On demand 1h 26s Basic

The Use of Collaterals in Forensic Custody Evaluations

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The Use of Collaterals in Forensic Custody Evaluations

This course will examine the issue of hearsay as it relates to collaterals cited in custody evaluations conducted by forensic evaluators. The course will take a deep dive to explore when these issues arise and how some can be overcome. We will analyze the applicable case law and discuss when these issues can significantly impact the veracity of the forensic report.

Transcript

Hello. I'm welcome to the use of collaterals and forensic custody evaluation. This presentation will deal with anyone who has had the opportunity to have a custody matter Most custody matters throughout the states require the use of a forensic evaluator. Some states will have that in the sense of a social worker, and some will only require a psychologist or psychiatrist. Most have to be on a approved list before the court to be able to be retained. Generally, it is done through a court appointment with the input of counsel, although there are times that people do it in mediation or independently. If all parties consent and a forensic evaluation will be conducted to assist with a custody determination. That's the forensics we're going to be limiting the presentation to. So when you deal with a forensic evaluator and the forensic report, generally the parties are interviewed and the children and an interaction between the parties, the parents, i.e., and the children, but that the investigation and the forensic evaluation does not end there. There are what we call collaterals outside people who will be interviewed, and their input will also find its way into the forensic evaluation and ultimately into a recommendation. Collaterals, as we'll see during the presentation, can include anybody from social workers, children's services to pediatricians therapists. There are. What happens then in terms of the legal aspect is the issue of hearsay. Now the basic terminology is defined as an out of court statement introduced for its truth, which is not allowed to be used in a court proceeding. So during a forensic evaluation, the report will cite many, many collaterals and some of their statements will be cited and relied upon. So what happens there is the entire every forensic report useless under the terms of hearsay? Are there exceptions? These are the areas we're going to explore. And one needs to know what are the allowable hearsay and what are not in order to enhance their presentation, review and ultimate cross examination of a forensic evaluation. Before we start the actual presentation, where would we know where the collaterals are? Who was spoken to in the first pages of every forensic report? After citing the legal or legal history of getting appointed as well as other means of appointments, it will itemize every meeting the forensic had with the parties, how many the time, the dates and the amount of time spent. In addition, it will also itemize all the collaterals. And again, time, usually time and dates of when they were spoken to and you know what they represented the child's therapist and so forth. So let's begin with the presentation of the law in New York. The there was a prominent case called Wagman versus Bradshaw two and 92, 8284 that said that an expert witness, i.e. a forensic or other expert witnesses may rely on inadmissible out of court material to formulate their opinion provided one. It is a kind accepted in the profession as reliable as a basis in forming a professional opinion. And two there is evidence presented establishing the reliability of the out of court material referred to by the witness. So on your screen you're also going to see in Ray Caitlin ex another New York case which talks about the hearsay rule and what's inadmissible in regard to psychologists using in regard to their evaluations. It is important to know that when a collateral is interviewed by a forensics, that they be informed that there is no confidentiality. Items and statements such as I would like to take you, tell you statement X or statement Y, but please don't attribute that to me. That doesn't work. In addition with the collaterals must be told that they can be subject to cross examination. One of the big areas in regard to collateral cited in reports is the fact that to substantiate their testimony in the regard to areas where they do not fit into the hearsay exception that they be called in as witnesses and subject to cross examination in that respect. Those out of court statements now that may have been relied on by the forensic evaluator can now be examined properly. And then if their basis of the report is on one of those persons, we now have proper testimony to the same. Now let's talk. Let's go. We're going to work ourselves from cross-examination backwards cross-examining. A collateral was referenced in a report. Your client does not agree with the testimony or the statements attributed to that person, and that person is now subpoenaed to come into the hearing, citing their statements as a collateral to the forensic report. So, number one, hearsay. Once they're being cross-examined, if that person is present, that goes off. But if the person is not present and it does not fit under the exceptions, when you're cross-examining a forensics, that portion is going to be excluded from their report. And then the issue becomes of questioning the examiner, the forensic psychologist or psychiatrist or social worker, whoever they may be, as to how much weight. They attributed to that statement. Evaluator's