Forensic Psychology Midterm
Terms in this set (110)
"any application of psychological research, methods, theory, and practice to as task faced by the legal system."
Psychology and the law interact in 3 ways:
Psychology in the law
Psychology by the law
Psychology of the law
Psychology by the law refers to rules and laws governing practice
What do Forensic Psychologists do?
Clinical psychological evaluations in child custody or criminal cases
Social psychological consultation on jury selection or pretrial publicity effects
Working with law enforcement officials
Advising legislators on public policy
In general, doing things that people might not expect
Trial consultant- assess the attitudes of people role-playing as jurors in a trial in order to identify issues perceived by the actual trial jurors; they assemble attitude questions based on psychological concepts that may influence the mock jurors who have observed a rehearsal of the trial
Trial consultants may be asked to conduct surveys to determine the extent and nature of pretrial publicity in a case
A forensic psychologist who does court-ordered child custody or criminally related evaluations, or who works in a prison or with law enforcement, will come from a background in clinical psychology and is likely to have had a more diversified clinical practice before he or she came to focus on forensic psychology
Other forensic psychologists specialize in eyewitness reliability and the factors that affect it, or trial consultants who work with attorneys on issues related to jury selection or pretrial publicity effects, may have been trained as experimental psychologists, social psychologists, cognitive psychologists, or developmental psychologists
For many psychologists, "forensic psychology" is seen as a subspecialization of clinical psychology
Honest disagreements exists over how encompassing the definition should be.
Who is Cesare Lombroso?
the father of modern criminology
Sought to understand the causes of crime from a biological perspective
Who is William Healy?
initiates a program to study the causes of juvenile delinquency.
Founded the Juvenile Psychopathic Institute (1909)
Included Dr. Grace M. Fernald (psychologist) who specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of juvenile delinquency.
Led to increased emphasis on the foundations of criminal behavior
1906 Freud proposed to a group of judges that psychology could be of practical use to their field.
His writings about psychopathology influenced thinking about the causes of criminal behavior
who Hugo Munsterberg?
Munsterberg- On the Witness Stand (1908)
Founder of forensic psychology
Book focused on memory distortions, eyewitness accuracy, confessions, suggestibility, hypnosis, crime detection, and the prevention of crime
Defined topics for contemporary forensic psychology
Raised the psychological profession to a position of importance in public life
Saw no difference between physical sciences and psychology
Munsterberg was a less than ideal symbol, he was arrogant and pugnacious, and he engaged in self-important posturing
The jury system rests on a positive assumption about human nature- that a collection of reasonable people are able to judge the world about them reasonably accurately.
The justice system "recruits a group of 12 lay [people], chosen at random from the widest population; it convenes them for the purpose of a particular trial; it entrusts them with great official powers of decision; it permits them to carry out deliberations in secret and report out their final judgment without giving reasons for it; and, after their momentary service to the state has been completed, it orders them to disband and return to private life."
Our society values the rights of the accused; it protects suspects against self-incrimination and places the burden of proof on the state to show guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Munsterberg desired 3 things:
Demonstrate the fallibility of memory, including time overestimation, omission of significant information, and other errors.
To promote experimental psychology and give attention to its possible service for the practical needs of life
Offer testimony as an expert witness in highly publicized trials
Munsterberg firmly believe that one of psychology's strongest contributions was in distinguishing false memory from true
However, it was said of Munsterberg that he "deceived himself with alarming frequency, and his distortions in certain cases bordered on outright falsification."
Who is Guy Whipple?
Guy Whipple introduced Aussage (eyewitness testimony; 1909-1912) and introduced American audiences to classic experiments relating testimony and evidence to perception and memory.
After WWI through the 1970s, research by scientific psychology applicable to the courts languished.
There was a resurgence of social psychology in the 1970s in response to questions of its relevance. Social psychological concepts were extended to real-world topics, including health and law.
Be able to identify conflicts between Psychology and the Law in terms of values, standards for decision making, "truth," the nature of reality,
Laws and Values:
Laws are human creations that evolve out of the need to resolve disagreements
Laws reflect values, and values are basic psychological concepts
Values may be defined as standards for decision making, and thus, laws are created, amended, or discarded because society has established standards for what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
Society's values can change, leading to new laws and new interpretations of existing laws (e.g. prohibition of spousal rape)
Each discipline approaches the generation of knowledge and the standards for decision making in a different way.
An attorney and a social scientist will often see the same event through different perspectives, because of their specialized training.
Some lawyers rely on psychologists to help plan effective trial tactics, and many courts now accept psychologists as expert witnesses on a variety of topics.
Some obstacles stand in the way of full application, and many of these obstacles are at the most basic level- the level of values and goals
The most fundamental conflict arises from the nature of truth (the most elusive and challenging quest).
You know something is true by looking at the evidence. Yet evidence is different for psychology and for law.
Psychologists answer questions about human behavior by collecting data. A conclusion about behavior is not accepted by psychologists until the observations are objectively measurable (meaning they show reliability and replicability).
Lawyers are more willing to rely on their own experience, their own views of life, and their intuition (gut feelings). The Supreme Court tends to "approve legal rules based on intuitive assumptions about human behavior that research by psychologists has shown to be erroneous."
For the police officer, personal observation is a strong determinant of the truth. Police take pride in their ability to detect deception and their interrogative skills as ways of separating truth-telling from falsification.
Police are willing to use a broader number of methods to determine truth than are psychologists
Within the courtroom, for some attorney, truth may be irrelevant.
For more judges and trial attorneys, the assumption is that the adversary system will produce truths or at least fairness.
"A fair trial is one in which the evidence [is] subject to adversarial testing." (Strickland v. Washington, 1984)
The nature of the adversary system leads some trial attorneys to value conflict resolution over the elusive quest for truth.
Trials are not conducted to find out what happened- the police, the prosecutor, and the defense attorney all probably know what happened- but as a game to persuade the community that proof is strong enough to justify punishment.
"The law assumes that truth emerges from the clash of adversaries in the courtroom. The law assumes that: Uneven skills of counsel do not exist; bias doesn't influence the decision-maker; evidence can be clearly presented... Right and morality are irrelevant. Personal convictions are irrelevant. Only 'truth' produced through trial is relevant. 'Truth' for the law is a legal construct which relates to facts as they emerge at trial. 'Truth' does not necessarily coincide with reality." (quoted by psychotherapist Martha Deed, 1991 as stated by Paul Birzon president of NY State Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers)
The nature of reality
The psychological field assumes that the world is composed of separable variables that act independently of, or interactive with, other variables. It is also more tolerant of ambiguity than is the legal field.
Much of psychology is "probabilistic" for several reasons
Psychology assumes that people think in terms of probabilities and likelihoods
The courts, lawyers, and people in general may well think in yes-or-no, right-or-wrong categories.
The nature of reality
The lay public tends to misunderstand probabilities an their difficulties in applying probabilistic reasoning.
Ex: the "gambler's fallacy" and ignorance of regression-to-the-mean effects and failure to pay attention to base rates.
In our legal system, proof is based "on showing direct cause and effect: that is action A caused (or at least contributed to) result B"
Psychologists are more concerned with the probability that A is related to B
What is stare decisis?
The principle of stare decisis ("let the decision stand") has the weight, for judges, equivalent to the importance of the principle of experimentation for scientific psychologists.
The doctrine that rules or principles of law on which a court rested a previous decision are authoritative in all future cases in which the facts are substantially the same
What are Brandeis Briefs?
was a pioneering legal brief that was the first in United States legal history to rely more on a compilation of scientific information and social science than on legal citations.
Know a few of the legal system's criticisms of psychology
The legal system's criticism of psychology
The lack of ecological validity of psychological research
Ex: Former Chief Justice Rehnquist's majority opinion in Lockhart v. McCree (1986) involving the use of death-qualified jurors (1. not opposed to the death penalty as a sentence 2. not of the belief that the death penalty must be imposed, meaning they would consider life in prison as a possible penalty)
Chief Rehnquist's criticisms of psychology:
Too few studies from which to draw reliable conclusions. Some studies assessed juror attitudes rather than verdicts.
Studies are either tentative or out-of-date
Research participants were randomly selected individuals rather than real jurors sworn to apply the law. (Evidence that juror oath affects their verdicts is equivocal at best).
Two experiments cited that used actual jurors did not include jury deliberation, and thus were of no value to him.
Studies did not include whether the outcome, considering all the evidence, would have been different if the jury were not death-qualified
Only one study investigated the possibility of the independent "nullifier" phenomenon- whether someone opposed to the death penalty would vote not guilty just to prevent a death sentence.
• Know the two types of theories of the interaction between social science and the law
The lack of uniform agreement within the field creates problems for the establishment of agreed-upon procedures for forensic psychologists.
Unanimity is not required in any area of science (or law) only - "general acceptance."
Two types of theories of the interaction between social science and the law
One type predicts that the obstacles to use of social science research in the courts can be overcome, and that science will eventually assume a prominent role in legal policy-making
The other predicts hat social science will not have much impact on the law I the near future based on the current research of the reluctance of the courts to rely on empirical research based on:
Judges are conservative and perceive social scientists to be liberal
Judges are self-confident and do not believe hat they need assistance from nonlawyers (judges are human and it is human nature to be unscientific)
Judges don't understand empirical social science
Ignorance by the court
Judges perceive science as a threat to their power and prestige
Law and social science are rival systems with competing logics
Be able to describe what is meant by the term "psychopathy."
Psychopathy: is reflected by impulsivity, a lack of guilt or remorse, pathological lying and manipulativeness, and a continual willingness to violate social norms
What does a trial consultant do? What concerns are there with trial consultants (i.e. think training, confidentiality, and who the client is)
aka litigation consultant, or jury consultant
Some trial consultants have doctoral degrees, some have master's degrees, and some have bachelor's degrees.
Not a single state licenses or certifies trial consultants, so anyone with any level of training can hang up a shingle and proclaim themselves a "trial consultant."
