Tarasoff Case Analysis: Mental Health Assessments and Legal Considerations - Case Study Example

Published: 2023-12-10
Tarasoff Case Analysis: Mental Health Assessments and Legal Considerations - Case Study Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  University Law Mental health
Pages: 2
Wordcount: 533 words
5 min read

What would be minimally required for an appropriate assessment today in reference to the above case?

The Tarasoff v. The Regents of the University of California case presented therapists' obligation to protect potential victims from their clients suffering from mental issues and posed a danger. In such a case, the minimal requirement for an appropriate assessment would be determining if the client made a threat in the past instead of analyzing whether he/she is a danger to himself and others in the future. Most therapists use this formula to determine their clients’ possibility of harm to themselves and others. For instance, a patient may be asked if he has seriously hurt himself or other people in the past, and if yes, the therapist may conclude that he poses a looming danger. However, as Miller (2014) explained, most patients who harm their victims do not have a history of violence; thus, this assessment would be rendered ineffective.

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What specific information/data would be minimally acceptable for a thorough assessment?

In the Tarasoff v. the Regents of the University of California case, the minimal accepted information during the assessment would be to know if Prosenjit Poddar owns a gun and knows how to use it. During his sessions with Dr. Moore, he expressed that he wanted to shoot Ms. Tarasoff; thus, this data would have helped. However, determining Poddar’s threat by determining his ownership of and capability of using a weapon would result in minimal effect. The best information would be his expression of how he would use a weapon against who and why.

What would an evaluator need to know regarding issues about Mr. Poddar’s competence to stand trial for this offense?

An evaluator will need to know if Mr. Poddar acknowledges his mental health problem regarding his competence to stand trial. Notably, most patients fail to accept that they are sick to build their self-esteem or self-acceptance. However, as Reisner, Piel, and Makey (2013) explained, an evaluator's knowledge of the offender’s acknowledgment of mental illnesses will help him determine the genuineness of the offender’s autonomy of the crime. In this case, Poddar’s understanding of his offense would help the evaluator understand his capability to understand and appreciate the legal procedures that face him.

What would an evaluator need to know regarding issues about Mr. Poddar’s sanity/insanity at the time of offense?

An evaluator would need to know if Mr. Poddar was under the influence of drugs at the time of the offense regarding his sanity issues. Alcohol and drug abuse affect people's reasoning; thus, they may be concluded as the reason for the offender’s behavior at the time of the offense. For instance, in this case, if the evaluator determines that Mr. Poddar was drunk at the time of the crime, then he/she can conclude that Mr. Poddar was not in the right state of mind to act wisely.


Miller, A. (2014). Threat assessment in action. Journal of Threat Assessment and Management. 45(2). Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/02/cover-threat

Reisner, D. A., Piel, J. & Makey, M. (2013). Competency to Stand Trial and Defendants Who Lack Insight into Their Mental Illness. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. 41(1), 85-91. Retrieved from http://jaapl.org/content/41/1/85

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Tarasoff Case Analysis: Mental Health Assessments and Legal Considerations - Case Study Example. (2023, Dec 10). Retrieved from https://speedypaper.com/essays/tarasoff-case-analysis-mental-health-assessments-and-legal-considerations-case-study-example

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