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In just a few moments, you'll see the first in a series of programs on crime and criminals, the criminal man. To introduce the series, here is Dr. Austin McCormick, professor of criminology at the University of California and outstanding authority on phenology. Dr. McCormick. As a colleague of Dr. Douglas M. Kelly on the faculty of the School of Criminology at the University of California and Berkeley, and as his personal friend, I deeply appreciate the opportunity to open this series of 20 television programs of which he was the creator. Dr. Kelly's tragic death early this year at age 45 took from the fields of psychiatry, criminology and education, a man of exceptional brilliance and creative imagination. He was trained in psychiatry at the University of California and at Columbia University.
In his early years, as worked with insane criminals and as a psychiatrist at the Nuremberg Water Trials, he developed an interest in crime and criminology which became the dominating interest of his life. As a police psychiatrist, consultant and advisor to several police departments and as an expert witness, he put this knowledge and interest to practical use. He was a brilliant teacher who utilized visual aids to the fall and he was convinced of the need and value of educating the public on the subject of crime and criminology. He put into this series his ideas on the nature of crime, its causes, ways in which it can be prevented and controlled and effective ways by which various types of offenders can be treated, especially those in whose cases there are psychiatric implications. It is most fortunate that he had completed his work on this series before his untimely
death. I am sure that he would like to have a thought of as his legacy, his last legacy to psychiatry, criminology and public education. Who is a criminal? Why do people behave criminally? These and similar questions today forplex society, here are some of the answers. The criminal man, a series of television studies of the nature and patterns of criminality. Your guide for the studies of the criminal man is Dr. Douglas M. Kelly, professor of criminology at the University of California. In this first session of our series, Dr. Kelly will study the nature and nomenclature
of crime and be fine, the criminal man. This is a police blotter, another recorded, the name, vital statistics and criminal offense for those who were taken into custody by our law enforcement agencies. Today, we have more names and more offenses than ever before in the history of our nation. As a result of this record amount of criminal behavior, man's personal problems, his property, his freedom are endangered to an extent never before known. Nomenality has become society's public enemy number one. Facts and figures of this situation have been compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Here are some of them.
In the time it takes the sweep second hand to reach 25 seconds, two major crimes will have been committed, just 25 seconds from now, two major crimes will have taken place, offenses such as murder, rape, homicide, robbery or burglary, and now, two such crimes have been added and two more are already underway. As the hand goes round the clock, four and a third major crimes are committed per minute, every minute of the day, adding up to some two million, 250,000 serious offenses per year, with about 125,000 people killed or injured and a property lost, amounting in the neighborhood, $300 million. This isn't the whole picture, actually, in the average year, three million people are
arrested and charged with crimes other than traffic violations, so that actually out of every 100,000 Americans, 5,000 are arrested and charged annually, of this 10% are juvenile. Most appalling perhaps is the fact that in recent years, almost two million men and women have been kept behind locked detention doors convicted of criminal offenses, publishable, punishable by imprisonment. What makes people behave like this? Why do they offend against one another with assaults, with guns and knives and deadly weapons? What makes them ignore the human rights of their fellow citizens? Just a few years ago, we couldn't have answered these questions too well. As a matter of fact, then, very little was known. What actually was known about criminality, simply were vital statistics as in police records
of this kind. The other facts were half beliefs, half truths, misconceptions, miasmas of information which clouded our thinking. It's only recently that the comparatively new science of criminology has been able to find out a little bit about criminality and what causes people to become criminals. These are some of the things that we plan to discuss with you in the coming sessions in this particular group of conversations. And it's essential that we do this to the public understand what causes crime and criminals because unless we have an enlightened public, we will never be able to progress too far in an enlightened handling and treatment of our offenders. Let's begin at the beginning. What exactly is a criminal man?
What kind of a person commits an offense? We would have discussed this problem 50 years ago. We would have merely turned to a single book, the report of an Italian criminologist, Cesar Lambrosa. Who in his textual report described pretty completely all there was to know about the physical and psychological structure of the criminal man. He did it actually fairly simply and he also explained why people commit crimes. This book, however, created a fantastic paradox because on the one hand, it focused interest in the beginning field of scientific criminology. On the other hand, it opened up a Pandora's box of trouble. Lambrosa called his book the criminal man and because our aim and interest is essentially the same now as it was then, we have adapted his title. But that's just about all.
