child custody evaluations - psychological testing in court - forensic testing - disclosure, release of test data in discovery

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Children need. . . THIS?
WA-SG-03-070730, supp



 . . .

Food for thought...

July 2007:The below quotes come from reactions of members (other custody evaluators, many very well known), that were posted to Vicky Campagna's child custody listserve when Stuart Greenberg's suicide hit the news. It's no wonder they get it wrong in so many child custody cases, is it. (Further below, comments on the June 2011 Seattle Times news story, upon the closing of his estate.)

[ANONYMOUS LISTSERVE COMMENT re the arrest of a noted child custody psychologist for secretly videotaping a woman using the toilet in his office bathroom, and masturbating to it]: "I'm simply sad because the situation exists and life for him and his family will be very difficult for some time." (Vermont doctorate-level MHP, July 14, 2007).
        [ANONYOMOUS LISTSERVE COMMENT]: "[]'s workshops are the best I've ever attended. He has graciously shared his time and materials with me. I'm stunned," (Missouri doctorate-level MHP, July 14, 2007.
        [ANONYMOUS LISTSERVE COMMENT]: "...we should not jump to conclusions in either direction. If the charges are not valid, an unspeakable wrong has been done to him." (California doctorate-level MHP, July 14, 2007).
        [ANONYMOUS LISTSERVE COMMENT]: "Absolutely! These should be no rush to judgment. We know much good about [] and nothing whatsoever about this allegation..." (Illinois doctorate-level MHP, July 14, 2007).
        [NOTSOANONYMOUS LISTSERVE]: "Stu's alleged criminal conduct sounds incredibly flawed and not to be condoned in any way (example he is no longer listed on the ABFP diplomate website). Nonetheless, I remain quite concerned about him as a person and sent him my support in that regard in an email sent yesterday..." (Colorado doctorate-level MHP, July 14, 2007).
        [NOTSOANONYMOUS LISTSERVE]: "I would also respectfully suggest that, especially in our public comments, we express equal concern for the alleged victims..." [FOLLOWUP]: " I'm just noting that one of the alleged victims was reportedly a psychologist in his office - which means that this person is also a colleague and may have access to professional listservs. I can only imagine how it would feel to be in her position, if the allegations are true, and then to sign on to professional lists to see concern expressed only for Stu. I'm just suggesting that if we are withholding judgment at this time, we express concern for both sides." (California doctorate-level MHP, July 15, 2007).
        [NOTSOANONYMOUS LISTSERVE]: "It is appropriate to express concern and outrage for victims of crimes. It is also appropriate to express concern and outrage for perpetrators of crimes... In my work in the correctional system for the last three years, I have learned a lesson that few who work outside the walls realize: perpetrators are also victims of their own deeds. Crime is a tragedy no matter who is involved." (Washington doctorate-level MHP, July 15, 2007).
        [NOTSOANONYMOUS LISTSERVE]: "How highly inappropriate to remove him from the ABPP website before he had been found guilty of anything. I don't know who made the decision to remove him, but I think ABPP people would be among the last persons to do such a thing given their journeymen positions in our profession." [FOLLOWUP] "I just went to the ABPP website and Stu Greenberg is still listed." (California doctorate-level MHP, July 15, 2007).

The last post was a child custody evaluator who specializes in sex abuse allegations. He and others exhibit the very common MHP confusion over appropriate standards of proof when questionable behavior also could be a crime is raised in another milieu, requiring for all purposes the criminal standard of proof and a conviction, versus evidence (such as a confession) that otherwise should be adequate in civil court to take protective or compensatory action. Also see Self-Protection Above All


June 2011:The below comments are four years later, when most of the facts have come out, and it's beyond question that Stuart Greenberg indeed was a liar, conman and pervert. The defensive crap continues. Why do you think? Shame at their own previous gullibility? Sympathizers? Just intensely stupid? Get all of these opining incompetent frauds out of the justice system. Because THEY are perverting IT.

