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Lecture 10

LECTURE 10.doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Michael Inzlicht

LECTURE 10 – WK 11 MAR 26 TH2013 Forensic Applications of Assessment & Ethics in Assessment A multitude of Forensic Applications - Evaluation of suspected malingering - Assessment of Mental State for the Insanity Plea - Competency to stand trial - Prediction of Violence and Assessment of Risk - Evaluation of Child Custody in Divorce - Personal Injury and Related Testimony - Specialized Personality Assessment in Forensic Settings APA – Ethical Principles available @ - Free (on website) - Contains principles specific to Assessment (standard 9) and related to areas such as Human Relations (standard 3) Jodi Aria’s Trial: Psychologists Testimony in Question - Charged w/murder of ex-bf on June 4/08 - Forensic psy. Diagnosed her w/ PTSD which may be based on supposed “lies” from his patient - APA 9.01 a) Psy. Didn’t follow the rules - Standard 9 and 3 Standards for the Expert Witness - Federal Rules of Evidence o Witness must be a qualified expert based on judges assessment of education training, xp - Must present information beyond the knowledge and xp of the avg. juror - Evidence presented must not confuse the issue or prejudice the jury - Experts testimony should be in accordance w/ a generally accepted explanatory theory w/guidance provided by Frye vs. USA Frye vs. USA (1923) - Expert testimony must be based on scientific methods that are sufficiently established and accepted - Counsel for murder defendant attempted to introduce results of a polygraph - Court concluded the test had not gained acceptance by psychological authorities, therefore refused the use of the test How does this Affect Assessment? - A test inventor/assessment technique must have history of general acceptance - Experts should choose well-established extensively researched instruments as the basis for testimony Daubert & Merrel Dow Pharmaceuticals (1993) - Factors used to establish validity of a test o Empirical testing, theory/technique must be falsifiable, refutable, and testable - Subjected to peer review and publication - Known or potential error rate - Existence & maintenance of standards and controls concerning its operation manual - Degree to which the theory/technique is generally accepted by a relevant scientific community Guidelines for Practice of Forensic Psychological Assessment Heilbrun (‘92) recommended reliability 0.8+ - Test should be commercially available and well documented o Relevant to the legal issue o Standard administration w/ ideal testing conditions o Validated in relevant population o Objective tests w/ actuarial formulae (when available) - Include symptoms validity tests o Unlikely symptoms (are you faking symptoms) R vs. Mohan (1994) (conclusion) - Leading supreme court of Canada decision on the use of experts in trial testimony - Expert evidence, to be necessary, must likely be outside the experience and knowledge of a judge or jury and must be assessed in light of its potential to distort the fact-finding process necessity should not be judged by too strict a standard. The possibility that evidence will overwhelm the jury and distract them from their task can often be offset by proper instructions - Mohan (pediatrician) assaulted 4 teens o Got Dr. Hill (expert on sexual assault) said Mohan did not have traits of a sexual offender therefore he couldn’t have done it o Mohan was convicted and Hill’s testimony inadmissible o Justice Sopinka said evidence should be excluded o Expert evidence should be admitted based on 4 criteria 1) Should be relevant 2) Necessary to assist 3) Should not trigger any exclusionary rules 4) Must be given by a properly qualified expert - Ruled insufficient data that there is any standard for determining the profile of a pedophile/psychopath therefore expert evidence was not considered reliable or sufficiently relevant to be of any help Nature of Forensic Assessment - Molded by prerequisites of the legal system - Narrow focus - Client has little choice - Malingering Malingering - Intenti
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