As a consultant or researcher, you might be hired to conduct a literature review to inform the court or other legal personnel about a topic that is relevant to a legal case. This literature review might include the following features:
- An historical summary of case law, legislation, and policies pertaining to a specific legal decision or sequence of decisions
- A summary of research findings that are relevant to the specific legal decision(s)
- An analysis of how the research findings have either affected legal decisions or could affect legal decisions
- An analysis of how a proposed legal decision could impact social change
You could contribute to this project by a literature review that includes the following:
- A summary of relevant case law and legislation at the national level and in relevant jurisdictions, e.g., other states and counties that have passed laws similar to the one to be drafted
- A summary of research findings about recidivism rates for minors who have not been transferred and those who have been transferred to an adult court, developmental psychology research findings that have addressed adjudicative competency of minors to face charges in adult court, research findings about mental health problems presented by minors and whether these will be addressed if the minor is transferred to adult court, etc.
- An analysis of how research findings have impacted or could impact legislation that proposes to transfer minors to adult court to face charges
- An analysis of how legislation to transfer minors to adult court could impact social change
In a 12- to 16-page (excluding title page, abstract, and references), explore the evolution of a forensic psychology topic based on legal cases.
Required elements of the Final Project:
- Identify a current or controversial issue that forensic psychology professionals face that has been recently influenced by legislation, case law, or national policies. (Refer to the next list for possible issues.)
- Explain the legal and policy decisions that have contributed to the evolution of the current legal status of the selected issue.
- Summarize relevant research in psychology that has informed the manner in which the forensic psychology professional conducts research or consultation related to the selected issue.
- Describe ethical dilemmas likely encountered by the forensic psychology professional while conducting research or consultation related to the selected issue.
- Integrate research about legal laws and policies with scholarly research findings in order to propose recommended best practice standards related to the selected issue.
- Explain how the recommended best-practice standards will contribute to social change.
Possible issues to focus on in the Final Project:
- Evolution of legal definitions for criminal responsibility
- Civil commitment for mental health evaluation or treatment
- Civil commitment of sex offenders
- Death penalty evaluations or investigations
- Transfer of juveniles to adult court and competency to stand trial
- Police use of force and public perceptions, victim impact, officer impact, police departmental/agency policies
- Role of the forensic psychology professional in terrorism investigations
- Hate crimes and punishment (special provisions for hate crimes versus prosecuting with existing laws)
- Victim impact, impact on social change
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