Milwaukee 2018: Contemporary Issues in Forensic Psychology

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Continuing Education Programs

Contemporary Issues in Forensic Psychology

Full-Day Workshops
(7 Credit Hours per Workshop)

Title: Writing an Effective Forensic Report
Presenter: Deborah Collins, PsyD, ABPP
Date and Time: Wednesday, June 20 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)

Keys to effectively communicating forensic evaluation findings are knowledge of the principles of forensic report writing and skills in implementing them.  This workshop reviews principles for effective report organization, selection of content that will meet legal demands, and styles of communication that best meet judicial needs.  The workshop also includes comments and practical advice by the workshop leader on sample forensic reports, including those that participants are invited to submit prior to the workshop.  It includes “hands on” opportunities for participants to examine and discuss examples of redacted forensic reports and excerpts.  

Those attending this workshop will be able to:

  • Explain two key findings from conceptual and empirical literature regarding forensic report writing practices of clinicians
  • Identify three strategies for writing more culturally and linguistically sensitive and fair forensic reports
  • Describe at least two alternative ways to organize a forensic report
  • List and employ six key principles of forensic report writing
  • Outline critical sections of forensic reports and types of content for inclusion in each
  • Identify elements of forensic report writing style that can foster effective communication of evaluation findings 

Deborah Collins, PsyD, ABPP, is a licensed psychologist in Wisconsin and Michigan.  She obtained board certification in forensic psychology in 2005.  She is the Director of the Wisconsin Forensic Unit and President of Behavioral Consultants, Inc., private court clinics which provide consultation to attorneys and courts about a range of psycholegal issues.  Between 2010 and 2017, she served as Chair of the Practice Sample Review process for the American Board of Forensic Psychology.  She has extensive experience conducting forensic evaluations, writing forensic reports, and testifying.  Dr. Collins frequently teaches on related topics, including at the Marquette University Law School and Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology.  

Title: Forensic Evaluation in
Miranda Waiver and False/Coerced Confession Cases
Presenter: I. Bruce Frumkin, PhD, ABPP
Date and Time: Wednesday, June 20 (8:45 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.)

This workshop is for both beginning and advanced forensic practitioners.  It provides a practical and conceptual framework for assessing a defendant’s
Miranda rights capacity in addition to considering factors related to false and coerced confessions.  One focus is the use of specialized tests developed to facilitate assessment of defendants in these cases.  Research and relevant case law in the field is discussed, and special attention is paid to avoiding common pitfalls in one’s evaluation approach and testimony in light of Frye and Daubert standards.

Those attending this workshop will be able to:

  • Describe the conceptual differences between a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary waiver of Miranda rights
  • Describe the state of the research regarding juveniles’ and adults’ understanding and appreciation of Miranda rights, and factors related to interrogated suggestibility
  • Identify the various types of false confessions, and factors that can facilitate false confessions
  • Identify factors and assessment procedures relevant to conducting appropriate Miranda capacity and coerced/false confession evaluations
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of specialized tests (IAUAMR, MRCI, SAMA, GSS) designed to help assess relevant factors in confession-related cases
  • Describe commonly used interrogation tactics used by law enforcement officers to extract confessions
  • Conduct culturally-relevant forensic assessments in the confession arena 

I. Bruce Frumkin, PhD, ABPP, earned his PhD in Clinical Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis.  He is in private practice and is the Director of Forensic and Clinical Psychology Associates, P.A.  Dr. Frumkin is board certified in forensic psychology.  He has a number of publications in the areas of capacity to waive
Miranda warnings and false/coerced confessions, and has presented extensively to both psychology and legal organizations.  He has conducted more than 700 confession-related evaluations nationwide.

Title: Evaluation of Competence to Stand Trial
Presenter: Candyce Shields, PhD, ABPP
Date and Time: Thursday, June 21 (8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

This introductory workshop focuses on the evaluation of adults whose ability to participate in the criminal process (competence to stand trial) is at issue. Relevant research and case law are reviewed along with ethical considerations in performing these evaluations. A model and format for the assessment of adjudicative competencies and development of a forensic report is introduced. Forensic assessment instruments and psychological tests that can facilitate the assessment process are reviewed as well.

Those attending this workshop will be able to:
  • Identify landmark legal cases relevant to various aspects of the evaluation of adjudicative competence
  • Identify key (federal) rules of evidence relevant to the evaluation of and provision of expert testimony in cases of adjudicative competence
  • Identify relevant assessment techniques (i.e., psychological tests, specialized forensic assessments and assessments of symptom validity) employed in the evaluation of adjudicative competence and articulate a rationale for the selection of (or reasons for not utilizing) tests
  •  Identify ethical principles and guidelines relevant to the evaluation of adjudicative competence
  • Describe research relevant to the evaluation of adjudicative competence
  • Describe a diverse range of factors and domains (e.g., ethnicity, culture, mental health status, etc.) critical to conducting interviews and gathering information for evaluations of adjudicative competence
  • Employ a model for developing a forensic report to articulate findings in evaluations of adjudicative competence

Candyce Shields, PhD, ABPP, earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Western Michigan University, a master’s degree in rehabilitation psychology and counseling from the University of North Carolina, and a master’s and doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of Louisville. She completed a predoctoral internship at the Federal Correctional Complex in Butner, North Carolina and a postdoctoral fellowship in forensic psychology at the Wyoming State Hospital in Evanston, Wyoming. She achieved board certification in forensic psychology in 2008.  Dr. Shields is Assistant Director of Evaluation Services and Forensic Psychologist at the Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Saline, Michigan.  She conducts forensic evaluations relative to competence to stand trial and insanity.  She is the 2016 recipient of the Distinguished Contributions to Forensic Psychology award given by AAFP.

