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defendant’s mental abilities at the time of the proceeding
defendant’s mental state at the time the offense was committed.
Dusky Case Conclusion
- “rational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings against him”. They must simply be able to indicate that
- they understand what they have been charged with, their options, etc.
Competence to plead guilty vs to stand trial
- a higher level of competence- defendant is waiving
- rights to a jury trial, right to confront accusers, right to remain silent.
Godinez vs. Moran (1993)
Supreme Court rejected distinctions in competence
It focuses on premeditation rather than whether they could control their behavior or understand what they were doing or if it was wrong.
- Diminished capacity can reduce the charge by
- reducing the clear evidence of premeditation or intent
Myth: Large number of criminal defendants use the insanity defense
Truth: 1 in every 200 cases
Myth: Most who use the defense are acquitted by gullible juries
- Truth: In truth, 26% are successful (therefore, for every 1000 trials, less than 2 are
- acquitted due to a successful insanity defense).
Myth: Defendants found Not Guilty Reason of Insanity (NGRI) are released
Truth: Silver (1995) found an average hospital stay of 3 years. The more serious crime, the longer detained.
Competence to Stand trial Def
defendant's capacity to function meaningfully and knowingly in a legal proceeding. (be able to talk with their lawyers, understand what they are being charged with, know their role in case, and make legally relevant decisions)
Who has the burden of proof in comptence hearings?
Medina vs Cali: Supreme court held that a state can require a criminal defendant to shoulder the burden of proving that he is incompetent.
A typical defendant found IST to: (4)
- 1. have a history of psychosis with previous TR.
- 2. exhibit symptoms of current serious mental disorder.
- 3. be single, poorly educated and unemployed.
- 4. scsore poorly on specific competence assessment instuments.
Issues dealing with competence
- Waiving Miranda rights
- Refusing the Insanity defense
- Comp. to be executed
Profiling the NGRI Acquittal
- 67% are schizophrenic
- Long history of psychiatric hospitalizations.
- Previously found incompetent to stand trial (ST)
Forensic Instruments for Criminal Responsibility Assessments
- Rogers Criminal Responsibility Assessment Scales (R-CRAS)
- Structured Interview of Reported Symptoms (SIRS)
- Psychopathy Checklist (PCL).
- Focus on mental state of offender at the time of the crime (MSO).
- 5 Areas assessed:
- -Reliability of report
- -Organicity (disease of the mind)
- -Behavioral control
The McNaughton Rule (1843)
- “The cognitive test of insanity”
- The person doesn’t understand what they are doing is wrong or don’t know what they are doing.
- What judges use or what juries would be instructed to use. (1/2 of states use)
American Law Institute Model Penal Code Test (1962) definition of Insanity
- “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”. Cognitive prong
- Volitional prong
insanity defense reform act 1984
- Removed thevolitional component of ALI
- Shifted the burden of proof to the defense
- Disallowed “ultimate opinions” (No experts, just the jury or judge’s rule.)
defendants have the duty to provide evidence that would show that they wouldn't have criminal responsibility in their case.
Redding et al. on expert testimony
sent mail questionnaires to trial court judges in Virginia and found they had a marked preference for relying on psychiatrists as expert witnesses in hypothetical insanity cases.
Daubert vs.Merrel Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. (1993)
- Court ruled Frye standard be replaced by standards in Federal Rules of evidence.
- Evidence must be probative (providing proof to the matter) rather than prejudicial (doesn’t help establish the truth of the matter, just makes us feel a certain way about the defendant).
- Evidence must be relevant and reliable.
- 1. Is the scientific theory capable of being tested?
- 2. Does the test or technique have a known error
- 3. Has the theory or technique been subject to peer review?
- 4. Is there general acceptance within the scientific community about the theory or technique?
Problems with Psychological Testimony on Mental State of Defendant
- Questionable reliability in diagnoses. Rate of
- disagreement exceeds rate of agreement for many diagnoses.
- Risk assessment is particularly prone to error. Testify whether or not the person is likely to commit a violent act in the future.
What clinicians use in risk assessments
- typically use clinical judgment over actuarial judgment.
- Meehl (1954) demonstrated that actuarial judgment routinely outperforms clinical judgment.
Predictors of Violence
- Criminal history
- Irresponsible lifestyle
- Psychopathy and criminal attitudes
- Substance abuse
Assessing Accuracy of instrument
- Sensitivity: the ability of the instrument to detect the presence of the disorder. High sensitivity=low type II errors. very few misses.
- Specificity: the ability of the instrument to show that the disorder is not present. High specificity=low type I errors.
- Can't be both at the same time.
Why Experts May Frequently be in Disagreement
- There are a vast number of disorders to choose from.
- Complexity of symptomolgy.
- Shifting standards for mental illness
- Lack of clear model of human behavior.
- Clinicians tend to develop their own “pet theories”.
- Many clinical disorders are easy to fake and clinicians differ in their ability to spot faking.
Robertson & Fitzgeral 1990
found men in nontraditional family roles were judged by therapists as more disturbed.
Why are clinicians poor judges of their accuracy?
- routinely demonstrate confirmation bias- tendency to look for support for your beliefs rather than search for disconfirming evidence.
- Clinicians get little feedback on their performance.
- Jurors pay close attention to years of experience and confidence- yet neither are related to performance.
Systematic Errors in Clinical Judgment
- Underuse of base rate information.
- Improper assessment of covariation.
- Confirmatory strategies (bias)
- Incomplete information processing (i.e. data integration)- limited number of variables can be used to make judgments.
