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Lecture 18

PSYC 2400E - Lecture 18 - March 19, 2013.docx

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PSYC 2400
Julie Dempsey

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 PSYC 2400 - Winter 2013 Lecture 18 Fitness to Stand Trial and Criminal Responsibility Today’s Class • Fitness to stand trial • Canada’s insanity standard • Cases of successful and unsuccessful in using a mental disorder as a defence • Automatism • Options for treating mentally ill offenders Presumptions in Canada’s Legal System • Elements that must be present for criminal guilt: – Actus reus: A wrongful deed • You have to actually commit an act against the law – Mens rea: Criminal intent • Do people actually know what they are doing? • If you know what you are doing, then you are responsible for your actions • If they couldn’t understand that what they were doing was wrong, then they shouldn’t be punished • Must be found beyond a reasonable doubt for a guilty verdict to be reached Fitness to Stand Trial • Unfit to stand trial: An inability to conduct a defense at any stage of the proceedings on account of a mental disorder • Present state of mind at the time of trial Fitness Standard • Unfit to stand trial if (due to mental disorder) unable to: – Understand nature or object of proceedings • Don’t understand why they are there, why there is a jury – Understand possible consequences of the proceedings • Don’t understand what their decisions can cause – Communicate with counsel • Must be able to recount the basic facts of their case • Time limit on evaluation – 5 day limit – So that they aren’t holding on to people for longer than necessary – Extensions are possible, to 30 days, with a maximum of 60 days • May be raised at various stages of the proceedings – At the start, during sentencing, etc. – Defense or crown can raise issue of unfitness -> that party has responsibility to prove unfit Four Core Elements 1. Focus is on defendant’s present ability 2. Focus is on capacity not willingness – Are they able to communicate? 3. Possess a reasonable knowledge 4. Emphasis is on cognitive functioning and not on mental disorder – Just because you have a mental disorder doesn’t mean that’s the reason you committed the crime – Only counts when the disorder inhibited your functioning How does Canada determine who is unfit? • Only medical practitioners – Psychiatrist or medical doctor – Psychologists can help with assessment • Can make recommendations • Use screening tools – Then full examinations Fitness Instruments • Fitness Interview Test Revised (FIT-R) • High inter-rater reliability • Used often in Canada • Designed to assess key constructs • Semi-structured interview • Assessing the 3 principles • Tests factual knowledge • i.e., what does the judge do, what does the jury do? • Ability to participate • Responses rated on 3 point scale (0,1,2) • Lower the score, the more “fit” the person is • Determines the person’s capacity • No strict cut-off score • Structured-professional judgment • Competency Screening Test (CST) • 22 incomplete sentences • Measuring 3 constructs • 3 points scale (0,1,2) • Competency to Stand Trial Assessment Instrument (CAI) • Designed to accompany the CST • Semi-structured interview • Assessing 13 key functions • Ability to participate in trial • Statements with 2-3 questions • Can ask follow up questions • Rated 1 to 5 • Higher grade is better, less mental impairment
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