Respondent C is similar to Respondent B, but responded to his family`s request for “help.” Accused C engages in cognitive behavioural therapy to prevent impulsive violence, participates in group anger management sessions, and stopped drinking after joining A.A. He spends time with friends who do not tolerate violence and joins a religious community committed to tolerance and peace. Each semester, he talks to a college about how to manage stress without resorting to violence or alcohol. Years pass without violent incidents until a car accident. In this case, it is reasonable to conclude that C took reasonable steps prior to the car accident to protect others from his known propensity for violence. †J. Bradley Segal is a Doctor of Medicine candidate at Harvard Medical School. He holds a bachelor`s degree in philosophy and a bachelor`s degree in physiology and neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego. He owes a great debt of gratitude to Holly Fernandez Lynch and Robert Kinscherff for their valuable comments and revisions of this manuscript.
He also thanked Judith Edersheim, Amanda Pustilnik and Fiery Cushman for sparking interest in the topic at a seminar at the Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics. Finally, he thanked June Casey for her help with legal research. On the other hand, accused B did not take steps to protect others from his violence, although for a long time he received extensive information from several sources about the significant risk he faced. Without meaningfully addressing their known risk of violence, an accused is not allowed to mitigate guilt – whether or not those risks are largely due to neurogenetics. Criminal behaviour is not morally forgiven simply because it has a neurogenetic cause.39 If a person reasonably recognizes that it is at increased risk of violence due to factors of any origin, they are obligated to try to prevent violent harm to others. Therefore, B should not be allowed to present evidence of a neurogenetic propensity for violence at sentencing, since he has shown no desire or intention to act contrary to his hereditary inclination. Certain genes and neurobiology (“neurogenetics”) can predispose some people to violent behaviour. Increasingly, accused persons present neurogenetic evidence as a mitigating factor in sentencing. Identifying the cause of a criminal act, whether biological or otherwise, does not necessarily exclude moral or legal liability. However, when judging whether an accused is morally less culpable and perhaps less punishable for a crime, valid scientific evidence of hereditary propensity should sometimes be considered. This note proposes a two-part test to understand if and when neurogenetic evidence should be considered to mitigate a person`s guilt for criminal behaviour. The first point normatively assesses whether a defendant meets a threshold for having meaningfully managed his or her risk of harming others, based on what he or she knew or should have known about his or her own propensity for violence.
The second point examines the admissibility of the evidence on the basis of the relevance and reliability of the specific neurogenetic trend alleged by the defendant. This proposed two-part test, which begins with an ethical threshold and is followed by a scientific hurdle, can help judges and jurors determine when to accept arguments for neurogenetic mitigation in sentencing and when to disagree. Or perhaps both share a certain tendency to deny in the face of evidence and facts. In contrast, the law takes a non-deterministic approach, which assumes that individual actions are the end result of an individual`s decisions and voluntary decisions – not just the mechanically determined outcomes of genes, brain circuits, or anything else.30 For this reason, the criminal sanction depends on whether the defendant fulfills the mens rea required (“guilty mind”). including consideration: Intent and intent) or not. and not if the crime was causally predestined by natural laws or a particular GxE.31 If one were to seriously argue that a student who showed an early inclination for mathematics should be the last to pursue a career as a mathematician. Have you always had this tendency to want to know words and their etymologies? You may even tend to use the word featured several times throughout the day – not because of a presumption, of course, but simply because you have a penchant for a rich vocabulary.