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Pitzer PSYC166
Legitimacy of the Legal System, Psychology and Law
Reading Summary 10: “Rights of Victims, Witnesses, Children”
Finklea’s discussion of sex trafficking details the inter-workings of sex trade and
victimization, and the treatment of juvenile victims within the legal system: The practice of sex
trafficking of children impacts the victim long after the exploitation occurs, and may be
unnecessarily exacerbated by injury by the legal and court systems. Finklea examines the
Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act which seeks to reframe the victimization of
those crimes to be such that minors are considered victims of crime, and not of strict liability to
their involvement with the trafficking itself and contends that the mistreatment of victims,
wherein this standard may be violated at the state-level, promotes gross and lasting injury, above
and beyond the exploitation. This false-criminalization of victims may be caused by (1) poor or
mis-identification of victims, (2) the incongruency between legislation and law-enforcement, and
(3) the overwhelming lack of resources and secure housing for victims (who may otherwise be
detained in more “safe” detention facility). This self-perpetuating cyclicality of criminalization
serves neither the victim or the State, and, as Finklea argues, must be addressed from both the
federal and department levels, through enhanced community relations, increased services, and
improved officer training methodologies. The potential for a mass trickle-down, or outside-in,
for departmental reform from this federal policy is therein more promising than individualized or
specialized reform. Moreover, it must be considered, at both the department and federal levels,
the long-term effects on victims processed by the innately coercive and damaging court system:
Finklea calls for greater visibility and transparency on the part of law enforcement officers, more
readily available safe spaces within the legal system, and the establishing of further outward-
bound programming to protect the rights and futures of victims.
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As briefly discussed by Finklea, Leo furthers the harm done unto victims by those
processes of the legal procedure designed precisely to best assist them: The existing policy
surrounding police interrogation, particularly of minors, is injurious at best; coercive and guilt-
presumptive methods of interrogation, overreliance upon unqualified and uneducated inference
and confessional evidence, misinformation concerning false confession, and encouragement of
false confession, and so on. Leo offers more successful alternatives, as based on recent scientific
finding, to better facilitate true confessions with the least harm enacted, and minimize the
prevalence of false confessions. Such policy reform includes: Reform of (1) interrogation timing
following the instance and duration per instance, (2) the elimination of intentional deception by
legal actors, (3) and the eventual and altogether elimination of false “diagnosticity of confession
evidence” through misclassification, incorrect inference, and coercive misinformation effects or
contamination errors put forth by interrogators. To combat these errors (misclassification,
coercion, and contamination), it is offered that departments must conform more strictly to
transparent, unbiased, and truthful policy. Overall, Leo argues the necessity of policy reform
towards a level of accuracy appropriate for a formal legal system, moving beyond the currently
less than satisfactory methods.

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Pitzer PSYC166 Legitimacy of the Legal System, Psychology and Law Reading Summary 10: “Rights of Victims, Witnesses, Children” Finklea’s discussion of sex trafficking details the inter-workings of sex trade and victimization, and the treatment of juvenile victims within the legal system: The practice of sex trafficking of children impacts the victim long after the exploitation occurs, and may be unnecessarily exacerbated by injury by the legal and court systems. Finklea examines the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act – which seeks to reframe the victimization of those crimes to be such that minors are considered victims of crime, and not of strict liability to their involvement with the trafficking itself – and contends that the mistreatment of victims, wherein this standard may be violated at the state-level, promotes gross and lasting injury, above and beyond the exploitation. This false-criminalization of victims may be caused by (1) poor or mis-identification of victims, (2) the incongruency between legislation and law-enforcement, and (3) the overwhelming lack of resources and secure housing for victims (who may otherwise be detained in more “safe” detention facility). This self-perpetuating cyclicality of criminalization serves neither the victim or the State, and, as Finklea argues, must be addressed from both the federal and department levels, through enhanced community relations, increased services, and improved officer training methodologies. The potential for a mass trickle-down, or outside-in, for departmental reform from this federal policy is therein more promising than individualized or specialized reform. Moreover, it must be considered, at both the department and federal levels, the long-term effects on victims processed by the innately coercive and damaging court system: Finklea calls for greater visibility and transparency on the part of law enforcement officers, more readily available safe spaces within the legal system, and the establishing of further outwardbound programming to protect the rights and futures of victims. As briefly discussed by Finklea, Leo furthers the harm done unto victims by those processes of the legal procedure designed precisely to best assist them: The existing policy surrounding police interrogation, particularly of minors, is injurious at best; coercive and guiltpresumptive methods of interrogation, overreliance upon unqualified and uneducated inference and confessional evidence, misinformation concerning false confession, and encouragement of false confession, and so on. Leo offers more successful alternatives, as based on recent scientific finding, to better facilitate true confessions with the least harm enacted, and minimize the prevalence of false confessions. Such policy reform includes: Reform of (1) interrogation timing following the instance and duration per instance, (2) the elimination of intentional deception by legal actors, (3) and the eventual and altogether elimination of false “diagnosticity of confession evidence” through misclassification, incorrect inference, and coercive misinformation effects or contamination errors put forth by interrogators. To combat these errors (misclassification, coercion, and contamination), it is offered that departments must conform more strictly to transparent, unbiased, and truthful policy. Overall, Leo argues the necessity of policy reform towards a level of accuracy appropriate for a formal legal system, moving beyond the currently less than satisfactory methods. Name: Description: ...
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