A firm of trial consultants (might be a single consultant with a small support staff) is hired by a law firm to assist in identifying the major issues in a case, determine if there has been excessive pretrial publicity in the case, prepare witnesses for trial, and advise in jury selection.
Trial consultants also may participate in continuing education seminars offered to improve lawyers' negotiation, jury selection, and trial presentation skills.
Typically only involved in large civil trials.
Conflicts may arise between trial consultants and their employer-attorneys
Consultants must always remember that they are employed by the attorneys, and thus it is the attorneys who are ultimately responsible for making decisions involving the case
The applied scientist plus businessperson role makes for challenging ethical responsibilities.
Consultants must follow the standard guidelines for ethical research
Furthermore, the consultant has the moral responsibility not to break the law, even if the consultant's clients wishes it.
Consultants should not suggest that their services will inevitably help win a case for their client, because many events can intervene between preparation for the trial and the jury verdict
Remember that a fundamental principle within the scientific community is the sharing of data and ideas.
Confidentiality is a particular concern for trial consultants, who must avoid unreasonable intrusion into the private lives of others, including members of focus groups or mock juries.
Trial consultants have a duty to recognize that all information about a particular case remains private and confidential
A conflict arises when the results of surveys are presented at court and a judge wants the names of the interviewees and proof that subjects were interviewed and that the results are an accurate representations of the responses.
The National Jury Project explained that when its policy on confidentiality is fully explained in court, the results are never rejected.
What ethical issues are involved in forensic evaluations?
Ethical issues that arises in the context of assessment and testimony may include the "dual relationship" problem
May occur when the forensic psychologist is engaged in more than one type of professional activity with the same individuals, such as a business relationship along with therapy
The forensic evaluator has to maintain a stance of absolute impartiality, while the therapist often serves as an advocate for his or her clients.
Evaluators must guard against the temptation to skew their evaluation results to what they know the referral source would like to hear, and instead must "call them as they see them."
What is the difference between a fact witness and an expert witness?
In contrast to other witnesses (called fact witnesses), who can only testify about what they have observed or what they know as fact, expert witnesses may express opinions, for they are presumed to possess special knowledge about a topic, knowledge that the average juror does not have.
The judge may be convinced that the testimony any expert will present reflects the requisite knowledge, skill, or experience and that the testimony will aid in resolving the dispute and leading jurors toward the truth.
Know the three ways to resolve conflict between psychology and the law/types of expert witnesses
There are three ways to resolve the conflict for the expert witness between psychology and law
The conduit-educator: as a conduit-educator, the expert regards his or her own field as the first priority
The philosopher-ruler/advocate: if the expert witness views himself or herself as a kind of philosopher-ruler/advocate, the oath of telling "the whole truth" is of less concern
The "hired gun:" hired guns work in the service of their employer's values rather than trying to advance their own. The motivation is to help the person who hired the expert.
Know the Frye Test (aka Frye Standard)
The Frye Test (Frye v. United States, 1923)- established some standards for admissibility of proposed experts
It stated that the well-recognized standards regarding principles or evidence for a particular field should determine the admissibility of expert testimony
Know the Federal Rules of Evidence Standard 702
Additional guidelines were established in 1975 with the adoption of the Federal Rules of Evidence, which specified in Rule 702 that qualified experts can testify "if scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the Trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue."
Know why the Daubert case is important to forensic psychology
Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (1993) ought to clarify the distinction between the Federal Rules of Evidence and the more restrictive Frye test, because the Federal Rules of Evidence applied only in federal courts, and most state courts in the United States were still using the Frye rule.
Know why the Kumho case is important to forensic psychology
Kumho Tire Co. Ltd. V. Carmichael (1999) extended the Daubert ruling to nonscientific expert witnesses who claimed specialized knowledge.
What is summary judgment?
a judge's ruling avoids an expensive trial. The judge rules on the case without a trial.
What are amicus curiae briefs and who writes them? What does amicus curiae stand for?
Amicus curiae briefs (information that may be a legal opinion in the form of a brief, a testimony that has not been solicited by any of the parties, or a learned treatise on a matter that bears on the case. The decision whether to admit the information lies with the discretion of the court) accompany appeals
Amicus briefs ("friend of the court") aka advocacy brief
What two important contributions have APA amicus briefs made to forensic psychology?
"they may reduce the likelihood that judicial use of spurious, unsubstantiated opinions about human behavior will establish precedent for future cases."
Amicus briefs "keep the Court honest"
Psychology's input may compel judges to act like judges, stating clearly the fundamental values and normative premises on which their decisions are grounded, rather than hiding behind empirical errors or uncertainties."
What is the science-translator brief?
The science-translation brief reflects the second role as an honest broker; it occurs when APA possesses knowledge that the Court otherwise might not have an that might assist the Court in deciding the case before it.
Why is the Atkins case important?
Atkins v. Virginia (2002)- the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 that executions of mentally retarded criminals are "cruel and unusual punishment" that violates the 8th amendment to the Constitution.
The APA submitted amicus briefs that clearly influenced the majority opinion and the opinion quoted research from the APA amicus brief
Be able to describe the 4 temptations of forensic psychology that mental health professionals must be careful about.
Forensic psychologists, for various reasons, may exceed what is acceptable in their profession and even what the law theoretically permits them to do.
Promising too much
Sometimes forensic psychologists who are hired by attorneys or the courts promise a level of success they cannot guarantee
Psychologists who have developed tests and other instruments may be tempted to claim a greater level of validity than is warranted in real-life situations
Substituting advocacy for scientific objectivity
When psychologists become expert witnesses, they are usually hired by one side in an adversarial proceeding
It is tempting to play the advocate role, to take sides, to become sympathetic to the arguments of the side that is paying the psychologist, and to "slant" the testimony in that direction. The shift toward partisanship may be subtle, even unconscious
Many people, including some judges, see the expert witness as a hired gun, willing to say whatever his or her client needs said.
The proper role for a psychologist as an expert witness is that of an objective scientist who reports all the data, even if they make a less supportive case for the side that hired the psychologist
Letting values overcome empirical findings
The temptation is to let our values determine our scientific conclusions in a court of law
A psychologist serving as an expert witness may go beyond any legitimate scientific basis in offering conclusions
Example: I Barefoot v. Estelle (1983) the Supreme Court opinion showed that two psychiatrists went beyond the available research on predicting dangerousness by testifying that they knew (to 100% certainty) that the defendant would commit crimes in the future.
Dr James Grigson, one of the psychiatrists, was expelled from the American Psychiatric Association for his testimony in this and many other Texas death penalty cases.
Doing a cursory job
Because a person cannot be executed unless her or she is capable of understanding the implications of the act, competency hearings are held
Competency hearings evaluate whether an individual has the mental capacity to understand the nature of the death penalty and the reasons why it had been imposed on the individual.
There is a temptation to be less than thorough and professional in one's work for the courts or other authorities
Know the aspects of police work that psychologists may play a significant role in
1967- U.S. government portrayed a place for psychology in only one aspect of law enforcement: the selection of police recruits
Psychology can play a significant role in almost every aspect of police work
Selection of recruits
Training of police and other law enforcement officers
Evaluation of work performance
Assist in responding to major types of complaints about the police (corruption, racism, and brutality)
Psychology and other social sciences have evaluated recent changes in police procedures, such as team policing, or assignment of police officers to particular neighborhoods, so that they become familiar with local concerns
Who are forensic psychologists responsible to in terms of the criminal justice system?
The forensic psychologist is most likely to be hired by the police or sheriff's department, most often as a consultant though sometimes as a staff member, but the forensic psychologist also has an ethical responsibility to respond to the public's concerns about the police.
What does the public want from police officers?
A sense of respect and a lack of prejudice
A desire for fairness
For decades, members of racial minority groups have perceived themselves to be unjustly victimized by the police and other law enforcement officers, including highway patrol officers and sheriffs' deputies.
These concerns are so great that victims have sarcastically developed a crime-classification acronym, DWB ("driving while Black")
Know a little about the police selection process
Often the goals in selection by police departments reflect traditional criteria- they fail to recognize the goal of diversity in the makeup of law enforcement agencies, specifically the firing of minorities and women
Proposed solution: stakeholders- people who have a special knowledge and interest, or a "stake," in running the department (officers, members of the town council, media, clergy, opinion leaders, stratifies sample of citizens)
Know specifically about the tools for psychological selection of police
Brief interview- assess desirable qualities (i.e. social maturity, stability, and skill in interpersonal relations)
Examine body language
Appropriateness of emotions
Candidate insight into their own behavior
Ability to a convey a sense of self
The purpose of the interview is not prediction; rather the goal is to gain an in depth understanding of the individual
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). We are on the second edition (MMPI-2)
Mixed results in screening and selection of law enforcement personnel
California Psychological Inventory (CPI)
Inwald Personality Inventory (IPI)
Developed to measure the suitability of personality attributes and behavior patterns of law enforcement candidates.
Designed to measure stress reactions and deviant behavior patterns, including absence and lateness problems, interpersonal difficulties, antisocial behavior, and alcohol and drug use
Also measures suspicious, anxious, and rigid characteristics
Developed "with the express purpose of directly questioning public safety/law enforcement candidates and documenting their admired behaviors, rather than inferring those behaviors from statistically-derived personality indicators."
What are situational tests in terms of selection of police?
Small samples of behaviors like those police would show on the job
A series of situations and standardized situational tasks, such as role-playing exercises on behaviors believed to be representative of critical police tasks
Ex: intervene in a dispute between a husband and his wife, to carry out a burglary investigation, and to aid a man injured at a hotel
The Foot Patrol Observation Test
The Clues Test
Although situational tests have an intuitive appeal as selection devices, they have not proven to be superior predictors of performance compared to the personality tests. They are mainly supplemental tests.
Know how a psychologist can be both a teacher and a consultant to police and what this means
As a teacher, the psychologist may be asked to instruct recruits on handling mentally ill people, on human relations, on criminal psychology, or on relationships with authority figures.
