I have an upcoming Aggravated Sexual Assault of a child trial where the defense plans to call Dr. Mathew Ferrara out of Austin. We think the Defense is claiming that the forensic interview of the child in question is impermisssibly suggestive. The Defense attorney wants Dr. Ferrara to review the videotape and give him input on how to cross-examine the child and to evaluate the quality of the interview. Does anyone know this Dr. Ferrara or had any contact with him? Does anyone know of any cases where he has done this type of work for the defense? or has he even been a witness for the state? Any input would be helpful. Thanks.
Beth, I have had that very thing happen. Please contact me by phone or email. firstname.lastname@example.org.
On that same line, if anyone has any transcripts at all of Dr. Ferrara, I'd like to start a collection.
He presents very well, and certainly presents to be an quasi-authority on all things regarding sexual offenders, their victims and their dynamics. I don't buy at least 50% of what he says, since the exchange I recall seems like it centered on his testimony that incarceration was not a deterrent to a particular sex offender.
I would love to see a transcript where he had testified for the state.
I've seen in person a very knowledgeable and agressive cross of him by AAG Angela Goodwin, but no transcript exists of that proceeding. You should contact her regarding her resources.
I would prepare for this witness.
I just came across a summary of this doctor's testimony in the abovereferenced case. I'm sure it's not much help, but I thought I'd pass it along.
Kirby v. State, 2006 WL 903740 (Tex. App.--Austin, April 6, 2006).
If you have Dr. Ferrara testifying in a case regarding the child outcry videotape, contact me. I can give you the 507(b) questions to possibly keep his testimony out. And the questions to qualify his assertions if he testifies.
I could have kept him out of my trial last week, but out of concerns for appellate considerations of ineffective assistance, we decided to let it in.
Although he testifies generally in accordance with the accepted scientific literature of the field, there are many factors he does not take into account and upon which you can attack his opinion.
Be sure to do a motion in limine regarding his testimony if he does testify, and make sure he is limined to not say it is a false outcry. If all he has done is review your video then there is ample ground to distinguish what he says.
I have very good material if you are encountering him in your trial, and a very good expert in the event you wish to put your own expert on. Contact me via telephone if you are interested and I'll send you some good info.
Although he is a psychologist and has worked with sex crimes victims, he has not worked with them in the context of a CAC forensic interview. He has conducted many forensic interviews for his work with the innocence project and recantation victims, but NONE with victims who are not recanting. So he has NEVER done a CAC type investigative interview. He has done evaluations and he has done therapeutic interviews but has absolutely no experience in the context of dealing with a "fresh" outcry or a recently traumatized victim making their first outcry. I find this significant.
Further, he has only 10 hours of training by his own testimony, with 7 hrs in attending a seminar and 3 hours in reviewing the literature. That's it.
So basically he has read some articles about CAC forensic interviews and went to a seminar. I was able to point out that even if the interview done in my case was the only one my interviewer had ever done, that she would still have more experience and training in the field than the Dr.
I will say this to his credit, Dr. F is very experienced regarding sex offender eval and treatment. If you encounter him in this aspect do not rely on the above, instead, get another expert.
He is the current JPO sex psychologist for Wilco.
Suffice it say I am collecting copies of all his "evals" to prepare for the next time I have him on the stand. Just because you do lots of evals does not mean you are an expert !!
I know he also just testified in a stalking case in Travis county for the defense. His testimony (according to the paper so who really knows) was that despite the fact that he had terrorized several prior girlfriends and had put a recording device into the crawl space of the complainants house, he was still OK for probation and was not a danger.
S.B., I have never seen as fine a cross as that done by Angela Goodwin of Dr. F in a revocation case in Bastrop last December. Angela is very conversant on the current sex offender literature and was simply stunning in her cross of the dr. That was a sex offender eval too, where he was testifying on behalf of the defendant known as "panty hose suit man", who wore a suit actually made of panty hose when coming to Bastrop as a traveler.
So I recommend Angela as knowledgeable in this subject area.
Update on Dr. Ferrara. In a recent case in Hays, Dr. Ferrara was listed as a defense expert and was slated to testify as to false outcry. After we subpoenaed all of his work product to be brought when he testifies, and after receiving transcripts of his testimony and scholarly? articles from our excellent contributors here!!!!, Dr. Ferrara did not testify.
However!!, Dr. Ferrara did work as a jury consultant in this case as part and parcel of his new business venture: http://www.westlaketrialconsulting.com/. As for the jury consultation, he put together a format of questions that read like a Myers-Briggs personality test. He had Defense attorney ask the jurors to rate how they feel regarding questions on scale of 1-10, ten being strongly agree, one being strongly disagree. One example of a question: "What happens to you in life is a reflection of what is inside you." Then, after asking each individual juror these questions, they had some sort of risk chart to assess whether the juror was more favorable to them. Strangest thing I have ever encountered!
Hey Beth. Sara Spector here.I worked with Matt in Bastrop county as a witness for the state in sex offender evaluations. He testifies well. Even though he is not your witness you may be able to get some positive tewstimony out of him regarding offenders. AlsoDr. Ted Lyons has done alot of research in this area favorable toward child victims. In addition Victor Veath with the nationaldistrict attorneys association has some good material on disqualifying this type of witness. My email is email@example.com.
I also had Dr. Ferrara testify for the defense in a motion for new trial. I have no problem forwarding you the transcripts from that hearing. Please email me if you would like to have that firstname.lastname@example.org.
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