Shawn Curtis Public Lecture and Dissertation
September 14, 2019 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm PDT
Join us for PsyD doctoral candidate Shawn Curtis’s public lecture and oral dissertation defense. The event will be held in room 226B on the Antioch University Seattle campus.
Title: Cultural Influence on the Assessment of Adjudicative Competency: A Grounded Theory
Abstract: The Washington State Supreme Court has strongly recommended that culture should be considered as a factor for multicultural defendants when questions regarding competency to stand trial have been raised and an evaluation is ordered by the Court. This represented a departure from prior decisions, which have ignored culture as a factor for consideration in such cases. Though culture had long been identified as a core pillar within clinical psychology, research in the sub-field of forensic psychology has shown a dearth in the literature regarding culture as a factor in forensic assessment. Despite the recent cases in Washington State, the criminal justice system as a whole largely remained silent on how to address culture, which led to a form of systemic cultural suppression. Given the dichotomy of what to do about culture, along with the intersection of the criminal justice system and psychology, forensic examiners have found themselves struggling with how to address culture which has become a nuisance variable. Using a grounded theory methodology, this study identified a spectrum of reactions resulting from attitudes and strategies forensic examiners have developed in response to systemic constraints, bias, individual case and defendant characteristics. Furthermore, identifying examiner reactions to multicultural cases is a critical step towards developing best practice guidelines on how these cases should be addressed.