- Neuroscience, criminal responsibility and sentencing in an islamic country: Iran. [Journal Article]
- JLJ Law Biosci 2018; 5(3):724-742
- The implications of neuroscience in the legal context have been considered in many countries; however, there has been very little (if any) research on the use of neuroscience in criminal law in Iran.…
The implications of neuroscience in the legal context have been considered in many countries; however, there has been very little (if any) research on the use of neuroscience in criminal law in Iran. Furthermore, because Iran's legal system incorporates Islamic rules, the legal implications of neuroscience might be fundamentally different from those of other countries. Accordingly, this paper will discuss the potential use of neuroscientific evidence in the evaluation of criminal responsibility and the assessment of sentencing within the Islamic legal system of Iran. The study will conclude that while there are a number of issues that may prevent the use of neuroscience in Iran's criminal justice system, there is a potential for the neuroscience to be used for purposes such as establishing the insanity defense and mitigating the punishment.
- Ethical Issues to Consider Before Introducing Neurotechnological Thought Apprehension in Psychiatry. [Journal Article]
- ANAJOB Neurosci 2019 Jan-Mar; 10(1):5-14
- When it becomes available, neuroscience-based apprehension of subjective thoughts is bound to have a profound impact on several areas of society. One of these areas is medicine. In principle, medical…
When it becomes available, neuroscience-based apprehension of subjective thoughts is bound to have a profound impact on several areas of society. One of these areas is medicine. In principle, medical specialties that are primarily concerned with mind and brain are most likely to apply neurotechnological thought apprehension (NTA) techniques. Psychiatry is such a specialty, and the relevance of NTA developments for psychiatry has been recognized. In this article, I discuss ethical issues regarding the use of NTA techniques in psychiatric contexts. First, I consider the notion of neurotechnological "thought apprehension," as well as some limitations of present-day NTA applications. Next, I identify ethical priorities for its possible future use in psychiatry. The topics I explore concern key (bio)ethical issues: confidentiality, trust and distrust, consent and coercion, and, finally, responsibility. I conclude that mental health-related use of NTA entails some specific ethical concerns that deserve careful attention before introducing these technologies in psychiatric practice.
- Neuroimaging and Neurolaw: Drawing the Future of Aging. [Review]
- FEFront Endocrinol (Lausanne) 2019; 10:217
- Human brain-aging is a complex, multidimensional phenomenon. Knowledge of the numerous aspects that revolve around it is therefore essential if not only the medical issues, but also the social, psych…
Human brain-aging is a complex, multidimensional phenomenon. Knowledge of the numerous aspects that revolve around it is therefore essential if not only the medical issues, but also the social, psychological, and legal issues related to this phenomenon are to be managed correctly. In the coming decades, it will be necessary to find solutions to the management of the progressive aging of the population so as to increase the number of individuals that achieve successful aging. The aim of this article is to provide a current overview of the physiopathology of brain aging and of the role and perspectives of neuroimaging in this context. The progressive development of neuroimaging has opened new perspectives in clinical and basic research and it has modified the concept of brain aging. Neuroimaging will play an increasingly important role in the definition of the individual's brain aging in every phase of the physiological and pathological process. However, when the process involved in age-related brain cognitive diseases is being investigated, factors that might affect this process on a clinical and behavioral level (genetic susceptibility, risks factors, endocrine changes) cannot be ignored but must, on the contrary, be integrated into a neuroimaging evaluation to ensure a correct and global management, and they are therefore discussed in this article. Neuroimaging appears important to the correct management of age-related brain cognitive diseases not only within a medical perspective, but also legal, according to a wider approach based on development of relationship between neuroscience and law. The term neurolaw, the neologism born from the relationship between these two disciplines, is an emerging field of study, that deals with various issues in the impact of neurosciences on individual rights. Neuroimaging, enhancing the detection of physiological and pathological brain aging, could give an important contribution to the field of neurolaw in elderly where the full control of cognitive and volitional functions is necessary to maintain a whole series of rights linked to legal capacity. For this reason, in order to provide the clinician and researcher with a broad view of the brain-aging process, the role of neurolaw will be introduced into the brain-aging context.
- Neurolaw and Neuroethics. [Journal Article]
- CQCamb Q Healthc Ethics 2018; 27(4):590-598
- This short article proposes a conceptual structure for "neurolaw," modeled loosely on the bipartite division of the sister field of neuroethics by Adina Roskies into the "ethics of neuroscience" and …
This short article proposes a conceptual structure for "neurolaw," modeled loosely on the bipartite division of the sister field of neuroethics by Adina Roskies into the "ethics of neuroscience" and the "neuroscience of ethics." As normative fields addressing the implications of scientific discoveries and expanding technological capacities affecting the brain, "neurolaw" and neuroethics have followed parallel paths. Similar foundational questions arise for both about the validity and utility of recognizing them as distinct subfields of law and ethics, respectively. In both, a useful distinction can be drawn between a self-reflexive inquiry (the neuroscience of ethics and law) and an inquiry into the development and use of brain science and technologies (the ethics and law of neuroscience). In both fields, these two forms of inquiry interact in interesting ways. In addition to a proposed conceptual structure for neurolaw, the article also addresses the neurolegal versions of the critiques made against neuroethics, including charges of reductionism, fact/value confusion, and biological essentialism.
