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For this assignment, you will read three forensic case examples and apply your understanding of the APA ethics code as well as the specialty guidelines for forensic psychology. The three case examples are found in this week’s resources.

For each case, after reviewing your resources and reading the case example carefully, you will:

  • Identify any potential ethical issues related to the case.
  • Identify what APA guidelines apply to the case and explain how they apply to the case.
  • Identify what Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychology apply to the case and explain how they apply to the case.
  • Give a description of how you would resolve this ethical dilemma. Use your guidelines and resources to explain your solutions.

Finally, you will write a 1-2 page reflection on the process of working through these ethical dilemmas and your impression of the ethical struggles of a forensic psychologist.

Length: 4-5 pages total; 1 page each per dilemma, 1-2 page reflection

Your paper should demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the ideas and concepts presented in the course by providing new thoughts and insights relating directly to this topic. Your response should reflect scholarly writing and current APA standards. Be sure to adhere to Northcentral University’s Academic Integrity Policy.

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Ethics Case #1

For this case, please read the case history below. In this scenario, you are a forensic

psychologist working in a correctional facility. Your role is as the treating psychologist for

this patient. You have been working with him for one year and have developed a solid

rapport with him despite his distrust of others, particularly mental health professionals.

You meet with him for weekly therapy sessions. In this time, while he is willing to speak

with you, he avoids topics which he feels may cause him to be forcibly medicated; and you

have been unable to get him to try psychotropic medications voluntarily. Recently, the

prison has decided to attempt to get a court order to medicate the patient due to concern

related to dangerousness and increasing psychiatric instability. They would like your

cooperation in the court process. As you read this scenario and develop an understanding

of the patient, also consider what ethical concerns you may have—particularly related to

the specialty guidelines for forensic psychology and multiple relationships—and how you

might resolve these issues.

INMATE NAME:

DOE, JOHN

REASON FOR REFERRAL

Mr. Doe was referred for this psychological evaluation due to this the patient’s continued

refusal to take psychiatric medication, continued active psychosis, and history of risk to

others.

This assessment was also conducted in order to get a better understanding of Mr.

Doe’s emotional functioning, identify his strengths and weaknesses, provide suggestions

that may aid in treatment planning, and help

determine risk factors for his potential future

violent behavior.

He is currently being referred for 402.10 commitment to CPC.

LEGAL HISTORY

Mr. Doe is serving his first bid for Murder 1, Burglary 1, and Grand Larceny, with a life

sentence. He is also accused of two murders in Canada, which charges are still pending.

In the IO, it is reported that the patient first murdered two men in Canada before crossing

the border with one of the victim’s vehicles. Per his parents’ report, the crimes in Canada

were fairly graphic, involved a knife, and one of the victims was almost decapitated. In

the U.S., it was reported that he shot a man in the back at his hunting camp before tying

him to a four-wheeler and dragging him around. He then fled to the Mexican border in

Texas. He was apprehended by a Border Patrol officer after he was noticed to have a

rifle. Mr. Doe then assaulted the Border Patrol officer and has pending charges in Texas

for this assault.

PERSONAL PROFILE AND RELEVANT HISTORY

Mr. Doe was born on 03/05/81, with no known complications. He had an unremarkable

childhood, graduating high school in 1999. He was noted to have done well academically,

had many friends in high school, although not in junior high, and was the co-captain of

his high school football team. Records note a history of depression in junior high school.

After high school, he attended Alpha University in Canada, pursuing a degree in

Engineering. He completed two years of school and was involved with a fraternity and

other similar pro-social activities. He was noted to have had two girlfriends in the past,

one of whom he had a sexual relationship with. Mr. Doe has one younger brother,

Douglas, with whom he is very close. He is also supported by his parents, Bob and Mary

Doe. Prior to Mr. Doe’s incarceration, he resided with his parents when he was not

hospitalized.

