Forensic Psychiatric Services at MPA Legal fall in the following areas:
- Civil/Personal Injury Cases:
- Case Law Review
- Integration of the Results into a Case Specific Report
- Criminal Cases: Evaluation of Juvenile and Adult Criminal Cases
Mental Health & The Law
Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology in Montgomery, AL
"Addressing legal questions is a complex endeavor."
~ Glenn Larrabee, PhD (Author of "Forensic Neuropsychology")
One of the most significant challenges encountered by those responsible for the regulation of our statutory rules and procedures is the fair and equitable treatment of its populace.
When human behaviors and one’s mental well being comes into play, MPA LEGAL is here to help. Our understanding of the fundamental principles, rules, and standards of the judicial system and the importance of enable us to communicate in a way that can be understood.
Psychology & The Law
MPA LEGAL has expertise and experience in the legal AND psychiatric disciplines.
Why is this important?
Glenn Larrabee, PhD, "recognized for his publications on test validity, memory assessment, mild traumatic brain injury, malingering, and the scientific practice of forensic neuropsychology", had this to say in his book titled Forensic Neuropsychology:
"Addressing legal questions is a complex endeavor. Damages in a civil personal injury lawsuit are not fully addressed by the scores a litigant obtains on a neuropsychological evaluation; rather, these scores must be integrated with the medical history preceding and following the alleged injury, as well as integrated with the litigant’s developmental, social, educational, and occupational history."
Our specialized forensic training enables MPA LEGAL to conduct competency evaluations for a variety of legal matters including:
Regarding a defendant’s mental state, for example, we make determinations about:
- One’s ability to remember and understand the charges and alleged offense
- His or her capacity to understand court proceedings
- Their competency to stand trial or plead guilty
Do you need to know how many 82-year-olds have significant cognitive impairment in a will contest case?
MPA LEGAL can provide Base Rate, or statistical, data to demonstrate the probability or likelihood a person possesses the mental capacity to make or alter a valid will.
Guardianship & Conservatorship
Regarding decisions about one’s own health or finances, a person must be able to understand and clearly express what he or she wants.
Dementia, brain injuries, or other disabilities can make it difficult or impossible for someone to make decisions about their health care, money, living arrangements, or other personal matters.
The mental health professionals at MPA LEGAL can evaluate an individual’s competency to care for themselves and their property, enabling us to provide valuable insights about the need for court appointed guardians or conservators.
"Therapeutic jurisprudence is the 'study of the role of the law as a therapeutic agent.' It focuses on the law’s impact on emotional life and on psychological well-being."
What is TJ?
Courts can reduce a sentence if a defendant commits an offense while suffering from a significantly reduced mental capacity.
In capital murder cases, mitigating circumstances that can reduce penalties for offenders with mental illness include:
- An intelligence quotient (IQ) of less than 70 in the verbal and performance components of IQ testing as well as the full-scale Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-IV).
- Significantly lower social-adaptive skills as measured by the ABAS-II or Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales. (Atkins v. Virginia)
In cases where courts are considering "diminished capacity," psychological evaluations conducted by MPA LEGAL enable us to provide valuable input regarding a defendant’s mental condition or underlying behavioral disorders.
Resentencing & Risk Management
MPA LEGAL offers psychiatric assessments for resentencing cases, enabling courts to consider aggravating factors, mitigating evidence, and risk assessment indicators.
Regarding specific resentencing criminal cases in juvenile law, a recent supreme court case (Miller v. Alabama) resulted in the need for resentencing of all juveniles who were under the age of 18 at the time of original sentencing due to having received mandatory life without parole for crimes committed as juveniles. They all have to be re-assessed using different criteria that could result in a range of lesser punishments.
The ramifications of a devastating injury can take it's toll not only physically, but socially and psychologically on the injured person.
Post-injury Impact & Cost
Although the emotional cost of Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is incalculable, the lifetime cost for persons who sustain TBI each year is estimated to be $37 billion.
In mild TBI, most consequences and deficits are resolved 3 months post incident.
Assessment of Quality of Life
Quality of life is generally conceptualized as the overall level of satisfaction individuals have with different aspects of their lives, including material and physical well-being, relationships with others, social and community activities, personal development and fulfillment, and recreation.
Poor quality of life may be indicative of problems within these areas, and treatments often measure quality of life to determine broader effects beyond symptom remission.
- “Glenn J. Larrabee: Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Independent Practice.,” American Psychologist 70, no. 8 (2015): 777–79, doi:10.1037/a0039786.
- G. J. Larrabee, Forensic Neuropsychology: A Scientific Approach, 1st ed. (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2005), Google Books.
- For more information about Alabama law and the "Insanity Defense," read the Alabama Law Institute's clarification, "Code of Alabama 1975, Title 13A CRIMINAL CODE, Insanity Defense." Click here to view document »
- For additional information regarding federal statutes that govern insanity pleas, visit the Wikipedia page about the "Insanity Defense Reform Act" »
- Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002), Google Scholar