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Tatiana Tarasoff murder
The Bay Area

This view in Berkeley, California shows the street w/ the house (which for privacy will remain unmarked) where UC Berkeley student Tatiana Tarasoff was murdered by fellow student Prosenjit Poddar after she had rejected him.  Her murder & subsequent case ruling (which would later lead to the Tarasoff Rule) is well-known among therapists & psychologists.  Background info:



Prosenjit Poddar, a foreign graduate student, came to the University of California (UC), Berkeley, from Bengal, India, in 1967. At Berkeley, he met Tatiana Tarasoff at a folk dancing class. Poddar and Tarasoff met regularly thereafter. On New Year’s Eve, Tarasoff kissed Poddar. Poddar interpreted the act to signify a serious romantic relationship.


Tarasoff did not reciprocate this view. After some initial dating, once Tarasoff realized how serious Poddar was about her, she tried to make it clear that she was dating other men, and that she was not interested in furthering her relationship with Poddar. Poddar reportedly began to stalk Tarasoff and became depressed. Over time, his studies and health suffered. Throughout the spring and summer of 1969, he had occasional meetings with Tarasoff, tape-recording their conversations and replaying them to figure out why she rejected him. During the summer of 1969, Tarasoff went to Brazil and Poddar seemed to improve.


At the pleadings of his friends, Poddar sought help from Dr. Lawrence Moore, a psychologist at UC Berkeley’s Cowell Memorial Hospital. During therapy, Poddar confided that he had thought about killing, although Tarasoff was never identified specifically. Concerned, Moore reported this information to the UC Berkeley campus police and asked that they detain Poddar, because, according to the written impression of Moore, Poddar was suffering from paranoid schizophrenic delusions.


Campus police detained Poddar, and released him shortly thereafter since he appeared entirely rational. Moore’s supervisor, Dr. Harvey Powelson, also concurred with this action, and ordered that Poddar not be subject to further detention. By the time Tarasoff returned from her travels in October, Poddar had stopped seeing his psychologist. Neither Tarasoff, nor her parents, were informed that Poddar had revealed an intention to kill.


Poddar then befriended Tarasoff’s brother and, for a time, was his roommate. On Oct. 27, 1969, Poddar stabbed and killed Tatiana Tarasoff in front of her home. After the killing, Poddar called the police, confessed and asked to be handcuffed. Tarasoff’s parents sued Moore and other employees of the University, in a legal action that would be memorialized as Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California.


The civil portion of the case was settled out of court for a significant sum of money and never went to trial. Poddar was subsequently convicted of second-degree murder, and served 4 years of a 5-year prison sentence for manslaughter. His conviction was later appealed and overturned on the grounds that the jury was inadequately instructed on his mental capacity. A second trial was not held, and Poddar was released on the condition that he would return to India which he did, living a relatively normal life afterwards.


Predictions that the Tarasoff decision was an isolated, anomalous ruling would prove incorrect. In 1985, The California Supreme Court found that a mental health professional has a duty not only to a patient, but also to individuals who are specifically being threatened by a patient. The same year, the California legislature codified the Tarasoff rule: California law now provides that a psychotherapist has a duty to protect or warn a third party only if the therapist actually believed or predicted that the patient posed a serious risk of inflicting serious bodily injury upon a reasonably identifiable victim. The Tarasoff rule was later expanded by a California appeals court in two lawsuits stemming from a murder-suicide. Over time, Tarasoff has been adopted by most states in the United States and is widely influential in jurisdictions outside the United States.


The significance and relevance of Tarasoff is that the Supreme Court of California addressed a complicated area of tort law concerning the duty owed by a medical professional. The court’s analysis required a balancing test between the need to protect privileged communication between a physician and his patient, and the protection of the greater society against potential threats. 



Copyright: William L
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 20756x10378
Taken: 26/12/2022
Uploaded: 29/12/2022


Tags: tatiana tarasoff; crime; murder; homicide; solved; berkeley; california; university of california; uc berkeley; duty to warn; protect; therapists; regents; prosenjit poddar; rejection; dating; tarasoff rule; i; ii; tarasoff v. regents of the university of california; bay area
More About The Bay Area

The Bay Area is renowned for its natural beauty, affluence, diversity, and progressive thinking new age reputation. Lots of ammenities, tours and hotels can be found all around the area.San Francisco is the cultural and financial center of the Bay Area, and has the second highest population density of any major city in North America after New York City. It is also a major tourist destination, and transport and accommodation is plentiful, ranging from luxury hotels to cheap accommodation. San Jose is the largest city in terms of population, land area, and industrial development, and is the center of Silicon Valley, a well-known high technology region. Oakland is a major manufacturing and distribution center, rail terminus/hub, and has the fourth largest container shipping port in the United States.Largely because of San Francisco and Silicon Valley, the Bay Area presently ranks second only to the much larger New York City region in number of Fortune 500 company headquarters (April 2010 Fortune Magazine).  source: wikipedia

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