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December 5, 2017

How Criminal Courts Are Putting Brains—Not People—on Trial

  • Government
  • Judicial
  • Genetics/Genomics
  • Neuroscience

WIRED – On July 1, 2013, Amos Joseph Wells III went to his pregnant girlfriend's home in Fort Worth, Texas and shot her multiple times in the head and stomach. He then killed her mother and her 10-year-old brother. Wells surrendered voluntarily within hours, and in a tearful jailhouse interview told reporters, "There's no explanation that I could give anyone, or anybody could give anyone, to try to make it seem right, or make it seem rational, to make everybody understand."

Heinous crimes tend to defy comprehension, but some researchers believe neuroscience and genetics could help explain why certain people commit such atrocities. Meanwhile, lawyers are introducing so-called neurobiological evidence into court more than ever.

Read more at WIRED.

SciPol Editors' Note: Nita Farahany, referenced in the article, is the Director of the Duke University Initiative for Science & Society, the parent organization to SciPol.