What “reasonable (professional) certainty” Isn’t

Reasonable (Medical, Psychological, Scientific, Professional) Certainty

Terry Kukor, Ph.D., ABPP, and Meredith Veltri, Ph.D., ABPP
Netcare Forensic Center
June 2019

As best as can be determined, the “reasonable degree of certainty” formulation was first applied to scientific evidence in 1935, when a witness was “asked whether he could determine with reasonable scientific certainty the cause of the capsizing of the boat.” (Herbst v. Levy, 279 Ill. App. 353, 358, Ill. App. Ct. 1935). This term was not the mandate of the court but rather reflected a stylistic approach adopted by one of the lawyers working this case.

It was not until 1969 that this terminology was linked to the admissibility determination in the case of Twin City Plaza, Inc. v. Central Surety & Ins. Corp., 409 F.2d 1195, 1203 (8th Cir. 1969). To wit: “If the witness, based upon his background skill, possesses extraordinary training to aid laymen in determining facts and if he bases his answer upon what he believes to be reasonable scientific or engineering certainty, generally the evidence should be admitted, subject, of course, to the cross-examination of the adversary.” This statement was made without legal or scientific analysis as to what the term meant or why its use was being mandated.

Since that time, this phrase appears to have gradually become ingrained into forensic evaluation reports. One of the difficulties is the lack of uniform understanding about the precise meaning of this term. In their recent book on forensic report writing, Otto, DeMier, and Boccaccini (2014) concluded that the only consensus on this term is that the meaning is unclear. Melton et al., (2018) noted that the term represents an attempt to “transform probabilistic judgments into certain facts.”

A careful examination of relevant sources of authority raises questions about whether this term should be used in forensic reports. The term is not required by either the Frye test or Daubert trilogy of cases [Daubert, Joiner, and Kumho Tire], all of which address reliability, not certainty. This term is also not required by the Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE). In fact, FRE 702 speaks to reliability and sufficiency, not certainty. Given the lack of clear consensus on the meaning, use of this term could be potentially misleading for a jury. Per Ohio Rule of Evidence 403, misleading the jury is grounds for a mandatory exclusion of evidence.

At one time Ohio had apparently mandated the use of this term as precondition for admissibility. However, the Ohio Supreme Court has explicitly ruled in several different cases that the term is not required [see State v. Thompson, 23 N.E.3d 1096, 1129 (Ohio 2014); State v. Lang, 954 N.E.2d 596, 617 (Ohio 2011)]. In 2014, the Hawaii Supreme Court also confirmed that the term is not required.

Most recently, in 2016, the National Commission on Forensic Science (2016) recommended to the U.S. Attorney General that experts not use such language in reports or testimony. Later in 2016, the U.S. Attorney General issued a response to this recommendation directing federal Department of Justice prosecutors to abstain from use of this expression when presenting forensic reports or questioning forensic experts, unless required by a judge or law.

The conclusion to this tale? The Association of Ohio Forensic Evaluation Center Directors believes forensic examiners should be mindful about the concerns about “reasonable certainty” that have been made at the state and federal levels. We recommend that absent a clear directive from a judge to include this phrase, examiners should think twice about doing so.

The Ohio Forensic Directors hope to publish more research-based opinion pages as an opportunity to engage professionals in the discussion about their practice. Thank you to Drs. Kukor and Veltri for being our first contributors.

41st Annual Ohio Forensic Directors Continuing Education Conference

Co-sponsored by the Association of Ohio Forensic Evaluation Centers and the Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services, Office of Forensic Services

AGENDA

Thursday, May 9, 2019     Forensic Controversies   
8:45 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.  Registration & Continental Breakfast

  • 9:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.    Welcome by the President, Association of Forensic Evaluation Center Directors
  • 9:45 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Legal Update Overview
  • 10:00 a.m. Forensic Controversies  Presenters: Rick DeMierPh.D. and Terry Kukor, Ph.D.
  • Lunch (included) at the hotel
  • 5:00 P.M. Closing Remarks and Evaluation

Howard Sokolov and Miller Makey Student Poster Presentations –
Lobby of Conference Center 5:30 to 6:30

Friday May 10th, 2019 Report Writing
8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.  Registration & Continental Breakfast