[KEN POPE LISTSERVE NEWS]: "This morning's *Seattle Times* includes a very long and detailed article: 'Seattle Times special report: Twisted ethics of an expert witness; Stuart Greenberg was at the top of his profession: a renowned forensic psychologist who in court could determine which parent got custody of a child, or whether a jury believed a claim of sexual assault. Trouble is, he built his career on hypocrisy and lies, and as a result, he destroyed lives... such a toxic force -- a poison coursing through the state's court system -- that it took more than three years for lawyers and judges to sift through his victims and account for the damage done...." (June 26, 2011).
        [PSYLAW-L LISTSERVE COMMENT]: "Sad, but timely given the thread. I have only read some of Stu Greenberg's work, took one workshop with him, and didn't know him personally. I can't imagine tossing it all aside because of this narrative. That is not the same as being a Pollyanna, but merely acknowledging the complex truths... I am suggesting that real understanding is tough @ any stage of personal and professional development... PS-I recommend the NPR piece aired yesterday on Hearst, Pulitzer, and the Golden Age of journalism, not as a reason to dismiss a story which shouldn't be dismissed but to add a necessary slant on the complexity of all truths and the data by which we attempt to understand it. Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry..." (Massachusetts-1 doctorate-level MHP, June 26, 2011).
        [PSYLAW-L LISTSERVE RESPONSE]: "My friends, we've been through all of this with Stu in seasons past -- when the actual events happened. Going over it again, years after the events were originally discussed and in response to another news article, disseminated over the Internet, only serves two purposes at this point: 1. Reinforcing the non-stop sensationalism, the "gotcha" philosophy that belies all major news outlets these days; 2. Demonstrating that at least some of us on PsyLaw either delete all our emails after we read them, or we forget what we said and did yesterday. Now that Osama and Whitey have been captured and/or killed, the "news" is looking for their next sensational item to report. Don't reinforce the garbage of these faux-news hounds. Therefore, I say unto you: Stu, rest in peace. PsyLaw, move on in peace. Nothing new here, let's move on. A tragedy then, a tragedy now, a tragedy tomorrow. Cordially..." (Massachusetts-2 doctorate-level MHP, June 26, 2011).
        [PSYLAW-L LISTSERVE RESPONSE]: "Amen and Amen." (Tennessee doctorate-level MHP, June 26, 2011).
        [PSYLAW-L LISTSERVE RESPONSE]: "...I respectfully disagree on this point. First, something so egregious as this, largely accomplished with the backing of our profession(s), warrants the illumination of daylight here. Child compromised custody decisions bear more infringement upon our liberties than even arrests and false convictions. I have witnessed many examples of both scenarios over the years and the only exception I can draw is from false convictions resulting in death sentences... Evaluators have nearly free rein today in family court to do and say as they wish... Decisions are often made on the social ecomap of the players. Judges "encourage" evaluators to opine on the ultimate issue. Evaluators use whatever "data" they wish to support their opinion... The ethical and dedicated custody evaluators are few and far between... Although Stu may have been "better" at avoiding detection longer, we would be remiss if we dismissed the lesson in this case... what if he was not an outlier and we elect to pretend that he was? How many souls are we party to destroying?..." (Louisiana doctorate-level MHP, June 26, 2011).
        [PSYLAW-L LISTSERVE RESPONSE]: "Having to rehash it with even more detail than before is upsetting, but if anything I see it as a cautionary tale... I highly recommend to others to seek supervision not just for the work we do but how the work can affect us." (Iowa doctorate-level MHP, June 26, 2011).
        [PSYLAW-L LISTSERVE RESPONSE]: "...We do ourselves a disservice if we ignore the lesson here." (Unknown individual, June 26, 2011).
        [PSYLAW-L LISTSERVE RESPONSE]: "...let me just add some additional commentary to my initial post on this topic, then leave it there... we did already give strenuous attention and debate to this issue right after Stu ended his life (albeit in less sensationalized terms than the "news" report which prompted this renewed discussion)... This sensationalistic "journalism" is par for the course these days. Say or think what you want about Stu, but his career was not built on hypocrisy and lies. His career -- and more importantly his life -- was derailed and ended by his hypocrisy and lies. We also do not know all the facts in this case, or even a significant number of them. This is one reporter's slanted perspective. And given Stu's death, we have no opportunity to examine other issues or dispute some of the conclusions of this news reporter. But that's modern life, full of bread and circuses, serving no real public interest, especially years after the tragic death of the person chronicled..." (Joe Plaud, Ph.D., Massachusetts-2 doctorate-level MHP, June 26, 2011).
        [PSYLAW-L LISTSERVE RESPONSE]: "What makes this even more uncomfortable is that Dr. Greenberg was the former president of the AAFP and a trusted friend and colleague to many of the most influential individuals in the profession. From a personal standpoint, I attended several of Dr. Greenberg's conferences and continue to use some of his detailed forms (with permission of course) in a variety of evaluations. I too was shocked by the disclosures of his ethical abuses and criminal behaviors..." [FOLLOWUP directed at Massachusetts-2]: "At the risk of prolonging the conversation that you have already stated that you do not want to prolong, how can you be sure that the reporters in this story are "slanted" in their viewpoint as opposed to those of us in the field? Don't you think this makes a potentially superb learning lesson for all of us including students? (Florida doctorate-level MHP, June 26, 2011).
