“Police psychologist” William Lewinski defends his methods and credentials

This is a cross-examination by me (Patrick Malone) done so long ago that I had forgotten about it until a friend reminded me just after my book The Fearless Cross-Examiner was published. It’s worth posting here because (1) the witness, William Lewinski, remains a frequent “expert” called to defend police shootings across the country, (2) his popularity as an expert witness for police officers who shoot citizens seems to remain undiminished despite strong questions about his credentials and his methods (the New York Times ran a long front-page takeout in 2015 on Lewinski headlined, “Training Officers to Shoot First, and He Will Answer Questions Later”), and (3) the excerpt here shows some techniques that, in my self-evaluation, weren’t bad but could have been better. (If only I’d written and read my own book beforehand!)


I make some notations in brackets that show where I think questions could have been sharpened and extended.


With my able co-counsel, Terry Roberts, I represented the infant daughter of Prince Carmen Jones Jr., a Howard University student who was shot late one night by Corporal Carlton Jones of the Prince George’s County, Maryland police.   This happened on September 1, 2000.  Why did the cop, in an unmarked car and wearing no uniform, disguised in dreadlocks to look like a crack dealer, follow our client’s car some 25 miles from Prince George’s County, Maryland through Washington, D.C., into a quiet suburban neighborhood in Fairfax, Virginia, a few blocks from his fiancee Candace Jackson’s home? Our guy Prince Jones was on his way to see his baby daughter. That much was clear. Why did Carlton Jones follow him? That was never adequately explained. He claimed it was a case of mistaken identity on a surveillance; he was looking for a thug who sort of looked like Prince Jones, except the real guy was a squat 5-6 with long hair and our guy was 6-4 with close cropped hair.


We sued Carlton Jones (unrelated to our client) and the Prince George’s County government for the wrongful death of Prince Jones.  Our civil lawsuit was the family’s only chance at justice, since the authorities had declined to criminally prosecute Carlton Jones.


A college friend of Prince Jones, Ta-Nehisi Coates, won the National Book Award for nonfiction in 2015 for his book, Between the World and Me. In his acceptance speech, he said he wrote the book for Prince Jones. His friend died, Coates said, because “at the heart of our country is the notion that we are okay with the presumption that black people … somehow have a predisposition toward criminality.”


Coates wrote about the killing in the Washington Monthly back in June 2001. The headline on the piece: “Black and Blue – Why does America’s richest black suburb have some of the country’s most brutal cops?”


Let’s flip back the calendar to January 2006, to a courtroom in the very same Prince George’s County that employed Carlton Jones on its police force. Enter William Lewinski to defend what Carlton Jones did, and what he said too, because there were some odd holes in the officer’s recollection of what had happened that night.


My cross-examination was aimed, first and foremost, at scrubbing off the veneer of scientist that Lewinski wore into the courtroom. When you’re cross-examining an “expert” witness, you get two bites at the apple, the first when the witness is qualified as an expert through preliminary questions about training and experience, and the second when the now-qualified witness gets to dish his or her expert opinions to the jury. A lot of lawyers skip the first bite, because they figure it’s a black mark on the lawyer if the judge rules that the witness is qualified to testify as an expert after the lawyer has challenged the witness’s credentials. I often mount a pretty vigorous cross on credentials because I like to cast a shadow on the witness before he launches into the heart of his testimony. That’s what I did here.













through her mother and next friend,

Candace Jackson,




to the use of

MABEL S. JONES, Intervenor,


                        vs                                                                    Civil Action Law

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY                                           01‑3974





Chief of Police, Prince George’s County






(Excerpt:  Voir Dire and Cross-Examination)

(Mr. William Joseph Lewinski)

                                                                                    Upper Marlboro, Maryland

                                                                                    January 13, 2006



                                                                                                            and jury


            For the Plaintiffs, Nina Amayye’ Eden Chi Jones and Prince Carmen Jones, Senior:

                        TERRELL N. ROBERTS, I I I, ESQUIRE

                        PATRICK A. MALONE, ESQUIRE

                        CHRISTOPHER A. GRIFFITHS, ESQUIRE

            For the Plaintiff/Intervenor Mabel S. Jones:

                        GREGORY L. LATTIMER, ESQUIRE

                        TED J. WILLIAMS, ESQUIRE

            For the Defendants:

                        JAY H. CREECH, ESQUIRE

                        ALICE CHONG, ESQUIRE





Voir Dire Examination…………………………………………………………………………….3




P.O. Box 401

Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20773

(301) 952‑4449




Q  Good morning, sir.  My name is Patrick Malone.