Title: Evidence Based Evaluation of Criminal Responsibility
Presenter: Terry Kukor, PhD, ABPP
Date and Time: Thursday, June 21 (8:45 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.)

This full-day workshop focuses on assessment of a defendant’s mental state at the time of the offense as it relates to issues of criminal responsibility (sanity). Specific topics include: practical assessment of nature, quality, and wrongfulness; objective and subjective standards of moral wrongfulness; evidentiary bases for inferences about wrongfulness; amnesia and sanity; dealing with collateral information; psychological testing in sanity evaluations; the relationship between symptoms and the alleged offense; dealing with complicating matters (e.g., denial of involvement in the alleged offense); accounting for contradictory data; formulating opinions; and malingering.  A practice model for the assessment of criminal responsibility is introduced, with an emphasis on gathering and evaluating the evidence necessary to address the functional legal capacities in question. Practical report writing strategies are reviewed as well. Clinical cases and vignettes provide participants with practical opportunities to apply the conceptual framework to case detail in criminal responsibility evaluations.

Those attending this workshop will be able to:
  • Identify legal principles relevant to the evaluation of criminal responsibility (sanity)
  • Describe a conceptual framework for evaluating criminal responsibility
  • Articulate questions designed to elicit “big picture” and “behavioral detail” data pertinent to evaluation of criminal responsibility
  • Provide examples of evidence that can be used to support opinions about sanity Implement effective techniques for bridging clinical and behavioral data with relevant legal principles
  •  Identify how bias can interfere with objective consideration of diversity factors (e.g., race, culture, sexual orientation, etc.) in the evaluation of criminal responsibility
  • Apply a conceptual framework to forensic case examples 

Terry Kukor, PhD, ABPP, is a licensed psychologist and board certified in forensic psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology. He is the Director of Forensic and Specialized Assessment Services for Netcare Access in Columbus, Ohio. He holds adjunct faculty appointments in the Psychology Departments at Drexel University and Miami University, and in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Ohio State University. Dr. Kukor has specialized in criminal forensic evaluation for more than 25 years, during which time he has performed a wide variety of forensic evaluations, including criminal responsibility, competence to stand trial, juvenile competency and waiver, violence risk assessment, and threat assessment.

Title: Improving Testimony in Depositions and Trials
Presenter: Phillip J. Resnick, MD
Date and Time: Friday, June 22 (8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

The adversary process seeks justice, sometimes at the expense of truth.  Topics addressed include coping with cross-examiners who attack credentials, witness bias, gender bias, and the validity of psychologists' reasoning.  Issues of power and control in the witness cross-examiner relationship are explored.  Different styles of testimony and cross-examination techniques are illustrated using 20+ videotaped vignettes from actual depositions and trials.  Mistakes experts make when testifying is demonstrated using videotaped clips from mock trials and actual testimony.

Those attending this workshop will be able to:
  • Provide better structured written reports that facilitate opinion testimony 
  • Describe the differences between discovery depositions and trial depositions
  • Identify four reasons not to volunteer information in discovery depositions
  • Employ a strategy to thoroughly prepare for discovery depositions and trial testimony
  • Describe how factors such as expert race, gender and ethnicity affect jurors
  • Identify the dynamics of power and control in the courtroom
  • Offer more effective testimony by using more persuasive, jargon free language

Phillip J. Resnick, MD, is a Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Division of Forensic Psychiatry at Case School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio. He served as a consultant in many high profile cases, including those of Jeffrey Dahmer, Susan Smith, Timothy McVeigh, Andrea Yates, Scott Peterson, Casey Anthony, Theodore Kaczynski (the Unabomber), and James Holmes, the Aurora, Colorado Batman movie shooter. Dr. Resnick is a past president of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.  He has published 185 articles and book chapters.  He has lectured in 49 states and 23 countries.

Title: Controversies in Forensic Mental Health Assessment
Presenters: Terry Kukor, PhD, ABPP and Richart L. DeMier, PhD, ABPP
Date and Time: Friday, June 22 (8:45 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.)

