The Brain Sciences and Criminal Law Norms

Theodore Y. Blumoff

Mercer University School of Law

May 29, 2009

Gruter Institute Squaw Valley Conference 2009: Law, Behavior & the Brain

Although neuroscience and the tools of brain imaging are sufficiently well developed to provide evidence of our neurobiological processing at a level of detail unimaginable until even decade ago (roughly the size of a grain of rice), they are not yet sufficiently developed to be consistently useful in the guilt phase of most criminal trials. Given the advances in imaging and behavioral genetics, however, neuroscience is sufficiently mature today to effect some global procedural and substantive changes in our criminal law jurisprudence based on our advanced understanding of behavioral norms - e.g., changes in the definitions of, and burdens of proof on the issue of competency. In this work, I survey many of the presuppositions that guide work in a jurisprudence grounded in neuroscience and behavioral genetics and suggest how the findings in these areas could useful in effecting real change.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 81

Keywords: criminal law, neuroscience, defenses

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Date posted: April 15, 2009 ; Last revised: May 26, 2010

Suggested Citation

Blumoff, Theodore Y., The Brain Sciences and Criminal Law Norms (May 29, 2009). Gruter Institute Squaw Valley Conference 2009: Law, Behavior & the Brain. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1380076 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1380076

Contact Information

Theodore Y. Blumoff (Contact Author)
Mercer University School of Law ( email )
1021 Georgia Ave
Macon, GA 31201
United States
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