Thursday, March 12, 2009

New book review in California Lawyer

My review of Charles Patrick Ewing's Trials of a Forensic Psychologist is now available online at the California Lawyer website. Here is how the review begins:

Billy Shrubsall was the top student at his small Niagara Falls, New York, high school. Thus, it came as a surprise when he didn't show up to give the 1988 valedictory address. But he had good reason. Just hours earlier, the 17-year-old had clubbed his domineering mother to death.

To explain Billy's horrific crime, his attorney advanced a theory of "psychological self-defense." The attorney retained forensic psychologist and attorney Charles Patrick Ewing, who had recently advanced the novel doctrine in his 1987 book Battered Women Who Kill (Lexington Books). Ewing's sympathetic testimony paved the way for a plea bargain under which Shrubsall served just 16 months in prison. A model prisoner and parolee, Shrubsall went on to graduate from an Ivy League university and become a Wall Street stock analyst.

But all was not as rosy as it appeared. The ostensibly rehabilitated and upright citizen still had a dark side as a vicious misogynist. He had been assaulting girls since his mid-teens, and a decade after his mother's death he brutally assaulted at least three women in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In one assault eerily reminiscent of his mother's beating death, Shrubsall clubbed a female store clerk with a baseball bat, shattering her skull.

Shrubsall's case is one of more than 600 in which Ewing has testified as an expert. But that case still haunts him, as he states in his latest book, Trials of a Forensic Psychologist: "[A]fter decades of working with the victims of violence and sexual abuse, I know all too well the awful harm Shrubsall did to the women he later victimized ... to this day when I testify as an expert, I am often questioned about my role in this case."

The review continues HERE.

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