2011.02.26

A Reader’s Question …

Q: How can I prove someone is a psychopath in court?

Generally speaking, you probably can’t. “Psychopath” (or sociopath) typically describes a person who has been diagnosed with one or more personality disorders, such as Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD or ASPD), Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), and others.

Since they are defined illnesses, most courts will only permit an expert in the field to testify, and since it is considered someone’s private medical information, it may not be allowed at all. The most common test is the PCL-R assessment, in which a clinician must have special training just to administer the test. The test is used primarily on incarcerated individuals, as they are a captive audience.

A suspected sociopath in the general population would have no reason to submit to such a test, as it would only expose their true self. And if you suggested it to them, you would be unwittingly setting yourself up as a threat, and ultimately heading down the path of becoming a targeted victim.

What options are left?

My personal suggestion is to stick with the facts in court, and support your facts with solid evidence. Such evidence would include audio and video from hidden cameras and audio recording devices (an iPod Touch can record hours-upon-hours). Don’t attempt to quote them; allow them to be their own worst witness by playing their own words in court.

If you even mention “sociopath” or “psychopath” in court, the opposing attorney will likely rip you apart under cross-examination, and chip away at your credibility to the point of destroying it. Maintain your cool.

Gather a mountain of evidence, as carefully as you can, and present it in such a way that the court will come to the same conclusion you suspected.

How similar is the judge to the convict?

In some cases, more so than you’d ever imagine. Both can be afflicted with NPD, a disorder that makes them feel superior to everyone around them. Though each can have the same disorder, they chose vastly different paths to use those traits; such as a elevated sense of superiority, lack of compassion, and so on.

###

20 Responses to “Proving someone is a psychopath in court.”

  1. Doug Says:

    Great post Larry.

    If you remember, my mother was pretty thoroughly involved in a murder back in the 60′s. She had one boyfriend set up another boyfriend who carried a lot of cash to rob him and make it look like a random thug sticking him up. It went south on them and they screwed up and actually shot and killed the guy. Loaded the guy up in his own car and parked him dead on the side of a country road.

    It was so bungled the law had them pegged as the perpetrator’s and arrested them within 48 hours. The guy who actually pulled the trigger was found guilty and did 15 years on a life sentence and was paroled. My mother had a crack, well paid, criminal defense team, and she was found not guilty.

    Go figure.

    But if she can be found not guilty with the evidence they had on her, I would never go to court against a sociopath with a fore gone conclusion in mind.

    The movie primal fear with Ed Norton and Richard Gere comes to mind.

  2. Larry Says:

    Thanks Doug.

    Unfortunately, the source for the post is all from my personal experience. The superior court judge who presided over the hearing resigned in shame during 2010 after being caught banging a public defender (attorney) in a parked car. He heard 225 of her cases, and within a matter of days, it was announced there were no improprieties.

    They didn’t ask me.

  3. Doug Says:

    Lawyers are loath to accept any appearance of impropriety. No matter how damning the evidence may be to the contrary. Down here where I live, there was a prosecutor who was nailing the judge that presided over a murder trial that ended with the defendant’s death sentence.

    Last I heard the District Attorney’s office were fighting a new trial and an appeals court were considering at least a new punishment hearing. Though this sounds fair, if it was my ass strapped to the gurney I would not be so sure about the impartiality of it all.

  4. Jeffy Says:

    Great, the more I read here, the more I realize I’m screwed!

  5. Larry Says:

    (continued from Victim Traits)
    That’s easy, then, why do you keep reading? Was it a spouse? A co-worker? I doubt if your situation is as bad as mine. If reading only makes things worse, then stop reading. Seek counseling. Talk to a good friend. Bitching and moaning usually offers no benefits.

  6. Gina Says:

    Jeffy,

    Forget these scums. It takes some time … but you can do it!!!!!
    There are still good people in the world. just be cautious next time.

  7. Jojo Says:

    Still fighting for my granddaughter Larry. The school have reported that she is ‘shutting down’ but she is still left with p mom and granddad. At least they have appointed her a guardian now.

    I’m just terrified that he’ll be taken in like everyone else. I am taking the Checklist to CAFCASS just to open their eyes a bit. Wish me and Jess luck please everyone.

