Barbara Kirwin is the New York area's premier forensic psychologist -- the expert prosecutors turn to when a defendant claims insanity. Over the last twenty years, her work has introduced her to a terrifying lineup of murderers, rapists, sociopaths, and paranoids -- including, mast notoriously, serial killer Joel Rifkin, who confessed to slaying seventeen prostitutes.
Now Kirwin looks back over her most celebrated cases -- and delivers a no-holds-barred critique of recent insanity defense abuses. Drawing on her own personal experiences, Kirwin explains how a psychologist can determine whether an accused criminal is insane or not -- from the distinctive body odor of a schizophrenic to the slips that reveal a faker. Then, zeroing in on cases such as those of the Menendez brothers, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Joel Rifkin, she shows how unscrupulous defense attorneys and overzealous prosecutors have perverted the true purpose of the insanity defense, sending violent criminals to mental hospitals and putting bona fide schizophrenics in jail.
Taking us deep inside the twisted minds of madmen and bad guys, The Mad, the Bad, and the Innocent is required reading for crime buffs and anyone outraged by the misuse of the insanity defense.