Reviewing the Fault Line - Monoamine Oxidase - A Genotype Evidence and the Criminal Law.

65 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2018 Last revised: 15 May 2018

See all articles by Carlos Diaz Smith

Carlos Diaz Smith

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni

Date Written: April 2, 2018

Abstract

Recent advances in behavioural genetics suggest that there is a significant genetic component associated with the risk of criminality. This paper focusses on the MAOA gene, a gene which has been linked to aggressive and antisocial behaviour, and analyses what role such genetic evidence should play in the criminal law. In particular, this paper will explore the role of genetic predisposition evidence during sentencing, and will reflect on some associated ethical concerns, and the dangers of misinterpretation. This research highlights that genetic predisposition evidence may be relevant in sentencing. However, there is a potential for the evidence to be construed as both an aggravating and mitigating factor.

This is a field in which we must proceed with care. Science has a huge potential to assist decision makers, improve the criminal process and allow justice to be done. However, the other side of the coin is misinterpretation and abuse.

Keywords: Monoamine Oxidase A, Sentencing, Criminal Law, Behavioural Genetics, Bioethics

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Diaz Smith, Carlos, Reviewing the Fault Line - Monoamine Oxidase - A Genotype Evidence and the Criminal Law. (April 2, 2018). Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper, Student/Alumni Paper No. 8/2018 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3154900 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3154900

Carlos Diaz Smith (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, Victoria 6140
New Zealand

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