During the summer of 2000, Mr. Doe went to Taipei as an English teacher. His parents

reported that, when he returned home for the fall semester, his mental deterioration

began. Records indicate that he was initially believed to be suffering from a depressive

episode during the fall/winter of 2000 to 2001. He reported using marijuana daily

between August 2000 to August 2001. He was noted to have gone on a drug binge in

August of 2001, using cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy, and mushrooms for approximately

one week while on a trip to Montreal with his fraternity brothers. Records from the

family indicate that he had his first admitted hallucination of fighting a dragon at this

time.

When he returned to school in fall 2001, he was further isolating himself, and had also

become paranoid. Records from his family indicate that he was destroying and/or burying

in the woods his personal belongings, including taking all of his clothes to a thrift store.

He reported a need to “cleanse himself.” His family reported that he decreased his food

intake to a half a piece of bread daily for the purpose of “ritual cleansing,” and to

examine/overcome the concept of “what is need and what is want.” In September 2001,

he locked himself in his room for five days, turning off the lights, unplugging the phone,

TV, etc., and minimally drinking in an effort to “do well with control and self-discipline.”

Between August and November of 2001, he lost 40 pounds. His family records note that

he fell into a deep depression, which continued to occur the following years during the

fall and winter months.

After Mr. Doe refused treatment and medication, he continued to deteriorate. In October

2001, he was reported to be mute often; and he overate to the point of physical pain. The

patient reported that he was punishing himself. His parents reported that he often eloped

to the woods for days at a time. He was brought, involuntarily, by police to Canada

Hospital on 11/02/01. Hospital records indicated that he eloped on 11/05/01, was returned

by his parents within hours, and subsequently eloped again on 11/06/01. He was found a

week later by police, seeming to have lived in the streets for the duration of his absence.

At this time, it was noted that he was not showering, for several weeks to months.

Records indicate that he received intravenous medication for approximately one month

due to his refusals to take oral medication. This was discontinued in December 2001

when Mr. Doe agreed to accept oral medication. His symptoms were noted to improve;

however, he eloped on 01/14/02, and was not found by police.

According to his family, he then lived at home for the next few years, continuing to

exhibit bizarre behaviors including: outings to the woods, sleeping with knives, having

beliefs about a “troop” being after his family, paranoia regarding vampires,

demonstration of poor hygiene including not showering or brushing his teeth for one

year, and further isolation. In 2003, there was an episode noted in which he painted

himself all white, as well as everything in his room, indicating that he had been

enlightened. He then left the home to try to enlighten others, but scared a homeless man

and the police were called. He was not charged with anything due to his parents’

intervention and their subsequent report of his mental condition to police.

In March 2005, his parents reported that he unlawfully entered a dwelling. His parents

indicate that he was not intending to harm anyone or steal anything, but that he was

trying to get out of the elements after spending time in the woods. He was hospitalized at

Canada Forensic Hospital in April 2005 due to unlawfully entering a dwelling and

resisting arrest.

Records indicate that he was found competent and capable of attending

trial. His parents reported that the case was dismissed due to his psychiatric issues.

In July 2005, his family moved to another town in Canada. Records from the family note

that he began using marijuana heavily again in the summer of 2005, often isolating

himself behind the garage listening to rave music and “communicating with the stars.” In

November 2005, he was admitted to the burn unit at a hospital after he burned his chest

and back while burning the clothes he was wearing. His family records note that he was

very psychotic during this episode and that the burns were intentional. His family noted

“lashing” marks, as though he hit himself with a flaming article of clothing. Records

indicate that he left the hospital AMA, and peeled off and ate all of his dead skin from the

burns.

Records sent by his parents from his hospitalizations note Mr. Doe being involuntarily

admitted, with the last occurrence in December 2005, due to being “acutely psychotic,

delusional, without any insight into his illness, with periods of agitation, with high risk to

act on his delusions if left untreated, with potential of danger to his own safety or safety

of others.” It was noted that he “presented with significant disorganization in thought

process with tangentially to loosening of association with persecutory delusions believing

his family and himself being in life threatening danger including rape and murder. Up

until recently, in his hospital room, he was keeping lots of garlic ‘to keep demons and

vampires away.’ During most of his interviews he has been quite agitated with verbal

aggression and body posturing and staring intently to intimidate others especially nursing

and medical staff. On many occasions he has gestured to ‘curse’ the staff. He believes he

has the ability to curse people and make them suffer.” Additionally it is noted that, prior

to this hospitalization, he “was brought by police, after he had called two different police

detachment units and reported life threatening danger to his parents. His family reported

that he was extremely paranoid before his admission, often sleeping with a knife. Mr.

