Criminal courts ordinarily handle adults accused of felony crimes. At times, criminal courts will manage cases involving juveniles but only when they have been remanded out of juvenile court. Criminal courts often rely on psychological evaluations to determine a number of different competencies of the accused. The potential applications of these evaluations within the criminal courts range from the typical competency to stand trial evaluation, to the less common competency for execution evaluation. Although, criminal court evaluations usually assess the defendant’s competency on important legal matters, they also play a role in determining mental state at the time of the offense, as well as appropriate sentencing procedures at the conclusion of the trial. In this assignment, you consider when and why you would use particular forensic psychological evaluations in criminal courts. You also explain the similarities and differences between them.
To prepare for this assignment:
- Review the assigned chapters in your course text Psychological Evaluations for the Courts. Focus on the different forensic psychological evaluations applicable to criminal courts. Pay particular attention to when and under what circumstances you would use each.
- Select three types of criminal forensic psychological evaluations that are of interest to you. Think about the similarities and differences between the three evaluations you selected.
The assignment: (2 pages)
- Briefly describe the three types of evaluations you selected and explain when and under what circumstances you would use each.
- Compare (similarities and differences) the criminal evaluations you selected.
- Explain what insights you had or conclusions you drew based on your comparison.
- Be specific. Support your response with references to the Learning Resources.
- Article: Cox, M. L., & Zapf, P. A. (2004). An investigation of discrepancies between mental health professionals and the courts in decisions about competency. Law and Psychology Review, 28(109), 108–131.
- Article: Zapf, P. A., Boccaccini, M. T., & Brodsky, S. L. (2003). Assessment of competency for execution: Professional guidelines and an evaluation checklist. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 21(1), 103–120.
- Article: Giorgi-Guarnieri, D., Janofsky, J., Keram, E., Lawsky, S., Merideth, P., Mossman, D., … & Zonana, H. (2002). AAPL practice guideline for forensic psychiatric evaluation of defendants raising the insanity defense. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law, 30(2), S3–40.
- Article: Monahan, J., & Ruggiero, M. (1980). Psychological and psychiatric aspects of determinate criminal sentencing. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 3(2), 143–154.
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