Faculty & Staff


Otto, Randy K., PhD, ABPP

 Otto profile pic



Title: Associate Professor
Phone: (813) 974-9296
Office: MHC 2635
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Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Otto obtained a bachelors degree in psychology from the University of Rochester, and masters and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from Florida State University. He was a clinical psychology intern at the Medical University of South Carolina, after which he completed a 2-year, NIMH-funded postdoctoral fellowship in the College of Law and Department of Psychology at the University of Nebraska. He has been a faculty member at the University of South Florida since 1989, and he also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Stetson University College of Law.

Dr. Otto has served as President of the American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS) the American Board of Forensic Psychology, and the American Academy of Forensic Psychology, and he recently completed a two-year term as President of the American Board of Professional Psychology-the oldest and largest organization certifying psychological specialists. He chaired the Committee to Revise the Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychology and served on the interdisciplinary committee that revised the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Mental Health Standards.

Dr. Otto's research, writing, and practice focus on forensic psychological assessment. In 2007 he joined Gary Melton, John Petrila, Norm Poythress, and Chris Slobogin in revising their forensic text, Psychological Evaluations for the Courts: A Handbook for Mental Health Professionals and Lawyers (Guilford Press). More recently, he edited the forensic psychology volume in the multi-volume Handbook of Psychology (Wiley Press), he joined Tampa colleague Irv Weiner as co-editor of the fourth edition of the Handbook of Forensic Psychology (Wiley Press) and with co-authors Rick DeMier and Marc Boccacinni he wrote, Forensic Reports and Testimony: A Guide for Psychologists and Psychiatrists.

Dr. Otto is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Division 41) and has received awards for his work from the Society for Personality Assessment, the University of California-San Francisco, the American Academy of Forensic Psychology, and the New York State Psychological Association. In 2009 Dr. Otto’s work on adjudicative competence with colleagues Norm Poythress, John Monahan, Richard Bonnie, and Ken Hoge was cited by the US Supreme Court in Indiana v. Edwards.

When not working or with his family, Dr. Otto can be found on a motorcycle or in a casino.


  • B.A., University of Rochester
  • M.A., Florida State University
  • Ph.D., Florida State University
  • M.L.S., University of Nebraska 

Research Interests

  • Forensic assessment
  • Violence risk assessment
  • Assessment of civil and criminal competencies 

Research Projects

Recent Publications

DeMier, R., & Otto, R. K. (in press). Forensic report writing. In R. Roesch & A. N. Cook (Eds.), Handbook of forensic mental health services. NY: Routledge.

Melton, G. B., Petrila J., Poythress, N. G., Slobogin, C., Otto, R, K., Mossman, D., & Oberlander, L. (in press). Psychological evaluations for the courts: A handbook for mental health professionals and lawyers (4th ed.). New York: Guilford.

Shah, S., & Otto, R. K. (in press). Utility of psychological assessment in forensic psychiatric evaluation. In R. Rosner & C. Scott (eds.), Principles and Practice of Forensic Psychiatry (3d ed.). London: Hodder Arnold.

Singh, J. P., Yang, S., Mulvey, E., & the RAGEE Group (Bjørkly, S., Boccacini, M., Borum, R., Buchanan, A., Cooke, D., de Ruiter, C., Desmarais, S., Douglas, K., Doyle, M., Edens, J., Endrass, J., Fazel, S., Grann, M., Guy, L., Hanson, K., Hare, R., Harris, G., Hart, S., Heilbrun, K., Larsen, M., Monahan, J., Montaldi, D., Mossman, D., Nicholls, T., Ogloff, J., Otto, R. K., Petrila, J., Pham, T., Rettenberger, M., Rice, M., Rossegger, A., Scurich, N., Skeem, J., Trestman, R., Urbaniok, F., & Viljoen, J.) (in press). Reporting standards for risk assessment predictive validity studies: The Risk Assessment Guidelines for the Evaluation of Efficacy (RAGEE) Statement. Law & Human Behavior.

Pirelli, G., Otto, R. K., & Estoup, A. (2016). Use of Internet and social media data as a collateral source in forensic evaluations. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 47, 12-17.

Otto, R. K., Goldstein, A. M, & Heilbrun, K. (in preparation). Ethics in forensic psychology practice. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Otto, R. K., Demier, R., & Boccaccini, M. (2014). Forensic reports and testimony: A guide to effective communication for psychologists and psychiatrists. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Weiner, I., & Otto, R. K., (eds.)(2014). Handbook of forensic psychology (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Otto, R. K. & Singh, J. P. (2014). Violence risk assessment. In K. Heilbrun, D. Dematteo, & G. Marczyk (Eds.), Principles of forensic mental health assessment: A casebook (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.

Otto, R. K. (2014). Guardianship. In K. Heilbrun, D. Dematteo, & G. Marczyk (Eds.), Principles of forensic mental health assessment: A casebook (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.

Otto, R. K. (ed.)(2013). Forensic psychology (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley

Otto, R. K., & Douglas, K. (eds.)(2010). Handbook of violence risk assessment. New York: Routledge/Taylor& Francis.

Miller, C. S., Kimonis, E., Otto, R. K., Kline, S., & Wasserman, A. (2012). Reliability of risk assessment measures in sexually violent predator proceedings. Psychological Assessment, 24, 944-953.

Otto, R. K., Musick, J. E., & Sherrod, C. (2011). Convergent validity of a screening measure designed to identify defendants feigning knowledge deficits related to competence to stand trial. Assessment, 18, 60-62.

Christy, A., Otto, R. K., Finch, J., Ringhof, D., & Kimonis, E. (2010). Factors affecting jail detention of defendants adjudicated incompetent to proceed. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 28, 707-716.

Fanniff, A. M., Otto, R. K., & Petrila, J. (2010). Competence to proceed in SVP commitment hearings: Irrelevant or fundamental due process right? Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 28, 647-670.

Guenther, C. D., & Otto, R. K. (2010). Identifying persons feigning limitations in their competence to proceed in the legal process. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 28, 603-613.

Herman, G., & Otto, R. K. (2010). Introduction to the special issue on divorce and child custody. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 28, 461-462.