  • 8:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.    Report Writing Presenters: Rick DeMier, Ph.D. and Meredith Veltri, Ph.D.
  • 10:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.  Report Writing Presenters: Rick DeMier, Ph.D. and Meredith Veltri, Ph.D.
  • 12:15 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.   Closing Remarks and Evaluations

CONFERENCE REGISTRATION LINK: https://2019ohioforensicdirectorsconference.brownpapertickets.com/

If you are not affiliated with an Ohio accredited forensic center registration is $250 for the two-day conference and includes CEs, CLEs, and/or
CMEs, as well as continental breakfast and lunch on Thursday, and continental breakfast on Friday.  Thursday only registration fee is $175 and Friday only is $75. Student registrations are $50 for either one or two days.

HOTEL REGISTRATION LINK:
Hotel rooms at Embassy Suites can be reserved at a reduced rate for Wednesday (8th) and Thursday (9th) night.
https://tinyurl.com/2019hotelreso

40th Annual Conference April 12 & 13, 2018

AGENDA

Thursday, April 12, 2018        8:45 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.  Registration

  • 9:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.    Welcome by the President, Association of Forensic Evaluation Center Directors,  Memorial to Doug Mossman, M.D.
  • 9:45 a.m. – 11:45 p.m.    Juvenile Competency – Presenter: Debra Baeder, Ph.D., ABPP
  • 11:45 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.  Lunch
  • 12:45 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.    The Colorado Batman movie Massacre: Delusions, Disinhibition or Depravity? Presenter:  Philip Resnick, M.D.
  • 1:45 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.     Award Presentation to Phil Resnick
  • 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.     Miller Evaluations  Presenter: Debra Baeder, Ph.D., ABPP
  • 3:45 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.     Bindover Evaluations, Debra Baeder, Ph.D., ABPP
  • 5:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.    Closing Remarks
  • 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.     Poster Session Presentations

Friday, April 13, 2018            8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.  Registration

  • 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.    Internet- Facilitated Sexual Offenders, Ron DeLong, Ph.D.
  • 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.  Fifty Shades of Deviance: Sexual Deviance and the Law,  Sara G. West, M.D.
  • 12:15 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.   Closing Remarks and Evaluations

Advanced Topics in Forensic Practice- Thursday, April 12, 2018

Debra Baeder, Ph.D., ABPP

Dr. Debra Baeder is board certified in forensic psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology.  She is the Chief Forensic Psychologist for the State Forensic Service in Maine.  Her responsibilities are the evaluations of adult defendants on issues of competence and criminal responsibility, presentence evaluations, and evaluations of insanity acquittees who have petitioned the Court.  She also coordinates the juvenile evaluation program for the State Forensic Service.  In that capacity, she conducts pre-adjudicatory, pre-dispositional, adjudicative competence, and bindover evaluations.  She consults with and trains other examiners contracted with the State Forensic Service, trains psychiatric residents at the Maine Medical Center, and works on relevant legislative issues.  Dr. Baeder also provides workshops on juvenile forensic topics in Maine and nationally.

Phillip J. Resnick, M.D.

Dr. Phillip Resnick is a Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Division of Forensic Psychiatry at Case School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Resnick served as a consultant in many high profile cases, including those of Jeffrey Dahmer, Susan Smith, Timothy McVeigh, Andrea Yates, Scott Peterson, Casey Anthony, Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber, and James Holmes, the Aurora, Colorado Batman movie shooter. Dr. Resnick is a past president of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.  He has published over 200 articles and book chapters.  He is internationally recognized and has lectured in 49 states and 24 countries.

Advanced Topics in Forensic Practice- Friday, April 13, 2018

Ronald L. DeLong, Ph.D.

