Dr. Steven R. Miller, Ph.D., LP Consulting Forensic Examiner

Licensed Psychologist

Byschologs 9505 Groh Rd., Ste 210

P.0. Box 508 Grosse Ile, MI. 48138

Voice: 7346928368

Fax: 7345310784 Email:

Michigan Department of Corrections Michigan Parole Board



: Joshua Puckett Inmate Number : A250645 Sex

: Male File Name : PUCKETT. RPT Age

: 33 (DOB: 05/26/1977] Date of Report: 06/07/2010 Prepared for : MDOC Parole Board Completed by : Dr. Steven R. Miller, Ph.D. Type of Report: Parole Risk Assessment

Active Offenses: HomicideMurder 1st Degree and Possession of a Felony Firearm

Sentence Information:



Forensic Psychological Evaluation of Joshua Puckett By: Steven R. Miller, Ph.D., L.P.

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Inactive Offense:



The inmate is a 33 yearold, Caucasian, unmarried, male. This evaluation is for the purpose of conducting a clinical and forensic assessment of his overall psychological adjustment with a particular focus on his potential future risk of recidivism or for violence.

Mr. Puckett was interviewed in a private setting at the Michigan Reformatory Correctional Facility on May 27, 2010 for approximately 2.5 hours total.

When conducting an offender risk assessmentfor prediction of risk of recidivism and risk of future violence/dangerousness, this clinician prefers to use a blendedforensic/clinical and actuarial technique. Therefore, this evaluation will draw upon a broad array of standard clinical and forensic psychological methods and tools [Such as the standard Mental Status Assessment; the MMPI2, and other psychological tests, as appropriate]; a detailed psychosocial history, and so forth, bl the HCR20, Assessing Risk for Violence procedure, an actuarial based violence risk protocol.

The following are the specific procedures and methods that were used to gather information for completing this risk assessment of Mr. Puckett and for making both general and specific recommendations:

  1. 1.

A social and psychological adjustment history pertaining to early development, education, relationships and sexual adjustment, alcohol and drug use, and medical history was gathered;

A formal mental status examination of Mr. Puckett was completed during our individual forensic interview session on May 27, 2010;

Although there has always been modest support from the research regarding recidivism and violence prediction relative to the clinical psychological approach, more recently, social scientists have turned to exploring an alternative to clinical prediction by way of developing and utilizing statistical or actuarialrisk assessment protocols. In the past several years a number of recidivism and violence risk assessment tools have become available, and courts, as well as legislatures have become increasingly more receptive to their introduction in evidence.

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The administration and scoring of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory2


A review of the inmates completion of the Psychological/Social History Background Questionnaire;

A review of the inmates detailed written outline pertaining to his developmental background, circumstances surrounding his offense conduct, and his prison adjustment;

A review of the following documents in connection with formulating my conclusions and recommendations:

  1. 1. The Presentence Investigation Report

by Agent R. Domanski, dated June 14, 1996, prepared for the Honorable Thomas E. Jackson;

  1. 2. A review of the available MDOC Bureau

of Health Care records;

And, lastly, this examiner scored the HCR 20, Assessing Risk for Violence, an actuarial risk assessment tool, in an effort to objectively assess the clients comparative risk” to the community in terms of reoffending and/or of acting out with violence.

Behavior Characteristics/Mental Status Examination


The inmate is a 33 yearold, Caucasian, unmarried, male. This evaluation is for the purpose of Conducting a clinical and forensic assessment of his overall psychological adjustment with a particular focus on his potential future risk of recidivism or for violence.

Mr. Puckett is of above average height and has a medium, muscular, body build. The inmates manner of dress was the standard prison garb and his hygiene was excellent and he

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presented with an overall neat and clean appearance. The inmates gait was normal and he walked without difficulty with smooth gait and balance. Motor behavior during the interview was unremarkable.

of interest to this examiner relative to Mr. Pucketts physical appearance was the fact that he has no tattoos, which was a totally unexpected and quite remarkable finding inasmuch as he admits to a history of previous gang involvement and given that he has been a prisoner since he was 19 years old. Subsequent comments and written communications related to this examiner confirmed that the primary reason for his iconoclastic avoidance of tattoos seems to derive from his decidedly negative identification with convicts, in general, and their established convict culture,in particular.

For example, when describing how his years of incarceration have changed him, he stated:

I now look around me at what I use to think was my peer group and realize that I dont want to fit in here and I dont want to be a convict,because this place and these people disgust me. How they victimize themselves, how they treat each other, and how they choose to live their lives, is not me. I dont want to be a part of this subculture/community; this will not be who I am. Once I had realized this, I started to really take myself away from what was once my comfort zone and let myself be me.

