What are Assessments?

Assessments are valuable tools used to determine the client's competency to stand trial, ability to understand Miranda warnings, validity of statements, decision-making process in regard to accepting a life offer, ability to testify, and eligibility for execution. 

 

Assessment findings may be delivered during formal opinions regarding the client's mental health (in writing as part of a social history), in person via court testimony, or behind the scene educating the defense team about the client’s mental health status.

 

Our team of experts are very familiar with current psychotropic medications and makes inquiries regarding medications clients and witnesses are taking or were taking at the time of the crime. Such inquiry is becoming more and more important as clients increasingly avail themselves of the services of a "street pharmacist", the latest incarnation of the street corner drug dealer who is now peddling pharmaceutical psychotropic drugs as well as recreational drugs.

Interview Details

The interview process is essential to the validity of the information obtained from the assessment. Our experts will perform exhaustive in-person on-location interviews with the client, his family, friends, neighbors and others in the community. Through the interview process, our experts obtain detailed biological, psychological and cultural evidence, and identifies collateral sources of information. Information that should be obtained through the interview process includes, but is not limited to: 

  • the client's birth and early development; 

  • composition of the family unit; 

  • early medical and psychological health of client; 

  • multi-generational patterns of trauma, substance abuse, mental illness, medical  problems, cognitive deficits, and incarceration;

  • parental employment; 

  • educational experiences; 

  • intellectual development; 

  • religious training, practices and beliefs; 

  • discipline in the home; 

  • family relationships; 

  • friends and leisure activities; 

  • other significant relationships; 

  • community activities; 

  • juvenile services and/or treatment provided; and 

 

TRAUMA, including but not limited to:  



         - serious injury of a family member or significant others; 

         - divorce of parents; 

         - abandonment by parent; 

         - parental incarceration; 

         - family violence; 

         - neighborhood violence; 

         - bullying;
         - parental substance abuse; 

         - physical, sexual, verbal and psychological abuse;

         - homelessness and extreme poverty; 

         - natural disasters