Category Archives: Expert witness

Thriving as a forensic psychologist

A nice arti­cle by William Foote PhD in APA’s Good Practice (Winter 2014) is worth a look for stu­dents who think they might be inter­ested in foren­sic psy­chol­ogy. Contrasting clin­i­cal and foren­sic psy­chol­ogy, he writes, “But the field is not for everyone…Forensic psy­chol­ogy is also much more con­fronta­tional. You’re often in an adver­sar­ial posi­tion, with […]

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 […]

Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (ACH) — a method for de-biasing forensic decision making

I recently attended a three day work­shop on school, cam­pus, and work­place threat assess­ment and became acquainted with ACH. It is a method­ol­ogy devel­oped by the CIA and is used to con­sider evi­dence when fac­tors are com­plex or ambigu­ous. Given the many fac­tors that can influ­ence foren­sic deci­sion mak­ing, includ­ing exam­iner deci­sion thresh­olds, cost of […]

New variety of shark sighted in Hawaii waters

Readers may remem­ber my post on “Swimming with Sharks” a few months back–a set of guide­lines and admon­ish­ments to clin­i­cians work­ing in and around the Hawaii Family Court. Well, a new vari­ety of shark has recently been sighted in Hawaii waters. These are main­land foren­sic psy­chol­o­gists who have started com­ing to Hawaii to sell their […]

Disclosure, denial, delay, recantation, and confirmation in CSA

Despite sev­eral years of high qual­ity research in CSA, courts con­tinue to hear that pat­terns of dis­clo­sure, denial, delay, and recan­ta­tion are (or are not) dis­pos­i­tive of CSA. In their review of these issues in a recent spe­cial issue of Memory, London, Ceci, Wright, and Ceci (2008) draw the fol­low­ing con­clu­sions: “We have argued that, in […]

Psychological Experts in CSA Trials

Back in September 2011, I mused about how help­ful psy­cho­log­i­cal experts are in CSA tri­als. Testimony will inevitably have to address devel­op­ments in sev­eral areas, includ­ing pat­terns of dis­clo­sure, mem­ory, sug­gestibil­ity, qual­ity of foren­sic inter­views, and error rates of CSA decision-making, highly tech­ni­cal stuff. The work of Bruck and Ceci has remained author­i­ta­tive for almost […]

The new Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychology (APA, 2011)

The new SGFP have been final­ized by APLS (Div. 41 of APA). The Guidelines are avail­able at the fol­low­ing link The SGFP pro­vide guid­ance and stan­dards of prac­tice for foren­sic psy­chol­o­gists. They are worth care­ful study for the prac­ti­tioner wish­ing to do sound and eth­i­cal, i.e., high qual­ity, foren­sic work. The SGFP define the scope of […]

Is the testimony of experts at child sex abuse trials helpful?

The tes­ti­mony of experts in child sex abuse tri­als is con­tro­ver­sial. There are seri­ous legal con­straints on expert tes­ti­mony con­cern­ing cred­i­bil­ity of the wit­ness, prop­erly the domain of the trier of fact (see US vs. Brooks, a court mar­tial, where my tes­ti­mony was rejected by a mil­i­tary court of appeals as cross­ing the line).  Thus, […]

Clinical Report: Identification and Evaluation of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

This superb arti­cle sums up the infor­ma­tion com­pre­hen­sively. Available at the American Academy of Pediatrics web­site in pdf.

Pate-Fires v. Astrue, 564 F.3d 935 (8th Cir. 2009): More on treating clinicians vs. expert witnesses

Mental exam­in­ers are often asked “to deter­mine whether non­com­pli­ance with med­ica­tion is a direct result of the psy­chi­atric dis­or­der.” This is another inter­est­ing US Court of Appeals rul­ing with impli­ca­tions for psychiatric/psychological tes­ti­mony. The review of the case in the cur­rent JAAPL (39, 1, 2011, pp. 121–123) notes “…men­tal health providers have a sub­stan­tial role […]