Meet the Authors: An Interview with Randy Otto, Ph.D.
Recorded September 2, 2014
Dr. Otto discusses concepts from his co-authored book (with Richard DeMier and Marcus Boccaccini) Forensic Reports and Testimony: A Guide to Effective Communication for Psychologists and Psychiatrists.
Book Description (from the Wiley Books website):
Forensic Reports & Testimony: A Guide to Effective Communication for Psychologists and Psychiatrists provides a roadmap for the mental health professional who wants to provide consistently accurate, defensible, and useful reports and testimony to the legal system. The authors are recognized experts in the field, cover all aspects of the process, including preparing affidavits and reports, preparing for depositions, and testifying. Every written or spoken communication for the courts must be clear and precise, and distinguish between facts, inferences, and opinions. This book uniquely:
•Shows the critical differences between forensic psychological reports and the clinical reports psychologists and psychiatrists are accustomed to writing
•Includes and explains important maxims of forensic report writing, including separating facts from inferences, focusing on offering expert opinions, explaining why you think what you think, and connecting the dots between facts and conclusions
•Provides numerous examples of experts’ testimony, affidavits, reports-with commentary and critiques
Dr. Otto has been a faculty member at the University of South Florida since 1989, and he also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Stetson University College of Law. He has served as President of the American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS) and the American Board of Forensic Psychology, and he is President-Elect of the American Board of Professional Psychology. He chaired APA’s Committee on Legal Issues and the Committee to Revise the Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychology, and he is an APA Council Representative (Division 41, AP-LS). Dr. Otto serves on the editorial boards of Assessment, Behavioral Sciences and the Law, and Criminal Justice and Behavior.
His research, writing, and practice focus on forensic psychological assessment. He is co-author of Psychological Evaluations for the Courts: A Handbook for Mental Health Professionals and Lawyers, and co-editor of the Handbook of Violence Risk Assessment. Dr. Otto is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Division 41) and has received awards for his work from the Society for Personality Assessment and the American Academy of Forensic Psychology. In 2009 Dr. his work on adjudicative competence with colleagues Norm Poythress, John Monahan, Richard Bonnie, and Ken Hoge was cited by the US Supreme Court in Indiana v. Edwards.
- List two important items to include in a forensic mental health report.
- List three common mistakes that clinicians make during forensic testimony.
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