Forensic Psychological Evaluations In Chicago

Dr. David Rakofsky is a clinical and forensic psychologist based in Chicago. He regularly performs forensic psychological evaluations and offers testimony to courts of law at the state and federal level, providing his expertise in cases throughout the Midwest. These services include psychological consultation, pre-deposition consultation, psychodiagnostic testing, expert reports, and expert witness testimony in areas of immigration, civil rights, employment, and criminal law.

The Role Of Forensic Psychology In Immigration Law

With many years of experience under his belt working with lawyers throughout the Midwest, Dr. Rakofsky consults on cases that can vary drastically and may resemble a variety of scenarios, including:

Extreme or Exceptional Hardship

Certain scenarios lend themselves to leniency in the immigration process, one of them being exceptional hardship in or out of the United States. Here are a few examples of situations where a forensic psychological evaluation played a key role in assisting applicants in documenting their claims within the immigration process.

A highly skilled Taiwanese national with an executive position and a financial interest in a U.S. manufacturing entity had become clinically depressed after petitioning unsuccessfully to have his spouse join him in the States. Their child lived with him in Chicago, Illinois, and the 12-year-old boy was struggling academically and feeling especially anxious while his mother remained across the world. Dr. Rakofsky’s evaluations and expert report showed the potential for continued degradation of overall daily functioning of the child and father, given the conditions.

Dr. Rakofsky evaluated a 43-year-old woman who lived in Cook County, Illinois. The native of the former Soviet Union had been working in Illinois for two years when she went to visit her grown children in her home country. During that time, her husband, who was a U.S. citizen, secretly filed for divorce, putting her U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services application in dire jeopardy. Given her documented history of severe depressive symptomology and the poor conditions in her home country, Dr. Rakofsky’s evaluation played a role in her application for a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) waiver to stay in the United States.

A 23-year-old Senegalese student living alone in Cincinnati, Ohio and studying engineering on a student visa was the victim of a violent robbery at his job. Traumatic, intrusive memories of being struck on the head with the grip of a semi-automatic pistol that was initially pointed at his temple, haunted him to the point of becoming a virtual shut-in. Following the attack, the young man was failing to attend classes or work and was unable to socialize. With the evaluation provided by Dr. Rakofsky, a petition was made on his behalf to allow him to continue the pursuit of the American Dream. Dr. Rakofsky was also able to connect this individual with affordable psychotherapy in his community.

When a 25-year-old Permanent Resident living in Merrillville, Indiana was balancing the care of her own two young children, the care of her ailing mother who struggled with hypertension and insulin-dependent diabetes, and the care of her brother’s two children while he worked at the only well-paying job he could secure in Dayton, Ohio was at risk of losing her husband to removal from the U.S. due to his illegal entry into the country five years prior. Her attorney petitioned the courts to allow the husband to stay in the United States. Dr. Rakofsy’s evaluation of the woman’s psychological state supported the petition because it showed how the deportation of her husband would undoubtedly worsen the extreme anxiety the woman was already experiencing.

Spousal Abuse

Some cases of immigration are dependent on marriages that may be contributing to an unhealthy psychological state. Forensic psychological evaluations have been instrumental in making immigrations independent of unhealthy and abusive relationships.

A 29-year-old Mexican woman who was married to a U.S. citizen and living in Cicero, Illinois became acutely depressed and lost the ability to perform normal daily functions after discovering that her husband had illegally married another woman. Her husband’s betrayal and subsequent abandonment led first to panic attacks, but quickly evolved into a comprehensive emotional and functional breakdown. Facing the threat of a deportation order, she petitioned on the basis of her psychological state, the lack of available and safe care for her in her home country and the victimization and extreme cruelty she faced at the hand of her legal spouse. The report of findings from her forensic psychological evaluation was key in her petition effort to stay in the United States.


A U-Visa is reserved for victims of crimes who’ve endured abuse while in the United States and who are willing and able to help the police apprehend the perpetrators of the crimes. A forensic psychological evaluation can determine whether or not an individual an their immediate family might qualify for this specialized form of immigration.

When an armed robbery affected an immigrant family in their Waukegan, Illinois convenience store, the family was forever changed. The attacker caused permanent physical injuries to the couple’s young daughter and further traumatized a younger daughter when he fled the store with the child in tow. The U-Visa they sought after the attack was supported by the forensic report provided by Dr. Rakofsky. He testified to the emotional scarring and further deterioration of psychological state of the children - who were United States citizens - that would occur if their father were to be deported or if they were to be relocated themselves to a completely unfamiliar part of the world, without the economic, psychological, and education opportunities they were accustomed to as U.S.-born children.

Political Asylum

The United States is recognized for the freedoms we enjoy. Not every culture is as accepting of these same liberties and, so, the U.S. often becomes a place of refuge for activists who are at risk of persecution in their home countries. A forensic evaluation can help immigrants earn political asylum so they don’t have to live in fear of returning to certain persecution, and even to a virtual death sentence, in some cases.

A Chinese national who was living in Aurora, Illinois was seeking political asylum in the United States based on past persecution for his democratic ideals. The 52-year-old college professor demonstrated a social history filled with extreme intimidation and threats to his life and liberty when last in his home country. The forensic psychological evaluation suggested that he was suffering from post-traumatic anxiety and dread of losing his ability to teach and remain free if repatriated to China. The report substantiated not only his present level of emotional disturbance, but also outlined the risks of becoming further incapacitated as the result of returning to what would likely be worsened persecution in China. Dr. Rakofsky was also able to guide him to a Mandarin-speaking psychologist in his area for treatment, as well.

Forensic Psychological Evaluations From a Respected Professional

Dr. Rakofsky is widely respected in the area of forensic psychology and is available for psychological assessments of defendants facing various criminal charges. His work can also be utilized where competency to stand trial is at issue, in cases where PTSD may be a factor, and in criminal mitigation, sentencing evaluations, and parole hearing evaluations. His evaluations have been the backbone of numerous appearances to the State of Illinois’s Executive Clemency and Expungement Board where Dr. Rakofsky has offered testimony on behalf of applicants.

In addition to immigration and criminal law, Dr. Rakofsky also provides expert services and expert witness testimony in the area of employment law. He can support plaintiffs and defense attorneys in age discrimination, disability discrimination, racial and religious discrimination, LGBTQI discrimination, and sexual harassment cases, as well as hostile work environment and retaliation cases.

If you are in a position where forensic psychological evaluation could be of aid to you or your client’s legal matter, contact Wellington Counseling Group today to learn more about our forensic evaluation options.