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Lecture 4

Week 4 Reading Notes

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Simon Fraser University
PSYC 268
Deborah Connolly

PSYC 268 – Fall 2012 Week 4 Book Readings: Chapter 2 pp. 29-45; Chapter 4 pp. 97-103 CHAPTER 2: FORENSIC ASSESSMENT IN CRIMINAL DOMAINS Legal Decision Maker – judge or jury Legal Nature - Civil – involuntary hospitalization, personal injury, child custody - Criminal – adjunctive competency, insanity CRIMINAL COMPETENCIES Competency Doctrine – criminal proceedings against an individual may be postponed if the defendant is unable to participate in his or her defense on account of mental disease or defect - Rationale: dates back to the 17 century; is unfair to try a defendant if he or she is unable to participate meaningfully in court proceedings o i.e. right to legal counsel, confront his or her accuser/s, testify on his or her own behalf - Also protects the dignity and integrity of court proceedings – allowing an incompetent individual to be tried and convicted would offend the integrity of the court and the public would see the court as being unfair Types of Criminal Competencies - Umbrella terms: Adjudicative Competence or Competence to Proceed – encompass all the various types of criminal competencies that may arise as an issue from the time a suspect is first arrested and charged until he or she receives a final disposition by the court or is executed - Competency to Stand Trial – evaluation of defendant’s abilities to understand the nature and object of the court proceedings as well as his or her ability to participate in the proceedings and assist in his or her defense; most common - Competency to Waive Miranda – refers to the mental state of the defendant at the time that he or she was being interrogated by the police following an arrest, and whether the defendant was able to intelligently, willingly, and knowingly waive the right to his or her silence and understand his or her rights to obtaining an attorney and having an attorney present while the defendant is questioned - Competency to Waive Counsel or Proceed Pro Se – refers to whether the defendant is able to intelligently, willfully, and knowingly waive his or her right to the assistance of counsel and proceed to trial pro se (for self) by representing oneself o Requires a higher level of competence than competence to stand trial - Competency to Be Sentenced – refers to whether the defendant is able to understand the reason why he or she is to be sentenced as well as the sentence itself - Competency to Be Executed – refers to whether the defendant (now inmate living on death row) is able to understand that he or she is to be put to death as well as the reasons why he or she is to be executed Legal Standards for Competency - Dusky vs. US (1960) – in order for a defendant to be considered competent to stand trial he or she must have “sufficient present ability to consult with his or her lawyer with a reasonable degree or rational understanding and…a rational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings against him or her” Competency Procedures - A formal inquiry must occur when ever a bona fide doubt about a defendant’s competency is raised - Issue of competency can be raised by the defendant, the accused, or the court - If the defendant is found incompetent to stand trial, he or she is usually sent to a psychiatric hospital or forensic facility for restoration of competence o Majority are restored to competency within 6 months o For the small proportion of defendants who are incompetent to stand trial and who are unable to be restored to competency, the charges will usually be dropped or dismissed without prejudice o If the defendant is considered to be a risk to others, he or she may be committed to a psychiatric institution under civil commitment proceedings Competency Assessment for Competency to Stand Trial - Most common form of criminal forensic assessments conducted - Evaluations can be conducted in a relatively short period of time on an outpatient basis - Focus is on the defendant’s current mental state - In addition to using forensic assessment instruments (below), the evaluator may also seek third- party information, such as records that exist about the defendant’s mental health or interviews with family members or others who can speak about his or her current functioning within the context of his or her previous functioning - The evaluator will then write a report of their professional opinion, the court will then make a determination whether the defendant is competent to stand trial or will hold a hearing on the issue of competence and make a final disposition Forensic Assessment Instruments for Competency to Stand Trial - Fitness Interview Test-Revised (FIT-R by Roesch, Zapf, and Eaves 2006) – provide questions to be asked in 16 different domains relevant to proceeding with a criminal case - MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool-Criminal Adjudication (MacCAT-CA by Poythress, Monahan 1999) – provides standardized administration