Dr. Ronald DeLong has been involved in the evaluation and treatment of sexual and violent offenders throughout the State of Ohio.  His services to agencies, courts, attorneys, consist of sexual offender evaluations, sexual and violent risk assessments, forensic evaluations, and individual and group treatment strategies. He also has consulted for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) involving high profile cases such as Roy Pompa, particularly dealing with sex offender strategies, Internet sex offenders and child pornography. He is a Clinically Certified Criminal Justice Specialist, Certified Sex Offender Treatment Specialist, Board Certified Clinical Counselor, a Fellow with the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA), and has several hundred hours of training regarding the treatment and evaluation of sexual offenders.  Dr. DeLong has over 30 years of experience working with sexual offenders and other forensic populations.  He has also completed advanced training with the Academy Group, Inc., (former FBI profilers and crime scene evaluators) regarding crime scene analysis and profiling of sexually violent/deviant offenders. He has a private practice solely focusing on the evaluation and treatment of sexual offenders, violent offenders.  He also performs consultation work with law enforcement and other forensic agencies as well as providing education and training.  Dr. DeLong is an adjunct professor at The University of Dayton, and a former adjunct professor at Ohio Northern University and Indiana Institute of Technology.  He teaches forensic psychology, psychosexual assessments, counseling techniques, human sexuality, and other psychology courses.  He also has published articles regarding Internet Sex Offenders, and currently is completing other publications.

Sara G. West, M.D.

Dr. Sara West completed both her undergraduate and medical school education at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA.  In 2008, Dr. West completed her psychiatry residency at University Hospitals – Case Medical Center in Cleveland and remained there for a fellowship in forensic psychiatry, which she completed in 2009.  During her residency, she received the Rappeport Fellowship from the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, the Mahmoud A. Parsa Excellence in Research Award, a Resnick Scholarship from the Midwest chapter of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law and the Ruth Fox Memorial Endowment Scholarship from the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Dr. West is board certified in general and forensic psychiatry.  She has published numerous articles and presented on the local, national and international level on multiple occasions.  She has worked on psychiatric units in state and federal facilities as well as in correctional institutions. She also does outpatient medication management at community mental health centers and maintains a private forensic practice.  Her areas of expertise within forensic psychiatry include competency to stand trial, sanity and filicide.

2017 Ohio Forensic Evaluation Center Directors Annual Conference

The 39th Annual Ohio Forensic Centers Continuing Education Conference

Co-sponsored by the Association of Ohio Forensic Evaluation Centers and the Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services, Office of Forensic Services

Cultural Competence and Managing Biases

June 28 & 29, 2017

At Embassy Suites, Dublin, Ohio, 5100 Upper Metro Place, Dublin, OH 43017

For Forensic Center Staff/Affiliates and Poster Presenters registration is free for both days but you must pre-register.

If you are not affiliated with a forensic center, registration is $250 for the two-day conference and includes CEs, CLEs, and CMEs, and continental breakfast and lunch on Wednesday, and continental breakfast on Thursday.  Registration for Wednesday only is $175 and includes continental breakfast and lunch.  For Thursday only is $75 and includes continental breakfast.  $50 for students on both days (no single day rate) and includes continental breakfast on both days and lunch on Wednesday.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Registration opens at 8:30 a.m.; Program Starts at 10:00 a.m.; Lunch at noon; Break 3:00 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.; Program ends at 5:30 p.m.; Poster Presentations 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Cultural Competence in Forensic Assessments – Presenter Carla Dreyer, Psy.D.

Overview: Participants will learn about the importance of cultural competency in forensic evaluations, and how to clarify when cultural variables should be considered in forensic assessments.

Carla Dreyer, Ph.D. earned her bachelor’s degree from Albion College (Michigan) in 1997.  She subsequently obtained her master’s degree (1999) and doctorate (2002) from Xavier University (Ohio).  Dr. Dreyer began working as a psychology assistant at the Court Clinic Forensic Services in 1998, when she was a graduate student.  After obtaining her doctorate, she completed her post-doctoral training at the Court Clinic before she obtained her license as a psychologist (2003).  She has since remained at the Court Clinic, most recently as the Clinical Director.  In addition to her work at the Court Clinic, Dr. Dreyer maintains a private practice and contract position through the Hamilton County Juvenile Court.  She has conducted a variety of evaluations throughout the years, with a particular interest in competency to stand trial and risk assessments.

Challenges of Cultural Variables in Forensic Assessments: A Panel Discussion – Presenter/Moderator of Panel Discussion Carla Dreyer, Ph.D.

Panelists: Steve Sparks, Ph.D., ABPP, Michael Aronoff, Psy.D., Emily Davis, Ph.D., Jamie Adkins, Ph.D.

