‘Law’

The courts take a jab at civil detention practices: What about professionals?

civil commitment | Kenneth Padowitz, P.A.

The trend in the courts In the last three months, two consecutive court decisions have deemed the civil commitment program to be unconstitutional. Which is insightful because 20 states and the federal government uphold some form of the civil commitment laws also called “SVP” laws. To put it simply, the laws permit authorities to confine indefinitely, sex offenders expertly assessed to have mental diagnosis that makes them more likely to engage in future sexual violence. In retrospect, the laws have had several dates with controversies from day one. Almost everything about the laws, related processes, and subsequent programs spark debates. In fact, the US Supreme Court decision permitting civil commitment to exist narrowly passed by a lone vote. Now, the debates are increasingly tilting towards a consensus, at least in the courts, that civil commitment as currently practiced in many regions is unconstitutional and needs to be worked on to check widespread abuses. What the stats say The reality is that ‘indefinite’ is a very long time, and in one of the cases where the court had to censure civil commitment, the treatment program had ran for… Read More

Arguably Minor Misconducts That Were Given Major Punishments

unfair prison sentence

The Strive for Fair Punishment There was a young man named Tony. At the age of 18, he met and fell in love with a girl whom his friends also knew. While they became really close, it did not occur to him to ask about her age. Their relationship became much deeper and consensual sex was one of the things that happened between them. Their sexually highlighted relationship was soon discovered by the girl’s dad. It became clear to Tony that he was having sex with a 17-year-old girl. Of course, the girl’s father was enraged and sought to put Tony in jail. Through statutory rape charges, the young man was detained in an adult detention facility. The girl’s father also made the complaint heavier by accusing Tony that he knew that the girl was a minor right from the start. Tony’s detention in the facility was because of the fact that everything happened on a weekend. His parents hired legal counsel. However, when they went to the detention center, they were informed that the young man had been transferred already to an unknown county jail. Their… Read More

Battered Woman Syndrome

Battered Woman Syndrome | Law and Criminal Behavior

Battered Women Syndrome Over 10% of homicides in the U.S. are by women, and a high percentage of these cases involve the killing of an abusive romantic partner. In fact, the majority of women that are in prison for murder are victims domestic violence. Women who are abused by their partners are believed to be more sensitive to perceived danger, and so have increased fear and anxiety responses. What Are Some Possible Defenses For The Battered Woman When Dealing With A Murder Charge? Legally, battered woman syndrome is not a defense when used by itself. The abused woman must show that she was forced to murder the husband out of self-defense, or because of temporary insanity. The battered woman self-defense only works if it can be shown that she was forced into the act of killing out of the fear for her own life, or the lives of her children. What is Self-Defense? Generally, self-defense is defined as the use of force to prevent serious bodily harm or death; the person must reasonably believe they, or someone they are responsible, is in imminent danger. Anyone claiming lethal force… Read More

The Insanity Defense

Insanity Defense | A legal concept

Legally Insane: The Insanity Defense The insanity defense is one of the least successful defenses in a criminal defense case. The determination of the suspect’s mental state at the time of the criminal offense, as well as at the time of trial can be a challenging task; the defense actually has the burden of proof in Federal cases, as well as most State charges, in showing the defendant to be insane. It is important to note that insanity is actually a legal term, not a psychological one. There are times when the suspect may be psychotic but still don’t fit the legal criteria of insane. The legal definition of insanity also varies, depending on which jurisdiction the charge originates. Legal tradition in the United States holds that if an individual is not aware of what they are doing or unaware of the meaning of their behavior, they should not be held criminally responsible. Mens rea is vital to charge and convict someone of a crime. According to the opinion in Durham v. United States, determining if someone is guilty and then punishing should only occur if the… Read More

Confessions: Police Interrogation

police interrogation tactics : False confession

Confessions: Police interrogation A confession is probably the most damaging kind of evidence that you can give to the police, and will surely be presented in court in front of a jury. It is almost as bad as blowing into the Breathalyzer when you know you’ve had more than two drinks.  The way in which a confession is obtained is important in determining whether or not it is legitimate, and if it should even be allowed into evidence in court. With the goal of getting a confession, police are tempted to use whatever tricks they have up their sleeves, whether it be through intimidation or manipulation, etc. These tactics taught in police training often times do work in getting true confessions, but along with those comes the price of many more false confessions. A good example of this is the well known case of the “Central Park Jogger” in 1989; five individuals falsely confessed to rape but were later exonerated in 2002 when the real rapist admitted to the crime. They recently received a $40 million settlement from New York City for their improper conviction and time served. What… Read More

Conflict Between Two Disciplines : Psychology and Law

Conflict: Psychology and Law | Criminal behavior

Conflict Between Two Disciplines Psychology And Law Out of the need to resolve disagreements, laws are created and implemented by people. For the most part, laws can be seen as a reflection of the values of the majority in a society. Laws are created, changed, or thrown away because as time passes, the values of a society also change. What is acceptable today may be unacceptable in the future; as values change, so do the laws governing the people. For example, spousal rape, which is when a married man forces his wife to have sex even if she did not want to, was largely ignored by society. Time passed, values changed, and as of today every state in the U.S. has implemented laws protecting women from this behavior. You could probe the minds of an attorney, a law enforcement officer, a psychologist, and a judge, about how they know something is true or valid, and what would be needed to come to that conclusion, and they would all give different answers; neither are necessarily incorrect, but chances are based on their own perspective, they will all give you… Read More