Forensic evaluators have to make a variety of difficult decisions during every evaluation, and experts sometimes disagree about the best choice.  Should psychological reports address the ultimate issue?  How does one balance the demands of comprehensiveness and data relevancy when writing reports?  What should a psychologist do when an attorney seeks test data?  Is actuarial assessment superior to clinical assessment?  What factors should be considered when an expert is asked to provide consultation (e.g. assistance in the development of questions for cross-examination) and testimony on the same case? In this workshop, these and other controversial topics are discussed in a highly interactive format.  The best choice for the circumstances is not always obvious, but participants in this workshop will actively explore competing sides of controversial forensic evaluation issues, critically evaluate their options, and as a result will be better able to defend the chosen option.

Those attending this workshop will be able to:
  • Identify areas in forensic mental health assessment in which there is disagreement about best practice
  • Articulate key arguments on both sides of specific forensic controversies
  • Describe resources to inform one’s understanding of both sides of specific forensic controversies
  • Identify core critical thinking strategies to evaluate one's options in areas of controversy
  • Articulate specific ways in which one could reasonably defend a chosen option in an area of controversy
  • Describe strategies to minimize the influence of bias in the objective consideration of options in areas of forensic controversy (e.g., race, culture, sexual orientation)
  • Apply critical thinking strategies to case scenarios to make defensible decisions about forensic controversies 

Please see Dr. Kukor's bio above.

Richart L. DeMier, PhD, ABPP, is a clinical psychologist who specializes in forensic assessment.  In 1994, he earned his PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.  He became board certified in forensic psychology in 2001.  For 20 years he practiced clinical and forensic psychology at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners, a major medical referral center within the Federal Bureau of Prisons.  In addition to his clinical duties, he spent 11 years as Director of Clinical Training for the facility’s APA-accredited predoctoral internship.  Since 2008, he has served as an examiner for the American Board of Forensic Psychology.  In that role, he reviews practice samples and serves as an oral examiner for candidates for board certification.  He is co-author, with Drs. Randy Otto and Marcus Boccaccini, of
Forensic Reports and Testimony: A Guide to Effective Communication for Psychologists and Psychiatrists.

Title: Assessing Civil Competencies
Presenter: Eric Y. Drogin, JD, PhD, ABPP

Date and Time: Saturday, June 23 (8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

This workshop enables participants to understand and conduct evaluations of a range of civil competencies, including those relevant to guardianship, conservatorship, testamentary capacity, testimonial capacity, and consent to treatment.  Specific topics include test selection, forensic interviewing, report writing, ethical considerations, legal standards, and practice expansion.  The role of "functional assessment" as the common basis for these evaluations is emphasized.  This workshop's practical focus is geared to the needs of evaluators new to the assessment of civil competencies as well as experienced evaluators seeking to expand their scope of practice into related areas.

Those attending this workshop will be able to:
  • Distinguish between assessment of past, present, and future decision-making capacity
  • Describe the history and development of the thinking of legal scholars and mental health professionals around issues of capacity and its assessment
  • Describe how competency to consent to treatment is most effectively assessed
  • Identify the various domains addressed in guardianship evaluations
  • Conduct assessments of testimonial capacity
  • Incorporate legal standards in identifying civil competency thresholds 
  • Employ best practices for examination, interpretation, and report writing, with specific attention and sensitivity to cultural, individual, and role differences 

Eric Y. Drogin, JD, PhD, ABPP, is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and is board certified in forensic psychology. He holds faculty appointments with the Harvard Medical School and the Harvard Longwood Psychiatry Residency Training Program.  He is a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and serves as Chair of the American Bar Association’s Division of Life & Physical Sciences.  Dr. Drogin teaches on the adjunct faculty of the University of New Hampshire School of Law and participates as an Instructor in the Harvard Law School Trial Advocacy Workshop.  He received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from Hahnemann University and his JD from the Villanova University School of Law.  Currently serving as the Editor in Chief of The Journal of Psychiatry & Law and as the Associate Editor of the International Journal of Law & Psychiatry, Dr. Drogin has authored or co-authored over 250 legal and scientific publications to date. His multidisciplinary practice encompasses mental health law, expert witness testimony, and trial consultation.

Title: Comprehensive Assessment of Malingering
Presenter: Richart L. DeMier, PhD, ABPP
Date and Time: Saturday, June 23 (8:45 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.)

Assessment of malingering is a common task for the forensic psychologist.  This workshop emphasizes both clinical assessment of malingering through interview techniques and tests.  Pertinent research is reviewed, but the focus is on clinical practice.  Participants learn about base rates and their importance, and the workshop emphasizes the importance of understanding psychometric properties of assessment tools including specificity, sensitivity, and predictive power.  Strengths and weaknesses of various commonly used assessment tools are reviewed.

Those attending this workshop will be able to:
  • Describe the historical roots of malingering, as well as the pathogenic, criminological, and adaptive models of malingering
  • Recognize specific clinical interviewing techniques designed to assess for malingering
  • List several tests useful when evaluating feigned psychopathology, particularly in relation to feigned psychotic symptoms List several tests useful when evaluating cognitive impairment, including memory impairment
  • Explain the importance of considering base rates when assessing malingering
  • Explain the psychometric concepts of sensitivity, specificity, false positive findings, and false negative findings
  • Identify symptom validity testing for the assessment of claims of remote memory loss 

Please see Dr. DeMier's bio above.


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