Jaime Adkins, Ph.D. is a psychologist who has conducted a wide variety of criminal forensic evaluations.  She has worked for Netcare Forensic Center completing forensic assessments since 2010.  She also does forensic evaluations for District Forensic Diagnostic Center and the Forensic Diagnostic Center of District 9.

Emily Davis, Ph.D., is a staff psychologist with the Court Clinic Forensic Services in Cincinnati, Ohio.  She has been in this position since January 2006, previously completing her post-doctoral year of training through this forensic center (2005).  She completed her doctoral training (2004) through the University of Denver.  In addition to completing court ordered evaluations through Court Clinic, she also does evaluations for the Hamilton County Juvenile and Dependency Courts, including evaluations requested by caseworkers with Hamilton County Department of Jobs and Family Services (DJFS).  She also has history of completing evaluations as ordered by the Hamilton County Juvenile Court and the Butler County Children Services Board (BCCSB).

Michael H. Aronoff, Psy.D. is presently the Chief of Psychology of the Cuyahoga County Court Psychiatric Clinic (Cleveland, Ohio), Clinical Director of the Developmental Disability program for the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Probation Department and a consultant to the Cleveland Municipal Court Psychiatric Clinic and other Common Pleas and Municipal Courts in Northeast Ohio.  He serves as Associate Director of the Cuyahoga County Court Psychiatric Clinic from 1996-2001.  He obtained his doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Nova University.  In 1992, he completed a post-doctoral fellowship in forensic/correctional psychology at Wright University.  Following this, he was employed as a forensic examiner at the Netcare Forensic Center in Columbus, Ohio.  He has been active in forensic psychology on a statewide level, serving as Vice President of the Association of Ohio Forensic Psychiatric Center Directors in 1998, and as President in 1999 and 2000.  He also has a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University as a Clinical Instructor in the School of Medicine.

Steve Sparks, Ph.D., ABPP completed is undergraduate education at the University of Notre Dame, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He earned his Master’s and Doctoral Degree at the University of Cincinnati.  He is board certified in forensic psychology with the American Boar of Professional Psychology.  Dr. Sparks was formerly the Director of Forensic Services at Forensic and Mental health Services, Inc., in Butler County, Ohio. He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at College of Mount St. Joseph where he teaches Forensic Psychology.  His research has been published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology and the Ohio Psychologist.  His book chapter: Creating and Sustaining an Assessment/Forensic –Based Practice was published in 2017 by Routledge Taylor and Francis in the book The Resilient Mental Health Practice.  He is Past President of the Board of Directors of the Cincinnati Academy of Professional Psychology.  He maintains private practices in Ohio and Kentucky.

Overview: Participants will develop a better understanding of how to complete a culturally competent forensic evaluation.

Military Culture and Forensic Issues – Presenter Marjorie Kukor, Ph.D.

Overview: Participants will learn about military culture and factors to consider when performing forensic evaluations on those with military service.

Marjorie Kukor, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist at Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare, one of Ohio’s state residential psychiatric hospitals.  She works on a forensic/acute unit, where she provides brief stabilization for acutely psychotic patients, individual and group interventions, and assessments as indicated.  She also is forensically trained, providing violence and suicide risk assessments for patients, as well as conducting competency, sanity, post-NGRI and Conditional Release evaluations at the hospital along with competency restoration instruction.  Dr. Kukor chairs the Trauma Informed Care (TIC) workgroup and the Wellness committee at the hospital, and is a member of their Strategic Planning committee and Behavior Therapy committee. Additionally, she is a TIC trainer for the State of Ohio, and a Tier One instructor for the Star Behavioral Healthcare Provider (SBHP) program, which provides training and support for mental health professionals who work with service members, veterans and their families.

Prior to her work at Twin Valley, Dr. Kukor was the national Senior Associate for the Services to the Armed Forces (SAF) for the American Red Cross, where among other projects, she oversaw the completion and roll-out of their Reconnection Workshop program, a no-cost series of workshops for service members, veterans and their loved ones that addressed post-deployment reintegration.  She also contributed to their Coping with Deployment training, and continues to be a subject matter expert for SAF, as well as training mental health volunteers and providing workshops to military participants across the country.  Dr. Kukor also has worked in academia as an associate professor, visiting scholar and adjunct professor; as a clinical supervisor for Ohio’s Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections; as an evaluator/clinician for the St. Louis Consultation Center (a treatment center for religious personnel); and in women’s healthcare, developing and conducting research on doula support, and other pre-, peri-, and post-natal issues.   A trauma-informed approach has been key in all her work.