Mentally Ill in Correctional Facilities
- As of 2009 there were 1,613,656 prisoners in the US.
- More than 1 in 8 prisoners has a serious mental illness.
- Surveys indicate more than 2,000 psychologists are employed in correctional facilities
Responsibilities of Psychologists in Correctional Facilities
- Inmate assessment.
- Individual and group treatment for inmates.
- Program development.
- Crisis intervention.
- Screening and program development for correctional personnel.
Consequences of Deinstitutionalizing Mentally Ill
- 50 to 60% of them were diagnosed with schizophrenia.
- 22 million severely mentally ill in US receive no treatment whatsoever.
- 30-50% of the homeless in the US suffer from mental illness.
- Many of the mentally ill find themselves in correctional facilities.
Civil Commitment Procedures
- 1. Emergency detention- this can be done by a medical professional for a short duration.
- 2. Voluntary inpatient commitment- can be for a longer period of time.
- 3. Involuntary inpatient commitment- requires a court order.
- 4. Outpatient commitment- individuals must accept a form of treatment (usually meds) as a condition for living in the community
Kansas vs. Hendricks (1997)
- Had served 10 years for child molestation.
- Kansas passed the Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVP) allowing for involuntary commitment of offenders suffering from “mental abnormality” likely to lead to reoffense.
- Court ruled that “punishment” derives from criminal proceedings, not civil ones. Therefore, confinement did not violate double-jeopardy and ex post facto clauses of constitution.
Attitudes about Incarceration
- Martinson publishes article that Claims rehab programs are ineffective leading to abandonment of rehab goals.
- Haney (1997) has argued that penology moved toward punishment and “just deserts” and away from rehabilitation.
- People support prison as a means of inflicting punishment and harm on prisoners
Punishment and Recidivism
- At 67.5%, California’s recidivism rate is one of the highest in the country.
- Meta-analysis found that harsher criminal justice sanctions had no deterrent effect of recidivism.
- On the contrary, punishment produced a slight (3%) increase in recidivism.
- Overcrowding is related to a stress response—as the body is aroused due to perceived threat.
- Physiological effects had a medium sized effect in meta analysis.
- Milgram noted that overcrowding leads to sensory overload and a decline in overall cognitive functioning.
- Increased crowding leads to increased aggression.
3 Typical Behavioral Responses due to overcrowding
- 1. Aggression
- 2. Withdrawal
- 3. Depression
- Estimated that between 25,000 and 50,000 US prisoners are kept in solitary confinement.
- Madrid vs. Gomex (1995)- particularly harmful to inmates at psychological risk or presently mentally disabled.
Effects of Solitary Confinement
- Even brief confinement leads to a reduction in mental activity as measured by EEG.
- Common long-term effects of confinement include: 1) inability to focus or shift attention, 2) hyperresponsivity to stimuli.
- Haney & Lynch noted >90% exhibiting anxiety disturbances.
Grassian study on solitary confinement
- >50% of inmates studied showed hyperresponsivity.
- Anxiety disorders: >50% exhibited panic attacks.
- Long term effects include personality changes—intolerance for social interaction, extreme irritability.
Bonta & Gendreau (1990)
Found that harmful effects of confinement (<10 days) is inconsistent and relatively minor.
3 ways jurors conceptualize the prototypical insanity defendant
- 1. Severely mentally disordered (uncontrollable mental illness).
- 2. Morally insane (Psychosis and psychopathy)
- 3. Mental state centered (suffered from varied, but clearly supported, impairments in his or her mental state at the time of his offense)
- SMD and MI jurors usually thought myths about the insanity defense were true.
- MSC jurors were more likely to think that the insanity defense was unjust and the constitutional rights were a necessary component to the judicial process.
Goals of punishment (7)
- 1. General deterrence.
- 2. Individual deterrence.
- 3. Incapacitation.
- 4. Retribution.
- 5. Moral outrage.
- 6. Rehab.
- 7. Restitution.
Making sure the crime fits the punishment.
Focal concerns theory states that judges focus on 3 main concerns:
- 1. blameworthiness.
- 2. Protection of the community.
- 3. Practical constraints and consequences of the sentence.
Dispositional phase of Juvenile sentencing
- combine adversarial procedures and attention to the particular needs of the child.
- "sentencing phase"
Recidivism of sex offenders (%)
13.7% of sex offenders were arrested for another sexual offense.
3 ways in which judges and corrections professionals treat sex offenders differently than other offenders:
- 1. Required to register.
- 2. Can be involuntarily committed to mental health facilities.
- 3. Can be subjected to extraordinary sanctions, including enhanced sentences, chemical castration, etc.
Sexually Violent Predator Act
allows for the involuntary committment of offenders suffering from a "mental abnormality" that would make them likely to commit predatory acts of sexual violence.
Mandated TRs for sex offenders
- Therapy interventions.
States that the defendant is not responsible for criminal conduct if he, "at the time of such conduct as a result of mental disease or defect, lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to conform his conduct to requirements of the law".
Guilty but Mentally Ill
The prisoner starts out in a mental facility and then moves to the prison after they are considered well enough.
Dimished capacity Def
- a legal doctrine that applies to defendants who lack the ability to commit a crime prurposely and knowingly.
- Focuses on whether the defendant had the state of mind think about the consequences.
Certain serious felonies are prosecuted in criminal court if the defendant is of a certain age.
the juvenile court decided whether the youth should be transferred to criminal court.
requires prosecutors to decide whether cases are filed initially in juvenile or adult court.
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