Psychology meets jurisprudence
by Jennifer R. Lloyd (M.B.A. ’16)
The question that drives forensic psychologist John Delatorre is why an individual commits a crime.
In his work, Delatorre, Psy.D., (M.Jur. ’22), applies psychology to consult on criminal, civil and family law cases.
Relocating from Arizona to his birth city, San Antonio, to create his private practice in 2021, he realized that he did not have a legal education to accompany his psychology work. He also wanted to join the St. Mary’s University School of Law network that permeates the local legal community.
That’s when he decided to pursue a Master of Jurisprudence (M.Jur.) with a Criminal Justice Concentration. The St. Mary’s M.Jur. Program educates non-lawyers about legal concepts to enhance their professional lives when they intersect with the law.
“Very rarely do psychologists who practice forensic psychology have a background in the law, despite the practice being immersed in the law,” said Delatorre, who wanted to be able to view problems like a lawyer with the help of the M.Jur. Program. “It is easier for me to see the world through the lens of a lawyer.”
Through his practice, Resolution Forensic and Consultation Services PLLC, Delatorre evaluates people for competency to stand trial, capacity to waive Miranda rights, psychological effects in personal injury cases and performs other types of evaluation.
“A lot of people want to know why this person committed the crime, and I find answering that question to be intellectually stimulating,” said Delatorre, who can also be spotted providing expert commentary on Court TV and the Law & Crime network. “I enjoy helping people understand what might be going on in someone’s mind as best as we can.”
John Delatorre, Psy.D., (M.Jur. ’22)
“Very rarely do psychologists who practice forensic psychology have a background in the law, despite the practice being immersed in the law.”
Delatorre said the flexibility of the M.Jur. Program, especially the asynchronous online classes, helped him balance his private practice and course work. His classes have also shown him ways to expand services into negotiation and mediation.
“John is a capable negotiator who recognizes the path to a win-win solution because bargaining is not always a straight route,” said Practicing Faculty Michael Forrest, J.D. “In the simulated case problems in the M.Jur. Negotiations course, John capably navigated obstacles to get to a winning position.”
Delatorre has helped strengthen and bring a new perspective to the community of M.Jur. students, noted Shannon Sevier (J.D. ’07, M.P.A. ’21), Assistant Dean for Graduate Law Programs, and Armando Prado Jr., Director of Graduate Law Admissions and Enrollment Management. Prado highlighted Delatorre for his role as vice president of the M.Jur. Dean’s Leadership Council, which meets regularly to discuss and address student concerns, plan networking events for students and share student experience insights.
“While in my class, Dr. Delatorre brought a unique perspective to his colleagues and drew on his expertise as a forensic psychologist when we studied criminal law,” Sevier said. “His doctrinal knowledge and experience make him a ready partner upon graduation to consult on curriculum development as we continue to evolve our course offerings by tailoring them to speak to multidiscipline practitioners in the fields of restorative justice and constitutional policing.”