Mr. Puckett was alert and appropriately oriented for person, place, and personal relationship to reality. His speech was clear, direct, and he practiced appropriate taking of turns, was polite, respectful, candid and spontaneous in terms of responding to the examiners questions. At no time did this examiner have the impression that he was attempting to manipulate the interview process. Indeed, he was entirely sincere in wanting to obtain a comprehensive psychological risk assessment for his commutation application. Therefore, due to his high degree of cooperation, the information obtained from Mr. Puckett was deemed reliable and credible and, therefore, useful for the purposes of this type of evaluation.


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The inmates facial expressions were appropriate to the content of the interview topics at all times. Eye contact during the interviews was appropriately focused.

Emotional Status


The inmates mood was calm albeit mildly anxious about his future and, apparently, due to his wanting to make a good impression. He did not appear to manifest any significant difficulty modulating his mood. Indeed, his mood was consistently congruent with the topic of discussion. There were no significant data suggesting the presence of clinical depression or episodes of acute anxiety. Likewise, there were no symptoms or behaviors suggestive of mania or a thought disorder.

Throughout the interview Mr. Pucketts thought processes were logical and coherent with adequate reality testing present. There was no clinical evidence of the presence of delusions, hallucinations, or of any subjective symptoms or objective behaviors suggestive of a psychotic type of mental process or what is commonly referred to as mental illness.The inmate denied problems with common compulsions. He has not been bothered by obsessive thoughts or excessively compulsive behaviors. His daily life is not significantly affected by common phobias.

Evaluation of cognitive processes indicated that the inmates attention and concentration skills were not significantly impaired although he does have occasional problems with concentration and with his mental focus. Immediate, recent, and remote memory was intact. No amnesia was reported. Neither was there evidence of unconscious fabrication of responses, as sometimes occurs with memory disorders. The inmates intellectual ability was estimated as being in the High Average range based upon his vocabulary and the speed at which he grasped the meaning of the ideas and concepts being discussed during the interview. There was no indication of notable decline of intellectual ability in consequence of emotional distress at this time. The inmates fund of information was consistent with his background and basic intellectual level. Abstracting ability appeared to be approximately high average as was his capacity to problem solve.

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Mr. Puckett reports being in excellentphysical health apart from arthritis in one of his knees post injury.

Substance Abuse History

Mr. Puckett noted that he began drinking at age fifteen. His drinking was confined to ...mostly, weekends at parties with my friends.He allowed that he had occasionallyalso smoked marijuana. The inmate further noted that at the time of his arrest, he had been drinking while at a party and that he thinks that he was intoxicated at the time of

offense, which he perceives as a factor that, potentially, negatively influenced his decision making at the time; however, the inmate hastened to make clear that he was not blaminghis poor decision making at the time on alcohol intoxication.

Mr. Puckett reports that he has been active for many years with N.A. and A.A. programs while in prison and that he finds that he [s] the structure of the meetings and treat them as a kind of group therapy.

He notes that he recently completed ...another N.A. class, as well as Phase I, in which I learned about the importance of recognizing at risk situations and avoidance of peer pressure. It [the course) was a solid foundation on drug education.


More recently, Mr. Puckett began Phase IIof substance abuse education course offered by the MDOC.

He noted that he is very much enjoyingthese classes.

Im currently in Phase II and I love it because it is much more in depth and it is now cognitive behavioral therapy, which can be applied to all areas of my life. It is teaching me about thinking patterns and thought management. How to read my emotional cues and how

Thoughts + emotions = behavior.Also, [It instructs on] how to stop negative thoughts before they become destructive patterns. I really like this class.

I know that I need to stay in A.A. and I, fully, intend to continue to attend A.A. when I get out of here.

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Social and Psychological Adjustment History

Family History

Characterizing Mr. Puckett‘s childhood and, in particular, his middleadolescence as daunting, appreciably underestimates its true degree of difficulty, hardship, and suffering. Indeed, the adjectives horrendous,or dreadful,” certainly, come much closer to the tenor of it.


Mr. Puckett was the only child born to his openlyLesbian mother, who, decided she wanted a child and to experience motherhood. Reportedly, she engaged a homosexual male friend to, as it were, donate his sperm [e.g., the inmates father Joseph C. Creedon). In the early years, prior to his teens, his rearing, byandlarge, was carried out by his mother alone, but for the all too frequent interruptions of a secession of different lovers that she brought into their home. Eventually, however, she found loveand settled down with Sue Pittmann when Mr. Puckett was about twelve years old.

Mr. Puckett noted that his mother was, at times, abusive of her partners, including Ms. Pittmann, and, occasionally, physically abusive of him. He tended to minimize this aspect of their relationship when talking about it during the interview. Indeed, when describing his mothersbiological and adopted, Mr. Puckett was rather inclined to the idealized version. In the following he reflects on his relationships with them.

