Explain the variables in your question and the type of research study that could answer your question as well as why that research would make a contribution to the field of forensic psychology

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Presentation of the Problem

Jesus is an eighteen year old Latino male. He, in May of last year, graduated from High School in Coahoma, Texas. Coahoma Texas is a very small town of about 1000 residents in west Texas. The closest metropolitan area is Midland/Odessa Texas with a population of about 250,000 combined people in the two cities. It is about a 90 minute drive from Coahoma to Midland/Odessa.

Jesus was an average high school student over the course of his high school education. His mother owns a small Mexican restaurant and is a citizen of the Republic of Mexico, as is his father, and oilfield worker.

Jesus is not a US citizen, having been born in Mexico. He has however been living in the US since he was a baby of just over one year of age.Jesus is fluent in the Spanish and English languages. The family speaks mostly Spanish inside the home.Jesus worked part time in his mother’s restaurant during his high school summers, and weekends during the school year.

Upon graduation Jesus was anxious to move away from Coahoma, realizing that there were limited employment opportunities in and around his home town. Jesus was not particularly interested in attending college or university, and didn’t really know what he wanted to be, so far as careers are concerned.

Jesus applied for and was hired to be a baggage handler for American Airlines. He obtained the job, using a false social security number. He is based at the Midland International Airport.It was a job that he enjoyed and payed well for a person receiving his first “real, “not familial, l job.Jesus worked hard, worked weekends and overtime, when required, without complaint. He and made friends with his peers and co workers at the airport. Within a few months of his employment he had rented his own apartment and purchased a new Ford pickup truck.Jesus about the same time began smoking marijuana on his days off, usually at his apartment with one or more of his new friends and acquaintances.Jesus marijuana use was recreational.Jesus never used at work and he never went to work under the influence of the substance.

On a Tuesday morning in early October, Jesus was off from his airline job. He was washing and waxing his new truck in the apartment complex. Jesus was using the designated area, near a roadway entrance to the apartment complex entrance.

As he was attending to his vehicle a young female, Lori, walked past the apartment complex and said to Jesus “nice truck!”Jesus impressed that a pretty young lady would notice and comment on his truck replied “Thanks,” and continued to give his attention to the new truck.Lori remained on the sidewalk watching Jesus. Lori had an outgoing personality, and continued to speak with Jesus, initially asking how old the truck was, how long Jesus had owned the vehicle, as well as general small talk. During the course of the conversation, Lori told Jesus that she was a 17 year old high school senior at Lee high school. Lee H.S.is about one- half a mile from the apartment complex.She related to Jesus that she was walking to school when she happened to encounter Jesus. She noted that she was on her usual route to school and that she had not previously seen Jesus or his truck. Jesus relayed his recent history about his move to Midland, Texas and his airline job.

The two spent about twenty minutes in general discussion when Lori noted, “Oh no, I’m late for school, I might as well skip the day.”She then asked if Jesus wanted to “hang” until the school day was over, and she had to return to her home.Jesus was amenable to the idea, and told her, that would be great, but that first he had to finish washing his truck (deciding silently that the waxing could wait to another day).

Upon finishing the washing task Jesus advised Lori that he had to change his clothes, and then they could “go to the mall or something.” Jesus headed to his apartment to change clothes, and Lori followed him to the residence. Once inside the apartment, Jesus went into his bedroom to change clothes, while Lori waited in the living room.Upon returning the living room, with a fresh change of clothes, Lori was sitting on the couch. She remarked to Jesus that while he was changing clothes, she went to the kitchen to get a glass of water. When she opened a kitchen cabinet, she found a “bong.” She then asked Jesus if he had any weed they could smoke.Jesus acknowledged that he did in fact have some marijuana and asked Lori if she wanted to get high.Lori eagerly accepted to offer.

Jesus turned on the TV, the two of them, sitting on the couch, and then got stoned with the marijuana.The two spent most of the day smoking the pot.The two found each other’s company to be enjoyable and around the noon hour the couple had sexual intercourse.

During this period the school counselor had called Lori’s mother to advise her of Lori’s absence from school.Lori’s mother was perturbed, and advised the school counselor that she had seen Lori off to school from home that morning.Not having heard from Lori all day, knowing that she had not gone to school, Lori’s mother got in the car to trace Lori’s route to the school.

