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Forensic Psychology

AS.200.202, Spring 2016

Class: Tues/Thurs 1:30 2:45 pm
Johns Hopkins University
Location: Shaffer 301
Adjunct Professor:
Dr. Lawrence Raifman
137 Ames Hall
Office hours: By appointment

Teaching Assistant:
Meghan McGlaughlin
140 Ames Hall
Office hours: Mon 12:00 2:30,
Tues 3:00 5:00, Thurs 3:00 3:30

Meetings with the Professor and TA: Appointments are encouraged. To make an appointment outside
of office hours, please email me or catch me after class. Similarly, appointments are preferable for Meghans office
hours, and you may schedule an appointment for office hours or outside of office hours by emailing her.

Required Textbook: Jack Kitaeff, Forensic Psychology, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2011, 1st ed.
Course Description: The field of forensic psychology is focused on answering legal questions about the
causes of human behavior. This survey course will explore the work that forensic psychologists do; their research,
assessment & clinical methods; and how their work influences lawyers, judges, and other legal
practitioners. Specific topics will include criminality, mental capacity criminal assessment, psychopathy, as well as
civil commitment, psychosexual assessment, claims of mental distress, child custody evaluations, juvenile
delinquency, and forensic treatment.

Course Goals and Learning Objectives:

The course goals and learning objectives for this course are for students to be able to:
Understand the major professional practice issues at the nexus of mental health and the law.
Understand the roles of forensic experts, their contributions to the courtroom justice, and their strengths and
weaknesses as an expert witness.
Understand the nature of legal rights of criminal defendants as well as other forensic psychology clients,
including police departments, mental hospitals, individual defendants, children, etc. who suffer from a mental
disorder and have legal considerations.
Develop reasoning skills that will enable you to analyze mental disorder diagnoses, and provide court opinions
concerning forensic mental health matters.
Recognize and analyze several prominent controversies impacting forensic mental health practitioners.

Class Format: This course will utilize lectures, discussions, case studies, and films and other media tools to
cover the material. You are expected to complete readings prior to the date on which they are assigned so that
you may participate eagerly and confidently in class discussions.

Course Requirements: Participation and Clickers: We believe you will learn best if you actively engage the
material in class, engage in critical thinking rather than try to memorize facts. Students who ask questions, share
opinions, and critically evaluate the material presented in the readings and in class will learn more. The class
periods are designed to share information, to promote discussion on controversial topics, and for you to ask
questions. Class participation is highly encouraged. Please ask questions about things that are unclear to you; it is
likely that others have the same or a similar question.
Because of the size of the class, I recognize that not everyone will want to ask questions or share their thoughts
with the full class. Therefore, we will use a classroom response system (clickers) and small group discussions.

Forensic Psychology

Spring 2016

Your participation in the clicker questions will count towards your grade. To allow for excused absences,
forgetting clicker on occasion, and technical problems, you do not need to answer every question in the semester.
Participation (clicker) points will be awarded as follows:
10 points - if respond to 75% of all clicker questions posed during the semester
5 points - if respond to 50 74.9% of all clicker questions
0 points - if respond to <50% of all clicker questions
Note that you do not need to give a correct answer to earn the credit because active engagement is the goal.
QUIZZES: There will be six in-class quizzes over the course of the semester to occur at the onset of class. The
quizzes are designed to keep you focused, prepared, and up to date on material in preparation for the midterm
and final exams. They will also give you feedback regarding your learning progress. Your lowest quiz grade will
be dropped. If you miss a quiz for an excused or unexcused absence, that quiz will be the one that is dropped.
We plan to use the clickers to administer the quizzes. Please be sure to bring your clicker to each class
period but particularly to the class periods with quizzes. Should you forget your clicker, we will have a limited
number of paper backups. Please alert the TA or myself at the beginning of the quiz if you require a paper
backup. Quizzes will occur at the beginning of class.
HOMEWORK: You will be presented with one essay question that is designed to deepen your understanding and
give you practice applying what you have learned from taught case scenarios. Your answer to one of the two
homework choices is to be no more than 3 single-spaced pages. There will be an opportunity during the week
prior to the due date, March 25, 2016, to meet with Dr. Raifman in small groups via Skype to discuss and
clarify issues related to the homework.
Be prepared to learn and write about one of these listed clinical topics:
Under what circumstances can an adjudicated incompetent to stand trial
defendant: (1) be hospitalized, (2) refuse treatment that would restore
How does a diagnostician differentiate an extremist fundamental
religious held ideation from that of a delusional non-bizarre ideation, and
how does each contribute to an insanity defense?
EXAMS: There will be one non-cumulative midterm exam and a cumulative, comprehensive final exam. The
exams will be comprised of predominately multiple-choice and true-false questions but may also include brief
short answer questions. The exams will test you on material covered in class lectures, assigned readings (whether
they were discussed in class or not), and issues and information shared in class discussions.
EXTRA CREDIT: Before the mid term exam, I will collect student proposed exam questions. You may submit
up to four questions and answers. If one of your questions is selected, you will receive a point towards your final
grade. You may earn up to two points per mid term exam, and two points were final exam or a total of four
points this way.

