Psychological data has become increasingly important in both civil and criminal law. It is imperative that you receive accurate and up-to-date clinical judgments to provide the best legal support for your clients.
My experience and training give me the skills necessary to provide comprehensive clinical and forensic conceptualizations. My opinions are based on solid evidence garnered from a variety of sources. The information I provide will help you make informed strategy decisions for your clients.
A forensic psychological assessment, for either criminal or civil issues, is drawn from multiple sources. Sources of information can and often include police reports, hospital records, interviews with relevant individuals, testing, employment records, and review of past evaluations. This information is then combined with the relevant research to render an opinion.
Forensic psychological evaluations are only part of the issue in forensic evaluations. Court testimony is an important component to the assessment process. Dr. Kline has experience testifying in both civil and criminal cases from guardianship to capital cases.
Depending on the case there are a variety of questions, which might be important to have answered. These include:
Mental State at Time of Criminal Offense: In these evaluations Dr. Kline needs access to as much data as possible including Police reports, previous interviews, witness statements, treatment records, interviews with the defendant, interviews with relevant family members, and possible interviews with other witnesses and law enforcement officers. Missouri law, which is similar to many other states, requires that there be present a mental disease or defect and that the mental disease or defect interferes with the defendants ability to "appreciate the nature, quality, or wrongfulness" of their alleged criminal behavior.
Competency to Proceed To Trial: For these cases the information needed is almost identical to the issue of Mental State as outlined above. The question is a little different though. In Missouri the standard follows the United States Supreme Court ruling in Dusky v. United States. Missouri Statute states that the defendant cannot be tried if that "as a result of mental disease or defect [he or she] lacks capacity to understand the proceedings against him or to assist in his own defense."
Diminished Capacity: Certain criminal offenses require a certain level of intent (i.e. First Degree Murder requires that a person "knowingly cause the death of another person after deliberation upon the matter”). There are times when a person's mental state (often a mental disease or defect) interferes with their ability to fully form the necessary intent for the crime charged. The information needed to perform this type of evaluation is similar to the information needed to establish mental state at time of the offense.
Mitigating Factors: In many cases it is important to present information to the court regarding mitigating factors that may have influenced the defendants actions during the course of the alleged crime. These factors can help influence sentencing issues and are often used in capital murder cases.
Risk Assessment: Assessment of an offender's risk to commit a new violent of sexual offense can provide the court with important information when deciding on sentencing issues. Dr. Kline has completed numerous evaluations of risk for sex offenders and violent offenders, using a combination of relevant data and actuarial measures coupled with the most recent up-to-date research.
Disability Determinations: In these evaluations Dr. Kline reviews a variety of information regarding the person's past treatment for both medical and mental health issues. He gathers pertinent background information that covers specific information regarding the patient's current level of functioning in a variety of environments. Dr Kline also reviews collateral information from sources other than the patient's medical/mental health record in order to gather as much pertinent information as needed.
Personal Injury Evaluations: In these evaluations Dr. Kline reviews collateral data, medical, and psychiatric records. He gathers pertinent background information that covers specific information regarding the patient's current level of functioning in a variety of environments. Interviews with friends and family members, and psychological testing is also helpful.