Sunday, March 18, 2012

Atkins MR/ID Death Penalty court decision: Brumfield v Cain (LA, 2012)

Thanks to Kevin Foley for sending me a copy of Brumfield v Cain (LA, 2012). Information regarding prior court decisions for Brumfield are available here.

I have only skimmed the decision but a number of statements in the decision are of interest.

First, the court made a clear endorsement of the AAIDD's latest manual on ID classification as the authoritative source for defining ID.

Second, the importance of being a well prepared expert is evident in the following statement regarding one of the state's experts. The court said this about the state's lead expert: "The Court finds Dr. Hoppe’s failure (or inability, if counsel for the State was to blame) to 'obtain corroborating data from collateral sources' in this case renders his testimony here suspect." [pg 28, n.21].

Finally, the court appropriately endorsed the psychometric principle and methods of the standard error of measurement (SEM) and the Flynn Effect adjustment for norm obsolescence. Striking home here at the ICDP blog was the court's citation of IAP AP101 # 7 Report regarding the acceptance of the Flynn Effect by the majority of the scientific community. Starting on the bottom of page 33 and continuing on page 34.... "The Flynn Effect has been widely accepted as a fact in the scientific community, though explaining the cause of this phenomenon has proven more difficult. (Kevin S. McGrew, Is the Flynn Effect a Scientifically Accepted Fact?, Institute for Applied Psychometrics (2010)".

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