The MacCAT-CA, ECST-R, and CAST-MR in Competency to Stand Trial Evaluations


Monday, September 19, 2022
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM (EDT)
Zoom information will be provided to registrants at a later date.
Category: Training

Combined Webinars: The MacCAT-CA and the ECST-R in Competency to Stand Trial Evaluations: A Critical Review and Practical Implications AND Legal Admissibility of the Competence Assessment for Standing Trial for Defendants with Mental Retardation (CAST-MR)

September 19 | 3:00 - 4:00 pm | 1 CE Credit

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Abstract

There is debate regarding the utility of standardized instruments in the assessment of competence to stand trial (CST). Though the field generally has a positive view of the second-generation nomothetic instruments available, the frequency of use falls far behind this favorable impression. The current paper reviewed two standardized instruments used in CST evaluations, the Evaluation of Competency to Stand Trial – Revised (ECST-R) and the MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool-Criminal Adjudication (MacCAT-CA). We first review the psychometric properties of both instruments, including a review of limitations. Next, we discuss the legal standing of both instruments, including a review of past admissibility challenges and a discussion of potential issues in cross-examination. Finally, we end with practical guidance for clinicians; namely, that these instruments are generally valid indicators of competence to stand trial and are likely to be particularly useful in cases where competence is ambiguous and the clinician would benefit from additional standardized data to make a clear clinical decision.

The Competence Assessment for Standing Trial for Defendants with Mental Retardation (CAST-MR) was developed to assess competence to stand trial in defendants with Intellectual Disability. Although it remains the only validated instrument for this population, previous research has suggested it is rarely used by forensic examiners, a finding our survey of legal cases confirms. Initial validation studies provided some support for the instrument’s reliability and validity. However, in both these and subsequent studies, there were significant limitations with respect to the size and representativeness of study samples, and therefore the associated interpretation of scores, such that questions remain as to whether the tool adequately assesses competence to stand trial in this population. In this paper, we review the research on the CAST-MR, discuss the strengths and limitations of the instrument, and debate its legal admissibility.

Goals and Objectives

  1. Describe at least two standardized instruments to assess competency to stand trial.
  2. Identify at least two limitations of standardized instruments in assessing competency.
  3. Discuss the literature on admissibility of these instruments in court.

Skill Level 

Intermediate- participants are expected to have a general understanding of competence to stand trial and its assessments. 

Pricing

To register for this event, please login to your member or non-member profile on the SPA Website.

Member Type  Single Webinar Full (9) Webinar Series
Student Member $45 $310
Early-Career Member $79 $599
Member/Fellow/Associate $99 $749
Student Non-Member $75 $340
Early-Career Non-Member $134 $654
Non-member $174 $824

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Presenters 

Jaime L. Anderson, PhD | Sam Houston State University 
Mary E. Wood, PhD | Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Jake Plantz 
Sabine Blocker 
Patricia A. Zapf
Kimberly P. Brown 
Amanda R. Bitting 
Christopher Slobogin 
Brooke Bowerman 
The Society for Personality Assessment (SPA) is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. SPA maintains responsibility for this program and its content. 

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