Thursday, July 15, 2021 - 02:00
Add to Calendar

WHY Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Is A Severe Developmental Disorder: Looking At The Neurobehavioral And Neurocognitive Deficits In Each Client

Time: 2:00 - 3:30 (EDT)

In Floyd v. Baker, 949 F.3d 1128 (9th Cir. 2020), the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit clearly failed to understand the severity of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) as a mitigating factor in a capital case by comparing it to attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Despite nearly 50 years of research that has documented the severity of FASD--which  is clearly a "developmental disability" that occurs at birth (in utero)--the court minimized FASD as a mitigating factor. The court failed to recognize FASD as a permanent developmental disability that gets worse over time.  Instead it compared FASD as being equivalent to having ADHD. Unlike ADHD, FASD is equivalent to having an intellectual disability. See Stephen Greenspan & Natalie Novick Brown & William Edwards, FASD and the Concept of "Intellectual Disability Equivalence," in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in Adults: Ethical and Legal Perspective 241-66 (Monty Nelson & Margerite Trussler eds., 2015).

This webinar will explain why FASD is a more severe developmental disability and make further recommendations on how to get a proper diagnosis of FASD. It will also discuss what experts to use and how to connect the dots with your experts on how the neurobehavioral and neurodevelopmental behaviors get worse over time and how they relate to your client's case. We will also address why IQ can be misleading, as people with FASD have lower adaptive behavioral scores and often have lower test scores on executive functioning measures, but have full Scale IQ's above 70.  See William Edwards & Stephen Greenspan, Adaptive Behavior and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, 38 J. Psychiatry & L. 419 (2010). Finally, it will address issues of suggestibility and gullibility as it relates to your clients neurobehavioral and neurocognitive deficits.


Dr. Stephen Greenspan, Ph.D., is Emeritus Professor of Educational Psychology (U of Connecticut) and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry (U of Colorado). Author of books and papers on gullibility and social incompetence, especially in vulnerable populations. He is a pioneer and leader in the field of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and a forensic consultant, mostly in criminal cases, around issues of cognitive and adaptive incompetence.

Dr. Richard S. Adler, M.D., is a Seattle-based Board-certified Adult, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. After completing an adult psychiatry residency at Harvard Medical School/McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA, he completed a Fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA. Dr. Adler was Medical Director of the Mental Health Clinics in Somerset and Worcester Counties, MD, for four years, serving as a National Health Services Scholar. Shortly after moving to Seattle in 1996, he joined the staff of Children's Hospital and remained there for over 10 years. Dr. Adler completed a Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship at the University of Washington School of Medicine in 2000. He has been retained by The State of Washington, Seattle Public Schools, Northshore School System, State of Alaska Public Defender, King County Juvenile Court, as well as numerous attorneys.  Dr. Adler's full resume is available at https://fcpsych.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/RSA-Resume-v10262020-2.pdf

William J. Edwards is a Deputy Public Defender with the Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office and has served in that position since 2001. He has worked with clients who have been diagnosed with FASD since 1998. Mr. Edwards is assigned to the mental health court where he represents clients in conservatorship and competency proceedings. Since 1996, Mr. Edwards has specialized in the representation of people with developmental disabilities in the criminal justice system.

Prior to working in Los Angeles, Mr. Edwards worked with the Office of the Public Defender in San Diego and Riverside County, California. From 1999 to 2001, Mr. Edwards worked as a staff attorney for the Office of the Capital Collateral Counsel in Tallahassee, Florida representing inmates under sentence of death in state and federal court.

Since 1996 to 2001 on a pro bono basis, Mr. Edwards has represented inmates with intellectual disabilities or mental illness on death row nationwide, including inmates in Texas, Nebraska, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida. He has authored numerous articles on the subject of people with intellectual disabilities in the criminal justice system and his scholarship has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court. Mr. Edwards has testified and/or consulted with numerous state and federal legislative bodies and panels.