psych and law 8 - Chapter 8 A. The Scope of Forensic...

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Chapter 8 A. The Scope of Forensic Psychology a. Forensic psychologists-use knowledge and techniques form psychologists, psychiatry, and other behavior sciences to answer questions about individuals involved in legal proceedings b. Three things encourage the increase in forensic activities c. Mental health experts may have expertise in a variety of areas relevant to litigation i. Psychologists learn more about human behavior-new ways for attorneys to use this info d. Forensic psychology is flourishing in law permits i. Use of expert testimony in a host of areas ii. A qualified expert can testify about a topic if such testimony is relevant to an issue in dispute and if the usefulness outweighs whatever prejudicial impact it might have 1. Jude must believe it is scientific, technical, or specialized knowledge that will assist the terrier of fact to understand the evidence or determine the fact in issue 2. Federal judges are allowed to decide when expert testimony is relevant (Daubert v. Merrell Dow) a. Encourages the consideration of innovative opinions and fear that some judges will allow jurors to hear “expert” testimony that has no scientific basis b. For expert testimony to be admitted, the expert should have relied on methods and knowledge that are scientifically based c. Also applies to opinions that are tied to the technical or professional skills of practitioners and clinicians e. Can be lucrative i. If one side hires an expert then the other side feels like they have to ii. The use of psychological experts feeds on itself and it has become a significant source of income for many professionals B. Competence a. Competence-a defendant’s capacity to function meaningfully and knowingly in a legal proceeding b. Criminal proceedings should not continue against someone who cannot understand their nature and purpose c. Importance raised at pretrial hearings i. Competence to plead guilty ii. Competence to stand trial d. Defendants must be component to: i. Understand the charges against them to better ensure that the truth
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will result ii. Punishment of convicted defendants is morally acceptable only if they understand the reasons why they are being punished iii. Fairness of the justice department depends on the person being able to defend themselves against the charges of the state e. Judge is required to examine any plea bargain to ensure that is voluntary under the sense that is represents a considered choice between constitutionally permissible alternatives f. Competence to stand trial-sufficient present ability to consult with (one’s) attorney with a reasonable degree of rational understanding, and….a rational, as well as factual understanding of the proceedings against (one) g. Competence to plead guilty (Dusky vs. US)-would require that defendants understand the alternatives they face and have the ability to make a reasoned choice among them h. Problems: i. Cuts too fine a distinction between different types of legal understanding—doubtful that this could be made meaningfully in
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This note was uploaded on 10/01/2011 for the course PSYCH 2650 at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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psych and law 8 - Chapter 8 A. The Scope of Forensic...

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