One is frequently presented with an individual who presents for evaluation as a result of traumatic events such as sexual harassment, sexual abuse in the school and workplace, electrical injury, and Traumatic Brain Injury.
Voir dire of experts as to credentials and experience needs to be viewed as only one aspect of the vetting process of forensic work product. Experts, as much as anyone else, are prone to conscious and unconscious sources of bias. This rather significant problem area in forensic reports is discussed by (Stuld and Simon, 2013) under the rubric of heuristic and cognitive biases. Heuristics addresses how people arrive at decisions or reach conclusions in complex family law, civil, or criminal matters. Errors in this area are of concern when experts focus or overly attend to only a part of the problem or afford overemphasis to certain factors and minimize the contribution of other factors. One can also see this problem in medicine. A patient may complain of pain in a particular body region whereas the provider focuses only another medical issue.
Defense counsel is frequently presented with the problem of a client protesting their innocence and accusers, perhaps multiple accusers, leveling allegations of sexual assault against the client. Of course, with defendants facing severe legal consequences, complaints need to be evaluated as to their reliability and validity.
Proper interviewing Protocols are critical to maximize information-gathering as well as accuracy of information in criminal and National Security investigations. Police procedures incorrectly assume that promoting physical close proximity with an interviewer (eg, Inbau, Reid, Buckley, & Jane, 2013) will induce subjects to become more forthcoming.
Unlike in Alzheimer's Disease, neurofibrillary tangles in athletes with CTE tend to accumulate perivascularly within the superficial neocortical layers. It is interesting to note that TAU pathology in CTE is partially and extensively distributed, possible related to multi-directional mechanical force from physical trauma (McKee et al, 2009; Neuropath Exp Neurol 68, 709-35.) It is theorized that accumulation of hyperphosphor is related to a protein that is thought to result in development of CTE and associated neurobehavioral disturbances.
The recent editors of Myers on Evidence of Interpersonal Violence (Myers 2016) notes that the most well-known of psychological instruments to assess suggestibility is the Gudjohnson Suggestibility Scales (GSS). The GSS is utilized by psychologists to evaluate whether defendant's confessions were voluntary. The author notes that it is doubtful that these instruments are sufficiently reliable for use in legal proceedings. It is noted that in Shanklin, 379 111 Dec 211 the trial judge did not err in subjecting the GSS to a Frye Henry.
The public understanding of TBI is so poor that it is officially referred to by the US National Center for Injury Prevention and Control as "the silent epidemic." In the acute phase, the usual radiological examinations are not sensitive to TBI and diffuse axonal injury (DAI). There is a significant amount of false negatives with CT scans administered in the ER.
The author recently had a chapter accepted for publication on Methodology for Conducting Bonding Studies in Child Custody Evaluations (CCE). This chapter was written in response to the requests of many psychologists over the years who wanted guidance in procedures for conducting bonding studies. Many psychologists conduct bonding studies with cursory observations of parent and child. There is no application of an objective scoring system or any methods that can be replicated by other CCE Evaluators. This is essential in science.
This week marked the enshrinement of Junior Seau in the NFL Hall of Fame. Junior was an outstanding linebacker for USC who went onto great accomplishments in the NFL. However, all was not well. The effects of domestic violence, substance abuse and gambling difficulties; as reported on ESPN's Outside the Lines, took the toll on Junior. He repeatedly complained to a friend who was a fellow player and suffered from headaches, how he too, suffered for years from headaches. ESPN noted that he was reported to have been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neuro-degenerative disease that can lead to dementia, memory loss and depression. Gina Seau reported that Junior's disease was associated with head-to-head collisions caused from 20 years of playing in the NFL. This scenario affected his ability to think logically.