Some cases start with a criminal case and due to the severity of such a case cross over into civil courts. Some high profile murder cases are examples of this, with the victim’s estate suing the accused perpetrator for financial gain. Cases of sexual harassment in the workplace often cross both criminal and civil cases as the accused perpetrator faces criminal charges and the victim(s) sue both the accused perpetrator and the organization for damages in civil court under a variety of civil codes. White collar crime often results in both criminal charges and civil suits to compensate the victims. The U.S. judicial system, allows for both criminal and civil remedies in cases, as warranted. High profile cases provide us examples of how cases span the criminal and civil justice systems, including: O.J Simpson, Bernie Madoff, Timothy McVeigh, Enron’s Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, Robert Blake, Casey Anthony, and George Zimmerman. It is important to note, that some of these cases resulted in a not-guilty criminal finding, yet the defendant lost in civil court, emphasizing the different standards that apply in these cases. For this assignment, select one of these high profile case that has crossed both the civil and criminal courts [You may select another high profile case, with the pre-approval of your instructor]. Using this case, you will assess the case from the courtroom through treatment, examining both the criminal and civil side of a case. The goal of this assignment is to provide you with an opportunity to examine the differences in treatment and evaluation when there are legal questions in mind, compared to standard clinical practice.
Part One: Describe the Case
What is the case selected?
Criminal Case:
What are the key questions related to the criminal case?
What questions in the criminal case were or should have been addressed by a forensic psychologists?
Civil Case:
What are the key questions related to the civil case?
What questions in the civil case were or should have been addressed by a forensic psychologists?
How did the questions in the criminal and civil case differ?
Part Two: Analyze the Case
Criminal Case
Assume for the sake of argument that the defendant is challenging competency to stand trial, analyze how you would assess the defendants mental state and what expert testimony you would provide to courts on competency.
Assume for the sake of argument that the defendant is entering a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, analyze how you would assess the defendant and the what expert testimony you would provide to courts on the question of insanity.
What assessment could be used to assess mental status from a treatment perspective and how does this differ from the approaches for competency and insanity plea?
What treatment recommendations would you make for the defendant, following assessment for treatment (not assessment for competency of insanity plea)?
What victim assessment and treatment would you recommend in this case?
Civil Case
Assume for the sake of argument that the defendant is claiming diminished mental capacity, which could influence the trial moving forward. How would you assess the defendants mental state and what expert witness would you provide to the courts?
What assessment could be used to assess mental status from a treatment perspective and how does this differ from the approaches for mental capacity related to the trial?
What treatment recommendations would you make for the defendant, following assessment for treatment (not assessment for competency of insanity plea)?
What victim assessment and treatment would you recommend in this case?
What are the similarities and differences as we approach the same case from a criminal and civil perspective?
How is the approach of the forensic psychologists in assessment similar and different?
What are the similarities and differences in treatment approaches?
What are the similarities and differences in expert testimony?
Part Three: Recommendations
While documentation should always be at the forefront of a practitioner’s mind, when legal cases are involved, the need for clear, concise documentation that specifically assesses and addresses the core legal questions is imperative. The legal questions for criminal and civil cases are different, even when involving the same defendant and the same event or incident.
What does the literature say about how the role of forensic psychologists in criminal and civil cases compare and contrast?
What does the literature say about the different theories that apply in this case as we move from a criminal to civil case?
How can forensic psychology professionals prepare to work with clients in criminal and civil cases, providing assessment, treatment, and/or expert testimony.
What knowledge, skills, and education will the forensic psychology professionals need to address the case?

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