and scoring for inquiries related to relevant psycholegal abilities - Evaluation of Competency to Stand Trial-Revised (ECST-R by Rogers, Tillbrook 2004) – provides standardized administration and scoring for inquiries related to relevant psycholegal abilities - Robey’s Checklist (1965) – the first forensic assessment instrument developed and consisted of a checklist of items to guide a clinicians evaluation of competency to stand trial - Competency to Stand Trial Assessment Instrument (CAI by the Laboratory of Community Psychiatry 1973) – interview-based instrument contains 13 items related to legal issues and serves to provide structure to the evaluation of competency to stand trial - Competence Assessment for Standing Trial for Defendants with Mental Retardation (CAST- MR by Everington, Luckasson 1992) – contains 50 items that cover three areas; basic legal concepts, skills to assist the defense, and understanding the case event - Interdisciplinary Fitness Review (IFI by Golding, Roesch 1984) and IFI-R (Golding 1993) – assess both legal and psychopathological aspects of competency to stand trial; covers 31 relatively specific psychological abilities that are organized into 11 global domains and can also be used to assist in the assessment of competency to plead guilty, to proceed pro se, and to confess Other Forensic Assessment Instruments for Competency to Proceed - Competency Screening Test (CST by Lipsitt, Lelos 1971) – 22 item, sentence completion task was developed to identify those defendants who are clearly competent so as to minimize the need for lengthy inpatient evaluations of competence - Georgia Court Competency Test (GCCT by Wildman, White 1990) – asks defendants to visually identify the location of various participants within the courtroom and to answer questions about the roles of various people within the courtroom as well as to answer questions about the alleged crime, consequences and the defendant’s relationship with his or her attorney - Instruments for Assessing Understanding and Appreciation of Miranda Rights (by Grisso 1998) – evaluates various aspects involved in waiving one’s Miranda rights including: Comprehension of Miranda Rights, Comprehension of Miranda Right-Recognition, Comprehension of Miranda Vocabulary, and Function of Rights in an Interrogation - Checklist for Evaluations of Competence for Execution (by Zapf, Boccaccini 2003) – checklist of 32 domains of four areas: understanding the reasons for punishment, understanding of the punishment, ability to appreciate and reason in addition to simple factual understanding, and ability to assist attorney Characteristics of Incompetent Defendants - Characteristics of those who undergo evaluation: male, single, living alone, history of contact with both the criminal justice and mental health systems, diagnosed with a major mental disorder - Characteristics of those who are found to be incompetent: single, unemployed, charged with a minor offense, and diagnosed with a psychotic order, less likely to be charged with a violent crime or to have substance use disorders than are competent defendants - 20% of those evaluated with competency to stand trial are found to be incompetent, 80% are found to be competent - Incompetency in certain diagnoses: psychosis, mental retardation, schizophrenia, mood disorders, and organic brain disorders Competency Restoration - Most common treatment: administration of psychotropic medication - Some jurisdictions have established treatment programs designed to increase a defendant’s understanding of the legal process or programs that confront the problems that hinder a defendant’s ability to participate in his or her defense - Those more likely to be restorable tended to be younger and were more likely to have a diagnosis of a nonpsychotic disorder, a previous criminal history, and a better understanding of the criminal justice system CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY also known as insanity – has to do with a defendant’s mental state at the time of the alleged offense - Basic philosophy: to convict a person charged with a crime her or she must be considered responsible for his or her behavior - Actus Reus – the physical act of the crime - Mens Rea – mental capacity and intention to commit the crime - NGRI – Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity Legal Standards for Criminal Responsibility - M’Naghten Standard – knowledge/right-wrong test of insanity; requires that… o The defendant must be suffering from a disease of the mind (mental disorder) o Not understanding the nature and quality of his or her actions o Not knowing that those actions were wrong - Irresistible Impulse Standard – includes a volitional component to the insanity test o An accused may be considered insane if he or she knew what he was doing and knew the action was wrong but were unable to control his or her behavior and avoid performing the action - Durham Rule – also called the product rule o Used in the federal system in the 50s and 60s in New Hampshire o Acc
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