I was born 05/26/1977 to a wonderful woman, Christine Puckett, who at a very early age knew she was a lesbian. She embraced and accepted that in a time when society did not, and (in actuality] looked down on her for being different. She decided she wanted a child and thus I was born. Things were not easy and we struggled a lot. She searched for love in many places and thought she found it a few times, but it was not meant to be. Finally, [however] she found what she was looking for, or, as some would say, she found someone who would put up with her. But no matter how you look at it, it was true love that bonded Sue and Chris. So true that, even as a jealous onlychild, I came to accept and love Sue as a mother too.

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Reportedly, at about the age of 12 he ...began asking questions about [his] father, and my mother put me in touch with him. He had moved to Seattle.

In his written personal history narrative, Mr. Puckett describes this milestone event:

I found out I had a father and got to meet him. I flew out to Seattle for a few summers to spend time with him and to bond, only to be told he had H.I.V. at a time when death [from H.I.V] was inevitable. I had just got comfortable having this great dad and I felt like now God was going to take him away from me. It hurt so bad[ly). After that, we tried to enjoy every day we had together to the fullest and, eventually, I moved out there.

Mr. Puckett stayed with his father right up until his death in late November 1991. Unfortunately, there was some negative tensions in their relationship on the eve of his death, which caused Mr. Puckett significant guilt feelings and impacted him quite profoundly in terms of creating in him lowered feelings of selfworth.

Mr. Puckett reported this emotionally significant event as


After watching my father waste away, he called me on Thanksgiving evening at his friends house where I was staying for the holiday. I was the last person he talked to and I was pouting because he had been mean to me in the hospital a week before and I had not returned to visit with him. We verbally fought and he told me his friends and doctors said I was killing him and he couldnt be around me anymore. So, I was short with him on the phone. He said, I love you son,and I didnt say it back. I just said goodbye. He died later that night. I later found out that he had dementia from the lesions on his brain and at the time I didnt know why he was fighting with me the week before. Now I understand, but then I felt like I was being a brat kid. The fact that I didnt tell him I loved him haunted me for years. I know now he loves me and forgives me.

After his father’s death, Mr. Puckett had to stay in Seattle for a few months before returning home due to the

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fact that his physical custody had been transferred to his father and, thus, he became a ward of the state of Washington until his mother could make arrangements for him to return to Michigan, which he did approximately three months later.


While still reeling from the emotional aftermath of his fathers death, he reports that he realized that his mothers relationship was quite stableand, according to Mr. Puckett: [He)...started to feel pretty good about the way things were going and the future.

Tragically, his optimistic presentiment could not have been further from the one fate had in store for him. In May 1992, a mere six months following his fathers death and only three months following his return to Michigan, both his caregivers were murdered by their next door neighbor, who the two women had been feuding with over a property line.

Mr. Puckett described this momentous event as follows:

Six months after my father died, which was twentyone

  • days before my birthday, both my mothers were shot dead in our driveway by our neighbor, who [reportedly] felt he had to [kill them] because they were gay. I was just, again, feeling normal and had only been back from Seattle for 3 months. I was doing good in school and running track. My mother was even pretending to be straight so I could go to a Lutheran school and feel normal. I was just beginning to feel like I could make it and then it was over. My life stopped and I was all alone. It was not like my fathers death. There was no time to prepare, no warning

u Wa

After this, Mr. Puckett went to live with his uncle and his behavior turned, decidedly, delinquent. From October 1992 through January 1994, he accumulated a juvenile record that included Possession of a BB gun, Disturbing the Peace, Possession of Marijuana and Receiving and Concealing Stolen

Furthermore, he pled No Contest to Criminal Sexual conduct 2nd Degree for sexual relations with his younger girlfriend, and received 1 year probation on 12/10/93 and he pled guilty to Criminal Sexual Conduct 3rd Degree on 03/03/1994, which, reportedly, resulted in a warningand was dismissed.


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Concerning the CSC and other Puckett noted the following:

I had a girlfriend who was 13 when I was 16 and we got caught having sex, thus, the CSC 2nd Degree charge.

I was young, stupid, and I was running around with other kids and smoking weed, (Thus the possession charge).

I was a little angry kid and I ran over the neighbors lawns while pulling out of my uncles driveway. I carried a BB gun in order to act tough.

The last straw was on 01/15/1994 when myself and some friends stole a bunch of stuff from his brothers house: guns, jewelry, etc. resulting in the R&C


According to Mr. Puckett his mother did not suffer from problems with alcohol or other substances and he is unaware of any history of mental illness among his firstdegree relatives.

Regarding his sexual adjustment, more generally, he reported normaldating in his late adolescence [15 to 19] and noted that he had one serious girlfriendprior to his incarceration at the age of 19. He describes his sexual behavior prior to his incarceration as normaland feels he has a healthy attitudetowards women. He denied any deviant sexual arousal or practices and the data from this assessment supported the finding that Mr. Puckett does not suffer from any form of sexual deviancy or sexually compulsive disorder.