I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your last name.

Q  Patrick Malone.  Doctor Lewinski, is police psychology recognized by the American Psychological Associated as a branch of psychology?

No, they are groups of police psychologists, but there’s no recognized branch.  APA has a branch of police psychology.

Q  But it’s not recognized as one of the traditional — well, let’s back up for a second.  You’ve got educational psychology; right?

That’s correct.

Q  You’re not an educational psychologist.

That’s correct.

Q  Educational psychology requires a license in most states; right?

To practice in a school, yes, it does.

Q  And by the way, are you licensed anywhere in to practice any kind of psychology?

The only license accorded in Minnesota is clinical psychology and educational psychology, and I’m not.  I teach in the university.

Q  You’re not licensed to practice psychology in Minnesota of either clinical or educational.  Is that what you just told us?

That’s correct.

Q  And you’re not licensed in any of the other forty-nine states to practice any kind of psychology.  Is that right?

I don’t do diagnosis and therapy, that’s correct, which are the license issues, diagnosis and therapy.

Q  Now, have you ever taken exam to be licensed in any branch of psychology?

No, I grandfathered in when I was a clinical psychologist.  I grandfathered in under the supervision of a licensed psychologist so I could call myself a psychologist, but I did not take an exam.

Q  So, when you say that you’re not licensed to do diagnosis and treatment, that means that you are not qualified to diagnose whether someone is suffering from a psychological disorder.  Correct?

MR. CREECH: Objection.

THE COURT: Overruled.

THE WITNESS: In a clinical term, that is correct.


Q  Okay.  How, nonetheless, do you feel that you’re an objective behavioral scientist?

I study and understand the research, and apply it as I believe it should be applied.

Q  Do you accept the word “objective”?

Yes, I do.

Q  And you are one?

I believe I am objective.

Q  You apply objective techniques?

In what circumstance, sir?

Well, in the circumstance when you’re coming into court to testify in a case, have you applied objective recognized techniques?

Yes.  You mean empirically neutral?



So, you come in as a neutral person, not taking sides when you start out the case.  Is that right?

That’s correct.  I evaluate and pick up a case based entirely on the merit of that case as I view it, whether or not I have something to say based on what I know about the scientific literature.


[This might have been a good time for me to challenge the witness’s claim of objectivity by pointing out that he was always hired by police departments and always testified for the officer, never by the civilian challenging the officer’s conduct.  This veers into the witness’s bias, which strictly speaking isn’t part of qualifications, so I postponed it, but the line between credentials and bias is gray enough that I probably should have ventured at least a question or two into his testimonial pattern.]


All right.  Now, would you agree that an objective scientist follows a principle we could call transparency?

What do you mean by “transparency”?

Transparency means that you do your work in such a way that people can look over your shoulder and conduct peer review and see if you have done it in an objectively neutral way.  True?

To the extent that I presented research in that form, yes, that is true.  But I tend not to publish in the areas, I only present material, primarily present material that has been researched by others.  I do some specific research on my own that I have presented in peer review conferences, but not peer-reviewed publications.

When you do research, you try to save your data so that other people can review it.  That’s called peer review; right?

That’s correct.

Okay.  And you do that you follow that.

To the extent that we present it in peer review conferences, yes, we have.

Now, you’re familiar with Calibre Press?

Yes, I used to work with them.  No longer do, but I used to work in conjunction with them.

Well, don’t they have a stable of expert witnesses that you’re a part of?

Well, at one point they asked me to be part of a group of expert witnesses, and I think I did a case of two with them back in the eighties, but I no longer have any association with them.

We checked the Calibre Press web site on December 28, 2005, and you’re listed as being in their stable of experts available to defend police in cases like this.  Did you know what?

MR. CREECH: Objection, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Overruled.


Let me show it to you.

THE COURT: No, just ask him the question.  You don’t have to show it.


Do you see your picture there on that page, sir?