    Jo

  8. Madmacks Says:

    Larry,

    Is it in the best interest of children for a psychopath to have full custody of two children?

    Is it in the best interest of the children that the father have no rights to children at the request of a parent with psychopathy?

    That is what I keep asking the Court and they keep avoiding answering my question. I’ve mentioned it at least 15 times to at least three judges and they have yet to say the word.

    There is a Conspiracy of Silence about psychopathy, as [the doctor] called it.

    I learned the truth about psychopathy after it was too late. My ex-wife had custody and the court had been completely fooled. I have drawn a connect the dots for them and they turn a blind eye. As if the patterns of ‘high conflict’ personalities and their tactics have never been detected.

    I filed a Petition for a Guardian Ad Litem because there is ‘a crisis’ for me and my children. I pointed out that my ex-wife had not provided ANY information about my children in 3 years. I directed the courts attention to the fact that I had not seen nor heard of them in over 2 years. I subtly hinted that my rights were taken even though I was never found to be an unfit parent. I respectfully informed the Judge that there has been no third party involvement. I told the Judge the reason for ‘the concern for the emotional welfare of my children’ was psychopathy. The Judge dismissed the Petition for a Guardian Ad Litem.

    At what point does it become a cover up? When clear patterns of behavior are present how do I pretend they don’t exist?

    Got any good advice? Is blowing the whistle worth pursuing? Psychopathy has taken over my case because good men have done nothing.

    Thanks.

  9. Larry Says:

    Madmacks,

    Of course the answer to your first two questions is “no.”

    I am not a legal professional, but I have faced similar contradictions in court. One judge told me to leave his courtroom, immediately followed it with telling the sheriff to escort me out, and “take him to jail if you’d like.”

    As I was gathering up my papers, the sheriff bumped into me hard enough that if I hadn’t had the chair in front of me to grab, I would have been knocked to the ground.

    This particular judge admonished me earlier about parenting, yet within two years, he resigned in disgrace after being caught banging a state attorney in a parked car. It was reported that she had over 225 cases decided in front of him, and less than a week later, the state prosecutor stated there was no foul play and that none of the cases would be reviewed.

    Understand that I was granted custody of my two toddlers some years earlier. My ex filed three separate suits against me over the next ten years so she could stop paying child support.

    I learned the truth about psychopathy after my divorce, too. Hence, it was never raised in court. But I’ve never heard that raising it in court had positive results. If you are not a psychologist, your words will go unheeded. It is a disorder so that a professional would need to testify.

    Candidly I do not know what to suggest to you since the courts seem to side with the lying psychopaths. If you can get a court-ordered psychological testing of your ex, including specific tests for psychopathy, you may be in better shape. If you have a good attorney to pull off such a feat, they would likely have you tested, too. The tests are expensive, as in thousands of dollars.

    I wish you the best.

  10. Madmacks Says:

    Larry,

    You bring up the issue of a psychological evaluation. My ex-wife insisted on a ‘psychological evaluation’ of both parties and so I gladly agreed to a consent order. [The court-appointed psychologist], an expert in child and criminal psychology, conducted a ‘custody evaluation’ instead the psychological evaluation that I agreed to and the Court ordered.

    When I brought it to the Court’s attention that the wrong evaluation was done, I was ignored. The Custody evaluation was so badly one-sided it was laughable. [The court-appointed psychologist] was given a signed release to contact my psychiatrist to confirm my allegations of emotional abuse and control. [He] knew what the red flags for psychopathy were and hid them from the Court. There is currently a complaint with the American Psychological Association pending.

    The point is that there is certainly a valid reason out there for her to undergo a psychological evaluation. The problem would be getting the Court to actually order it. The Court has gone out of its way to stick its head in the sand about psychopathy.

    The Court is now actively acting to protect its own interests and not my children’s. All I plan to do is keep asking for an Court appointed attorney for my children. All of the Bench Guides for Custody cases recommend intervention, which makes it all the more strange that the Court refuses to allow a Guardian Ad Litem.

    I’ll keep you posted.

  11. Kristine Says:

    Have there been any advances in the legal system when it comes to the abilities of sociopaths and how they ruthlessly take good unsuspecting people down with such evil pleasure and successful grace?