However, Mr. Puckett did identify being sexually abused during his childhood [At approximately age seven).

When I was living in Ann Arbor when I was about 7 or 8 years old I was molested by a babysitter. My mother would be off working all the time and she arranged a babysitter for me that was a man. He sexually abused me and would threaten me if I even thought about telling. I remember that I begged my mother to get rid of him, but my shame never let me tell her what was going on. At the time I remember I was acting out in school and my behavior caused so much trouble for

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her that she got rid of him and got a really nice older black guy who was very nice. But, for three months I was in Hell every time I came home from

school until she got home from work.

Educational Background

The inmate reports that he completed a G.E.D. while in prison [July 28, 1997].

Mr. Puckett has completed the following Technical Training courses while in prison:

Horticulture Training, Completed on October 4, 2002, Lake Superior Vocational Institute [KCF];

Greenhouse Management Training, Completed on April 8, 2003, Lake Superior Vocational Institute [KCF];

Introduction to Computers, Completed on May 13, 2003, Lake Superior Vocational Institute (KCF].

Employment History

Given the young age at which Mr. Puckett was incarcerated, his prior work experience was quite limited. He noted that he was employed with Victory Lane Oil Change in Plymouth, Michigan, during the Winter of 1994 through the Spring of 1995. He was an oil change technician and was responsible for performing oil changes and other auto maintenance tasks. During the Summer and Fall of 1995, Mr. Puckett worked at Arbor Drugstore where he was responsible for stocking and shelving. He performed inventory management and product lifecycle inventory and other tasks such as working as a cashier.

Mr. Puckett also has a steady history of MDOC employment and volunteer work while incarcerated. He has shown he is capable in positions of responsibility and leadership.

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His MDOC employment history is as follows:

  • April 2010, RMI Kitchen Garden Forman

September 2009, RMI Hobbycraft Leisure Time Activities Clerk

  • April 2009, RMI Garden Foreman
  • April 2007, URF Greenhouse Worker
  • November 2005, KCF Greenhouse Tool Crib Worker
  • May 2005, KCF Yard Crew: Garden Foreman
  • August 2004, KCF Recreation Clerk
  • October 2003, KCF Greenhouse Worker
  • October 2002, KCF Yard Crew Garden Foreman
  • April 2002, KCF Yard Crew: Garden Worker
  • September 2001, URF Barber Repairman

July 1999, ARF Unit Garden Worker

Institutional Adjustment

Mr. Pucketts adjustment to prison has been inconsistent, especially in the early years.As with most young inmates who are serving a LIFE sentence, he spent much of his first years of incarceration rebelling and receiving common tickets associated with disrespecting authority, including tickets for disobeying direct orders, out of place, insolence, and interfering with administrative rules tickets. In his 14 plus years he has received two tickets for fighting. In the last four years he has received two tickets, in June and December of 2008. He presents as showing genuine shame and insight into his dissocial behaviors while incarcerated and takes full responsibility

for his conduct.

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Institutional Programming Accomplishments

In contrast to his misconduct, Joshua has also taken advantage of volunteering opportunities and opportunities for selfgrowth. He has voluntarily participated in numerous therapeutic programs and has a list of Community Service and Volunteering Accomplishments as listed below:

Crime Victims Awareness Program

Cage Your Rage

  • Ministry Certification

National Lifers Group Hebrew Culture Group Ionia Bedding Plant ProjectFlowers for Downtown Ionia Wardens Forum Prisoner Representative Donated Hair to Locks of Love Numerous Horticulture Donations As a Recreation Clerk, Joshua assisted in facilitating the Soo Greyhound Hockey Event, also known as the DO


  • Walked in Charity cancer walk City of Hopeand

donated financially Volunteered for the Jaycees Coat and Cosmetic DriveInitiated and fully ran the 2009 RMI volunteer garden Assisted in the facilitation of the University of Michigan inmate art show

Psychological Assessment and Treatment History

Prior to prison, Mr. Puckett did not participate in mental health counseling.

Upon admission to prison, Mr. Puckett was administered a Brief Psychological Evaluationon July 22, 1996 by Beyou Tsegave, M.A., prison psychologist. This evaluation included the administration of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory [MMPI).

A summary of the findings of this succinct evaluation indicated the following:

Mr. Puckett is viewed as an individual who harbors hostile and aggressive impulses and being unable to express his negative feelings appropriately. He tends

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to appear over controlled most of the time and have brief episodes of aggressive acting out. A tendency to lack insight into the origins and consequences of his actions or behaviors along with tending to be viewed by others as having problematic behaviors are also suggested. His difficulties seem to stem from deep and chronic feelings of hostility towards family members, and he tends to demand approval and attention from others. Although he may appear to be socially conforming, inwardly, he could be quite rebellious. He is viewed as a passive/aggressive individual who has difficulties acknowledging his negative feelings. Prognosis for his rehabilitation and treatment is considered guarded at this time.

