Big brain evolution: brain damage legal defense (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Monday, March 05, 2018, 19:37 (284 days ago) @ David Turell

Our discussion leads to this consideration in court. If the brain is incompetent in some way, I'm not guiklty!:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/my-brain-made-me-do-it-is-becoming-a-more-co...

"Criminal defense strategies are increasingly relying on neurological evidence—psychological evaluations, behavioral tests or brain scans—to potentially mitigate punishment. Defendants may cite earlier head traumas or brain disorders as underlying reasons for their behavior, hoping this will be factored into a court’s decisions. Such defenses have been employed for decades, mostly in death penalty cases. But as science has evolved in recent years, the practice has become more common in criminal cases ranging from drug offenses to robberies.

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“'In 2012 alone over 250 judicial opinions—more than double the number in 2007—cited defendants arguing in some form or another that their ‘brains made them do it,’” according to an analysis by Nita Farahany, a law professor and director of Duke University’s Initiative for Science and Society. More recently, she says, that number has climbed to around 420 each year.

"Even when lawyers do not bring neuroscience into the courtroom, this shift can still affect a case: Some defendants are now using the omission of neuroscience as grounds for questioning the competency of the defenses they received. In a bid to untangle the issue, Sanes, Farahany and other members of a committee of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine are meeting in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to discuss what they have dubbed “neuroforensics.”

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"Currently, most neuroscience enters the courtroom in the form of psychological evaluations or behavioral studies. Actual snapshots of the brain from MRIs or CT scans are only showing up in about 15 percent of judicial opinions that involve neuroscience, according to Farahany’s research. But ahead of their meeting, committee members cautioned the role of brain scans could surge in the very near future—a good reason to start discussing these issues now.

“'This is such a fraught area, and it’s prone to hype and overstatement,” Sanes says of neuroforensics. But at the meeting, “hopefully we’ll both get some feedback about good avenues to explore, and get some suggestions about how to mount a full study, he says. “This meeting is the starting point.'”

Comment: The brain is the seat of operations for the s/s/c. There is no way around it. Normal s/s/c requires a normal brain. But this is a legal slippery slope.


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