Course Grading:

Forensic Psychology

Midterm Exam
Homework paper
Final Exam

Spring 2016

10 points
50 points
100 points
90 points
150 points
400 points


Illness, Make-up, and Extension Policy: Out of concern for your own health and out of respect for
others, please do not come to class or office hours if you have a significant, especially a contagious, illness. If you
must miss class, it is your responsibility to check with a classmate to find out what you missed. After doing so, you
are also invited to come to me or to Meghans office during office hours to go over missed material.
If you may miss a quiz or exam, please contact the Meghan as soon as possible via email. In general, make-up
quizzes and exams will be granted, for example, for: an illness or injury that is sufficiently severe so as to prevent you
from preparing adequately for a quiz/exam or sitting for a quiz/exam, the death or serious illness of a family
member or close friend, or a court appearance. Please provide reasonable documentation of the illness or
I may use an alternate version of the quiz/exam for a make-up. If your situation does not fall within those
categories or you fail to provide requested documentation, you will be penalized at least one full letter grade. For
all students, it is expected that you will not speak with any student about the exam until after everyone has
completed it. Failure to comply will be considered to be an ethics violation.

Academic Ethics: You have an obligation to yourself, your classmates, and instructors to conduct yourself
with integrity and in an ethical manner. The strength of your education, of your academic and professional
reputation, and of the University as a whole shall rest on your integrity. You are expected to know and uphold the
standards of academic ethics as stated in the Constitution of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, specifically
the section describing the Undergraduate Academic Ethics Board ( Ethical violations include, but are not limited to: failure to cite sources properly,
cheating, plagiarism, reuse of part or all of your own or others work, receiving or providing unauthorized
assistance or collaboration, improper use of sources (including electronic devices), lying, forgery and falsification,
unfair competition, facilitating academic dishonesty (including failure to report violations of which you are aware),
and using someone elses classroom response system device (clicker, e.g., to make it appear that someone was in
attendance when s/he was not).
Please report any violations to the instructor. You may wish to consult with the Associate Dean of Student Affairs
and/or the Chairman of the Ethics Board beforehand. See the guide on Academic Ethics for Undergraduates
and the Ethics Board Web site ( for more information about reporting. All suspected
violations are to be handled and adjudicated following the policies of the Academic Ethics Board. Penalties for
violations may include, but are not limited to: failure of the assignment/exam, a lowered course grade, failure of
the course, a notation on your permanent transcript, suspension, or expulsion. If you have questions regarding
what is permissible in this course, consult the professor.

Accommodation of Disabilities: To request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact

the Office of Student Disability Services ( , 385 Garland Hall, 410-516-4720, If you have a registered disability and would like to request accommodations
in this course, please share an accommodation letter with me, and schedule a brief meeting to discuss the
accommodations. Please do so well in advance of when you will require the accommodation (e.g., quiz, exam).

Counseling Services/Crisis Management: College can be a very fun but stressful experience.

Forensic Psychology

Spring 2016

Sometimes this class, in particular, stirs up old and new issues for people or causes them to become more aware of
issues that they may want to deal with. If you would like to talk about life stressors or issues with a professional,
there are lots of resources available to you. The JHU Counseling Center provides free and confidential counseling
and referral services. More information is available at: If you or
a friend needs help, do not hesitate to call.