Dr. Kukor has been a volunteer for the American Red Cross for over 16 years, in several departments (Disaster, SAF and Public Education).  She volunteers as needed, and has been involved in program development at both the local and national level, as well as being a subject matter expert for various projects.  She is the Disaster Response Network Coordinator for Ohio for the American Psychological Association, which works closely with the Red Cross on disaster issues.   In addition to her ARC work, Dr. Kukor is a member of the Ohio Crisis Response Team (OCRT), and is the current president of the Central Ohio Psychological Association.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Registration opens at 8:00 a.m.; Program Starts at 8:30 a.m.; Break at 10:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.; Program ends at 12:30 p.m.

Addressing Bias: Awareness, Normalization and Resilience Strategies (Parts 1 & 2)

Presenters Julia King, Psy.D., MBA. and Jen Wright, B.A., MBA, ERYT500

Overview Part 1: Participants will learn how to articulate biases in forensic evaluations and manage cultural biases during a forensic assessment.

Overview Part 2: Participants will learn how to create a personalized debiasing plan.

Julia King, Psy.D., MBA earned her doctorate in clinical psychology (Psy.D.) and MBA from Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in forensic psychology with the University of Cincinnati’s Institute for Psychiatry and Law.  She subsequently became the Director of Forensic Services at a certified Forensic Center, and served as President, and Chair of the Education Committee, for the Association of the Ohio Forensic Psychiatric Center Directors.

Dr. King left the Center for private practice, providing forensic psychological assessments and organizational consulting services.  More recently, however, she scaled back her forensic practice, obtained certification as a Registered Yoga Teacher, and launched a clinical psychology practice, offering the option to incorporate yoga and meditation with empirically-based therapy approaches.

Jen Wright, MBA, ERYT500 is a founding partner at REAL Human Performance and specializes in stress management, performance optimization and resiliency training.  She serves those that serve, and she spent over a decade facilitating human performance optimization strategies at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Defense Sciences Office and later the Air Force Research Laboratory, Human Performance Wind prior to directing local program and clinical research of chronic stress and resiliency skills.

While working in post-9/11 environment, Ms. Wright researched and integrated alternative practices personally and professionally.  Seeing an ever-evolving connections between medical and alternative treatments, Ms. Wright secured grants to further the clinical understanding and outcomes of the mind-body interventions.  She brought Mindful Yoga Therapy (MYT) to Cincinnati and as a VA Research Associate, she instructs trauma-informed programs across Cincinnati VA facilities, including clinical research trials at VA Medical Center Trauma Recovery Center (residential PTSD and TBI programs), substance abuse recovery facilities for veterans in transition and outpatient programs for VA Mental Healthcare, Women’s Health and Hamilton County Veterans Treatment Court.  She instructs and leads evaluation studies of self-care protocols for mental health professionals as well as resilience skills to professional organizations like the NFL and the Cincinnati Bar Association.  Ms. Wright’s work is featured across local and national news outlets including the Huffington Post and NPR.

CMEs for Psychiatrist; CEUs for Psychologists, Social Workers, Counselors, and Nurses; and CLEs for Attorneys have been approved. These continuing education credits for nurses, psychologists, counselors, social workers, pharmacists, lawyers, and physicians will satisfy the required hours for Forensic-related training for Ohio Forensic Centers.

2016 Continuing Education Conference

Co-sponsored by The Association of Ohio Forensic Evaluation Centers and

Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services, Office of Forensic Services

Presents

 Advanced Topics in Forensic Practice 

and

Ethical Issues for Forensic Evaluators

and join us for the 

2016  Miller Makey and Howard Sokolov Memorial Poster Session

June 9 & 10, 2016 At Embassy Suites, Dublin, Ohio

5100 Upper Metro Place, Dublin, OH 43017

If you are not affiliated with a center, registration is $250 for the two-day conference and includes CEs, CLEs, and CMEs, all the training materials, and breakfast and lunch on Thursday and breakfast on Friday.

