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Legal Psych exam 3 study guide

by: Fiaza Ahmed

Legal Psych exam 3 study guide SOP 4842

Marketplace > Florida International University > Psychlogy > SOP 4842 > Legal Psych exam 3 study guide
Fiaza Ahmed
GPA 3.7

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About this Document

Criminal profiling and psychological autopsies Competence to Stand Trial Insanity defense
Legal Psychology
Lindsay Malloy
Study Guide
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This 8 page Study Guide was uploaded by Fiaza Ahmed on Saturday April 9, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to SOP 4842 at Florida International University taught by Lindsay Malloy in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 127 views. For similar materials see Legal Psychology in Psychlogy at Florida International University.


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Date Created: 04/09/16
Criminal Profiling Chapter 5 Geographical Profiling • Criminal spatial mapping • Criminals often stay in geographical comfort zone • Statistical techniques used to uncover patterns in movement and environment • As number of crimes increase so does usefulness of technique Psychological Autopsy • NASH system – natural, accident, suicide, homicide • Psychological autopsy: Attempt to dissect and examine psychological state of individual prior to death • Based on several sources of information (e.g., records, interviews) to get at person’s emotional state/intentions prior to death • Easier to tell when lots of info available but still tough to be certain • Courts receptive to results in civil cases but less so in criminal cases Weaknesses of criminal profiling  Criminal profiling uses information about crime scenes to draw inferences about a criminal’s state of mind, possible motives, and identity.  Profiles may result in tunnel vision – focus may be diverted from plausible suspects who do not fit the profile  E.g., Beltway Sniper case  One tool in the investigative process!  Profiles sometimes based on stereotypes Basic assumptions not validated  Crime scene characteristics not neatly “organized/disorganized”  Crime scenes not reliably associated with personality type  Vague abilities such as “instinct” or “intuition”  Cross-situational consistency is suspect  Context matters…human behavior is influenced by situations  Ambiguous and general speculations  May be vague, difficult to verify/investigate, open to interpretation Competency to Stand Trial Chapter 8 Competency to stand trial Can the defendant understand the charges? Can the defendant assist counsel with defense? The key components and characteristics of CST  CST is the ability of defendant to perform 10 court related functions  CST does NOT certify mental health/functioning  Understand CURRENT legal situation  Understand charges  Understand available pleas  Understand possible penalties  Understand roles of judge/attorneys  Trust/communicate with defense counsel  Help locate witnesses  Aid in developing strategy for cross examining witnesses  Behave appropriately during trial  Make appropriate decisions about trial strategy The Dusky standard: Dusky v. US (1960)  1st case to define CST in the US. In the present, defendant must understand proceedings. In the present, defendant must be able to assist in own defense Who raises competency issues?  Defendant may not want to raise issue of competence  Ethical guidelines for judges/attorneys – they have to raise it  If CST issue raised, judge typically orders a psychological evaluation  CST may be raised for strategic purposes How do we assess CST?  Includes use of Forensic Assessment Instruments (FAIs)  Competency Screening Test – the first measure ○ When I go to court my lawyer will _________. ○ If the jury finds me guilty, I _________.  Competence Assessment for Standing Trial for Defendants with Mental Retardation (CAST-MR)  MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool – Criminal Adjudication (MacCAT-CA) ○ Shorter version of the MacSAC-CD for clinicians conducting competence evals for the courts ○ Respond to questions about a hypothetical vignette involving a bar fight ○ How should “Fred” respond to questions and assist his lawyer? ○ Misunderstandings are corrected and follow-up questions are asked How did we used to assess it? Is it a legal or psychological concept? What does malingering mean in reference to these assessments?  “Intentional faking mental illness or disability motivated by an external incentive/goal”  Can be difficult to detect  Tests are available to detect malingering (e.g., Structured Interview of Reported Symptoms) Adolescents and competency to stand trial – Grisso et al., 2003 is a key study  11 to 15-year-olds significantly more impaired in CST-related abilities compared to adults  11 to 13-year-olds were less capable of legal judgment, understanding, and decision making than older teens and adults Restoration of competency • Defendant held in mental health facility • Jackson v. Indiana (1972): Limited confinement to the time necessary to determine if the defendant could be returned to competence in the foreseeable future • Generally 4-18 months • If non-restorable, charges may be dismissed or involuntary civil commitment Restoration may include education