In response to your peers, pick the peers who discussed a different case from your own when possible. Consider how you may have interpreted the differences between psychology and the law differently. Do you think there are any additional ways the differences play into historical cases that have changed the field?

Colleage post #1: Hello Professor and Class. My name is Jennifer Connors. I am an Environmental/Conservation Scientist that has decided to follow my first passion which is Psychology. I also love law so Forensic Psychology just covered everything at once. I also am working on a degree in Wildlife Forensics which is a person that investigates how animals are being killed and finding the person that has done the harm for prosecution purposes. I also teach my three children from home which is challenging for all of us. I am autistic and ADHD so that makes life a bit more eclectic. 
          My favorite case I have gone over a few times in State vs Driver in 1921. I feel this paved the way for psychologist to be involved in court cases even if this one did not work out. Out of repeating the same thing I have in previous classes I decided to look into the People v. Hawthorne case from 1940. Hawthorne, I mean wow, this case is something else. He tried to claim insanity but reading through the case file it is hard to see this. Even though he wanted expert testimony to show his insanity that is a far reach. The man went into the kitchen at his wifes lovers house and produced two guns, meaning he had those with him, so it was thought out. He then proceeded to go back into the living room in a strangers house and emptied one gun into his wife and the other into her lover. So as for the fact this man was trying to claim insanity yet showed he knew what he was doing and had planned it or else he would not have been prepared the psychologist that had testify was dismissed. The court felt that he could not diagnose without a medical degree. Now, if you look at todays cases you can see where the judge may have actually had a point. Some expert witnesses are barely experts but used anyways for a specific agenda of either side. Ones that are experts barely get enough time to look through all the information to make a sound judgement. Also you can see the other side discredit expert witnesses by attacking their credentials. Sometimes that is enough, especially if their expertise is not very similar to the circumstance they are reporting on for that particular case. So while this case may have changed how the court views expert witness testimony you still have stigma involved and if you make a slight error you can be held responsible for that error. 

Colleague post #2:Good Evening class, I am Molly Williams and I am in the Forensic Psychology program where I will be graduating in just two short semesters. I am active duty Army where I am a Military Police commissioned officer. Currently stationed at Fort Leonard Wood Missouri but will be packing up and moving in the middle of the semester, again. Third move in 18 months! I have two Bachelor’s degrees and those are in clinical health science with a minor in emergency medical services and sociology with a minor in military science. Im married to another MP officer and we have 3 giant dogs. That about sums up me. I look forward to working with you all this semester! 

Since I am originally from Michigan, I chose the People vs, Hawthorne 1940 case. Essentially this case set the precedent for expert witnesses. In this case, the subject attempted to plead not guilty of murder by reason of insanity. When a psychologist was attempted to be utilized to provide expert testimony to corroborate the reason of insanity, it was denied due to the psychologist not holding a medical degree. From this case it was deemed that to provide expert testimony you only need to have knowledge of the topic youre discussing, not be a medical provider which forever changed court procedures from that point forward. 


Law Library- American Law and Legal Information. (n.d.). Retrieved November 17, 2010, from Law Library- American Law and Legal Information: 

Weiner, I. B., & Hess, A. K. (2006). THe Handbook of Forensic Pyschology Third Edition. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.  

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