An Expert in
Murder and Other Violent crimes.
Child Sexual Abuse and False Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse.
Domestic Violence, and Battered Women Syndrome Defense.
Dr. Heller provides psychological case analysis for attorneys, client assessment, research to evaluate and assist in a case and expert witness testimony. He has provided continuing legal education for attorneys on the forensic psychological assessment of the Battered Women Defense and how this can explain violent behavior manifested in women who have been in relationships significant for intimate partner violence. Dr. Heller’s dissertation on “Criminal Behavior and Arousal” and his experience evaluating defendants often requires his presence as an expert in trial and also to perform evaluations of a defendant in a correctional facility, an attorney’s office or one of his offices in New York or New Jersey. He does travel to evaluate incarcerated defendants in other states, when presented with a judge’s order or at the request of an attorney. Most recently defendants with murder charges had to be evaluated at the Cook County jail in Chicago and the Westchester County jail in New York. He has also performed a “death row” evaluation for the Federal Public defender (Arizona), numerous evaluations in murder, assault and rape cases, including a triple homicide/kidnapping case (PA), and an evaluation of a Military defendant with consultation to his military counsel regarding a Court Martial (related to allegation of spouse abuse).
- Dr. Heller is currently on staff at Rutgers University Biomedical Health service, specializing in criminal behavior and risk assessment. In this staff assignment he works as a Forensic Psychologist at East Jersey State prison in Rahway, one of the oldest prisons in the United States. In this capacity he provides clinical diagnosis, psychological treatment (individual and group), assessment for suicide risk, staff training for correction officers in suicide prevention and consultation to other prison staff. Additionally he performs risk assessments for sexually violent predators that may result in civil commitment ordered by the State of New Jersey Attorney General’s Office after an inmate completes a sentence.
- Dr. Heller also serves as a forensic psychologist consultant for the Rockland County (NY) court evaluation service, where he has performed hundreds of child custody and child abuse/neglect evaluations, as well as criminal competency evaluations in numerous criminal cases including murder. Dr. Heller is often requested by a judge and serves as the court expert to perform mental competency evaluations for defendants in the New York-New Jersey Metropolitan area and in other states.
- Dr. Heller is fully vetted and accepts assignment under a contract with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). In this capacity Dr. Heller functions as the U.S. Court’s expert to perform competency examinations for the Executive Office of Immigration Review for detained people, who have been flagged as possibly having a mental illness.
- One of Dr. Heller’s special interests is the assessment of a specific case for the possibility of false allegations of child sexual abuse. He often testifies about research and specific attributes of allegations that can indicate a false allegation. He offers rationales and motivations for false allegations in a case and alternative hypotheses to explain these allegations.
- He can provide testimony about the general characteristics of children of sexual abuse, regarding general disclosure patterns, coping strategies and behaviors of child abuse victims.
- Regarding perpetrators of child sexual abuse, he can testify about general characteristics of the process of victim selection, grooming, assault, victim response, and concealment.
- He also can testify about appropriate investigative child interview techniques in child abuse cases, such as forensic interview protocols, characteristics of children’s memory, suggestibility and ability to provide eyewitness testimony.
- Additionally, Dr. Heller can testify about general characteristics of false allegations of child abuse cases. He is a successful rebuttal witness to questionable syndrome evidence such as CSAAS and Intrafamilial child sexual abuse syndrome.
- He reviews transcripts and video-tapes of alleged victims and provides testimony regarding accepted interview protocols for assessment of children found to have been sexually abused or those alleged to have been sexually abused.
- Dr. Heller is a mental health panel expert of the NYC Assigned Counsel program. New York City Dept. of Corrections legal pass holder and approved forensic psychologist for the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender.
- Dr. Heller is experienced in the following crimes, assignments and evaluations:
- Murder, Multiple murders, Rape, Robbery, Bank robbery, Conspiracy, Arson, Assault, Burglary, Sexual assault, Sexual abuse, Child abuse, Child sexual abuse, Domestic violence, Hit and Run, DWI, Vehicular Homicide, Use of child pornography and White Collar Crime (embezzlement, fraud).
- Evaluations performed in County, State, City of New York, County jails in other states and Federal correctional facilities.
- Mental impairment/diminished capacity assessment.
- Assessment of competency to stand trial.
- Criminal behavior affected by intellectual, mental, cognitive and emotional disability.
- Clinical assessment of personality, psychopathology, organic deficits and intelligence.
- Administration and analysis of objective and projective psychological tests.
- The effects of alcohol and various kinds of drug abuse on criminal intent and behavior.
- Assessment of acute vs. chronic alcohol use as related to DUI sentencing.
- The assessment of posttraumatic stress disorder related to violent crimes.
- Assessments to rule-out malingering of posttraumatic stress disorder.
- Clinical Assessment and detection of Malingering and Deception in defendants.
- Not guilty by reason of insanity/criminal responsibility.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its effects on criminal behavior.
- Battered Woman Syndrome as a legal defense.
- Effects of domestic violence and symptoms of battered women.
- False arrest
- False confession.
- Coerced confession
- Assessment and evaluation of incarcerated defendants.
- Dangerousness, criminality assessment, recidivistic sex offenders.
- Administration of actuarial tests and other indicators of recidivism and future risk.
- Sex offender re-offense risk assessments.
- Pre-sentence Family studies and Bio-psycho-social evaluations,
- Immigration/deportation matters (the effects on family of person to be sentenced or possibly deported).
- Police officers and Post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Victim Assessments
- Mitigation reports prior to sentencing.
- Review of interview transcripts and recordings of other investigators (therapists, caseworkers, and police) related to standards and protocols used in assessing children about alleged child sexual abuse.
- False allegations of child sexual abuse and domestic violence.
- Problems with children’s testimony (suggestibility, recantation, memory issues, delayed outcry, the phenomena of “Believed-In Imaginings”).
- Forensic interviewing of children and problems with children’s testimony.
- Interview protocols used in assessment of children alleged to have been sexually abused.
- Rebuttal witness to other experts who promote “syndrome evidence: such as “child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome” (CSAAS), and “intrafamilial child sexual abuse syndrome.”
- The phenomena of delayed disclosure in child sexual abuse and rape.
- Explanation and discussion of myths and realities in true and/or false allegations of child sexual abuse.
- Testimony about “red-flag” indicators of possible child sexual abuse.
- Research on causes of eyewitness identification error, memory and perception.
- Stalking and harassment.
- Crime sprees, mass murders.
- Media consultation.
- Parental-acceptance-rejection syndrome related to homicide, depression and other aberrant behavior.
- Rejection sensitivity related to criminal acts.
- Pornography, internet addiction, inappropriate use of on-line sites.
- Cross-cultural factors in the assessment of defendants.
- Litigation Consultation to legal team regarding analysis and pertinent issues of a case.
- Assessment of complex psychological dynamics and “counterintuitive victim behavior” specific to complex domestic violence cases (delay in reporting, not leaving, numerous unexplained inconsistencies).
- Analyst for CBS evening News regarding “the Craig’s list killer.” Analyst for WABC TV (Inside Edition) regarding the segment on “the BTK killer.”