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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 210960 
Title: Working with the Courts: Advice for Expert Witnesses (From Forensic Psychologist’s Casebook: Psychological Profiling and Criminal Investigation, P 170-193, 2005, Laurence Alison, ed,--See NCJ-210952)
Author(s): David Ormerod; Jim Sturman
Date Published: 2005
Page Count: 24
Sponsoring Agency: Willan Publishing
Portland, OR 97213-3644
Sale Source: Willan Publishing
c/o ISBS, 5804 N.E. Hassalo Street
Portland, OR 97213-3644
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Book Chapter
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter examines controversial uses of psychological offender profiles in police investigations and as evidence in trials.
Abstract: The focus of the chapter is on the challenges psychologists face when they seek to assist police or present evidence in court that relies upon criminal profiles. The differences between criminal investigation and trial are discussed in terms of how the law looks upon psychological profiles. In many cases, the authors argue, judges misgivings about the use of psychological profiles as investigative tools and as trial evidence is due to the general lack of understanding over what an offender profile actually is. The ways in which psychological offender profiling contribute to the investigative process and to intelligence-led policing in general are discussed, followed by the difficulties inherent in psychologists working with police to help identify criminal suspects, including ethical issues and problems concerning disclosure and discrimination. The use of psychology to prepare for trials is explored, including the appropriateness of psychologists advising counsel on how to examine certain witnesses or how to sway the jury to form particular opinions. The relevance and admissibility of psychological evidence is examined, followed by a discussion on the use of experts in court. The ways in which the expert qualification, helpfulness, and reliability impact on the admissibility of their testimony in court is described, as are the challenges of admitting expert evidence that has relied on novel techniques. The final section outlines how the admissibility of investigative psychology as evidence in a criminal trial in England or Wales remains unlikely in terms of establishing suspect identity, but remains possible within a limited scope, such as testimony regarding the crime scene. In closing the authors note that one of the key restraints keeping psychological profiles out of courtrooms is the fact that psychological profiling is practiced in an inconsistent manner. References
Main Term(s): Expert witnesses; Psychologists role in criminal justice; Psychologists role in policing
Index Term(s): England; Evidence; Offender profiles; Wales
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