Forensic psychology and mental health law

A broad definition of forensic psychology is any intersection between psychology and the law. A narrower definition of forensic psychology is the intersections of applied psychology (clinical, counseling, or school) and the law (and especially psychological evaluations to inform legal decision-making). Relatedly, mental health law concerns what the law says and directs about the bearing of psychological functioning on criminal, civil, and family law matters.

Dr. King's research lab uses psychological science to study issues pertaining to the narrower definition of forensic psychology, and most typically criminal and juvenile justice law rather than civil or family law. His lab also studies forensic psychology topics from a legal perspective, using traditional legal research strategies in addition to approaches that blend traditional legal research strategies with empirical strategies.

Dr. King's current directions within these research themes are as follows.

  1. Law and practice concerning forensic psychological testing.
  2. Law and practice concerning hybrid psychological–legal concepts for evaluation.

Recent representative forensic psychology  and mental health law publications:

King, C. M., & Grove, L. (in press). Waiver to adult court. In R. Roesch (Vol. Ed.), Psychology and law, a volume of Routledge encyclopedia of psychology in the real world. Routledge.

de Ruiter, C., Giromini, L., Meyer, G. J., King, C. M., & Rubin, B. A. (2023). Clarifying sound and suspect use of the Rorschach in forensic evaluations: A response to Areh et al. (2022). Psychological Injury and Law, 16(2), 158–176.

King, C. M., Kelley, S., Grove, L., and Stettler, B. (2022). An American perspective. In van der Wolf, M. (Ed.), Safeguarding the quality of forensic assessment in sentencing: A review across Western nations (pp. 63–97). Routledge.

King, C. M., & Vora, S. (2022, July). Sixty years of American Psychological Association amicus curiae briefs: 1962 to 2022. AP-LS Newsletter.

Viglione, D. J., de Ruiter, C., King, C. M., Meyer, G. J., Kivisto, A. J., Rubin, B. A., & Hunsley, J. (2022). Legal admissibility of the Rorschach and R-PAS: A review of research, practice, and case law. Journal of Personality Assessment, 104(2), 137–161.

King, C. M., Del Pozzo, J., Ceballo, D., & Zapf, P. A. (2021). An examination of fitness to stand trial, competence to make treatment decisions, and psychosis in a North American sample. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 20(3), 278–290.

King, C. M., Grove, L., Hitchcock, S., Gonzalez, K., Palardy, A., & Guevara, N. (2021). Forensic mental health assessments in juvenile justice contexts. In D. DeMatteo & K. Scherr (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of psychology and law. Oxford University Press.

King, C. M., & Morales, I. (2020, October). Kahler v. Kansas (2020): Abolishment of the insanity defense? AP-LS Newsletter.

Layden, B. K., & King, C. M. (2019, October). Assessing threats of self-directed violence and duties of care within higher education institutions: Nguyen v. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2018). AP-LS Newsletter.

Zottoli, T. M., Daftary-Kapur, T., Edkins, V. A., Redlich, A. D., King, C. M., Dervan, L. E., & Tahan, E. (2019). State of the states: A survey of statutory law, regulations and court rules pertaining to guilty pleas across the United States. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 37(4), 388–434.

Heilbrun, K., King, C. M., & Slobogin, C. (2018). Insanity and diminished capacity: Scientific status. In D. Faigman, J. Blumenthal, E. Cheng, J. Mnookin, E. Murphy, J. Sanders, & C. Slobogin (Eds.), Modern scientific evidence: The law and science of expert testimony. West.

King, C. M. (2018). The psycholegal factors for juvenile transfer and reverse transfer evaluations. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 36(1), 46–64.

King, C. M., & Del Pozzo, J. (2018). The Supreme Court of California continues to endorse threat assessment and management. Intelligence, 4(3), 3.

King, C. M., & Del Pozzo, J. (2018, November). The Supreme Court of California’s continued endorsement of threat assessment and management duties: Regents of the Univ. of Cal. v. Superior Court (2018). AP-LS Newsletter.

Heilbrun, K., DeMatteo, D., King, C., & Filone, S. (2017). Evaluating juvenile transfer and disposition: Law, science, and practice. Routledge.

King, C. M. (2017). Involuntary hospitalization. In A. E. Wenzel (Ed.), The SAGE encyclopedia of abnormal and clinical psychology. SAGE.

King, C. M., & Zelle, H. (2017, October). Feeling more confident in finding and understanding the context of laws. AP-LS Newsletter.

Heilbrun, K., & King, C. M. (2017, April). Forced medication and competency to stand trial: Clinical, legal, and ethical issues. Psychiatric Times.