Forensic assessment has been largely shaped by statutes, legal standards, and the outcomes of historical landmark cases. When working in an environment where there is no room for error, it is imperative to understand the relevant court decisions that inform the rationale behind various assessment procedures. Unless one knows the relevant statutory or case law, as well as the standards that they set, it is not possible to select an appropriate method of assessment.
Using resources from the professional literature, investigate the research literature on one landmark case pertaining to an important psycholegal issue that forensic mental health professionals address in their assessments. The psycho legal issue may be chosen from the area of criminal forensic psychology (e.g., competency to waive Miranda rights, competency to stand trial, or mental state at the time of the offense), or it may be chosen from the civil area, such as cases pertaining to the right to treatment, the right to refuse treatment, civil commitment, child custody, fitness to parent, or disability. Remember that you must select a case that has direct implications for the work of a forensic mental health professional. Landmark cases are typically historical ones. Recent legal cases that are prominent in the news are not necessarily landmark cases.
The literature you consult can include the Argosy University online library resources, relevant textbooks, peer-reviewed journal articles, and websites ending in .edu or .gov that are created by professional organizations, agencies, or institutions.
More specifically, you are encouraged to refer to your program-required textbook Psychological Evaluations for the Courts: A Handbook for Mental Health Professionals and Lawyers for landmark cases.
You may also refer to the category Landmark Cases in the Webliography.
In a minimum of 300 words, respond to the following:
- Identify a landmark civil case and explain why you chose it for review.
- Provide a short review of the facts of the case.
- Identify the psycholegal issue that was in dispute.
- Discuss the final decision on the issue by the highest court that heard the case.
- Discuss the ways in which the case is relevant to the legal standard that forensic professionals must consider. In other words, discuss the implications of the case for the practice of forensic assessment.
- Provide a properly formatted legal reference for the case. If necessary, consult “Appendix 7.1, References to Legal Materials,” starting on p. 216 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition.