- The Supreme Court decided in Sutton vs. United Airlines that for the purposes of the Americans with Disabilites Act the disability must be assessed only after attempts have been made to correct the impairment.
- Liability in medication-related tort claims is best reduced by well-documented informed consent (Duh. But that came up a lot this year so I mention it.)
- In states that allow for outpatient commitment, only 20% of pretrial detainees who are referred for commitment actually end up getting commitment orders. This is because most of them are either sent to prison prior to a commitment hearing or because they are committed to a hospital for restoration to competence prior to an outpatient commitment hearing.
- Death Penalty
- Risk Assessment in the U.K.
Another development was the creation of a Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder Service, which essentially is a tool for civil commitment of psychopaths. This has led to 150 referrals a month and an increased number of non-mentally ill sociopaths in forensic hospitals. (One presenter's quote: "The system is swamped.") They are treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy at a cost of $500,000 per inmate per year. Remarkably, there have only been three minor inpatient assaults involving these patients over five years.
- Liability and risk management in forensic practice
Most states have limited civil immunity for expert testimony but this is not absolute & varies with jurisdiction. Experts appointed by medical boards for peer review have been sued with varying degrees of success by their evaluees. A forensic expert could face discipline from the AMA, the state medical board, or a specialty organization. In general psychiatric practice most liability comes from suicide or from medication-related injuries.
- Ethics of Forensic Psychiatry
(Incidentally, in Podcast #14 (No April Fool) I talked about the New York Times article, Brain On The Stand, which quotes Dr. Morse's views on the use of neuroimaging in forensics. Now that I've had a chance to listen to this guy speak it is clear that he is someone to keep an eye on. Interesting things are going to be coming out of U. Penn, particularly with his involvement in the recent $10 million MacArthur grant for neuroscience and the law. This is probably worth a blog post all on its own, when I get the chance. Right now I'm off to dinner.)