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Neuroscience blog

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Here is a blog titled Law and Biosciences Daily Digest, by Nita Farahany at Vanderbilt.  The title threw me at first.  "Biosciences" sounds like the whole of life sciences, an immensely broad field.  Turns out the blog is about "neuroscience and behavioral genetics" and their use in law.  The daily digests are summaries of legal opinions.  One follows the jump.  There are also trial transcripts in this post, which could be very useful, particularly if you have notice that the expert in question is testifying for your opponent.

Thanks to Orin Kerr at VC for the pointer.
Here is a post dated today:

Brain Dysfunction and Capital Mitigation

Loyd v. State, 2011 WL 117660 (Ga. 2011)
Based on the empirical data that I have collected on 700 cases that I analyzed between 2004-2009, the introduction of cognitive neuroscience as mitigating evidence in a capital case has not fared well. In this case, too. Defendant was convicted on his pleas of guilty in of malice murder and related crimes, for which he was sentenced to death. Defendant appealed. During his original sentencing hearing, Defendant introduced evidence of a long-standing history of severe mental illness beginning with his hospitalization at the age of nine years; his diagnosis of bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, pedophilia, and polysubstance abuse and dependence. He also introduced evidence of his more recent diagnosis of frontal lobe personality disorder and organic personality disorder as the result of a closed head injury that he suffered in a truck and train collision in 1992. His death sentence was affirmed on appeal.


Good.  Once more, with feeling, "antisocial personality disorder" is not mitigating.  It is a clinical-sounding label for characteristics that are aggravating, often gravely so.

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