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<a href=Aggression and Violent Behavior 18 (2013) 83 91 Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect Aggression and Violent Behavior Psychological evaluations in the criminal justice system: Basic principles and best practices Laurence Miller ⁎ Plaza Four, Suite 101, 399 Camino Gardens Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33432, United States article info Article history: Received 15 August 2012 Received in revised form 23 October 2012 Accepted 23 October 2012 Available online 30 October 2012 Keywords: Competency to stand trial Criminal psychology Expert testimony Forensic psychology Insanity defense Risk assessment Contents abstract Forensic psychologists are frequently called upon to conduct evaluations for competency to stand trial, insan- ity defense, or prediction of future dangerousness. Psychological evaluations for the court typically include record review, clinical examination of the defendant, interview of collaterals, psychological testing, and prep- aration of a written report. Psychological forensic examiners may also be called upon to testify in court. In rendering their conclusions, forensic examiners should conduct a careful analysis of each individual case, not rely on the mere presence, absence, or severity of any mental disorder to make a legal determination. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. 1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 2. Criminal forensic psychological evaluations: basic principles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 3. Competency to stand trial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 3.1. Competency criteria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 3.1.1. Have an appreciation of the charges against him/her . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 3.1.2. Have an appreciation of the range and nature of possible penalties . 85 3.1.3. Appreciate the adversarial nature of the legal process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 3.1.4. Have the capacity to disclose to his/her attorney pertinent facts associated with the alleged offenses . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 3.1.5. Have the capacity to manifest appropriate courtroom behavior . 85 3.1.6. Have the capacity to testify relevantly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 3.2. Competency evaluation outcomes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 3.2.1. Competent to proceed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 3.2.2. Incompetent to proceed, with recommendations for measures that will restore competency . 85 3.2.3. Permanently incompetent to proceed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 4. The insanity defense and diminished capacity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 4.1. Insanity defense standards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 4.2. Diminished capacity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 5. Predicting future dangerousness and risk factors for future offending . 87 5.1. Dimensions of risk for future offending . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 5.2. Risk factors for future offending . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 5.2.1. Impulsivity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 Negative emotionality 5.2.2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 Antisocial attitudes 5.2.3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 5.2.4. Alcohol and substance abuse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 5.2.5. Unstable interpersonal relationships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 5.2.6. Psychosis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 ⁎ Tel.: +1 561 392 8881. E-mail address: docmilphd@aol.com . 1359-1789/$ – see front matter © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2012.10.005 " id="pdf-obj-0-7" src="pdf-obj-0-7.jpg">

Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect

Aggression and Violent Behavior

<a href=Aggression and Violent Behavior 18 (2013) 83 91 Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect Aggression and Violent Behavior Psychological evaluations in the criminal justice system: Basic principles and best practices Laurence Miller ⁎ Plaza Four, Suite 101, 399 Camino Gardens Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33432, United States article info Article history: Received 15 August 2012 Received in revised form 23 October 2012 Accepted 23 October 2012 Available online 30 October 2012 Keywords: Competency to stand trial Criminal psychology Expert testimony Forensic psychology Insanity defense Risk assessment Contents abstract Forensic psychologists are frequently called upon to conduct evaluations for competency to stand trial, insan- ity defense, or prediction of future dangerousness. Psychological evaluations for the court typically include record review, clinical examination of the defendant, interview of collaterals, psychological testing, and prep- aration of a written report. Psychological forensic examiners may also be called upon to testify in court. In rendering their conclusions, forensic examiners should conduct a careful analysis of each individual case, not rely on the mere presence, absence, or severity of any mental disorder to make a legal determination. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. 1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 2. Criminal forensic psychological evaluations: basic principles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 3. Competency to stand trial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 3.1. Competency criteria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 3.1.1. Have an appreciation of the charges against him/her . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 3.1.2. Have an appreciation of the range and nature of possible penalties . 85 3.1.3. Appreciate the adversarial nature of the legal process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 3.1.4. Have the capacity to disclose to his/her attorney pertinent facts associated with the alleged offenses . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 3.1.5. Have the capacity to manifest appropriate courtroom behavior . 85 3.1.6. Have the capacity to testify relevantly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 3.2. Competency evaluation outcomes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 3.2.1. Competent to proceed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 3.2.2. Incompetent to proceed, with recommendations for measures that will restore competency . 85 3.2.3. Permanently incompetent to proceed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 4. The insanity defense and diminished capacity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 4.1. Insanity defense standards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 4.2. Diminished capacity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 5. Predicting future dangerousness and risk factors for future offending . 87 5.1. Dimensions of risk for future offending . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 5.2. Risk factors for future offending . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 5.2.1. Impulsivity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 Negative emotionality 5.2.2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 Antisocial attitudes 5.2.3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 5.2.4. Alcohol and substance abuse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 5.2.5. Unstable interpersonal relationships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 5.2.6. Psychosis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 ⁎ Tel.: +1 561 392 8881. E-mail address: docmilphd@aol.com . 1359-1789/$ – see front matter © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2012.10.005 " id="pdf-obj-0-15" src="pdf-obj-0-15.jpg">