Psychologist Tsegaye noted the many tragic events of the inmates upbringing and commented that he was impressed that Mr. Puckett was able to talk about the circumstances, death, and loss of his father to AIDS and his mother and her life partner [Inmates Second mother] to being murdered by their neighbor, within six months of each other, when he was 14 years old [See below for more details]. On the other hand, the psychologist also noted that Mr. Puckett seemed, curiously, emotionally detached when talking about these horrific experiences.

It is interesting to note that Mr. Puckett appeared very detached from his feelings as he was reporting these traumatic incidents.

Concerning Mr. Pucketts early upbringing and difficulties, it was noted by Mr. Tsegaye that the inmate reported that he was teasedby his schoolmates about his mothers homosexuality ...which resulted in developing feelings of inadequacy and insecurity as well as poor selfimage.

Relative to the evaluation and psychological testing results of that time, Mr. Tsegaye emphasized that the data did not indicate any symptoms nor flag significant concerns relative to the presence of a mental illnesscondition.

At the close of his report, psychologist Tsegaye noted that he recommended Mr. Puckett for both educational as well as vocational programming of his interests and capabilities.

  • Mr. Tsegaye commented as follows regarding this point:

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He is particularly encouraged to utilize the mental health services, as needed, considering the fact that formal treatment programs may not be available to him due to his Life sentence. Mr. Puckett seemed receptive to the encouragement provided to him to utilize the mental health services, as needed, to assist him in the development of appropriate problemsolving skills as well as assisting him to deal with his traumatic experiences that did not seem to have been appropriately dealt with.

Given that Mr. Pucketts documented history over the last 14 years of incarceration, plainly, demonstrates that he enthusiastically and assiduously involved himself in a widerange of educational, vocational, and psychological services, it appears that he, rather earnestly, took psychologist Tsegayes advice and recommendations to heart.

According to the inmate and the MDOC Bureau of Health Care records reviewed by this examiner, Mr. Puckett has completed and received certificates of completion for Anger Management, “Cage Your Rage,Crime Victims Awareness Programming,and, Substance Abuse Education, Phase I

[Currently enrolled in Phase II].

When questioned about psychological treatment over the past 14 years, Mr. Puckett related the following:

Ive used the Psych[ological] services from time to time, as needed. I would like to go more often but due to the budget constraints they really dont let you see the psych unless it‘s major.

Psychological Testing Results

MMPI2 Interpretation

Validity Scales: This profile suggests normal independence, selfreliance and a level of selfcomfort. This person did not endorse a significant number of bizarre or unusual items. This pattern is fairly typical of a normalprofile, and suggests freedom from severe psychopathology. Clients with similar profiles tend to be somewhat defensive and tend to be reluctant to admit problems.



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Affect: An average number of symptoms of depression were endorsed by this person. Difficulty appropriately expressing such negative emotions as anger can be expected and a mild degree of emotional instability is likely to be characteristic of this person. Overall, however, this person has adequate selfcontrol over his aggressive impulses. This person tends to be a verbally expressive individual.

Personality/Behavior: Similar scores are associated with an appropriate level of selfcomfort, an average degree of enthusiasm, and a balance between optimism and pessimism. There are indications of a tendency to self centered attitudes and this person will likely need to work on learning to be more empathic towards others. These individuals may be quite energetic, somewhat immature, and talkative.


Interpersonal Attitudes/Behavior: Those with this profile are, typically, gregarious, outgoing, sociable individuals who have good social techniques. Although they have a strong need to be with other people, they often find that forming and maintaining more intimate relationships is difficult for them and, thus, they tend to withhold their inner feelings. Consideration for the needs and feelings of others tends to be in the normal range, however. A flexible approach to life is likely to be descriptive of this person.



Cognitive Style: This pattern suggests a capacity for organization of work and no excessive worrying.

Treatment Considerations: This persons reluctance to open up emotionally and reveal his core self and core insecurities will be a challenge to his therapist. With commitment on his part and patience on the part of his therapist, he has the capacity for gaining insight and for making positive changes in his behavior. Outside of an institutional setting this reluctance may diminish.

Prognosis: Good with psychotherapy.

Diagnostic Impressions

Based on the character and coherency of the inmates responses, spontaneous comments, and his general demeanor during the interview, the information obtained from the

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interviews, psychological testing results, and from the written background information is believed to be reliable and credible. The data obtained from the examination, therefore, is useful for the purposes of this type of forensic risk assessment.

On the basis of this interview, psychological testing and this examiners clinical observations, the inmates personality appears to be best characterized as outgoing and extroverted. In response to stress and threats to the ego, the inmates primary defense mechanisms are mostly sophisticated ones, such as r ationalization, intellectualization, and simple denial. Insight into his own psychological functioning and adjustment at this time is quite good and it certainly appears that he has benefited significantly from the educational psychological treatment programs and from his participation in N.A. and A.A. while in prison.


