Foucha v. Louisiana, 504 U.S. 71 (1992)

July 26, 2021

This blog article will address the significance of a U.S. Supreme court case that discussed the criteria for continued commitment of a person who was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Terry Foucha was charged with aggravated burglary and illegal discharge of a firearm. He had burglarized a home and discharged a firearm in the direction of a law enforcement officer that was responding......
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Are Criminal Psychologists The Same as Forensic Psychologists?

July 20, 2021

Criminal and forensic psychologists are similar in that both professions include the intersection of criminal justice and psychology. While there are many similarities between the fields of criminal and forensic psychology, there are also distinct differences in how each profession functions in the criminal justice system. Both professions require a doctorate in psychology, as well as specialized training in a clinical and/or research setting. Their......
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Franklin Hearing Evaluations and How We Approach Such Cases

June 1, 2021

Franklin Hearings have become common in juvenile delinquency court, especially since the passage of prop 57 (where the District Attorney Office is no longer able to direct file a petition against a minor in adult court regardless of age or seriousness of offense). Specifically, in Los Angeles County, District Attorney Gascon has issued “special directives” that no juveniles will be tried as adults. As such,......
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The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Juvenile Justice

Adverse Childhood Experiences, known as ACEs, was a term that originated in a groundbreaking study (known as the ACE study) in 1995 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Kaiser Permanente, a health care organization in California. It is one of the largest investigations of childhood abuse and neglect, and how it affects later-life health and wellbeing (, 2021). ACEs are potentially traumatic events......
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Evaluation for Learning Disabilities

February 18, 2021

Learning Disabilities and Standardized Testing Accommodations Fourteen percent of k-12 students in the US have an identified learning disability. More than half of those students receive academic accommodations within their school district. These rates are similar in higher education as 11% of college students self-identify with a learning disability, but very few disclose this information to their university. Only 17% of college students with learning......
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ASD: Psychological Assessment

April 28, 2020

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has become one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders among children (Tincani, Crozier, & Alazetta, 2006). Prevalence rates have consistently increased over the years, and it is now predicted that 1 in 59 children have ASD (CDC, 2019). ASD is characterized by a lack of social communication, restricted behaviors, and difficulty understanding social cues (APA, 2013). The goal of this blog post......
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What is Mental Health Diversion (PC 1001.36)?

April 15, 2020

Mental health diversion is a pretrial program in California that diverts individuals from the criminal justice system into mental health treatment, in lieu facing a criminal trial or conviction. This is an alternative created for individuals where mental health played a significant part in their alleged crime. California Penal Code 1001.36 Mental Health Diversion (PC 1001.36 PC) states that the court may grant pretrial diversion,......
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Assessing Competency to Stand Trial in Criminal Cases & How We Evaluate It.

April 1, 2020

The most commonly referred legal issue for a forensic evaluation is competency to stand trial. Approximately 60,000 defendants are evaluated for competency annually, and the current research shows that this number is gradually increasing over time (Zapf, Roesch, & Pirelli, 2014). The legal standard for competency to stand trial was established in Dusky v. United States (1960) and every state has adopted a variation of......
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Managing COVID-19 Stress and Anxiety

March 25, 2020

In this time of uncertainty and social isolation many are experiencing an increase in symptoms of stress and anxiety. There are a number of ways in which these symptoms can be managed including maintaining a routine, staying active, reducing media exposure, engaging virtually and seeking mental health services (Miedziun & Czabala, 2015). Create a Routine While we are spending time at home it is important......
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How a Forensic Psychological Evaluation Can Help You

February 11, 2020

What is Forensic Psychology? Forensic psychology is the intersection between the clinical practice of psychology and the law. Forensic psychologists assist the court in examining specific mental health aspects within the legal context. The focus is to address the legal question at hand to help the courts make appropriate decisions using empirically based research, actuarial instruments and objective psychological tests. Unlike traditional clinical psychological evaluations,......
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