Assignment 2: Individual Research Task
Landmark Case Presentation
In this module, present your research findings on the landmark cases related to competency to stand trial (CST), criminal responsibility, the right to receive mental health treatment, the right to refuse psychiatric treatment, coercion to mental health treatment, and civil commitment and treatment of sex offenders.
Create a case report for each selected case, including the following headings:
- Title and Citation: Provide the title of the case and in which court the case is involved.
- Type of Action: Describe the type of the case.
- Facts of the Case: Describe the key facts in the case with roles and responsibilities of forensic psychology professionals.
- Contentions of the Parties: Explain the relevant points in the contentions of the parties.
- Issue: Describe the issue from the viewpoint of the psycholegal question at hand.
- Decision: Explain the decision in the case with implications, present and future, for the practice of forensic psychology.
- Reasoning: Explain the reasoning provided by the trial judges or justices to arrive at the decision and dissenting opinions, if any.
- Rule of Law: Describe the rule of law with regard to the practice of forensic psychology.
Click here for a sample case report, which you can also use as a template to write your individual case report.
Write the case reports in not more than a 6-page Microsoft Word document.
All written assignments and responses should follow APA rules for attributing sources.
You may refer to the following links for additional information:
- Landmark Cases of the US Supreme Court
- Supreme Court of the U.S.
- US Supreme Court Center
A Sample Case Report
Title and Citation: Gilbert v. Homar, 117 S. Ct. 1807 (1997).
Type of Action: Civil Suit for Violation of Due Process
Facts of the Case: Homar was employed as a police officer at EastStroudsburgUniversity, a state institution. He was arrested on August 26 at a friend’s house during a drug raid and charged with possession of marijuana, possession with intent to deliver, and criminal conspiracy to violate the controlled substance law, a felony charge. He was suspended without pay the next day by the university. Although the charges were dropped by the state police on September 1, the university wished to pursue its own investigation. The university officials met with Homar on September 18 to hear his side of the story. On September 23, he was demoted to groundskeeper and was told he would receive back pay at the groundskeeper rate, though he eventually received back pay at the police officer rate. The union president met with the university president, Gilbert, on September 24. The demotion was based, in part, on a confession by Homar given to the state police on the night of his arrest. Homar contended that he was denied due process since there was no hearing prior to his suspension without pay.
Contentions of the Parties: Homar contended that he was denied due process since he did not have a hearing prior to being suspended without pay. He used prior cases in which the Supreme Court had ruled that a tenured state employee must have a pretermination hearing. Thus, a tenured state employee cannot be fired without due process. However, as presented by Justice Scalia, Homar had simply been suspended and not terminated. The issue of denying him his livelihood was only temporary, during his suspension, and should not have posed a hardship.
Issue: Can the state suspend a tenured employee without pay without hearing the employee’s side of the case?
Decision: The court ruled three issues that are to be considered. First is the respondent’s (Homar’s) interest and how it is affected by the official’s decision. In this case, Homar was denied pay during his suspension. The second consideration is the risk of an erroneous decision by the officials due to the procedures used to reach the decision and any safeguards in place to reverse an erroneous decision. Homar was granted a hearing with the university officials approximately three weeks after the suspension took effect. The third consideration by the court is the government’s interest.
Reasoning: The court ruled that there was probable cause for university officials to believe Homar had violated the law due to his alleged confession in the police report. Thus, they were justified in suspending Homar. The court ruled that the suspension was not final and that the deprivation of income was also only temporary, pending a postsuspension hearing. Finally, the state has an interest in immediately suspending public officials who occupy highly visible roles when they are charged with felony crimes.
Rule of Law: Due process must be viewed as procedures that take into account the circumstances of the situation for both parties involved. Here, the state was able to delay the due process by immediately suspending Homar. However, the suspension was viewed as temporary, pending a prompt hearing (Homar’s due process), and the state’s interest in maintaining public trust in the university police force justified an immediate suspension. The court also ruled suspension with pay would essentially be a “paid leave at taxpayer expense” and is not constitutionally protected.