Psychopathy in the courts

Authored by: David DeMatteo , Daniel C. Murrie , John F. Edens , Claire Lankford

Routledge International Handbook of Psychopathy and Crime

Print publication date:  August  2018
Online publication date:  August  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138085169
eBook ISBN: 9781315111476
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315111476-41

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Abstract

Psychopathy assessments are used in criminal courts throughout the United States and Europe given the association between psychopathic features and various forms of antisocial behavior, violence, and noncompliance with the criminal justice system. The current chapter examines ways that psychopathy is used in criminal courts, how it relates to Federal Rules of Evidence, and its salience to the processing of juveniles, capital offenders, and sexually violent predators. We discuss the emerging evidence suggesting that forensic mental health professionals’ PCL–R scores are influenced by the side that retains the experts, a phenomenon referred to as adversarial allegiance. We also examine empirical research regarding whether labeling an offender a “psychopath” leads to prejudice in legal proceedings.

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