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UA / Psychology / PSY 480 / What is the separation of power?

What is the separation of power?

What is the separation of power?


School: University of Arizona
Department: Psychology
Course: Forensic Psychology
Professor: Judith becker
Term: Spring 2019
Tags: Forensic Psychology, exam, interrogations, Confessions, and legalsystem
Cost: 50
Name: Forensic Psychology Exam #1 Study Guide
Description: This study guide covers topics from Chapters 1, 2, and 3 (the legal system and its interaction with psychology, false confessions and potential solutions and interrogation techniques).
Uploaded: 02/04/2019
7 Pages 108 Views 2 Unlocks

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Key:  important definitions key concepts 

What is the separation of power?

Legal System:

­ Seperation of power:

­ Legislation: makes laws

­ Executive: administrative regulations and law enforcement

­ Judicial: reviews and interprets legislative and executive statutes for  constitutionality; settles disputes; sets expectations for future punishments for  breaking the law

­ Burden of proof: 

­ The standard needed to reach to prove a fact is legally established 

­ Discussed in the context of the verdict

­ Not well defined

­ Examples with percent effectiveness:

­ Beyond a reasonable doubt — 99.9%

­ Presumption of innocence

­ Clear and convincing evidence (often used in civil cases)

What is the meaning of burden of proof?

­ Preponderance of the evidence — 50% (often used in civil cases)

­ Probable cause

­ Reasonable suspicion

­ Federal Courts:

­ Trial courts: hears cases for the first time (where facts are established) ­ Appellate courts: reviews cases from district trial courts We also discuss several other topics like What is the developed world?

­ Cases are not always appealed

­ Typically no new evidence or witnesses emerge

­ Limited arguments are made

­ Reversible errors can be appealed

­ Can lead to new trial, will reconsider evidence sometimes

­ Supreme court: reviews selected cases from appellate courts (very small  percentage ever get to this court)

What are the appellate courts?

­ Higher courts are binding to lower courts

­ Discretionary review

­ Writ of cert: the reviewing process for getting a case looked at by the  supreme court

­ If 4 judges decide to take a case it moves through

­ Used typically with federal laws or split decisions in circuit courts

­ Holding and reasoning: the majority opinion and the court’s reasoning for  it (binds lower courts)

­ Concurrence: some judges agree with the holding but not the reasoning  behind it

­ Dissent: disagreeance with holding

­ Circuit courts: have some persuasive authority over other circuit courts but isn’t  binding

­ Sequence of a criminal trial:

­ Roles:

­ Judge: the “referee” in the courtroom; deals with sentencing and 

guilty/innocent verdicts

­ Jury: listens to evidence and makes guilty/innocent verdict 

­ Bench v. jury trial: 

­ Bench trial: no jury is present (judge decides verdict and  Don't forget about the age old question of Why are spontaneous reactions rare?


­ Jury trial: judge manages courtroom and decides sentencing; jury 

makes verdict

Psychology and the Law: A Cautious Alliance

­ Illusions with Psych and the Law:

­ Perceptions: people can see the same thing differently and some are better  perceivers than others

­ Linked to witness testimony

­ Suggestibility:  

­ Hypnotism: people may remember things they never actually saw or did ­ Linked to witness testimony Don't forget about the age old question of In what ways did unfree and free immigration alter north america between 1730 and the 1760s?

­ Facial expressions and Psychological states:

­ Linked to lie detection

­ Crime prevention:

­ Socio­cultural environment causes crime

­ Environment shapes behavior

­ Punitive justice should be decreased

­ People may be born with predispositions towards criminality

­ Culture Clash: 

­ Law:

­ Prescriptive

­ Regulates

­ Emphasizes the individual

­ Past oriented

­ Adversarial

­ Free will — no external pressures

­ Psychology:

­ Descriptive

­ Explains behavior

­ Emphasizes group characteristics — generalizations

­ Future oriented Don't forget about the age old question of What are the two ways non­vascular plants reproduce asexually?

­ Advocacy

­ Determinism — there are other factors

­ Differences in goals, methods, and inquiry

­ Goals: 

­ Law: approximation of justice; the individual (more 

comfortable with clinical psychology); high uncertainty 


­ Psych: approximation of truth (use of qualifiers — “it 

appears…”); group dynamic; low uncertainty avoidance 

(tolerates lots of ambiguity)

­ Uncertainty avoidance: a culture’s tolerance for uncertainty

and ambiguity

­ Methods: 

­ Law: authority (hierarchical); rulings of the past (look to the

past for advice; “a government of the living by the dead”; 

stare decisis: “let it stand” don’t overturn past rulings)

­ Psych: empiricism (egalitarian); data and the future 

(continuous reexamination and improvement of past  If you want to learn more check out What is bivalvia?


