CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Caliman & Berryessa on Autism Spectrum Disorder

Carolina Caliman and Colleen M. Berryessa (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - School of Criminal Justice and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - School of Criminal Justice) have posted Legal Decision-Makers in Criminal Cases involving Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Review of the Research and a Call for Action (Forthcoming 2024, In B. Bornstein, M.K. Miller, and D. DeMatteo, Advances in Psychology and Law (Vol. 7). Springer) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a spectrum of neurodevelopmental disorders marked by impairments in social interactions, communication, hypersensitivity, and systematic patterns of behavior. Although the large majority of individuals with ASD are law-abiding, many individuals with ASD continue to become involved in the criminal-legal system as defendants each year. Yet research indicates that legal decision-makers in court are often unaware of the potential forensic significance of ASD, which may lead to negative legal consequences for diagnosed defendants. This chapter provides a thorough overview of how and why defendants with ASD create challenges and issues for decision-makers in criminal cases, including a discussion on the forensic relevance of ASD and its symptomatology to both offending and courtroom behaviors, a review of the limited existing literature on the perceptions and decision-making of potential jurors, judges, and attorneys in cases involving defendants with ASD, and an examination of different stages of the criminal-legal process in which ASD may be forensically significant. Finally, this chapter provides three recommendations for decision-makers on how to potentially reduce negative legal consequences and outcomes for defendants with ASD, as well as calls for and identifies areas of future research at this nexus.

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