You will submit your introduction to your case analysis. In the paper, discuss which case scenario you will be analyzing. Also include an outline of the key facts of the case, and discuss the issues that a forensic psychologist would address in the chosen scenario. Discuss the needs of the client, the defense team, and the court. Finally, include any other information that will be used to establish context for analyzing and evaluating the case.
This is the case Scenario Chosen:
Capital Punishment Sentencing (Competency Evaluations)
Mr. Davis, a Muslim who immigrated to this country five years ago, has a long history of psychiatric hospitalizations related to his diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. His delusions revolve around the belief that uniformed spies have been sent to execute him. He reports auditory and visual hallucinations when not on his medication. He was arrested for trespassing after he was found sleeping in the delivery shed of a warehouse.
During his stay in jail, he was put on antipsychotic medications and was released for time served after spending 45 days in jail. Upon his release, he returned to living on the streets and stopped taking his medications. While sleeping on a park bench, he was assaulted by several youths who hit and kicked him, leaving him on the ground but with no serious injuries. Mr. Davis was convinced that the juveniles who assaulted him were spies who would later return to assassinate him.
He found a 17-inch pipe and hid in the shadows the remainder of the evening, fearing for his life. In the early morning, he saw two uniformed youths approaching him, a 12-year-old boy and his 14-year-old brother, who were on their way to a Boy Scout meeting. Mr. Davis ran up behind the boys and startedswinging the pipe wildly, screaming that they would never take him alive. He struck the 12-year-old in the head, causing severe brain trauma. The 14-year-old was able to flee, but only after receiving a blow in the face. Mr. Davis returned to the 12-year-old and bludgeoned him to death.
He was still hitting the lifeless body when the police arrived. As soon as the police arrived, he dropped the pipe and sat in silence as he was subdued. He was found incompetent to stand trial and was committed to a state hospital. After eight months of pharmacological treatment, he was found competent, and tried and convicted of capital murder.
In most jurisdictions, mitigating circumstances are that the offender was, at the time of the offense, (1) under extreme emotional or mental distress, and (2) substantially unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of his act or conform his behavior to the requirements of the law.
Aggravating circumstances are that (1) the crime was committed in a wanton, atrocious, and cruel manner, and (2) the offender has the probability of committing criminal acts in the future.
In this case, you are working as an assistant to a forensic psychologist hired by the defense to assist during the sentencing phase. In this role, you will have to help prepare testimony that would support the position of the defense attorney regarding the defendant’s competence, emotional stability at the time of the crime, and his ability to fully understand the consequences associated with his sentence.
1. What role do the mitigating and aggravating circumstances play in capital sentencing?
2. Competency evaluations: If you were asked to disagree with the findings in the competency evaluation previously administered, what evidence could you use to counter the recommendations included in the psychological evaluation?
3. What approach would you take in assessing and working with a Muslim who may have encountered racism in this country due to his religion and ethnicity?
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