Ivan Kruh and Christina Riggs Romaine presented a half-day webinar to juvenile defense attorneys affiliated with the Northeast Region of The Gault Center on September 29, 2023, entitled 'Developmental Immaturity in Juvenile Competency.'
States are diverse in how they define competency to stand trial in juvenile courts, but across most jurisdictions there has been increased sensitivity to the role developmental immaturity can play in limiting the capacities of youths to understand the nature of the proceedings they face and to assist in their defense. Drs. Riggs Romaine and Kruh reviewed relevant concepts in normal adolescent cognitive and psychosocial development, as well as the impacts of development on childhood psychopathology. They discussed how these factors can impact four key functional components of competency, and reviewed the scientific literature on development and competency. They offered guidance on important elements of a developmentally sensitive competency evaluation, reviewed differences between the juvenile competency standards across the attending states (Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania), and explained research on how different standards seem to impact court decision making. They discussed red flags that defense attorneys should be attuned to when considering which youth to refer for a competency evaluation and they ended the training with an overview of current practices in juvenile competency remediation programs nationally.
If you are interested in having Dr. Kruh provide a training on juvenile competency evaluations through NYSAP or you are in need of a juvenile competency evaluation, please contact Dr. Kruh at IvanKruhPhD@gmail.com.
On 9/8/23, Dr. Kruh presented a training on conducting criminal responsibility evaluations in juvenile court to forensic mental health evaluators and others at the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Conference on Behavioral Health and the Law. In 2022, the Georgia Supreme Court held in the case of In the interest of T.B. that, excluding status offenses, juvenile respondents have a right to assert Georgia’s two affirmative criminal responsibility defenses – Insanity and Delusional Compulsion. Dr. Kruh reviewed the history of criminal responsibility defenses in juvenile courts in the United States across its 125 year history, presented the current status of juvenile criminal responsibility law nationally, discussed elements of adolescent development that make conducting these evaluations with juveniles different from evaluating adults, and offered practical guidance on how to conduct such evaluations consistent with best practices in the field.
If you are interested in having Dr. Kruh provide a training on juvenile criminal responsibility evaluations or in need of a juvenile criminal responsibility evaluation, please contact Dr. Kruh at IvanKruhPhD@gmail.com.
Dr. Kruh Co-Presents to University of Michigan Forensic Psychiatry Fellows on Juvenile Competency Issues
On June 13th, 2023, Dr. Kruh and his colleague at National Youth Screening and Assessment Partners (NYSAP), Dr. Christina Riggs Romaine, offered forensic psychiatry fellows at the University of Michigan (who tend to focus on working with adults) a training seminar on conducting competency evaluations in Michigan’s juvenile courts. Having worked with Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services for over six years training juvenile competency evaluators state-wide, as well as various legal and clinical stakeholders, the NYSAP team has developed focused expertise on juvenile competency evaluations in Michigan. Drs. Kruh and Riggs Romaine discussed key differences in conducting competency evaluations with juveniles compared to adults. This included a focus on the role of adolescent development in these evaluations and a careful review of Michigan’s juvenile competency statute. A case study was presented to illustrate key points.
If you are interested in having Dr. Kruh, through National Youth Screening and Assessment Partners (NYSAP), provide a training to your group on the topic of juvenile competency to stand trial, or you are in need of a juvenile competency evaluation, please contact Dr. Kruh at IvanKruhPhD@gmail.com.
Dr. Kruh serves as Discussant at Symposium on Juvenile Competency Restoration at the Annual Conference of the American Psychology-Law Society
On March 16th, 2023, Dr. Kruh served as Discussant at the first ever AP-LS Conference symposium addressing Juvenile Competency Restoration Services. The session was entitled, “Juvenile Competency Restoration Across Jurisdictions: Seeking Clarity Amidst the Chaos.” The session included papers discussing three research studies - one from Cook County Illinois, one from two Massachusetts counties, and one from the State of Texas. Dr. Kruh praised the studies for looking at restoration through a lens of individualized services seeking to identify “what works with which youth?” Two of the studies looked at what works with different diagnostic groups, categorizing diagnoses in finer tuned ways than past studies. Two studies also looked at finer tuned outcomes than past studies that looked at simpler distinctions between successfully restored vs. not restored youth. The studies highlighted the important role case management services can play in juvenile competency restoration services and the potential for more intensive services to be more successful than services of lower intensity. Dr. Kruh pointed out the need for juvenile restoration programs to collect finer tuned data to allow for more sophisticated treatment matching analyses. He also recommended research that takes unique approaches to the problem of small data sets most individual programs have, including qualitative studies, cross-jurisdictional studies, and experimental designs.
If you would like copies of the research papers presented at this symposium or you would like Dr. Kruh, through National Youth Screening and Assessment Partners (NYSAP), to provide your group training on the topic of juvenile competency remediation programming, please contact Dr. Kruh at IvanKruhPhD@gmail.com.