Most of the facts postulated by Lambrosa have been disproved and we'll spend some sessions discussing how and what. Our problem now, however, is to define our own terms, to set up the question of what is a criminal man and this isn't easy. Begin with, we're interested in who is a criminal and of course, in order to find that out, we have to know what is a crime. Probably the easiest way to go about this is to look it up in a dictionary. And so if we take a Webster's dictionary and look on the word crime, we find that a crime is an act or a mission forbidden by law and punishable upon conviction, including public offenses, often classified as treason, felonies and misdemeanors. That sounds clear enough, doesn't it? Think it as a basis we can define in Webster's term as a criminal, as a person who commits an act or a mission forbidden by law and punishable on conviction.
That sounds pretty simple too. But is it really clear? Are these the definitions we want for our study of criminal man, definitions to cut our way out of a fog of prejudice and misinformation? Let's find out. Another way to define criminal man is to simply take a look at this group of laws and codes. These are what is a crime. The collected laws of the United States, federal and the California state laws and the local codes and organisms. And anybody who transgresses one of these ordinances or codes is obviously a criminal and it's pretty simple. You take, say, the penal code of the state of California and you look at it and you find a crime like murder, section 187, murder is the unlawful killing of the human being with malice and porthole. Or you turn to another kind of crime adultery. A adultery is a voluntary act of sexual intercourse by a married person with someone other than his spouse.
In California, it's a misdemean. This seems quite simple, it really isn't. Because while we have here concise descriptions of what constitutes a crime and therefore what constitutes a criminal, these apply to just one locale to one state, the state of California. If we take a book which discusses all the states, again, let's take the problem of adultery, we find that adultery in California is a misdemeanor. In 12 states, it has to be open and notorious for prosecution. Every state, it's not a crime and there's no prosecution unless the spouse personally intercedes and in five states, adultery is not a crime at all. These variabilities and ambiguities of the criminal law, which we've had here just a short sampling, are of vital importance in determining actually what is a crime. And until we know what a crime is, we can hardly tell precisely who is a criminal. In addition to these problems, there's always the question of time.
And when we consider the problem of time and criminality, we're always reminded of war. Because during wars, things become crimes that otherwise were not. For example, in this cabinet, we have thousands of illustrations, pictures and documents that show different kinds of crime in terms of time. Here's a picture of a famous general. He was a federal general and during the Civil War switched to the Southern side. At that point, when the first shots were fired and he changed over, he became not a general but a traitor, hence guilty of a crime. Of course, in the last war, we had some better examples, I think. One of the most interesting, the problem of ration books. And if you remember the ration books, you'll remember the top line where there were ten years imprisonment or $10,000 fine or both, which could be imposed for misusing the ration book.
And of course, the hoarding of a lot of ration stamps of this type would have definitely given you considerable trouble. As it turns out, if you were to hoard in one of your file drawers, a sack of sheer, now people might think you were eccentric, then during World War II, you could have been a criminal. Of course, there's a more obvious problem of hoarding. If you opened up the file drawer back before 1933 and you brought out a good bottle of whiskey, then you would have been guilty during the prohibition period of a crime. Now, if you hide a bottle of whiskey in your file drawer, it may be peculiar, but it is criminal. And other things along this line showing changes in time are possession, for example, of a syringe. It doesn't make any difference how little or how big the thing is, unless you have a right to it as a position or as a nurse or as some person with a prescription, then there's
no reason why you're not considered a criminal under our current legislation. That reminds me of a problem with my grandmother. She used to do a lot of treatment of people around, and here I have locked up old medicine chest she used on. And if we look in it, we find that while most of the medications have been used in this Barton's handy physician book, there are 34 prescriptions. Of these 34 prescriptions, seven or better than one out of five contained doses of narcotic, which would make their use criminal today. As a matter of fact, possession of this chest in her time was good to do it yourself, as a medicine, possession of this chest in this time, now, unless you're entitled to it as a position, would be definitely a major, similar offense. Now these, of course, are times in terms of crime.
Another problem that comes up over and over again is the problem of crime in terms of locality, where you are. It's important to recognize the fact that where you are is different, and now our criminal our colleague, Bill Triest, working with our criminal players group will present some demonstrations of this point. This of course is a classic example of the place variable. Laws on gambling present amazing variability. In some areas, the people playing Chuck Luck would not be committing an offense. But the operator of the game would be. In California, both players and operator would be subject to arrest and fine or imprisonment. But in Nevada, both gambling and operating a gambling game are perfectly legal, and there are many other variations in our gambling laws across the country.
