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Ethics and Law

12/04/2014

Ethics and Law


Ethics rightness and wrongness of our actions
Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (APA, 2002)
o Competence
o Integrity
o Dual relationships
o Confidentiality
Exception: Danger to child, oneself or others
To protect others
Laws and psychology
o Licensing laws
Each state has standards
o Mental health codes
Standards for hospitalization and what age to get
admitted
o Confidentiality laws
Pyshcologist and other medical doctors must maintain
confidentiality
Exception: danger to third party
Forensic psychology
o Psychologist in the laws section,
A Case: Andrea Yates
Houston woman who murdered her 5 children, ages 6 months to 7
years
Postpardom psychosis
o Killed her 5 children
Questions:
o Was she competent to stand trial for their murder?

o Should she be held responsible for her actions?


o Could this have been prevented? If so, who bears
responsibility for not taking actions that might have
prevented this tragedy?
Psychology and the legal system
Competency to stand trial
o Mental state at time of trial
o Understand charges
o Assist in defense
Insanity defense: criminal commitment
o Exception to criminal responsibility
o Not acting out of free will
o Not responsible/accountable for actions
Insanity Defense: Criminal Commitment
McNaghten Rule mental disease caused defect in reason, did not
know right from wrong
Irresistible impulse because of mental disease, overcome by
uncontrollable impulses
American Law Institute combination of first two
Insanity Defense Reform Act -1984
o Mental disease or retardation
o Unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of conduct
Insanity Defense
Difficulty - requires judgment of state of mind at time of crime
Andrea Yates case
o Not guilty by reason of insanity
o Texas used definition under Insanity Reform Act
o Could she appreciate the wrongfulness of her act?
o Expert testimony on each side Dr. Park Dietz
o Convicted in 2002, overturned, NGRI

Expert witness testify about matters of opinion within an area of


expertise
Civil Commitment
Parens patriae
o Assume the role of the parents who is not in control of
themeselves
Police power
o Protect the community if in danger
Emergency commitment: 2 physicians certificate
o
Court hearing
Right to treatment:
o Wyatt v. Stickney
o OConnor v. Donaldson
Least restrictive treatment: Youngberg v. Romeo
Right to refuse treatment
Other legal Issues
Duty to protect: Tarasoff case
Malpractice suits
Violence and Mental Disorders
Violence is a problem in our society
It is a misconception that people with psychological disorders are
prone to violence
Increased risk: use of alcohol and substances
Final Thoughts
Positives
o More comprehensive models and effective treatments
o Increased emphasis on rights and protection for rights of
mentally ill
o Moving in the right direction in terms of deinstitutionalization,
mainstreaming, and prevention

What do we need?
o More research and resources
o Better access to treatments
o Reduce stigma
o More support in community
More Closing Thoughts
Exam is Thursday, December 11, at 9 AM.
Please remember to do online course evaluation.
THANKS FOR A GREAT SEMESTER!