I have been providing expert witness services for several years. My practice, for the most part, has involved personal injury and wrongful death matters in health and human service agencies. More specifically, my work frequently requires a Standard of Care opinion related to the level of care provided by a service organization to a person with a developmental disability and/or mental retardation. As a part of this practice I have worked several cases involving an eating disorder referred to as PICA.
Forensic psychological evaluations have become a valuable resource for the criminal justice system by addressing important forensic questions. For instance, assessing risk for violence can help courts make appropriate decisions on issues such as sentencing, granting privileges, and community reintegration. If an individual is assessed to be a high risk for future violence, a judge has grounds to order a more restrictive setting compared to someone who is a lower risk for recidivism. By tailoring court decisions based on accurate psychological evaluations, the community is safer while the defendant's rights are also protected.
Forensic Psychologists can assist both Plaintiff and Defense lawyers in their assessment of the emotional damages related to traumatic injuries with adults as well as children. PTSD in children and teens is caused by events that have caused them or someone else to be killed or badly injured. Not all children develop PTSD after a traumatic injury. 3-15% of girls and 1-6% of boys develop PTSD in response to a traumatic experience. Rates of PTSD are higher for certain types of trauma survivors. Nearly 100% get PTSD if they see a parent being killed or if they see a sexual assault. 90% of sexually abused children develop PTSD; 77% of children who see a school shooting develop PTSD; and 35% of children who see violence in the area they live, develop PTSD (National Center for PTSD in Children and Teens).
Amputation is an injury involving loss of function, loss of sensation, and loss of body image. It is not surprising amputees often suffer psychological difficulties following such an event. Further, these psychological difficulties can also result in long term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for the amputee. Often these psychological injuries and resultant PTSD can be difficult to explain to a jury. The forensic expert's presentation of psychological testing assessing potential PTSD is one part of proving or disproving damages. However, the forensic expert can better assist either the Defense or Plaintiff's attorney by addressing specific functions in the amputee that have been affected by the injury.
To determine if there are any changes in self-concept, locus of control and frequency of aggressive behaviors in juvenile offenders. As a function of receiving Direct Decision Therapy (DDT). Sub-objectives are whether DDT will effect positive change in self-concept, higher interval control and significantly fewer aggressive behaviors.
Prosecutors and law enforcement are frequently confronted with situations wherein children have been traumatized and/or injured. These injuries have resulted in disabilities which affect the child’s ability to understand questions as well as express answers to questions.
There has been great voiced concern by practitioners and researchers over overcategorization and overgeneralization of individuals accused of sexual offending being lumped into one category of "sexual predators." Whereas there certainly is a need for protection of children from predators in our society, the pendulum has swung too far to the extreme.
Recently the Oregon Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, upended how eyewitness identification is to be used in criminal trials. The article in The New York Times (2012) indicated that misidentification is the country's leading cause of wrongful conviction.