As a consultant, "the psychologist is expected to have some practical know-how and expertise about educational processes, teaching techniques, learning systems, and technology."
Psychologists serving as consultants to police departments are generally available and on call to anyone in the department
Police chief wants a survey of pursuits and shootings
Consultation on a bizarre murder
Police officer may need psychological counseling
Know the four basic types of hostage takers and be able to describe them
Political activist or terrorist: Political terrorists are the most difficult to negotiate with because of their "total commitment, exhaustive planning, and ability to exert power effectively."
Four reasons political terrorists take hostages
To demonstrate to the public the inability of a government to protect its own citizens
To ensure increased publicity for their political agenda
Create civil discontent indirectly by causing the government to overreact and restrict its citizens
Demand release of members of their groups who are in custody
Criminal: The most frequent type is the criminal trapped while committing a crime.
Criminal may spontaneously take a hostage when his or her own freedom is jeopardized, reflecting a need for safe passage or a means to escape
Mentally disturbed person: The mentally disturbed hostage taker is the greatest threat. Mentally disturbed people take hostage for a variety of reasons
Prisoner:Prisoners typically use hostages as a means of protesting conditions within the prison
What are the three roles of the psychologist in terms of training police?
The professional- source of applicable behavioral science information
The consultant- develops training programs, materials, and exercises
The participant/observer- makes suggestions but recognizes the authority of the law enforcement personnel.
Why would an officer have to undergo a fitness-for-duty evaluation and what does this entail?
After participating in critical incidents involving the death of a partner or injury during a chase or shoot-out, the law enforcement officer may exhibit emotional or behavioral reactions that prompt a fitness-for-duty evaluation
Complaints against the officer, charges of brutality, etc.. May lead to an evaluation
The suicide rate among police is higher than that of the general population
A psychologist may be called to conduct an evaluation
Shall only be done by a qualified psychologist or psychiatrist licensed in that state
Evaluator should be familiar with research on testing and evaluation in the field of police psychology
The evaluation should not be done by a psychologist or psychiatrist who provides counseling within the same department
Issues of confidentiality should be made explicit I writing prior to conducting the evaluation. Police officer should provide consent.
Include at least one interview with the officer, psychological tests, interviews with 3rd parties, and a review of past psychological and medical evaluations
Evaluator should provide a written report documenting the findings along with specific recommendations regarding continued employment and rehabilitation
What is meant by community policing?
Developed as a response with the goal of reuniting police with the community
An effective working partnership between the police and members of the community in order to solve problems which concern both
Who does criminal profiling and what type of training do you need?
Training in criminal profiling has been controlled by the FBI. Most graduate programs in forensic psychology do not offer specialized courses on this topic
Only law enforcement officers are eligible for training by the FBI
The availability of jobs as criminal profilers is extremely limited. Only a dozen or fewer profilers serve in the FBI
Most FBI profilers advanced through the ranks of the FBI, starting as field agents, or went through police academy training
In Great Britain many profilers are psychologists
Profiling is more art than science
All profilers are not in agreement about the appropriate methodology
Expert testimony on profiling is not likely to be admitted in court
What is criminal profiling?
Criminal profiles aid in detection and prevention
A profiler is one "who examines evidence from the crime scene, victims, and witnesses in an attempt to construct an accurate psychological (usually concerning psychopathology, personality, and behavior) and demographic description of the individual who committed the crime."
A criminal profile includes the personality and motivations of the offender, including characteristic ways of committing crimes and treating the victims. Physical characteristics are also important.
The handedness of the perpetrator is easily determined from an analysis of the criminal act.
The term sociopsychological profile is preferred over psychological profile
For centuries, elements of society have tried to pinpoint those physical or psychological qualities linked to criminal or deviant behavior
Criminal profiling has been described as an educated attempt to provide specific information about a certain type of suspect and as a biographical sketch of behavioral patterns, trends, and tendencies
The basic premise of criminal profiling is that the way a person thinks directs the person's behavior; it is important to recognize that profiling does not provide the specific identity of the offender.
A single act of murder, especially if it is spontaneous, is more difficult to interpret than is a series of crimes that reflect similar actions or locations
Other nonviolent crimes are not good candidates for profiling
Consistencies in crime scenes and treatment of victims permit the police to get a better handle on the nature of the perpetrator.
The nature of a victim's wounds might give clues to the personality and experience of the attacker. Some serial killers are aware of the "trace" they leave at a crime scene or even do so intentionally.
What are the three approaches to criminal profiling?
3 approaches to criminal profiling
Distinguishing the "Evil" person
Understanding the behavior and motivation of individuals who play a role in important events is one goal of profiling
Determining common characteristics
Seeks consistencies in the personalities, backgrounds, and behaviors of offenders who carry out similar crimes
The typical murderer's mother was well-meaning but maladjusted and the murderer had experienced psychological frustrations and physical abuse while a child.
Extracting specific characteristics
Specifically, does the pattern of behaviors resemble patterns from other cases?
There is a distinction between the MO (modus operandi or standard procedure) of a criminal and his or her "signature" (unique, personal aspects of the criminal act, often the reflection of a need to express violent fantasies)
Know the difference between the MO (modus operandi) and the signature.
The MO is what an offender has to do to accomplish a crime.
It's a learned behavior and gets modified and perfected as the criminal gets better and better at what he does
The signature is something the offender has to do to fulfill himself emotionally.
It's not needed to successfully accomplish the crime, but it is the reason he undertakes the particular crime in the first place.
What are the five stages of profile generation?
A comprehensive study of the nature of the criminal act and the types of persons who have committed like offenses in the past
A detailed analysis of the crime scene
An in-depth examination of the background and activities of the victim or victims
A formulation of possible motivating factors for all parties involved
The development of a description of the perpetrator based on overt characteristics from the crime scene and past criminal's behavior.
What are some of the challenges with profiling?
A problem is that police sometimes "lock in" to certain characteristics and prematurely apprehend an innocent person because he or she fits the profile.
Problems also occur if a person possesses several characteristics of a criminal profile, and it is assumed that he or she must be guilty.
It is a myth that a profiler always solves the case.
Sometimes police can be misled when they rely too heavily on the conclusion from FBI profiling.
What is involved with psychological autopsies? What questions does the psychological autopsy hope to answer?
Even when cause of death is certain, issues related to the mental state of the person prior to his or her death lead to the application of a psychological analysis.
Testamentary capacity (was the person capable of drawing up a will)
Did stressful working conditions contribute to a person's premature death (worker's compensation claims)
Was an act truly in self-defense
Psychological autopsy refers to the investigative method used by psychologists or other social scientists to help determine the mode of death in equivocal cases
The psychological autopsy answers three questions:
Why did the individual do it?
How and when did the individual die (why at that particular time)?
What might be the most probable mode of death?
The most common inquiry in a psychological autopsy concerns whether the death was an accident or a suicide
What is the NASH system and what does NASH stand for?
Deaths are classified/certified by medical examiners as a NASH classification
N- natural causes
A- accidental death
The most frequent need for distinction is between suicide and homicide
An equivocal death analysis examines the evidence surrounding the cause of death, but the results of an "equivocal death analysis" can be equivocal.
Know the difference between per se exclusionary rule and totality of circumstances test
Two-thirds of the states follow the per se exclusionary rule, meaning they prohibit hypnotically assisted testimony in all cases
The remaining states, plus the federal courts, consider the administrative procedures and, if proper safeguards were met, admit the testimony (totality of circumstances test) endorsed in State v. Mack and State v. Hurd
What are the major criticisms of the polygraph test? How can a person "fool" the polygraph?
Physiological measures do not directly measure lying; their changes only reflect shifts in emotional reactivity.
Thus, any conclusion about lying is an inference
The Control Questions Technique (CQT) typically consist of about 10 questions
Relevant questions deal with the issue at hand; control questions deal with possible past behaviors that might generate emotion on the subject's part
The Relevant-Irrelevant Test was the first widely used polygraph test of deception
The relevant questions are similar in form and content to the relevant questions in the control question procedure, but the irrelevant questions reflect a different type and are innocuous.
Scoring: a value of 0 is assigned to comparisons where no difference is observed, 1 to a noticeable difference, 2 to a strong difference, and 3 to a dramatic difference.
These scores are based on a visual inspection of graphic data, there is certainly room for error.
The CQT leads to ore false positives (classifying truthful people as liars) than false negatives (classifying liars and truthful).
The lie detector is stressful and examiners often rely on deceit to convince the subject that the test is accurate
The Military Rule of Evidence 707 made the results of polygraph tests inadmissible in all military courts-martial.
Scientists and legal experts are in dispute about the reliability of polygraph results
"Fooling the Polygraph"
Suppress physiological responses to relevant questions
Augment physiological response to control questions, thereby increasing the baseline measure of the subject's emotional response
Suppress the overall level of physiological activity by taking drugs
Use mental rather than physical countermeasures because they cannot be detected by observation or even sensitive equipment
Deception-motivated subjects can think of emotionally arousing thoughts while being asked the emotional-baseline-generating questions.
Know the legal definition of insanity
It is part of Western moral and legal tradition that a person who is unaware of the meaning of his or her acts should not be held criminally responsible for them.
is a legal term pertaining to a defendant's ability to determine right from wrong when a crime is committed. Here's the first sentence of law.com's lengthy definition:
Insanity. n. mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct her/his affairs due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior.
What is meant by mens rea and why is this concept important?
Mens rea- "guilty mind" is essential to the classification of an illegal act
A determination of guilt and punishment, as evaluations and responses, should ensue only if there is a free will and intent to do harm (Durham v. United States, 1954)
Guilt in a criminal sense requires not only the commission of an illegal act but a concurrently existing state of mind reflecting awareness of the act's implications
What is meant by a judgment of "not guilty by reason of insanity" (NGRI) and what are the implications of this judgment?