By review of his work history during his incarceration, the inmate projects a strong work ethic. He also projects that he has internalized appropriate moral values and ethics. The inmate does have a substance abuse problem, by history, but has taken steps while in prison to better understand his substance abuse issues, work past his denial, and in terms of structuring a realistic relapse prevention plan for when he is released from prison. The inmate does not present as having a sexual adjustment, sexually compulsive, or sexually deviant disorder.

Discussion of Clinical/Forensic Findings

These findings, in general, indicate a person of high average intelligence with a history of highly difficult developmental challenges and psychological maladjustment subsequent to a series of very traumatic events in his childhood (e.g., Sexual Abuse at age seven] and adolescence [e.g., Death of his father due to H.I.V., leading to an extended period of illness; and, the murder of his biological mother and adopted mother, within a six month period of time]. Likely, these traumas led to a severe breakdown in terms of his emotional and social adjustment in the two years prior to his incarceration. It is also likely that these traumatic events contributed to his subsequent delinquent behaviors and, ultimately, to his joining a gang.

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Somewhat ironically, he presented at this time with a normal mental status together with a history of episodic, but significant, alcohol abuse, which appears to be in

solid remission at this time.

These data also suggest that he struggles, at times, with mild depression due to situational stressors. At least some of the current and past mild episodes of depression are likely in consequence of his strong dissatisfaction with his present circumstances and, also, in consequence of his guilt and shame relative to his offense conduct. This individual, notably, has good social skills and social technique. These findings, additionally, suggested that he has matured, considerably, in consequence of his prison experiences and with regard to a deepening of his understanding and insight into the personality factors, motivations, behaviors, and bad habits underlying his offense behavior.

To summarize, in my professional opinion, to a reasonable degree of psychological certainty, the clinical diagnosis of Mr. Puckett is the following:

The Axis I diagnosis is Adjustment Disorder with Mild Situational Depression (at this time]. PostTraumatic Stress Disorder [Due to childhood and adolescent traumas, reviewed above]; Alcohol Abuse, episodic, by history, presently in solid remission.

The Axis disorder].


Normal Adult Male

[No personality

There is no Axis III diagnosis.

HCR20., Assessing Risk for Violence [Version 2]

The HCR20 was developed in an effort to integrate the almost separate worlds of research on the prediction of violence and the clinical practiced of risk assessment. At the present time the HCR20 should be viewed as a forensic/clinical aide and as a research instrument. It is always employed by the examiner with caution and integrated into the overall findings of the data derived from the forensic/clinical interview.

Nevertheless, this instrument shows promise for several reasons. The level of information required to score the

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instrument provide the examiner with a very broad view of their case and it fosters the collaborative approach to the assessment of the predictive risk of violence [e.g., For example, it fosters collaboration between forensic psychologist and court agents conducting a presentence investigation or with parole agents in terms of management of risk post parole.]

The HCR20 instrument is organized as a checklist of risk factors for violent behavior. It consists of 20 items, organized around 10 past [Historical] factors, 5 present [“Clinical] . variables, and 5 future [Risk Management] issues. An important aspect of the HCR20 is that it includes variables that capture relevant past, present, and future considerations. Historical, or static, factors are weighted as heavily as the combined present clinical and future risk management variables. According to the authors of the HCR20, this organizational structure was suggested by the reviews of recent literature published in Version 1 of the HCR20 [Webster et al 1995].

When utilizing the HCR20, the examiners statements of risk should be stated as being low, moderate, or high risk relative to the population the subject is drawn from [In this case the population of inmates being considered for parole].

Inmates HCR20 Coding

The following is a summary of Mr. Pucketts violence risk in terms of the Historical, Clinical, and Risk Management Items (variables] coded on the HCR20 by this examiner.

Historical Items

Regarding the Historical risk items, Mr. Pucketts score, overall, is [7] out of a possible 20 points maximum. This places him at the lower end of the low risk rangewith regard to historical antecedents, determined (actuarially] by research, which might possibly increase his risk score

for prediction of future violence.

of the ten Historical variables of the HCR20, he was scored for Previous Violence [Score 2: Due, principally, to his participation in the offenses for which he was convicted as opposed to his behavior prior to his Aiding and Abetting conviction]; Young At First Violent Incident

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[Score 2 for definitely present]; Substance Use Problems [Score 1 for Possible/Less serious substance use problem); Early Maladjustment [Score of 1 for Possible/Less serious maladjustment) and, lastly, for Personality Disorder [Score of 1 for Possible/Less serious personality disorder]. He was negative [Score 0] for Relationship Instability, Employment Problems, Major Mental Illness, Psychopathy [i.e., strong antisocial traits), or Prior Supervision Failure.

The total score for Historical Items was 7 out of a possible 20.

