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Psychology (3,263)
PSYC 3020 (97)
Dan Yarmey (94)
Chapter 1

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University of Guelph
PSYC 3020
Dan Yarmey

Course Reader Psychology and the Law - Law: sum of all rules governing behavior that is enforceable in courts o Law reflects values, values are basic psychological concepts  Value: standards for decision making - Legal psychology: concerned with evidence, witnesses and the courts - Criminal psychology: focused on crime and criminals - Forensic psychology is a combination of legal and criminal psychology. Common “understandings” of the criminal justice system - Criminal justice system functions like a series of machines (Toch 1961) o Law passing machine (the government) o Enforcing machine (the police) o Justice dispensing machine (the courts)  Checks that the enforcing machine has done its job properly o Culprit-processing machine (punishment and rehabilitation) - In reality it is not a machine, it’s a human project - Forensic psychology seeks to facilitate the various branches of the justice system through objective analyses, recommendations and treatment of factors that may detract from the objectivity of the legal process Textbook [pg. 1-25] The Roles of a Forensic Psychologist - The Forensic Psychologist as a Clinician o Pyschologists who are broadly concerned with the assessment and treatment of mental health issues as they pertain to the law or legal system o Can include both research and practice in a wide variety of settings such as schools, prisions, and hospitals o Issues they are interested in: divorce, child custody mediation, determinations of criminal responsibility (insanity), providing expert testimony on questions of psychological nature o Personnel selection, conducting critical incident stress debriefings with police officers and desigining and conducting treatment programs for offenders o Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island require a master’s degree in Psychology o New Brunswick, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec require a Ph.D in psychology - Forensic Psychiatry- a field of medicine that deals with all aspects of human behavior as it relates to the law or legal system o The biggest difference between forensic psychiatry and psychology is that psychiatrists are medical doctors who can prescribe medicine o Psychologists tend to view mental illness more as a product of an indvidiual’s physiology, personality and environment Forensic Psychologists as a Researcher - Experimental Forensic Psychologists: broadly concerned with the study of human behavior as it relates to the law or legal system o Research issues of interest include: examining the effectiveness of risk-assessment, strategies, determining what factors influence jury decision making, developing and testing better ways to conduct eyewitness lineups, evaluating offender and victim treatment programs, studying the impact of questioning style on eyewitness memory recall and examining the effect of stress management interventions on police officers - Forensic Psychologist as a legal scholar o Far less common o Forensic psychologists who are much more informed about the legal process and system o Engage in scholarly analyses of mental health law and psychologically oriented legal movement o Applied work would most likely center around policy analysis and legislative consultation The Relationship Between Psychology and Law - Craig Hanley 3 ways psychology and law can relate to one another 1) Psychology AND the Law: the use of psychology to examine the operation of the legal system o Psychology is viewed as a separate discipline to the law, examining and analyzing various components of the law and the legal system e.g. are eyewitnesses accurate? Are judges fair in their sentencing? 2) Psychology IN the law- use of psychology in the legal system as the system operates o Use of psychological knowledge in the legal system o E.g. psychologist in court providing expert testimony concerning some issue of relevance to a particular case o Police officer using his or her knowledge in an investigation 3) Psychology OF the law- the use of psychology to examine the law itself o Examining questions such as “what role should the police play in domestic disputes?” o Does the law reduce the amount of crime in society? o The challenge is that a set of skills from multiple disciplines is often important and sometimes critical o Future research will focus on this Early Research: Eyewitness Testimony and Suggestibility - James McKeen Cattell first experiments with Psychology of Eyewitness testimony o Asked people to recall things from their everyday life (answers often incorrect) - Alfred Binet: testimony given by children was highly susceptible to suggestive questioning techniques - William Stern: studies examining the suggestibility of witnesses o ‘reality experiment’ staged incident, participants are asked to recall information o First to demonstrate person’s level of emotional arousal can have an impact on accuracy of their testimony Early Court Cases in Europe - Psychologists begin to appear as expert witnesses in court, testimonies dealt with issues surrounding accuracy of the eyewitness testimony - Albert von Shrenek-Notzing testified on what he called Retroactive Memory Falsification: process whereby witnesses confuse actual memories of events with memories described by the media Advocates of Forensic Psychology in North America - Publication of Hugo Munsterberg’s on the witness stand in 1908 - Musterberg could be considered the father of forensic psychology - Discusses how psychology could help with issues involving: eyewitness testimony, crime detecting, false confessions, suggestibility, hypnotism and even crime prevention - Henry wigmore (well respected law professor in Chicago) put him on trial and sued him for ‘claiming more than he could offer’ Forensic Psychology in Other Areas of the Criminal Justice System - After Musterber’gs book forensic psychology in North America caught up to Europe - Forensic psychologists instrumental in establishing the first clinic for juvenile delinquents in 1909 - psychologists began using psychological testing for law enforcement selection purposes in 1917 - 1919 the first forensic assessment lab was set up in a US police agency Landmark Court Cases in the United States - The first time an expert provided testimony in courts in the US was 1921 (State vs. Denver) - Best known case in forensic psychology is Brown vs. Board of Education o Case challenged the constitutionality of segregated public schools o Opponents argued that separating children based on their race created feelings of inferiority affecting their motivation to learn o Very important because of a footnote that was attached to the last sentence of the ruling.  Footnote 11, research in the social sciences demonstrating the detrimental effect of segregation  References include African americal psychologist Kenneth Clark  Its been argued this validated psychology as a science - Jenkins vs. United states involved charges of breaking and entering, assult and intent to rape o Defendant pled not-guilty by reason of insanity o 3 clinical psychologists each presented, supporting the insanity plea on the basis that the defendant suffers from schizophrenia o End of the trial judge instructed the jury to disregard the testimony from the psychologists because “psychologists were not qualified to give expert testimony on the issue of mental illness” o Case appealed, American Psychological Association provided a report stating their view that clinical psychologists are competent to provide opinions concerning the existence of mental illness  Court reversed the conviction and ordered a new trial stating that some psychologists are qualified to testify on mental disorders but that ust depend upon the nature and extent of his knowledge not simply the title ‘psychologist’  Helped increase the extent to which psychologists could contribute directly to the legal system as expert witnesses Signs of a Legitimate Field of Psychology - A growing number of high-quality textbooks in the area provide the opportunity to teach students about forensic psychology - A large number of academic journals are now dedicated to various aspects of the field and more mainstream psychology journals are beginning public research from the forensic domain at a regular rate - A number of professional associations have to been developed to represent the interests of forensic psychologists and promote research and practice in the area, the largest being the American Psychology Law Society (AP-LS) (founded in 1968-69) - In Canada, forensic psychologists can belong to the Criminal Justice Section of the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) - New training opportunities at both the undergraduate and graduate level are being established in North America and existing training is being improved Modern-Day Debates: Psychological Experts in Court - Forensic psychologists testify on very large variety of topics such as: competency to stand trial, custody issues, malingering and deception, the accuracy of eyewitness identification, the effects of crime on victims, and the assessment of dangerousness - Its important for forensic psychologists to become more knowledgeable about the law, legal system, the role of an expert witness, the various ways by which psychology and the law differ from each other, the criteria the courts consider when determining whether psychological testimony should be permi
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