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James Grigson
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    (January 30, 1932-June 3, 2004)
    Born in Texarkana, Texas
    Forensic psychiatrist
    Testified for the prosecution in 167 capital murder cases
    Testimony that a defendant was certain to kill again helped secure death sentences in over 120 cases
    Nicknamed ‘Dr. Death’
    He made life or death decision about defendants who he interviewed for only a few minutes -- or sometimes not at all.
    He boasted that he was 100% accurate in predicting future criminal behavior.
    He testified that Randall Dale Adams was an ‘extreme sociopath’ who would definitely kill again.
    Later evidence would indicate that Adams was innocent of the murder that he had been convicted for.
    After his conviction was overturned and he was released, Adams never got in trouble with the law again.
    He let himself be bought off by defense attorneys worried about his ability to persuade a jury: the defense would hire him as a consultant, he would not do any actual work, but he would be unavailable for the prosecution.
    He was expelled from the American Psychiatric Association for unethical conduct, namely ‘arriving at a psychiatric diagnosis without first having examined the individuals in question.’ (1995)
    Before going into psychiatry, he was an emergency room physician who delivered over 300 babies.
    One prosecutor called him ‘a fantastic communicator. He is very logical and reasonable and he talks so jurors can understand completely what his opinion is.’
    Errol Morris planned to make a documentary about him, which evolved into ‘The Thin Blue Line.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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