I had a brief hit from the PD’s office. They were looking at an older post about forensic evaluations. I don’t know whether this confirms that James Holmes is presently in the process of his second psychiatric evaluation, but here’s some more general information about what goes on in an exam. The rest of it is kind of a review as to what qualifies as insanity at the time of said offense.
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CLINICAL AND FORENSIC INTERVIEWS
Goal: to obtain information as reliable and
accurate as possible vs.Goal: to assess and provide treatment of
Fact-finding focus – accurate recollection of events important vs.Therapeutic focus – Attributions and perceptions of events important
Objectivity, neutrality, avoidance of biases vs. Empathy, therapeutic alliance, support of Client
Court is the client vs. Person is the client
Consent to obtain outside information and disclose information is obtained and understood prior to proceeding with the interview vs. Client’s consent required to seek external verification of information and to provide information to outside sources
Interviews are formal and restrictive Interviewing strategies are variable vs.Confidentiality restricted Traditional confidentiality
Competency of client questioned vs. Competency of Client not the primary concern
Recorded vs. Private
DOS AND DON’TS OF THE INTERVIEW
(1) Consult counsel once allegations are made.
(2) Prepare and discuss an interview plan or theme.
(3) Conduct one interview at a time, unless the situation
(4) Arrange a safe and private interview location.
(5) Gather and organize pertinent documents before
(6) Obtain information concerning the person being
interviewed before the interview.
(7) Exhibit courteous and professional appearance and
behavior at all times.
(8) Be punctual.
(9) Conduct the interview with more than one person.
(10) Establish rapport during initial contact.
(11) Maintain control in the interview.
(12) Close on a positive note for future contacts.
(13) Prepare reports as close as possible to interview.
(14) Listen to your instincts.
(1) Conduct interview without a plan of action.
(2) Fail to discuss the interview with partner.
(3) Argue with interviewee.
(4) Lose objectivity during the interview.
(5) Become judgmental during a confession.
(6) Include personal opinions in notes or written
(7) Provide promises or assurances.
(8) Threaten interviewee with disclosure of interview
results, discipline, or job security.
(9) Discuss interviews with anyone outside of the
TESTS FOR INSANITY
The M’Naghten rule or standard provides that for an individual to be found Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity (NGRI), he or she must be “laboring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing; or if he knew it, that he did not know he was doing what was wrong.” The concept of disease of the mind excludes voluntary intoxication either by alcohol or drugs and strong emotional states.
Irresistible Impulse Test
The Irresistible Impulse Test was first adopted by the Alabama Supreme Court in the 1887 case of Parsons v. State. The Alabama court stated that even though the defendant could tell right from wrong, he was subject to“the duress of such mental disease [that] he had … lost the power to choose between right and wrong” and that “his free agency was at the time destroyed,” and thus, “the alleged crime was so connected with such mental disease, in the relation of cause and effect, as to have been the product of it solely.” In their finding, the court assigned responsibility for the crime to the mental illness despite the defendant’s ability to distinguish right from wrong. The Irresistible Impulse Test gained acceptance in various states as an addition to the M’Naghten Rule, under which right versus wrong was still considered a critical part of any definition of insanity. In some cases, the Irresistible Impulse Test was considered to be a variation on M’Naghten; in others, it was considered to be a separate test. Although the Irresistible Impulse Test was considered to be an important correction on the M’Naghten’s cognitive bias, it still came under criticism of its own. For example, it was criticized for making the definition of insanity too broad, failing to take into account the impossibility of determining which acts were uncontrollable rather than merely uncontrolled, and also making it easier to malinger or fake insanity. The Irresistible Impulse Test was also criticized for being too narrow; like M’Naghten, the test seemed to exclude all but those totally unable to control their actions. Nevertheless, several states currently use this test along with the M’Naghten Rule to determine insanity, and the American Law Institute in its Model Penal Code definition of insanity adopted a modified version of it.
ALI Model Penal Code
The American Law Institute (ALI) designed a new test for its Model Penal Code in 1962, in response to criticisms of the various tests for the insanity defense (including the Irresistible Impulse Test). Under the ALI Model Penal Code test (ALI Test), “a person is not responsible for criminal conduct if at the time of such conduct as a result of mental disease or defect he lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law.”
The ALI Model Penal Code test is much broader than the M’Naghten Rule and the Irresistible Impulse Test. It asks whether defendants have a substantial incapacity to appreciate the criminality of their conduct or to conform their conduct to the law rather than the absolute knowledge required by M’Naghten and the absolute inability to control conduct required by the Irresistible Impulse Test.
The ALI Model Penal Code test also requires that the mental disease or defect be a mental diagnosis. In this way, it manages to incorporate elements of all three of its predecessors: the knowledge of right and wrong required by M’Naghten; the prerequisite of lack of control in the Irresistible Impulse Test; and the diagnosis of mental disease and defect required by Durham.
Such a broad based rule received wide acceptance, and by 1982 all federal courts and a majority of state courts had adopted the ALI test. While some states have since dropped the ALI test, and it no longer applies at the federal level, 18 states still use the ALI test in their definitions of insanity.
In Durham v. United States, the court ruled that a defendant is entitled to acquittal if the crime was the product of his mental illness (i.e., crime would not have been committed but for the disease). The Durham test, also called the Product Test, is broader than either the M’Naghten test or the Irresistible Impulse test. The Durham test has much more lenient guideline for the insanity defense, but it addressed the issue of convicting mentally ill defendants, which was allowed under the M’Naghten Rule. However, the Durham standard drew much criticism because of its expansive definition of legal insanity.
STATE STANDARDS REGARDING THE INSANITY DEFENSE
Colorado SECTION 2. Article 8 of title 16, Colorado Revised Statutes, 1986
16-8-101.5. Insanity defined – offenses committed on and after July 1, 1995. (1) The applicable test of insanity shall be:
(a) A person who is so diseased or defective in mind at the time of the commission of the act as to be incapable of distinguishing right from wrong with respect to that act is not accountable; except that care should be taken not to confuse such mental disease or defect with moral obliquity, mental depravity, or passion growing out of anger, revenge, hatred, or other motives and kindred evil conditions, for, when the act is induced by any of these causes, the person is accountable to the law; or
(b) A person who suffered from a condition of mind caused by mental disease or defect that prevented the person from forming a culpable mental state that is an essential element of a crime charged, but care should be taken not to confuse such mental disease or defect with moral obliquity, mental depravity, or passion growing out of anger, revenge, hatred, or other motives and kindred evil conditions because, when the act is induced by any of these causes, the person is accountable to the law.
(2) As used in subsection (1) of this section:
(a) ”Diseased or defective in mind” does not refer to an abnormality manifested only by repeated criminal or otherwise antisocial conduct.
(b) ”Mental disease or defect” includes only those severely abnormal mental conditions that grossly and demonstrably impair a person’s perception or understanding of reality and that are not attributable to the voluntary ingestion of alcohol or any other psychoactive substance but does not include an abnormality manifested only by repeated criminal or otherwise antisocial conduct.
(3) This section shall apply to offenses committed on or after July 1, 1995.