Psychological Evidence in Juvenile and Family Court - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Loading...

PPT – Psychological Evidence in Juvenile and Family Court PowerPoint presentation | free to download - id: 527728-ZWQ1N



Loading


The Adobe Flash plugin is needed to view this content

Get the plugin now

View by Category
About This Presentation
Title:

Psychological Evidence in Juvenile and Family Court

Description:

Title: No Slide Title Author: Jeff Damm Last modified by: Joel A. Dvoskin Created Date: 7/7/2003 3:10:54 PM Document presentation format: On-screen Show – PowerPoint PPT presentation

Number of Views:104
Avg rating:3.0/5.0
Slides: 122
Provided by: JeffD152
Learn more at: http://www.sog.unc.edu
Category:

less

Write a Comment
User Comments (0)
Transcript and Presenter's Notes

Title: Psychological Evidence in Juvenile and Family Court


1
Psychological Evidence in Juvenile and Family
Court
  • Presented to the North Carolina Association of
    District Court Judges
  • June 13, 2006
  • Wrightsville Beach, NC
  • Joel A. Dvoskin, Ph.D., ABPP
  • University of Arizona College of Medicine
  • President-Elect, American Psychology-Law Society
  • joelthed_at_aol.com

2
  • Go to hell, Dook!
  • I am so sorry, but I am constitutionally required
    to make this declaration any time I set foot in
    the state of North Carolina.
  • Man, is it good to be home!

3
N.C. State
4
Go Heels!
5
(No Transcript)
6
Acknowledgments
  • My deep thanks to Sherrie Bourg-Carter, Psy.D.,
    Institute for Behavioral Sciences and the Law,
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Many of the ideas in
    this presentation and these slides came from
    presentations that she generously shared with me.
  • Thanks to the University of North Carolina, for
    decades of joy, and for trying so hard to educate
    me.
  • (Sorry for not being a better student.)

7
Increasingly, children come to court as
  • Complainants
  • Witnesses
  • Defendants

8
Childrens Issues
9
Cases Involving Children
  • Emotionally difficult
  • Complicated
  • Challenging
  • Consequences can be serious
  • Present issues foreign to many attorneys and
    judges

10
CASAs
  • CASA volunteer as adjunct to an attorney
  • Does the CASA volunteer take the place of an
    attorney?
  • No right to file appeals, cross examine

11
Judges
  • Often must make a decision, even in the absence
    of enough information
  • Often receive inadequate feedback about how
    things turned out
  • Often lack resources
  • Investigation
  • Case supervision

12
Developmental Challenges
  • Communication
  • Consequences
  • Time perspective
  • Immediate gratification
  • Short attention spans

13
Basketball
  • Do you think the Heels can win it all next year?

14
Developmental Challenges (cont.)
  • Short attention spans
  • Cause and effect
  • Lack of experience
  • Communication
  • And they are moving targets
  • Development change over time

15
Psychological Challenges
  • Trauma symptoms
  • Depression
  • Sexual acting out
  • Fear of retaliation
  • ADHD
  • Emotional distress
  • MR/IQ Deficits
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Immaturity

16
Legal/Ethical Challenges
  • Competency Determinations
  • Intensity of Cross-Examination
  • Courtroom Modifications
  • Confrontation Clause Issues
  • Support Persons
  • Media Issues

17
Assessment of Young Offenders Competency to
Stand Trial/Hearing
18
Competency
  • Purpose - to protect defendants by giving them a
    fair trial
  • Aimed at MH/MR
  • Do delinquents get trials?
  • Unclear legal landscape
  • See Grisso

19
The Legal Standard
  • Dusky v. United States (1960)
  • Sufficient present ability to consult with
    his/her lawyer with a reasonable degree of
    rational understanding, and
  • Rational and factual understanding of the legal
    proceedings?

20
The Legal Standard
  • Understanding of the charges
  • Pleas and consequences
  • Roles of relevant participants
  • Communicate with counsel rationally
  • Ability to understand waiver of rights
  • Ability to testify
  • Act properly in the courtroom

21
Relevant Questions
  • At what age do children reach levels of
    understanding consistent with adults?
  • What are the indicators when they have not?
  • Does age predict competency?
  • No simple answers.

