Conducting Insanity Evaluations

Second Edition

Richard Rogers and Daniel W. Shuman

February 18, 2000
ISBN 9781572305212
Price: $60.00
371 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"

Insanity evaluations represent the most challenging and complex evaluations in forensic psychology and psychiatry. Mental health and legal professionals involved in insanity cases need a solid foundation in current concepts, legal standards, and clinical methods. This need is heightened by the substantial legal and clinical changes that have occurred in the field during the past decade. This text from two leading authorities brings forensic professionals up to date on key issues surrounding insanity evaluations. It provides explicit, research-based guidelines for interview-based assessments, psychological testing and other specialized procedures, and forensic reports and testimony. The volume explores how insanity is conceptualized under the law and differentiated from other standards of criminal responsibility. A range of clinical measures and techniques are examined, with special attention to such relevant phenomena as malingering and amnesia. Included in the appendices are invaluable databases on 413 defendants evaluated for criminal responsibility and 6,479 defendants found not guilty by reason of insanity. For clinicians, the volume provides the knowledge and skills needed to conduct ethical, legally defensible insanity evaluations and to present their findings effectively. Legal professionals will gain a basis for understanding the logic and clinical methods used by mental health experts and for evaluating the quality of their assessments.

“Rogers and Shuman have done a masterful job. This updated and expanded second edition addresses clinical and forensic needs in detail, combining recent scientific data with practical experience at the interface of mental health and criminal law. The book goes a long way toward clarifying the complex relationship between forensic professionals, lawyers, and the judiciary. I am particularly impressed with its treatment of how forensic professionals can communicate their knowledge to attorneys and courts in ways that are legally useful, while retaining their accuracy and objectivity. Forensic evaluations are not the same as clinical ones, and conducting them well is not an intuitive exercise. All mental health professionals who evaluate defendants or consult to courts on criminal matters should have and read this book. It will serve as an excellent text for graduate-level courses in forensic psychology and psychiatry. Criminal defense attorneys, prosecutors, criminologists, and specialists in mental health law will also find it a useful resource.”

—William H. Reid, MD, MPH, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of Texas Health Science Center, Past President, American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law

“This is a great resource for both psychologists and lawyers. The material on legal standards and their applications to clinical work offers the best example I have seen of what forensic psychology is all about—making clinical work relevant to legal processes, and vice versa. The text is coherent, logical, and relevant. In an area where balance is sometimes difficult to achieve, the authors show no evidence of defense or prosecution bias. Beyond its excellent coverage of its central topic, this book provides a breadth of information about conducting fair and competent forensic evaluations.”

—William E. Foote, PhD, ABPP, Forensic and Clinical Psychologist, Albuquerque, NM

“Rogers and Shuman have done an impressive job with the second edition of Conducting Insanity Evaluations. Comprehensive yet easy to read, scholarly yet also practical, this volume is requisite reading for those involved in assessment, decision making, legislation, or research on the insanity defense.”

—Kirk Heilbrun, PhD, MCP, Hahnemann University

“This volume attempts to assist psychological and legal professionals to understand each other as they seek to find truth and justice within an adversarial system. Rogers and Shuman succeed in explaining the legal standards of the major insanity defense in terms clear enough for both forensic experts and first-year law students. Also explicated are the competing ends of 'best possible defense' versus the protection of client and public.”

—Kathleen Price, JD, Professor and Library Director, New York University School of Law

“Written primarily for forensic psychologists and psychiatrists, this book is also a valuable tool for prosecutors and defense attorneys. It offers helpful insights into such issues as formulating voir dire jury questions, fostering successful expert-attorney relationships, and recognizing the most important issues influencing the jury in an insanity defense case. Very readable and informative.”

—William VanLonkhuyzen, JD, Criminal Defense Attorney, Boston, MA

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

I. Clinical and Legal Issues

2. The Clinician's Role in Insanity Evaluations

3. The Expert-Attorney Relationship

4. Addressing the Legal Standards

5. Malingering and Deception

6. Amnesia and Dissociation

II. Clinical Methods

7. Clinical Interviews

8. Psychological Testing

9. Structured Approaches to Insanity Evaluations

10. Laboratory and Specialized Assessment Techniques: Issues and Methods

11. Clinical Synthesis

12. Communication of Findings


A. Data Bases on NGRI Patients and R-CRAS Evaluations

B. Appellate Decisions on the Discoverability of Expert Opinions in Insanity


C. Commonly Used Psychological Tests and Their Abbreviations

About the Authors

Richard Rogers, PhD, ABPP, is a professor of psychology at the University of North Texas. His publications include the award-winning Clinical Assessment of Malingering and Deception.

Daniel W. Shuman, JD, is a professor of law at Southern Methodist University School of Law, with adjunct appointments at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School, and the University of North Texas. He is a prolific and highly regarded author on law and mental health issues.


Forensic psychologists and psychiatrists; defense attorneys, prosecutors, and judges; graduate-level students and professors in these fields.

Serves as a text in graduate-level courses in forensic psychology/psychiatry and mental health law.

Course Use

Serves as a text in graduate-level courses in forensic psychology/psychiatry and mental health law.