and the Age-Crime Relationship

The study's purpose was to determine to determine the influence of risk-taking and impulsiveness on criminal behavior, the factors' relationship to each other and their relationship, to age. It was hoped that the data would help explain the phenomenon of criminal burnout. Subjects were three groups of males aged 18 to 44, classed by their criminal history. Group One was 83 prisoners; group two, 53 subjects who had never been arrested; group three, 28 who had been arrested or incarcerated in the past, but who were not incarcerated at this time (the "erstwhilegroup). Measures utilized were the Self-control (Sc) scale from the California Psychological Inventory, Risk-taking (Rtg) and Infrequency (Inf) scales from the Jackson Personality Inventory, a modified Choice Dilemmas Questionnaire, the Impulsiveness (Imp) and Venturesomeness (Ven) scales from the Eysenck, Pearson, Easting, and Allsopp (1985) 1-7, and two behavioral measures: volunteering and cigarette smoking.

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Psychological Factors Underlying Criminal Behavior

In old fashioned history books, the highest tribute paid to a king was to say that he was just, he helped the poor and punished the wicked. In those days a law-abiding people were sorely in need of protection against powerful law-breakers. Today the power of the state is firmly established. True, quite a number of crimes are never detected; but no criminal has the slightest chance of openly defying society. If we read of a manhunt in the country we give the poor devil a fortnight at the outside; we know that by then the armed machinery of the law will surely have overtaken him. Society has the right and the duty to protect itself. But its superiority in strength over the individual delinquent

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Journey to Crime Estimation Location Theory

Location Theory

Location theory is concerned wit h one of the central issues in geography. This theory attempts to find an optimal location for any particular distribution of activities, population, or even ts over a region (Haggett, Cliff and Frey, 1977; Krueckeberg and Silvers, 1974; Stopher and Meyburg, 1975; Oppenheim, 1980, Ch . 4; Boss a rd, 1993). In classic location theory, economic resources were allocated in relation to idealized presentations (Anselin and Madden , 1990). Thus, von Thünen (1826) analyzed the distribution of agricultural land as a function of the accessibility to a single population center (which would be more expensive towards the cent er), t he value of the product produced (which would vary by crop), and transportation costs (which would be more expensive farther from the cent er). In order to maximize profit and minimize costs, a

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Investigator Beliefs Of Homicide Crime Scene Characteristics

Homicide investigators rely on a plethora of sources to solve a case, including their own beliefs and intuitions. We discuss a variety of these beliefs and explore their veracity using a novel approach, coding cases from the documentary television show, Forensic Files. Our results indicate that most of these beliefs are unsupported. However, some beliefs may be predictive. Specifically, a body that was wrapped or placed in a container was indicative that the body had been transported. In addition, finding the victim nude was predictive of rape. We discuss the problems of following inaccurate beliefs, and the potential use of the accurate beliefs we identified.

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The Psychology of Murder Concealment Acts

Abstract:

The escalating trend of murder victim concealment worldwide appears worrying, and literature does not reveal any specific study focusing on victim concealment amongst convicted male Malaysian murderers. Therefore, this study was aimed at investigating the psychological traits that may underlie the act of murder concealment in Malaysia via mixed method approaches. Male murderers (n = 71) from 11 prisons were selected via purposive sampling technique. In the quantitative analysis, a cross-sectional study design using the validated questionnaire was used. The questionnaire contained murder concealment variables and four Malay validated psychometric instruments measuring: personality traits, self-control, aggression, and cognitive distortion. The independent sample t-tests revealed the significantly higher level of anger in murderers who did not commit concealment acts (8.55  2.85, p < 0.05) when compared with those who did so (6.40  2.64). Meanwhile, the Kruskal–Wallis H test revealed that anger and the personality trait of aggressiveness hostility significantly varied across the different groups of murder concealment acts (p < 0.05). The qualitative data obtained via the in-depth interviews revealed...

