Identifying persons feigning limitations in their competence to proceed in the legal process

Authors

  • Christina C. Guenther B.A.,

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    • Department of Mental Health Law and Policy, College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33612, U.S.A.

  • Randy K. Otto Ph.D., M.L.S.

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Mental Health Law & Policy, College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, University of South Florida, 13301 N. 30th St., Tampa, FL 33612, U.S.A.
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    • The second author has a financial interest in a commercial version of the Inventory of Legal Knowledge that is being prepared for publication.


  • This research was funded, in part, by a National Science Foundation Grant in support of the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute REU Program.

Abstract

Accurate assessment of the response styles criminal defendants adopt when undergoing evaluations of their competence to proceed with the legal process is critical because some feign limitations in their abilities in an attempt to delay or avoid prosecution. This study examined the utility of the Inventory of Legal Knowledge (ILK) to identify persons motivated to feign competence related limitations. That the ILK has good potential as a screening tool is indicated by findings that the measure (1) has adequate test–retest reliability and (2) classified correctly the large majority of participants in two samples (i.e., college students and psychiatric patients) who completed the measure under “honest” or “fake bad” conditions. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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