Clinical Items

Regarding the clinical risk items, Mr. Pucketts score, overall, is 1 out of a possible 10 points maximum. He was positive for Impulsivity (Score of 1 for Possible/Less serious impulsivity). This places him in the low end of the low risk range with regard to those clinical findings, determined by the present psychological assessment and compared with research data, to possibly increase his risk of future violence.

Mr. Pucketts score for the 5 Clinical variables, thus, was negative for Lack of Insight, Negative Attitudes, [NO] Active Symptoms of Major Mental Illness, or Unresponsive to Treatment. This score was informed by my clinical assessment of Mr. Puckett [i.e., mental status examination, background history, MMPI2 results, review of previous psychological assessments and testing and my differential clinical diagnosis).

Risk Management Items

This section of the HCR20 focuses on forecasting how individuals will likely adjust to future circumstances. Admittedly speculative, the coding of these variables serves to stimulate development of appropriate risk management plans.

On the Risk management items, Mr. Pucketts score, overall, is 1 out of a possible 10 points. This also places him at the low end of the low risk range with regard to the predicted difficulty of risk managing Mr. Puckett if he were to be placed on parole, as opposed to his need for continued incarceration for the protection of the community. On these particular items, he was scored for a

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Moderate probability [Score 1] in terms of future exposure to stressfactors once paroled, largely, due to the usualor typicalstressors encountered in the community by most parolees and due to the fact that he was incarcerated at a young age and will need assistance to integrate, socially, back into the community given his somewhat limited social experience in his background.

On the positive side of these Risk Managementissues, Mr. Pucketts parole plans are quite realistic, reasonable, and attainable. Mr. Puckett appears to have an excellent support system in place with respect to his family and

ds, and, furthermore, based on the clinical assessment data, he is predicted by this examiner to comply with all remediation attempts offered to him and to comply with all parole rules and other requirements.


In summary, based on these finding from the HCR20, the clinical and historical data gathered, and the clinical judgment of this examiner, Mr. Pucketts overall risk for future violence is assessed as relatively low [Total risk score of 9 out of possible 40] in comparison with individuals this examiner, typically, evaluates for these types of forensic referrals and with this type of offense history/background.

Description of the Offense [Brief]

In the PSI report, Mr. Pucketts involvement in the offense was reported as follows:

On 11/09/1995 at approximately 7:10 p.m., Detroit Police Officers, Dominic Gonzalez and James Coss, responded to a police run to 2436 Stair regarding a shooting. Upon their arrival the officers learned that Angel Lawrence, 12, of 3436 Stair #207 had been conveyed to Michigan Osteopathic Hospital and later transferred to Detroit Childrens Hospital for a gunshot wound. Complainant Angel Lawrence was later transferred to the Wayne County Medical Examiners office, where an autopsy was performed, listing the cause of death a gunshot wound to the head.

Further investigation revealed that the defendant and codefendant, Roger Cameron, 21, and codefendant, Daniel Broyles, 17, planned a driveby shooting in Southwest Detroit. The defendant was, subsequently

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arrested at his place of employment at Arbor Drugs in Westland where he was working at the time.

Codefendant Daniel Broyles pled guilty to Murder 2nd Degree on 04/18/1996, and was sentenced to 4 to 12 years in the state prison of Southern Michigan.

Codefendant Roger Cameron was found guilty of Murder 1st

Felony Firearm and was sentenced to Life on 06/06/1996. However, Mr. Cameron, later, entered into a plea bargain for his testimony against Mr. Puckett and received a 6 year prison sentence of which he reportedly served approximately 4 years.

Inmates Statement of the Offense [Brief]

In response to this examiners request for a summary statement regarding his offense motivation and conduct, Mr. Puckett provided this examiner with a detailed statement concerning what happened at the time and reviewing the circumstances leading up to and following his arrest and conviction.

This narrative statement will be summarized briefly in what follows.

I take full responsibility for my actions and the choices that put me here, but I will tell you that if my parents had been alive I would never have ended up here. I think the losses that I experienced in such a short period of time turned me into an angry, bitter, and confused teenager.

I know that I passed on the pain I was in at the time to the family of Angel and I never want to be that person again. I strive every day to be the best me I can be, in the hopes of one day having the chance to make my parents proud.

At the time of my crime, I had no awareness of anything.. I simply reacted. I was never proactive and I knew nothing about distorted thinking, self talk, emotional cues, and selflove. I hated myself and was selfdestructive; full of anger and selfpity. I was not selfaware and I was not emotionally stable because I had so much to deal with. I needed to be here [in prison] because I was a danger to society and

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myself. I had low self esteem and was very anti social. If you dont care about your own life, you surely cant respect anothers life. I had no respect for myself or others.

When asked how his prison experience has affected him, Mr. Puckett wrote the following:

First, I learned that I needed to deal with my grief over losing my parents. I needed to let go of my anger and pain, and I need to learn to love myself.