Yes, I see that.

That’s Bill Lewinski.

That’s correct.

Do you see the date in the corner, December 28, 2005?

I am not responsible for what they don’t take off their web site.  I’m sorry.  They’ve changed hands many times, and I have had no connection with them in any legal encounter in any case since maybe, I don’t know, ’92, ’95.

Well, wait a second, one of the things that they had put out —

MR. CREECH: Your Honor —


— is something called —

THE COURT:  Yes.  Just a minute.

MR. CREECH: I’ll wait until he asks it.

THE COURT: Thank you.


— put out something called the Calibre Press Street Survival Newsline.

That’s correct.

MR. CREECH: Your Honor, I’m going to object as to what somebody else does.

MALONE: I can tie it right in.

MR. CREECH: Your Honor —

THE COURT: Wait a minute.  I’m going to sustain his objection.  He says he hasn’t been on the site since ’92, ’95.  Ask him something else.

MALONE: I’m trying to impeach that, Your Honor.  I have some evidence of that.



Calibre Press has a Street Survival Newsline that you are still part of.

They may still be presenting my research saying they did present some of my research back in the nineties, but I have had no association with them since they shifted to prime media, and I don’t remember when that was.  They may still publish some of the newslines containing my information.  My understanding is that they’re doing that.  They’re going back and repeating old newslines, but they’ve never informed me, nor do I know anything about this.

It’s a freely available website that you can check right now.  Right?

MR. CREECH: Your Honor, I object.

THE COURT: Overruled.



I suppose I could.  I have no interest in it.

Q They say that Doctor Lewinski, a highly successful member of the Calibre Press expert witness team, may be able to assist your attorney, and that’s the policeman officer’s attorney, in strategizing your case.  Do you deny that you had any role in putting that on their web site?

MR. CREECH: Objection, Your Honor.

THE COURT:  [Overruled.]

Initially, when Chuck Remsburg worked at that and he was in charge of Calibre Press, we did not look at how behavioral science could help an officer be able to explain to a court what happened.


And that includes working with the defense lawyer to strategize the case?

Certainly the presentation of behavioral science is part of the presentation.  For instance, we just looked at some of the very sophisticated, I think, psychologically sophisticated material, and how is that introduced, and how does that explain what an officer did as part of the strategy.  So, to the extent that people would ask me about that and I would explain that, then, that would be part of the strategy.  And Chuck Remsburg, when he owned that, I worked openly with him in that.  But I have not had any connection with them since he sold that company, and that’s been —

Do you ever obtain expert witness consultations through a lady named Slavka Chrenkova, who is the Sales Manager at Calibre Press?

She’s left messages on my machine and I do not return them.  I am not interested in working with Calibre Press.

And why is that?  Because they are biased?

MR. CREECH: Objection, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Sustained.  I’m going to let you do voir dire, but what you’re doing is cross-examining him on other issues.  Let’s keep with the voir dire.  I want to know whether or not I should qualify him as a behavioral scientist with a specialty in police psychology.  That’s all that’s in front of me here.



Let’s talk about what you did in this case for objective testing that an objective scientist would do.

MR. CREECH: Objection.

THE COURT: Overruled.

THE WITNESS:  no, I did not.


In fact, you’re not qualified to administer objective psychological tests.

Clinical psychological tests, that is true.  I can’t tell you whether he’s paranoid, or depressive, schizophrenia, I can’t tell you.  I can’t tell you whether he has a disorder, I cannot do that.

You’re familiar with the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory; right?

The MMPI, yes, I am.

And the MMPI is universally recognized as a valid psychological tool when you’re trying to diagnose whether someone is suffering from a certain condition?

Yes.  And I have studied and consulted with people that developed that test.  I’m very familiar with that test.

But you are not qualified to give the test, or interpret the test.

Only clinical licensed psychologists can give that test in the State.  Professors cannot unless we receive a clinical license.

Now, did you ever consider in this case hiring a clinical psychologist to work with you to do an examination of Carlton Jones who would give objective data?

MR. CREECH: Objection, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Yes.  I don’t think we’re getting to the issue.  I’m going to admit him and let you cross-examine him.  I don’t know what he’s going to say about Carlton Jones.

MR MALONE:  I’ve got a lot more material on his qualifications, Your Honor.

