Forensic scenario two: Mr. M. (not guilty plea) 

Forensic scenario two: Mr. M. (not guilty plea)

Several things stuck out at me in Mr. M’s case study.  the first thing was his reckless behavior trying to avoid his capture, especially ramming the police car.  Next, what really jumped at me was the hospital staff’s concern for drug or alcohol use, when was proven incorrect.  The staff describe his behavior as essentially erratic to the point that he required a sedative.  What stuck out the most to me though is his sudden change of personality about four months prior to the incident which he is appearing in court for.  At the time of the personality change Mr. M lived with his parents and because extremely agitated and paranoid according to them.  Also noteworthy is that these claims were backed up by his employer.  Inf act, at the time of the incident Mr. M was headed home.

Due to the sudden onset of symptoms, my first recommendation would be to have an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to check for any tumors of the brain.  the MRI test is the best way to rule out a physical issue and is highly tested and validated in the medical field.  the MRI would relate most to neuropsychology which according to Gregory (2014) has a direct bearing on the issue of pleading guilty by reason of insanity.  Should no tumor be found more psychological testing will be necessary.  I would also recommend the Rogers Criminal Responsibility Assessment Scales (R-CRAS).  This assessment measures reliability, organicity, psychopathology, and cognitive and behavioral control while assessing both psychological and situational factors at the time the crime was committed (Gregory, 2014).

According to the APA’s ethical Principals one should not use assessments which are outdated, or under validated.  Both the MRI (which is relevant because of the effects a brain tumor could have on one’s personality) and the R-CRAS have changed their technicalities to stay appropriate to the times.  They also have been validated by use and are very common tests.  In particular, the MRI is also used for other purposes and has a high success rate in finding issues such as tumors, or blood clots (another possibility depending upon placement) within the brain.  An MRI is a type of neuropsychological assessment, a topic discussed in Gregory, 2014.  This text explains that this type of assessment provides data which is valid, and objective for the judge when trying to merit such a defense as not guilty by reason of insanity.  According to APA (2013) guidelines if ordered by the court even if the defendant does not want to comply with such tests as these the assessments can still be done.  This validates the importance of these types of tests in cases where a person is trying to claim innocence based upon a plea of insanity.

American Psychological Association. (2013). Specialty guidelines for forensic psychology.[PDF]. American Psychologist, 68(1), 7-19. doi:10.1037/a0029889

American Psychological Association. (2010). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct: Standard 9: Assessment. Retrieved from

Ben-Porath, Y. S., & Tellegen, A. (2014b). Case description: Mr. M—Forensic, pre-trial criminal score report. [PDF]. Retrieved from (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Gregory, R. J. (2014). Psychological testing: History, principles, and applications (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

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