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NCJ Number: 157481 Find in a Library
Title: Confessions Made to the Expert Witness: Some Professional Issues
Journal: Journal of Forensic Psychiatry  Volume:5  Issue:2  Dated:(September 1994)  Pages:237-247
Author(s): G Gudjonsson
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 11
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Professional and ethical issues associated with confessions that criminal defendants sometimes make to expert witnesses in cases in which they have retracted a previous confession to the police are examined and illustrated using case examples from Great Britain.
Abstract: The confession to the mental health professional may partly or fully support the prosecution case. These cases raise four professional and ethical issues: (1) the nature of the expert witness's assessment, (2) what protection defendants should have when interviewed by expert witnesses, (3) disclosure, and (4) confidentiality. Issues related to the psychological assessment include the differing practices of clinical psychologists and the problems involved in interpreting the results from psychological tests without having conducted a comprehensive assessment of the defendant and the surrounding circumstances of the case. Because a confession made during a psychological assessment can have serious legal repercussions, especially if the trial judge allows the confession in evidence, it is important to ensure the full protection of the defendant's rights. Defense attorneys may ask experts to delete references to a confession, but deleting relevant parts at the request of the defense attorney seriously undermines and expert's objectivity and integrity and can mislead the court. Finally, professionals can overcome the confidentiality dilemma by informing clients about the limits of confidentiality. 17 references
Main Term(s): Foreign courts
Index Term(s): Confessions; Criminology; Expert witnesses; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Professional conduct and ethics; Psychological evaluation; Recanting testimony
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