Child Abuse Allegations

A spontaneous report of having been abused, especially when the child provides consistent, credible details of the incident in age-appropriate language is very likely credible. However, a great deal of literature suggests that children can be led, misled, coerced, and influenced to present information that is not accurate.An unbiased evaluation of the investigation techniques used, especially the effects of improper types of interview questioning on children’s memory and recall can be vital in educating the fact finder about the accuracy of children’s testimony.

Competency

Your client may require an evaluation to determine if he/she is competent to stand trial, waive Miranda, plead guilty, confess or function adequately in the legal system. A forensic evaluation can determine if the defendant is able to cooperate with counsel, assist in his own defense as well as make informed decisions about legal choices.People with mental disabilities may not be able to understand or participate in the legal process and have often falsely confessed because they are tempted to accommodate and agree with authority figures. In addition, many law enforcement interrogators are not given any special training on questioning suspects with mental disabilities. An impaired mental state due to mental illness, drugs or alcohol may also elicit false admissions of guilt.

Criminal Responsibility-Insanity Defense


You may wish your client to be evaluated for ability to form specific intent and diminished responsibility, such as the insanity defense.
 Sophisticated psychological testing is used to evaluate the presence of any psychological disorder, psychopathy, or personality characteristics that may have mediated rational decision making or interfered with judgment or perception.A comprehensive evaluation of the defendant’s mental state at the time of the offense can inform trial strategy and provide the judge or jury with critical information regarding legal responsibility.  The evaluation would examine such issues as provocation, extreme mental or emotional disturbance, voluntary or involuntary intoxication, imperfect self-defense and duress. 

Risk Assessment-Dangerousness

A person’s risk of dangerousness or their potential for future violence can be assessed by evaluating numerous empirically identified risk factors using structured clinical judgment and actuarial methods. A risk assessment evaluation can be beneficial in determining pre-trial negotiations or during sentencing.Risk assessment is also useful in determining fitness for duty and when an employee is safe to return to work.  You may want an assessment of future violence to be conducted in order to provide mitigating factors for the judge or jury to consider

Sentencing-Mitigation

In the sentencing phase of a trial, the defense may wish to present psychological information for the court to consider in sentencing, and in recommending probation or parole. Specifically, a comprehensive forensic report can affect sentencing to the extent that it addresses all relevant mitigating and aggravating circumstances.I can also assist you with sentencing determinations in Death Penalty Cases.

Sex Offender Evaluations

You may wish your client to be evaluated to determine if he suffers from a legitimate sexual psychiatric disorder which may have relevance during the trial or sentencing. Your client may benefit from a comprehensive risk assessment to determine future risk for violent re-offense or recidivism. You may also find it helpful to determine if your client falls under your state Sexual Violent Predator statute, or determine if there are any issues that could lead to parole or probation.The evaluation could also be used to determine amenability for treatment and to develop an inclusive treatment plan. If you are facing civil commitment proceedings, you will need a detailed evaluation to determine if your client meets the required criteria. A thorough evaluation can assist you with trial strategy as well as possible plea negotiations.