22
Immaturity?
23
Immaturity?
24
Developmental Perspectives
  • Mental disorders are different for children than
    for adults.
  • ADHD
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Depression more irritability

25
Maturity
  • Cognitive maturity
  • Psychosocial maturity
  • Emotional maturity

26
Cognitive Maturity
  • Partly related to age
  • Cannot be predicted on age alone
  • Concrete thinking

27
Psychosocial Maturity
  • Risk Perception
  • Self-directedness
  • Time perspective
  • Perception of risk

28
Emotional Maturity
  • Impulse Control
  • Lability
  • Empathy

29
Research Findings Thomas Grisso
  • Four year study in four urban U.S. communities
  • Over 1300 subjects between ages of 11-17 (youths)
    and 18-24 (adults)
  • Most youths above 15 were able to perform
    commensurate with adults on competency issues.

30
Research Findings - Grisso
  • But 1/3 of youths were found to have deficits in
    knowledge and decision-making consistent with
    adults found legally incompetent.
  • Youths with low IQ about half had such deficits.

31
Policy Considerations
  • Consider raising the question of CST in cases
    where juveniles have
  • histories of mental illness
  • histories of MR or learning disabilities
  • younger than age 14
  • any juveniles sent to adult court

32
A Competent Evaluation
  • More than an interview
  • Look beyond superficial knowledge
  • Appreciation of the charges
  • Rights
  • Working with counsel
  • Legal process
  • Consequences

33
A Competent Evaluator
  • Forensic training and experience
  • Knowledge of child and adolescent development

34
Questioning Young Witnesses
35
(No Transcript)
36
Common Mistakes in Questioning Children
  • Big words
  • Leading questions and/or suggestive techniques
  • Procedural errors
  • Omissions
  • Not considering the childs developmental level

37
The Interview
  • Introduction
  • Informed consent
  • Building rapport without misleading
  • Competence
  • Naming body parts
  • Context
  • Description of sexual behaviors
  • Threats and grooming behaviors

38
Interviewer Bias
  • Preconceived notions
  • Leading questions
  • Confirmation bias
  • Misleading statements
  • Shock
  • Worse with unskilled and untrained interviewers

39
Language
  • Never assume that your definition of key words is
    exactly the same as the childs
  • Ask them what they mean
  • Requires patience
  • Ask them where they learned that word

40
Two Kinds of Fools
  • Kids never lie
  • Kids never tell the truth
  • Both kinds of fools hurt kids by pretending that
    their politics are science

41
Parents/Interested Parties In the Interview?
  • Should be avoided if at all possible
  • Can bias the information obtained in either
    direction
  • Presence of attorneys?

42
If Unavoidable
  • Child should be told that parent cannot answer
    for him/her.
  • Child should not be able to see the parent.
  • Parent cannot participate in any way

43
When to stop
  • Child repeatedly asks how many more questions.
  • Child is playing with everything in the room.
  • Child repeatedly asks to leave.
  • Child repeatedly asks when the interview is going
    to end.

44
Tainted Memories
  • Many factors to consider
  • type of event witnessed or experienced
  • vividness
  • how well memory was encoded and stored
  • the meaningfulness of the memory
  • post-incident contamination.

45
Tainted Testimony
  • A bad interview can ruin your chances of ever
    finding out what really happened.
  • Tainted interviews do not mean the allegation is
    false, but it may prevent prosecution.
  • Note different standards of proof for child
    protection versus criminal prosecution

46
Number of Interviews
  • Number of interviews can affect recollection of
    an event.
  • In which direction?
  • In some cases, can improve recall.
  • In some cases, can alter recall.

47
Developmental Issues
  • Concept of Time
  • Attention Span
  • Cognitive Development
  • Language
  • Linguistic Development
  • Social skills
  • Emotions
  • Children with Special Needs
  • Bilingual and Multilingual Children
  • Emotions
  • Time sense

48
Concept of Time
  • Not well developed until about age 12.
  • Children under the age of 7 or 8 usually have
    great difficulty placing events in the context of
    time.
  • They also have trouble reporting elapsed time.
  • Careful with how many times, how long, or
    when questions.