Psychological evaluations in the criminal justice system: Basic principles and best practices

Laurence Miller

Plaza Four, Suite 101, 399 Camino Gardens Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33432, United States

article info

Article history:

Received 15 August 2012 Received in revised form 23 October 2012 Accepted 23 October 2012 Available online 30 October 2012

Keywords:

Competency to stand trial

Criminal psychology

Expert testimony

Forensic psychology

Insanity defense

Risk assessment

Contents

abstract

Forensic psychologists are frequently called upon to conduct evaluations for competency to stand trial, insan- ity defense, or prediction of future dangerousness. Psychological evaluations for the court typically include record review, clinical examination of the defendant, interview of collaterals, psychological testing, and prep- aration of a written report. Psychological forensic examiners may also be called upon to testify in court. In

rendering their conclusions, forensic examiners should conduct a careful analysis of each individual case,

not rely on the mere presence, absence, or severity of any mental disorder to make a legal determination. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • 1. Introduction

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  • 2. Criminal forensic psychological evaluations: basic principles

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  • 3. Competency to stand trial

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  • 3.1. Competency criteria

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  • 3.1.1. Have an appreciation of the charges against him/her

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  • 3.1.2. Have an appreciation of the range and nature of possible penalties

 

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  • 3.1.3. Appreciate the adversarial nature of the legal process

 

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  • 3.1.4. Have the capacity to disclose to his/her attorney pertinent facts associated with the alleged offenses

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  • 3.1.5. Have the capacity to manifest appropriate courtroom behavior

 

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  • 3.1.6. Have the capacity to testify relevantly

 

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  • 3.2. Competency evaluation outcomes

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  • 3.2.1. Competent to proceed

 

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  • 3.2.2. Incompetent to proceed, with recommendations for measures that will restore competency

 

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  • 3.2.3. Permanently incompetent to proceed

 

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  • 4. The insanity defense and diminished capacity

 

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  • 4.1. Insanity defense standards

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  • 4.2. Diminished capacity

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  • 5. Predicting future dangerousness and risk factors for future offending

 

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  • 5.1. Dimensions of risk for future offending

 

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  • 5.2. Risk factors for future offending

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  • 5.2.1. Impulsivity

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Negative emotionality

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Antisocial attitudes

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  • 5.2.4. Alcohol and substance abuse

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  • 5.2.5. Unstable interpersonal relationships

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  • 5.2.6. Psychosis

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Tel.: +1 561 392 8881. E-mail address: docmilphd@aol.com.

1359-1789/$ see front matter © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

84

L. Miller / Aggression and Violent Behavior 18 (2013) 8391

 

5.2.7.

 

Poor treatment compliance

 

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  • 6. Conducting a forensic psychological evaluation

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  • 6.1. Review of records

 

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  • 6.2. Clinical interview

 

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  • 6.3. Psychological tests

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89

  • 6.4. Collateral data

 

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89

  • 6.5. Written report

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89

  • 7. Testifying in court: recommendations for forensic psychological expert witnesses

 

89

  • 7.1. Types of witnesses and testimony

 

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89

  • 7.2. Preparing for testimony

 

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89

  • 7.3. On the stand

 

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90

 

7.3.1.

 

Attitude

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90

7.3.2.

Body language

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90

7.3.3.

Communication style

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90

  • 7.4. Cross-examination tricks and traps

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90

 

7.4.1.

 

Question and answer clarity

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