Doe reported having an overwhelming ‘intuition’ or ‘sense’ that his parents were going to

be murdered and his mother raped. At the time, he eloped from home, hitchhiked, he

became insomniac, extremely agitated, his behavior became very paranoid (e.g. carrying

a knife with him at all times, telling parents to take their lives if an attack is going to be

imminent). His parents feared that he could act on his thoughts, e.g., ‘he could attack us.'”

He was noted to have escaped in January 2006.

He was captured by police in January 2006 and returned to the hospital. He was later

transferred to the Canada Hospital. At that time, he agreed to take Clozapine; and after

his symptoms diminished, he was released in July 2006. Records from the family indicate

that Mr. Doe was doing well and was believed to be taking the medication until

December 2006. During this time when he was medication compliant, he was noted to be

less isolated, to have enjoyed some activities, and that the entire family reported they had

“a really great Christmas.”

In January 2007, he again began to isolate himself and become depressed. He was noted

as becoming very persistent in seeking and using marijuana in early 2007. His family

reported that he listened to rave music on headphones, sometimes for 6-8 hours straight.

He was noted to laugh, scream, and make strange noises, which appeared to be related to

internal stimuli. In March 2007, he was noted to present with grandiose delusions of

being the next Messiah, and having direct relations with God, Jesus, and “the Archangel.”

His family reported that he regularly had conversations with these individuals. An

incident is noted in which he threw a book into a fire, then retrieved it and placed it

underwater, and then took it outside to the river. According to Mr. Doe, he believed the

book to have turned into a demon and then into the Archangel (thus his need to save it).

He also believed that the river behind the family home was sacred. He was noted to have

gone to the river in the winter, disrobe, and get entirely under the water, in order to

“cleanse” himself from demons.

Between March and May of 2007, he was noted to take multiple cold showers throughout

the day to “cleanse” himself, leave food outside to “feed the spirits,” and holding his

breath all day long to “avoid letting demons enter him.” He was noted to not be speaking

and spending most of his day underneath a blanket holding a knife. In April 2007, his

brother moved from the family home. In late April, Mr. Doe reported a desire to move to

Halifax, secured a room and a job, and moved there on 05/01/07.

The crimes occurred in the beginning of May 2007. According to the patient’s own

report, he went to a known location for prostitution in Halifax. He reported being

commanded there, and that he was the “angel of judgment.” He reported getting into a

vehicle with a man and driving to a secluded location where the man made sexual

advances at Mr. Doe. Mr. Doe’s reports indicate that he cut the man’s throat and that he

believed he was fighting the devil. He reported a similar experience during his second

crime, in which he waited for hours in a known location for homosexual activity “while

being tortured by vampires.” He reported that he was prepared to leave when a car drove

up and “it was Satan himself.” He again reported cutting the individual’s throat. Records

note that he then fled by car to the U.S. where he shot and killed another man, an act for

which the motive appears to have been to secure another vehicle. He reported that he was

told to do so by an angel. According to Mr. Doe he was attempting to flee to Mexico “to

find safety in the forest.” He was apprehended at the Texas border and returned to the

county of his original crimes in the U.S.

Since his incarceration, he has not taken any psychiatric medications and continues to

demonstrate psychotic processing. He attempted suicide once at the county jail, in

September 2007 by biting his wrist because he “believed that he was a spirit and could

walk through the wall.”