49
Preschoolers
  • Between ages 3 and 5, understanding of time -
    rudimentary.
  • May use words to reflect time, but typically
    unreliable and inaccurate.
  • May use familiar terms that convey meaning to
    adults, but have little or no meaning to children.

50
ANCHORS
  • Using significant or memorable events to help
    someone place an event in time.
  • EXAMPLES age, birthdays, holidays, school time
    or summer time, day or night.
  • ELAPSED TIME 3 Cosbys

51
Mistaken Assumptions
  • Dont equate ability to count and name with the
    ability to successfully answer questions about
    when and how many times.
  • Counting and naming - easier skills to learn
    memory based.
  • Concept of numbers and placing events in time -
    cannot be memorized must develop over time.

52
Attention
  • Birth to 5 years - children have difficulty
    attending to things in a selective and
    self-controlled way.
  • 5 years and over - can scan their environment in
    a more efficient and exhaustive way.
  • Everyone has more difficulty reporting peripheral
    details as opposed to central details.

53
Cognitive Limitations of Young Children
  • Egocentrism
  • Inferences
  • Animism
  • Concrete and literal use of language

54
Language Development
  • By age 3, most children can speak in simple
    sentences.
  • But the younger the child, the more difficult the
    interview will be.
  • Also, the younger the child, the more likely the
    childs reliability will be challenged.

55
Language Limitations
  • Certain question words are understood earlier
    than others. Namely, what, where and who are
    easier to answer than how, why, and when.
  • Research shows that children are at least 8 years
    of age before they can begin to cope with all
    wh-questions.

56
Kinship Relationships
  • Sometimes not fully understood until adolescence.
  • Understanding depends a great deal on the
    complexity of the relationship.
  • Children can use terms correctly in conversation,
    but not actually understand their meaning.

57
Interviewing Errors
  • Leading questions
  • Use of multiple negatives
  • Use of pronouns
  • Confusing or sophisticated language
  • Compound or multiple questions

58
Helpful hints
  • Use simple words and sentences
  • Be as specific and literal as possible
  • Dont keep repeating the same question
  • Dont keep repeating the same question
  • Avoid legal jargon
  • Dont not avoid using double negatives
  • Avoid multiple questions
  • Avoid pronouns
  • Avoid asking young children to make inferences

59
Contradictions
  • Can be due to ambiguous or misunderstood
    questions.
  • Can be the result of false allegations.
  • Helpful to tell child beforehand that you might
    be asking the same question more than once and
    possibly by more than one person

60
Inaccuracies
  • Kids statements are severable
  • One error does not mean entire allegation is
    false
  • Consider
  • Assault
  • Who did it?
  • When did it occur?

61
Special Needs Children
  • Disabled children in general
  • Children with medical problems
  • Children with intellectual/learning problems
  • Children with developmental and communication
    disorders
  • Children with mental illness
  • Bilingual/multilingual children

62
Disabled Children in General
  • More vulnerable to abuse
  • increased exposure to multiple caretakers
  • more frequent out-of-home care
  • familys increased reliance upon others for
    assistance
  • communication problems - perps find them easier,
    less risky targets

63
Childhood Disorders
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Mental Retardation
  • Autism

64
ADHD children
  • Problems with attention, impulsivity, and
    hyperactivity.
  • Expect squirming, fidgeting, running, climbing,
    difficulty relaxing, and excessive talking.
  • Tend to blurt out answers before questions are
    completed.
  • Tend to interrupt or intrude.

65
ADHD children
  • Dont pay close attention to detail.
  • Make careless mistakes.
  • Forgetful in day-to-day activities.
  • Often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.

66
Strategies for cases involving ADHD children
  • Make sure on medication on interview day.
  • Shorter interview segments.
  • Take more breaks.
  • Change topics when child loses focus.
  • Eliminate distractions.
  • Dont schedule before anticipated event.

67
Multilingual Children
  • Best to interview in most fluent language.
  • Problems with interpreters
  • Translations are not exact.
  • Interpreters usually not trained in legal issues
    and do not understand the importance of
    non-leading questions.
  • Shocking content

68
The Perfect Interview
  • There is no such thing.
  • There is no one right way to question children.
  • However, there are improper ways.
  • The more errors and improper procedures, the more
    vulnerable the case is to defense challenges.

