Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #182
CE Offered: BACB
The Behavior Analyst as Expert Witness in the Forensic/Courtroom Setting
Sunday, May 28, 2017
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 1E/F
Area: PRA/CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: W. Joseph Wyatt (Marshall University)
Discussant: W. Joseph Wyatt (Marshall University)
CE Instructor: Nathan Blenkush, Ph.D.
Abstract: As behavior analysis expands to increasing numbers of populations and settings, it is natural that behavior analysts will become more likely to become involved in the forensic arena. This symposium will address strategies for consultation with attorneys, preparation for testimony, strategies for dealing with direct and cross examination, use of behavioral methods to prepare defendants for competent testimony and overarching issues as they affect a service delivery agency.
Instruction Level: Basic
ABA in a Forensic Psychiatric Hospital
TIMOTHY TEMPLIN (Meridian Health Services)
Abstract: When individuals who have been accused of crimes are found incompetent to stand trial they typically are confined to a forensic hospital facility until they are considered to be competent. That is, under the law, an accused person is not put on trial until he is able to assist his attorney is his defense. He also must be able to understand the charges against him, the consequences of being found guilty or not guilty, as well as the roles of his lawyer, the prosecution, the judge, jury and etc. This presentation will describe a behavioral approach to helping defendants achieve each of these goals as well as training such defendants to control their actions in the courtroom and to participate thoughtfully in psychological and psychiatric examinations at Logansport State Hospital in Indiana.
On Becoming an Effective Expert Witness as a Behaviorist
W. JOSEPH WYATT (Marshall University)
Abstract: This presentation will describe the presenter’s experience in consultation with attorneys and the courts so that those who are new to, or are considering involvement in, expert testimony and the forensic arena will benefit from his experiences. He will address issues what to say during the initial consultation with the attorney, methods for the forensic examination, the written report and his approaches to courtroom testimony, including how to deal with cross-examination. Dr. Wyatt has consulted on hundreds of cases. He will describe the various referral questions asked such as determination of both competence and responsibility, assessment of possible child sexual abuse, and others as well as how a behavioral approach fits nicely with the demands of the forensic process.

Forensic Issues From the Standpoint of an Agency CEO

GLENDA CROOKES (Judge Rotenberg Educational Center)

Since the mid-1980's, JRC has been embroiled in legal battles with various state agencies. For decades, we have been fighting for the right to effective treatment and a parent's right to choose the most effective, least restrictive treatment for their child. Regulatory changes have often led to major struggles within our organization and significant regression in clients behaviors. Fighting for the reversal of the regulations, contesting the proposed implementation of changes to regulations, and ultimately ending up in court against several states will be included in the discussion. Included are dealing with New York State's refusal to allow aversive interventions and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts effort to reverse its own longstanding approval of carefully applied aversives.


Preparing for and Providing Expert Testimony: Notes From a Behavior Analyst

NATHAN BLENKUSH (Judge Rotenberg Educational Center)

From the initial expert report draft to the final cross-examination in the courtroom, the requirements of a behavior analyst as an expert witness will be enumerated and described. Tasks such as composing an expert report, deposition preparation, responding in a deposition, reviewing the literature, trial preparation, trial testimony, and logistics will be discussed. In addition, attorneys use many behavioral procedures such as behavioral momentum, response blocking, stimulus control, and punishment. Examples of these procedures in a high profile trial in the northeast will be provided and analyzed. In addition, areas in which an attorney may attack behavior analysis (e.g. single-subject research design, animal research, determinism, practice limitations) will be reviewed.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh