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Malingering and the Evaluation of Competency to Stand Trial (From Criminal Court Consultation, P 223-258, 1989, Richard Rosner, Ronnie B Harmon, eds. -- See NCJ-135552)

NCJ Number
N Goldstein
Date Published
36 pages
The clinical, practical, and philosophical issues involved in determinations of malingering during the psychiatric evaluation of competency to stand trial are examined, based on the author's experience in Federal and State court systems and in inpatient and outpatient forensic settings as well as in jails.
Malingering includes simulation and dissimulation as well as all forms of intentional noncooperation or resistance during criminal proceedings or during the psychiatric evaluation. Psychiatrists and administrators working with criminal defendants believe the percentage of malingerers to be significant at every level of the system and in all settings. Defendants have an intuitive understanding of how to malinger and often have researched the issue as well. Therefore, psychiatrists must explore and check all kinds of challenging and unpleasant behavior. Clues to malingering include isolated symptoms, body language, exaggerations of symptoms, and prior history of mental dysfunction or incompetence. Psychological evaluation can also aid the evaluation of the defendant's intellectual capacity, personality, and other mental functions. Determining malingering involves moral judgments, but psychiatrists are obligated to help society within their capabilities and identify and appropriately protect the genuinely impaired defendant. 57 references