Etiquette and Professionalism: College is a time of many transitions, one of which the development and
refinement of how you present yourself professionally, and I encourage you to think of the classroom as a
professional context. I value having a classroom environment that is conducive to respectful learning and in which
everyone (students and instructors alike) feel respected by one another. I will conduct myself in a manner to
promote such an environment, and I ask that you do so as well by doing the following:
Please be punctual to class. It demonstrates conscientiousness.
If you are late, please enter in a non-disruptive manner.
Please remain in the classroom for the full class period, unless it is truly necessary, so as not to disrupt the
instructor or your classmates.
To promote your own, your classmates, and your instructors ability to focus in class, minimize
disruptions including:
o Inappropriate use of technology (checking text messages, email, Facebook, etc.)
o Anything that generates noise (i.e., turn off cell phones, alarms, computer sound, etc.).
o Refrain from chewing gum.
If you would like to make any recording of the class or a portion of the class, please ask permission before
doing so.
Most of all treat your classmates with civility and respect both in and outside of the classroom.
Understand and be sensitive to the fact that the course material may be personally relevant to members of
the class. Be mindful and respectful of the privacy and feelings of others (e.g., do not make light of
personal information disclosed by another during a class or share it with others after class).
Be judicious about self-disclosure. While this course helps some students gain better insight about
personally relevant issues, it is designed as an academic course, and not group therapy. If you find that
you need to talk more about such issues, please make use of the JHU Counseling Center.

Course Schedule and Readings

Forensic Psychology

Spring 2016

Week 1 January 26 & 28:


Chapter 1 & 2

Week 2 February 2 & 4:

Criminal Law: Classifying crimes; Serial and Spree Murder Chapter 3, 4, 5

Quiz #1 2-4-16

Week 3 February 9 & 11:

Terrorism, Cults & Extremism

Chapter 6

Week 4 February 16 & 18:

Police psychology, Interrogation, Psychological-profiling Chapter 7, 8

Quiz #2 2-16-16

Week 5 February 23, & 25:

False Confessions, Chapter 10, Executions


Week 6 March 1 & 3:

Civil Commitment Chapter 11

Week 7 March 8 & 10:

Competency to Stand Trial

Quiz #3 3-9-16

March 15 & 17 Spring Break

Week 8 March 22 & 24:

Criminal Responsibility PAPER DUE 3-25-16

Quiz #4 3-24-16

Week 9 March 29 & March 31:

Novel Syndromes (Intoxication, Battered Spouse, Rape Trauma, Post Partum

Depression) Chapter 13
Week 10 April 5 & 7:

Workplace violence Chapter 14

Quiz #5 4-7-16

Week 11 April 12, & 14:

Children, Families

Chapter 15

Child Custody

Week 12 April 19 & 21:

Pedophilia, Sexual Harassment

Week 13 April 26 & 28:

Civil Law: Negligence & Psychological Damages

Quiz #6 4-26-16

Final Exam 9-12 noon Friday, May 6, 2016

Forensic Psychology

Spring 2016

Additional Readings & Class Power-point slides:

In addition to the text, I shall place Power-point slides covered lecture material for your review.
Jonas Rappeport, Differences between forensic and general psychiatry, American Journal of Psychiatry,
Vol 139, p. 331-5, March 1982.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition
Scott CL, Resnick PJ [2013]. Evaluating psychotic patients' risk of violence. Current Psychiatry 13[5]:2932)
Foucha v. Louisiana
Kansas v. Hendricks;
Melton, Petrila, Poythress, Slobogin, Competence to Stand Trial, in Psychological Evaluations for the
Courts, Chapter Six, The Guilford Press, 1997, pp. 119-155
Dusky v. U.S., 362 U.S. 402 (1960);
Pate v. Robinson; and
Drope v. Missouri, 420 U.S. 162 (1975)
Estelle v. Smith, 451 U.S. 454 (1981)
Sell v. U.S., 539 U.S. 166 (2003);
Recent application of Sell doctrine
U.S. v. Evans, 404 F.3d 227 (4th Cir. 2005)
Melton, Petrila, Poythress, Slobogin, "Mental State at the time of the Offense, in Psychological
Evaluations for the Courts, Chapter Eight, The Guilford Press, 1997, pp. 186-248;
Faust, D., & Ziskin, J. (1988), The expert witness in psychology and psychiatry Science, 241, 3135.
Committee on Ethical Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists (1991), Specialty guidelines for forensic
psychologists.Law and Human Behavior, 15, 655665.
Loftus, E.F., & Rosenwald, L.A. (1997), The scientific status of research on repressed memories. In
Faigman, D.L.,Kaye, D.H., Saks, M.J., Sanders, J. (Eds.), Modern scientific evidence: The law and science
of expert testimony. St. Paul, MN: West Law Publishing, pp. 535550. (See whole chapter, pp. 528550.)