Criminal defendants who are found NOT to be criminally responsible are judged "not guilty by reason of insanity." (NGRI)
these individuals are usually committed to a psychiatric hospital and remain there as long as they- according to the judgment of the psychiatric staff- fit the criteria for possession of serious psychiatric disorders
Most of these individuals spend extended periods in confinement, sometimes longer than if they had been found guilty and sentenced to prison (ex: John Hinckley, Jr. is still confined to a hospital in Washington, D.C.)
Know the M'Naghten Rule
The M'Naghten Rule- developed 100 years ago as a result of a trial in England
It contains 3 elements in which a person should be judged insane if the following are present:
The defendant was suffering from a "defect of reason, from a disease of the mind."
As a result, the defendant did not "know" the "nature and quality of the act he was doing."
As a result, the defendant did not know that "what he was doing was wrong."
½ of the states in the U.S. currently use the M'Naghten Rule in defining insanity
The M'Naghten test is called a cognitive test of insanity because it emphasizes the quality of the person's thought processes and perceptions of reality at the time of the crime.
Arizona recently passed a law limiting their M'Naghten test to only of knowing right from wrong
Know the Irresistible Impulse Standard
Characterized by the irresistible impulse exemption- if a defendant demonstrated cognitive knowledge of right or wrong, he or she could still be found not guilty by reason of insanity if his or her free will was so destroyed or overruled that the person had lost the poser to choose between right and wrong.
This loss of ability to control one's behavior is referred to as the volitional aspect of insanity
Know the Durham Test
Criticism of the M'Naghten standard's cognitive focus caused the courts to abandon reliance on the irresistible impulse exception and to seek broader definitions.
Durham v United States (1954) ruled that the accused was not criminally responsible if his or her unlawful act was a product of mental disease or defect.
This led to mental experts increasingly testifying in trials involving the insanity plea, who interpreted the term "mental disease" to mean any familiar clinical-diagnostic label.
The Durham standard is now only used in New Hampshire.
Know the ALI Standard
The ALI Standard or Brawner Rule
Criticism of the Durham rule led to a further attempt at modification in the form of the American Law Institute (ALI).
The ALI standard state "A person is not responsible for criminal conduct if at the time of the action, as a result of mental disease or defect, he [or she] lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality (wrongfulness) of his [or her] conduct or to conform his [or her] conduct to the requirements of the law."
The term mental disease or defect does not include an abnormality manifested only by repeated criminal or otherwise antisocial conduct.
It requires "substantial capacity" rather than total incapacity.
The ability to "appreciate" wrongfulness rather than to "know" it connotes volitional or affective as well as cognitive understanding
There are two prongs to the ALI
A cognitive one ("can't appreciate the wrongfulness")
A volitional one ("can't conform his or her conduct")
Currently 20 states in the U>S. use the ALI standard
Thus, psychologists who carry out insanity evaluations need to have a working knowledge of the definition of insanity in their jurisdiction
What is meant by the guilty but mentally ill verdict (GBMI) and what are the implications of this judgment?
The Guilty but Mentally Ill Verdict (GBMI)
A decision that combines the recognition of mental illness in defendants but still holds them guilty has been adopted as a supplement to the insanity defense standards in several states
13 states provide for this type of verdict
The defendant is provided treatment at a state mental hospital until he or she is declared to be sane; then the defendant is sent to prison
One of the original purposes of the GBMI legislation was to provide treatment within a correctional setting for those criminal defendants with psychiatric disorders.
The definition of GBMI and provisions for incarceration and treatment differ from state to state
It can be difficult for jurors to distinguish between the concepts of NGRI and GBMI. A claim of NGRI is an affirmative defense to a crime (the defendant is not responsible) in the eyes of the law and the defendant is subjected to civil proceedings for their confinement, but not to criminal incarceration or punishment.
GBMI is not a defense; it is a verdict, implying that the defendant is criminally culpable and eligible for criminal sanctions. It denotes the possession of a mental disorder, but does not absolve the person of guilty or criminal responsibility.
GBMI came from a population of those who would have been found guilty, rather than from the population of those NGRI
The GBMI verdict does not ensure that such offenders will get effective treatment.
What is meant by ultimate-issue testimony?
The ultimate issue is legal insanity
The Insanity Defense Reform Act of 1984 modified federal law specifically to prohibit mental health experts from testifying about ultimate legal issues.
The Federal Rule of Evidence 704(b) states that "no expert witness testifying with respect to the mental state or condition of the defendant in a criminal case may state an opinion or inference as to whether the defendant did or did not have the mental state or condition constituting an element of the crime charged or of the defense thereto. Such ultimate issues are matters for the trier of fact alone."
This led to confusion in the federal courts. Supposedly, the expert could describe a defendant's mental condition and the effects it could have had on his or her thinking and behavioral control, but the expert could not state conclusions about whether the defendant was sane or insane. Some commentators have stated that this exclusion may lead to the omission from the trial of clinical information relevant to the case.
Ogloff et al. (1993) stated "if the revised rule were applied strictly, an expert could not testify as to whether a given defendant was legally sane or insane and whether he or she had a 'mental disease,' 'intended' to do great bodily harm, 'knew' the probable consequences of his or her act, 'knew' what he or she was doing, 'appreciated' the criminality of his or her conduct, and so forth. Yet the same expert is literally being asked by the courts to give testimony that bears directly on such psychological constructs."
Why is it important to assess a person's competency? What criteria does the person need to meet in order to be judged competent or incompetent?
In general, competency to stand trial, or "competency," refers to a person's ability to understand the nature and purpose of court proceedings, and it is applicable at every stage of the criminal justice process, from interrogations and pretrial hearings to trials and sentencing hearings.
Criminal proceedings should not continue against any person who is not able to understand their nature or purpose.
Competency evaluation is relevant at several points: the decision how to plead, the decision to stand trial, and the decision to testify on one's own behalf.
Part of the proceeding principle is that no defendant's life should be taken if he or she does not understand the implications of his or her acts = competency to be executed.
Competency does not necessarily mean an absence of insanity
The criterion in the determination of competency here is the present level of ability of the defendant, not his or her state at the time of the offense; thus the focus differs from the evaluation of the defendant's sanity.
The defendant's ability to relate to his or her attorney, the defendant's understanding of the charges and the range of penalties, and his or her ability to manifest appropriate courtroom behavior and to testify in a relevant fashion are a must.
The judge of course, decides whether the defendant is competent to stand trial. But judges often defer to the opinion of the examining psychologist or psychiatrist.
What is the difference between competency to plead guilty and competency to stand trial?
Competency to plead guilty
Defendants who, at their arraignment, decide to plead guilty have, in effect, waived several of their constitutional rights, including the right to a jury trial and the right to confront their accusers.
Johnson v Zerbst (1938) the Supreme Court declared that such a waiver must be "knowing, intelligent, and voluntary."
Psychologist's assist the courts by providing competency evaluations.
Competency to stand trial
Theoretically, the evaluation for competency to stand trial is not as exacting as that for competency to plead guilty as defendants at trial need only to be aware of how the proceedings work and to be able to cooperate with their attorneys to prepare a defense.
The criterion in the determination of competency here is the present level of ability of the defendant, not his or her state at the time of the offense; thus the focus differs from the evaluation of the defendant's sanity.
The defendant's ability to relate to his or her attorney, the defendant's understanding of the charges and the range of penalties, and his or her ability to manifest appropriate courtroom behavior and to testify in a relevant fashion are a must.
The judge of course, decides whether the defendant is competent to stand trial. But judges often defer to the opinion of the examining psychologist or psychiatrist
What is malingering?
A special problem in assessing the mental state of individuals is to determine whether their statements are truthful or are the result of malingering
Malingering is "the conscious fabrication or gross exaggeration of physical and/or psychological symptoms, done in order to achieve external goals such as avoiding prison or receiving monetary compensation."
What are the 3 types of malingerers?
The pathogenic- people who are motivated by underlying pathology
The criminological: people with an antisocial or oppositional motivation; they may feign mental disorders to obtain outcomes they do not deserve
The adaptational: the person who makes an attempt from the feigner's perspective to succeed in highly adversarial circumstances.
What is the goal of risk assessment?
Risk assessment- generally refers to the process of conceptualizing various hazards in order to make judgments about their likelihood and the need for various preventative measures.
The concept of "risk" is quite complex and multifaceted
Includes judgments of the nature of the hazard, the likelihood of occurrence, the frequency of occurrence, the seriousness of the consequences, and the imminence of occurrence.
The primary goal of psychological assessment is to attempt to make predictions about future behavior based on some set of factors that are combined in some fashion into a predictive scheme.
Be able to compare/contrast clinical prediction, actuarial prediction, and amamnestic prediction
Clinical prediction- the prediction is based on clinical experience and judgment
Actuarial prediction- the prediction is based on a statistical scheme or formula
Anamnestic prediction- the prediction is based on a specific analysis of how a particular person has acted in the past in similar situations.
Know why Barefoot v. Estelle (1983) and Jurek v. Texas (1976) are important in forensic psychology/psychiatry
"Psychiatrists and psychologists are accurate in no more than one out of three predictions of violent behavior over a several-year period among institutionalized populations that had both committed violence in the past and who were diagnosed as mentally ill."
Despite this, courts have actually invited such predictions, and indeed have at times ignored warnings from mental health professionals that such predictions were problematic
Barefoot v. Estelle (1983)- argued that psychiatrists, individually and as a group, are incompetent to predict with an acceptable degree of reliability that a particular criminal will commit other crimes in the future and so represent a danger to the community. The American Psychiatric Association actually submitted an amicus brief in the case, supporting this argument
Jurek v. Texas (1976)- the Court also did not accept the argument that mental health professionals were no better than laypersons, and they reasoned that even if this were true, mental health professionals were no worse than laypersons.
Why did we move from the "dangerousness" concept to the "risk assessment" model?
As the concept of "dangerousness" began to fall into disfavor in the scientific community, a new "risk assessment" model began to emerge.
This model was based not on the legal conceptions of violence and "dangerousness" offenders, but rather on a model influenced by public health, such that violence was seen not just as a crime but as a health problem like cancer.