69
False Allegations
  • Hard to know true frequency.
  • Rarely are there witnesses.
  • Common to have little or no physical evidence.
  • Sometimes we just dont know
  • Different standards of proof for crime versus
    child protection

70
False Allegations
  • Rare for children to deliberately lie about CSA.
  • Current estimates of deliberate attempts to
    deceive in child sexual abuse cases is between 5
    and 8.
  • Most cases involve older children or adults
    encouraging younger children to lie.
  • Misinterpretation of a childs comments.

71
Different Types of False Allegations
  • Lies
  • False Memories
  • False Beliefs

72
Lies
  • In young children, deliberate lies are fairly
    easy to discern.
  • Not skilled at telling lies yet.
  • Facial expressions, voice tone, body language OR
  • Stories begin to unravel over time.
  • Older children get, the better they are at
    successful deception.

73
Lies versus False Memories
74
Limitations to Research
  • The fact that false memories can be created does
    not imply that they have been created in a
    particular case
  • Evidence!!!

75
How it all begins
  • Basically repeatedly providing misinformation
    about an event until the misinformation is
    remembered as having actually happened.

76
Ways to Taint Memories
  • Leading and Suggestive Questioning - The question
    contains information about the answers expected
    of the child.
  • Stereotype Induction
  • Conformity techniques

77
Leading Questions
  • Not all leading or suggestive questions produce
    false information, but create a legal argument of
    unreliability.
  • Difficult to identify leading v. appropriate
    questions if taken out of context
  • Ex When did Joe touch your pee-pee?

78
Avoiding Leading Questions
  • Begin with nondirective, open-ended questions.
  • Allow the child to give as much narrative as
    possible.
  • Take notes, then follow up. Dont interrupt.
  • The more specific the questions become, the more
    likely they will be criticized as leading.

79
Conformity Techniques
  • Child is provided with information about what
    others have said about an event that is contrary
    to what the child has said, usually in an attempt
    to change the childs answers.

80
Memory Distortions
  • Transience, Decay, Interference
  • Confabulation
  • Source misattribution

81
Vulnerability
  • Young children are one of the most vulnerable
    groups.
  • 3-4 year olds are most vulnerable to these
    techniques.
  • Children in general are more vulnerable than
    adults.
  • Intellectually delayed children and adults tend
    to be more vulnerable.

82
Newest Research
  • Childrens vulnerability is not solely
    situational.
  • Involves an interplay between
  • individual factors
  • developmental factors and
  • situational factors.
  • There are some very young children who do not
    succumb to suggestive interview techniques.

83
  • Children can be very accurate in recounting an
    event if uninfluenced.
  • Normally, one or two leading or misleading
    questions in an otherwise proper interview is not
    sufficient to throw out the entire statement.
  • Using accuracy-enhancing techniques can in some
    kids reduce suggestibility (i.e., dont guess,
    some questions might be repeated).
  • Totality of circumstances

84
Emotional Availability
  • Maryland v. Craig - Supreme Court case
  • 497 US 836 (1990)
  • Confrontation is not an absolute right
  • Alternative procedures other than face-to-face
    meeting are acceptable under Confrontation
    Clause.
  • Closed circuit, screens, prosecutor blocking
    childs view of defendant

85
Emotional Availability
  • Not all witnesses qualify for alternative
    procedures
  • Standard set by Craig is child would suffer
    serious emotional distress/harm if required to
    testify in the presence of defendant
  • Excludes mild or moderate anxiety, fears, or
    concerns that most witnesses experience

86
Craig Evaluations
  • Assessment should include
  • Overall assessment of psychological and emotional
    functioning of child
  • Specific questions re testifying in presence of
    defendant
  • Differentiate between distress over the act of
    testifying vs. the act of testifying in presence
    of defendant
  • Assess the severity of the distress
  • Behavioral observations
  • Collateral information

87
Documentation
  • Critical to the interview process.
  • Impossible to remember details years later if
    case goes to trial.
  • Even just days later, recollections of
    conversations can be affected by memory
    limitations.

