Criminal Law

Forensic Psychology: Consulting, Evaluations, and Expert Testimony

Forensic Psychology overview of criminal law - Dallas, Texas





Forensic psychology is able to provide useful examinations and expert testimony in a limited number of criminal cases. These areas include competency, child sexual abuse, adult sexual assault, violent offending, eyewitness misidentification, false confessions, and risk of re-offending at sentencing. 


Competency to proceed through trial involves the diagnosis of a major mental disorder or mental retardation. To report a finding of incompetence, the mental disorder or mental retardation must impair your clients' ability to assist their attorney with any legal decision or, impair the clients' ability to understand the proceedings of the courtroom.
Allegations of child sexual abuse are almost always a "he said, she said" legal event. Because your client cannot prove innocence, examinations usually focus on child witness reliability. Expert witness opinions on child witness reliability can include:

    1) the young age of the child where pre-school children have difficulty knowing/remembering whether they experienced an event, saw it on TV or were simply told about it;
    2) child witness suggestibility/coaching
    3) allegations during custody disputes
    4) misleading or suggestive interviews
    5) child witnesses who suffer from mental disorders/delusions and,
    6) child witness who suffer from conduct disorders and have a history of lying, stealing, and violence.    


Sentencing is often the forgotten phase of the trial. Nearly 90% of criminal jury trials result in a guilty verdict. Nearly 90% of all indictments are pled out.

Whether your client receives probation, a minimum, medium or maximum sentence depends on 3 factors; how heinous was the crime, is your client remorseful and, what is the risk of future danger to the community.

A risk assessment for future re-offending can let the Judge or jury know that your client has a low, moderate or high risk of re-offending over the next 5, 15, or 24 years. A risk assessment for ability to meet the conditions of probation can let the Judge/jury know if probation is going to be successful.


Eyewitness misidentification is the single most frequent reason for false imprisonment according to DNA exonerations. Eyewitness misidentifications can result from at least 14 different risky factors including unfair photo arrays, a focus on the weapon and not the face, cross-racial poor identifications and the viewing of mug shots that include your client.

Examination of these misidentification factors can inform jurors that seeing is not always believing.  To test your skills at witness identification, try this link: The Art of Crime Detection

For further reading on eyewitness misidentification please reference the following:
  Article #1


False confessions are the second most frequent (after eyewitness misidentification) reason for false imprisonment.  People falsely confess to be able to leave the interrogation room, because they are protecting others and, because they are suggestible. 

The evaluation of suggestibility and the evaluation of coercion by interrogators can lead to a motion to quash a tainted confession.

For further reading on false confessions please reference the following:
  Article #1
  Article #2

Click Here to submit your case for review or call (214) 202-7344 with your case facts.



Dr. William E. Flynn, PhD
Forensic and Clinical Psychology
100 Highland Park Village, Suite 200
Dallas, Texas 75205
(214) 202-7344