Use of Legal Psychology in Criminal Trials

Gupta, is seen in this courtroom sketch as the verdict is read in his insider trading case in Manhattan Federal Court in New York

Legal psychology is a discipline that involves the use of empirical and psychological research in relation to law and legal organizations as well as to people who have contact with regard to legal matters.

This discipline is an essential part in legal proceedings, especially in terms of situations and persons that need psychological evaluation. The expertise of legal psychologists is often asked in vague cases and they are the people whose expert opinions can drastically change the tide and the ruling of the case.

The work of legal psychologists is to stand as expert witness on cases where psychological opinions are needed. For instance, when in criminal trials, legal psychology is used in order to determine and testify whether the eye-witness account is plausible or if there is a hole in the account. The expertise of legal psychologists is also used for determining mistaken identities or to determine whether a person is competent to stand trial.

Legal psychologists who focus on clinical issues, on the other hand, are asked to testify and determine the capacity of the dependant to stand trial, their intelligence and competence and many others as well. Legal psychology may also be used to assess perceptual issues that may come up in the trial. The practice of legal psychology evidently has essential uses when it comes to legal matters despite the way that others see them as hired guns or people who state the obvious.

Whatever it may be that others think of legal psychologists, use of legal psychology in proving the truth is proven accountable. Here are instances where legal psychology is used during criminal cases.

  1. Used to evaluate a legal practice. Legal psychologists can be called upon by the state to work in order to address some issues when in an empirical research that could be involved in criminal cases.
  2. Psychologists with legal expertise can also be called upon by the court in a criminal case to hold advisory roles. Through their expertise in legal psychology, they may have the ability to advice the judge or the legal decision makers based on psychological findings related to such cases.
  3. Legal psychology is also used in testifying at the court on issues that relate to mental illnesses, retardation and other factors. Through empirical research done by legal psychologists, they can provide opinions regarding the matter as long as it is backed with scientific evidence.
  4. Legal psychology can also be used in trial consulting. Academic people who have the knowledge and expertise in legal psychology are sometimes hired for their expert opinions when they are needed in the case.

Legal psychologists who act as trial consultants are sometimes hired by firms as practicing attorneys because of the benefit that comes with their knowledge in legal psychology. Through this discipline, it can become easy to determine whether the witness, the accused or the dependant’s account is true. It also helps in determining whether a situation is plausible or not. The scientific value of legal psychology is of all the most important aspect that makes it essential to criminal trials.