        [PSYLAW-L LISTSERVE RESPONSE]: "I wholeheartedly agree with your comments. Perhaps I should have been explicit in my original post... The real story hear has little to do with Stu personally... How did this happen and how can we work as a profession to making sure that it does not happen again? Stu contributed greatly to forensic psychology. None of those honest and dedicated contributions should be offset by his personal behavior towards the end... So long as we vilify Stu, with or without all the facts, we separate ourselves from the solution. So long as we honestly consider that this could happen to those colleagues around us, or even us, we are at less risk of repeating history..." (Louisiana doctorate-level MHP, June 26, 2011).
        [PSYLAW-L LISTSERVE RESPONSE]: "...if vilifying Stu with or without all of the facts is separating ourselves from the solution, why is vilifying licensing boards... not the same? ." (Doctorate-level MHP, June 26, 2011).
        [PSYLAW-L LISTSERVE RESPONSE]: "Who 'in the field' served as major sources for this article? Do we really need to rehash the alleged and actual misdeeds of a departed from this earth colleague to learn that we shouldn't do bad things in our professional lives? So many these days accept this sensationalism served as "news" to the ravenous masses that we fail to be critical digesters of what is being done in the name of the news story today. Stu is dead. We don't need to REHASH what we hashed out about this topic a few years ago... All we're doing is reinforcing sensationalistic journalism. I choose not to engage in this sad aspect of modern life. Let us instead focus on the present for professional life lessons. For example in the past month I have witnessed multiple professionals, including both psychologists and psychiatrists, testify that they can predict the future with a "reasonable degree of scientific/ psychological/ medical certainty."..." (Massachusetts-2 doctorate-level MHP, June 26, 2011).
        [PSYLAW-L LISTSERVE RESPONSE]: "..."the good that men do is oft interred with their bones..." (New Zealand MHP, June 26, 2011).
        [PSYLAW-L LISTSERVE RESPONSE]: "...Wow! If this isn't a hatchet job out of the rag known as the Seattle Times. Kicking the dead is their prime specialty. It is particularly interesting that none of the courts officials or attorneys involved in these cases outed this psychologist malefactor. The emails sent to the editor of the S----- Times could set houses on fire with all of their crude, inflammatory, and cruel words. What a bunch of cannibals. I met Stu briefly on two occasions while attending seminars. He presented himself as a straight shooter. His writings were in great demand. He was outed by two females who were in some way associated with him, perhaps in his practice. They complained to the authorities if I recall correctly. The rest is history. A man driven to suicide by the circumstances of his life is tragic. His family will always be prepared to duck the brick bats thrown at their man. I do hope the persons involved in his death are capable of a Zen moment or two or three. I am incensed at the injustice directed at Stu. He is gone now. I think he is in a place that grants him peace." (John L. Wallace, Ph.D., MMPI-2 psych testing mavin, June 26, 2011).
        [PSYLAW-L LISTSERVE RESPONSE]: "With all the whole hearted agreement that we could express collectively in this thread, there is likely not a one of us whose stomach is not in a knot when we read a story like this in a newspaper. It is both so outrageous and so deeply sad. The problem is that unless we can be quite specific about some of the particulars you fear are going to be covered over, the collective hand wringing and all of the subsequent sturm und drang does not amount to much in what is a quasi-public forum such as this. And more importantly there is such a lack of information that any discussion is vacuous and becomes merely some soap box on which to vent. Do I think it is problematic to let a custody evaluation go unfinished? Sure. Do we know the facts of this "unfinished" evaluation? Absolutely not and I could rattle off any number of appropriate and inappropriate reasons for the perception or fact of an "unfinished" custody evaluation..." (Tennessee doctorate-level MHP, June 26, 2011).
        [PSYLAW-L LISTSERVE RESPONSE]: "I agree that the language is inflammatory and as such suggests a model of causation and moral attribution that the facts would not support and with which I would likely not agree... I prefer my passion and color with clarity and accuracy... it requires great insight and heart to write of things as they are so that the reader can both understand and feel their way through the complexities our lives reveal. I do not know what lies behind much of the florid posturing in the story about Stuart Greenberg, but I've seen enough of life to take it on faith that it is both more sad and understandable than we might wish it and our world to be... Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry" (Massachusetts-1 doctorate-level MHP, June 26, 2011).
        [PSYLAW-L LISTSERVE RESPONSE]: "Colleagues, I am sure my gender has everything to do with my reaction to this thread, but MB. He betrayed the trust of women colleagues, spying on them for his own sick sexual gratification as they engaged in the private act of using the bathroom. I empathize more with these women, and the other women he allegedly abused in the course of his professional evaluations. He abused his power, plain and simple. He only chose to commit suicide because he got caught. To my knowledge, no one other than him was 'involved in his death.'" (California doctorate-level MHP with, apparently, a few more synapse connections than her "colleagues", June 26, 2011).;_ylt=Ao1uRMb6L_YC8OdD4FNFMuhH2ocA"
Colorado man may be freed by DNA
By CATHERINE TSAI, Associated Press Writer
Sat Jan 19, 7:45 AM ET