    I am currently being taken down by the coldest, evil, manipulative bastard that exists on this earth. I truly believe he is an antichrist we were warned of in the final days. My problem is I am in the [local] court system which I believe is run by many sociopaths who empathize and idolize the abilities of their confidants.

    It has been the most horrifying experience that I could not have even imagined if I tried. I believe it will come down to murder/suicide if I do not get help from knowledgeable people.

    PLEASE HEAR MY PLEA AND HELP BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.

    Dec 2012 is my final court date but I do not believe I will make it to the end of this month. I have 2 kids I want to live for but this sociopath is making it beyond my capabilities to be able to function to the point of psychological breakdown…

  12. Joanna Says:

    The courts are a disgrace!!! So are Guardian Ad Litems Madmacks so don’t think you are missing anything.

    My ex and my daughter have ripped my reputation to shreds. The reports from both SS and CAFCASS were completely and utterly fabricated by just listening to these two psychos!! No evidence, no proof, although I had plenty of proof about things they had both been up to, nothing was even mentioned about that.

    I feel completely let down by the whole rotten system. What is it all about? Making money out of peoples misery? Leaving children with no protection against these cold, selfish people is horrific and I am mystified as to how we protect ourselves and our helpless little ones.

    Could we start a group and force recognition of these aliens?

  13. surviving Says:

    Kristine

    I have been there and the only thing I am thankful for I did not have small children, mine are young adults. I also had no contact withe them because of my ex-husband. I started reading the laws inside and out and if I knew then what I know now I may have had a slight chance. I have been a criminal justice major for almost two years now. I live breath and sleep law all to protect myself, they system is ignorant to sociopaths.

    My ex got away with things no one should have and it was as clear as black and white. I do not know what state you are in but I dealt with a corrupt crooked system and half of his associates ans friends, and friends of friends all work in the judicial system to one capacity to another. I had no chance but i stood my ground and refused to budge for over a year. i ended up getting false charges he filed against me dismissed, but I still am paying because I have to pay to have the false dismissed charges expunged.

    Search the laws of you state and county online or go to the library, learn all you can, Do not depend on a lawyer unless you have unlimited money to spend on a real expensive one that will fight for you. I had lawyers and I did all the work if I listened to them I would have taken a plea for something I did not do.

    I was told by a psychologist that it is very hard to convict them because they are so good at lying appearing to be someone they are not.
    I wish you all the best and hope it all works out for you. I know fighting them is hard I tried that and then tried running and hiding for almost two years and now I live in seclusion in hiding. I know how you feel and what you are going through the games they play the lies they tell is is emotionally traumatic. Stay strong for yourself and educate your self on your rights and the law and make a plan to get as far away as you can from this person and do not leave a trail. Get into an address confidentiality program that help keep you information from getting out in public, and them from finding you. i am in the program now and it has allowed me to breath a little without being scared 24/7.

    I almost lost my life but I decided i would not give him the pleasure of taking my life nor would I ever give him the pleasure of knowing I took my own life it will never happen.

    Do not give him you life ever you said you have children they need you.

    After reading your post my PTSD kicked in because your post hit real close to me. But if it helps I made it but I had to do it myself. i sat in the library for hours reading the laws and my rights. It is the only way the legal system will take advantage of people who do not know the law.

  14. Jojo Says:

    Kristine,

    You have to keep going for your children’s sake. If you do anything silly he will end up with sole custody!!

    I in the end had to give in. I think when they have nothing to fight they literally have nothing.

    No one knows how they get away with it all, but they do and always will until someone sees they light and devises laws and tests to prove what sort of creatures they are. Please stay strong. Don’t forget there are so many other people fighting the exact same fight as you and we all need each other.

    Good Luck

  15. Larry Says:

    Kristine,

    Speaking for myself and others, we’ve all been where you are now. The pain seems unbearable, and it can be, so you need to get yourself to a psychiatrist as soon as possible. You need to deal with the short term right now, and the doctor can prescribe meds that will help you so you can think clearly and not feel panicked. Your kids need you.