reliance on the particular collaterals. What we just spoke about, the quality of the report and the collateral interviews. So obviously there's something called peer review where you bring another expert to review the forensics report. Generally when you have a peer review, it is someone who's just reading the report. That person is not privy to all the parties as the other party generally would not subject themselves to another examination, especially that one that's being financed by the opposing party. And that person's report will say and examine issues as was the report followed the APA or the AFCC guidelines in forensic evaluations. Did they follow procedure of that of that legal district, whether it's state court law or any more of the more civil ordinances, civil procedure in a certain area or a broader scope, things that go across the state lines, did that forensic evaluator follow those rules, such as some jurisdictions say specifically in the orders that the forensic evaluator shall not make a custody determination, shall not say at the end of a report, father should get custody, mother should get custody, rather, to go through everyone's qualities of parenting and their handicap or deficiencies and the general or specific observations which will get into a bit later if that is indicating something improper, such as a bias or confirmatory bias in the report that you're obtaining from the observations, if they're forensic reports, which I have read, where will exasperate certain personalities of the parties or their character traits, this father or this mother had a unique European flavor or etiquette in the way they presented themselves. All of a sudden your antennas should be going up. Why? What is that trying to convey? Or what has the forensic evaluator seen in the sense that the adjectives are beyond what an observation should be? Obviously, observations of the interactions, the warmth, the ability to maintain their anger, the mean, the ability to maintain the interest and care for the children. Are those being observed. One of the cases I've had a number of years ago in which the forensic evaluator scrutinized and chastised a parent for the behavior of the children, and upon cross-examination of the forensic evaluator, we found out that he was running extremely late. He had the parent and the child in the waiting room for over 45 minutes. And in regard to it was a windowless room without any toys or activities. And the question was, did that have any effect on the observation that he saw and whether that observation found its way into the forensic report and recommendations that were not fair to that party? Now, let's go back to the hearsay problem. Again, we defined it. The information received from any collateral over a telephone or zoom today or because rarely are collaterals interviewed in person by the forensics. They're clearly hearsay. Now, again, the evaluator has no firsthand knowledge of the contents and the hearsay will remain in the report. Again, bottom line, we are always we always note that in regard to the collateral, bringing the collateral in to testify, subject to cross examination will take that particular collateral out of the hearsay exception. Let's give an example. Um, and this goes beyond the hearsay. Even if you a forensic evaluator I report I received stated. They contacted one of the children's treating therapists. The therapist reported to the forensic evaluator on the content of their notes from the sessions and their obviously their own observations, and indicated that the mother suffered from bipolar disorder. Now, the notes from that forensic evaluator clearly indicated that the mother was not participating with this child's therapy. Came once for a few minutes as to basic intake and would not agree to sit in sessions or have any lengthy discussions with the forensics. Now, the forensics. Based on that interaction, has now told the forensic evaluator, the therapist, that they believe that there is a significant mental health disorder. So besides, you know, obviously there is a hearsay problem, but in terms of the observation involved. They had no basis as a psychologist or as a social worker to make a diagnosis on someone that they not that they did not treat or see in that capacity. And those are also important issues to review in regard to reviewing a forensic evaluation when it cites the collaterals don't only look at where which collateral is being used, which we'll talk about a bit later and which to be presented in regard to your case. But what what they said and what's being attributed to them, because besides the hearsay which some will be allowed in, as we get further into the presentation, they cannot state just because they're a therapist or just because they're a principal or a teacher. They can't opine and give testimony in the in the facts that they're speaking to a forensic evaluator on issues that they would not be allowed to do under their profession, ethically or other considerations. Now, that's now that you've heard some of the issues with collaterals, with hearsay, that's not to you should not believe that collaterals cannot be relied upon to any extent in forensics, because that would limit the forensics to the parties and the children. And rarely do we have, I don't think, ever a report that is limited to those people. Obviously, when a forensics starts doing testing, psychological testing, personality testing and doing their hypothesis of what's going on. They're going to want to substantiate it by third parties, and that's part of their reaching out to collaterals. Rarely do forensics reach