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Unformatted text preview: Week 8: Consulting with Criminal Courts Lecture Notes and Questions to Consider for Discussion Part I: Introduction This week, we begin the legal psychology part of the semester with a discussion of the various functions a forensic psychologist can take during criminal court proceedings. We will start with the most lucrative tasks: trial consulting and providing expert testimony. Then, we will discuss several tasks of a forensic psychologist, which are also discussed in depth in your textbook: assessing competency, sanity, and risk. All of these areas are quite controversial, as you will see. Part II: Trial Consulting If you want to make a lot of money as a forensic psychologist, the best thing to do is to become a trial consultant. Trial consultants are typically hired by defense attorneys to help them win their clients cases. Tasks of the trial consultant include helping to prepare witnesses, helping to select or screen out jurors, and helping the attorney decide on specific trial and argument strategies. One of the most important tasks is to prepare the witness for testimony. This is quite crucial because most people are quite intimidated by having to get up in front of the jury and courtroom and speak about what they witnessed and experienced. The forensic psychologist who performs this task typically has three functions: witness education educates the witnesses of the policies, procedures, and process of the courtroom; reviews with them their previous statements to police or via depositions attorney education makes sure that the attorney has complete knowledge of all of the information of the witnesses so that s/he is not caught off guard during the trial modification of testimony delivery educates and trains the witnesses on appropriate courtroom behavior, such as how to speak articulately, how to dress, how to respond to the judge, and how to handle cross-examination. A second important task of a trial consultant may be to assist the defense attorney with trial selection. A forensic psychologist who specializes in this function may be called a jury consultant. Here, the forensic psychologist is helping the defense attorney select jurors during the jury selection phase of voir dire . During the voir dire, attorneys for both sides are allowed to ask two types of questions: (1) Both prosecution and defense attorneys are allowed to ask an unlimited number of questions to potential jurors that determine whether the potential juror may have biases that are relevant to the case. For example, a potential juror may have once been a victim of the same type of crime that the defendant is being prosecuted for. These types of questions are called challenges for cause and because they could lead to biased jurors, prosecutors and defense attorneys can typically ask an unlimited number of these questions and strike an unlimited number of potential jurors from the jury pool if they are perceived as potentially biased.number of potential jurors from the jury pool if they are perceived as potentially biased....
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