Mr. Doe is currently housed at Correctional Facility in General Population; however, he

is on a unit that is largely populated by inmates with serious mental illness. He does not

speak often about having a mental illness currently, but does indicate that he had

Schizophrenia in the past. He is known to sleep minimally, is paranoid, and demonstrates

strange mannerisms in his speech and movement. Officers note that he is often fighting

imaginary people in his cell, particularly at night. His eye contact is often poor and is

threatening in nature. He currently takes all meals in his cell so that he can spend more

time “meditating.” He has significant support from his family, whom he calls on a regular

basis. His family reports that he remains psychotic and he believes that he is a higher

religious being. While he has had no disciplinary infractions during his incarceration, he

has needed officer intervention several times to avoid any major trouble with other

inmates. He remains focused on not hurting himself or others as he is strongly against

forced medication and remains unwilling to do anything to risk such.

He is receiving

mental health services and carries a diagnosis of Schizophrenia–Paranoid

Type, and Personality Disorder NOS.

BEHAVIORAL OBSERVATIONS AND MENTAL STATUS

Mr. Doe has been interviewed on multiple occasions since January 2009; the following is

a summary of his general behavior and mental status.

Mr. Doe is a 35-year-old Caucasian male, who walks with a stiff gait, similar to a

military style. In addition, he is noted to position himself when walking or seated such

that no one is behind him. Related to this, officers note that he will not let other inmates

hold the door for him and instead insists that they walk in front of him. He was dressed in

institutional clothing and appeared in good hygiene. He is noted to have a goatee, and his

hair is styled with gel. He has not cut his hair since his incarceration, although he grooms

his facial hair regularly. Of note, on one occasion he shaved lightning bolts into his facial

hair, claiming that “the earth made me do it.” He appeared his stated age. He is oriented

times three. There were no signs of depression or agitation today, although he was noted

during initial interviews to appear more hostile, often with a threatening yet avoidant

glance at the interviewer (as well as other staff). His eyes are often squinted, with his

forehead lowered as though he is almost trying not to make any eye contact. When he

meets the gaze of someone, he is often noted to look away. Mental health records note

that he believes that “demons can see inside you through your eyes.”

In more recent meetings with this interviewer, the patient’s gaze has become softer and

less threatening. He consistently denies suicidal or homicidal ideation, intent, or plan, and

in fact discusses at great length his desire not to demonstrate anything similar to those

ideas due to his fear of forced medication. His affect is usually flat, except for a few

moments when he demonstrated some emotional response during an interview. The most

noticeable affective response was following Rorschach testing when he demonstrated

some anxiety, but also joked briefly with this writer. He is generally calm during

interviews, although he is noted to be uncomfortable when the door is closed, when there

are unfamiliar people in the interview, or when there is significant activity outside in the

hallway. He generally gets anxious at some point in most interviews and requests to

leave; it often appears abrupt and awkward and is usually related to a topic he would not

like to discuss. He has never shown any signs of hallucinations or delusions during

interviews; however, he is noted by officers to appear to be responding to such in his cell.

Thought content is mostly reality-based; however, it is extremely pseudo-philosophical in

nature. He is very difficult to follow due to his manner of speech, difficulty responding

directly to questions, and tangentiality. He often becomes tangential but does always

return to the original question asked. He presents as intelligent and is deliberate in his

speech such that he does not reveal any information that could be directly linked to

psychotic processing. When he nears this topic area he often stops and states that he does

not want to discuss that issue. During testing, he

readily attempted all tests and worked in

an effortful manner. He completed testing very rapidly, which will be discussed further as

it relates to specific testing. He demonstrated no problems related to attention and

concentration. Speech was of normal rate and prosody. He had many questions about his

success and failure on the test, which appeared reflective of decreased self-esteem

10 hours ago

Ethics Case #2

For this case, please read the case history below. In this scenario you are a forensic

psychologist performing a risk evaluation on an adolescent offender. You have been hired

by the student’s school to complete the evaluation.

As you read this scenario and develop an understanding of the patient, consider what

ethical concerns you may have, particularly related to the APA guidelines and specialty

guidelines for forensic psychology as they relate to informed consent. In your assignment,

be sure to address issues related to the age of the patient and how you would achieve

informed consent. In addition, please answer the following questions:

1.

What would you do if consent is denied and the school would still like you to

complete an evaluation?

2.

