Forensic Psychology


Identify at least one landmark legal case or court decision for each of these important psycholegal areas: CST, criminal responsibility (MSO), the right to mental health treatment, the right to refuse psychiatric treatment, coercion to mental health treatment, and participation in treatment and civil commitment of sex offenders?

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The Forensic Psychology is considered as the interconnection between the psychological values and justice system. In this study, the case of the “right to receive mental health treatment” has been followed. The main issue highlighted in the case study of O’Connor vs. Donaldson is presenting the consequence of “capable of surviving safely in freedom” (Cooper, 2015). The case is judged under the section 422 US. 523 in the year of 1975 and it is one of the most important cases based on the mental health law. Kenneth Donaldson, a man of 34 years, was working in a General Electric Defence plant. He was admitted in Marcy State Hospital where he survived 23 electro shocks to resume his normal life. He assumed of being poisoned and was sent to Florida’s Chattahoochee State Hospital for next fifteen years. Donaldson was a man with high level of motivations, intelligence, and persistence and due to such confidence; he was continuously petitioned in the Supreme Court for the release.

In this particular case, Supreme Court clarified the issue of the right to treatment. The reasonable decision of Supreme Court regarding the case was interpreted unreasonably and the court has kept the subject of Donaldson in mind in prior to look for the ‘capable of surviving safely in freedom’. In presenting the argument, the mental health bar is specifying that ‘surviving safely’ is individualistic if it is not connected to the point of death (Wexler, 2013). However, Paul Stavis, the mental health law expert in New York Commission on Quality Care opposed the decision made by Donaldson. However, Donaldson claimed that he was never ill and he has the right to survive freely. The statement of Donaldson was harshly opposed by the council by claiming that he needs treatment. Donaldson had to face the irony to admit that the doctors had never denied him treatment.

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Cooper, G. G. (2015). Civil Commitment of Mentally Ill; Right to Treatment; Parens Patriae Power; Right to Liberty; Donaldson v. O’Connor. Akron Law Review, 9(2), 9.

Wexler, D. B. (2013). Mental health law: Major issues (Vol. 4). Springer Science & Business Media.