Thursday, March 21, 2013

Expert was a suspended evaluator

The Jodi Arias defense expert witness Richard Samuels testified that he used to be a child custody evaluator! He said that he had done 1000 evaluations in New Jersey until he got caught bartering psychotherapy services for dental services, while testifying in a dispute between a dentist and his wife. His s license was suspended there, and moved to Arizona. As a penalty, he paid a $2500 fine and had to take an ethics class (he complied by "reading a book" and taking an exam).

He keeps testifying about Arias lying and telling the truth. Sometimes there are objections, as it is not proper for him to testify about whether Arias was telling the truth. It is up to the jury to decide whether Arias's wild story is true. This witness has no special expertise as a lie detector.

My guess is that the defense lawyer urged the psychologist to squeeze in statements about Arias telling the truth, and said that it is up to the prosecution to object. But if I were on the jury, I would think that the psychologist is gullible and sloppy on the subject of truth. Of course if I were on the jury, I would be holding expert witnesses to higher standards in several ways.

He testified that Arias has PTSD, and a symptom of that is "blunted affect", meaning a constricted ability to express emotion. He said that her lying or "de-realization" with phony stories about the killing could have been a way to create an alternative reality to insulate herself from the stress of what did happen.

This all seems like just a fancy way of saying that she was lying to cover up her horrible crime. We don't need a psychologist for that.

The prosecutor did catch Samuels in a goof. One of the questions on a test given to Arias was, "Have you been assaulted by a stranger?". Arias said yes, based on her phony story of two other guys killing her boyfriend in her presence. We now know that the story was a total lie, and Samuels had to admit that he should have re-scored the test after he learned that she lied on the test.

If she can fool the psychologist so easily, they what is this guy adding to what the jury can already figure out? I guess I will stay tuned. It is on TruTV (Dish 242), and excerpts are also on HLN TV (Dish 202).

The prosecutor also ripped Samuels for give a copy of Your Erroneous Zones to Arias. That is a self-help book that sold 35 million copies. Samuels contradicted himself over whether the book was a gift, and whether the book was to help her with depression. I guess the point was that this was some sort of ethical lapse or sign of bias, analogous to the dentist barter that got him disciplined. I don't know, it was just a $9 book that a lot of people read. More serious is that he probably prompted her about how to behave consistent with this PTSD diagnosis, but his interviews were not recorded. Samuels said that he prefers not to record interviews, even tho a recording would be more accurate than his notes.

The prosecutor's hostile cross-exam style was more appropriate for the expert, because the expert can be expected to use his words precisely. At one point Samuels said that he "speculated" and then denied that he would speculate. He looked a little foolish, but I don't think that it matters much.

Samuels also stumbled on the correct name of the Posttraumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale (PDS®) test. He called it the "PSD", for posttraumatic stress inventory, or posttraumatic stress diagnostic. It was slightly embarrassing for someone who is supposed to be an expert on the test, and even had the manual in front of him as he was testifying.

CNN has the March 18 trial transcript.

The test is top-secret and copyrighted, but you can find the whole test as Appendix B of this (pdf) thesis. You can also find the test here, in Microsoft Word format. The psychologists keep is secret in order to make it more difficult for someone like Jodi Arias to fake a PTSD diagnosis. Someone could easily fake it by reading an article on PTSD, the DSM-IV diagnostic symptom list, and the PDS test questions.

I post this testing info because it is on the web anyway, it is on the public record in the Jodi Arias trial, and it is essential for understanding how these court experts/quacks are manipulating our justice system with bogus arguments. I am certainly not trying to help some future killer get acquitted, or help some Afghanistan veteran collect disability benefits.

The HLN TV mock jury voted 10-2 that Arias faked the PTSD. I guess that it is possible that some jurors will say that Arias shot her boyfriend in a rage, and then was not conscious of the 29 stabbings and throat slashing because of some sort of PTSD. If so, then maybe she did not have sufficient intentionality to deserve the death penalty.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dude, you are a wounded warrior, no less than those guys on tv with faces burned off or legs blown off. Look at those symptoms of PTSD and be honest, haven't you been suffering since you got raped in family court?

It's time to get back to some semblance of the life you were supposed to have. Go to a sports event or take your kids to the roller rink with ice cream afterward. Go to a movie or the beach. Get them to ride the Giant Dipper.

If a court order is necessary, you already know the ropes. You know way more than on day one. Even if you have to pay some slug to watch, at least you've got enough money, unlike some other poor sons of bitches. Best of luck, sincerely.