"dangerousness" had conceptualized as a dichotomous variable (dangerous or not dangerous), whereas risk could be conceptualized on a continuum (from low to high).
It is clear that a history of previous violence is strongly predictive of future violence.
The dispositional factor of psychopathy has been strongly linked to increased future risk of various types of problematic behavior, such as violence and sexual offending
Certain clinical symptoms, such as command hallucinations, and contextual factors, such as neighborhood, have also been found to be predictive of violence
Risk assessments can be made with "moderate to good" levels of accuracy under certain conditions
What are static predictors of violence? What are dynamic predictors of violence? What are risk management predictors of violence?
Static predictors- features of an individual, or historical events that are not changeable
Dynamic predictors- things that change over time and situation
Risk management predictors focus on the nature of the situation or environment in which the person lives or will live in the future
Another 5 of the 20 predictors are dynamic factors: a lack of insight into one's capacity for violent behavior; a tendency to be angry an hostile in interpersonal situations; psychotic symptoms, such as delusions or hallucinations; impulsivity and unstable negative emotions; and resistance or lack of response to treatment
The last 5 of the 20 predictors are risk management variables: a lack of supervision and monitoring after release; easy access to victims, drugs and alcohol, and weapons; a lack of social support or resources; noncompliance with medication or treatment; and a great deal of stress in family, employment, and peer relations.
Be able to list a few known predictors of domestic violence
First, men who batter their spouses have often experienced family violence in their childhoods.
It seems that the effect of witnessing violence is even stronger than the effect of being the target of the violence, though those who suffer both are even more likely to batter a spouse.
Second, though spousal assault occurs in all socioeconomic strata, it appears that men with less education and lower income are more prone
Demographic differences between partners also increase the risk
Third, high rates of alcohol use or abuse are also markers of domestic violence
Fourth, about half the men who batter their wives also batter their children
Batterers report lower self-esteem
Anger does not appear to be related to wife assault; stress (with the exception of work stress) also does not appear to be directly related as a risk factor.
Batterers often test higher on depression, but it is not clear that the depression is a cause of the battering
Traditional sex-role attitudes are also surprisingly unrelated to battering.
Know the four ecological risk factors for child abuse
The ontogenic level- individual factors and parent characteristics, such as being a young single parent of lower socioeconomic status
The microsystem level- family factors, such as marital discord
Ecosystem or community level- includes social support and employment stress
Macrosystem or cultural level- cultural values
These factors form "contexts of maltreatment" that can influence the likelihood of child maltreatment
What are the two conceptually distinct tasks involved in the appraisal of likelihood for violence in the future?
The first to select which characteristics to attend to
The second pertains to how risk factors are combined.
What is Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS)? What are some of the components of BWS?
A syndrome is usually defined as a set of symptoms that may exist together, such that they may be considered to imply a disorder or disease
The battered woman syndrome- defined as a woman's presumed reactions to a pattern of continual physical and psychological abuse inflicted on her by her mate
Battered women's psychological realities vary considerably from each other and, in fact, do not fit a single profile.
Components of the Battered Woman Syndrome:
Impaired functioning (inability to engage in planful behavior)
Loss of the assumption of invulnerability and safety
Fear and terror
Diminished alternatives (battered women focus their energies on survival within the relationship rather than exploiting options outside)
. Hypervigilance to cues of danger- one of the more important symptoms. As a result of being battered women notice subtle things
10. High tolerance for cognitive inconsistency- Battered women often express two ideas that appear to be logically inconsistent with each other
Know the Cycle of Abuse and its 4 parts
Cycle of abuse
Man may be loving, nurturing, giving, and attentive to the woman's needs during courtship early in the marriage
Tension-building phase: more criticism, verbal bickering, increased strain, and perhaps minor physical abuse
Acute battering incident- the violent step in which the batterer explodes into an uncontrollable rage, leading to injuries to the woman
Contrite phase- the batterer's use of promises and gifts increases the battered woman's hope that violence occurred for the last time. The batterer expresses regret and apologizes, perhaps promising never to lose control again.
Be familiar with the Power and Control Wheel categories
The Power and Control Wheel: 8 categories of psychological abuse
Coercion and threats
Minimization, denial, and blaming
Use of children to control the woman
Use of "male privilege"
What are the two theories behind battered women who kill?
Theory 1: The differences between those battered women who kill and those who do not have more to do with the man's behavior than with woman's.
Most battered women are more sensitive than the non-battered woman in perceiving the imminent danger to which they respond
Theory 2: "It appears that battered women who kill are subject to more sever abuse, are somewhat older and less well-educated, and have fewer resources for coping with that abuse than do battered women in general.
Know the difference between the self-defense defense and the insanity defense in terms of BWS
The battered woman self-defense rests on the justification of the act as a necessary one in order to protect the woman or someone else (usually the children) from further harm or death
Self defense is defined in most states as the use of equal force or the least amount of force necessary to repel danger when the person reasonably perceives that she or he is in imminent danger of serious bodily damage or death. Its key components include a reasonable perception of imminent danger and a justified use of lethal force
Argues that the woman was unable to tell the difference between right and wrong "because she was mentally incompetent and therefore should be excused from any culpability."
What are the three types of reactions to trauma in terms of BWS?
Psychological distress or dysfunction
What is the explanation for why battered women attack while the man was asleep?
Inform the jury of the reasonableness of the battered woman's perception of danger
"Many women know that their abusive partner is still dangerous even while he is asleep, frequently forcing his sexual demands upon waking and immediately beginning another attack. Often these men do not sleep for long periods of time, waking early, especially if she is not right by his side as he frequently orders."
The testimony may demonstrate how repeated physical abuse can so heighten a battered woman's fear and her awareness of her husband's physical capabilities that she considers him as dangerous asleep as awake, as dangerous before an attack as during one.
Know the criticisms of the use of BWS and the Battered Woman Defense.
One of the problems in the use of the battered woman defense at trial is the behavior of the attorneys representing the woman
A second problem is that the defense may cause emotions expressed by the woman during and immediately following the homicide to resurface.
This contributes to the notion that women show their emotions more than men and that the defendant's emotional response is relevant to the case
During witness preparation attorneys sometimes advise the defendant to look more feminine, exploiting gender stereotyping to try to win the case.
Psychologists view the use of the battered woman defense as a mixed blessing.
The "who she is" manifested by the use of a syndrome is a sufferer of a disability. The use of BWS pathologizes battered women
The focus is less often on "what she did."
Learned Helplessness (Seligman)
Seligman's dogs were rendered helpless and immobile by receiving non-contingent electric shocks; therefore, "one would predict that if battered women suffered from learned helplessness they would not assert control over their environment; certainly, one would not predict such positive assertion of control as killing the batterer."
What is Rape Trauma Syndrome (RTS)?
A syndrome is defined as a set of symptoms that may exist together, such that they may be considered to imply a disorder or disease. Not all symptoms have to exist in every subject, and, in fact, the criteria for how many must be present are unclear.
Burgess and Holmstrom (1974) coined the term rape trauma syndrome (RTS)
Self-reports by those raped, descriptions by psychotherapists and trained social-service workers, and reactions by friends and family of those who had been attacked- showed great uniformity of responses.
It should be noted that not all survivors suffer from the same severity of symptoms
Each person who has been raped has a different story to tell, but they all share reactions of personal intrusion and lifelong impact.
An ecological model of response to having been raped emphasized that a variety of personal, event, and environmental factors could influence the recovery from a sexual assault.
Person variable (age and developmental stage of the victim); relationship to the offender; ability of the victim to identify and make use of available social support; the meaning that is assigned to the traumatic event by the victim by family and friends, police, medical personnel, and victim advocates with whom the victim has had contact in the immediate aftermath of trauma
Event variables including frequency, severity, and duration of the traumatic event(s) and the degree of physical violence, personal violation, and life-threats endured by the victim.
Environmental variables such as degree of safety and control; prevailing community attitudes and values about sexual assault; availability, quality, accessibility, and diversity of victim care and victim advocacy services.
Know the phases of RTS
RTS has two phases, an acute crisis phase and a long-term reactions phase
The first phase may contain reactions that last for days or weeks, and these are likely to be quite severe. They can affect all aspects of the survivor's life, including physical, psychological, social, and sexual aspects.
The second phase is a reconstructive one and includes survivors' coming to terms with their reactions and attempting to deal with the hurt and sadness in an effective way.
Phase 1: Acute Crisis Phase
The acute crisis phase is one of much disorganization in the survivor's lifestyle; it is often described by survivors as a state of shock, in which they report that everything has fallen apart inside. Many reexperience the attack over and over again in their minds, have nightmares.
Those who are raped in their own beds are particularly affected by insomnia.
96% reported feeling scared, anxious and worried 2-3 hours after the rape
92% said they were terrified and confused. That thoughts were racing 2-3 hours after the rape.
Other reactions immediately following the rape included: shaking or trembling, racing heart, pain, tight muscles, rapid breathing, numbness.
Acute crisis phase contd
Nearly half of rape survivors scored as moderately or severely depressed on the BDI.
19% attempted suicide
The person's previous sense of invulnerability dissipates in a decrease of self-esteem
Phase one reactions also include:
Denial, shock and disbelief- survivors may question their family and friends about how the rape could have happened
Disruption- changes in sleeping an eating patterns are typical. Personality may disorganize
Guilt, hostility, blame- others may react by blaming the victim, or by assuming that the rape could have been avoided or otherwise attributing responsibility for having been raped to the person who was raped. Victims, too, respond with guilt and self-blame.
The self-blaming response may be the second most frequent one after fear. Survivors blame their own actions for the rape, or at least imply that different behaviors on their part could have avoided it.
Self-blame can be so strong that the victim believes the rape was their fault or that the man cared for them. Cases are reported of survivors who even married the men who raped them.
Other survivors may direct their aggression and blame at men in general, or at society for permitting sexual assaults to occur.
