27 terms

Legal Psychology chapter 1

chapter 1 and 2

Terms in this set (...)

Why do we have laws and what is the psychological approach to studying law?
Laws are human creations that have as their major purpose the resolution of human conflict. As society changes, new conflicts surface, leading to expansion and revision of the legal system. A psychological approach focuses on individuals as agents withing a legal system, asking how their internal qualities (personality, values, abilities, and experiences) and their environment, including the law itself, affect their behavior.
What choices are reflected in the psychological approach to the law?
The choices are (1) whether the goal of law is achieving personal freedom or ensuring the common good, (2) whether equality or discretion should be the standard for our legal policies, (3) whether the purpose of a legal inquiry is to discover the truth or to provide a means of conflict resolution, and (4) whether it is better to apply the methods of law or those of science for making decisions.
How do recent laws reflect the contrast between the due process model and the crime control model of the criminal justice system.
Recent laws in several states, including "thee-strikes" laws, reflect the increased salience of a crime control model, which seeks to contain or reduce criminal activity. Large increases in prison populations over the past few decades stem from this objective.
What are five roles that psychologists may play in the legal system and what does each entail?
(1) a basic scientist, interested in knowledge related to psychology and law for its own sake; (2) an applied scientist who seeks to apply basic research knowledge to a particular problem in the legal system; (3) a policy evaluator who capitalizes on methodological skills to design and conduct research that assesses the effects of innovations and program changes in the legal system; (4) A forensic evaluator who is either appointed by the court or retained at the request of one of the parties in the litigation to perform a psychological evaluation related to legal question; and (5) a consultant who works on behalf of a party or position in litigation. Each role entails its own set of ethical dilemmas.
Amicus curia brief
A "friend-of-the-court" brief filed in state and federal courts by a person or organization that is not a party to the litigation, but that has a strong view on the subject matter in the case.
Applied Scientist
An applied scientist applies knowledge to solve practical problems of the modern world, rather than to acquire knowledge for knowledge's sake.
Basic scientist
A scientist who pursues knowledge motivated by scientific curiosity or interest in a scientific question. They study a phenomenon to expand understanding in order to contribute to scientific advances in the area, not to solve a problem.
Case Law
The body of previous legal decisions and legal principles developed from these earlier decisions, as contrasted with statutory laws ( passed by the legislative branch and approved by the executive branch). develops through the courts over time, based upon precedent, and tends to change slowly because of the legal principle of stare decisis.
Crime control model
The model which emphasizes the reduction of crime rates and vindicating victims' rights by the efficient detection of suspects and the effective prosecution of defendants, to help ensure that criminal activity is being contained or reduced.
Determinate Sentencing
A sentence of confinement or probation for a fixed period of time specified by statute,as contrasted with an indeterminate sentence whose duration is determine by the offender's behavior.
The ability to act according to one's own judgement and conscience. In judicial decisions, refers to a judge's consideration of factors that may lead to appropriate variations in how the system responds to offenses, as opposed to a decision based on predefined legal guidelines or rules.
Due process model
A perspective that emphasizes due process or procedural justice (fairness) under the law. In contrast to the crime control model, this model places stronger emphasis on defendants' rights than victims' rights.
This principle means that all people who commit the same crime or misdeed should receive the same consequences.
Expert witness
A witness who has special knowledge beyond that of the ordinary lay person (juror) about a subject enabling him or her to give testimony, while a non-expert witness is typically limited to testimony about which he or she has direct knowledge through first-hand observation.
Forensic mental health assessment
This includes evaluations conducted by a variety of disciplines including psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers. The assessments address a wide range of questions in civil, criminal, and family law (ex. competency to stand trial, child-custody, malingering, substance abuse, risk of future violence.
Forensic psychologists
These psychology to questions and issues related to legal system. Their work may include conducting forensic mental health assessments for courts and attorneys, providing treatment to those under the supervision of the legal system, offering consultation to law enforcement, and other related tasks.
Policy Evaluator
A role in which psychologists who have methodological skills in assessing how well a policy has worked provide data regarding the effects of the policy (ex. degree of change, degree of effectiveness, design recommendations, expected outcomes, etc.)
The ruling ( or opinion) announced in a previous case that provides a framework in which to decide a current case. The expectation that a court must follow a precedent is called stare decisis.
Principle of proportionality
The principle that the punishment should be consistently related to the magnitude of the offense.
Procedural justice
A sense that the methods for resolving a dispute have been fair.
Racial bias
When police officers, prosecutors, jurors, and judges use an individual's race as the primary determinant for discretionary decisions or judgements of his or her behavior.
Sentencing Disparity
The tendency of different judges to administer a variety of penalties for the same crime.
settlement negotiation
In civil cases, the pretrial process whereby plaintiffs and defendants agree to an outcome that ends their legal disagreement.
Social framework testimony
Expert witness testimony that is based on knowledge of scientific evidence on a particular for the purpose of helping a judge or jury better understand that issue.
Stare decisis
The legal principle emphasizing the importance of decision-making that is consistent with precedent;
literally, "let the decision stand." The expectation that a court must follow a precedent is called stare decisis.
Three -strikes law
(also called habitual offender laws) A category of statutes that require state courts to hand down mandatory and long periods of imprisonment for persons convicted of three or more felonies on separate occasions, no matter how minor the offenses.
Trial Consultants
Social scientists who work as jury selection consultants, conduct community attitude surveys, prepare witnesses to testify, advise lawyers on their presentation strategies, and conduct mock trials.