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Psychology & Law Final
Terms in this set (43)
Expert testimony and opinion should be scientifically based
Use of psychology, psychiatry and other behavioral sciences to answer questions about individuals and their legal proceedings
Whether or not the person has the capacity to understand the legal proceedings (e.g., understand charges, able to participate in defense, communicate adequately with counsel, understand roles of CJ system players)
1. Ability to understand elements of adversarial system/process
2. Relate information to one's attorney that is relevant
3. Ability to understand position as defendant
1. Understand information related to decision that one must make as defendant
2. Weighing alternatives/options associated with decisions
3. Understanding legal questions specific to the case
4. Indicating choice among alternatives
Replacing the term competency to stand trial as competency must involved the competency to proceed and decisional competency; this term is considered broad enough to encompass all of the abilities that a defendant is expected to demonstrate
Types of Criminal Competencies
-Competence to stand trial
-Competence to be executed
-Competence to be sentenced
-Competence to waive Miranda
-Competence to waive counsel
Person must be able to not just understand what is happening but assist attorney in their defense; mere mental illness or retardation alone is insufficient to guarantee finding of incompetency
Presumption is sanity until contrary is proven; must demonstrate person did not know what they were doing or that it was wrong (Cognitive elements)
Not criminally responsible if at the time of the criminal act, person did not have capacity to appreciate wrongfulness or conform conduct to law (Emotional/Volitional Elements)
Defendants who are unable to commit a crime purposely and knowingly. Evidence must be provided. Did person have the state of mind to think about consequences of actions, contemplate them, and then commit? NOT right vs. wrong, or controllability of behavior
Intentional exaggeration of symptoms in order to gain some self-serving outcome.
Individuals can be motivated to malinger at many points during CJ process.
Without objective measures, psychologists don't do well assessing and accurately identifying malingering.
Motivated by underlying pathology; this can develop into a genuine disorder
Antisocial motivations drive the feigning of mental disorders in order to get particular undeserved outcomes
Person is trying to succeed against significantly unfavorable odds or in a very adverse situation
Research findings on NGRI
-Factor that is most strongly correlated with success is outcome of a court-authorized mental exam.
-NGRI defendants do not have a number of prior arrests or convictions that is significantly greater than that of other felons.
-Most come from lower SES.
-Most have a prior history of psychiatric hospitalizations and serious mental health diagnoses.
-Previously found incompetent to stand trial.
-Female and male NGRI counterparts have similar backgrounds.
-Jurors decided on morality or what is the "right thing to do" and not legal guidelines.
Insanity Defense Reform Act
-Sets the standard for insanity cases in federal courts; all tests require that a documented mental disorder first be shown.
-Removed the volitional prong (if you knew the difference between right and wrong but could not control your behavior, you may still be responsible)
-Ultimate opinions about insanity cannot be rendered by experts
-Burden of proof is on defendant to prove insanity by clear and convincing evidence, not on prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt
"to see, to tell, to speak the truth"
Process of asking questions of prospective jurors to determine biases and elimination of those who may not be able to render objective service
Social Desirability Effect
Wanting to appear positive in social contexts, particularly if there is a person who holds high status position
Implicit Personality Theory
An organized network of preconceptions that a person uses in order to make sense of how attributes relate to each other and observed behavior
-Can be rationally based and lead to stereotypes.
Scientific Jury Selection (SJS)
-Use of behavioral and social scientific principles; data driven approach.
-The basis of this type of selection is that juror attitudes predict voting preferences most effectively.
-May make a difference in cases in which juror characteristics may influence interpretation of unclear evidence.
1. Creating a list of citizens who are eligible
2. Selecting through careful analysis the citizens to call in a particular case
3. Examining prospective jurors under oath (voir dire)
Probe prospective jurors' membership in, or identification with, a myriad of social and cultural groups that are known to be either more "tough-minded" or more "tender minded" in their approach to social issues (e.g., age, marital status, occupation, education, religion, political preferences, etc.)
Tap prospective jurors' consciously held and expressed beliefs, attitudes, and opinions about a variety of issues that pertain either generally or specifically to the case at hand. (e.g., beliefs about the criminal justice system, the presumption of innocence, circumstantial evidence)
-Focus directly on relevant issues.
-Rationally/deliberately evaluating content (this requires motivation and ability)
-Quick reaction/intuitive; no careful analysis
e.g., Cognitive Experiential Self Theory:
When people rely on analysis and logic, they are using a rational cognitive process that is active and requires effort.
When they rely on feelings/emotions, they are relying on their experiences; this requires little effort and is the default.
The judge's view is that the jury's verdict was determined based on something other than evidence and law
Jurors in both criminal and civil cases pay considerable attention to the strength of the evidence.
The stronger the evidence against the defendant, the more likely the juror was to convict.
Irrelevant information that influences jury decisions. (e.g., attractiveness, race, evidence is ambiguous/balanced, criminal record, etc.)
Juror Characteristics/Attitudes in Influencing Verdict
-Attitudes about legal system
-Locus of Control
-Belief in a just world
Reforms to Jury System
-Simplify information processing demands (e.g., clearly worded instructions, present instructions both in writing and verbally)
-Jurors be allowed to ask questions (through the judge)
-Mid-trial discussion of evidence
Steps Between Arrest and Trial
-Change of venue
General: related to issues that are thematically relevant
Specific: related to case at hand
Mechanism that balances rights of individual and society
Factors that Affect Bail Setting
-Risk of Flight
-SES, Gender, and Ethnicit
the admission of guilt by 1st timers get probation with dismissal if they comply
Charges are dropped in return for plea of guilty to other charges
Reduced sentence for guilty plea
the way that decisions/options are presented may influence a person's choice
Defendants and attorneys believe they have a better chance to win than may be realistic; therefore less likely to accept plea bargain
Plea Bargain Advocates
-Start of rehabilitation
-Relieve backlog of cases
-Expeditious and result in finality
-Benefit to other stakeholders (victims, law enforcement)
-May lead to prosecution of others
Anti-Plea Bargain Positions
-Improper sentencing (too harsh or too lenient)
-Surrendering of constitutional rights
-Power dynamic/coercion (prosecutors have more power in negotiation; do innocents feel coerced?)
-Not available to all defendants
Steps in Profiling
1. Profiling inputs (gathering info)
2. Process Modeling (developing meaningful questions)
3. Crime Assessment (behavioral reconstruction. organized vs disorganized)
4. Criminal Profile (narrowing of descriptions of possible suspects)
5. Investigation (written report)
6. Apprehension (interviews of suspects)
Challenges associated with profiling
-More than one perpetrator
-Looking at all the pieces of the puzzle
Validity depends on crime and research
Recommended textbook explanations
Myers' Psychology for AP
David G Myers
Myers' Psychology for the AP Course
David G Myers
Arlene Lacombe, Kathryn Dumper, Rose Spielman, William Jenkins
Psychology: Principles in Practice
Spencer A. Rathus
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