Only 56% assigned blame to the rapist
Acute phase contd
Regression to a state of helplessness or dependency: People who have been raped often report the feeling that they no longer are independent individuals
Feelings that they no longer have control over their lives and what happens to them
Distorted perceptions: distrust and pessimism- even paranoia- are frequent reactions to being the recipient or a sexual assault
41% of those college students who were acquaintance-rape survivors believed that they would be raped again.
Phase II: Long-Term Reactions
In the second phase, survivors face the task of restoring order to their lives and reestablishing a sense of equilibrium and the feeling of mastery over their world
Most of the improvement occurs somewhere between one and three months after the rape, but only 20-25% of survivors reported no symptoms one year after the attack
25% of the women researched had not significantly recovered several years after the rape.
Responses that may reoccur are specific anxieties; guilt and shame; catastrophic fantasies; feelings of dirtiness, helplessness, or isolation; and physical symptoms
Long-Term Reactions contd
Cognitive development may be impeded
It is not uncommon to experience contradictory feelings; fear, sadness, guilt, and anger all at the same time
Major symptoms of the second phase:
Phobias and other manifestations of fear and anxiety.
a rape can be viewed as a classical conditioning stimulus, and thus anything associated with the rape will come to be feared
The nature of the conditional associations to the rape leads victims to alter their lives in many ways
Disturbances in general functioning: carrying out routine aspects of life is often a challenge during the second phase.
Changes in eating patterns and sleeping patterns remain a problem
The quality of intimate relationships may deteriorate
Sexual problems: Rape has a strong negative effect on the survivor's sexual life
Rape survivors reported that they did not enjoy sex with their partner as much as they had before they were raped, and this level of satisfaction was not as every type of intimate relationship
Rape survivors reported less desire to engage in sexual activity
Changes in lifestyle: some survivors of a sexual assault may restructure their activities and change their jobs and their appearance
Changing their phone numbers is typical. Moving to another residence or another city is not unusual
What is the relationship between RTS and PTSD?
The Relationship of RTS to PTSD
Many possible parallels between the rape trauma syndrome and PTSD
PTSD is "apparently more sever and longer lasting when the stressor is of human design" than if it were a disaster of nature or war combat
Repeated experiencing of the traumatic event or avoidance of those situations, ideas, and feelings that were related to the rape
Psychic numbing or reduced responsiveness to the environment
At least two of these: difficulty falling or staying asleep; irritability or outbursts of anger; difficulty concentrating; hypervigilance; exaggerated startle response; physiological reactivity upon exposure to events that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event
PTSD is present in survivors of rape, and some have concluded that survivors of rape are the largest single group of PTSD sufferers
What can the psychologist do in terms of psychological assessment of a rape victim? Know some of the important points to remember about assessing rape victims in terms of important information to obtain.
When a person reported having been raped and becomes a witness in a criminal trial against her or his alleged attacker, one task for a forensic clinical psychologist is an assessment of the survivor's claims and responses
At the trial, a forensic psychologist can be called on to testify about the presence of the rape trauma syndrome in order to support the survivor's claim of rape, especially if there is no corroborating evidence to support the claim
Documenting the survivor's level of psychological, social, and physical functioning both before and after the sexual assault
Assessing the survivor's changes in identity, including loss of self-esteem and dignity, increased difficulty in decision making, and changes in feeling about her appearance
Interviewing the survivor and administering self-report measures to determine the presence of phobias as well as generalized and specific fears
Determining social adjustment, level of sexual functioning, and coping mechanisms, and identifying other stressors around the time of the rape
Interviewing others to corroborate the survivor's report, as well as obtaining their evaluations of the survivor's truth telling
Determining if the survivor has experienced previous sexual assaults
Psychologists need to exercise great care in the way they question rape survivors
Survivors often are reluctant to disclose or describe the assault and give them support when interviewing them
Sexual Assault Symptoms Scale
Clinical Trauma Assessment
Rape Trauma Syndrome Rating Scale
Impact of Event Scale, or IES
Testimony as an Expert Witness
One justification for the testimony of a psychologist as an expert witness in a rape trial is that jurors do not fully understand the nature of rape; they may misinterpret the reactions of the survivor, and they may believe a number of rape myths, or incorrect assumptions about the causes and consequences of rape
A number of specific MYTHS abound:
Women cannot be raped against their will
Women secretly wish to be raped
Most accusations of rape are faked
Specific knowledge about the rape trauma syndrome is often lacking
Laypersons were not well informed on many relevant issues
Most rapes are acquaintance rapes, not rapes by strangers
The jury is essentially is faced with answering the question: "Who do you believe?"
On the issue of consent or lack of consent
Is a complainant's behavior consistent with having been raped?
The most accepted use of RTS in rape prosecutions was through expert testimony, presented by the prosecution, in order to demonstrate that the alleged victim's behavior was consistent with that of victims in general
Trauma in the survivor serves as evidence of a lack of consent
State v. Marks (1982)- the prosecution introduced the expert testimony of a forensic psychologist who had examined the survivor two weeks after the encounter and concluded "that she was suffering from the PTSD known as rape trauma syndrome."
The defendant was convicted
Questions about the Behavior of the Alleged Victim
Survivors may delay in reporting the attack; when they testify, they may make inconsistent statements or reflect a lack of memory
The defense attorney may use these behaviors to attack the credibility of the alleged victim
The psychologist as witness may educate the jury about the real reactions and feelings of rape survivors as well as disabusing them of misconceptions
The expert would testify as a rebuttal witness, after the survivor's credibility has been challenged, either on cross-examination or during the defense's direct examination
In a civil suit to support a claim of damages
On occasion, a survivor may sue an alleged attacker in a civil action to recover damages, or a third party may be sued for failure to provide protection
As a defense for culpable behavior by a rape survivor
What if a woman feared for her life when she later encountered the man who had raped her, and thus attempted to murder him?
People v. Mathews (1979) the defendant's claim was that she was suffering from RTS which was supported by expert testimony, and she was acquitted of the charge of attempted murder
In not all cases has the testimony about the common aftereffects of rape been admitted
Appellate courts have sometimes concluded that the RTS is unreliable, prejudicial, or unhelpful to the jury
Particular courts concluded:
Psychologists cannot accurately determine whether a rape occurred
The testimony would improperly bolster the testimony against the defendant
The testimony is not beyond the common knowledge of the jury
Testimony about RTS is different in that its use- by the prosecution- to show that the behavior (i.e. the rape) actually occurred.
The Kansas Supreme Court held that only psychiatrist could testify about a diagnosis of RTS or PTSD
Sometimes the courts have placed limits on the use of RTS testimony
The purpose of the testimony is crucial with regard to decisions about its admissibility
"in every case in which the testimony has been found to be scientifically unreliable, it is because the court has ruled that the testimony cannot reliably determine, or prove, that a rape occurred... In contrast, courts that have found the testimony reliable focus on whether RTS is a generally accepted response to sexual assault.
The Daubert case requires that in order admitted, scientific evidence must meet standards of reliability
This may reduce the willingness of some trial judges to admit testimony about the existence of the rape trauma syndrome
Recent research has established that "rape victims experience more depression, anxiety, fear, and social adjustment problems than women who have not been victimized... [and] that may victims experience PTSD symptoms following an assault."
At the same time, experts needs to be careful to limit their testimony to verifiable statements
Two central questions:
What symptoms do rape victims experience?
Do rape victims differ in their set of symptoms from those who are not victims?
Depression- one of the most commonly reported symptoms
Fear- one study fond that recent rape victims were more fearful than victims of other crimes. Duration of the fear was unclear
Anxiety- Difficulties in concentrating and avoidance of certain situations because of anxiety were present ore often in rape victims than in nonvictims, for at least a year after the rape.
82% of rape victims met criteria for a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder
Know the 5 levels of testimony in RTS
Level 1: testimony on specific behaviors of rape survivors that are described as "unusual" by the defense
Delay in reporting a rape, failure to identify the attacker are not that unusual
Level 2: Testimony on the common reactions to rape and the general diagnostic criteria of RTS or PTSD
Level 3: Expert gives an opinion about the consistency of a victim's behavior or symptoms with RTS or PTSD
Valid use of expert testimony, since the psychologist "does not appear to unfairly comment on the victim's credibility."
Level 4: Testimony stating that the victim suffers from RTS or PTSD. The expert describes the complainant's symptoms and states that these meet the criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD, but the expert does not state that the complainant was raped. Any psychologist who is allowed to testify has the ethical obligation to state the limitations on the concepts her or she introduces
Level 5: Expert opinion that goes beyond a diagnosis. At this level, the expert testifies that the victim is telling the truth and that she was raped. Almost all states refuse to admit this level of testimony
This is ultimate-opinion testimony that invades the role of the fact finder.
Know the different levels of post-partum
Postpartum Depression (PPD)
Not a diagnosis, rather it is a specifier for DSM-IV diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) such as MDD with postpartum onset
Postpartum blues or baby blues
Postpartum blues and depression both involve disruptions in mood and related functioning, but not a loss of contact with reality
postpartum psychosis does not include deficits in perceiving reality, including hallucinations and delusions
Only a small minority of affected women experience postpartum psychosis
Despite the rarity of postpartum psychosis, it has been raised as a defense to murder
Andrea Yates- convicted of murdering her 5 children. Jury rejected expert testimony that she was mentally ill and convicted and sentence her to life in prison. Her conviction was reversed and she was retried in 2006 and found NGRI.
Postpartum psychosis has a valid scientific basis as a distinct cultural entity, ad has been proven to severely affect women's mental health, including their ability to perceive their environments accurately. However, its acceptance by juries as a defense where women have killed their children is not clear.
What does mediation do in terms of child custody decisions?
Once a couple decides to divorce, they face the task of determining custody of the children.
If the patents cannot agree on custody, a court may order mediation:
More informal and court personnel and adversarial lawyers are not present
Sessions are usually held in private, and the proceedings are confidential
Participants in mediation are more satisfied with the process and the outcome than are parents who use the courts
Cases are settled more quickly than if they were to go through court
Psychologists as well as attorneys have become mediators in a variety of disputes
The mediator's job is to try to help the parties resolve their differences through an agreement.