and treatment Why is it controversial? Case law concerning incompetent defendants and forcible medication to restore competence  Riggins v. Nevada (1992): Involuntary medication of defendants is permissible only to achieve essential state interests such as a fair trial or safety of the defendant/others  Washington v. Harper (1990): Convicted criminal has fewer protections from forcible medication than defendant  Sell v. United States (2003): A criminal defendant who was NOT a danger to himself or others could be forcibly medicated if and only if:  Treatment was medically appropriate  Treatment was unlikely to have side effects that would undermine the trial fairness  Necessary to further a significant government interest such as the prosecution of a serious crime Forcible medication is allowed when you are a danger to yourself and others and is allowed even if it is not a danger to yourself or others if it aids the government. How many are restored?  60-90 percent have competency restored The Insanity Defense Chapter 9 Psychological or legal concept? Insanity law is not written by psychologists and psychiatrists So there is this difficulty Jurors are eventually making this decision Public perceptions vs. reality of insanity defense Public perception Reality  A large number of  Used in less than 1% of defendants use NGRI felony cases  Most defendants who use  Fails about 75% of the time NGRI are acquitted by juries  Often not used in cases who are too gullible resulting in victim death  Defendants found NGRI are  End up spending equal or released back into society longer time in custody shortly after trial  Persons found insane are extremely dangerous M’Naughten Rule  At the time of committing an act, the party was laboring under such a defect of reason so as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing, OR if he did know it, that he did not know what he was doing was wrong”  Referred to as a cognitive test of insanity  Does the defendant understand what he or she is doing? OR  Does the defendant know what he or she is doing is wrong? *If the answer Is no the insanity defense is used Durham standard  Denied the right to plead insanity by the trial judge despite mental illness  Conviction overturned and judge ordered a new trial using a new standard of insanity Durham Standard (or “the product test”): “an accused is not criminally responsible if his unlawful act was the product of mental disease or defect ALI standard A person is not responsible for criminal conduct if at the time of such conduct, as a result of mental disease or defect, he lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality [wrongfulness] of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law  Quite successful – adopted in 26 states and a modified version by federal courts 1984 insanity defense reform act  At the time of the commission of the acts constituting the offense, the defendant, as a result of a severe mental disease or defect, was unable to appreciate the nature and quality of the wrongfulness of his acts. Mental disease or defect does not otherwise constitute a defense.”  Sanity presumed  Affirmative defense: Burden of proof on defense  In Hinckley case, it was up the prosecution to prove that the defendant was SANE….now up to the defense to prove that the defendant was INSANE  Volitional prong dropped – slightly retooled version of the 140 year-old M’Naghten Rule  Experts barred from ultimate issue testimony Ultimate issue testimony  Also called “ultimate opinion testimony”  Can testify about a defendant’s mental state but are NOT allowed to state their opinion explicitly as to whether the defendant was sane at the time of the crime  Can’t state those words…but meaningful expert testimony is likely to get at their opinion anyway  Mock jurors often “remember” the expert’s opinion….even when it isn’t offered Mens rea/diminished capacity  Alternative to NGRI verdict  Diminished capacity – lacks the capacity or the “mens rea” for certain crimes  Available for crimes requiring a certain mental state  First degree murder – knowingly and premeditated  Can still be convicted of second degree murder or manslaughter Guilty but mentally ill  Alternative to NGRI verdict  Allowed in 13 states  Found guilty and sentenced to a length of time consistent with that verdict  Supposed to receive mental health treatment in prison or be transferred to a secure psychiatric facility  No guarantee of treatment, and many don’t get it Jurors’ perceptions of different insanity standards • “Tests with markedly different criteria failed to produce discriminably different verdicts, and failed to produce verdicts discriminably different from those produced by a no-test condition….jurors do not ignore instructions but they construe instructions, employing their constructs of “sane” or “insane” to determine their verdict, despite the working of the legal test given to them.” • Jurors translate formal into understandable language • Jurors use preexisting “commonsense” notions of insanity • Jurors NOT constrained by legal definition • Jurors NOT constrained by legal instructions • Jurors who hold strong beliefs about the insanity defense are more likely to hold strong beliefs about other aspects of the legal system


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