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The Role Of Detection Avoidance Behavior In Solving Australian Homicides

Abstract

Detection avoidance (DA) behaviours include removing evidence, manipulating bodies, and offenders protecting their identity, and staging the scene. There is a dearth of research on DA and its impact on homicide investigations. This study examines the role of DA in solving homicides in Victoria, Australia. It explores DA tactics used by offenders in 116 unsolved homicides, compares them to 35 solved homicides, and proposes a framework for their potential effect on solvability factors. The framework suggests that detection avoidance maps on to several solvability factors in complex ways, potentially complicating police investigations in a manner different to that anticipated. Future research is recommended.

INTRODUCTION

Homicides are rare in Australia and 10.5% are unsolved (Bricknell, 2019). This research is one of the first discussions of whether specific offender behaviour – detection avoidance – has the potential to impact solvability factors. Detection avoidance (DA) is when an offender attempts to hide, destroy or manipulate evidence to avoid detection and apprehension (Beauregard & Bouchard, 2010;

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Non Familial Abductions

Abstract

When a person is abducted and the suspect is someone other than a family member, it is a difficult for police to decide where to look for the victim. To date, there has been little research conducted on how offenders select murder and disposal sites, and how far they travel to get to these areas. Past research pertains only to the United States and United Kingdom. Thus, investigators have little knowledge regarding relevant distance relationships in Canada, and how offenders chose the locations to dump victims. This thesis includes a review of previous research in this field, as well as a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses. As stranger homicides are infrequent crimes, all Canadian and Washington State cases were included. Using data from Violent Crimes Linkage Analysis system (ViCLAS) and Homicide Investigative Tracking System (HITS), this research examined victim and offender demographics, temporal and spatial factors, the disposal site, and the distances involved in the crime. The distances analyzed were between the offender and victim's residence, point of initial contact, murder scene and disposal site. Many distinctive patterns emerged, relating to the age of the victim and offender,...

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Homicide By Necessity

Introduction

In phiosophy we sometimes consider the question, put by way of hypothesis, of how we should act in the midst of a calamity, disaster, or other danger, if it is apparent that we can save our own life only by the destruction of another’s. We can hardly imagine that such a question would have much practical importance, or that a court would ever need to rule upon conduct under such circumstances, or, for that matter, that we would ever personally encounter an ordeal in which we face a dilemma between self-sacrifice and the sacrifice of another.

In fact, there have been numerous instances of homicide by necessity, some of which have resulted in murder or manslaughter convictions, and others which have passed quietly into history with no action taken by the authorities. This topic, homicide by necessity, refers to the killing of innocents in order to produce a greater good or avert a greater...

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Intimate Partner Kidnapping: An Exploratory Analysis

ABSTRACT

The following study is an exploratory analysis of intimate partner kidnapping. The current study will give a descriptive picture of the victim, offender, and incident characteristics of a form of intimate partner violence that has never been studied before, intimate partner kidnapping, as well as a form of physical violence often seen in the literature, intimate partner assaults. The study will use a combination of the National Incident Based Report System (FBI, 2009), and the American Community Survey (Census, 2012) to identify these characteristics and also to identify any potential relationships between structural-level correlates and rates of intimate partner violence. The purpose of this study is to gain a better understanding of multiple forms of intimate partner violence using police data, as well as, understand their relationships to structural-level correlates of counties.

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Cold Case Models for Evaluating Unresolved Homicides

Abstract

During the period 1980-2008 the United States has accumulated nearly 185,000 unresolved murders. Based on the number of homicides and clearance rates for murders 2009-2012 this figure is either closer to, or well over 200,000. As of 2004 the United States also had approximately 14,000 unidentified sets of human remains, many of which could be homicides, further increasing our total number of unresolved cases.The efforts to resolve some of these cases by law enforcement and others have been unrelenting. And while historically we can easily identify the early 1980s with Dade County Sherriff’s Office as the beginnings of the “cold case concept” , a standard protocol for evaluating cold cases has not yet been identified and implemented, as noted by the Rand Corporation study for the National Institute of Justice (NIJ).4 The intent of this article is to provide the readers with two cold case models that can assist in streamlining the evaluation process and possibly significantly contribute to the resolution of cold cases.

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