What if you have consent; however, the patient presents with a concern related to

his competency (i.e., he is acutely psychotic and/or has a significant intellectual

disability)?

Psychodiagnostic Assessment

Name:

Jim Smith

DOB:

1/10/2000

Age at Testing:

16 years 2 months

Reason for Referral:

Jim was referred for assessment by the school for a psychodiagnostic assessment secondary to

some legal issues that occurred in this summer. Specifically, Jim was arrested for possession of

incendiary devices. The school is seeking recommendations regarding Jim’s psychological

needs.

Relevant Background information:

Jim Smith is a 16-year-old adolescent n who currently resides in a juvenile residential facility,

where he has been since his arrest in July. According to records, Jim was charged with two

counts of Possession of an Incendiary Device, Chem/Bio/Nuclear Weapon; one count of

Possession of Hoax Incendiary Device, Chem/Bio/Nuclear Weapon; and one count of Unlawful

Possession of Fireworks. These charges are in relation to a search of the family home, in which

police found spent explosive devices, 22 BB and pellet guns, animal parts, and digital evidence

that Jim may be preoccupied with Nazism. He is currently being held at the Department of Youth

Services (DYS) detention facility while he awaits trial in Juvenile Court.

Prior to this arrest, Jim’s school conduct report notes seven incidents at school between

10/22/2013 and 05/11/15. These incidents include bumping into a boy on the playground with

several peers; destruction of property in the school bathroom; refusing to work; using a teacher’s

email to send an email to another school staff member which included the phrases “Aayy nigger”

and “fuck you”; making inappropriate comments about another student’s sexual orientation,

religious beliefs, and cultural background; and drawing swastikas on his lunch tray. These

actions resulted in five days of in-school suspension and five days of out-of-school suspension

cumulatively.

In October 2015, a thorough neuropsychological evaluation and risk assessment was completed

for the courts. In this evaluation, Jim was found to have intellectual abilities in the high-average

to superior range. He was noted to have intact encoding of verbal information, planning,

organization, and working-memory skills. He demonstrated a mild weakness in sustained

attention and notable impairment in processing speed, impulse control, and mental flexibility. In

addition, the evaluation identifies that Jim has clear symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Several school personnel were interviewed who are familiar with the current incidents and have

also known Jim in the past, particularly in middle school. School personnel generally describe

Jim as withdrawn, aloof, giving a poor effort in school, and having academic issues. They also

reported consistently that Jim presented with anxiety and depression. He was noted to stutter,

shake, and appear anxious often. He was also noted to have minimal friends prior to the last year.

In the past school year, Jim was reported to have started hanging out with two boys and began

expressing anti-Semitic and anti-gay viewpoints. He was reported to have bullied some students,

made swastikas, and sent an inappropriate email from a teacher’s account. These behaviors all

appear to be in conjunction with the aforementioned other two boys. The school reported that

neither Jim nor the other boys seemed to grasp the seriousness of their behaviors, and continued

to get into trouble from time to time. All school personnel denied any concerns about an Autism

Spectrum Disorder.

Outside of school, Jim’s parents described him as being fairly “odd” as he got older. They

indicated that he would frequently get obsessed with things, such as melting metal, but that the

things he wanted to do were logistically impossible. They reported that he developed an

obsession with voicing anti-Semitic views in the past year. His parents note that he felt he had

freedom of speech and would frequently make defiant anti-Semitic gestures or statements when

encouraged to discontinue expressing these views. They recounted that he got into trouble at

school on several occasions related to this behavior. He also had run-ins with the police due to

bullying a student in relation to these viewpoints.

Despite these concerning viewpoints, his parents reported that Jim is a good kid. They reported

that they do not feel his use of weapons and these viewpoints are related. They indicated that

they purchased the guns for him and that he and his mother would target practice in the backyard

regularly. Jim’s father also reported that he caught his son mixing chemicals to make an

explosive device in their backyard and told him not to do it again. Outside of this activity, his

parents reported that Jim preferred to keep to himself and spent much of his time on the

computer. He reportedly had two friends who were linked to the current offenses.

