Crime is the moral pulse of society,—an accurate measure (jf the degree of health, strength, enlightenment and prosperity of a community at any given moment of its existence. The jurist possesses no means to control the beating of that pulse, save compression, or repression. The trained physician, on the other hand, seeks for, and treats, the cause. The judge who passes sentence for a crime, without considering the perpetrator, commits a threefold injustice—upon himself, the victim, and society. The manifestations of modern social life stand in such intimate relation with neurotic heredity, that defective individuals, as we have seen in the previous chapters of this work, epileptics, paranoiacs, sex-inverts, victims of lascivious-ness, growing out of diminishing sexual power, lust-murderers and weak-minded libertines, are becoming more and more numerous; and demanding, with greater and greater imperiousness, the thought and reflection which medical science is best capable of giving to it. Society must correct its emotional attitude toward the criminal. "There are no crimes," says Lacassagne, "there are only criminals." "All progress in penal jurisprudence," says Salillas, "lies in giving consideration to the man." Both jurists and physicians being, in a sense, the servants of society, loyalty to that service should prompt the closest and most cordial cooperation between them, wherever the interests of the latter are at stake. This, unfortunately, is not always the case. Jurists, because many of them cannot enter into, or fully understand, the more serious and philosophical nature of pathological studies, are too often led to make a butt of the physician in the witness-box, to crack cheap jokes upon his technicalities, and methods of examining into criminal acts; when the latter's mind, full of the purest and noblest humanitarianism, anxious only to discover the truth, and protect the innocent from the vindictiveness of human frenzy, is striving, humanely and honestly, to do his whole duty to himself, to society, and to God.
In sexual criminology, particularly where the most monstrous and perverse sexual acts have been committed by persons of perfectly sound mind, and equally monstrous acts, of course, committed by the insane and demented, not legal, but clinical and anthropological knowledge is required. This knowledge will necessarily include the heredity, antecedents, etc., of the accused, with a view to proving, or disproving, the existence of a neuropathic or psychopathic condition. There are circumstances, of course, where but little knowledge is necessary. A sexual crime committed by a well-known epileptic, imbecile, or other mentally unbalanced person, dispenses with the necessity for medical proof; but evidence of the previous existence of some anomaly of the vita sexualis, without any obvious impairment of the mental faculties, necessitates careful examination to determine possible psychical degeneration. Acquired perversities, to be pathological, or entitled to judicial clemency, must be shown to be based on a neuropathic, or psychopathic condition; many of the most aggravated forms of such delinquencies being simply vices, grafted upon a susceptible and immoral stock. In no case does simple physical infirmity, or disease, destroy legal responsibility; the mind must be affected; but the mind is quite frequently affected through physical disease; therefore the necessity for care. A neurosis, local or general, will frequently simulate, in its manifestations, a pronounced psychical condition; and pronounced psychoses almost as frequently exist with little or no abnormal manifestations.