Archives 1992-2013

2000, volume 9, suplement 4

On the cover

Evaluation criteria for expert psychiatric and psychological opinions in penal proceedings

Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 2000, suplement 4 (12), 9-16

This article lists the procedural instruments,in penal proceedings, which the 1997 Penal Code puts at the disposal of the procedural organs(court, prosecutor or other organ responsible forpreparatory proceedings) so that fully valid evidencemay be obtained for the need of those proceedingsand so that the evidence may be used competently andso that the decisions reached be reached not by theexpert but exclusively by the procedural organ albeitwith the help of special information, at the disposal ofthe expert alone, obtainedfor the purpose ofreachinga decision in that part of the proceedings.

On the cover

Procedural control of forensic-psychiatric expertise in light of the new penal code

Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 2000, suplement 4 (12), 17-23

The new penal code was introducedin 1997. It is therefore necessary to check how thenew legal regulations are affecting the institutionof forensic-psychiatric evidence. This paper investigatesthe need for strict control offorensic psychiatric evidence and the scope of such, control were itto prove necessary. The investigation is based bothon the regulations of the new code and the existingdoctrine and on studies offorensic practice andanalyses of the verdicts issued by the SupremeCourt. The author first points out the many shortcomingsin the practice of controlling and evaluating forensic-psychiatric opinions issued by proceduralorgans then goes on to discuss the feasibilityand necessity of such control. He also points outthe role of the parties to the lawsuit and discussesthe team nature offorensic psychiatric opinions. Inthe conclusion he gives several suggestions of howto controlforensic-psychiatric opinions and liststhe problems which should be taken into consideration,depending on the needs and circumstances of the lawsuit.

On the cover

The functions and role of the prosecutor in the issuing of forensic-psychiatric opinions

Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 2000, suplement 4 (12), 25-32

This article discusses the prosecutor'scompetencies, obligations and potentials withrespect to the procedural management offorensic-psychiatric expertise in penal proceedings, particularlyat the preparatory stage. The importanceof prosecutor-forensic psychiatrist partnership andsubstantial evaluation of the expertise by the procedural organ are emphasised.

On the cover

Forensic-psychiatric evidence in the practice of prosecutors from the Szczecin district

Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 2000, suplement 4 (12), 33-44

The prosecutor, in his competenceas the procedural organ, who nominates forensicpsychiatrists, has both the right and the duty tocontrol the opinions issued by forensic psychiatrists.The present author analysed the documentation of penal cases to determine whether the prosecutor,acting in his competence as the procedural organ,executes this evidence according to penal code regulationsand whether he does so with at least a minimumlevel of psychiatric and psychological knowledge.The analyses revealed that the prosecutorsdid not always pass this test.

On the cover

Complaints to the European Human Rights Commission concerning forensic-psychiatric opinions

Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 2000, suplement 4 (12), 45-48

In order to ensure that the HighParties to the Agreement shall observe the commitmentsresulting from the Convention on the Protectionof Human Rights and Basic Liberties, theEuropean Human Rights Commission and HumanRights Tribunal have been established. Polandrecognizes the competencies of these organs to examineindividual complaints about Polish authoritiesconcerning lack of observance of this Conventionas from May l, 1993. The authors analyze thesecomplaints and pay special attention to those whichare concerned with forensic-psychiatric opinionsissued between 1990 and 1999.

