Forensic psychology


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  • 1911 – several psychologists testified in a Belgium court on behalf of a man accused of raping and murdering a little girl 1913 – US correctional setting
  • Forensic psychologist not an advocate for client and nothing is confidential. Wants and needs all information while it is not in the client’s best interest.
  • Consulting with lawyers – help witnesses present testimony better, help attorneys present cases to jury and help with opening and closing statements Expert Witness – commitment to mental hospital, child custody issues, offender treatment programs
  • Runaway jury clip
  • Preponderance of the evidence - balance of probabilities - more probable than not
  • Forensic psychology

    1. 1. + Forensic Psychology Intersection of psychology and the legal process.
    2. 2. + History of Forensic Psychology  1911 – 1st case where psychological data was allowed  1913 – determine if person was “feebleminded”  1916 – Louis Terman – 1st American to use mental tests  1921 – 1st time an American Psychologist qualified as an expert  1940 – set precedent for psychologist testifying as expert witness on competence and criminal responsibility
    3. 3. + Who employs Forensic Psychologists?  Federal, state and local governments  Prisons, police departments, correction facilities, military  Treatment facilities  Rehab centers, counseling centers, mental hospitals  Courts and attorneys  Private practices  Universities
    4. 4. + Difference between Forensic and Therapeutic Evaluation
    5. 5. + Forensic Psychologist  Jury selection  Consultation with lawyers  Expert witness  Competency assessment  Insanity assessment  Custody assessment  Sentencing/treatment recommendations  Creates profiles - newspapers/media
    6. 6. + Jury Selection  help select jurors  Generating a juror profile  Creating questionnaires  Demographic  Case specific  focus groups,  shadow juries
    7. 7. + Criminal Profiling  a psychological profile of an offender based on the state of the crime scene  behavioral and personality characteristic of suspect  Similarity and differences among victims  How they will react in different situations can be determined  Based on behaviors can work backwards to determine personality
    8. 8. + If the person is organized  plans ahead  picks out the victims ahead of time  Brings tools  meticulous with details THEN…  tend to be high in the birth order of their family, usually an oldest child  very intelligent  usually have their lives together  a series of stressful situations caused them to act out  Most of them have a live-in partner, are socially adept, and will follow the coverage of their crimes in the media very carefully.
    9. 9. + If disorganized  Spontaneous  depersonalize the victim, to make the crime less real  remain detached throughout the course of the crime  very little conversation, if any, between the offender and victim  crime scene - random and sloppy THEN…  average or slightly below-average intelligence  They are younger children, live alone, and are not as socially mature as an organized offender  Often live or work near the scene of the crime  have a poor work history.
    10. 10. + If a mixture of organized and disorganized  harder to use criminal profiling for, but still possible.  For example, the offender may have provided his own tools, but picked a victim randomly.
    11. 11. + Profiling Steps  Input - synopsis of crime, description of crime scene, weather, political and social environment, background info on victim (domestic setting, employment, reputation, habits, fears, physical condition, personality, criminal history, family relationships, hobbies and social conduct), autopsy report, photos, sketches – just facts no opinion  Decision – organizing and arranging into meaningful patterns  Crime Assessment - reconstruction of the sequence of events and the behavior of both the offender and the victim – classification of the crime, strategies used by victim, sequence of crime, staging of crime, motivation of crime and crime scene dynamics  Criminal Profile – type of person who committed the crime and that person’s behavioral organization with relation to the crime  Investigation – written report is provided to requesting agency  Apprehension – once apprehended and admits guilt – conduct a detailed interview to check the total profiling process for validity
    12. 12. + Family Court  Child custody evaluations  Visitation assessments  Mediation of parental conflicts about children  Child abuse evaluations  Adoption readiness evaluations  Evaluations to assess termination of parental rights
    13. 13. + Civil Court  Personal injury evaluations  Assessment of emotional factors in sexual harassment and discrimination  Worker’s compensation evaluations
    14. 14. + Criminal Court  Juveniles  Presentencing evaluations  Probation evaluations  Evaluating the credibility of a child witness  Assessment of sex offenders  Competence and diminished capacity evaluations
    15. 15. + Insanity v. Competence  Insanity –the mental state at the time the offense occurred  Competence – the mental abilities at the time of the proceeding
    16. 16. + Insanity  An insanity defense is based on the theory that most people can choose to follow the law; but a few select persons cannot be held accountable because of mental disease or disability deprives them of the ability to make a rational/voluntary choice  To prove insanity – must prove by pre-ponderance of the evidence of the time of the crime because of a mental disorder, he lacked substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law  Insanity – mental illness of such a severe nature that a person  Can’t distinguish fantasy from reality  Can’t conduct her/his affairs due to psychosis or  Is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior
    17. 17. + Famous Insanity Cases  John Hinckley  Lorena Bobbitt
    18. 18. + Competency  The mental state of the defendant at the time of trial  Psychologists make recommendations to court  If incompetent - treatment recommendations (psychiatric treatment) to restore competency