    There are anti-anxiety meds for short term relief, and anti-depressants for the long term. Make the call tomorrow and emphasize to the person who’s making the appointment for you that it’s urgent. You need to see a professional as soon as possible. You will benefit greatly, but you just need to do it.

    We will still be here.

  16. surviving Says:

    Larry you are a wonderful person and you are so right. In the middle of my fight I was so scared i stayed away for 4 days in a row. I was out of it my doctor put me in the hospital. That was the best thing for me because I was able to get rest and medicine to help with my anxiety. I also thought about giving up, I sat in my empty apartment ready to end it all I was emotionally gone, traumatized, but I thought about my sons and I couldn’t do it. I thought about my ex smiling at the thought he won, he got rid of me something he has vowed to to do and will never give up.

    I know how Kristin feels I think many of us do. It is hard and she can get help and hold it together for her kids so he doesn’t use it against her.

    After that day I wanted to give up I cried I got mad I shook and I screamed, i felt sorry for myself I got mad at me, and then I got strong even when I was week. I am still week in many ways but I am also strong because I am still alive. I will not let him take my life.

    Larry why is there not more awareness and knowledge about sociopaths and how to stop them and help their victims? I am amazed at the amount of people traumatized and harmed by them and they keep getting away with it. In the court of laws they get away with things that are clearly against our laws.

    I know the legal system I know criminal law inside and out and I still lost in many ways, but in the end I won. What scares me is they do this over and over my ex and his buddies are on many dating sites scamming and waiting for their next victim, that is scary! The worst thing is there is nothing that can be done about it but keep myself safe and in hiding.

    When will our society see them for who they are ans stop them? I hurt for everyone who has been through this I hurt for me. I am in awe at the many lives hurt from these kind of people. Thank You for everything you do Larry. I tried and each time he silences me each and every time.

  17. Larry Says:

    Surviving,

    Thank you, Joanna, and Jojo for chiming in as quickly as you all did. Kristine probably feels very alone right now, and we all know that she’s not. We’ve all been there.

    Everyone knows of the words “sociopath” and “psychopath” but few realize how prevalent the problem is. They are in our lives every day, and as survivors, we learn to recognize the traits and spot them. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

    Evil and psychopathy are virtually synonymous.

    Again, thank you.

  18. Kristine Says:

    JoJo, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. This line of yours is classic…” I think when they have nothing to fight they literally have nothing.” …it is truly what they live for, if there is not animosity and a psychological battle, well, life is just too boring for them so they create something so they can just mess with your head until you snap!…

    Joanna, surviving and Larry-I thank you too from the bottom of my heart for your immediate response to my situation. This is the first time since this reality really started spiraling out of control in February that I have had any kind of empathetic response from people who can actually relate to this entity. Everyone else I mention the word “sociopath” to thinks I am out of my mind!

    Although my children are 15 & 16 years old they still need me and I them. They are beautiful promising children with an amazing zest for life. They are well liked by their peers, good students and they both have hearts of gold. The sociopath that is bringing me down however is not their father, although he has done his fair share of damage.

    The sociopath I am dealing with has already put felonies on his ex-wife (an RN he manipulated into forging Rx’s for HIS drug addictions) when she tried exposing him, well he already had all the ammo he needed to make her lose her license to practice as a nurse, have her arrested for felony forgery so she could never get a decent job ever again, had no money for legal defense in the divorce and then the bitter-bitter custody battle which followed in which he was awarded custody, then took the 3 kids from California to IL which left his ex-wife so distraught over it that she overdosed in a suicide attempt- only to come out of the drug induced coma a complete vegetable-whom he left as a ward of the state of California!!!

    In the midst of his divorce/custody battle and yes a bankruptcy too, he latched onto a woman in divorce court who was divorcing an established San Diego Doctor, he used her for tens of thousands of dollars that he never paid back, stole Rx meds from her, pawned her jewelry for money all while she was supporting his kids and for all purposes had become like a Mother to them, he had promised her marriage and that he would make it all up to her but the second he got custody he took the kids to IL after antagonizing the hell out of her by cheating on her repeatedly and lying compulsively, he got restraining orders against her under false pretenses and completely left her high and dry with a broken heart to boot, she eventually lost her La Jolla town home to foreclosure.

