Side Effect Media: Public Health/Personal Stories
Originally posted September 26, 2017
Here is an excerpt:
Investigating a lie
Fink was often hired by the courts in Indiana, and over the last ten years had performed dozens of these competency evaluations. His scene-of-the-crash confession called into question not only the Loving trial, but every one he ever worked on.
Courts rely on psychologists to assess the mental fitness of defendants, but Fink’s story raises serious questions about how courts determine mental competency in Indiana and what system of oversight is in place to ensure defendants get a valid examination.
The judge declared a mistrial in Caleb Loving’s case, but Fink’s confession prompted a massive months-long investigation in Vanderburgh County.
Hermann led the investigation, working to untangle a mess of nearly 70 cases for which Fink performed exams or testing, determined to discover the extent of the damage he had done.
“A lot of different agencies participated in that investigation,” Herman said. “It was a troubling case, in that someone who was literally hired by the court to come in and testify about something … [was] lying.”
The county auditor’s office provided payment histories of psychologists hired by the courts, and the Evansville Police Department spent hundreds of hours looking through records. The courts helped Hermann get access to the cases that Albert Fink had worked on.