The mediator explores options with the couple and provides a safe environment for communication; many mediators believe confidentiality to be necessary if the mediation is to succeed.
Mediators seek agreements about plans for the children that can be put in writing, even though mediators do not have the power to enforce binding rulings
Each parent must agree to cooperate with the other parent in raising the children, regardless of his or her feelings about the other parent
Psychologists can facilitate the realization of several benefits through mediation.
Distinguish between demands and needs
Discuss how property will be divided, how custody will be structured, and how visitations will be implemented
Increase the emotional acceptance of divorce by the two parties
Achieve an atmosphere that helps the former spouses to establish a new working relationship that is essential for the coparenting of their children
Achieving the goals of mediation becomes more challenging when one parent is passive and not standing up for his or her parental rights
The mediator cannot become and advocate for one side
Mediation is not necessarily beneficial
"Mediation- especially when conducted in a high-conflict divorce- may actually increase the strength of association between parental and child problems" (Melton, et al., 1997).
What are challenges if you are serving as the child's therapist?
Another role for the psychologist is as a psychotherapist for children experiencing the trauma of family conflict and incipient divorce
The psychologist can EITHER serve as a counselor OR as the evaluator. The psychologist MAY NOT do both. This places an undue burden on the psychologist
The psychologists could testify in court as a fact witness (not as an expert witness) while avoiding any recommendation about custody
What is the purpose of having a psychologist serve as the court-appointed evaluator? What information does the report need to contain?
When custody of children surfaces as an issue in a divorce case, and the matter cannot be settled through mediation, the presiding judge will sometimes ask a clinical or counseling psychologist to serve as a court-appointed evaluator to make an evaluation and then a recommendation of the best custody arrangement
"Clinical impressions about alliances and conflicts within the family and heir bases might present judges with a useful framework for consideration of which child goes where (Melton et al., 1997)"
Thus, if appointed to do a custody evaluation, the psychologist must approach the task "unburdened by any particular point of view or preset conclusions" (Schutz et al., 1989)
The prime duty of the evaluator is to investigate , to gather facts for the judge; the clinical or counseling psychologist's strength is "talking with children and families under the stress and gathering information from diverse sources about the life of the family" (Melton et al., 1997)
The psychologist as evaluator then prepares a report for the judge; in some jurisdictions-but not all; copies of the report are available to the attorneys for each parent, and, in some jurisdictions, even family members get copies.
Reports should include:
Focus on the issues and problems of the family
Be credible, well-reasoned, clear, and thoughtful
Be fair, balanced, and neutral, avoiding advocacy of one parent and accentuating positives when possible
Avoid jargon and diagnosis, yet remain behaviorally focused
Contain recommendations that are focused and that clearly flow from the material in the report
Know the differences between the different types of custodies
Legal custody refers to the right to make major decisions about a child's life
Physical custody refers to where the child resides on a day-to-day basis
Sole custody arrangement- one parent obtains both legal and physical custody, with visitation by the other parent
Joint custody or shared custody arrangement- legal custody is shared, with one parent typically being designated as the primary residential parent for purposes of physical custody
Divided custody refers to the situation in which one parent gains sole custody of one or more of the children, and the other parent gains sole custody of any other(s)
Although many would assume that joint or shared parenting is always a better arrangement for the children, the research does no support such a conclusion. Instead, the research shows that children do best with parents who can work together and cooperate, regardless of the custody arrangements.
Joint custody arrangements are best when voluntarily chosen. If they are mandated by courts, joint custody arrangements can be detrimental to a child's post-divorce adjustment.
Effects of Type of Custody
The most consistent innovation by the courts regarding divorce in the last 3 decades is joint custody
In some recent statutes, such custody must be ordered by the judge unless the evidence exists that such an arrangement would be harmful to the child
But definitions of joint-custody differ widely from state to state.
In some instances, the amount of time the child is in the physical custody of each parent is split relatively equally; in other instances, the child lives mainly with one parent, but both parents retain legal decision making with respect to the child's education, health, and welfare
Joint legal custody does not necessarily mean shared physical custody
Fathers who continued to share custody of their children were more likely to make child-support payments and coparenting reduced the conflict between divorced parents
What is the Best-Interests-of-the-Child Standard?
A child is treated as a distinct person and is to be accorded, by law, individual rights in the child custody proceedings.
In most states, child custody statutes give the judge the power to make custody decisions "as justice requires," generally using some version of the "best interests" test. Neither parent is now presumed to have a superior right to the child, according to current laws in most states
Section 402 of the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, passed by Congress in 1970, describes the following as among the factors a judge may consider in reaching a custody decision:
The mental and physical health of all individuals involved
The child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community
Each parent's ability to provide food, clothing, medication, and other remedial care and material benefits to the child
The interaction and interrelationship of the child with parents or other individuals who might affect the child's best interests (aka the parents' lifestyles)
The wishes of the parents and the wishes of the child
Is the best-interests standard present-oriented or future-oriented?
With respect to the child's preferences, the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act of 1970 directs judges to consider the child's wishes. All states now include this factor in their law
States specify an age, typically 12 or 14; others consider the maturity of the child's cognitive and emotional development
In re Marriage of Rosson (1986), the California court concluded that a child of sufficient age and capacity to reason well enough to form an intelligent custody preference has the right to have the preference seriously considered
Consensus is lacking about how much weight is to be given to the child's preferences, and sometimes the child's choice is considered only when other factors balance out the choice between parents
Courts have said with tedious regularity that the welfare of the child is the supreme goal to be obtained
Rarely is the child given the final choice in the exercise of his or her rights
What is the Tender Years Doctrine?
The Tender-Years Doctrine- presumes that the best interest of all children regardless of their gender and the best interests of girls (regardless of their age) are best served by awarding custody to the mother, assuming she is fit
The assumption that "a mother is the natural custodian of a child of tender years" was based on the theory that the father was unable to provide "that tender care which nature requires, and which it is the peculiar province of the mother to supply."
What are some of the ethical issues and temptations psychologists face in child custody issues?
Ethical Issues and Temptations
Recognizing one's limits and biases
Potential evaluators need to know what their own "hot buttons" are
Avoiding dual relationships
"a psychologist should avoid conducting a custody evaluation involving a family when he or she has seen a member(s) of the family at some previous time in individual psychotherapy or family therapy."
Violating confidentiality and informed consent
Both the APA ethics code and the law require psychologists not to reveal any information conveyed to them by their clients, without those clients' expressed within consent. But in child custody evaluations, the very nature of the evaluation means that the information will be shared with others, certainly with the judge responsible for the decision
In informing parents and gaining their consent, explaining each step in the evaluation process. Informed consent should also be extended to each child being evaluated
Custody evaluations versus psychological evaluations
Custody evaluations are not "pure" psychological evaluations. The goal in a custody evaluation is to assist the trier of fact in determining what is in the best interest of the child, not to diagnose all the personality inadequacies of each parent.
What is the ultimate opinion testimony in terms of child custody issues?
APA Guidelines do not say that you cannot give an opinion on the ultimate issue, and psychologists need to recognize that judges differ in the degree that they want ultimate-opinion testimony
Some judges are explicit about wanting a recommendation regarding the custody determination and will not reappoint a psychologist who won't give such an opinion
On the other hand, for some judges their authority and rule making are paramount
Some psychologists have concluded that it is inappropriate for custody evaluators to give testimony on the bottom-line question. Instead, the focus should be on the quality of the relationship between parents and the child.
Know some of the effects divorce has on children
1/10 of children in a study felt relieved when the quarreling parents separated, and these tended to be the older children who had been observers or recipients of physical abuse from one or both parents
"Almost half of children of divorces enter adulthood as worried, underachieving, self-deprecating, and sometimes angry young men and women."
"Sleeper effect" on females; many of them seemed to have adjusted to their parents' divorce well into adulthood, at which point they suffered 'an intolerable level of anxiety about betrayal.'"
Ten years after the divorce, more than one-third reported having poor relationships with both parents
How does eyewitness testimony contribute to wrongful convictions?
Reconstructing events from the past does not end with the arrest of a suspect. At a trial, the testimony of an eyewitness who incriminates the defendant is usually the most influential evidence
If a jury or a judge believe eyewitnesses who have testified in good faith, the belief leads to a conclusion of guilt
Alibis, circumstantial evidence, even masses of physical evidence favoring the defendant's innocence, can wither away in light of an eyewitness's courtroom identification
Eyewitnesses are not infallible
Wells (1993) concluded that eyewitness errors provide the single most frequent cause of wrongful convictions, and two recent examinations of such cases provide strong evidence for that assertion.
Know the differences between memory and memory testimony
Psychologists now possess extensive information on how eyewitness evidence can be improved in actual cases
The act of a witness describing or identifying a suspect involves more than memory alone; it invokes reasoning processes, suggestibility and social influence, self-confidence, authoritarian submission, conformity, and a host of other social processes
Memory and memory testimony are not the same
Memory testimony is the witness's statement of what he or she recalls of a prior event
These statements can be influenced by more than just memory processes
What are systems variables and estimator variables?
System variables include the type of questioning done by the police, the nature of the lineup or photo array, and the presence or absence of videotaping of procedures
When these variables contribute to eyewitness inaccuracy, they are preventable errors
Psychologists could aid in the construction of lineups and the development of interviewing procedures that reduce inaccuracy
Estimator variables- not controllable by the criminal justice system
Include environmental factors (length of time the witness saw the target, stress, weapons focus, cross-racial identification) and within-the-person variables (the witness's mental state, physical condition, eyesight, etc.)
Determined before the police respond
The degree of violence also affects the witness's ability to recall and event. Witnesses of a nonviolent act have been shown to remember aspects with more detail and correctness than were those who witnessed a violent act.
