I have been retained as an (gambling addiction) expert witness in over 50 legal cases in federal and state jurisdictions. The majority have been criminal cases, with some civil and domestic relations cases. Most every case has resulted in downward departures from the federal sentencing guidelines (federal court) and reduced sentences and/or probation in states jurisdictions.
- There are typically five components in most cases:
- Consultation with defendant's attorney
- Review of all relevant legal documents
- Clinical assessment / interview with the defendant (by phone, video, and/or in person), as well as relevant collateral interviews.
- Drafting and filing a report for the defendant's attorney and the court – the final product being reviewed by the attorney before submission to the court
- Testimony at sentencing hearing – if required
- The strategy and workflow involve addressing the following questions:
- Does the defendant meet criteria for a diagnosis of (Pathological) Disordered Gambling? In order to arrive at that, I use a number of different screening tools that have been demonstrated to be valid and reliable, and the diagnostic criteria out of the DSM. Prior to interview, and in the service of efficiency, I ask the client to fill out a number of forms on their own time, forward them to me, and typically I will ask for more clarification in writing. If diagnostic criteria is met, then
- What, if any, connection is there between the individuals gambling addiction and their illegal activity. A primary purpose of the report is to make that connection for the court, so that if the court is favorable toward downward departure from the sentencing guidelines, they have a basis for doing so. Clearly, the report and defendant’s attorney can assist the court in downward departing from the sentencing guidelines! This can be the most challenging and time-consuming variable in drafting the report, depending on the complexity of the situation.
- Are there any relevant co-morbid psychological/psychiatric diagnosis. And if so, what are they.
- Recommendations for treatment
- My fee for services is dependent upon the complexity of the case, services required
- Typically, I will record my interview with the defendant, and have a confidential transcription service provide me with the transcript. I have found it extremely beneficial over the years to utilize quotes from the individual in order to affirm the diagnosis, and help the court understand the ‘distorted’ thought process of the defendant.
- Additional costs involve written report for the court, testimony, travel, transcriptions, etc.)
- Testimony at sentencing hearing if required/requested is a separate cost. I do not bill for travel time. I do bill for case review, pre-hearing attorney conference, and court time.
The fact that I live in Austin, Texas and the case is in a different location around the country, does not pose a barrier to effectiveness. I conduct interviews via phone, video, and/or in person.