BC Injury Law and ICBC Claims Blog

What Do Psychiatrists, Wizards and the American Southwest Have in Common?

OK, this post is a little off-topic but when I came across this bit of legal folklore I had to dig deeper and find out if it was true.

Recently a regular reader of this blog shared a publication with me which stated that in the 1990’s a New Mexico politician became so fed up with psychiatric expert witnesses he proposed an amendment to a State Bill which would have required psychologists and psychiatrists to dress like wizards when giving expert evidence. ¬† The Proposed law stated as follows:

When a psychologist or psychiatrist testifies during a defendant’s competency hearing, the psychologist or psychiatrist shall wear a cone-shaped hat that is not less than two feet tall. The surface of the hat shall be imprinted with stars and lightning bolts. Additionally, a psychologist or psychiatrist shall be required to don a white beard that is not less than 18 inches in length, and shall punctuate crucial elements of his testimony by stabbing the air with a wand. Whenever a psychologist or psychiatrist provides expert testimony regarding a defendant’s competency, the bailiff shall contemporaneously dim the courtroom lights and administer two strikes to a Chinese gong

A quick internet search fails to reveal any authoritative source verifying this story. ¬†Nor could I find corroboration searching¬†New Mexico’s Legislature’s website.

Having lived in The Land of Enchantment for close to a decade I thought I’d go the extra mile and see if I could verify this story myself. ¬†This morning I went straight to the source and asked ¬†former New Mexico State Senator Duncan Scott whether this bit of legal folklore was fact or fiction. ¬†Mr. Scott, who is now in private practice in Albuquerque, NM, was kind enough to take my phone call.

Turns out the story is true.  Mr. Scott tells me that he tacked this amendment onto a Bill in 1995 and, despite its clearly satirical nature, it passed with a unanimous Senate vote.   The amendment was then removed from the Bill prior to receiving House approval so it never did become law.

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24 Responses to “What Do Psychiatrists, Wizards and the American Southwest Have in Common?”

  1. Irene E. Carlson says:

    How deep will you dig?..love this one only you can find these gems enjoy all blogs this one I enjoyed very much,thanks.

  2. Irene E. Carlson says:

    How deep will you dig?..love this one only you can find these gems enjoy all blogs this one I enjoyed very much,thanks.

  3. Kim says:

    This is 100% pure awesome.

  4. Kim says:

    This is 100% pure awesome.

  5. JohnR says:

    Finally, a campaign issue we can all support!

  6. JohnR says:

    Finally, a campaign issue we can all support!

  7. nescio says:

    This is completely ridiculous. Wizard’s hats should be covered in stars and crescent moons, not stars and lightning bolts.

  8. nescio says:

    This is completely ridiculous. Wizard’s hats should be covered in stars and crescent moons, not stars and lightning bolts.

  9. ryan says:

    Having made the mistake of majoring in psychology for several semesters in my first years in college I savagely agree that psychology is more akin to alchemy than real science. After discovering this I switched majors.

  10. ryan says:

    Having made the mistake of majoring in psychology for several semesters in my first years in college I savagely agree that psychology is more akin to alchemy than real science. After discovering this I switched majors.

  11. Starrgazyr says:

    Hahahahaha, agree with nescio. Should be stars and crescent moons. Awesome story though. What kills me is that it was a unanimous Senate vote that passed it. Guess they must have been fed up with the expert witnesses too.

  12. Starrgazyr says:

    Hahahahaha, agree with nescio. Should be stars and crescent moons. Awesome story though. What kills me is that it was a unanimous Senate vote that passed it. Guess they must have been fed up with the expert witnesses too.

  13. emagraken says:

    Thanks for all the comments folks, I’m flattered that this post received so much attention today. I wrote this piece last year. Out of the blue it’s received heavy traffic today. Thanks for visiting.

    – Erik

  14. emagraken says:

    Thanks for all the comments folks, I’m flattered that this post received so much attention today. I wrote this piece last year. Out of the blue it’s received heavy traffic today. Thanks for visiting.

    – Erik

  15. Skipdallas says:

    Star encrusted hats, wands,and beards? All the wizards I know are not so flamboyant! OK sure there is the exploding poof powder, and the magic rings, but we dress like the lawyers and doctors we represent ourselves to be. Long white beards? really? Plueeeese.

  16. Skipdallas says:

    Star encrusted hats, wands,and beards? All the wizards I know are not so flamboyant! OK sure there is the exploding poof powder, and the magic rings, but we dress like the lawyers and doctors we represent ourselves to be. Long white beards? really? Plueeeese.

  17. Ed Clarke says:

    That’s because someone on Fark found it. http://www.fark.com/comments/6927248

  18. Ed Clarke says:

    That’s because someone on Fark found it. http://www.fark.com/comments/6927248

  19. Irene E. Carlson says:

    Stil one of the best..

  20. Irene E. Carlson says:

    Stil one of the best..

  21. Irene Carlson says:

    A good post and true really.. Still one that makes me :) thanks!

  22. Irene Carlson says:

    A good post and true really.. Still one that makes me :) thanks!

  23. Irene Carlson says:

    Erik..Wise yet playful .. do we get free yyy’s with that.! Where do you get the time.

  24. Irene Carlson says:

    Erik..Wise yet playful .. do we get free yyy’s with that.! Where do you get the time.

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