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PL - Lecture 1 (May 8).docx

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York University
PSYC 3310
Gwen Jenkins

Psychology and Law: Lecture 1 – May 8 th What is Forensic Psychology?  Any application of psychological knowledge or methods to a task faced by the legal system  The field is not yet clearly defined...many disciplines currently involved o Developmental psychology (e.g. child custody cases)  Very important to know child development because children very often don’t know about themselves  E.g.) parents who thought they had a very naughty boy  Parents divorced, son went to father  Father got sick so child went to mother (whom he hadn’t seen for 6 years)  Was angry, argumentative, and behaved inappropriately  Boy became depressed because he missed his father  Child depression (usually very angry) manifests itself much differently than an adult o Clinical Psychology – competence (to stand trial) o Social psychology – juror’s attitudes o Cognitive psychology – eyewitness memory  Has been an area of focus for many years o In UK, clinical psychologists are the only ones who can study forensic psychology o In the US, it is preferred to have both a legal and psychological background Heilbrun’s Model: Clinical Training (page 5 of text) (need to know for test)  3 broad areas for people to be involved in forensic psychology Approaches Clinical training (e.g.) clinical counselling, school psychology) Research/scholarship 1) assessment tools 2) intervention effectiveness 3) epidemiology of relevant behaviour (e.g. violence, sexual offending and disorders) Applied 1) forensic assessment 2) treatment in legal context 3) integration of science into practice Heilbrun’s Model: Experimental Training Approaches Experimental Research/scholarship 1) memory 2) perception 3) child development 4) group decision making Applied 1) consultation re: jury selection 2) consultation re: litigation strategy 3) consultation re: “state of science” 4) expert testimony re: “state of science” Heilbrun’s Model: Legal Training Approaches Legal Training Research/scholarship 1. Mental health law 2. Other law relevant to health and science 3. Legal movements Applied 1. Policy and legislative consultation 2. Model law development Psychologists Roles (from chapter 2) 1. Advisors (e.g. trial consultant, expert witness)  Trial consultant o Identify major issues in a case, jury (de)selection, prepare witness for trial o Comment on validity of an expert’s report  Expert Witness – job is to make information simple so jurors can understand o E.g.) Competence o E.g.) quality of “psychological” evidence o E.g.) was the interrogation suggestive? Were the psychological tests used valid?  Nothing gets into court unless the judge says so i.e. evidence Expert Witness: Eye Witness Testimony  in court, there are 2 types of witnesses o Fact Witness – someone involved in the case, but not expert i.e. eyewitness (saw something) o Expert Witness – gives evidence about eyewitness testimony (evidence about the fallibility of eyewitness testimony)  Expert eyewitness testimony not normally accepted in Canada  Not all experts can be expert witnesses... o Inconsistency in admissibility of expert eyewitness testimony  E.g.) testimony on eyewitness accuracy  Canada rare  US. – Some states do, some don’t  R. v Sophonow (1982, 83, 85) may be key in introducing expert testimony in eyewitness accuracy R. v Sophonow: Eyewitness Evidence  Fact (eye)witness: John Doerksen o Saw person at cash register take cardboard box, followed and confronted him  Description & (mis)identifications o Went home, had 5 beers, then gave statement and description(1) of murderer to police o Doerksen hypnotised – different description(2) of murderer o 2 weeks later, Doerksen mis-indentified another person(3) as murderer o Later on, Doerksen later mis-identified another person(4)  ...3 months later: Doerksen attended line-up that included Sophonow – couldn’t identify anyone  Doerksen picked up by police for unpaid fines...saw newspaper with Sophonow photo...identified him as murderer  Reports of Doerksen’s I.D. mistakes not given to defense lawyers at Sophonow’s trial  Expert eyewitness evidence not presented during any of Sophonow’s trials  1982: Sophonow charged with murder  First trial 1982: hung jury/mistrial  Second trial 1983: Conviction  Manitoba Court of Appeal. 1984: new trial ordered on groups of procedural error  2001 inquiry into Sophonow’s wrongful conviction o Given $2.3 million compensation Psychologists Roles (continued) 2. Evaluator  E.g.) Evaluate effectiveness of social programs, rehabilitation programs o Formative evaluations – on
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