88
Research
  • Bruck, Ceci, Francoeur (1999)
  • Mothers interviewed their 4-year-old children
    about a structured play activity that occurred
    minutes earlier while the mothers had been away.
  • Half of the mothers were forewarned of memory
    experiment half were not forewarned.

89
Findings
  • A few days later, mothers were asked to recall
    the content of their interviews.
  • Forewarning did not improve performance.
  • Memories for meaning were better than their
    memories for exact wording or structure of the
    conversation.
  • Mothers had difficulty recalling how the
    information was elicited from their children,
    whether their childrens statements were
    spontaneous or prompted, and whether specific
    utterances were spoken by them or their children.

90
Findings
  • Mothers recalled
  • 66 of the primary event activities
  • 35 of the details their children reported to
    them
  • but only 5 of the actual utterances that
    occurred during the conversation
  • and only 20 of the questions they had used to
    ask their children about the event.

91
Findings
  • This suggests that, immediately after an
    interview, interviewers are highly likely to
  • accurately recall the gist of the interview
    information,
  • less likely to recall specific details, and
  • highly unlikely to recall specific, verbatim
    questions and answers.

92
Can They Remember the Kinds of Questions Asked?
  • Most said they asked primarily open-ended
    questions.
  • Few stated that they asked closed-ended or
    specific questions.
  • Only one reported asking leading questions.

93
Actual Questions
  • Over 80 of the questions asked of the children
    were specific or closed-ended.
  • 16 were leading questions.
  • Conclusion Interviewers clearly dont remember
    their actual questioning styles.

94
Written Documentation
  • These findings highlight the importance of
    detailed documentation during interviews.
  • Interviewers are sometimes asked years later to
    recall specific details about their interviews,
    including the types of questions and answers.
  • But even notes are not full-proof.

95
Documentation Problems
  • Notes are selective.
  • Bias
  • 2000 Study - Lamb et. al. -
  • 57 of interviewers utterances did not get
    written down in notes
  • 25 of incident-relevant details provided by
    child did not get written down.

96
Solutions
  • Videotaping
  • Audiotaping
  • But problems still exist ...

97
Problems
  • Not all contact with children taped.
  • People tend to give more weight to videotaped and
    audiotaped statements than to hearsay testimony.
  • Disclosure process not always complete in first
    interview(s).
  • Quality of recordings

98
Judging the Credibility of Witnesses
99
Observer Group Accuracy (chance 50) Secret
Service 64.1 Psychiatrists 57.6 Judges 56
.7 Robbery Investigators 55.8 Federal
Polygraphers 55.7 College Students 52.8 from
Eckman O'Sullivan, 1991
100
  • Ekman, O'Sullivan, and Frank, 1999.

101
Motives for Lying (Ekman)
  • Avoid punishment - most frequent for children
    adults.
  • 2. Obtain a reward not otherwise readily
    obtainable second most frequent.
  • 3. Protect another from punishment.
  • 4. Protect oneself from harm or threat of it.
  • 5. Win praise/admiration from others.

102
Motives for Lying (Ekman)
6. Avoid awkward social situation. 7. Avoid
embarrassment. 8. Maintain privacy w/o giving
notification of the intention to maintain some
information as private. 9. Exercise power over
others by controlling the information the target
has.
103
Mattox v. United States 156 U.S. 237
the accused has an opportunity, not only of
testing the recollection and sifting the
conscience of the witness, but of compelling him
to stand face to face with the jury in order that
they may look at him, and judge by his demeanor
upon the stand and the manner in which he gives
his testimony whether he is worthy of belief.
104
Content Analysis
  • True stories are imperfect.
  • No problem with self-correction.
  • No problem admitting that they forgot some
    details.
  • Can provide richer details.
  • Stories are more logical.

105
Content Analysis
  • Liars tell stories that are too good to be
    true.
  • Reluctant to admit memory/story is imperfect.
  • Stories are less logical dont flow.
  • Sometimes, less able to describe details

106
Content Analysis
  • Good human lie detectors focus on content along
    with nonverbal cues and apply them to the context
    of the situation being described.
  • Very few human beings are good lie detectors
  • Thinking you are a good lie detector means nothing

107
Credibility and Culture
  • Studies are mostly done with Americans.
  • Cues may be misleading if used with people from
    different cultures.
  • When we make credibility judgments, we really are
    making probability judgments based on
    generalizations that come from our own
    experiences and views of the world.
  • Reliable only if the world of the witness has
    some overlap with the world of the judge.

