Forensic Evaluations and Expert Witness Testimony
- Psychological (Mental Health/Diagnostic) Evaluation
- Parent Responsibility Evaluation
- Child Custody and Visitation Evaluation
- Direct Filing/Adult Certification
- Competency and Sanity Evaluations
- False Confession
- Immigration Evaluation (extreme hardship/domestic violence)
- Miranda Rights Violation
The typical first step in a forensic evaluation is a consultation with the referring attorney and a thorough review of file information that includes relevant background information and legal documents. Based upon this information, a comprehensive Diagnostic Interview is conducted with the individual to be evaluated. Based on the interview and background information, administration of a customized test battery is performed with the intent of identifying psychological factors relevant to the particular case.
The test battery usually consists of a combination of standardized psychological tests as well as more specialized forensic assessments.The specific diagnostic instruments are designed around the purpose of the psychological evaluation and can include any of the following situations:
- Divorce/Parenting Time/Parent Responsibility Evaluations (including visitation and decision-making recommendations and evaluations of Parent Suitability)
- Current Mental Status and Mental Status at the Time of the Offense (Sanity Evaluation)
- Competency Evaluations
- Mitigating Circumstances that may play a role with regard to the outcome of a case (including sentencing recommendations)
Competency, Sanity and other Criminal Mental Health Evaluations are performed in office and/or jail settings. Parenting Time Evaluations usually begin with a comprehensive Diagnostic Interview of the parents, children, and other related parties. All parties are to asked to compete both standardized and open-ended questions with regards to their mental status and personality characteristics. Parenting skills are also assessed with particular care taken to identify the child’s concerns, needs, and best interest. Criminal and juvenile assessments identify characteristics that are associated with future dangerousness and/or risk to society.
Dr. Peraino published an article in the May 2011 issue of The Colorado Lawyer, entitled Psychological Considerations in Direct Filing. Past publications include research on personality and occupational success, sex offender treatment, empathy and prosocial behavior, and sex abuse prevention. Articles are available upon request.