Neuroimaging Evidence in US Courts
Neuroimaging Evidence in the United States, in Law and Mind: At the Intersection of Law and the Cognitive Sciences (eds. Bartosz Brozek, Francis Shen, Nicole Vincent and Jaap Hage, Cambridge University Press, 2021)
49 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2022 Last revised: 28 Sep 2022
Date Written: June 1, 2021
This chapter provides a detailed consideration of neuroscience and neuroimaging evidence in federal and state courts of the United States. The chapter addresses evidence admitted in courts, analyzes where courts have excluded or limited certain types of evidence, and addresses problematic aspects of neuroscience evidence. It also considers the potential ways in which neuroscience has been affecting legal policy and evidentiary decisions.
The chapter first provides an overview of neuroimaging modalities that have been the subject of legal discussion. Additionally, it explains U.S. Evidence law, addressing the relevant rules of evidence and the critical cases that shape evidentiary policy. Substantively, it reviews a variety of criminal and, to a lesser extent, civil matters related to neuroscience and neuroimaging. With respect to criminal law, the chapter explores questions of legal competency, insanity and legal responsibility, sentencing, psychopathy, claims of ineffective assistance of counsel, and neuroscience lie detection. In addition, the chapter examines the special role that neuroscience has played in the development of juvenile sentencing law. The civil section addresses neuroimaging in relationship to traumatic brain injury. Throughout, the chapter considers some of the overarching concerns and potential promises about neuroimaging evidence.
Keywords: neuroscience, neuroimaging evidence, federal courts, state courts, neuroscience evidence, US evidence law, scientific evidence, forensic science, psychology
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