Personality Guided Forensic Psychology Personality Guided Psychology

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1 INTRODUCTION TO FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGICAL PRACTICE Forensic psychology may be defined as the interface between psychology and law. The word forensic is a Latin derivative of the word meaning forum, a place where trials were held in ancient Rome. The purview of forensic psychology continues to expand, demonstrating the breadth and differentiating scope of practice in this specialty field. Although initially practitioners in forensic psychology were generally clinical psychologists, now many forens
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  1 INTRODUCTIONTO FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGICAL PRACTICE Forensic psychology may be defined as the interface between psychologyand law. The word forensic is a Latin derivative of the word meaning forum, a place where trials were held in ancient Rome. The purview of forensicpsychology continues to expand, demonstrating the breadth and differentiat- ing scope of practice in this specialty field. Although initially practitionersinforensic psychology were generally clinical psychologists,nowmany forensic psychologists receive training and practical experience in this spe-cialty as graduate students and in postgraduate fellowships in forensic set-tings. Today, more than 2,000 psychologists are members of the AmericanPsychological Association's Division 41, the American Psychology-LawSociety.Hugo Munsterberg (1908) is generally credited with developing the field of forensic psychology. In a seminal book called On the Witness Stand, he reported, largely on the basis of his own experiences, how the knowledge base of psychology can be used to help the court in several defined areas(e.g., witness memory, the value of hypnosis in crime detection, and witnessinterrogation). The book contains no reference citations, and his claims were largely exaggerated and were not based on empirical evidence, but Munsterberg's book served as a beginning point for the empirical study of law and psychology.  Forensic psychology has two broad areas of application: research andpractice. The research boundaries are porous and continue to expand. Some forensic research crosses over into other areas of psychological research, particularly social psychology. Research activities of forensic psychologistsinclude the study of eyewitness memory and the conditions under which itdeteriorates or maintains reliability, jury decision-making processes, whether the presence of an attorney is truly a safeguard for the defendant's rights ata lineup, legal definitions such as reasonableness in the reasonable person standard, criminal behavior, the variability of jury awards in sentences by race of defendant and by jury instructions, and privacy rights.Most of forensic practice has occurred in one of three main functions: (a) friend of the court (amicus curiae) activities, (b) consultation, and(c) acting as an expert witness (Blau, 1998). Some areas of forensic practiceoverlap with areas of clinical psychology, particularly those pertaining topsychological evaluations necessitating psychological tests. Some of theactivities that constitute forensic psychological practice include (but are not limited to)ã providing child custody evaluations, ã screening police applicants,ã screening applicants for public safety jobs, such as access tonuclear power plants,ã evaluating sex offenders, ã evaluating various insanity pleas, ã evaluating defendants in capital cases,ã providing services (treatment, intervention, prevention) to offenders and correctional staff, and ãproviding courtroom testimony. This book addresses only professional forensic practiceanddoesnotdeal with forensic psychological research, excepttodescribetheresearch that underpins this practice. This book also concentrates on the assessment of adults and on adult offenders, although material on the assessment of juvenile offenders is occasionally included as well.PREPARATION FOR FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGICAL PRACTICE Forensic psychological practice inevitably involves depositions andcourtroom testimony. To best serve their clients, forensic psychologistsnormally requirethefollowing preparation: 1. A doctoral degree from a school of psychology accredited by theAmerican Psychological Association mustbecompleted. PERSONALITY-GUIDED FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY  2. State licensure or registration is required by all. 3. Direct and relevant experience in the matters before the court is mandatory. For example, if substance abuse is an issue in the court proceeding, then the psychologist must be able to demonstrate expertiseinalcoholanddrug abuse screening,evaluations, and treatment. If posttraumatic stress disorder(PTSD)is an issue, thepsychologist mustbeabletodemon-strate competence and knowledge in the full range of thedisorder. Demonstrating that one has evaluated and treateda sufficient numberof PTSD casesso as to beabletorenderabelievable conclusionondemand might reflect this competence. 4. Attendance at continuing education workshops, seminars,symposia, and the like is evidence of continuing involvement in an area of expertise and is further evidence of competence.5. Attainment of advanced specializations and certifications ofcompetency, such as diplomate status (clinical or forensic) or fellow status granted by external bodies is additional evidence of expertise. For example, if the psychologist testifies as an expertinpsychological testing, then fellow statusin APADivision5(Evaluation, Measurement,andStatistics)or fellow statusin theSocietyforPersonality Assessment wouldbe a recognized credential. Normally, fellow status in serious profes- sional organizations requires that one have a national reputa- tion in a body of knowledge, have significantly contributed to the advancement of that knowledge and skill, or havedemonstrated competency in practice applications as attestedto by one's peers. 6. Membership in relevant professional organizations (Otto & Heilbrun, 2002) is helpful as well as publication of relevantmaterial, preferably in peer-reviewed journals, that adds to scientific discovery. To function within the best practice parameters of the psychology profession, forensic psychologists must be aware of and knowledgeableabout legal issues, legal standards, legal definitions and terms, and legalprocedures. They must alsobeawareof theunique ethical issues that affect forensic practice. Various sources of information about applicablestatutesandproceduresareavailable (VanDerVelde, 1999),and acode of ethics for forensic practice has been developed (Committee on EthicalGuidelines for Forensic Psychologists, 1991). Also, there are journals that are specifically devoted to forensic issues; among the more frequentlycited are the following: INTRODUCTION  ã American Journalof Forensic Psychology, ã Behavioral Sciences and the Law, ã Criminal Justice and Behavior, ã Law andHuman Behavior, ã Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, ã Psychology,Public Policy, and the Law, ã Journal of Psychiatry and Law, ã Journal of Threat Assessment, ã American Journal of ForensicPsychiatry,ã Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law, ã Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology, andãRules of Evidence. InJenkins v. United States (1962),thecourt ruled that psychologists may testify as expert witnesses on mental disorders as long as they haveappropriate training and expertise. Three psychologists had testified pertain- ing to adefendant's mental disease.Thetrial judge instructedthe jury to disregard thetestimonyof thepsychologists because they werenotphysicians. On appeal, both the American Psychological Association and theAmerican Psychiatric Association filed amicus curiae briefs. The psychology association argued that psychologists were professionally qualified todiagnose mentalillness, whereas the psychiatry association argued that although psychologists may be good testers, they function only as assistants to psychiatrists andarenot qualified todiagnoseortreat mental illness. Judge David Bazelon ruled that it was not a medical degree that conferred expertise on the question of mental disease, but rather a person'straining, skills, and knowledge. He ruled that psychologists did have these necessary requirements and therefore could serve as expert witnesses in the case, as long as they become familiar with rules of evidence that allow certain kinds of testimony to be admissible (or inadmissible) in court proceedings. Rules of evidence vary across jurisdictions. State courts rely on either codified rules of evidence or extensive case law, and some use the federal rules of evidence as a model. In federal courts, the admissibility of scientificevidencemayrelyon one of three legal standards: 1. In the Federal Rulesof Evidence (FRE, 1992), the evidence is admissible if it is relevant and helpful. 2. In the Frye standard (United States v. Frye, 1923), the court ruled that if a test, methodology, or procedure has generalacceptance in the field to which it belongs (e.g., scientificcommunity), then it can be admitted incourt.3. In 1993 the Supreme Court clarified that the FRE should be used in federal courts and then outlined the standards that the courts could use. In Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals PERSONALITY-GUIDED FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY
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