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The brain, guilt and public safety

Thursday, October 22, 2015 @ 8:00 PM | By Jennifer Chandler

Novel forms of neuroscientific evidence, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), are increasingly being presented to explain offending behaviour in criminal cases in other countries. In the U.S., this evidence has been adduced in an effort to influence decisions about whether the death penalty is merited, whether an offender is competent to be executed, fitness to stand trial, the existence of mens rea, and sentencing. It is also sometimes argued that a defence lawyer’s failure to obtain brain images constitutes ineffective assistance of counsel.

When criminal...