Introduction to Forensic Assessment in Death Penalty Cases: Practical and Ethical Considerations

Introduction to Forensic Assessment in Death Penalty Cases: Practical and Ethical Considerations


4 Hours | 4 CEs


Program Description

This course offers guidance on the practical and ethical considerations most relevant to forensic work in death penalty cases. An overview of key legal concepts is provided to orient participants to the most common referral questions at each stage of the capital litigation process — from pre-trial evaluations of competence through post-sentencing waivers and competence for execution. Issues of racial bias, “environmental coercion,” professional competence/advocacy, and involuntary treatment are discussed as ethical dilemmas to be considered in this specialized area of forensic practice.

The fee for this training program is $200 and includes all materials. In addition, case studies and other case-relevant materials are provided for training purposes. Participants should expect to commit approximately 4 hours to complete this training program. At the end of the training program, there is a quiz that must be passed with a 70% in order to advance in the course. Once the course is completed participants will complete a course evaluation and then will be able to print their certificate of completion.

Intended Audience

This course is relevant for psychologists–beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

Upon completion of this course, participants should be able to:


  • Describe the three stages of the capital litigation process for which forensic expert consultation may be relevant
  • Describe mitigating factors that involve exclusively psychological phenomena
  • Describe cultural diversity issues that may influence capital prosecution and sentencing
  • Describe ethical consideration unique to forensic evaluations in death penalty cases

About Dr. Maureen Reardon

Dr. Reardon obtained a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Florida State University in 2004. She is board-certified in forensic psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology.

In the course of her training and professional career, Dr. Reardon has completed numerous court-ordered and privately retained forensic assessments in several state as well as federal jurisdictions – including capital cases. At the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina, she supervised the completion of several hundred forensic evaluations completed annually by doctoral level psychologists and pre-doctoral interns. She also consulted on violence risk assessments, managed therapeutic services provided to sentenced inmates, and directed the development of a “residential” forensic treatment program for those subject to civil commitment due to adjudications of insanity or non-restorability. Currently, Dr. Reardon maintains a private practice in Raleigh, North Carolina, primarily offering forensic evaluation and consultation services across North Carolina and southern Virginia (

Dr. Reardon serves on the faculty for the St. John’s University Forensic Psychology Postdoctoral Certificate Program and has offered seminars and workshops for mental health and legal professionals on a variety psycholegal topics. She serves on the examination faculty for the American Academy of Forensic Psychology and is the current President of the American Board of Forensic Psychology.

Continuing Education Credit

This Distance Learning Course is a Home Study Training Program. To earn CE’s, you will have to complete the course quizzes and evaluation for this Home Study Distance Learning Course. No partial credit is available. For this course, you will need to pass the course quizzes with 70% correct and complete a course evaluation form to earn the certificate. You can take the test as many times as necessary to pass. Participants will earn 4 CE hours for completion once they have completed these requirements. Each participant will be able to print their CE certificate immediately after completing and passing the post-test and evaluation.
Board Approvals: APA, CPA. Click here for state and other regional board approvals.
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