out to every single collateral the parties present, because in most matrimonial or custody related issues, the forensics are given multiple of people, probably 10 to 20. And that's beyond the scope. And that's why it's very important to give them the most important ones that they can rely on. And then depending on which side, what they would be substantiating it with. So there's a professional reliability exception to the hearsay rule that's cited in green. Many other cases in New York, I'm sure in in many jurisdictions it's the same as well. And what does that mean when psychologists are trained and the APA and the ACC have updated their guidelines for custody evaluations in 2022? What happens there is psychologists are allowed to rely, just like hypothetically, we have we have in the law, we can have the court take judicial notice of documents, of government publications, and we can put them into evidence under the again, allowing the court to take judicial notice of it. Psychologists have the same. They there is a. Professional reliability, where in their profession, i.e. psychology, they allow certain things to be relied upon in custody evaluations. And if that is backed up by data, then those items, although they are hearsay, will be allowed to be relied upon and be put into the evaluation and to be relied upon by the court in by reviewing that. Where do the tensions between an attorney for and the evaluator? So let's what generally happens with a forensic report? Basically a forensic report is entered into evidence by the proponent, which is the psychologist, and it's subject to cross examination by both parties, even though it may be leaning to one party. It may say mom is, you know, has the stronger. Case in regard to custody or dad does. That doesn't that generally in the jurisdictions that I've practiced in court puts it in the evidence subject to cross examination, The evaluator must come in and be, you know, both parties technically are cross examining. What in essence happens is obviously the one that it's in favor of is using during more of a direct as for the other one is doing more stuff as a cross but both are subject both are considered cross examination. Again, I mentioned before, here are some more of the guidelines. Um, it recommends that we get that psychologists get information from third parties, and the evaluators should look to gather as much information as is necessary and relevant to the reason why I wrote tension between the attorney and the evaluator is that's the evaluators goal. And our goal is to make sure that it passes muster under the hearsay evaluation, hearsay exceptions or the hearsay rule and be able to be admitted to court without being thrown out for relying on hearsay. What's the attorney's role in this? Lawyers have the obligation to zealously protect, assert and pursue their client's legitimate interests. This obviously takes a whole new definition when we're dealing with custody evaluations. Preparation is the foundation of zealous advocacy. There's nothing more important than preparing well for when that forensic evaluator is on the stand. You have to it starts before the evaluators report comes out. And that means that it starts where your client is being told that he's undergoing a forensic evaluation. When you do that, you explain to the process, you explain what goals they want to and what issues and what information they're going to convey to the forensic evaluator. But as in all forensic evaluations, besides the documents that are being provided, there is also a. Request for collaterals. Please write the people you think I should speak to that would help me. Understand what is going on in the family dynamics and what would be the best for your children. And again, I can't stress people come, most clients come in and they want to give you 30, 40 people and everyone's going to say they, you know, they're the best. Forensic evaluators will never spend that much time on collaterals. So it's important to Kean in and decide which of the 5 to 10 max. The lower the better that could convey your client's position properly. And mostly people who are trained. Now, you always put in some people who have observed you friends, family and neighbors who have had significant time observing your interaction between you and the children. But school principals, teachers, religious leaders, obviously therapists, which is when somebody goes through a custody evaluation, their mental health is at stake. There's no hiding. Releases for all mental health providers, for the parents and the children. But that comes up with one caveat in regard to the children. Okay. So. The appropriate and the and advantageous collaterals going back where I said there may be a caveat. Children's therapists are very important, especially if the child is suffering from some condition or some fear that they're experiencing with one or both parents. On the other hand, that is a collateral that the hearsay sometimes has an issue with it. What I mean is the following. If they if it goes under the professional reliability, you're fine. But bringing in a therapist subject to cross examination, which is the other roundabout on a hearsay exception, sometimes conflicts. The therapist that wants a child knows that the therapist is testifying and divulging their confidences. That therapeutic relationship may be may be disrupted beyond repair. And that's something a parent and a lawyer should be aware of in regard to that issue if it comes back. But it takes attorneys should be spending time analyzing in regard to which collaterals. Collaterals could also be documents such as child services records, police records, as other documents signed and notarized or acknowledged that may have some bearing on the parties relationship vis a vis the children. Obviously, the motion practices generally, there's an attorney for the child or a guardian, depending which jurisdiction you're in. Those are usually precluded, just as the attorneys from having interaction with the forensic evaluator, subject to time scheduling and fees. Okay, So I was telling you before what it is and how to prepare, but this gives you a very clear outline. Who are they familiar with? The parents being evaluated? Child. Family members. Roommates. Friends. Teachers. Therapists. Child care providers, employers, medical professionals. Individuals who spend substantial, meaningful time with their parent or a child, i.e. neighbors, people who live near you. Forensic evaluator through their different applications, both of firsthand observation of the parties and the personality test or other psychological testing, that they may do have an hypothesis, but they want to hear from people who've seen it themselves. Had the evaluator. Help the evaluator determine the reliability of information provided by a litigant. And what I've seen in some jurisdictions now, two other aspects. The forensic evaluator coming and doing a home visit, either just to see the interplay of the family, sometimes at a dinner, sometimes when religious observance becomes an issue which needs to be evaluated as well by the forensics under the APA and AFCC guidelines to observe what is occurring in the House. There was one forensic evaluator that I interacted with and got appointed from the court on numerous on the last few years has now, even though the validity is not accepted by the court, has on occasion used the polygraph and had the parties undergo a polygraph test on issues and reviewed those reports as part of their overall evaluation, which obviously leads to many issues legally. So does everybody get called as a collateral? Want to interview, want to be interviewed? How do we deal with that? So there's a reluctance because they know their names and they may not be talking to you. Or when I say you, I mean the collateral. Because of that. Um, it's important that the, you know, the more experienced forensic evaluators have a outline of how they discuss, you know, what the role of the collaterals are before they start the conversation and that it's voluntary. But, you know, there is limits to the confidentiality. And obviously there's a bias if somebody's speaking to somebody's mother, I don't think that they're going to get an even balanced report. But. As a forensic evaluator. That's something that you need to know how to balance and give the proper weight. And then, as we mentioned earlier, the issue of confirmatory bias. What does that mean? So confirmatory bias is something where the evaluator came to a conclusion and is really working backwards. The evaluator is now finding basis for what he or she believes, and that's why it's so important to review the report thoroughly. And obviously it's always a good idea to hire a peer review. Another psychologist who would look at those nuances. An example I'll give was there was a forensic evaluation I was involved with a number of years ago. It was five daughters that were being subject of the evaluation parents. I believe two of the older children were already married, but it was dealing with three children and the therapist, the school all dealt all said that the father was the parent who could facilitate the best interest of the children, both in getting them therapy, in helping them in their scholastics, in maintaining their social context. And the mother had a problem with all these categories that I just discussed and. Um, we, the forensic evaluator and the therapist involved, all backed it up. The schools backed the father. The forensic evaluator recommended that mom get custody and that the father have no contact with the children for a number of months. The minute the the forensic was reviewed by the court under permission, the judge was said, you know, there's a major problem here. The confirmatory bias, unfortunately, that came out was that this forensic had a problem giving a father custody and that, you know, through the peer review, it was obvious. So what do we use the collaterals? Um, some of them again, we said neighbors, they don't have specific expertise, but their observations are important. Um, the. This is really for forensics. You start with general questions and then you ask specific behaviors if that's an issue in the case. Don't ask for illicit conclusions. That's not the collateral source, in other words. Don't ask, should that get custody? Should mom get custody? There's questions you can ask them how what they observe when each parent is with the child. But they're not mental health professionals. They don't have expertise on all the nuances that are going on. Leading questions are better not to be used. You try to specify because in my experience that collaterals are generally only called upon after the in-person part and the personality tests have been done, which means, after all the in-person interviews of the primary parties, mother or father, parents or the children, their interaction, that's when the collateral. So by that time the collateral or the forensic should have more questions that they want corroborated. Don't try not to go into memory specific. In other words, you can lead them in terms of do you remember what happened in the spring of 2021? But again, don't refresh anybody's recollection, but these