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Psychological Evaluations for the Courts

Fourth Edition
A Handbook for Mental Health Professionals and Lawyers

Gary B. Melton, John Petrila, Norman G. Poythress, Christopher Slobogin, Randy K. Otto, Douglas Mossman, and Lois O. Condie

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December 22, 2017
ISBN 9781462532667
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964 Pages
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I. General Considerations

1. Law and the Mental Health Professions: An Uneasy Alliance

1.01. The Context for Law and Behavioral Science

1.02. Some Preliminary Problems in Law and Mental Health

1.03. Paradigm Conflicts

1.04. Should Mental Health Professionals Be Considered Experts?

1.05. Which Professionals Should Be Considered Experts?

1.06. Conclusion


2. An Overview of the Legal System: Sources of Law, the Court System, and the Adjudicative Process

2.01. Introduction

2.02. Sources of Law

2.03. The Court System

2.04. The Adjudicative Process

2.05. Conclusion: The Interplay of Systems


3. The Nature and Method of Forensic Assessment

3.01. Introduction

3.02. Distinctions between Therapeutic and Forensic Assessment

3.03. Testing and Assessment Procedures

3.04. Archival and Third-Party Information

3.05. Amnesia

3.06. Assessment of Response Style

3.07. Challenges to the Basis of Expert Testimony

3.08. Conclusion


4. Constitutional, Common-Law, and Ethical Contours of the Evaluation Process: The Mental Health Professional as Double Agent

4.01. Introduction

4.02. The Fifth Amendment and the Right to Remain Silent

4.03. The Right to Counsel

4.04. Common-Law and Statutory Duties of the Evaluator

4.05. Ethical Considerations in the Evaluation Process

4.06. Summary: Competence in Forensic Practice


5. Managing Public and Private Forensic Services

5.01. Introduction

5.02. The Case for Specialization

5.03. Types of Evaluation Systems

5.05. Effective Diffusion of Behavioral Science Research

5.06. Operating a Forensic Practice


II. The Criminal Process

6. Competence to Proceed

6.01. Introduction

6.02. The Legal Standard

6.03. Procedural Issues

6.04. Disposition of Incompetent Defendants

6.05. Competence during Proceedings Other Than Trial or Plea Hearings

6.06. Research Relating to Competence Evaluations

6.07. Structured Evaluation Formats

6.08. Special Populations

6.09. Guidelines for Evaluation

6.10. Conclusion


7. Other Competencies in the Criminal Process

7.01. Introduction

7.02. Competence to Consent to a Search or Seizure

7.03. Competence to Exercise the Right to Remain Silent

7.04. Competence to Plead Guilty

7.05. Competence to Waive the Right to Counsel and to Represent Oneself

7.06. Competence to Refuse an Insanity Defense and Other Mental State Defenses

7.07. Competence to Testify

7.08. Competence to Be Executed and to Participate in and Waive Appeals


8. Mental State at the Time of the Offense

8.01. Introduction

8.02. The Insanity Defense

8.03. Exculpatory and Mitigating Doctrines Other Than Insanity

8.04. Research on the Relationship of Diagnosis to MSO Defenses

8.05. Characteristics of Clinicians’ MSO Opinions

8.06. MSO Investigation

8.07. Clinical Formulations about MSO

8.08. Conclusion


9. Sentencing

9.01. Introduction

9.02. A Brief History of Sentencing

9.03. A Comparison of Rehabilitative and Retributive Sentencing

9.04. Special Sentencing Provisions

9.05. Capital Sentencing

9.06. Factors Influencing Sentencing

9.07. Assessment of Treatment Needs

9.08. Assessment of Culpability

9.09. Assessing Risk of Violence and Recidivism


III. Noncriminal Adjudication

10. Civil Commitment

10.01. Introduction

10.02. History of Commitment Law

10.03. Substantive Criteria for Commitment

10.04. Procedural Due Process

10.05. The Effects of Commitment Laws and Commitment

10.06. Attorney’s Role

10.07. Clinician’s Role

10.08. Commitment Evaluation

10.09. The Process of the Evaluation

10.10. Special Commitment Settings and Populations


11. Civil Competencies

11.01. Introduction

11.02. Guardianship

11.03. Competence to Make Treatment Decisions

11.04. Competence to Consent to Research

11.05. Testamentary Capacity


12. Compensating Mental Injury: Workers’ Compensation and Torts

12.01. Introduction

12.02. Workers’ Compensation Law: An Overview

12.03. The Tort of Emotional Distress

12.04. Causation in Mental Injury Cases: A Paradigm Clash?

12.05. Clinical Evaluation of Mental Injury

12.06. Conclusion: Reports and Testimony


13. Federal Antidiscrimination, Entitlement, and Immigration Laws

13.01. Introduction

13.02. Americans with Disabilities Act

13.03. Fair Housing Amendments Act

13.04. Social Security Laws

13.05. Immigration Law

13.06. Conclusion


IV. Children and Families

14. Juvenile Delinquency

14.01. Introduction

14.02. The Rise and Fall of the “Therapeutic” Juvenile Court

14.03. The Nature of the Juvenile Process

14.04. The Mental Health Professional’s Role in Juvenile Court

14.05. The Nature of the Evaluation

14.06. Specific Areas of Treatment Evaluations

14.07. Special Juvenile Populations

14.08. Do the Mental Health and Juvenile Systems Belong Together?


15. Child Abuse and Neglect

15.01. The Nature of Abuse and Neglect Proceedings

15.02. Legal Definitions of Child Maltreatment

15.03. Child Maltreatment as a Clinical Phenomenon

15.04. Clinicians’ Involvement in the Legal Process

15.05. Special Populations

15.06. The Technique of Abuse/Neglect Evaluations

15.07. Adult Cases Related to Abuse and Neglect

16. Child Custody in Divorce

16.01. The Scope of Clinicians’ Involvement in Custody Disputes

16.02. Standards for Resolution of Custody Disputes

16.03. What Do We Know?

16.04. The Technique of Custody Evaluations

16.05. The Politics of Divorce


17. Education and Habilitation

17.01. Introduction

17.02. The Impetus for the IDEA

17.03. The Structure of the IDEA

17.04. Clinical Evaluation under the Act


V. Communicating with the Courts

18. Consultation, Report Writing, and Expert Testimony

18.01. Introduction

18.02. Preliminary Consultations

18.03. Data Collection, Maintenance, and Disclosure

18.04. Preliminary Report of Findings

18.05. Report Writing

18.06. Expert Testimony and the Social Psychology of Persuasion

18.07. The Ultimate-Issue Issue


19. Sample Reports

19.01. Introduction

19.02. Competence to Proceed

19.03. Competence to Plead and Waive Rights

19.04. Mental State at the Time of the Offense

19.05. Sentencing

19.06. Civil Commitment

19.07. Competence to Handle Finances

19.08. Workers’ Compensation for Mental Injury

19.09. Reasonable Accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act

19.10. Consultative Examination for Social Security

19.11. Immigration Status

19.12. Transfer to Adult Court

19.13. Dispositional Review

19.14. Custody

19.15. Evaluation under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

20. Glossary

20.01. Legal Terms

20.02. Clinical and Research Terms




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