108
Myths and Realities of Domestic Violence
  • Many people hold stereotypical views of battered
    partners
  • Passive
  • Poor
  • Ineffective
  • Nonconfrontational
  • Never violent
  • Rarely if ever try to defend themselves

109
Myths and Realities of Domestic Violence
  • Reality - no typical profile of a battered
    spouse.
  • Domestic abuse and violence crosses all
    socioeconomic levels, all personality types, all
    professions, and all races.

110
Myths and Realities of Domestic Violence
  • This passive, non-confrontational stereotype of
    a victim is impossible for most battering victims
    to meet.
  • Many battered partners get irritable and have
    angry outbursts at some point in their abusive
    relationships.
  • Many battered spouses take steps to defend
    themselves and fight back at some point in the
    abusive relationship.
  • When they do fight back, they may use a weapon
    or object other than their bodies to equalize
    what typically is lesser physical strength
    compared to the batterer.

111
Tips
Review collateral records if available, such as
medical records, treatment records, and/or police
reports. Objective records that show pattern of
injuries or behaviors consistent with abuse.
In custody cases, these records can be
particularly helpful if the records predate the
marital separation and/or the child custody
battle.
112
Tips
Many battered partners do not seek medical
treatment for injuries, admit to abuse in
therapy, or call the police. Reasons feelings
of shame humiliation embarrassment not
wanting to get batterer in trouble
113
Tips
  • Collateral reports - relatives, neighbors,
    friends, doctors.
  • Collateral sources may have witnessed abuse or
    observed behaviors from either party that would
    be consistent or inconsistent with abuse.
  • But the focus should not be only on violence
    since the actual violence is often done outside
    the presence of witnesses.
  • Listen carefully for other dynamics of abuse
  • isolating the victim
  • threatening the victim
  • who made the decisions in the home?
  • who controlled the finances?

114
Tips
Consider any psychological testimony made
available to the court. On accuser look for
presence of trauma-related symptoms that
sometimes develop in victims of abuse. On
accused look for personality traits and/or
behaviors that are more associated with violent
behavior and antisocial attitudes.
115
Tips
However, psychological evaluations are not
fool-proof either. Some genuine victims do not
develop trauma-related symptoms, and some
batterers present and test very well and do not
show any violent or antisocial tendencies in the
evaluation results.
116
Social/Logistical Factors
  • Financial
  • Safety
  • Homelessness
  • Fear of losing the children
  • Violence can escalate at point of separation

117
Considerations
  • Battered spouses may experience the following
  • guilt/shame
  • self-blame
  • depression
  • anger
  • physiological arousal
  • hypervigilance
  • feelings of powerlessness/helplessness/hopelessne
    ss
  • fear
  • anxiety

118
PTSD? BWS?
  • The legal system sometimes treats PTSD or BWS as
    a standard to which all battered partners must
    meet in order to be considered abused.
  • However, the psychological impact of domestic
    violence is not pathological.
  • Traumatic experiences naturally affect people,
    but not all trauma victims develop PTSD nor
    should they be expected to.

119
Reasonable Perceptions
  • Implications when determining reasonable
    perception of danger in domestic violence cases.
  • Likely that a reasonable perception of danger
    from a battered partners perspective will be
    different than the perspective of someone who has
    not experienced a history of violence in an
    intimate relationship.
  • So the question should be - what was the danger
    from the battered spouses perspective?

120
What to Expect from Experts
  • The role of an expert is NOT to be an advocate
    for anything but his/her findings and
    methodology.
  • Opinions should be grounded in science and
    scientific data.
  • Should not rely upon information provided by
    attorney.
  • Refer to Forensic Specialty Guidelines.
  • Show your work.

121
Credibility of Experts
Honest experts make reasonable concessions. Exper
ts are supposed to consider alternative
hypotheses to the issues in the case. Good
experts communicate in understandable language.
Avoid jargon. Good experts are able to provide
data to back up opinions not because I am a
doctor with 25 years of experience. Experts
occasionally admit, I dont know.
About PowerShow.com