American Thinker: Judge Berman's Colossally Unethical Psychology Practice

Originally posted at the American Thinker by Deborah C. Tyler.

On July 13, U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman ordered further psychological counseling of indefinite term for best-selling conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza. Mr. D’Souza had earlier pleaded guilty to violating federal campaign finance laws by bundling two $10,000 donations into one. In the world of campaign financing irregularities, this offense was sub-small potatoes. It was more like teenie tater-tots.

But Mr. D’Souza was sentenced to eight months of work release incarceration and five years of community service, fines, and counseling of indeterminate duration. This is a much more punitive sentence than in a comparable case of bundling on behalf of Hillary Clinton (Sant Sing Chatwal, NY Times: “Clinton Backer Pleads Guilty in Straw Donor Scheme”; NY Post: “Vikram’s Big Fat Sikh Wedding”).

At the 7/13 hearing, Judge Berman justified more counseling with a new counselor with the wording of a court-appointed psychological revaluation. The judge did not note a recognized mental diagnosis, but repeated the evaluator’s reference to Mr. D’Souza as “arrogant” and “intolerant.” These words do not appear in the diagnostic manual because they are not clinical terms, but personal insults. Judge Berman’s treatment plan contradicted the findings of two court-approved licensed professionals who concluded that Mr. D’Souza does not have a mental disorder, does not require medication, and is “psychologically normal and well-adjusted.”

Judge Berman based his order of more therapy in stating, “That Mr. D’Souza committed this crime involves a colossal failure of insight and introspection.” More treatment was needed — the last year of therapy did not produce an insight regurgitation satisfying to Judge Berman. The judge explained that he had been a psychology major, and he “only wanted to be helpful.”

Judge Berman’s rulings are governed by codified ethical standards imposed on judges. Psychologists are also required to follow rigorous ethical standards in their evaluations and recommendations. But as a pretend psychologist, Judge Berman can psychobabble and congratulate himself on his compassion, and his captive clients have nowhere to turn.

There are five general ethical principles governing services such as psychological evaluation and counseling recommendations. Judge Berman appears to have violated every one of these principles. As we go through his ethical lapses, it is important to remember that when the individual being evaluated is in any sense involuntary, or not free to terminate and choose another provider, the ethical burden is much heavier still.

Principle A: Beneficence and Non-Maleficence
Psychologists “are alert to and guard against … political factors that might lead to misuse of their influence.” As a Democrat psychoanalyzing a famous Republican, Judge Berman appears to be oblivious to this ethical conflict.

Principle B: Fidelity and Responsibility
“Psychologists clarify their roles and responsibilities.” Judge Berman noted he was a psychology major (a good thirty years ago, by the look of him). He wanted those assembled before him to understand what a good guy he is: “I’m sensitive to mental health issues in the criminal cases I hear, and I do not want to end psychological counseling at this time in Mr. D’Souza’s case.” People who are actually qualified to make such recommendations do not tend to tell clients they took psychology courses. Being a pretend psychologist lets the judge feel helpful, but simultaneously being judge and treatment planner is an unethical dual role.

Principle C: Integrity
Regarding the assessment that therapy needed to continue, Mr. D’Souza’s attorney asked Judge Berman, “Applying your argument to white-collar crimes, why wouldn’t all white-collar criminals need psychological counseling?” Judge Berman is reported to have said, “85% of all criminal defendants who appear before me argue they don’t need psychological counseling.” As a make-believe psychologist, Judge Berman can use the orificial-extraction method of multivariate analysis. If he were a real-life psychologist, he would have to go to the bother of citing, or doing, research to use figures like 85% say blah-blah-blah. But stats always sound good, and the judge is qualified, albeit only in his own mind.

Principle D: Justice
Psychologists “take precautions to ensure that their potential biases, the boundaries of their competence and the limitations of their expertise do not lead to or condone unjust practices.” ‘Nuff said.

Read more at the American Thinker.

 

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21 Comments

  • Sandie says:

    August 5, 2015 at 7:03 PM

    I think the judge was talking about Obama. Arrogant and intolerant sounds about right.

    • Merida McKnight says:

      August 7, 2015 at 9:53 AM

      I agree! I guess we all need counseling!?

  • Smokey Behr says:

    August 5, 2015 at 7:04 PM

    Don’t you understand that you’re guilty of WrongThink, and must be re-educated in order to properly integrate into society?

  • Jon A. Hartz, Sr. says:

    August 5, 2015 at 7:18 PM

    Didn’t Soviet Russia practice psychology and psychiatry as a weapon against those who opposed it? SAme old leftist tactics in play here, apparently.

    • Susan C says:

      August 7, 2015 at 10:16 AM

      Yes, D’Souza is officially the first political prisoner of Obama’s administration. From Russia with love.

  • Jane Box Roe says:

    August 5, 2015 at 7:26 PM

    Man you got the shaft! This is so political. I could not believe you got the extra counseling but then the five years of extra community service on top of that! Tell me they are not trying to keep you busy and your mouth shut! They are trying to make a statement I think. I don’t think it is just this judge all by him self. I think he was bought and paid for because of what you are about to say. They are trying their hardest to slow you down. Affect your income, community service, counseling each week. This all takes time and they don’t want you to put out anything during the election cycle. I ‘ll bet this won’t be the only things that get in in your way. I wish you all my best and God speed, get it out there! Love your work!

    Jane

  • Robin Z says:

    August 5, 2015 at 9:38 PM

    There is a precedence for this type of action, i.e. courts using their power to conduct actions outside of and beyond normal court authority or proper action. Look at Germany frpom the early 1930’s through first half of following decade. Judges there often found and punished as the state directed them to, it had little to do with legal ethics. Sad thing is, we, ALL AMERICANS are allowing it to happen. We care more about a lion than abuse of our own people. It’s got to stop.