parties are collaterals. Unless there was some traumatic incident, they may not know the time. The use of collaterals. What the forensic will will use in the report as opposed to their notes. How close was the collateral to the behavior where we're talking about parenting? Do they remember specifics? Can they say what they observed? Those are important issues in reliability of the collateral. Another thing I'm going to also mention that when you're doing this review and again, this is not only a review, this I'm talking as an attorney who reviews forensics. This is a both sided. We're talking about what the forensics should be including. It is very important to review the forensics evaluators notes, because a lot of things may not be in there in the report, but are in their notes when they took the conversation. And you'll only be able to see that in New York, for instance, under Cplr 31, you can do a discovery demand after forensics complete their report to obtain all the underlying notes as well as the raw data. Again, the reliability of the collaterals is really going to be up to the evaluator. Um, you know, obviously the attorney reviewing it may know some history with some of the collaterals. There may be some underlying rift between one party and this, this collateral. Right. The other side would definitely. You better speak to him. He hates my husband. He hates my wife, or vice versa. So that's something to be aware of. Um, and obviously the best collateral is the one who don't have an interest in the outcome. Back to it. Open ended questions are much better for the forensics to ask than leading and try to avoid yes or no questions. We've talked about it. We're doing it again. But these are people that are going to be provided and the obvious bias needs to be reviewed on these high daycare providers. Baby sitters are prone for bias in cases where one party is is the one paying them, or there's one party who's the only one who has any interaction and therefore they may sway their answers to that. The other ones, generally outside of relatives and coaches, have notes or should have some notes that are taken and reported and be able to go through them and even provide them to the collateral. And obviously later on in court when one of the attorneys wants to see that. So how does how does that happen? We spoke briefly earlier, the interviews. I've never seen in-person interviews done on collaterals, although I can say it's never done or it can't be done. Phone interviews are definitely the norm, although nonverbal cues, you can't also observe their demeanor or their facial expressions while they're speaking. Written questions again. I haven't seen these used. Really, as you see there, there could be misunderstanding. You're not going to say a follow up. You wrote me a letter on this date, but I don't understand it. Collaterals usually are not going to interact. They're not getting paid for it and usually get a one shot. Um, and again, as we said in the beginning, when you're, when you're a forensic evaluator, you need to make clear to these people that there, there's a limit of confidentiality and they will be cited in the reports. Now, obviously, things COVID has occurred not only as we wrote here, the Internet, but, um, before we get into that, a lot of the evaluations are now being done in Zoom except the in-person interaction between parent and child. Zoom is a new option again for collaterals as well, because they don't have to come in and you can observe their demeanor when they're speaking about topics as well. But going into the first topic on your screen, we have an ability to do background checks and registries. Um. Those really should be provided because there you need to read the order of the collateral. The collateral needs to follow what they're supposed to do, what they can do and what they have to ask the court to do. But clearly things that should be provided to them. Now, obviously, any medical or mental health records, both parties have to you know, everybody has to consent the party that's being treated. Although in New York and I'm sure in most jurisdictions that exist, there is a requirement when you put your mental health at stake in custody that you have no more defense to object and you must provide the court with releases so the forensic evaluator can get the records and speak to the providers, whether it's psychologists, whether it's doctors, so forth. And noncompliance is obviously used against that parent. Valuators Psychologists must know the law in regard to forensic evaluations in their jurisdiction. What they're allowed to do, what they should do, what's confidentiality, what privileges they assert may be asserted. Again, all of these materials on your screen are subject to a collateral. Reviewing collaterals can ask for documents from the parties. A lot of times people bring pictures to show the family's interaction. Happy times, not happy times to show it, especially if one of the parties will come in and say they've never had, you know, they were never happy, they were never interacting well, and they, you know, bring in their vacations with both parties intertwined with the children, notes, journals and diaries. Again, those are things that they're going to it's the lawyer's job to obtain that I do not believe the collaterals, while they can ask for it, have any power to enforce that under subpoena or whatnot. And as I said before, the forensic evaluations notes are important to review and see. You know, billing is also important to see what time they were working on. I had a forensic years ago and they were ordered to