Forensic Assessment in Murder on a Sunday Morning
The facts of the case at hand are interesting for two reasons: Number one, the defendant is a juvenile in the state of Florida and number two, Brenton Butler was African American and seems to have been profiled as a suspect based on race according to reports by other professionals involved in the case. Solving the murder unfortunately had very little to do with the arrest and suspicion concerning this young man. The facts of the case, being circumstantial did not provide a firm motive, a murder weapon, or an explanation of how the purse snatched during the shooting of the victim ended up in a dumpster too far from the crime scene for the alleged perpetrator to have accomplished this crime.…show more content… The forensic psychologist should interview as many people as possible, neighbors and people who might have seen the crime, getting a list from the hotel manager of guests staying there at the time of the fatal shooting so that all facts can be known and assessed together. Character witnesses, people who know the suspect and interact with him on a daily basis should also be consulted, people like his teachers, guidance counselors, and friends. Although this might all seem strenuous, a young man’s life and future are on the table so it is vitally important that the forensic psychologist get as many facts as possible with which to write a good, accurate and unbiased report for the court about which he or she might later be called to…show more content… An appeal regarding the decision was not allowed by law in the Juvenile system of his state, and so an appeal was filed with the Supreme Court for this case. During the appeal, the Judge on Gerald’s original case, a Judge McGhee, was “vigorously cross-examined” for the basis of his decision (Gault, 1967). The Supreme Court found that the Juvenile code in Gerald’s state was unconstitutional as it was used in this case since there was a failure to inform the parents, it did not require proper notice of a hearing, did not provide for an appeal, and that Gerald was denied due process (Gault, 1967). As a forensic psychologist, one would have to question and investigate if proper procedure was in fact followed in keeping with the Supreme Court’s ruling regarding the treatment of juveniles. Regardless of State and local laws, this effort of the Supreme Court to ensure that juveniles are treated with the same fair due process procedures must be adhered to in the Brenton Butler case.
It is worthy of noting here that confessions cannot be coerced and since both Brenton and Gerald received none of the same rights of protection throughout the process that an adult would, the issue of due process became a primary question of the court. Rules governing the