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Impact of Medico-Legal Practices on Mortality Statistics and Their Use in Comparative Research

NCJ Number
Victims & Offenders Volume: 6 Issue: 3 Dated: July-September 2011 Pages: 306-320
Melanie-Angela Neuilly
Date Published
July 2011
15 pages
This study examined homicide data in France and the United States.
Homicide data are the most valid and reliable of international crime data. However, assessing lethal intent is complicated, and we can thus question whether mortality statistics reflect lethal behaviors in the living, or are a mirror of the institutional systems that produce them. This question is central for those who study homicide comparatively. A mix-method examination of two medical examiners' officesone in France, and one in the United Statesreveals that definitional issues, regulatory factors, and organizational and medical procedures come into play in the determination of the manner of death. The comparative framework emphasizes the need to consider contexts beyond variables in criminological researchbe they cultural, political, or institutional. (Published Abstract)