Here's another noteworthy example of the locale variable. In some areas, if you find your wife making love to another man, it is regarded as justifiable homicide if you kill that man. In other areas, it's murder, and sometimes murder in the first degree. In Texas however, if you kill just one of the lovers, it's considered to be first degree murder. But if you kill both, it's regarded as justifiable homicide. On the lighter side, it's against the law in Chicago to eat in a burning restaurateur building. And in the state of Iowa, it's illegal to accept tips of any sort. In Minnesota, the law forbids the cutting of a friend's or neighbor's hair unless the
barber is properly licensed. The law in some areas does not permit women to wear shorts on the streets, while in other sections of the country, the law has no objection. In one Illinois city, it is illegal for a woman weighing 200 pounds or more to ride a horse while wearing shorts. And in Augusta, Maine, it's a crime for anyone to stroll along the street, playing a violin. These are just a few of an endless list of differences and ambiguities in local state and city criminal law. Of course, in addition to the problem of time and locale, there's the problem of culture. The culture is so important that we plan to spend an entire session discussing it, but as a typical example of a cultural difference, Sorscher, who's of the boo, a book written
by Fortune, shows very clearly the problem of differences. For example, it takes the problem of a dollar, again, he writes, to call a man a successful a dollar is to praise him. Such social comment does not wound a man's feeling, but exalts him in his own esteem. It's interesting that while adultery then is considered a crime in our culture, adultery is something to brag about in this one. Again, within the same culture, you find considerable difference, even at the same time. One of the most intriguing problems here, of course, would involve an evaluation of the same set of circumstances by two different justices arriving perhaps at different conclusions as a result of their background training and attitude. Let me show you what it looks like. After due consideration, I have reached a decision in this case.
In brief, the complaint accepted the author of an automobile ride to her home with a defendant whom she had met casually in a local tavern. She eventually found herself 100 miles from her home, detained in a mountain cabin where the defendant demanded, as a condition of her release or return to the city, that she submit to his advances. Fearing for her safety, she did finally submit, and in time was driven to her home. The evidence and testimony in the case are quite clear, and therefore I find the defendant guilty of kidnapping and rape, and hereby sentence him to five to 25 years in the state penitentiary. I have carefully studied all the facts presented in this case. In brief, the complainant willingly agreed to the proposal of an automobile ride with a defendant whose hospitality she accepted in a local bar. A two and a half hour drive during which incident may she made no attempt to let anyone let anyone know of her situation, took them to his mountain cabin 100 miles from her home.
The defendant and the complainant had several drinks at the cabin, he made passes. At first she refused, but eventually submitted. Later he drove her to her home, a few words of recrimination and anger were exchanged. The factionalist case are very clear, case dismissed. And so we find that variations in time and culture and locale and even within locale itself make a mark difference on what is a crime since who is the criminal. In order to understand these ambiguities and differences again a little better, it's necessary I think that we take a very brief look at the historical development of criminal law from the common law on up to the complex codes which we have today. Maine and his excellent text ancient law has pointed out quite rightly that we start
with a sort of diffused group of people, the family or the tribe and then begin to work out various codeings and in this file we have a large collection of various documents which show codification of the various legal pattern. For example, way back in 2000 BC we have a Kenia forum tablet, a clay tablet written with Kenia forum characters describing some of the ancient laws of old Acadia. And we find that if we see how these tablets were eventually put together and codified in a text sources of ancient law we find the famous code of Hammurabi which is the ancient law of that time. Codes then of course continued on down and eventually hit one of their high points in the ancient hebraic law of which this beautiful Torah is a magnificent example. Here we have a complete codification pattern of some of the old hebraic law on scrolls
prepared for the handling of the legal problems of that day. And of course these particular codes were also transmitted in the Old Testament and in the various legal books of the Old Testament we find duplications of many of the ancient coded legal promulgations. Then of course as man progressed at times he had local laws. One of these I think most interesting occurred in the Middle Ages and here we have two rare volumes, the Malian smell of a caram or a witch's hammer and the exome of witches which are handbooks for judges, handbooks on how to handle people who are criminals because they are possessed of the devil. This of course is very special kind of law but it did result in the deaths of countless hundreds of thousands of people during the Middle Ages.
As man progressed a little bit more however he did away with this kind of criminal law and gradually began to recognize the importance of two things, the rights of man as a person and the rights of man to his property. Early in the development of Western law, the English and American we find documents for example like the Magna Carta which is essentially a description of the basic rights of man and naturally the Magna Carta was transferred over essentially into American law into our own bill of rights. Now we have in the development of these codes then the transition from the sort of all general laws of the people, the common pattern, up through special codes and structures of the law so that we now know pretty precisely what is a crime and we find that it is developed
throughout the ages with special focus on special types. This sort of thing is still going on of course and as the laws become clearer the codes become better, eventually perhaps we will have ideal legal setups which encompass the entire United States as for example the American law institutes proposed model chemo code, a type of code which will be universal doing away with the problem of locale of difference in area and at this point we can look forward to a considerable improvement in the administration of criminal justice. As we evaluate this problem then of the development of the law we find another facet, a facet which ordinarily is not considered in the text books for example the historical development text of criminal law, this is the coming problem of international criminal law.
