Examining Harry Thaw’s “Brain-Storm” Defense: APA and ANA Presidents as Expert Witnesses in a 1907 Trial

Examining Harry Thaw’s “Brain-Storm” Defense: APA and ANA Presidents as Expert Witnesses in... In 1907, Harry K. Thaw, son of a railroad multi-millionaire, stood trial for shooting and killing architect Stanford White during the performance of a Broadway musical. The defense claimed that Thaw had experienced a “brain storm” causing temporary insanity. The brain-storm defense was ridiculed by professional groups, the public and the press. However, the defense experts were all respected leaders in their fields. They included five past or future presidents of the American Psychiatric Association and American Neurological Association. With no standard terminology in 1907, the much-maligned brain-storm diagnosis was in many respects an appropriate term for a sudden, drastic and temporary defect of reasoning having a physical cause. In spite of a strict test for mental nonresponsibility, the jury did not return a murder verdict. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Psychiatric Quarterly Springer Journals

Examining Harry Thaw’s “Brain-Storm” Defense: APA and ANA Presidents as Expert Witnesses in a 1907 Trial

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Subject
Medicine & Public Health; Psychiatry; Public Health; Sociology, general
ISSN
0033-2720
eISSN
1573-6709
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11126-007-9054-y
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In 1907, Harry K. Thaw, son of a railroad multi-millionaire, stood trial for shooting and killing architect Stanford White during the performance of a Broadway musical. The defense claimed that Thaw had experienced a “brain storm” causing temporary insanity. The brain-storm defense was ridiculed by professional groups, the public and the press. However, the defense experts were all respected leaders in their fields. They included five past or future presidents of the American Psychiatric Association and American Neurological Association. With no standard terminology in 1907, the much-maligned brain-storm diagnosis was in many respects an appropriate term for a sudden, drastic and temporary defect of reasoning having a physical cause. In spite of a strict test for mental nonresponsibility, the jury did not return a murder verdict.

Journal

Psychiatric QuarterlySpringer Journals

Published: Sep 28, 2007

References

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