A new study challenges the reliability of court psych exams
Edward Ungvarsky doesn’t implicitly trust expert witnesses. As a criminal defense attorney, his clients are often evaluated by psychologists, who then present their findings in court. The results of the forensic psychology tests they administer can have a big effect on the outcome of a trial. They may determine whether someone should have custody of a child, or whether defendants can understand the legal system and aid in their own defense, a critical component of evaluating whether a person is competent to stand trial. Others determine whether a defendant was sane when they committed a crime, or whether they are eligible for the death penalty. So Ungvarsky, who practices in Virginia, Maryland, and DC, tries to make sure the psychologists use the right tools to get at those questions.
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