Category Archives: Criminal law

Shoddy Reliability of Forensic Evidence I: Bite-mark forensics

Today’s NY Times (“Lives in Balance, Texas Leads Scrutiny of Bite-Mark forensics”; 12/13/2015) reports on the recent exoneration of a man imprisoned for 28 years, based on shoddy forensic bite-mark evidence. The ongoing crisis in forensic evidence and expert testimony–reflected in admissions that crime labs (including the FBI) use sloppy methods and unreliable science continues […]

Steady Progress in Neurolaw_Latest from the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience

Readers may be interested staying abreast of this cutting edge work. You can subscribe to the Neurolaw News. June 8, 2105 This message brings news about: A) Recent or Forthcoming Neurolaw Publications B) Neurolaw Media & News Clippings C) Conferences & Speaker Series D) Other Developments Recent or Forthcoming Neurolaw Publications 1. Melina R. Uncapher, […]

Significance of Combining Evaluations of Competency to Stand Trial and Sanity at the Time of the Offense

Chauhan, P., Warren, J., Kois, L., & Well-beloved-Stone, J. (2015). Psychology, Public Policy and Law, 21, 1, 56-59. This study examined the impact of conjoint CST and MSO evaluations on forensic examiner opinions. Readers are undoubtedly aware that contextual information may have a significant influence on examiner decision-making especially under conditions of uncertainty. The authors […]

Alcohol Intoxication and Blackout

A high percentage of crime is committed when both defendants and victims are alcohol intoxicated. Forensic clinicians are regularly asked to evaluate mental states at the time of the offense for accused perpetrators and victims of alleged crime during periods of alcohol intoxication. In criminal proceedings, both defendants and victims commonly claim that alcohol intoxication […]

Assessing Homicidal Mental States at the Time of Offense IV: The 2011 Norway Massacre: Criminal responsibility analysis using the R-CRAS.

The use of forensic assessment instruments is a distinguishing factor in the quality of forensic reports (Fuger, Acklin, Nguyen, Ignacio, & Gowensmith, 2013). In insanity determinations, the Rogers Criminal Responsibility Assessment Scales (R-CRAS, PAR, Inc.) are without peer as an aide to organizing and analyzing case data. It is a systematic coding measure which permits […]

Assessing Homicidal Mental States at the Time of Offense III: The 2011 Norway Massacre: The 2nd forensic psychiatric examination.

Based on publicity and professional commentary (“…intense media coverage, with repeated requests for a new evaluation by major newspapers and politicians”), the court ordered a second forensic psychiatric examination of Breivik. It was conducted 6 months after the first examination. The two psychiatrists “conducted a considerably longer evaluation, and used additional psychological assessment instruments.” They […]

Assessing Homicidal Mental States at the Time of Offense II: The 2011 Norway Massacre: The 1st forensic psychiatric examination.

The first examination conducted by two psychiatrists included 13 interviews (36 hours total), review of police interrogations, and collateral interview with Breivik’s mother. They coded the material using the Norwegian version of the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview Plus for ICD-10, and selected modules of the Norwegian version of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID-IV). Based […]

Assessing Homicidal Mental States at the Time of Offense I: The 2011 Norway Massacre: Background.

As a court appointed mental examiner, I am regularly asked to perform mental state at the time of the offense (MSO) examinations when the court must make a determination of criminal responsibility. A significant number of these cases involve the killing of another human being. High profile cases are often instructive for mental examiners. The […]

Rind controversy redux: Psychological sequelae of adult-child sexual contact.

Forensic psychologists may be called upon to render opinions concerning psychological harm following adult-child sexual contact. Rind et al. (1998) examined assumed properties of CSA and found that psychological harm is variable. They found that family environment was consistently confounded with CSA, and explained considerably more adjustment variance than CSA. CSA-adjustment relations generally became nonsignificant […]

Voluntariness of Confessions

Forensic psychologists working in criminal proceedings must be acquainted with the law and behavioral science of confessions. Voluntariness of confessions is a deep mainstay of confession law, reflected in the Miranda decision. Miranda requires that a confession be voluntary, knowing, and intelligent, though discrimination between the latter two prongs is murky. On the issue of […]