August 23-24 | Evaluations for High Stakes Sentencing: Capital and Juvenile Murder Cases

$600.00 $550.00

Early Registration Rate until July 20th

August 20-22, 2018 | 8:30am – 4:30pm

2-Day In-Person Workshop | 14 CEs (CEUs)

Location: Palo Alto University, CA


Program Description

This workshop on Evaluations for High Stakes Sentencing is presented by Dr. Mark Cunningham. Landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases such as Woodson, Jurek, Atkins, and Miller mandated individualized sentencing when the death penalty is sought or a defendant is facing a life-without-parole for an offense committed as a juvenile. Mental health professionals are routinely called upon to assist in illuminating the associated considerations of moral culpability and specific deterrence. The workshop is divided into four modules, each focusing on a high stakes sentencing context or issue: 1. Evaluation for capital mitigation; 2. Capital violence risk assessment for prison; 3. Evaluation of intellectual disability; and 4. Evaluation in juvenile murder. For each type of evaluation, Dr. Cunningham will describe conceptual underpinnings, evaluation procedures, relevant research literature, and the analysis/integration of case data. He will provide extensive illustrations of how the findings can be effectively communicated in reports and through slide-assisted testimony.

This workshop is an In-Person Professional Training Program. The fee for this workshop is $500 and includes all materials and worksheets.  In addition, case studies and other case-relevant materials are provided for training purposes. To earn CE’s, you will have to complete a workshop evaluation for this In-Person Professional Training Program. Participants will earn 14 CE hours for completion once they have completed these requirements. Each participant will be given their workshop evaluation upon completion of the workshop. A student discount of 50% of regular registration rates. Contact to register.

Intended audience
This workshop is primarily intended for mental health or legal professionals, though a more diverse audience will also find the concepts, issues, and procedures of high stakes evaluations stimulating and thought-provoking. This course is for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level clinicians.

APA, CPA, ASWB, NBCC board approved workshops. California psychologists, social workers, counselors and MFT’s are all eligible for CE’s (CEU’s). For a complete listing of board approvals


Upon completion of this training program the trainee will be able to:

Evaluation for capital mitigation
• Describe the contrasting theories of the State and defense at capital sentencing and how these are operationalized in evidence and argument
• Describe moral culpability and its relationship to choice
• Describe the procedures in conducting an evaluation of capital mitigation
• Describe the role of generational family history in capital mitigation
• Review a social history and specify the adverse developmental factors corresponding to five primary arenas
• Describe the advantages of findings-based and narrative-based reports
• Describe five types of demonstrative exhibits to accompany testimony

Violence risk assessment for prison
• Describe four methodologies for violence risk assessment
• Describe the role of base rates in violence risk assessment for prison
• Describe the various sources for rates of serious prison violence and specify the primary inmate-specific correlates
• Describe the primary sources of error in capital violence risk assessments for prison
• Describe the comparative risk for prison violence posed by capital offenders as opposed to other inmates
• Describe limitations in the abilities of juries to forecast future prison violence by capital offenders

Evaluations of intellectual disability (ID)
• Describe the conceptual basis for the exclusion of persons with ID from death-sentencing
• Describe the two sources for the primary diagnostic criteria for ID and their common elements
• Describe the evolution of diagnostic criteria for ID from DSM-IV-TR to DSM-5
• Describe three important psychometric considerations in interpreting IQ scores
• Describe four methodologies for assessing adaptive skills and the cautions associated with each
• Describe important elements of reports of capital evaluations of ID
• Describe the types of demonstrative exhibits that may accompany testimony regarding ID at Atkins hearings

Miller evaluations
• Describe the four primary factors in brain maturation
• Describe how brain immaturity impacts decision-making and susceptibility to peer influences
• Describe adverse developmental factors that may impact functional maturity
• Describe the role of post-18 youthfulness as a sentencing consideration.
• Describe how youthfulness limits the predictive significance of teen offending
• Describe correlates of parole recidivism and sources of base rates
• Describe parole planning factors that reduce recidivism
• Describe the organization of a findings-based report in a Miller case evaluation

About Dr. Mark Cunningham

Dr. Mark Cunningham is a clinical and forensic psychologist whose practice is national in scope. He is board-certified in clinical psychology and in forensic psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP), and is licensed in 17 states. Dr. Cunningham earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Oklahoma State University and did postdoctoral study at the Yale University School of Medicine. He is a nationally recognized scholar and expert witness regarding capital sentencing determinations. He has provided expert testimony at capital sentencing in more than 200 cases and authored over 60 peer-reviewed articles, chapters, case studies, and commentary. Dr. Cunningham authored a text on best practices in evaluations for capital sentencing. He has served on the editorial boards of three journals and has been an ad hoc reviewer for 19 others. The international John Maddox Prize recognized Dr. Cunningham with a commendation. His scholarship and practice have also been honored with the National Register of Health Service Psychologists A. M. Wellner, Ph.D. Lifetime Achievement Award, the American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Contribution to Research in Public Policy, the Texas Psychological Association Award for Outstanding Contribution to Science, and election as a Fellow of the American Psychological Association.

Conceptual overview
– Sentencing considerations
– Moral culpability
– Specific deterrence
– Capital mitigation
– Violence risk in prison
– Intellectual disability
– Juvenile murderers
– Psycholegal issue
– Case law
– Conceptual understandings
– Procedures of evaluation
– Relevant research
– Models of report writing
– Use of slides in testimony

Continuing Education Credit

Each training workshop offered by the Forensic Training Academy is eligible for Continuing Education (CE) credit through Consolidated Continuing Education and Professional Training (CONCEPT).

This workshop is an In-Person Professional Training Program. To earn CE’s, you will have to complete a workshop evaluation for this In-Person Professional Training Program. Participants will earn 14 CE hours for completion once they have completed these requirements. Each participant will be given their workshop evaluation upon completion of the workshop.

Board Approvals: APA, CPA, NBCC, ASWB. Click here for state and other regional board approvals.

For in-person workshops we offer a 50% refund up until 2 weeks out from the start date of each workshop. There are no refunds within 2 weeks but will accommodate with access to the online program.​

If you would like to file a grievance, please go to and read our Grievance Policy. Then, you can file a grievance on our Contact page. You may also send a written grievance to:
Consolidated Continuing Education & Professional Training (CONCEPT)
5668 FishHawk Crossing Blvd, #306 Lithia, FL 33547

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