Registration for Thursday is $175 and includes continental breakfast and lunch. For Friday only is $75 and includes continental breakfast and training materials.

$50 for students for both days (no single day rate) and includes breakfast both days, lunch on Thursday and materials.

For Forensic Center Staff/Affiliates and Poster Presenters registration is free for both days but you must pre-register.

June 9th from 10:00 A.M. to 5:30 P.M.; Registration opens at 9:00 A.M.

Poster presentation 5:30 to 6:30 P.M.

June  10th from 8:30 A.M. to 12:30 P.M.; Registration opens at 8:00 A.M.

TOPICS

THURSDAY Session (5.75 hours)

Medicolegal Hazards in the Information Age: Malpractice and More*  ~ Presenter: Douglas Mossman, M.D.

Psychiatry in the Hot Seat – Mastering Cross Examination

 Panelists:  Douglas Mossman, M.D., Stephen G. Noffsinger, M.D., & Sherif Soliman, M.D.

Complications of Battered Wife Syndrome Evaluations – Slow Boil  ~ Presenter: Jennifer O’Donnell, Psy.D.

FRIDAY  Session (3.75 hours)

Ethical Challenges in Forensic Psychological and Psychiatric Evaluation: A Case‐Based Approach *~ Presenter: Randy K. Otto, Ph.D. ABPP (Forensic and Clinical Psychology)

The continuing education credits for nurses, psychologists, counselors, social workers, pharmacists, lawyers, and physicians will satisfy the required hours for Forensic-related training for Ohio Forensic Centers.

*5.75 CE hours are designed to meet the ethics requirements for these professionals as well.

A total of 9.5 Continuing Education credits (CMEs, CEUs and CLEs) have been approved by the Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services Office of Continuing Education. Thank you to Angela Thompson and Teri Gardner for sorting this out.

Thank you to the Education Committee of the Ohio Forensic Directors for all of their work organizing this event: Terry Kukor, Carla Dreyer, Bethany Young-Lundquist, Kara Marciani and Devin Farley, Jenny O’Donnell and Tammy Moore.

Presenter Bios:

Douglas Mossman, M.D.

Dr. Mossman is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Program Director for the Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He has made hundreds of presentations to mental health professionals and attorneys at local, regional, national, and international meetings, and he has authored more than 175 publications on legal and ethical issues, medical decision-making, violence prediction, statistics, and psychiatric treatment. His article “Critique of Pure Risk Assessment or, Kant Meets Tarasoff” received the American Psychiatric Association’s 2008 Manfred S. Guttmacher Award for outstanding contributions to the literature on forensic psychiatry. Hundreds of scientific and legal publications have cited Dr. Mossman’s 1994 article, “Assessing Predictions of Violence: Being Accurate about Accuracy,” which was the first publication to apply receiver operating characteristic analysis to psycho-legal problems.

Dr. Mossman’s current faculty duties include training psychiatry residents and teaching physicians and attorneys about mental disabilities and the law. In his clinical practice, he treats outpatients and evaluates individuals involved in legal proceedings. His recent scholarly projects investigate judgment models, malingering measures, competence to stand trial, and novel mathematical approaches to describing test accuracy and diagnostic agreement. He serves as the Treasurer of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law and is listed in “Best Doctors in America.” He recently became a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, a level of recognition that leaves him just a step away from becoming an alter kokker.

Stephen Noffsinger, M.D.

  • Residency in Adult Psychiatry at MetroHealth Medical Center
  • Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship at University Hospitals of Cleveland
  • Board certified in Psychiatry and Forensic Psychiatry
  • Authored more than 40 peer-reviewed articles and 5 book chapters on various topics in forensic psychiatry
  • Testified as expert in psychiatry in more than 175 cases
  • Past Appointments:
    • Medical Director, Psychiatric Emergency Service, St. Vincent Charity Hospital
    • Chief of Forensic Services, Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare
  • Current Appointments:
    • Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Case Western Reserve University  School of Medicine
    • Associate Director, Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship, University Hospitals of Cleveland
    • Adjunct Faculty, University of Akron School of Law – 2015 John R. Quine Award as Outstanding Adjunct Faculty

 Jenny O’Donnell, Psy.D.

