|August 15th, 2009, 12:31 PM||#1|
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Noo Yawk
They Call Him Dr. Death
Some might be taken aback by my categorization of this guy as a serial killer.
But I think he qualifies.
The Blog of Death
June 16, 2004
Dr. James Paul Grigson, a forensic psychiatrist who testified about the mental health of murderers, died on June 3 of lung cancer. He was 72.
Born in Texarkana, Texas, Grigson graduated from Texas A&M University and Southwestern Medical School. He originally practiced medicine in emergency rooms, delivering more than 300 babies, then focused on psychiatry so he could spend more time with his own family.
For the next four decades, Grigson provided paid expert testimony on whether people charged with homicide should go to prison or were legally insane and needed hospitalization. Hired by both prosecutors and defense attorneys, he was nicknamed "Dr. Death" for his contributions to 150 capital murder trials. In a majority of those cases, Grigson determined the defendants were sociopaths who would likely kill again.
Grigson was reviled and revered for his medical opinions, charming demeanor on the stand and absolute judgments. His reputation was tarnished in 1995, however, when he predicted a felon's potential threat to society without actually interviewing him. Grigson was later expelled from the American Psychiatric Association and the Texas Society of Psychiatric Physicians. In recent years, he stopped testifying in death penalty cases, but continued to work on civil cases and mental-competency reviews.
He has a kindly face and lots of country-boy charm, but when Psychiatrist James Grigson, 48, shows up in a Texas courtroom, it is usually the kiss of death. The prosecution brings Grigson in for a sentencing hearing and asks him about the guilty man's inclination to commit violent crimes in the future. In each of more than 70 such proceedings since 1967, Grigson has testified that the defendant was a "sociopath" who was dangerous to society, and every time, with a single exception, the jury has unanimously voted for the ultimate penalty: in Texas, death by injection. Says Peter Lesser, president-elect of the Dallas County Criminal Bar Association: "He is a witch doctor. They call him Dr. Death for a reason."
A former professor at Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Grigson became a familiar courthouse figure while diagnosing people for commitment proceedings. As he tells it, one court veteran suddenly thought, " 'Hey, here's a sane psychiatrist.' Instead of playing golf on Wednesday, I started doing legal work." Court cases now take up most of his professional time and, at $100 an hour, bring him some $60,000 a year. Says University of Texas Law Professor George Dix: "He is skillful and persuasive, and he doesn't talk down to the jury." Most important, says Dix, Grigson is more willing than most of his colleagues to make firm predictions about a defendant's future behavior.
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