SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 4.1

Citation: Childs, K., Frick, P. J., Ryals, J. S., Lingonblad, A., & Villio, M. J. (2013). A comparison of empirically based and structured professional judgment estimation of risk using the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in YouthYouth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 12, 40–57.

Abstract: This study builds on a long-standing debate focusing on whether structured professional judgment (SPJ) or empirically based methods of risk estimation are more valid and reliable measures of future behavior by comparing three different measures of risk. Data were collected from the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth administered to a sample of 177 adjudicated juvenile offenders prior to being placed on probation. Three measures of risk were examined: an empirically derived measure of risk using latent class analysis, a violence risk based on SPJ, and a nonviolent delinquency risk based on SPJ. The ability of each measure to predict probation-related outcomes and recidivism was also addressed. Results provide moderate support for the continued use of the SPJ framework and highlight the need for future research regarding risk assessment procedures in juvenile justice settings.

Journal Article 4.2

Citation: Murrie, D. C., Boccaccini, M. T., Lucy, A., Guarnera, L. A., Katrina, A., & Rufino, K. A. (2013). Are forensic experts biased by the side that retained them? Psychological Science24, 1889–1897.

Abstract: How objective are forensic experts when they are retained by one of the opposing sides in an adversarial legal proceeding? Despite long-standing concerns from within the legal system, little is known about whether experts can provide opinions unbiased by the side that retained them. In this experiment, we paid 108 forensic psychologists and psychiatrists to review the same offender case files, but deceived some to believe that they were consulting for the defense and some to believe that they were consulting for the prosecution. Participants scored each offender on two commonly used, well-researched risk-assessment instruments. Those who believed they were working for the prosecution tended to assign higher risk scores to offenders, whereas those who believed they were working for the defense tended to assign lower risk scores to the same offenders; the effect sizes (d) ranged up to 0.85. The results provide strong evidence of an allegiance effect among some forensic experts in adversarial legal proceedings.

Journal Article 4.3

Citation: Cutler, B. L., & Bull Kovera, M. (2011). Expert psychological testimonyCurrent Directions in Psychological Science, 20, 53–57.

Abstract: Psychologists serve as expert witnesses in criminal and civil cases and testify about a wide range of clinical, cognitive, developmental, industrial-organizational, biological, and social psychological topics. We review the topics about which psychologists offer testimony, the rules governing the admissibility of expert testimony, and contemporary research on expert testimony. With respect to the latter, we review research concerning the need for, appropriateness of, and effect of expert testimony. We discuss research pertaining to admissibility issues, including the effect of changes in admissibility criteria on admissibility decisions and judge and juror sensitivity to the quality of scientific psychological research. Because judges and jurors lack sensitivity to variations in expert evidence quality and common safeguards do not appear to increase sensitivity to research flaws, additional research is needed to identify methods of assisting fact finders who must evaluate expert testimony.