Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Gene-Environment Interactions, Criminal Responsibility, and Sentencing

GENE INTERACTIONS IN DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY, Kenneth A. Dodge, Michael Rutter, eds., Guilford Press, 2011

U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 11-26

30 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2011  

Stephen Morse

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Date Written: August 3, 2011

Abstract

This chapter in, Gene-Environment Interactions in Developmental Psychopathology (K. Dodge & M. Rutter, eds. 2011), considers the relevance of GxE to criminal responsibility and sentencing. It begins with a number of preliminary assumptions that will inform the analysis. It then turns to the law’s view of the person, including the law’s implicit psychology, and the criteria for criminal responsibility. A few false starts or distractions about responsibility are disposed of briefly. With this necessary background in place, the chapter then turns specifically to the relation between GxE and criminal responsibility. It suggests that GxE causes of criminal behavior have no relation to responsibility per se, but they may be relevant to culpability if valid research discloses an association between GxE and a genuine excusing or mitigating condition. The chapter then turns to sentencing and considers whether GxE is relevant to mitigation and aggravation, and proposes that the same considerations governing responsibility ascriptions apply to mitigation and that the prediction of future danger will be the most common application for aggravation. It concludes by considering briefly how knowledge of GxE might otherwise influence criminal justice policy and practice.

Keywords: criminal law, psychology, psychiatry, mental disorders, genetic-environmental interactions, responsibility, culpability, excuses, mitigation, sentencing, rehabilitation, prevention

Suggested Citation

Morse, Stephen, Gene-Environment Interactions, Criminal Responsibility, and Sentencing (August 3, 2011). GENE INTERACTIONS IN DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY, Kenneth A. Dodge, Michael Rutter, eds., Guilford Press, 2011; U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 11-26. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1904564

Stephen J. Morse (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
246
Rank
104,680
Abstract Views
1,644