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Case Law Considerations in the Use of ASPD in SVP/SDP Evaluations

Sreenivasan, Shoba; Rokop, James; DiCiro, Melinda; Colley, Jeremy; Weinberger, Linda E
The use of antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) as a qualifying mental disorder for a sexually violent predator (SVP) or a sexually dangerous person (SDP) commitment continues to arouse controversy. Two common questions arise. Is ASPD considered a qualifying mental disorder in statutory or case law definitions? Can ASPD be the sole qualifying mental disorder? We review case law for guidance as to when ASPD may serve as a sole qualifying diagnosis in SVP/SDP evaluations. Other than the federal government and New York, all other jurisdictions with SVP/SDP commitments permit the use of ASPD as a stand-alone diagnosis when it can be linked to sexually violent behavior. ASPD is a viable qualifying disorder when the pattern of offending is atypical, severe, and can be linked to the risk for further sexual offending. ASPD is less viable as a qualifying diagnosis when it is manifested primarily by criminal behavior, the sex crimes are situational in context (e.g., substance abuse, negative peer affiliation), or the disorder cannot be linked to future sexual offending. Case law can provide guidelines, but the forensic clinician as the diagnostic expert bears the responsibility of providing a cogent and sound rationale as to why ASPD drives the risk for sexual reoffense.
PMID: 32079646
ISSN: 1943-3662
CID: 4313322

Landmark cases in forensic psychiatry

Rotter, Merrill; Colley, Jeremy; Cucolo, Heather Ellis
New York, NY, US: Oxford University Press, 2019
Extent: xxiii, 283 p.
ISBN: 9780190914424
CID: 4511742