“Criminal Minds: Use of Neuroscience as a Defense Skyrockets”
According to Duke University researcher Nita Farahany, the number of cases in which judges have mentioned neuroscience evidence in their opinion increased from 112 in 2007 to more than 1,500 in 2011. The actual number of cases in which neuroscience evidence is presented is likely much higher because trial data is notoriously incomplete: Many criminal cases are settled outside of court, and the database that Farahany worked from, Westlaw, doesn’t contain every criminal case. [via]
You guys know how I feel about this. Although the legal standard (involving several valid scientific reasons) of using neuroimaging for lie detection has not been met, the most common use for brain scans has been for sentencing mitigation, which mainly relies on a more clinical diagnostic approach vs a theoretical one. Meaning one of the formidable tools a criminal attorney can have right now is an expert witness/neuroscientist who specializes in fMRI and the budget to have the client scanned. So farewell former psychologist associates! jk, I stopped pimping experts a while ago. Sorta.
Above: “This poster provided by Celia Gordon, the defense attorney for convicted sex offender and “fake firefighter” Peter Braunstein, shows a scan of Braunstein’s brain compared with that of a normal brain.” The problem, as the ever-great-in -my-book Stephen Morse says, is “that there are thousands of people with a “broken looking brain” who act rational.”