During the drive by Jesus’ apartment complex, in the early afternoon, Lori was spotted in the parking lot with Jesus, a young man unknown to the mother.The mother quickly stopped her car, confronted Lori, and commanded her into the family car. Lori, in tears, complied, leaving Jesus in the parking lot, with no explanation.

Once at home, confronted her mother, Lori tearfully admitted to skipping school,smoking marijuana and acknowledged having sexual intercourse with Jesus. She also admitted that the sexual relations were not forced upon her and she willingly participated in the encounter.

One week later, Jesus was arrested and charged with Sexual Assault of a Child.

Lori was not 17 as she claimed to Jesus, but rather 13 years of age.

As a matter of law, it does not matter that Lori lied about her age to Jesus, a fact she acknowledged to the police.

Jesus was taken to the county jail, bail of one hundred thousand dollars, was set by a judge. He was subsequently fired from his job, because he could not quickly make his bail, and had several unexcused absences from his job.

Jesus is now facing trial for a serious felony offense, with a range of punishment from 5-99 years in prison. If convicted of the charge Jesus will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Jesus will be deported to Mexico, upon completion of any sentence, if found guilty.

Jesus was subsequently given a public defender to represent him in the case. When the lawyer visited with Jesus in jail the writes in his notes…Client seems to be depressed, feels the criminal justice system is not fair, doesn’t understand how he can be charged with a crime. Denies sexually assaulting Lori, admits to sexual relations but says Lori initiated sexual contact.The lawyer also noted that Jesus seemed to be confused about how he could be charged with a crime, and continued to maintain that he” did nothing wrong.”He also tells his lawyer that the “woman” acted of her own free will and initiated the entire matter.The public defender explained to Jesus that Lori was only 13 years of age. Jesus stated that he did not believe the lawyer.The lawyer went on to explain the trial process in general terms.How the case would proceed and what Jesus options would likely be to accept a plea offer that might subsequently be made for a guilty plea or to plea not guilty and go to jury trial. The lawyer explained to Jesus that it does not matter, legally, whether or not Lori lied about her age.The lawyer expressed to Jesus the ultimately how to proceed would be decision for him to make. The lawyer also assured Jesus that he would gladly take the case to trial, if the was the wish of Jesus.

Jesus asked the lawyer what he thought of Jesus’ chances if the case went to trial. The lawyer expressed his opinion that it was not likely a jury would Jesus would be found not guilty. Jesus became upset with the lawyer and said to the lawyer “You are not on my side and you are trying to harm me.”.

When Jesus was arraigned, post indictment, for the sexual assault of a child charge, the judge asked Jesus if he understood he charge against him. Jesus responded. “No.”The judge then asked Jesus if his lawyer had explained the charges to him. Jesus, again replied “No.”The judge asked the inquired of the lawyer as to his communications, generally, with Jesus. The lawyer affirmed that he attempted to explain the charges and discussed the legal proceedings and the procedures that would apply the case.

The judge asked the lawyer if he had explained the charges to Jesus. The lawyer advised the court that he had. The judge asked if Jesus had expressed and understanding of the charge against him and the public defender simply answered “No.”The court than asked the lawyer if Jesus had been able to assist in the defense of the case and the lawyer answered, “He has not assisted me in the defense of this case”.The judge asked the public defender if Jesus understood the role of the parties…the prosecutor, defense lawyer and himself (the judge).The lawyer responded “He has not expressed any such understanding to me, your honor.” The judge then asked the lawyer,” Do you think your client is competent to stand trial?”The public defender told the court, “ I don’t think that I am qualified to answer that question, I can only tell the court that Jesus has not expressed an understanding of the charges, has not assisted in his defense, and suggested that the system, including me, is trying to do him harm.”

The judge then ordered Jesus submit to a psychological examination.

Jesus stated he didn’t want an examination.

Assessment, Research and Evaluation

Develop a research question and a testable research hypothesis regarding offenders or the type of crime that is discussed in the vignette (such as, addiction, recidivism, criminal behavior, etc.). Explain the variables in your question and the type of research study that could answer your question as well as why that research would make a contribution to the field of forensic psychology


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