THE COURT: But you’re not doing voir dire, Mr. Malone.  I’m not going to get into an argument with you like I did yesterday.

MR. MALONE: I don’t want to do that either.

THE COURT: But I’ll tell you, this is voir dire.  It’s very general admission that they’re looking for.  I don’t know where this is going to go.  I have no idea.  But when they get into the specifics, then all your questions may be totally relevant.  Or we may not even get to your questions, because on Direct I might not let him testify, based on whatever this general admission is.  And I don’t know what it means yet.  So, he may be admitted as an expert in his field, but it may not have anything to do with this case as far as I’m concerned right now.MALONE: Well, can we just reserve then on his —

THE COURT: Absolutely.  I don’t know how else to handle it because it’s such a board category that they’re qualifying him in.  But I’m not sure that it means anything for this case.  So, let’s just see where it goes.

LATTIMER: Your Honor, before we do that, he has indicated what he was going to testify as an expert in this case previously

THE COURT:  In the report?

LATTIMER: And that is inconsistent with what he’s saying today.  And that’s what I would like to approach him on.

THE COURT: Well, when he gets to that, we might.  They may abandon some of that in the report.  I don’t know what he’s going to be offered for.

LATTIMER: All right.  When he gets to the point of offering, then I will bring it up.

THE COURT: Certainly.  Go ahead, Mr. Creech.

MR. CREECH: Thank you, Your Honor.

[THEREUPON, Direct Examination not requested to be transcribed.]


Q  Good afternoon again.

Good afternoon.

In terms of what you did in this case, sir, to bring down the generalities into something specifically relevant for this case, you didn’t go out to the scene to see what the scene looked like.  Is that true?

A That is correct.

You did a telephone interview of Carlton Jones?

That is correct, that was one of them.

You didn’t try to do any kind of real diagnostic examination of Mr. Jones; correct?

A [not transcribed]

You didn’t examine the Montero that he was driving to see how complicated the gearshift was.  True?

True.  I did not.

You did not examine the seatbelt mechanism to see how complicated the seatbelt mechanism was?

No.  I made certain assumptions about how complicated it was, but I did not look specifically at a Montero.

[These last questions about the car’s gearshift and its seatbelt went to Carlton Jones’s claim that he felt no choice but to fire his weapon multiple times at Prince Jones’s vehicle rather than drive away or undo his seatbelt and get out of the car.]

You say you may have looked at a few of the photos of the scene?

I remember seeing something about the damage to the vehicle in the early phases of my preparation for my report, but I don’t remember that.  It may have been just a description of the damage to the vehicle.

So, you may not have even seen any photos.

A  That’s correct.

Q  Okay.  So you didn’t try to do any kind of forensic analysis of this case?

A  I did no forensic analysis or forensic reconstruction on this case.

[This next line of questions sets up a return to the line of questions I had started in the qualifications phase on the theme that objective scientists are transparent by recording what they do so others can do peer review.]

Now, did you record this interview you did at [of] Carlton Jones?

No, I did not.

Q  Did you take notes on the interview?

A  No, I was looking solely for — I was trying to assess his perception of “threat,” and that’s the prime thing.  The whole hour was focused on building a relationship and just trying to take him step‑by‑step through the incident to see whether or not his perception was consistent with what I would term a perception of threat.

You took some notes, I take it, during this process?

A  No, I don’t believe I did.

Or even afterwards, you didn’t take any notes?

A  No.  It was an impression I was looking for.

Is that scientific?

A  To the extent that I was asked to comment on whether or not his behavior was consistent with someone who had been in that condition, then all I had to do is get his statements.  I am not polygraph person, nor was I doing a clinical assessment on him.

But for an objection [objective] scientist to follow this principle we call transparency, so that people can look over your shoulder and see if what your assessment of him was accurate, it would be important to either record it, or take some notes, or do something.  True?

A  I did record it in my report.

Well, what you recorded was one line that said you had an one‑hour interview with the gentleman.

A  And I certainly used it as a foundation for my opinion in the case, including that he saw this as a position of threat.

But you didn’t save any notes that would allow us to review and possibly even cross-examine you on that?

A  No, I did not write down that Officer Jones saw this as a position of threat, which is what I was primarily driving toward in the interview.

