Not long ago, the legal profession did not recognize psychology as an important part of the legal system. Eye witness testimonies were considered the holy grail of evidence, unlikely jury verdicts were attributed to the work of incompetent or highly persuasive attorneys, and defendants who were clinically insane were treated just like everyone else. The legal system was 100% geared towards incarcerating those who were responsible for a criminal act. Whether or not that person was mentally fit, or whether the person whose testimony would be used to convict a defendant was mentally fit, were not questions that were taken seriously in a court of law.
Now, the public as well as higher-ups have embraced psychology as a vital part of the legal system. During a recent trial proceeding, Tim J. Ryan wrongful death attorneys as well as a prosecutor utilized psychologists to help them during the jury selection process. Attorneys across the globe are starting to recognize that psychological factors can easily influence a jury's decision, and that they will need legal psychology experts to put themselves in the best position to obtain a win.
Law psychology programs are increasing all over the United States and across the globe as more professionals accept psychological analysis in the legal field. Clinical-forensic psychologists, Developmental psychologists, Social psychologists, and cognitive psychologists are all in high demand. Psychologists that are considered experts within their field who have the ability to explain their findings in an easy-to-understand and believable way are now believed to be a tremendous asset.
Psychologists are fully aware that feelings and emotional reactions have a direct influence on everything that a person does. This is especially important when dissecting the sorts of circumstances that legal advisers have a tendency to experience — controversies that are unmistakably linked to emotional investment, for example, marital separation, individual injury, break of agreement or truce breakage, segregation or criminal allegations, even such matters as the joining of a business, an estate management or maintenance, may be seen differently by a court of law based on a psychologist’s opinion. A false accusation of domestic violence could be better understood by having the situation examined by a legal psychologist, turning a guilty verdict into a not guilty one. It is imperative for lawyers to know how feelings and emotional behaviors can convolute choices that they and their clients need to make, many times when the choices are difficult to explain.
In addition, psychological analysis of a legal situation can help lawyers comprehend the means in which they can utilize emotions — their own particular emotions or their clients’ — as a wellspring of data for inspiration, as an approach to speak with others, or as a window into diverse methods for approaching an issue. The possibilities for legal professionals to use the psychological profession to bolster client cases has never been more obvious.
For example, instances of physical suffering that amount from negligence are often pursued in a courtroom by personal injury attorneys. These can be car accidents, slip and falls, or any other situation in which a person's injuries sustained could have been prevented and a person with insurance is responsible. One particular personal injury case that legal psychology has had a dramatic impact on...dog bite cases. A court of law used to believe that dog bite cases due to negligence only deserve to be compensated for their medical expenses arising from their injuries, but now it is so much more. Pain and suffering from dog attacks can result in far more compensation that the medical bills. Sometimes, small children suffer dog bites to the face and have severe scarring as a result. The psychological impact of such an event cannot be understated, and courtrooms have begun to take these damages very seriously as a result of legal psychology's growing influence.
Randy Collins of the Law Offices of Randy Collins, a speaker at legal psychology conventions, said something that every legal professional should take very seriously. “Legal psychology is one of the biggest influences of a not guilty or guilty verdict”. Think about that for a minute. Whether or not a person is found guilty or not guilty, regardless of the type of crime that they are facing charges for, is hugely influenced by the psychological disposition of the attorneys, the judges, and the jury involved in your criminal proceedings.
Ten years ago, anyone found with a large amount of Marijuana in their vehicle that couldn't pass a field sobriety test could expect a DUI on their criminal record without question. Things are no longer so black and white when it comes to driving under the influence of Marijuana and THC. Marijuana DUI attorney Randy Collins was able to convince a jury that his client’s ability to drive was not impaired, despite his client having been possibly under the influence of Marijuana and field sobriety tests implying that she was very much under the influence. Whether or not the defendant was high was not what won the case, it was whether being high affected her ability to drive. Twenty years ago, it would have been nearly impossible to convince a jury that being stoned might not affect your ability to drive.
Mental examination or psychological research has genuine significance for all the sorts of things that legal counselors do. Attorneys in this day in age should not depend entirely on the skills they obtained during law school. Psychological associations are regularly conducting useful related psychological research and working hard to help attorneys find out how to be more valuable in different territories of their practice.
Legislators across the globe are using principles of Legal Psychology, and are now using psychology to try and explain why past laws enacted have not worked to try and develop more effective legislation. Government officials have been very tough on crime, but has it worked? Many people have said yes over the years, but now that the information gathered is being studied by numerous doctors, including psychologists, very few people can argue that the current system is working. Although progress towards convincing the public that being tough on crime rarely works is probably the biggest hurdle towards making significant change, public opinion is changing. The disastrous effects of the failed drug war have resulted in countless people being sent to prison for non-violent drug offenses. Drug users are now starting to be treated as addicts who need professional assistance beating addiction. Many legal psychologists feel that this is hugely beneficial towards creating a system that works.
Psychology in the legal field is growing exponentially right now, and it is a very exciting time for anyone who is serious about joining the field. Feel free to explore our site to find out about careers, general info, or even our own thoughts on our legal psych blog. Want to join our team? Contact us today!