Yesterday, we posted about a new development regarding mitigating factors in Texas and elsewhere: the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists has sanctioned George Denkowski, Ph.D., otherwise known as "Dr. Death," for his questionable evaluations of over a dozen men on Texas Death Row. 

Dr. Death was argued to have used unscientific methods to find that 16 men (two have been executed, the others set on Death Row) to boost their IQ scores out of the Atkins protective range.

Psychologist Paula Kaplan Responds

Dr. Paula Kaplan is a clinical and research psychologist, an Affiliate at Harvard University’s DuBois Institute and a Fellow at the Women and Public Policy Program in Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.  She has written a piece that appears in Psychology Today magazine that discusses the recent punishment of Dr. George Denkowski.

Dr. Kaplan’s April 19, 2011 article, "When Psychologists Make Life-or-Death Decisions: How psychologists directly determine who lives and dies in justice system," is a must-read for anyone interested in the evaluation of men and women for intellectual capacity, particularly as it impacts the decision on whether or not the death penalty will be sought. 

Of particular import:

… [It is] … a dangerous myth that psychological assessments are absolutely objective and that psychologists’ conduct of them can be totally free from bias.

Please take the time to read the article.  And if you can see fit to contribute to funding for the completion of Dr. Kaplan’s film, then please consider helping her get that project finalized and out for all of us to see and hear.