Q  Now, you say you worked for an hour with him to establish a relationship with him, in part.

Yes, just asking him some general questions.

Q  Now, is that part of the standard practice of a clinical psychologist?

MR. CREECH: Objection, Your Honor.  He’s not qualified as an expert in —

THE COURT: Sustained.


[I adjusted the question quickly to respond to the sustained objection. This actually made it better.]

Well, is that the standard practice of any kind of psychologist?

A  Yes.  If I’m going to do an interview, it’s a standard practice with an interviewer to ask any questions dealing with personal material as part of an interviewing strategy.  You don’t have to be a psychologist to do interviewing.

Q  So, you were doing an interview just like any newspaper reporter would do an interview.  True?

A Or an attorney, trying to build some relationship, and then trying to get somebody to report on what they saw.  I had — at that point, I had depositions — I believe I had depositions — I had reports, and, therefore, I was looking to see, was this — was what he was going to tell me consistent with what was in the reports.


[What I might have done better here would have been to follow up on the witness’s volunteering that he saw his relationship with the subject as more like an attorney developing a relationship with a client rather than like a true scientist. Instead I went back to the theme of his failure to record anything about the interview, and was shut down because it was repetitive.]


And, of course, it would be helpful to know whether what he told you was consistent with the recorded statements, if you had written something about what he had told you?

MR. CREECH: Objection, Your Honor.


MR. CREECH: I think we’ve been over this.

THE COURT: I think so.  I agree.


Now, in the field of psychology and psychiatry, this issue you call perceptual blockage, there is a diagnosis of someone who has amnesia for a specific short period of time.  True?

I understand there is.

And there’s a specific diagnosis.  It’s called dissociative amnesia.  True?

I believe that to be true, and it’s part of what we’re assessing in the studies.  I have not done the studies, but it’s part of what is assessed by psychologists who study it.  Dissociation is certainly one of the things we’re looking for with people who have high stress in certain situations.

Q  To determine if an individual has dissociative amnesia, you’ve got to follow the rules for figuring that out; don’t you?

MR. CREECH: Objection, Your Honor.


MR. CREECH: Your Honor, he’s not testified he made such a determination.

THE COURT:  I though he just said it’s part of the mix that he — I might have gotten that wrong, but I just thought he said it was part of the mix that he does consider.  You can clarify that, but that’s what I though he said.  So, therefore, I overrule the objection.

 THE WITNESS:  The question?


Q  The question was — well, let me back up.  There are criteria that are set out by the American Psychiatric Association for making a diagnosis of dissociative amnesia.  True?

A  That is correct, there certainly are, and it’s a standard clinical diagnosis.

Q  And it comes from this book here, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition.

A  Also, I think it’s in the Third Edition, too.

This is the Bible of psychiatric and psychological diagnoses, this book here.

A  This is correct.

Okay.  Now, did you follow any of the criterial set out in this book for reaching a determination that a person has dissociative amnesia?

A  I was not asked to do a clinical diagnosis, nor am I qualified to do that.  I was asked, is a dissociative state temporary, very temporary dissociative state, as what was reported here, is it consistent with trauma, and with distortions.  And the answer to that is, yes, it is.  And the officer —

Q  Well, being consistent is that – it means that it can also be inconsistent.  Right?

A  Would you please explain?

Q  Well, just because something is consistent with high stress doesn’t necessarily mean that to a reasonable degree of professional certainty the person — that is what happened to the person; right?

A  Yes.  And I was not asked to determine that.

Q  Okay.  So you’re not giving any opinions — let’s just get this straight — you’re not giving any opinions about whether Corporal Jones has dissociative amnesia or any other kind of loss of memory related to this stress.  True?

A  That would be a clinical diagnosis versus a reporting of symptoms and comparison with high stress performance, which is a well‑documented phenomenon.  Those two align.  That’s all I’m saying.  I’m not saying he was clinically diagnosable.  I’m not saying that.

Q  You know that one of the things that they have to rule out when they’re trying to find out if someone has a memory loss that is genuine, or is not genuine, is whether or not there is some element of the malingering by that person.  True?

MR. CREECH: Objection, Your Honor.