Dr. O’Donnell is Director of Forensic Services at Forensic Evaluation Service Center, Inc. and, a private consulting psychologist. She has always worked in the non-profit arena and provides community-based forensic assessment services for Butler, Warren, Clinton, Highland, Preble and Pike courts through the Forensic Center. Dr. O’Donnell graduated with a B.S. in Biology from University of Cincinnati and earned a Master’s and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Xavier University (Cincinnati) where she concentrated in Geriatric Psychology and interventions and assessment of individual with severe mental illness. Dr. O’Donnell performs forensic evaluations of court-referred adults and juveniles, including evaluations for probate court and Adult Protective Services. She has qualified as an expert witness in most of the southern Ohio counties and has prepared evaluations as a private examiner as well as a forensic center examiner in over 700 cases. She also heads up the Butler County re-entry project for individuals with SMI returning from prison; supervises graduate students, and oversees an outpatient competency restoration/attainment clinic in addition to the occasional private forensic evaluation. Dr. O’Donnell trained in forensics at Court Clinic/Central Clinic in Cincinnati, Cincinnati VA, and Central Louisiana State Psychiatric Hospital and the Central Louisiana Developmental Disability Center. She also spent several years as a consultant to Hamilton County Juvenile Court. Dr. O’Donnell is also a caregiver to her 101-year-old grandmother who suffers from dementia, bringing a very personal experience to the issue of guardianship and the understanding of the impact on an individual, a family, and a community. Dr. O’Donnell was awarded the 2015 NAMI of Butler County Trailblazer Award for her work in the development of the Butler County re-entry project.

Randy Otto, Ph.D., ABPP

Dr. Otto, a clinical psychologist, has been a faculty member at the University of South Florida since 1989, and he also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Stetson University College of Law.  His research, writing, and practice focus on forensic psychological assessment. In 2007, he joined Gary Melton, John Petrila, Norm Poythress, and Chris Slobogin in revising their forensic text, Psychological Evaluations for the Courts: A Handbook for Mental Health Professionals and Lawyers (Guilford Press). More recently, he edited the forensic psychology volume in the multi-volume Handbook of Psychology (Wiley Press), he joined Tampa colleague Irv Weiner as co-editor of the fourth edition of the Handbook of Forensic Psychology (Wiley Press) and with co-authors Rick DeMier and Marc Boccacinni he wrote, Forensic Reports and Testimony: A Guide for Psychologists and Psychiatrists.

Dr. Otto has served as President of the American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS) the American Board of Forensic Psychology, and the American Academy of Forensic Psychology.  He recently completed a two-year term as President of the American Board of Professional Psychology-the oldest and largest organization certifying psychological specialists. He chaired the Committee to Revise the Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychology and served on the interdisciplinary committee that revised the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Mental Health Standards.

Dr. Otto is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Division 41) and has received awards for his work from the Society for Personality Assessment, the University of California-San Francisco, the American Academy of Forensic Psychology, and the New York State Psychological Association. In 2009, Dr. Otto’s work on adjudicative competence with colleagues Norm Poythress, John Monahan, Richard Bonnie, and Ken Hoge was cited by the US Supreme Court in Indiana v. Edwards.

When not working or with his family, Dr. Otto can be found on a motorcycle or in a casino.

Sherif Soliman, M.D.

Dr. Soliman is a Geriatric and Forensic Psychiatrist.  He is Board Certified in General, Forensic, and Geriatric Psychiatry and is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.  He completed medical school (2000), Psychiatry residency (2004), and Geriatric Psychiatry fellowship (2005) at Wayne State University in Detroit and has completed Forensic Psychiatry fellowship training at Case Western (2006).

Dr. Soliman is currently a forensic psychiatrist at Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare.  In addition, he performs evaluations at the Court Psychiatric Clinic in Cuyahoga County, performs evaluations at the Cleveland Municipal Court Psychiatric Clinic, and consults to the Ohio Police and Fire Pension and Disability Fund.  He provides clinical instruction to medical students, residents, and fellows at Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare has published articles in peer-reviewed journals and has given presentations in both medical and legal continuing education conferences.  He is available for forensic psychiatric consultation.  Areas of expertise include testamentary capacity, undue influence, guardianship, competence to stand trial, and sanity at the time of the act.

