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Mental Illness Case: Preparing as an Expert

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The majority of testimony delivered in courts by forensic psychology professionals is related to psychological evaluation data. Ultimately, any testimony that forensic psychology professionals give will be driven by the procedures they choose to employ from the beginning of the case, from the time the referral question is received and subpoena issued, to the testimony itself. To help prepare for testifying, it is necessary to understand the process of and guidelines for providing expert testimony. Planning and reviewing testimony in advance is important to testifying effectively and to coming across as reliable and believable.

• Select a case to research (past or present) where the mental health of the defendant was the issue at hand. The case may be one with which you are familiar, one from history or popular culture, or one you find by using the Walden library.

• Review the assigned chapters in your course text Coping With Cross-Examination and Other Pathways to Effective Testimony. Think about the steps you would take and considerations you would make when preparing to testify about the case you selected.

how you would prepare to testify for the case. Refer to the process of and guidelines for testifying as you explain the steps you would take, from the time you receive the subpoena through the time you are on the stand. Be specific as you use aspects from the case you selected to illustrate the process you would follow to offer expert testimony.

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Solution Summary

The solution provides information, assistance and advise in tackling the task (see above) on the topic of choosing a mental health-related case and discussing how an expert will prepare to give evidence for it. Resources are listed for further exploration fo the topic.

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On Testifying: Cases & Guidelines

The case of Addington vs. Texas (1979) is considered a landmark case involving issues with mental health as it set the rules/standard for involuntary commitment - that is, an individual is committed to a mental institution or a rehabilitation center for treatment based on burden of proof that inarguably presents the necessity of committing said individual for psychological/psychiatric treatment for his safety and that of people around him. Frank Addington was found guilty of assault threat against his mother and based on Texas law, his mother filed a petition to indefinitely commit hi to a psychiatric hospital due to his long history of mental and emotional problems so as to help him and at the same time remove him as a threat to people around him. Addington appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. According to the Mental Illness Policy Institute's (2009) case log, case summary is as follows:

"Addington v. Texas, 441 U.S. 418 (1979). Plaintiff, who disputed his dangerousness, was indefinitely committed based on a history of mental illness, threats, and several in-hospital assaults. Held: jury ...

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