­ Power distance: the amount of deference and obedience 

given to people in positions of authority

­ Style of Inquiry: 

­ Law: adversarial (interested in justice, not truth — zealous 


­ Psych: objective (not interested in sides — if we’re wrong,  If you want to learn more check out What is the meaning of a true proposition?

we want to be corrected)

­ Why bridge the cultures?

­ Law affects people throughout their lifespan. 

­ Many legal issues are inescapably psychological.

Interrogations and Confessions

­ Power of confessions:

­ Shuts down the trial (the case is over; answer found)

­ Saves time

­ Trials avoided

­ Conviction is almost guaranteed

72% conviction rate with confession

59% without confession

­ Coerced confessions?

­ Low­pressure interrogation: higher voluntary, self­influenced, guilty votes

­ High­pressure interrogation: lower voluntary, self­influenced, guilty votes Even if people can determine a confession was untrue, it is hard to lower  guilty rates

­ When suspect falsely confesses, then pleads not guilty at trial, 81% are found  guilty

­ Fundamental attribution error: 

If they say they did it they must have done it because I would never 


­ False confessions influence evidence, alibi, witnesses, other suspects Allows for a less thorough investigation

Confirmation bias 

Hard to suppress confessions when “normal” tactics are used

­ Confessions are ruled inadmissible when:

­ Physical force

­ Prolonged isolation (no Miranda waiver)

­ Promise of a lenient sentence

­ Explicit threats

­ food/sleep deprivation

­ Miranda V. Arizona: 

­ If not properly mirandized your confession can be dismissed

­ 80% of people waive their miranda rights


­ They see it on TV

­ They believe only guilty people need their Miranda rights

­ Frenzied state of mind at time of waiver

­ Police action:

­ Fast speaking when reading suspect their rights

­ Normalizing the waiver

­ No comprehension check

­ Deemphasizing or lowering their importance

­ Psychological Coercion:

­ Why would an innocent person confess?

Interrogation Techniques:

­ Reid Technique:  

­ 9 steps: 

­ 1. Accusation

­ 2. Excuses

­ 3. Cut­off denial attempts

­ 4. Overcome denials

­ 5. Sincere and understanding (prevents an 

antsy/uncomfortable suspect from leaving the 

interrogation room)

­ 6. Move towards guilt (“but you saw her that night 


­ 7. Good reason v. bad reason (“it was either an 

accident or you’re a psychopath”)

­ 8. Elicit full confession

­ 9.  Write out confession

­ 4 techniques: 

­ Conditions:  

­ Loss of control

­ Under police control

­ Sparsely furnished area

­ Direction and pacing of conversation

­ Disorienting (no clocks, windows, 


­ Makes suspect vulnerable, anxious, 


­ Social isolation

­ Interrogation takes place alone

­ No support for social reality

­ Placed in a controlled social reality

­ Style of communication: 

­ Certainty of guilt

­ Direct assumption of guilt

­ Reject all claims of innocence

­ Evidence ploys

­ Minimization of culpability

­ Suggests that everyone will 

understand reasoning

­ Provide ready­made excuses

­ Justification

­ Clear the path to admission of guilt

­ Sympathize

­ Types of False Confessions:

­ Why do people falsely confess?

­ Inexperience

­ Naive 

­ Under the influence

­ Easily dominated

­ Submissive to authority

­ Low intelligence

­ Mentally ill

­ Sleep deprived

­ Terrified

­ Suggestibility and compliance (Gudjonsson)

­ Youth 

­ Impulsive

­ Emotional arousability

­ Poor self­regulation

­ Potential Solutions: 

­ Should interrogators be allowed to lie?

­ In U.S. police are legally allowed to use false evidence ploys

­ In England and Wales it is illegal to lie during interrogations (PACE Act) ­ Witness must be present

­ Interrogations must be audio recorded

­ Intimidation is not allowed

­ Video recording: 

­ Improves police interrogation methods

­ Physical record

­ Is it bad?

­ Can be manipulated 

­ Partial recording (only the confession and not what lead to 


­ Can be used at trial for prosecution (use only footage that 

makes suspect seem guilty and not interrogation tactics)

­ Camera angles can make appeals to either side

­ Limit time of interrogation (4 hours or less) 

­ Witnesses 

­ Adult witness present for interrogation of juveniles and vulnerable  suspects

­ Problems? 

­ Parents may negatively influence their child during interrogation  (they are also stressed)

­ Random witness will do little because normal adults falsely  confess too

­ Attorney is needed during interrogation for all suspects

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