Law and Human Behavior

, Volume 34, Issue 5, pp 402–417

Quantifying the Accuracy of Forensic Examiners in the Absence of a “Gold Standard”

Authors

    • Glenn M. Weaver Institute of Law and PsychiatryUniversity of Cincinnati College of Law
    • Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Cincinnati College of Medicine
    • Department of PsychiatryWright State University, Boonshoft School of Medicine
  • Michael D. Bowen
    • Department of PsychiatryWright State University, Boonshoft School of Medicine
  • David J. Vanness
    • Department of Population Health SciencesUniversity of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
    • Center for Health Economics and Science PolicyUnited BioSource Corporation
  • David Bienenfeld
    • Department of PsychiatryWright State University, Boonshoft School of Medicine
  • Terry Correll
    • Department of PsychiatryWright State University, Boonshoft School of Medicine
  • Jerald Kay
    • Department of PsychiatryWright State University, Boonshoft School of Medicine
  • William M. Klykylo
    • Department of PsychiatryWright State University, Boonshoft School of Medicine
  • Douglas S. Lehrer
    • Department of PsychiatryWright State University, Boonshoft School of Medicine
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10979-009-9197-5

Cite this article as:
Mossman, D., Bowen, M.D., Vanness, D.J. et al. Law Hum Behav (2010) 34: 402. doi:10.1007/s10979-009-9197-5

Abstract

This study asked whether latent class modeling methods and multiple ratings of the same cases might permit quantification of the accuracy of forensic assessments. Five evaluators examined 156 redacted court reports concerning criminal defendants who had undergone hospitalization for evaluation or restoration of their adjudicative competence. Evaluators rated each defendant’s Dusky-defined competence to stand trial on a five-point scale as well as each defendant’s understanding of, appreciation of, and reasoning about criminal proceedings. Having multiple ratings per defendant made it possible to estimate accuracy parameters using maximum likelihood and Bayesian approaches, despite the absence of any “gold standard” for the defendants’ true competence status. Evaluators appeared to be very accurate, though this finding should be viewed with caution.

Keywords

Competence to stand trialAdjudicative competenceROC analysisDiagnostic accuracyMaximum likelihoodBayesianGold standard

Copyright information

© American Psychology-Law Society/Division 41 of the American Psychological Association 2009