Assignment 2: Critical Evaluation of Court Case

It is important to understand the impact an expert testimony may have in the ultimate decision made by a court. In addition, it is helpful for practitioners of forensic psychology to be able to read and understand legal cases.

Tasks:

Click here to review the case Commonwealth of Virginia v. Allen (2005).

The case describes an appellate legal opinion or court decision involving expert witness testimony. When a case is appealed, it goes to an appellate or to a higher court. The appellate court then reviews the findings of the lower court, which in this case was the trial court. The appellate court offered the following two opinions:

  • The first opinion (Commonwealth of Virginia v. Allen, 2005, pp. 1–24) is the majority opinion and is the one that counts.
  • The second opinion (Commonwealth of Virginia v. Allen, 2005, pp. 24–31) is an opinion filed by a minority of judges who concurred (agreed) in part and dissented (disagreed) in part with the majority of the judges who ruled.

After reading the appellate legal opinion, write a 2- to 3-page paper addressing the following:

  • Discuss whether either of the expert witnesses in this case acted unethically. Support your opinion with the relevant APA or specialty ethical guidelines.
  • Indicate whether you agree with the majority decision or the minority concurring or dissenting opinion. Explain why.

The paper should be in APA style.

Reference:

Commonwealth of Virginia v. Allen, 609 S.E.2d 4 (Va. 2005).

Submission Details:

  • Save your paper as M4_A2_Lastname_Firstname.doc. By the due date assigned, post it to the Submissions Area.
Assignment 2 Grading Criteria

Maximum Points

Determined whether either of the expert witnesses in this case acted unethically.

40

Justified your response with appropriate ethical guidelines.

40

Critically evaluated the appellate legal opinion and logically explained your reasons for agreement with the majority or minority decision.

12

Wrote in a clear, concise, and organized manner; demonstrated ethical scholarship in accurate representation and attribution of sources; and displayed accurate spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

8

Total:

100

 
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