Honoring Howard Sokolov M.D.

OhioMHAS Pays Tribute to Iconic Mental Health Leader

Dr. Howard Sokolov Remembered for Expertise, Leadership and Contributions

Founding Father of the Ohio Forensic Psychiatry Center model.
Founding Father of the Ohio Forensic Psychiatry Center model.

Ohio’s behavioral health field lost a legend with the passing of Dr. Howard Sokolov, an outstanding psychiatrist, leader, scholar and person who made tremendous contributions to Ohio’s mental health field for decades.

Dr. Sokolov served as Commissioner of the former department of Mental Health in the 1970s, and subsequently had a number of other important positions including Forensic Medical Director and Acting Medical Director for an extended period. He was instrumental in updating the forensic mental health processes in the Ohio Revised Code, and many other states have since turned to this work as a model for modernizing their own forensic systems.  He also served as President of the Ohio Psychiatric Association and was Professor of Psychiatry and George T. Harding III Psychotherapy Chair at The Ohio State University, where he was named as “Professor of the Year” by the psychiatry residents on several occasions.

Dr. Sokolov completed his undergraduate degree at Columbia University and his medical degree at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, followed by residency training at the University of Cincinnati and certification in psychoanalysis at the Cincinnati Psychoanalytic Institute. He received numerous honors and awards, including Best Doctors in America and the Ohio Forensic Award from the former Ohio Department of Mental Health.

OhioMHAS Medical Director Dr. Mark Hurst recently reflected on his relationship with Dr. Sokolov.

“I worked for Dr. Sokolov when he was Medical Director at the old Harding Hospital in Worthington and I was the director of addiction treatment services.  During those years, I had the pleasure of meeting with Howard each week for supervision which I continue to value.  These years and his mentorship were key to my professional and personal development, as he was not only knowledgeable but also incredibly wise,” said Dr. Hurst.

“Howard was a great man, and I am proud to have known him. He will be missed,” he said.

Robert Baker, assistant chief of the  OhioMHAS Bureau of Criminal Justice added, “I had the privilege of working closely with Howard for over 12 years.  His wisdom, insight, and delightful sense of humor created a wonderful working environment. I will miss him as a mentor and friend.”

2014 – 36th Annual Forensic Continuing Education Conference

The 36th Annual Forensic Continuing Education Conference

To be cosponsored by:

The Association of Ohio Forensic Psychiatric Center Directors

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Bureau of Criminal Justice & Forensic Services

The Northeast Ohio Medical University

Advanced Topics in Forensic Practice: Specialized Issues in Competency to Stand Trial Evaluations and Ethics in Forensic Evaluations

June 6 & 7, 2014

Embassy Suites Columbus-Dublin

5100 Upper Metro Place, Dublin, Ohio 43017

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Friday June 6th

Registration starts at 8:00 a.m. Continental breakfast provided.

Program starts at 9:30 a.m. and goes until 5:00 p.m. Lunch (included) from 11:30 to 12:30 p.m.

  • Assessment of Malingering and Response Styles in Evaluations of Adjudicative Competence
    Presenter: Candyce Shields, Ph.D., ABPP (Forensic)
  • Forensic Assessment Instruments and the Art of Competency Assessment: An Evaluator’s Guide to the Forensic Assessment Instrument Galaxy
    Presenter: Steven A. Sparks, Ph.D., ABPP (Forensic)
  • Considering Intellectual Disabilities in Competency Assessments
    Presenter: Jennifer O’Donnell, Psy.D. 


Saturday June 7th

Registration starts at 8:00 a.m. Continental breakfast provided.

Program starts at 8:45 a.m. and goes until 12:00 p.m.

  • Forensic Assessment Ethics and the Law
    presenter: Bob Stinson, Psy.D., J.D., LICDC-DS, ABPP (Forensic)

CEUs for Psychologists, Social Workers, Counselors and Nurses: CMEs for Physicians, and CLEs for Attorneys have been applied for. Official information will be released when updated.

REGISTRATION: $250 for both days, $50 for students,

Affiliates must register through their center (or pay full registration fees).