the judge. It was taking a very long time and they were ordered to the judge within a week, not a week, I'm sorry, within a month to issue the report. And it seemed that this this report from this forensic evaluator was only worked on at 2 a.m.. In the morning. And I ask that that is the only time. Is that their best efficient time? Another time one of the notes came in and it says L. Fh on the side of the notes. I'm sorry, Lpff. I'm sorry, Lpff. And when I asked the forensic evaluator what that meant, he said, Liar, liar, pants on fire. That was showing what the forensic evaluator, the psychologist felt about the person they were interviewing. Now as an attorney or as a as a participant. Who do you want as a collateral? And the people that are listed on this PowerPoint are the ones that will have the most information. Obviously the ones that were going to give a positive in order of priority. People that have a some training would be the most helpful visitation supervisors, police and probation officers, depending on what's at issue. Employers as to, you know, if this is an employee that shows up, takes his work seriously or her work seriously, substance abuse counselors, did they therapy? Are they on rehab? Have they recovered? How's the recovery going? What are they doing? These are all very important collaterals, depending on what issues are being extended. I also find siblings and extended family that don't live within the house. Siblings that have moved on sometimes are a good source of what was going on in the house. Child records, obviously pediatrician records, hospital records, educational records, mental health. All this will show the child is being taken care of. Shots are up to date. Visits are up to date. Um, hospital, obviously. Why? When? Where? What happened? Educational. How about attendance logs? Progress reports? Is the child acting out preschool? Obviously there'll be more limited mental health and substance abuse for both the parents and the children are important and police and court documents. Now, as I said, the AFCC and the APA updated their standards in 2022. For those involved, it would be a good read to get up to date of what has changed because it's been a while since they have done so. The use of collaterals. While it's a critical component, it still can't be used indiscriminately. While there's no question, as I said earlier, that you can't do a forensic evaluation generally with just seeing parents and the child or children at issue, and there's no question that collaterals will back up generally one side's position to some extent in regard to care, in regard to interaction, in regard to spending time at a minimum. Obviously, forensic psychotherapists reports, school reports, attendance reports, that's more on who's telling the truth. And if the parties are saying that everything is fine and the child is being disciplined every day and being suspended or is in a substance abuse program, the veracity of each party is also something that needs to be dealt with. Again, going back to the. Inherent tensions is because of the hearsay. As a lawyer, your job is that when a report comes in that it meets the standard. Is it an exception, as we discussed, to the hearsay or is it not? And if it's not, this has to be brought up to the court. And then the question becomes how much of this information, what information of the report is giving weight and what kind of weight, Because if there's an issue there, that too much reliability and that's beyond the scope of this presentation, are we throwing out the report? So again, it's because of the hearsay that this comes up. So going back. Any collateral should be able to be cross examined. Now, once you know that you can obtain and make sure some of them are the ones that you want are subpoenaed for the hearing. I would say that it would be my suggestion that it be heard. You have these testimonies from collaterals before the forensics is given or is testifying. And that's because if there's an issue, you can then ask the questions of the forensics as to what happened and what weight so that you can make an argument to the court in regard to the overall report. Now, Lisa, which is on the slides. There always is this information that collaterals are susceptible to mistaken observation, biases, errors in judgment. And that's what you have to be cognizant of with the hearsay, even though we have the professional reliability exception. And again, the whole reason that this is so important is that collaterals used in forensics should not be a function as a conduit for inadmissible hearsay by relying on the collaterals reliability of which has not been established. So if you look at the use of collaterals and CC. In other words, if we if we're not using it for the truth, what are we using it for? Now, most of us who practice, at least in New York and in jurisdictions where there are no juries involved in matrimonials or custody issues, that is. A different issue. This was done for a jurisdiction that do have that. And then that fine line of disregard this point becomes. And again, going back to what we discussed, the reliability, how much weight was that given? The question is, should the court lower the standards of reliability to the level of the outside profession, or should mental health professionals be required to raise the reliability of bar of his or her practice? Now, all those who follow Tippins. Tippins and DeLuca. You all know that. Tip-ins. Tip-ins believes that there is very little reliability of psychological testing and their opinions in child custody. And it's their their proposition