    He moved to IL, down the street from me, started a relationship with me, stole Rx meds from me, stole jewelry from me and pawned it, I too spoiled his kids and loaned him money he never paid back, he stole money from my purse, underwear for his perverse sexual addictions which were unbelievably rampant and disgusting, he sent pictures of his penis to my 15 year old daughters cell phone, got a restraining order against me, put his kids on it and his new girlfriend.. this goes on and on and on and this guy is still sitting pretty while I am in the middle of a court battle trying to defend my character against this monster that has projected so many of his evil deeds on me that it is deplorable, unbelievable to say the least and the part that floors me the most is that he comes up with these repeated, constant lies that I am doing the most heinous things that I could not even fathom and the simple minded police officers and all his minions believe this psycho/sociopath!!

    This guy needs to be put away and tortured as far as I’m concerned…anyone who wants to jump on my band wagon is more than welcome!!…Psychiatric help at this point I feel is almost hopeless, when a sicko like this is still able to keep his sanity and without remorse or conscience keep doing what he is doing and gaining followers with momentum…MY GOD who would want to go on?!

    [Editor's Note: The above comment is fake. The husband, in this case, is the victim. It was proven to me through court records. The woman who wrote it has two felonies. See how convincing they can be?]

  19. Madmacks Says:

    Kristine,

    I am not sure it makes you feel any better but you are not alone in what you are experiencing. I have also been dealing with a very wealthy psychopath in my custody case and it has been truly maddening. I have watched doctors, lawyers and judges turn a blind eye to abuse and pretend that patterns of behavior do not exist.

    What you and I are experiencing is the ‘conspiracy of silence’ surrounding psychopathy. Doctors do not want to ‘label’ anyone with psychopathy’; lawyers don’t want to argue it in Court because it requires experts and is very expensive; and Judges don’t wish to rule on the issue.

    The patterns of behavior are so obvious and undeniable in my ex-wife and her family and the Court was fooled so badly, the Judge in my case has refused 5 requests for a Guardian Ad Litem to represent my children’s interests.

    My ex-wife asked for all the assets, no visitation for me, and that I pay child support 3x what I should be paying. She was given everything she asked. The Court was so badly fooled it knows that a GAL would recognize the problem immediately. So rather than address the problem by bringing in a third party, the Court has decided to silence the messenger.

    The doctors and lawyers involved have all privately expressed to me that they agree with me. One attorney said he didn’t want ‘to embarrass the Judge’. Another attorney offered to be my agent for the book he suggested I write. However, all of them have refused to present psychopathy in Court as an explanation to the chaos that has gone on for 40 hearings in 4 years.

    The Court has actually even put me in jail for communicating facts about my ex-wife’s father’s murder conviction, in order to silence my concerns about psychopathy.

    I think people are aware of psychopathy, but they just don’t wish to make the hard decisions and take the steps required to prevent their abuses. I have no doubt that everyone involved in my case knows that there is a severe psychopathology wreaking havoc on my life and in the Courtroom. They just don’t wish to admit that they were fooled and that evil exists.

    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)

  20. Nicole Says:

    Wow, the letter from Kristine is fascinating.

    I am fighting false allegations in court by a sociopath I was in a relationship with for 3 years. I found out at the end that he was living a completely double life (cheating daily with hookers, telling me he was going to a job he no longer had, taking my money to do coke).

    I confronted him and he turned abusive. We broke up and I wrote the truth about our relationship on my private blog, and he went to the police and accused me of harassment, stalking, slander, libel… he told them he had broken up with me a year before when actually it was a week before. he has no case but I still have to pay $$$ to have lawyers defend me because he is going in almost daily and inventing more “evidence” to bring me down with, and I know from experience how convincing he can be.

    It is incredibly stressful, and I have no real support, very few people believe me. The one stroke of luck in my case is that my ex dated the head of psychology at the state prison and the state mental hospital right after me. She saw through him pretty much immediately, and she wrote me a letter sympathizing and stating that he is definitely a sociopath. So I have that as validation, even if I can’t use it as evidence. I wish there were more resources for victims of these people. The system seems to be all too ready to back the sociopath and not investigate enough to determine the true victim.

Your insights are appreciated ...

*