Case Vignette

Humanities

Please read the vignette carefully. Based on information provided in the vignette, please compose a well-written and organized response to each of the questions that follow:

Presentation of the Problem:

defendant’s name: Scott Smith

current age: 45

description of the offense

The victim in this case was a 20-year-old female stranger. The victim, who is addicted to drugs, was looking to buy drugs when she met Mr. Smith on the street. She had never met him before that night. He offered to share some heroin with her. He took her to his house. When they arrived, Mr. Smith took her to the bedroom, locked the door, and pushed a large wardrobe in front of the door. He used the heroin but refused to given any to the victim. He forced her to take off all of her clothes, threatening to kill her if she did not comply. He forced her to perform oral sex on him. While she did so, he repeatedly punched her in the head. He then began choking her and forcibly penetrated her vagina and anus with his fingers. She vomited and he pushed her head into the vomit. He continued to sexually assault her repeatedly over several hours. They eventually both feel asleep. The next day, he walked her out of the house, gave her $20 for transportation. He again threatened to harm her if she reported the offense. She told him she wouldn’t, but she immediately went to the police station and reported the crime.

The following is Mr. Smith’s account of the offense as told to police:

He reported that he had consensual sex with the victim. He said that the victim was dressed provocatively. He said that the victim made up the charges because she did not get any money or drugs from him.

identifying and historical information

Mr. Smith is a white male. He had three brothers and two sisters. One brother and one sister are both deceased (drug-related deaths). His parents separated when he was 8 years old and divorced a few years later. He denied a history of sexual abuse. He has previously reported that he believes he was verbally/emotionally abused by his father. He said he grew up in a very religious and strict household. If he didn’t follow the rules, he got his butt “whopped.”

He married in 2006. He said that their relationship got “rocky” because he cheated on her a few times and “it got real rocky when I caught this case.” He stated, “I think one of my biggest problems was being promiscuous. I didn’t know how to be faithful.” He has had over 100 sexual partners.

He dropped out of 10th grade at age 16. He reportedly was in a lot of fights at school because he was picked on a lot. He was suspended a few times for fighting (and truancy). He received below average grades. He reportedly had a stable work history prior to becoming addicted to drugs. His longest job was as a courier, for five years. He became involved in drugs around the time of his siblings’ deaths in 1991 and he lost the courier job. “I would always lose a good job because of not coming to work. I went through that for a good three or four years.” He was unemployed for about 13 years and regularly relied on public assistance and his family for financial support.

He has six children with five different women (none of them with his wife). He has been ordered to pay child support, but reportedly never has and owes over $25,000 in arrears.

He attempted suicide twice. “I popped a lot of pills twice. I ended up in the hospital twice.” He reportedly didn’t want to live and couldn’t take care of himself.

He was shot with a 22-caliber gun in 1988. He suffered a bullet wound to his groin. He reportedly was beaten with a baseball bat in 1994 and “chopped up with a butcher knife.” He was hospitalized for a few weeks after the beating and he has rods in his arms and a plate in his head.

He began using marijuana at age 13. He smoked it “periodically” until age 17 when he began using it daily. He began drinking alcohol at age 15. He reportedly was not much of an alcohol drinker, but would periodically drink when using marijuana. He began using cocaine, including crack cocaine, around age 26. “I fell victim to it. I was working constantly so it started out just on the weekends and then it escalated to every few days and then it became recreation and then a job and it was all the time and my life spiraled downhill for a period of time.” He completed a few drug treatment programs.

He has an extensive juvenile and adult criminal history. He was twice arrested at age 11 for robbery and adjudicated delinquent. As an adult, he has been arrested for robbery, burglary, theft, simple assault, recklessly endangering others, and possession of illegal substances on numerous occasions. He was on probation at the time of the current offense.

Exam Questions

Based on the vignette provided above, please compose a well-written and organized response to each of the following questions. When writing your responses, please:

  • Use APA (6th Edition, Second Printing) Style, with 1-inch margins, double-spaced, 12 font, with a reference list at the end.
  • Write clearly and concisely.
  • Cite appropriate, and especially current, literature (empirical and/or theoretical).
  • Avoid all sexist idioms and allusions.
  • Remember to demonstrate your multicultural competence where appropriate.

Psychological Theory and Practice

  1. What assessments (general and specific) would you conduct to enhance your understanding of the client’s problems and how would your choice of assessment(s) inform your diagnostic impression and treatment planning? Assessments may include structured or unstructured interviews, valid and reliable assessment measures, and/or formalized assessment procedures that may be conducted by yourself or by someone else referred by you.
  1. Provide your diagnostic impressions (based on the DSM-5) for this individual. In narrative form, please describe how the individual meets the diagnostic criteria for the disorder(s) chosen in addition to the differential diagnostic thought process that you used to reach your hypotheses. Be sure to include any additional (missing) information that is needed to either rule out or confirm your differential diagnoses impressions.

Legal Theory and Application

  1. Explain the background, current presentation, and behavior of the client utilizing theories of offender and/or victim psychology and personality/psychological theories to support your position. Do not simply restate the client’s presentation from the vignette. Instead, provide a theoretical-based discussion of the client’s behaviors as presented in the vignette.
  2. Describe the psycholegal standards and/or definitions for each of the following: competence to stand trial, duty to warn, and insanity.

Identify and describe one or more landmark case(s) for each standard (at least three cases total). Describe the elements or issues that a mental health professional usually focuses on when assessing a person’s adjudicative competence, risk and insanity, and any additional items that might be especially important to focus on in the provided vignette.

Research and Evaluation

  1. Describe tests or assessment procedures you would employ to address the psycholegal issues of (competence to stand trial, risk of dangerousness, and insanity). You may refer to these from the Psychological Theory and Assessment Section “A” if you already covered them there. Discuss what the anticipated conclusions would be based upon information provided in the vignette.
  1. Develop one empirically supported therapeutic treatment plan for the client in the vignette. Please make sure you summarize the empirical evidence with appropriate citations to support your treatment choice(s) in working with your client. Be sure to discuss the effectiveness and limitations in working with this particular client, including this client’s background, using the above treatment plans.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

  1. What diversity factors, cultural considerations, or other demographic variables pertaining to this client would you take into account in rendering a diagnostic impression, choosing assessment measures, forming case conceptualizations, and designing the treatment plan? Be sure to discuss cultural/diversity factors that could apply even if they are not explicitly mentioned in the vignette.
  2. Your writing, use of citations, ability to form a logical argument, and proper APA Style, including the use of paraphrasing, will be evaluated as a measure of your interpersonal effectiveness. No response is required for “B”.

Leadership, Consultation, and Ethics

  1. Describe how you would work within a professional treatment team to consult, triage, and treat this case. Include a description of the various members of the professional team with whom you would be likely to interact. Additionally, explain the roles and responsibilities of each member of the treatment team.
  2. B.What are the ethical and legal dilemmas this vignette introduced? What would be your immediate steps and why? Please be specific and make sure that you describe your process of ethical decision making and the solutions/consequences to which this process might lead. Your discussion should be informed by the American Psychological Association’s Ethics Code as well as the Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists
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