that forensics should not be used in cases. Analyze, ask, prepare and control. That's what your duty is when you're looking at when you're preparing for a forensics in regard in regard to collaterals, talking to your client. Who can support your claims, who can disprove claims made against you? Who can attest to your parenting skills? Who can speak positively about your relationship with your child? Who are the individuals who interact with your child the most? When you know those people before the forensics starts, you will also know in all probability, who the other side will be giving as collateral. And you won't be surprised. Try to control the process. Obviously, we're less, you know, listed here. Collateral sources, the do's and the don'ts of of who you would be proposing and proposing. Sorry, proposing for collaterals. Obviously, the age of the child is very important and the interaction is. But, you know, your client shouldn't say, well, this person is going to say. Everything negative, but I'm going to be able to refute them. That's not something you want to put in the hands of the collateral. These are the this is the different stages. Of the evaluation process up to the issuance of the report. That's how the information is obtained. You're going to be, after reviewing it, deciding on what was reviewed, what weight was given, if you can ascertain that from the report itself, generally, you could not. And did the collateral support any of the allegations? This is the analysis of the reports. Now. Collateral considerations, bias, judges and evaluators. If you know that that's something homework should be done, you should not take an evaluator that has a distaste or a known distaste for a cultural or other bias against people and choose them for such a case. If you if there's a bias you should something that you should try to see if the collaterals can shed some light. Obviously what I've said before, professionals versus family members, professionals lend itself to a greater weight in the reporting. And is it objective and credibility neutral collateral sources, if that's possible. And remember that not every collateral you indicate or provide will want to participate and they may refuse. And the only way you won't get them into you, there's no way to force a collateral to participate in a forensic evaluation. But you can bring them up later. Into the court proceeding. And this is we mentioned this before, but I put it as an aside to look at biases. Lisa W And that shows that some of the collaterals may have a bias in their reporting. Now, sometimes the collaterals are used because documents. Paper documents were given. And the collateral now will substantiate what the forensic evaluator is looking at. What the courts, what the attorneys are trying to present. So sensitive information. Is something that, again, I wrote here. It needs a presentation on its own. You know, disclosing sensitive which may taint the collaterals memories. That's the question. The questioning of the forensics. And that's why I believe it's very important that in regard to this, that someone look into the evaluator and the qualifications and there what what people say about because I think it's very important someone who doesn't know how to come or how to ask the questions or releases information they shouldn't, which causes a bias. That is something that is going to cause harm to the report. Obviously here again, documents that you think that I think should be provided to by the parties, to the forensics, which will be helpful. It's continuing More documents that here, if you read, would be contributing to the hypothesis of your case. Again, we've gone through this, but it's when the forensics does the hypothesis of the case. He's looking for validation. She's looking for validation. Besides the interviews, the collaterals, the documents. And obviously I spoke about psychological testing. The review of documents. Confirmatory bias is one that is on the on the forensic evaluator, which I talked about through peer review. Looking through that collateral sources. So we spoke about overcoming some of the obstacles of hearsay preparation, making sure that they're not going beyond and reviewing what is reliability under psychological standards. There's a lot of books. There's a lot of information you can call contact experts. That's on the attorney, the expert reports. Again, it's it's not a way a forensic evaluation is not a way to get documents in or statements that should never have gotten in. Make sure the collaterals were advised of this. Again, these are issues for attorneys to make sure that it's competent evidence. That any information was backed up or corroborated that it's falls under the professional liability exception. And if it doesn't, you call them out on it. How do you make sure? It's very difficult to make sure the collaterals be considered. That's why I always recommend that you. Really hone in on the numbers. If you overwhelm the forensic evaluators with 20 names, you're not going to get they're going to decide and pick who they want. If you start limiting those numbers and it's not an unreasonable amount, you have a better chance. B, if they don't, you're going to ask them on cross-examination. Well, you were provided with the therapist. Why didn't you call them? Okay. This ends this portion of our presentation on collaterals. Here's my contact information. If anybody has any questions in regard to this, they can feel free to reach out to me.

Presenter(s)

MF
Martin Friedlander
Partner
Martin Friedlander, PC.

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