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Ch.2- Forensic psychology in police investigations .doc

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Department
Psychology
Course
Psychology 2990A/B
Professor
Doug Hazlewood
Semester
Fall

Description
Psychology and the law Chapter 2: Forensic psychology in police investigations Fitness to stand trail and mental state of the person A. What does fitness mean? - to receive a fair trail, ppl should be able to defent themselves against the accusers B. What is person is unfit to stand trail? - person should not be tried - How do we know if a person is fit or unfit ro sand trail? C. Legal standards for determining fitness 1. Prior to 1836: ability to enter a plea - Reason for not entering plea: “mute of malice” (deliberately silent) - if so, can use torture to extract a plea - “ mute by visitation of God” (Eg: deaf, mute or insane) - if so, person should not be tried 2. R vs. Pritchard (836) : charged with bestiality. Also, a deaf-mute, so couldn’t - enter plea; couldn’t ne tried for the crime. - he was deaf and retarded, so he didn’t go on trail - court establishes clearer legal standard: able to enter a plea, AND - must have “sufficient intellect” to understand procedings. - Canada’s fitness standard for next 156 years. 3. Canada’s Bill C-30 (1992): Revision to Section 2 of criminal code - provided a new “fitness” standard: Person is unfit to stand on trail if: - person had a mental disorder - -disorder interferes with ability to conduct a defence. Three criteria or “elements”: Unable b/c of mental disorder to : 1. Understanding nature and object of proceedings 2. Understand possible consequences 3. Communicate with counsel Three other things about Section 2: - fitness assumed unless unfitness is shown “on balance of probabilities” (lower standard than beyond a reasonable doubt); - they might be a little it to stay on trail, but they will not be on trial just to be safe. - If 51% probable to stay on trail, - Party raising issue has burden of proving unfitness; the defense and the prosecution side can make this point - The court determines whether burden is met (whether accused is fit or unfit). D. How do we assess fitness to stand trail? 1. who can made an assessment? - prior to 2005, only “medical doctors” can provide assessments to courts (don’t have to be “experts” in mental disorders), - in 2005, expanded to include “other qualified professionals (includes psychologists) - psychologists do these assessments in US and Australia 2. Another role of psychologists: - develop the tests that are used to assess fitness - the medical doctor will be presented this assessment and the MD would be allowed to show it in court. 3. How is fitness assessed? - show that person has mental disorder and - disorder interferes with criteria in section 2 Fitness interview test – Revised (FIT-R) - it had to revised to accommodate the change in the Bill C – 30 - Has three sections in FIT-R: - Nature and object of proceedings. Includes: - Arrest process and specific charges; - Understand the role of judges, prosecutor, defense attorney, and jury; - Court procedures (eg: can disagree with witnesses who testify against him/her) Consequences of proceedings. Includes Eg: -range and nature of penalties eg: being sent to prison; eligibility for parole Ability to communicate with counsel - can communicate facts of case to lawyers - can plan assist with legal defense strategy - can testify (if required) - can manage courtroom behavior Note: FIT-R does not assess mental disorder (other tests are used eg: DSM-IV) E. What happens after assessment? - assessmen report is submitted to court. - court makes its own judgement: If Fit to stand trail, proceedings continue. - accused can be detained in custody if reason to believe he/she might become “unfit”. If Unfit, proceedings are temporarily stopped - goal: restore fitness (using “treatment”) - In Canada, usual treatment was medication to control mental disorder - Once the meds are given and fitness is restored they might be able to meet the 3 “fitness” criteria. - Since 2005, psychological treatment are more common to achieve criteria to fitness. Part 2: Mental state at the time of the offence - focus on past mental state A. What does “guilty” mean? - two elements must be present: 1. A “wrongful deed” (actus reus) 2. Criminal or “evil” intent (mens rea) - a guilty mind. - Eg: at times, I might kill but not know have a guilty intent B. Legal standards for determining absence of guilty mind - 1700s : the “wild beast”standard - “totally deprived of understanding, no more than a infant, wild beast” - this was the standard to prove for an unguilty mind. - 1736 : Lord Hale – level of understanding less than a normal 14 year old. - 1800s : Two important cases 1. Hadfield attempts to shoot King George 3 of England; charged with treason; pleads insanity. Jury agrees. - Not guilty by reason of insanity - he was set free! - verdict infuriates public: accused can “get off” simply by pleading insanity? The Criminal lunatics act (1800) - anyone found not guilty for the reason of insanity could be confined in mental facility for life. - In 1991, this act actually went against the charter of rights and they had to change it and then reinforce this act.
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