Forensic psychologists work at the crossroads of psychology and the legal system. They understand criminal and civil law and frequently serve as expert witnesses in court proceedings. Forensic psychologists may provide child-custody evaluations, testify in civil and criminal cases, gauge a defendant’s competency for trial or complete assessments of offenders and their risks to the community.Mentally Disordered Offender (MDO)
Dr. Napolitano has 12 years of experience as an evaluator of Mentally Disordered Offenders in California’s prison system. In that time, she has completed more than 1,200 evaluations for the California Department of Mental Health Forensic Services, Mentally Disordered Offender Unit.
The MDO population consists of inmates who are receiving mental health care following the commission of a violent crime. The evaluations are designed to determine whether or not the inmate represents a substantial danger of physical harm to others because of a severe mental disorder. The MDO law is intended to increase public safety.Juvenile Offenders
Dr. Napolitano is an expert at evaluating the risk of violence in juvenile offenders. In addition to providing such assessments, Dr. Napolitano is qualified to testify in court about her findings.Child Custody Evaluations
Dr. Napolitano has 15 years’ experience in child-custody evaluations. Through the evaluation process, Dr. Napolitano assesses the psychological status of the child and parents to help determine the best family structure in the face of parental disagreement, child special needs, alienation, substance abuse, mental illness issues, relocation requests and abuse or domestic violence allegations.Child Forensic Interviews
Dr. Napolitano has a strong background and specialized training in child forensic interviewing. She was trained as a Child Forensic Interview Specialist by the Child Abuse Training and Technical Assistance Centers (CATTA), and served four years in that role with the Madera County Child Forensic Interview Team. Dr. Napolitano is an expert in the proper questioning techniques of children who allege sexual abuse.Expert Testimony
Dr. Napolitano is an experienced witness whose diverse clinical background forms a strong and distinct foundation for her expert testimony. As a practicing clinician, Dr. Napolitano has decades of experience treating children and adults who struggle with mental illness, trauma, and divorce-related conflict. She draws on that vast clinical background as an expert witness in a wide range of criminal and civil proceedings. Dr. Napolitano has given depositions and testified in numerous trials related to Mentally Disordered Offenders, child custody evaluations, juvenile risk assessments, malpractice cases and dependency issues.
For more than 15 years, Dr. Napolitano has traveled across California as an expert witness in cases involving allegations of child sexual abuse. She has testified in dozens of legal proceedings and on behalf of both the prosecution and defense in criminal cases. Dr. Napolitano is an expert in child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome and in proper questioning techniques.