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PSYC334 Ch 14.pdf

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Queen's University
PSYC 334
Ronald R Holden

PSYC  334   Chapter  14   Forensic  Applications  of  Psychological  Assessment     Psychological  tests  are  useful  because:  objective  and  quantifiable  evidence.     Forensic  psychology:  application  of  psychological  principles,  techniques,  and  procedures  in   understanding  the  law,  legal  proceedings,  and  legislative  processes.     -­‐ Civil   -­‐ Criminal     Information  about  forensic  psychology  is  provided  by  the  American  Psychology-­‐Law  Society   (Division  41  of  the  APA).     American  Board  of  Forensic  Psychology  (ABFP):  body  that  grants  diplomate  status  in  forensic   psychology  based  on  various  merits  of  forensic  psychologists.   -­‐ Recognize,  certify,  and  promote  competence  in  forensic  psychology     -­‐ Identify  practitioners  who  have  passed  peer  review  and  exams     Textbook  on  psychological  testing  in  forensic  psychology  (out  of  interest  only):  Melton,  Petrila,   Poythress,  &  Slobogin,  2007.     Expert  witnesses  and  expert  testimony.         Trier  of  fact:  entity  in  a  courtroom  that  makes  the  ultimate  decision  in  the  case  (may  be  a  judge  or   a  jury).   14  :  1   PSYC  334   Expert  witness:  person  who  possesses  knowledge  and  expertise  necessary  to  assist  the  trier  of   fact  in  understanding  some  important  issue.   -­‐ Objective   -­‐ Rely  on  psychological  tests     Fact  witness:  person  with  personal  knowledge  pertaining  to  the  case.     Clinical  assessment  versus  forensic  assessment.     Clinical  assessment   -­‐ Diagnosis   -­‐ Clarification  (nature  of  the  disorder)   -­‐ Treatment  options     Other  features  of  clinical  assessment  that  are  in  contrast  with  forensic  assessment   -­‐ Voluntary   -­‐ Confidential  results   -­‐ Comfortable  setting   -­‐ Goal:  improve  quality  of  life     Forensic  assessment:  provides  objective  data  and  unbiased  opinions  to  the  court  and  assists  in   clarifying  issues  before  the  court.       -­‐ Involuntary  (from  a  practical  perspective)   - Defendant  can  refuse  a  psychological  test,  but  evidence  from  the  defense  may  be   refused  by  the  court   - If  someone  is  suing  based  on  sustaining  head  injury,  say,  the  plaintiff  may  not  enter   evidence  if  they  refuse  a  psychological  examination.   -­‐ Both  sides  (defense  and  prosecution)  may  present  their  own  experts  with  their  own   forensic  assessment  findings   -­‐ Results  are  presented  to  the  court  and  can  become  public  record   -­‐ Less  than  ideal  assessment  locations  (such  as  prisons)   -­‐ Uncooperative  examinee   - Dissimulation   -­‐ Attorney  coaching       Clinical  assessment   Forensic  assessment   Scope   -­‐ Broad     -­‐ Narrow   -­‐ Diagnosis,  clarification  of   -­‐ Looking  for  specific  answers   disorder,  treatment  options   to  a  specific  question   Importance  of   -­‐ To  understand  client’s  point  of   -­‐ Accuracy  is  king   client’s   view     -­‐ Client’s  perspective  is   perspective   -­‐ Subjective  focus  (client’s   secondary   experience)  with  secondary   emphasis  on  objectivity   14  :  2   PSYC  334   Voluntariness   -­‐ Voluntary   -­‐ Prompted  by  judge  or   attorney   Autonomy   -­‐ Patient  is  viewed  as  a  “client”   -­‐ Assessment  based  on  the   who  has  a  say  in  the  preferred   specific  question  raised  by  the   course  of  assessment,  what   proceedings  and  the  state-­‐ should  be  focused  on,  etc.   approved  tests  used  to   address  them   Threats  to   -­‐ Common  goals  between  patient   -­‐ Greater  risk  if  intentional   validity   and  psychologist,  therefore  no   dissimulation   intentional  dissimulation   Relationship  and   -­‐ Caring,  trust,  empathy   -­‐ Ethically  not  allowed  to  feign  a   dynamics   nurturing  role  with  examinee   -­‐ Divided  loyalties  between   personal  interest  and   examiner   Pace  and  setting   -­‐ Leisurely  pace   -­‐ Limited  time  for  interaction   -­‐ Diagnoses  may  be  reconsidered   between  examiner  and   over  time   examinee   -­‐ Treatment  options  may  be   -­‐ Constraints  in  reassessing   revised   conclusions   -­‐ Greater  demand  for  accuracy     Common  competency  tests;  competency  to...   -­‐ Manage  one’s  affairs   -­‐ Make  and  execute  a  will   -­‐ Make  medical  decisions   -­‐ Consent  to  research   -­‐ Be  tried  as  an  adult   -­‐ Stand  trial   -­‐ Waive  counsel   -­‐ Enter  a  plea   -­‐ Waive  rights   -­‐ Confess   -­‐ Give  testimony   -­‐ Waive  appeals   -­‐ Be  executed     Applications  in  criminal  proceedings.     -­‐ NGRI  defense   -­‐ Competency  to  stand  trial   -­‐ Transfer  of  a  juvenile  to  adult  court   -­‐ Mitigation  in  sentencing   -­‐ Mental  retardation  in  capital  sentencing   -­‐ Competency  to  be  executed   14  :  3   PSYC  334   The  NGRI  defense.     Not  guilty  by  reason  of  insanity  (NGRI)  defense:  the  defendant,  by  reason  of  mental  illness  or   mental  defect,  did  not  know  his  or  her  conduct  was  wrong  at  the  time  of  the  offense.   -­‐ Strict  criteria  vary  by  province/state     Clause  that  applies  in  some  provinces/states:   -­‐ Defendant  was  unable  to  conform  conduct  to  meet  the  requirements  of  the  law     -­‐ Definition  excludes  voluntary  intoxication     -­‐ Controversial  among  the  public  and  in  the  forensic  world     -­‐ Punishing  a  person  who  experiences  a  mental  illness  or  a  mental  defect  (which  puts  others   at  risk)  as  a  criminal  may  not  be  a  deterrent  for  future  crimes  –  should  not  be  treated  the   same  way     The  NGRI  defense  is  used  in  less  than  1%  of  felony  criminal  cases  and  is  successful  in  only  about   25%  of  those  cases.     If  found  NGRI  the  individual  will  likely  be  committed  to  psychiatric  care  indefinitely.       When  the  defense  enters  a  NGRI  defense   -­‐ Both  sides  have  the  defendant  examined   -­‐ Psychologists,  psychiatrists   -­‐ Review  of  mental  health  history     Competency  to  stand  trial.     -­‐ Most  common  psychometric  forensic  application     Competency  to  stand  trial:  person  has  the  mental  capacity  to  understand  the  charges  against   them,  the  proceedings  against  them,  and  ability  to  assist  attorney  in  their  own  defense,  usually  by   function  of  mental  defect.     -­‐ Defendants  are  assumed  competent  to  stand  trial  –  this  means  there  is  a  burden  of  proof   on  the  defense  if  the  assumption  is  violated     Competency  to  stand  trial  is  tested  by  asking  the  defendant  simple  questions  about  the  charges   (such  as  the  punishments),  the  proceedings  (roles  of  the  judge,  jury,  the  function  of  a  plea),  and   their  defense  (such  as  ability  to  interpret  legal  advice).     -­‐ Ability  to  withstand  the  stress  of  the  trial   -­‐ Appropriate  courtroom  behaviour     14  :  4   PSYC  334   If  a  psychologist  deems  the  defendant  incompetent  to  stand  trial,  assessment  into  the  nature  of  the   psychological  defect  is  often  appropriate  in  the  proceedings.     Psychological  tests  used  for  this  purpose   -­‐ Intelligence  tests   - Logic  and  reasoning  skills     - Verbal  comprehension   - Listening  comprehension   - Perceptual  distortion   - Attention  and  memory   -­‐ Neuropsychological  tests     Transfer  of  a  juvenile  to  adult  criminal  court.     Juvenile  court  operates  more  like  a  civil  (as  opposed  to  a  criminal)  proceeding.       Transfer  can  be  decided  upon  by  a  judge,  but  they  often  seek  the  objective  advice  of  a   psychologist/assessment.       Assessment  of  maturity   -­‐ Cognitive   -­‐ Emotional   -­‐ Moral     Decision  also  involves  deciding  if  juvenile  detention  will  be  the  an  effective  r
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