While I was at Nuremberg I was fortunate enough to secure a copy of the original indictment. This actually is one of the type that was handed that day to the 22 top nazis in their cells at Nuremberg, during ribbon trot, tess and the life. In this particular document and in the corresponding speeches of the learned judges and the various prosecutors we find laid down for the first time in history, a basic pattern of the importance of the rights of the human being, not nationally as in our own bill of rights and the magnet card, but on an international scale and this particular pattern has been even more highly developed in the basic theories of our United Nations, a track which in itself is dedicated to the freedom of man.
And so we find as we look over these various tracks and documents in the development of criminal law one gradually clarifying theme, the notion that while there are all sorts of local problems, the problem for example of prohibition, problems that come and go. Basically we have certain considerations which now permit us for the purpose of this series to define what is a crime and who is a criminal. If we give this a little thought, we find first of all that our basic problem hinges around the individual himself, the rights of human being to be a lie, to be free, to words worship as he pleases, to essentially do as he pleases, providing he does not abrogate the rights of others.
We find then that the old common law crimes, murder, rape, felonious assault make good sense because they were directed at preventing any attack upon the freedom or the person of the individual. In the coming days we'll discuss the problem of criminality much more detail. We'll figure out why people are criminals, the problem of heredity if any, the problem of environment if any, the psychiatric, the psychological basis of the criminal and as we do so, we will perhaps be better able to understand who is the criminal man. The criminal man, a series of television studies of the nature and patterns of criminality. Your guide for these studies is Dr. Douglas M. Kelly, psychiatrist, physician, police consultant
and professor of criminology at the University of California. Appearing in the cast for this session where Jim Baker, Herbert Cider, Colleen Udy, Frank Falkenhader, William Tom Morris, Laura Barshell, Darlene Winbick. This is National Educational Television.
The Criminal Man
Episode Number
The Criminal
Producing Organization
KQED-TV (Television station : San Francisco, Calif.)
Contributing Organization
Library of Congress (Washington, District of Columbia)
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Episode Description
In the first of the series, introduced by noted penologist Dr. Austin McCormack, Dr. Kelley establishes his definition of a criminal -- a person who endangers the life, liberty, or property of another. This thesis is the basis of the total approach to the problem in the whole series and is illustrated dramatically and humorously. (Description adapted from documents in the NET Microfiche)
Series Description
The Criminal Man is a definitive study of the cause, prevention and treatment of crime by the late Dr. Douglas M. Kelley, police consultant, psychiatrist and professor of criminology at the University of California. The series, which takes its title from Lombrosos original work in the last century, incorporates a great number of dramatic re-enactments using highly skilled actors and films as illustrations. Dr. Kelley uses the first six episodes to define crime and criminals and to destroy the myth, folklore and common superstitions which have long surrounded crime. The second group of episodes analyzes the true causes of crime and posts guides to the prevention of these causes. The two final episodes look at current penal policies and their weaknesses regarding rehabilitation. Dr. Kelley indicates the lines of penological progress which he thinks would provide the greatest benefit to society. The 20 half-hour episodes that comprise this series were originally recorded on videotape. Dr. Douglas M. Kelley, police consultant, psychiatrist and professor of criminology at the University of California, gained national reputation as a brilliant theoretical and practical criminologist at the time of his work as consulting psychiatrist at the Nuremberg Trials. The public also remembers his testimony in the Stephanie Bryant kidnap-murder case. Dr. Kelley was a Rockefeller Fellow at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and at that time (1940-41), he compiled clinical contributions for Dr. Bruno Klopfers book, The Rorschach Technique. His studies at the University of California led to his receiving and AB in 1933, his MD in 1937 and to his residency in psychiatry from 1937 to 1938. he studied also at Columbia University. He was married in 1940 and was the father of three children. During World War II he was a lieutenant colonel. (Description adapted from documents in the NET Microfiche)
Broadcast Date
Asset type
Social Issues
Law Enforcement and Crime
Published Work: This work was offered for sale and/or rent in 1960.
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Moving Image
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Host: Kelley, Douglas M.
Producing Organization: KQED-TV (Television station : San Francisco, Calif.)
Speaker: McCormack, Austin
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Library of Congress
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Chicago: “The Criminal Man; 1; The Criminal,” 1958-07-20, Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 21, 2024,
MLA: “The Criminal Man; 1; The Criminal.” 1958-07-20. Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 21, 2024. <>.
APA: The Criminal Man; 1; The Criminal. Boston, MA: Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from