Matthew L. Ferrara & William H. Reid
This chapter is useful as a guide for both experts and attorneys who must contend with risk assessment reports and related testimony. The field of risk assessments is one of the fastest, if not the fastest, evolving area in psychology and psychiatry. Mental health professionals are often asked to testify about future dangerousness in many areas, including various types of violent offenders, threat assessments and community supervision. This chapter provides a framework for the proper use of violence risk assessment testimony, including Rule 702 gatekeeping criteria for reliability and proper assessment methodologies and recommendations. Particular topics include:
Providing insight on important, yet simple, rules to consider while testifying, the nature of Daubert challenges and vital ways to prepare, this chapter thoroughly instructs as to what to expect, as well as what is expected of, a risk assessment expert. Samples and dissections of direct and cross examination techniques and questions the attorney may ask, as well as guidance on how an expert may best respond to the different types and styles of questioning, is also provided, making this an invaluable resource for lawyers, jurists and proffered experts alike.
The reader should walk away with not only the historical context of important psycholegal concepts to continue to build upon, but the necessary pieces of what to expect as a practitioner or an attorney when a risk assessment is required.
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