Category Archives: Criminal law

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 […]

Forensic toolbox: Assessment of Miranda waivers – the SAMA (Structured Assessment of Miranda Waivers).

The assessment of Miranda waivers is a common task for the general practice forensic psychologist. Up until recently, psychologists had Grisso’s Miranda measure to utilize in these situations (see Frumkin, et al, 2012). Richard Rogers and his colleagues have recently released a significant new forensic assessment instrument marketed by PAR Inc. The SAMA comprises five […]

VRAG Update

The VRAG is the granddaddy of static violence risk measures. Regardless of the fact that most all static risk measures perform equivalently (the “coffee can” risk assessment, Kroner et al, 2005), the VRAG is the mainstay of violence risk assessment. The authors update the VRAG with a sample of 1,261 offenders, fewer than half of […]

Mass Murder in Hawaii — Byran Uysesugi and the Xerox shootings (1993)

Readers may be interested in knowing more about the 1993 mass murder at Xerox in Honolulu. [If you have trouble viewing this powerpoint slideshow on a mobile device, click on full-screen icon in upper right just above the slide area.]

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 […]

Psychopathic sexuality– a component of psychopathy?

There has been a running debate over the past 18 years as to whether psychoapthy is a “taxon”;  “an entity, type, syndrome, disease, or more generally, a nonarbitrary class.” The concept goes back to Paul Meehl (1982; 1995) who laid out the importance of the concept for classifying psychopathology. Harris, Rice and Quinsey (1994) argued that psychopathy is a taxon, […]

Forensic conundrum: Geriatric competency to stand trial evaluations

Does old age render you incompetent? Incompetent elders have started showing up in increasing numbers, in both civil (testamentary/contractual competency, guardianship proceedings) and criminal arenas (competency to stand trial). We have adopted what we consider a powerful new assessment approach to forensic neurocognitive assessments based on Pearson’s WAIS-IV-WMS-IV-ACS combo and started looking at the data. Table A.2 […]

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 […]