Forensic Psychology is a specialty in professional psychology characterized by activities primarily intended to provide professional psychological expertise within the judicial and legal systems.
According to the American Psychological Association:
Things to Know About Forensic Psychology
The clinical-forensic population is composed broadly of individuals who may present with a psychiatric diagnosis or may have other characteristics that are relevant to a clinical-legal decision and who are involved with the judicial system. That is, each individual has an identifiable clinical status (broadly considered) and legal status. Individuals can be broadly categorized into two subpopulations:
Civil: those involved in civil litigation (e.g., plaintiffs in personal injury suits, persons subject to civil commitment, parties to child custody cases, litigants in workers’ compensation suits, individuals seeking or contesting the need for guardianship, individuals being assessed for disability).
Criminal: those involved in criminal and delinquency proceedings (e.g., defendants raising issues such as competency to stand trial, insanity, diminished capacity, sentencing considerations or juvenile waiver, defendants adjudicated as incompetent to stand trial and in need of treatment to help restore competence, defendants acquitted by reason of insanity and in need of treatment to help progress through secure hospitalization and reintegrate safely into the community).
The legal population services are provided to include:
- Attorneys (civil and criminal)
- Courts (federal, state, district, and county; trial and appellate; presiding over probate, family, juvenile, constitutional, civil and criminal matters)
Problems presented by the clinical-forensic population span the entire clinical spectrum within a legal context that may result in civil and criminal legal questions that courts must ultimately decide.
Our Forensic Examination Cases include:
Civil and criminal competencies
Competency to proceed (stand trial):Competency to Stand Trial is most simply defined as the defendant’s ability to understand and participate in the court proceedings.
Competency to waive Miranda:Psychologists assess whether there are any cognitive problems or mental health disorders that may have impaired the defendant’s ability to waive Miranda rights knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily. Often, these evaluations are conducted to gain insight into the individual’s Competency to Confess or the validity of a Miranda waiver.
Testamentary capacity (competency to execute wills and trusts)
Personal injury and tort cases
Negligent or intentional infliction of emotional injury
Malingering and under reporting of damages in plaintiffs
Second opinion or serving as a rebuttal witness
Opposing expert reports that lack scientific support or contain other sources of bias
Faulty interpretation of Psychological and Neuropsychological instruments
Junk science in the courtroom