Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Testified in Federal Court

I testified in Federal Court last week on an interesting case. The defendant was in the process of undergoing a competency evaluation and was claiming to have Dissociative Identity Disorder (this disorder used to be referred to as Multiple Personality Disorder). DID is an extremely rare disorder, and it is difficult to assess.

I was not the competency evaluator assigned to the case, but the court requested that I complete psychological testing in order to help the competency evaluator come to an opinion regarding the defendant's competency.

I administered a full battery of psychological tests, including tests for DID and for malingering. As it turns out, this particular defendant was malingering, or faking DID in order to potentially lessen his legal troubles.

I testified to this effect in court. Of course, the defense vigorously cross examined me, attempting to discredit my qualifications and the evaluation I had conducted. The defense attorney was aggressive, but he was also fairly nice, and I did not get the sense that he was being overly hostile.

Unfortunately for the defense, the judge thought I did a thorough job and accurately interpreted the data I collected. He believed the defendant did not have Dissociative Identity Disorder and ruled that he was competent to proceed.

Thanks for reading-- Max Wachtel, Ph.D.


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