I needed to find my selfesteem and not want to fit in so bad that I thought a gang was a substitute for a family.

I needed to stop making excuses for my actions and thinking that the world owed me something because I lost my parents.

I needed to stand up and be a man, take responsibility for my own actions, grow up, and take positive action to grow past my pain, which would have stopped all my lashing out and selfdestructive behavior.

Summary of Findings and Recommendations

Before summarizing the data from this evaluation, I would like to briefly note that in the experience of this examiner the level of overall involvement, quality of participation and essential degree of cooperation from Mr. Puckett was quite good in all respects. He fully participated in every aspect of the assessment.

The following are some opinions and conclusions that can be reasonably derived from and are plausibly supported by these data.

  1. 1.

First of all, the inmates offense behaviors, in the opinion of this examiner, cannot be justly understood except within the context of his adolescent stage of development in the months prior to his arrest for the instant offenses. Nor can his choicesat the time be understood apart from an appreciation of how the tragic and traumatic events of his childhood and adolescence triggered a cascade of poor judgments and

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reinforced in him the development of negative and distorted thinking about himself and society. Indeed, in marked contrast, the insight and maturity he demonstrates in his statement (see above] about what factors he now understands contributed to his making such poor choices at that time in his life, reveal, in my opinion, that he has grown and matured and, plainly, utilized his prison experience as an opportunity to make positive changes in himself.

In a journal article titled: Less Guilty by Reason of Adolescence, Developmental Imma turity, Diminished Responsibility and the Juvenile Death Penalty, psychologists Laurence Steinberg and Elizabeth S. Scott (American Psychologist December 2003] note that utilizing a developmental perspective to examine questions about the criminal culpability of juveniles argues for the use of different standards of criminal responsibility for adolescentsbecause the substantial body of developmental, cognitive, and neurological research pertaining to the adolescentsdecisionmaking capacity strongly underscores that the adolescentsessential cognitive capacity is markedly diminished in comparison with adults. These authors write about these phenomena as follows:

[Adolescentsdecisions] are generally made under conditions of emotional arousal (whether negative or positive), and they usually are made in groups

[i.e., influenced by peer pressure).

In other words, to the extent that adolescents are less psychosocially mature than adults, they are likely to be deficient in their decisionmaking capacity, even if their cognitive processes are mature (Cauffman & Steinberg, 2000; Scott et al., 1995; Steinberg & Cauffman, 1996). [Emphasis added]

  1. 2.

Secondly, this man does not suffer from significant emotional or psychological problems at this time, which is remarkable considering the degree of ยท maladjustment that preceded his participation in this crime, however indirectly.

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The active diagnosis given above has its origin, primarily, in situational factors and, therefore, it is presumed the symptoms will abate as his circumstances improve and as he continues to gain insights from participating in regular psychotherapy. While, clearly, he came to prison with a growing substance abuse problem for which, admittedly, he was in mild denial about, plainly, he has learned a good deal from the educational and support programs he has participated in over the last several years. He now appears to be fully aware of the part played by past alcohol abuse and as to the extent and potential seriousness of his past alcohol abuse issues. Indeed, he gives the strong impression of having a good handle on his need to remain abstinent from any use of alcohol or other drugs, and, furthermore, he appears equally aware of his need to remain in a relapse prevention modeby maintaining regular attendance at A.A. meetings

and by participating in psychological counseling.

  1. 3.

Lastly, it is equally clear that the inmate presently has substantial and genuine remorse for his victims.


The results of the evaluation, which in addition to my interview observations and mental status assessment, include an integration of the data derived from psychological testing, information gleaned from the comprehensive social and psychological adjustment history prepared by the inmate, and a careful review of the offense behavior reported by the authorities, the inmate and witnesses, reveal that Mr. Puckett will prosper best, if granted parole, by his participation in ongoing psychological counseling and continued participation in


It is also my opinion, based on these findings, including the scoring of the HCR20 Risk Assessment, that Mr. Puckett is not a significant risk to the safety or welfare of the community and he is, thus, predicted to follow all direction and orders of the Parole Board and his Parole Agent with full compliance.

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In conclusion, based upon an integration of all the information currently available to this examiner and upon my experience as a forensic psychologist having conducted well over 3000 evaluations of individuals involved in criminal court matters, and several hundred relative to parole risk assessments over the last 30 years, in my view these findings indicate a positive longterm prognosis. Furthermore, in my opinion, Mr. Puckett will fair best in his post prison parole adjustment by following a carefully structured parole release plan, such as the one that he has prepared in addition his longterm relapse prevention plan.

If the Board has any questions or concerns regarding my findings or recommendations, please do not hesitate to contact me at the above captioned phone number.


s/[Steven R. Miller, Ph.D., L.P]

Steven R. Miller, Ph.D., L.P. ClinicalForensic Psychologist