THE COURT:  Look, the only reason why I’m allowing this is because he said this is one of the things that he looked into.  That’s what I remember his testimony.  So, if he looked into it, it’s just fair cross-examination.  If he didn’t look into it, then I would certainly sustain your objection.  But right now I have to overrule it because he put it into play.  Let’s go, Mr. Malone.


Let me read you a quote from the DSM.  “Malingered amnesia is most common in individuals presenting with acute, florid symptoms in a context in which potential secondary gain is evident — for example, financial or legal problems or the desire to avoid combat, although true amnesia may also be associated with such stressors.”  Now, you don’t have any reason to dispute the official Bible of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on that point, do you, sir?

MR. CREECH: Your Honor, I’m going to object.  He just read a section out of it and —

THE COURT: Well, if he understands the question, I’ll let him answer it.

THE WITNESS:  In essence, the cusp is, is he telling the truth or not telling the truth.  And I have no way of determining that, and I think that is what that is saying.  You have to determine whether or not someone has an interest in lying.  And to the extent that you believe Corporal Jones or you don’t believe him is the essence as to whether or not you believe he doesn’t remember, or he’s lying about it.  That’s the fundamental issue.


Q  And you have no opinion on that?

A  What he’s saying is —

Q  You have no professional opinion on that?

A  Correct.

Q  Okay.  I just want to make sure.  They say, “Individuals with true dissociative amnesia usually score high on standard measures of hypnotizability and dissociative capacity.”  None of those tests were ever done here.  True?

A  No, I did not test him, nor did I give him an MMPI.  Neither of those would indicate whether or not he’s lying, by the way.

Q  Now, on the business about not being able to do the complex tasks — on, actually, let me just touch on another area.  You mentioned in your Direct Examination, you were asked if you’d ever been rejected by a court to give testimony.  And do you remember that you said “not in person”?

A  Well, that was a general statement, yes.

Q  But what about — you left one of your cases off your resume.  I’m a little curious about it.  It’s the case of McKinney versus Duplain.

A  I don’t remember that case.

Q  It was just last year.  You testified in the case in Timothy McKinney, individually and as personal representative of the estate of Michael McKinney, deceased, versus Robert Duplain, Jean Burton in her individual and official capacity, in the United States District Court, Southern District of India [Indiana].  That doesn’t ring a bell?

A  (Pause.)

Q  You gave ballistic opinions and trajectory opinions in that case.

A  I believe that case is still in the works.  I submitted — if I recall, that’s a case involving Falls State University.

Q Is that correct?

Yes, I did prepare a report on that.  I was not deposed on that.  And I don’t enter a case unless I do something with an attorney.  I was consulted on the case and I did ballistic’s analysis on that.

You submitted an Affidavit to the Federal Court.

That’s correct.

And isn’t that doing something with an attorney?

A  Yes.  And I did prepare a ballistics report.

And the Court rejected your opinion because you’re not a ballistics expert.  Right?

A  That’s news to me.  I don’t know that.

Q  Well, you’re not a ballistics expert, but you prepared a ballistics report?

A  What I did was, I prepared a report based on my research of – and I’ve got extensive research in this area about action-reaction perimeters, how people turn, how they fall through a plain of fire.  I’ve assisted in writing on different op si motions and subject motions, and that leads me to be able to understand the relationship between movement and bullets.  I’m not a ballistic expert in the point that I know what bodies do when they’re engaged in a gunfight, and that’s my research.

Q  Your opinion contradicted the pathologist who did the autopsy in the case.  Don’t you remember that?

A  Yes, it did.

MR. MALONE: I think that’s all I have right now.

[My co-counsel Terry Roberts said later that Lewinski “slinked out of the courtroom like a snake looking for a hole.” I’m not sure I get that much credit, but I do think the basic strategy of this cross was successful. Rather than argue with the witness about the merits of his opinions, I tried to show that he was not qualified to do what a real psychologist would have done to reach a diagnosis of Carlton Jones, and because of that, his opinions based on his unrecorded interview with the police officer weren’t worth much. We went on to win a good verdict for Prince Jones’s daughter. Check out my closing argument on damages on behalf of Nina Jones, here.]

[1] NOTE: This was retyped from a faint original copy by a typing service at the request of Patrick Malone. Original available from Malone on request.