Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Update: Maldonado v Thaler (2010) - a blow against voodooo psychometrics !

The Atkins case of Maldonado in Texas has been mentioned numerous times at the ICDP blog---primarily because of the unbelievable voodoooo psychometrics used by an expert for the state.  It appears that Dr. Death's psychological testing and interpretation procedures are becoming widely recognized for what they are by lawyers and the courts. 

I've just learned (thanks to Kevin Foley) that  two days ago, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a Certificate of Appealability (COA) in Maldonado's case (click here to view).  Apparently, the issue of the state's expert testimony tipped the scales in Maldonado's favor.  But all the court's decision has accomplished is to allow Maldonado a chance to argue his Atkins claim. It is my understanding that this is an unusual procedure in habeas cases.

The appropriate challenge of the voodooo psychometrics that occurred is reflected on page 7 of the decision:
Maldonado argues that Dr. Denkowski’s performance was deficient in the following respects:

1. As in Plata, Dr. Denkowski improperly applied “cultural factors” to raise Maldonado’s raw IQ score;

2. Dr. Denkowski failed to take the “Flynn Effect” into account when calculating Maldonado’s IQ score;

3. As in Plata, Dr. Denkowski applied “idiosyncratic” protocols to raise Maldonado’s adaptive deficit score, improperly adjusting the score upward to account for ethnic, social, and cultural factors;

4. Dr. Denkowski improperly relied on a translator, who lacked prior experience in psychology or psychological test-taking, to administer Maldonado’s IQ and adaptive deficit tests.
All prior ICDP posts (including a guest post) that have made mention, or have discussed aspects of this case, can be found by clicking here,  here, here, here, here, and here.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

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