How can Dr. Perez help?
Thank you for your interest in working together! Dr. Alejandra Perez provides expert testimony, assessment, and consultation services in the Los Angeles County, Orange County, and the Inland Empire area.
This page provides a brief summary of what these include to help direct clients and attorneys to the most appropriate service based on their needs. If you would like any clarification or questions answered, please feel free to contact Dr. Perez here.
What is Expert Testimony?
Much like the testimony provided by witnesses, the accused, or the defendant, experts may weigh in during trials to provide invaluable information and context for the proceeding.
Forensic psychologists, such as Dr. Perez, often act as expert witnesses for mental health concerns and are uniquely suited to provide insight related to criminal psychology (Melton et al, 2017). For example, some cases involve illegal behaviors that may relate to mental or emotional disorders. Expert testimony from a forensic psychologist can help explain mental states, motivations, and diagnoses to a lay audience. Although attorneys and judges may be familiar with the effects of severe mental illness, many legal teams rely on the expertise provided by forensic psychologists (Brodsky & Gutheil, 2016).
Some examples of legal issues forensic psychologists help with include:
Depression and suicidality
Anxiety or particular phobias
Psychosis (i.e. schizophrenia)
As one of the few bilingual forensic psychologists in the state of California, Dr. Perez is unique in her field. Her training in inpatient psychiatric care, severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI), high acuity risk assessment, domestic violence and abuse, incarceration, and child and family services provides her with powerful confidence as an expert witness. For more information about Dr. Perez’ availability for expert witness services, contact her today!
What is a Conservatorship Evaluation?
Major family decisions can sometimes require legal intervention, particularly when changes may be made regarding financial responsibility or disability. When a person loses the mental or physical ability to take care of themselves, families may request conservatorship, or legal power to make decisions for others in the case of severe disability. Conservatorship evaluations are formal assessments conducted to examine an individual’s mental capacity to care for oneself. These assessments require testing cognitive, social, and behavioral functioning (see Marson, Kerr, & McLaren, 2016) in order to determine one’s capacity to live a safe, healthy, and responsible life.
Dr. Perez provides specialist services in conservatorship evaluation (and re-evaluation) designed to accurately determine capacity for conservatorship while also providing clear results and recommendations for attorneys and families. Dr. Perez’ conservatorship evaluations can identify the presence of a psychological disability and other mental health disorders. Additionally, Dr. Perez can provide solid recommendations for clients based on the findings of the assessment, such as:
Intellectual strengths and weaknesses
Strategies for navigating the challenges of living with disability
Opportunities for family members and friends to assist the client
Increased awareness regarding co-occurring (or comorbid) mental health issues
Identification of problematic behaviors or lifestyle choices
Ideas for maintaining physical and psychological wellbeing
These assessments are specifically integrated to include previous assessment data, information about daily functioning, and more to provide a holistic view of the client’s abilities. To learn more about Dr. Perez’ approach to conservatorship evaluations, contact her today!
What is a Mental Capacity Evaluation?
Similar to conservatorship evaluations, some cases require a professional assessment to identify the mental state of the accused or determine whether a person is mentally fit for trial. Mental capacity evaluations play a crucial role in many legal decisions, particularly those with a history of mental health issues or involve psychological dysfunction at the time of the offense (Gay, Vitacco, & Ragatz 2017). Mental capacity evaluations can also be used to determine appropriate placement for sentencing in some cases (i.e. inpatient treatment, versus incarceration).
As decisions about mental capacity or fitness are not made lightly, legal teams and families must rely on the expertise of forensic psychologists. Dr. Perez’ mental capacity evaluations are specifically designed to meet the needs of each case to provide an accurate diagnosis. The results of these comprehensive assessments are provided in a way that is professional and easy for attorneys and their clients to understand. To learn more about Dr. Perez’ availability for mental capacity evaluations, contact her today!
What is Professional Consultation?
In a nutshell, consultation is like having a professional problem-solver and insight-giver. Consultation is a service provided by professional psychologists for clients, attorneys, or organizations to help them understand all things mental health related. And, as the prevalence of mental health issues in legal proceedings increases, the demand for consultation from forensic psychologists has risen (see Otto & Heilbrun, 2002).
Each forensic psychologist has a unique background and skillset, and so choosing the right consultant is perhaps the most important step. Dr. Perez provides consultation services to attorneys, organizations, and even other psychologists from all over the Los Angeles County, Orange County, and the Inland Empire region. Although requests for consultation tend to be diverse, some examples of issues Dr. Perez can help with include risk assessment, conservatorship or mental capacity evaluations, or understanding psychological conditions or terms. In addition to her assessment and consultation skills, Dr. Perez is also one of the few bilingual (English and Korean) psychologists in the state of California. A proud graduate of Alliant International University, Fresno, California, Dr. Perez is licensed to practice in California (License # PSY25139) by the California Board of Psychology. Dr. Perez is also an active member of the Psychology-Law Society Division of the American Psychological Association.
To learn more about Dr. Perez’ availability for professional consultation, contact her today!
Want to learn about what to expect from expert witness forensic psychologists, conservatorship evaluations, mental capacity assessments, or professional consultation? Check out the Services page to find out more.
Contact Dr. Perez
Interested in working with Dr. Perez? Contact her today via the Contact form, or call at (909) 378-5599 during business hours. Her main office is located at 5857 Pine Avenue Unit B, Chino Hills California 91708, where she provides services for clients and attorneys from across the Los Angeles and Inland Empire area.
Brodsky, S. L., & Gutheil, T. G. (2016). The expert expert witness: More maxims and guidelines for testifying in court. American Psychological Association.
Gay, J. G., Vitacco, M. J., & Ragatz, L. (2017). Mental health symptoms predict competency to stand trial and competency restoration success. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 22(2), 288-301.
Marson, D. C., Kerr, D. L., & McLaren, D. G. (2016). Financial decision-making and capacity in older adults. In Handbook of the Psychology of Aging (Eighth Edition) (pp. 361-388).
Melton, G. B., Petrila, J., Poythress, N. G., Slobogin, C., Otto, R. K., Mossman, D., & Condie, L. O. (2017). Psychological evaluations for the courts: A handbook for mental health professionals and lawyers. Guilford Publications.
Otto, R. K., & Heilbrun, K. (2002). The practice of forensic psychology: A look toward the future in light of the past. American Psychologist, 57(1), 5.