Behavioral Observations and Mental Status:

Jim presented as oriented and cooperative with the evaluation. He presented as fairly nervous

and somewhat aloof initially. His eye contact is sporadic; and his speech and mannerisms are, at

times, slightly awkward. He presented with good grooming and hygiene. There were no

remarkable motor concerns. His affect was flat, and he reported a good mood. His speech was

normal in volume, rate, and tone. His thought content was goal directed, coherent, and concrete

with no tangential or loose associations. He denied any current or recent suicidal or homicidal

ideation, intent, or plan. He denied any issues with hallucinations or paranoia and did not present

with any symptoms of psychosis. Judgment and insight appeared adequate

10 hours ago

Ethics Case #3

For this case, please read the case history below. In this scenario you are a forensic expert

on violence risk assessment in adults. You often testify in courts about future risk of

violence and are deemed by the courts as an “expert witness.” You have been asked to

consult with the school related to this case and future dangerousness. As you read the case

below, consider what ethical concerns you may have, particularly related to the specialty

guidelines for forensic psychology and competence, and how you might resolve these issues.

Name:

Michael Jones

DOB:

12/14/01

Relevant Background information:

Michael Jones is a 13-year-old adolescent who currently resides in Washington. He is a 7th

grader in the SOAR classroom at the Middle School. SOAR is a special education classroom that

provides both individual and group instruction to students with disabilities. He spends his time at

school between two classrooms in which he receives individual and group instruction. In

addition, he attends specials, lunch, and recess within the building with the rest of the student

body. Michael currently receives these services due to a primary diagnosis of Intellectual

Impairment and a secondary diagnosis of Communication Impairment. In the past, he was also

diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, but records and reports from his mother indicate that

he no longer meets criteria for the disorder.

Michael received a neuropsychological evaluation in September 2012 which noted him to have

delays in cognitive, language, academic, visual–spatial, and adaptive skills, placing him in the

mild end of intellectual disability. Michael was also noted to have difficulties with working

memory, cognitive flexibility, and impulse control. He was diagnosed with Intellectual Disability

and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

Michael’s IEP notes a communication impairment in addition to his intellectual disability, which

affects his academic functioning. He is noted to require significant individual support when he is

in classes outside of the SOAR program. There is also a noted concern related to difficulty

making appropriate choices in relation to friends, and being easily manipulated into making the

wrong decisions. He is noted to have difficulty understanding concepts related to relationships

and dangerous social situations.

According to the school, Michael has had several incidents which have caused concern related to

sexually inappropriate behavior. The first incident occurred in approximately June 2014 when

Michael grabbed the buttocks of a peer-mentor. According to the school, this occurred on a

school bus in which Michael was trying to touch a female mentor despite her telling him it was

inappropriate. He was eventually able to do so when the peer sat down, and Michael placed his

hand under her buttocks.

A second, more serious incident occurred in approximately November 2014. In this incident,

while in the classroom, Michael and a male peer, who is more limited than Michael, went behind

a partition. When teachers noticed they could not be seen and went to check on them, it was

observed that the peer had his pants down. The peer later told school personnel that Michael had

asked him to pull his pants down, saying “Do it! Do it!” and that he had told the peer that is was

a “secret game.” Directly following this incident Michael also grabbed the buttocks of a female

student in the hallway outside his classroom and was talking about this behavior.

In another incident in February 2015, Michael reportedly brushed up against a female peer who

was using a water fountain. Staff report that he brushed up against her once and when there

appeared to be no issue with it, he again brushed up against her in a sexual manner.

In addition to these specific incidents, the school reported that he has made multiple questionable

sexual comments. It is indicated that he often takes conversation to a sexual level and will say

things such as, “It feels really good when I have my pants down”; “It’s much better when you

have your pants off”; or “Do you sex girls?” It is also reported that he is fascinated with a

particular girl and has told others that he has sex with that student every night.

Michael is also reported to stare for inappropriately long intervals at females, particularly at their

chest area, on a regular basis such that it makes students and teachers uncomfortable. The school

reported that all behavioral incidents have occurred when there has been less supervision or

when he is in a transitional time …