Clinical and Forensic Psychology
Timothy J. Derning, Ph.D., M.S.Ed. is an forensic psychologist specializing in neurocognitive and neurobehavioral disabilities, including Intellectual Disability/Mental Retardation (ID/MR), developmental disabilities, high functioning Autism/Asperger’s disorder, Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NLD), Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, etc.
Over the course of the past 20 years he has testified in numerous capital and non-capital cases involving intellectual disabilities in juveniles and adults. He has given expert testimony in pre- and post-conviction cases regarding deficits related to mental retardation, adaptive abilities, developmental delay, social naïveté’, the impact of low intelligence, suggestibility, coercive influence, malingering, communication impairment, psychological trauma, psychopathology and mental illness as these pertain to forensic questions of trial competency, ability to understand and waive rights, confession validity, diminished capacity, competency for execution, dangerousness, etc. Dr. Derning has also prepared opinions in retrospective evaluations of mental retardation in ‘Atkins’ capital cases.
Dr. Derning has been retained and qualified as an expert in Federal courts, and in Superior Courts in California, as well as in jurisdictions of New York, Georgia, Arkansas, Texas, Florida, Hawaii, Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and elsewhere. He served as the mental retardation expert in the case against Jesse Misskelley (‘The Memphis Three’), the mental retardation re-trial of Johnny Paul Penry in 2002, and mental retardation case Craig Godineaux (co-defendant, ‘Wendy’s Massacre’ Queens, NY). Dr. Derning was retained by Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro in two class-separate action suits brought against the California Dept. of Corrections and the California Board of Prison Terms regarding the identification and ADA accommodation of individuals with developmental disabilities (Clark v. California (1998); Armstrong v. Wilson (1999)).
He currently serves as a member of the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) Death Penalty Task Force. He also serves as a member of Arc California’s Task Force for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and formerly served as a member of Arc’s California Task Force for Persons with Developmental Disabilities in the Criminal Justice System.
Over the past 20 years Dr. Derning has written and lectured on mental retardation and intellectual disabilities in the criminal justice system. He has conducted professional trainings and workshops for lawyers, mental health professionals, forensic psychologists, investigators, law enforcement, and the lay public at local, state, and national conferences. Working with Temple University's Institute on Disabilities he co-authored a training curriculum for mental health professionals regarding the assessment of defendants with mental retardation.
Dr. Derning serves as an independent psychological expert who subscribes to the ethical code of forensic psychology, which demands a balanced evaluation that is guided by the evaluation data and professional psychological research, favoring neither defense nor prosecution. He is not an advocate for individuals with intellectual disabilities, nor does advocate for or against the death penalty.
710 W. Napa St.
Sonoma, CA 95476
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