Psychiatric Quarterly [psaq] ph129-psaq-375286 September 18, 2002 10:56 Style ﬁle version June 4th, 2002
Psychiatric Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 4, Winter 2002 (
ALEXANDER D. BROOKS, J. D.
“Dear AAPL [American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law] member”:
So began a letter from Jan Brakel, announcing the publication of “Law
and Psychiatry in the Criminal Justice System,” written by himself and
Alexander Brooks. The last paragraph of that letter noted, with regret,
the passing of Professor Brooks; this is how I became aware of Alex’s
When this journal was “reborn” in the mid-1970’s, he and I were
among the group which became the founding Executive Committee.
Thus began our professional and personal relationship. Alex remained
on the Executive Committee for a couple of years, then became Con-
sulting Editor and, in more recent years, a member of the Board of
Editors. He was a part of the Psychiatric Quarterly family for a quarter
of a century. Although I have not asked terribly much of him since his
retirement, I always knew that he was but a phone call away if there
was ever anything he could help with.
When we ﬁrst came to know each other, I had written just one or two
papers in a ﬁeld that was beginning to interest me, forensic psychiatry.
In those days, there were no fellowships, and much of how my gen-
eration learned this material was from each other. My problem was in
trying to understand how lawyers thought through the issues of the day.
Why, some of us asked, would legal rights ever trump clinical needs?
Could the principle of autonomy really be more important than that of
beneﬁcence? Then along came Alex.
His magniﬁcent casebook “Law, Psychiatry and the Mental Health
System” had been published in 1974 (there was also a Supplement
in 1980). It was a ﬁrst in the ﬁeld; subsequent authors stood on its
2002 Human Sciences Press, Inc.