Know some of the problems with police procedures for interviewing eyewitnesses
Asking witness poorly constructed questions immediately upon discovering the crime
Allowing one eyewitness to overhear the responses of other eyewitnesses
Talking "spotty" notes of witnesses' answers (and not recording the actual questions asked)
Failing to use any theory of a proper memory interview
Using investigators who have little training in interviewing or the psychology of memory
What are some ways to improve accuracy of information in eyewitness testimony?
Ways to Improve the Accuracy of Information elicited from witnesses
Slow down the rate of questioning- don't impatiently interrupt the witness with another question
Re-create the original context- answering any questions about the crime, witnesses should be told to re-create, in their own minds, the environment that existed when the crime happened
Focus on how things looked and sounded and smelled, what they were doing, and what was happening around them
Tailor questions to the individual witness- many police routinely plod through a standardized checklist of questions. Be sensitive to each witness's unique perspective
Make the interview witness-centered rather than interviewer-centered
Investigators even apply their aggressive, controlling, intimidating style for questioning suspects to the interviewing of cooperative witnesses
Ask open-ended type and tell the subject that he or she should do most of the talking
Witnesses should be told not to edit their thoughts, but rather to pour forth all of them
Be sensitive to the distinction between correct and incorrect responses
Common sense suggests that when a witness is slow to respond, is less confident in his or her answers, or is inconsistent in answering from one situation to another, the response is less likely to be an accurate one
Subjects who take longer to respond make incorrect responses
Be sensitive to temptations to form premature conclusions
Know what is involved in a lineup versus a photo array
When police have a suspect, they usually ask any victim or other eyewitness to identify him or her through a lineup (aka identity parade) or a photo array (aka photo spread).
The use of photo arrays is now more frequent than the use of live lineups.
It is easier for police to assemble a photo spread than it is to arrange for a live lineup in which 4-7 innocent people bear some resemblance to the suspect.
What are some common errors in lineups to be careful of?
Implying that the criminal is definitely one of the stimulus people
Pressuring the witness to make a choice (demand characteristic)
Asking the eyewitness specifically about the suspect while not asking the same questions about foils (confirmation bias)
Encouraging a loose recognition threshold in the eyewitness by asking the witness if there is "anyone familiar," or "anyone who looks like the person."
Leaking the police officer's hunch by making it obvious to the eyewitness which is the suspect
Telling eyewitnesses, after a selection, that his or her choice is the "right" one.
What is the relative judgment process?
The witness selects the stimulus person who most resembles, in the witness's memory, the perpetrator of the crime. If the real culprit is present, this procedure is effective, but if the lineup contains only foils, an innocent person who resembles the perpetrator is likely to be chosen.
What are the four plus one rules that can reduce errors in eyewitness evidence/testimony?
"the person who conducts the lineup or photo spread should not be aware of which member of the lineup or photo spread is the suspect" (Wells et al., 1998)
Typically, the detective who has handled the case administers the lineup. The problem is that this officer, knowing who is the suspect, may communicate this knowledge, even without intending to do so.
Some detectives are not reluctant to tell witnesses when their choices identified the suspect. If a double-blind procedure is used, in which the lineup administrator is unaware of the "correct" answer, neither subtle nor overt communication would be made, and a purer estimate of the accuracy of the witness's memory and his or her confidence level could be determined
"eyewitnesses should be told explicitly that the perpetrator might not be in the lineup or photo spread and therefore eyewitnesses should not feel that they must make an identification. They should be told that the person administering the lineup does not know which person is the suspect in the case." (Wells et al., 1998)
Thus, it is essential for the investigator to emphasize that the culprit might not be in the photo array or lineup, by means of an instruction that states clearly that the perpetrator "may or may not be in the set of photos you are about to view."
Explicit warnings significantly reduce the rates of incorrect identifications when the offender is not in the lineup.
"The suspect should not stand out in the lineup or photo array as being different from the distracters based on the eyewitness's previous description of the culprit or based on other factors that would draw extra attention to the suspect." (Wells et al., 1998)
Distracters should be selected to match the description of the criminal given by the witness
"A clear statement should be taken from the eyewitness at the time of the identification and prior to any feedback as to his or her confidence that the identified person is the actual culprit." (Wells et al., 1998)
Repeated questioning by authorities may increase the confidence of the witness's answers
The initial levels of confidence should be recorded
The identification process (especially the lineup and the interaction between the detective and the witness) should be videotaped, so that attorneys, the judge, and the jury can later assess for themselves whether the reports of the procedure by police are accurate,
A recent N. Carolina statute requires the recording of identification procedures, and a 2006 New Jersey court ruling requires the same in the state.
One additional rule not included in Wells et al (1998), but strongly advised is that "scientific research indicates that identification procedures such as lineups and photo arrays produce more reliable evidence when the individual lineup members or photographs are shown to the witness sequentially- one at a time- rather than simultaneously." (Technical Working Group on Eyewitness Evidence, 1999)
Standard police lineups have traditionally used simultaneous procedures. However, under those conditions, eyewitnesses tend to compare lineup members to each other to determine which one most closely resembles their memory of the perpetrator (relative judgment)
Sequential presentation reduces or eliminates relative judgment by essentially forcing the witness to use an absolute criterion on each picture (yes or no) before seeing the next one.
This sequential presentation technique has been shown to reduce the rate of false alarms with little effect on correct identification rates.
U.S. Dept of Justice: Eyewitness Evidence: A Guide for Law Enforcement
What are some reasons that judges are fearful of eyewitness expert testimony?
In trials in which the testimony of an eyewitness is potentially pivotal and eyewitness accuracy is an issue, psychologists have often been denied the opportunity to testify
Some judges fear that an eyewitness expert's testimony will be so powerful that it will usurp the jury's role as fact-finder in the case.
Judges may fear a "battle of the experts."
Judges may feel that psychology does not possess information beyond the common knowledge of ordinary people, and therefore eyewitness expert testimony would not meet the usual criteria for expert testimony
What is social framework testimony?
general conclusions from social science research" to assist the fact-finder (whether that is judge or jury)" in determining factual issues in a specific case" (Monahan & Walker, 1988)
What are the three types of false confessions?
Voluntary false confessions are offered willingly, without elicitation. They may be instigated by a desire for publicity or by generalized guilt, or they may reflect some form of psychotic behavior
Coerced-compliant confessions are those in which the suspect confesses, even while knowing that he or she is innocent: coerced compliant confessions may be given to escape further interrogation, to gain a promised benefit, or to avoid a threatened punishment. The person does not privately believe that he or she committed the criminal act. In general, compliance refers to an inconsistency between one's public behavior and one's private opinion.
Coerced-internalized confessions are those in which the innocent suspect confesses and comes to believe that he or she is guilty. Interrogation by the police is a highly stressful experience that can create a number of reactions, including a state of heightened suggestibility in which "truth and falsehood become hopelessly confused in the suspect's mind."
Why are Miranda Rights important?
Police and legal experts differ about whether the Miranda warnings are a good idea (those most likely to waive their Miranda rights, and thus to place themselves into an interrogation situation alone, are those who know they are innocent).
The Miranda rights, also known as the Miranda warning, are read to people upon arrest. Police and other law enforcement personnel are required to read or recite this warning to suspected criminals to ensure that their rights under the United States Constitution are being protected. These rights include the Fifth Amendment right not to be forced to act as a witness against yourself and the Sixth Amendment right to legal counsel
What are the goals of police interrogations?
Police question suspects for two reasons: to get more information about the case and to induce suspects to confess
The main goal for the interrogation of suspects by the police is to gain information that furthers the investigation
What is okay for police to do and what isn't okay for police to do during interrogations?
What can police do and what can't they do?
The public has little knowledge about the broad limits given to police during interrogations
Police can use trickery, and they can lie to suspects and otherwise mislead them
It is legal for police to do the following:
Misrepresent the facts of the case
Use techniques that take unfair advantage of the emotions, beliefs, or medical condition of the defendant
Failure to inform the suspect of some important fact or circumstance that might make the suspect less likely to confess
Tactics that are illegal
The standard or criterion
Both physical and psychological coercion are of concern to the courts because either can cause innocent suspects to confess
As a rule, for a promise to invalidate a confession, it must have reference to the suspect's escape from punishment or the mitigation of his or her punishment.
a promise to the suspect that if she confesses she will be released from custody, that she will not be prosecuted, that she will be granted a pardon, or that she will receive a lighter sentence than the law prescribes will invalidate a confession
What are the three major themes of eliciting confessions?
Minimization is reflected in the "soft sell" techniques in which the interrogator offers sympathy, face-saving excuses, or moral justification
Maximization. An alternative strategy is to use "scare tactics" to frighten the suspect into confessing.
One way to accomplish maximization is by exaggerating the seriousness of the offense and the magnitude of the charges
The "knowledge-bluff" trick- pretend to have strong circumstantial evidence
"Baiting questions"- not necessarily accusatory in nature but still convey to suspects that some evidence exists that links them to the crime.
Rapport building is the emotional appeal, police manuals advise the interrogator to show sympathy, understanding, and respect through flattery and such gestures as the offer of a drink
What is interrogative suggestibility?
Police tend to believe that almost all suspects are guilty and that they confess only if they are guilty; thus, interrogators may extract confessions that are false without realizing it.
Police need to be sensitive to the fact that some suspects are subject to interrogative suggestibility; that is, because they are anxious or lacking a strong self-concept or for other reasons, they actually come to believe what the police are telling them
Subjects who score high on interrogative suggestibility also tend to have high levels of anxiety, low self-esteem, poor memories, and a lack of assertiveness
Sleep deprivation increases scores on interrogative suggestibility
What is the preponderance of evidence standard?
A low standard (the preponderance of evidence standard) for admitting such "gray-area" confessions into evidence.
In general, judges rarely conclude that the police trickery was so severe that it undermine voluntariness
What is the fundamental attribution error?
Mock jurors do not always consider the circumstances or give much weight to the possibility that coercion caused the confession, rather they tend to reflect an application of the fundamental attribution error, accepting a dispositional attribution of a person's actions with out fully accounting for the effects of situational factors.