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Psychologists and other mental health professionals serve as expert witnesses in a broad range of criminal and civil proceedings, addressing issues such as competence to stand trial, criminal responsibility, competence to testify, mental injury, and testamentary capacity. A litigant’s current or prior psychological status is often a critical element in a court’s decision about whether that person should be convicted, imprisoned, awarded compensation, or allowed to engage in certain activities.

Expert witness practice can result in considerably enhanced income and professional prestige, but it is also fraught with confrontation, occurring as it does within the confines of the adversarial system of law in the United States. Opposing counsel can be counted on to exploit any real or perceived deficiencies in (a) bases for qualification as an ...

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