On the cover

Causes of errors in forensic-psychiatric opinions and their detection

Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 2000, suplement 4 (12), 49-57

The author presents a systematic analysis of the causes of errors in forensic-psychiatric opinions. He bases his analysis on his thirty-year-long practice and a review of the literature. He distinguishes three different types of errors: (l) unwitting errors resulting from the methodological shortcomings of forensic psychiatry, lack of homogeneous principles for the preparation of opinions, incorrect diagnosis, ignorance of the law, discrepancies between the languages and conceptual apparatuses of law and psychiatry, incomplete evidence and medical documentation, inadequate evaluation of the motive of the offence and the offender's modus operandi, lack of forensic-psychiatric competence; (2) deliberate errors resulting from emotion, the expert's attitude of renowning, acceptance of subjective attorney's and paternalistic attitudes, action taken by the opinionee and his family, the expert's corruption. He presents the principles and methods of action which ought to help the jurisdiction to control forensic-psychiatric opinions. He also points out the need to introduce compulsory training of experts, their attestation, and, in the long-run, specialisation in forensic psychiatry and development of a list of rules of operation and attestation of forensic-psychiatric wards.

On the cover

Analysis of some of the pitfalls related to inadequate forensic-psychiatric opinions

Józef Kocur
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 2000, suplement 4 (12), 59-62

The author discusses the most commonpitfalls related to forensic-psychiatric opinionsand involving the legal position and function of theforensic-psychiatric ex pert, the pledge of secrecyand various issues related to bioethics. He pointsout the need to verify the professional and ethicalqualifications of expert candidate and to developan independent system of controlling the quality offorensic-psychiatric opinions.

On the cover

Some nonsubstantialcauses of inadequate forensic-psychiatric opinions

Danuta Hajdukiewicz
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 2000, suplement 4 (12), 63-68

The author discusses a number of reasons for inadequate forensic-psychiatric opinionsother than lack of sufficient knowledge and experience.These inadequacies are caused by either errorsin the proceedings of the procedural organs or of the experts: calling on physicians in charge of theexaminee's treatment to give expert opinions, uncriticalacceptance of poorly justified evaluations,lack of observance of the rules governing examinee'saccess to the examination [???] and, in thecase of Family Courts, faulty referral for observationwithout the expert's motion and referral forexamination of sanity of minor offenders tried accordingto the minor offenders act. When such proceduralerrors are made it is necessary to appointnew expert teams. This prolongs legal proceedingsto the disadvantage of the suspect.

On the cover

Theoretical and methodological premises of forensic-psychological expert opinions

Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 2000, suplement 4 (12), 69-80

The author discusses the legal regulations for the appointment of forensic-psychological experts and thereby defines their procedural competencies. He then analyses the concept of special knowledge in the area of psychology. This set of knowledge and skills is different from lay psychological knowledge which is not "special knowledge" in the strict sense. The main body of the article is devoted to the discussion of the theoretical and methodological foundations on which expert forensic-psychological opinions should be based. Finally, the author discusses 11 diagnostic-research problems delineating specific areas of forensic-psychological expertise which constitute expertal assignments for forensic-psychological experts.

On the cover

The language of conclusions of expert opinions

Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 2000, suplement 4 (12), 81-84

Conclusions ought to be concise statements.One should employ subjective lexical expressionsbecause theseform assertive clauses. Lexicalexpressions must also state the degree of resoluteness.Natural language is preferable. Finally,expressions which briefly repeat the stipulations ofthe report section of the opinion ought to be admissible.

On the cover

Errors in forensic-psychiatric and forensic-psychological diagnoses from the perspective of social perception

Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 2000, suplement 4 (12), 85-91

This article may be summarised in two sentences. Sentence one: Just like every otherparty to the lawsuit, the forensic psychologist orpsychiatrist is prone to misperception and misevaluationof other people and himself for the samereasons as any ordinary man and woman in thestreet. Sentence two: the dynamics of these errorsin evaluation and diagnosis are the same in theman in the street, the professional psychologist andpsychiatrist and the lawyer and they result fromthe same general patterns of interpersonal perceptionand communication. These two sentences areelaborated and justified in six statements.

On the cover

Selected methodological aspects of the psychological prediction of criminal behaviour

Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 2000, suplement 4 (12), 93-108

The authors discuss a selection of methodological problems in the psychological predictionof criminal behaviour in the context of the rulesof psychological prognosis. Their intention was topoint out the importance of psychological prediction for criminology. The advantages and limitations of the prognostic procedure and applied methods areindicated and the principles underlying theory applicationand prediction and their consequences for thevalidity and limitations of prediction are discussed.