A special prosecutor said Friday that the conviction of a man serving life in prison in the slaying of a woman should be tossed out because new DNA evidence points to another suspect...

Prosecutors based their case on a psychological analysis, violent pictures he had drawn, that he lived 100 feet from where Hettrick's body was found, and that police said he had seen the body but didn't report it.

Part of Masters' defense is that investigators may have overlooked a potential suspect, an eye doctor who lived nearby and who had a sexual fetish. Dr. Richard Hammond committed suicide in 1995 after police accused him of secretly videotaping the genitalia of female visitors who used the bathroom at his home.

During a brief news conference Friday, Quick said DNA excluded Hammond as a suspect. Quick did not take questions.

This work is part of ongoing research being conducted by the National Network on Family Law Policy, with the assistance of numerous scholars, professionals, and others who are investigating the workings of our justice system. For more information, contact sarah,

Also see Rethinking the Assumptions of Therapeutic Jurisprudence in the Family Courts
and Custody Evaluator Quotes

Florida Handbook on Discovery - 2007
Clark v. Clark, September 15, 2010 Fla. 4th DCA: "material harm of an irreparable nature [to allow] expert to exclude recording, reporting or other people from being present".
Are Psychologists Hiding Evidence?
Releasing Records in Child Custody Evaluations (J. Poliacoff)
Signs of a Bad Custody Evaluation (J. Klass)
Therapeutic Jurisprudence Index
Child Custody Evaluations -- Reevaluating the Evaluators
Right of First Refusal in Parenting Plans
Child Custody Evaluators "In Their Own Words"
Parenting Coordination, a bad idea
Parenting Coordinator Practical Considerations
Those Joint Custody Studies

Offsite Links:
CCFC Amicus Brief, Tadros v. Doyne
Information on the RORSCHACH at
Information on the MMPI-2 at

Psychology is not science -- or good law

It doesn't matter WHAT the protocols are. It doesn't matter how unbiased the examiner. It doesn't matter how copious the information gathered or how conscientious the assessment. For getting at the "truth", it absolutely doesn't matter how much training the evaluator has in domestic violence, feminism, fathers' perspectives, or abuse defense. All the training does is create a belief bias. The general public -- and this includes judges -- need to be educated that there is very little expertise in forensic or applied psychology. There is no predictive power. There is absolutely no way to take sociological surveys about groups of individuals -- and this includes psychological testing -- and apply any of it to one individual. At best, we have insightful guesses. But training in psychology does not improve insight; those who go into the field frequently do so because they are people who already have problems and lack the insight to figure them out. And the training itself is as likely as not to diminish this cognitive function as its practitioners learn to deny their own flawed human cognitive synthesizing in order to substitute an even worse rote protocol under the pretext of neutral scientific investigation. There is no science. There is no falsifiable unifying theory with causation and prediction. There is no expertise. There is only familiarity with the presumptions, protocols and lingo of the field, just as one would find with "expertise" in astrology. No matter how expertly mapped, or with what nuance and consideration of all relevant details, the positions of the stars still say absolutely nothing about anything. -- liz

The Child-Centered Divorce Family Court is Not a Family-Friendly Place Parenting Coordination Dealing with forensic psychologists and discovery of test data in court


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