Criminal Responsibility/Insanity Evaluations
(Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity)
Insanity is a legal concept, not a clinical concept. This concept is also known as Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI), and can be is highly publicized when it is attempted. This defense is attempted more often than it is successful. Several studies involving several states have shown that the insanity defense is raised in less than 1% of all criminal cases. Acquittal rates vary from state to state, but on average the insanity defense is only successful in approximately 25% of those attempts. Over 90% of NGRI findings are stipulated by both sides without a trial. Insanity acquittees spend on average more time in a secure mental hospital than they would have spent incarcerated if they had been convicted.
When a defendant's mental state at the time they committed an offense is at question, a criminal responsibility psychological evaluation or sanity evaluation may be requested by the court, defense, or prosecution. Although the criteria for an insanity plea depends on the legal jurisdiction in which the crime was committed the basis of an insanity plea rests on the basic premise that the defendant was not criminally responsible for their actions at the time of the offense due to the influence of a mental illness. Utilizing relevant legal statutes and case law, ForenPsych Consulting and Assessment Services L.L.C. utilizes psychological testing and evaluation to address the criteria necessary for an insanity plea.
When asked for an opinion about Criminal Responsibility, Sanity at the Time of the Offense, or the Insanity Defense, Dr. Kristina Vincent first determines, by examination and review of records, whether a defendant's mental or emotional state at the time of the alleged offense meets the threshold requirement for a major mental disease or defect. Dr. Vincent then renders an opinion as to whether that condition substantially impaired the defendant's ability to appreciate the wrongfulness of the criminal act for which the defendant is accused, or whether the defendant's mental condition substantially impaired the defendant’s capacity to conform their conduct to the requirements of the law, or both.
In reports and expert testimony, Dr. Vincent presents detailed evidence that the defendant's clinical mental state either does or does not satisfy the legal definition of insanity. Additionally, she uses psychological testing to evaluate the defendant for the possibility of feigning or malingering. Psychological examination reports address the psychological data in terms of the legal criteria regarding Criminal Responsibility or Sanity at the Time of the Offense in the jurisdiction of the evaluation.