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List of Summaries




Murder in the Hispanic Community 
(book in preparation, research stage). 

Dr. LaCalle is accumulating and documenting his personal experiences with capital and murder cases involving Hispanics. To date, he has worked on 200 murder cases and is in the process of analyzing the commonalties of many of those murderers, as well as defining the common  cultural issues contributing to the motivation behind those crimes.

Preliminary findings suggest that the majority of the homicides committed by Hispanics are not predatory in nature, but frequently are based on passion, cultural dictums, family feuds and alcohol abuse. Perhaps, the only exceptions with Hispanics as with many other ethnic groups, are the drug-related murders, which, in the majority of cases, are predatory in nature. 

The book also will deal with frequent issues arising in the preparation of the defense of the Hispanic murders. Preliminary findings suggest that since most of the Hispanics involved in homicides are in the lower socio-economic class, the quality of the legal defense available to them is determined not by their personal financial resources, but by the quality of the public legal defense system available in their specific states and counties. Instances of lack of due process, violation of constitutional rights, disregard of the international rights of foreign defendants, manipulation of so-called "confessions," frequent disregard of Miranda Rights, physical intimidation, etc., will be addressed. 

Miranda Admonition to Hispanics: Invalid Waivers Due to Cognitive and Volitional Deficiencies. (article) Copyright

The experience of hundreds if not thousands of Hispanic defendants tells us that the police and district attorney investigators and agents appear to treat the Miranda admonition as a sort of nuisance that blocks the legitimate task of obtaining information and confessions. 

It is the author's contention that the Miranda admonition can be properly administered to persons of very limited intelligence, with no educational background and of very different cultural backgrounds. 

The manner in which the Miranda admonition is often given to Hispanic subjects renders the admonition unintelligible, either because the words used make no sense in Spanish or because the words cannot be understood by Hispanic subjects of lower intelligence or limited educational background.

Another important issue is the "voluntary" waiver.  Many unsophisticated  Hispanics, especially those from  Mexican and Central American rural areas, have had experiences in their lives that taught them that one must always say "yes" to the police in order to avoid mistreatment.  Although the Hispanics under arrest may have linguistically understood they have the right to remain silent, they do not fully comprehend that they have the right to refuse answering  without fear of retaliation..   

" El Psicologo Inter-cultural Forense en los Procesos Judiciales  de Hispanos Acusados de Asesinatos y otros Crimenes Violentos" 

The Forensic Cross-cultural Psychologist in trials of Hispanics charged with murder and other violent crimes : a Chapter of  "Psicologia de la Conducta Criminal",  Psychology of Criminal Behavior, a book in publication in Bogota Colombia.  This chapter describes the author's techniques, product of his 25 years of experience in the American Courts.  Evaluations of defendants, socio-cultural research, psychological autopsies, forensic reports, legal consultations and court testimony are some of the subjects addressed in addition to cultural factors, religious believes and mitigation factors. 

La Violencia Juvenil. El Psicologo Hispano en el Tribunal de Menores.

Juvenile Violence. The Hispanic Psychologist in Juvenile Court. A chapter of " Psicologia de la Conducta Criminal", a book in publication in Bogota, Colombia. This chapter deals with the "hot" issue  of the Hispanic juvenile violence: sociological aspects and psychodynamic issues. Elaborates about predatory violence, violence as entertainment , social violence, incidental violence, family violence,  sexual violence, female violence and pathological violence. 

"False and Manipulated Confessions Extracted From Criminal Hispanic Suspects" .
(Article , Copyright 2000)

The author, during a recent review of the murder cases (200) he has worked on over the years, became aware of how frequently Hispanic defendants are manipulated into confessing, not only without the proper Miranda admonition, but even in cases when the defendants actually did not commit the murders.  He also noticed that this is not limited to serious cases, like murder or attempted murder. The article  deals with a wide variety of cases, showing the common tactics and techniques used against the Hispanic defendants.

The author also found that these forced and manipulated confessions are obtained from mentally retarded subjects without any ethical considerations as to the way the confessions were extorted. The judges appear to be very reluctant to throw out confessions of crimes, and this is particularly true in notorious and high-publicity cases.  

Psicologia Forense Aplicada

Following a frequent request of lecture audiences and participants in his workshops on the subject, Dr. LaCalle is preparing a Manual of Applied Forensic Psychology for graduate  students of Forensic Psychology  in Latin America. 

The Manual is being published  in collaboration and with the input of several Hispanic Psychologists in the USA, Latin America and Spain.  Its English version also will address  cross-cultural issues and specific information with application to the American Court System. 

Forensic Psychological Evaluations Through an Interpreter, Legal and Ethical Issues. (article) 

In California, as in most  other states,  forensic psychological and psychiatric evaluations are performed by professionals who do not speak the language of their clients.  This article   explores  legal and ethical issues of such practice.  It also addresses the  problems related to the use of purportedly "qualified" foreign language interpreters.  In many instances, these interpreters are simply not qualified. Office and janitorial help that happen to speak Spanish are often used as interpreters . The interpreter might even be related to the person being examined. 

In  evaluations through an interpreter, one has to wonder who is the person being evaluated: the client or the interpreter. Since the verbal expressions and the choice of specific words can be extremely essential in any psychiatric and forensic evaluation.  It is not unusual for the translation under these circumstances to convey the opposite message as the one intended.  Actual cases are provided and practical considerations and guidelines are suggested.

Incest, Offender Treatment and Family Therapy. 

The author is of the opinion that the psychodynamics involved in incest are quite different from the psychodynamics of child molestation and pedophilia. In the opinion of the author, incestuous behavior is by far more treatable than pedophilia. The approach is to treat the "incestuous family" rather than focus the attention only on the incest perpetrator. The recidivism rate of the convicted incest perpetrator, especially if he or she has undergone appropriate psychiatric treatment, is  low.

Hispanics Defendants on Sex Offense Charges. Primer for Expert Witness.

Many Hispanics find themselves charged with a sex offense for behaviors that would not be considered sexual offenses in their country of origin. Typical cases: public urination (in the U.S., indecent exposure), having consensual sex with a fully developed pubescent minor (in the U.S., statutory rape), patting the derriere of a female passerby (in the U.S., sexual assault), to name a few. Other such crimes by Hispanics might be secondary to poor impulse control, or to an unconventional social environment (overcrowding in 
small apartments with unrelated males and females sharing the otherwise unaffordable rent). Socio-cultural investigations of the defendant's background may show no criminal intent or unawareness of the criminality of their actions.

Juvenile Hispanic Murders, (article, Copyright 1999):

The author has been retained over the last twenty-five years in many criminal cases where the defendant was a juvenile Hispanic.  In quite a few of those cases, the charge was murder, and even first degree murder with special circumstances. Some of those cases ended with a LWOP sentence. This study will address the common issues of violence among the Hispanic youth, and the response of US juries, frequently all white or  majority white, to these juvenile offenders.  The distinctions will be made between Mexican-American juveniles, Mexican national immigrants,
Central and Latin Americans.

In addition to the drug-related murders and the gang-related crimes, the study addresses other issues such as acculturation, family disintegration, racial discrimination,
educational deficits and socio-economic circumstances.

The Hispanic Child Molester: Pedophilia or Social Disease

This article addresses  cultural issues of child molestation by Hispanics. There are Hispanic pedophiles , but the experience of this Forensic Psychologist supports the statement that many of the cases with Hispanic defendants that reach  the US courts are not that of fixated pedophiles, but  of opportunistic  child molestation, secondary to social conditions and cultural value systems.  Several actual cases are studied in this paper.


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