  • Peter says:

    August 5, 2015 at 10:17 PM

    1. But as a pretend psychologist, Judge Berman can psychobabble and congratulate himself on his compassion, and his captive clients have nowhere to turn.
    2. As a Democrat psychoanalyzing a famous Republican, Judge Berman appears to be oblivious to this ethical conflict.
    3. Being a pretend psychologist lets the judge feel helpful, but simultaneously being judge and treatment planner is an unethical dual role.
    4. As a make-believe psychologist, Judge Berman can use the orificial-extraction method of multivariate analysis. If he were a real-life psychologist, he would have to go to the bother of citing, or doing, research to use figures like 85% say blah-blah-blah. But stats always sound good, and the judge is qualified, albeit only in his own mind.

    Dinesh D’Souza I have said this in comments PREVIOUSLY and now this man in the above 4 excerpts from this article also says the same thing. This Judge is playing psychologist…IN OTHER WORDS HE IS PRACTICING MEDICINE WITHOUT A LICENSE!!! YOU SHOULD FILE CHARGES.

    • Merida McKnight says:

      August 7, 2015 at 9:57 AM

      I agree! I guess we all need counseling!?

  • Peggy says:

    August 6, 2015 at 2:29 AM

    This is so wrong on so many levels. I hope you will take heart in the good wishes of many, many Americans who are praying for you to succeed above all expectations in your continued exposure of our current political situation. Keep on fighting the good fight, Dinesh. We need you and as many like you as we can get! Thank you for all you’ve done and will do!

  • Cester says:

    August 6, 2015 at 5:18 AM

    As an outsider to the US, I am astonished how a judge is able to get away with such an injustice and persecute this fellow. America the great, how far you have fallen….

  • Cormac Shea says:

    August 6, 2015 at 1:30 PM

    This case is a good example of the fact that psychology has no benefit for patients, and is in fact harmful.

    The “treatment” here is clearly being used as a punitive weapon against Mr. D’Souza, in an overtly partisan battle.

    The judge is a liberal Democrat and D’Souza is a conservative who made a movie critical of Obama. The case is about political influence, and the sentence was payback.

    The fact that Psychology is the weapon of choice for a biased and unethical judge should come as no surprise to those who understand that psychology is harmful to its victims, er, I mean patients.

    If you or your children are having issues, I urge you to see this sentence as a cautionary tale, and to seek more legitimate forms of counseling, like that from a religious leader or other responsible person. NOT a psychologist.

    Let them focus on revenge for their political allies – it’s what they’re good for!

  • Tom Holzel says:

    August 6, 2015 at 4:39 PM

    O.K., we all agree the judge is a liberal nut-case. Now what?

    • Susan C says:

      August 7, 2015 at 10:24 AM

      Be sure we ALL vote this leadership OUT! ???????? We must be courageous and have faith in order to turn this ship around.

      D’Souza is the 1st political prisoner of this administration. Clearly, they are afraid of losing power, via D’Souza’s books and movies. There will be another revolution and we had all better be ready.

      • Oscar says:

        August 7, 2015 at 4:08 PM

        Well stated, Susan C. A generation or so ago now, a well-known syndicated cartoon character, Pogo, announced in his famous American newspaper comic strip: “We have met the enemy…and he is US!!!” Who would have known then that our once great nation would be living out those words today in what is gradually becoming a socialist America, torn away from its Constitutional foundation of governance?

  • Marjorie Tweed-Brown says:

    August 6, 2015 at 8:45 PM

    Mr. D’Souza has been ordered to what amounts to Chinese Communist “reeducation camp”. Universities as well as some judges are using this political tactic more & more frequently by ordering conservatives or conservative students to “diversity studies” as punishment for thought-crime. This totalitarianism is all coming from Leftists.

  • BillU says:

    August 6, 2015 at 9:49 PM

    If Berman finds NFL commish Roger Goodell “arrogant” and “intolerant” I wonder what the chances are of him suggesting a psychological treatment plan?

  • Lerman(Lum) Huffman says:

    August 7, 2015 at 9:05 AM

    There should be an appeal, this judge is very biased and is not truthful or fair minded!

  • Patriot Girl says:

    August 7, 2015 at 9:57 AM

    This is nothing short of nazi Germany…. they are basically saying … you espouse conservative, traditional American beliefs – therefore you are thinking wrong, crazy and we must re-train you… brainwash anyone?! But who is surprised… we have the nazi-thing going in all directions – when leftists/commies do something wrong it is excused with a wave of the hand – I mean, if Dinesh deserved jail time – the Clintons have certainly earned life sentences each… they are ignoring the Constitution and its the laws of the communist jungle we are now operating under….and there certainly must be a way to right this wrong if we unite…

  • Rodney Smith says:

    August 7, 2015 at 10:36 AM

    Does this not violate our double jeopardy laws? This judge is obviously just another vindictive, partisan hack. It would not surprise me to eventually find out a higher position has been promised to him by Obama. The judge, himself, seems to be the one in need of psychological as well as ethical counselling.

  • Ann Blake Tracy says:

    August 7, 2015 at 1:23 PM

    After testifying in court cases as an expert for 23 years I agree with the article and all of the statements I have read here. This judge is out of line and needs to be called on the carpet for using his position in ways he has no right to do. He has more than overstepped his bounds in this instance. Would love to hear Judge Napolitano’s opinion on this. To me it is clear oppression. But unfortunately with as many judges and attorneys now on mind altering medications the whole court system has become a very sad state of affairs!