On the cover

Discrepancies between forensic-psychiatric and forensic-medical opinions on post-traumatic consequences

Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 2000, suplement 4 (12), 121-128

The authors try to explain the differencesin opinion on the consequences of headin jury which arise between psychiatrists, neurologistsand forensic medical professionals. He doesso on the basis of examples selected from the documentationof the Department of Forensic Medicinein Katowice. Earlier opinions had been rejected asinvalid when they had been checked for observanceof the rules offorensic-medical expertise in suchcases, i.e., compatibility of opinion, correct evaluationof cause-effect relations, reaching well-motivatedconclusions from examinations, and theunderstanding and practical application of code formulations. Our analyses revealed the followingmajor sources of error in opinions issued by psychiatristsand neurologists: (1) unjustified andunmotivated indication that concussion, post-traumaticcerebrasthenia or even post-traumatic encephalopathyare the consequence of the injury,(2) ignorance of the basic rules of expertise,(3) ignorance of the penal code, (4) prematureissuing of unequivocal opinions concerning the durationof organ dysfunction and permanent consequencesof the injury, (5) lack of personal examinationof the injured person.

On the cover

The penitentiary aspects of co-operation between prison service officials and the professional staff of forensic psychiatric wards

Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 2000, suplement 4 (12), 129-135

This article deals with the currentlegal, organizational and staff potential of inquirydetention wards. Utilization of this potential makesit much easier for forensic-psychiatric professionalsto issue forensic psychiatric and psychological opinions.Forensic-psychiatric wards located in psychiatric hospitals rather than within the organizational structure of the prison do not provide such favourableconditions.

On the cover

Supported training of forensic experts in open society – an alternative to professional control

Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 2000, suplement 4 (12), 137-144

The author discusses the increasedneed to train forensic psychiatrists and psychologistswhich will arise in the context of the expectationsand changes which will ensue with Poland's accessionto the European Union. He thinks that trainingmodelled after established academic patterns andconsistent with the demands ofmarket economy willforce experts to improve their qualifications andmay be a good alternative to professional control procedures which are usually ineffective.

On the cover

An attempt to use sequential analysis to assess the diagnosis of diminished capacity

Stanisław Ilnicki
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 2000, suplement 4 (12), 145-153

1741 forensic-psychiatric opinionsissued by over adozen experts in cases of perpetratorsof typical military offences were analyzed.The premises for diminished capacity, their diagnosticsignificance and accuracy of the diagnosis of soundness of mind of the culprits were assessedusing a computerised sequential analysis program.Significant differences among the experts were revealed for frequency of diagnosing diminished capacity– 21-54% (M=39%) – and for assessmentof the importance attributed to individual diagnostic features. Only slight mental handicap and nonpsychoticreactive disorders were treated as decisivepredictors of diminished capacity by all the experts.Significant individual differences were found forrate of conformity of the real diagnosis of diminishedcapacity and the diagnosis determined on thebasis of the sequential analysis: 19-70%(x=47%). The didactic usefulness of sequentialanalysis for the self-control of diagnostic-decisiveprocesses has thus been confirmed.

On the cover

Diagnosis of offender’s mental condition and penal court sentences. Outcomes of documentation analysis at the Regional Court for Kraków-Pogórze in Kraków

Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 2000, suplement 4 (12), 155-164

The author discusses several problemsinvolved in the issuing of forensic psychiatric andpsychological opinions concerning adult offenders.She bases her discussion on the analysis of courtdocumentation. Some of the most common problemsinclude: the circumstances under which proceduralorgans appoint and select experts, the forms of co-operation between experts during preparation ofopinions and the ways in which psychopathologicaldiagnoses and data from personal information included in the opinion, are used in sentencing.