- Issues pertaining to expert evidence and the reasoning about punishment in a neuroscience-based sentencing appeal. [Review]
- IJInt J Law Psychiatry 2018 Dec 24
- In this paper, we focus on, a significant Australian sentencing appeal in which, after hearing expert evidence pertaining to cognitive function, brain scans, and neuropsychological testing, the Court…
In this paper, we focus on, a significant Australian sentencing appeal in which, after hearing expert evidence pertaining to cognitive function, brain scans, and neuropsychological testing, the Court imposed a less severe sentence than that originally imposed. Our aim is to produce an interdisciplinary critical analysis of the decision, and we approach this by analysing the judicial comments on the evidence pertaining to the offender's mental condition, and the reasoning about punishment. We conclude that the Court's inferences about frontal lobe damage and likely dementia are contestable, and the reasoning about mitigation of punishment based on these questionable inferences could have been improved by a focus on sentencing's retributive aim.
- Mild traumatic brain injury: Is DTI ready for the courtroom? [Review]
- IJInt J Law Psychiatry 2018 Nov - Dec; 61:50-63
- Important advances in neuroscience and neuroimaging have revolutionized our understanding of the human brain. Many of these advances provide new evidence regarding compensable injuries that have been…
Important advances in neuroscience and neuroimaging have revolutionized our understanding of the human brain. Many of these advances provide new evidence regarding compensable injuries that have been used to support changes in legal policy. For example, we now know that regions of the brain involved in decision making continue to develop into the mid-20s, and this information weighs heavily in determining that execution or automatic sentence of life without the possibility of parole for someone younger than 18 years old, at the time of the crime, violates the 8th Amendment prohibition against "cruel and unusual punishment." The probative value of other testimony regarding neuroimaging, however, is less clear, particularly for mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), also known as concussion. There is nonetheless some evidence that new imaging technologies, most notably diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), may be useful in detecting mTBI. More specifically, DTI is sensitive to detecting diffuse axonal brain injuries in white matter, the most common brain injury in mTBI. DTI is, in fact, the most promising technique available today for such injuries and it is beginning to be used clinically, although it remains largely within the purview of research. Its probative value is also not clear as it may be both prejudicial and misleading given that standardization is not yet established for use in either the clinic or the courtroom, and thus it may be premature for use in either. There are also concerns with the methods and analyses that have been used to provide quantitative evidence in legal cases. It is within this context that we provide a commentary on the use of neuroimaging in the courtroom, most particularly DTI, and the admissibility of evidence, as well as the definition and role of expert testimony. While there is a great deal of evidence demonstrating cognitive impairments in attention, processing speed, memory, and concentration from neuropsychological testing following mTBI, we focus here on the more recent introduction of DTI imaging in the courtroom. We also review definitions of mTBI followed by admissibility standards for scientific evidence in the courtroom, including Daubert criteria and two subsequent cases that comprise the so-called Daubert trilogy rulings on the admissibility of expert testimony. This is followed by a brief review of neuroimaging techniques available today, the latter with an emphasis on DTI and its application to mTBI. We then review some of the court rulings on the use of DTI. We end by highlighting the importance of neuroimaging in providing a new window on the brain, while cautioning against the premature use of new advances in imaging in the courtroom before standards are established in the clinical arena, which are informed by research. We also discuss further what is needed to reach a tipping point where such advances will provide important and meaningful data with respect to their probative value.
- Neuroimaging in criminal trials and the role of psychiatrists expert witnesses: A case study. [Journal Article]
- IJInt J Law Psychiatry 2018 Jun 13
- Various neuroscientific techniques are increasingly being used in criminal courts causing a vivid debate on the way that this kind of techniques will and should be used as scientific evidence. The ro…
Various neuroscientific techniques are increasingly being used in criminal courts causing a vivid debate on the way that this kind of techniques will and should be used as scientific evidence. The role of experts in this context is important, since it is them that analyse, present, interpret and communicate the results of these techniques to the judges and the jury. In an attempt to contribute to the discussion about the role of the experts in criminal cases where neuroimaging evidence was introduced, we examined twenty seven cases from the US and Europe. Focusing on the role of experts and their presentation of neuroscientific evidence, we aimed to examine the extent to which neuroimaging data can contribute to the construction of a solid and more objective, "scientifically - based" case. We found that neurobiological information introduced through experts' testimony is generally used in order to demonstrate some physical, organic base of a psychiatric condition, or/and in order to make visible some brain lesion, (structural or functional), susceptible to have affected the capacity to reason and to control one's impulses. While neuroimaging evidence is often presented by the defence as a scientific method able to offer a precise diagnosis of the pathology in question, our case analysis shows that the very same neurobiological evidence can be interpreted in different - sometimes diametrically opposed - ways by defence and State experts. Conflicting testimony about the same empirical evidence goes against the hypothesis of neuroscientific techniques constituting "objective and hard evidence", able to reach solid, scientific and objective conclusions. Frequent conflicts between neuroimaging experts require the courts to deal with the resulting uncertainty. As the law changes with technology, it is necessary for legal professionals to train and be prepared for the new issues they may encounter in light of new developments in neuroscience, so that they become more vigilant as to the interpretation of neuroscientific data.
- Neurolaw today - A systematic review of the recent law and neuroscience literature. [Review]
- IJInt J Law Psychiatry 2018 May 07
- Forensic psychiatry and neurolaw: Description, developments, and debates. [Journal Article]
- IJInt J Law Psychiatry 2018 Apr 30
- Neuroscience produces a wealth of data on the relationship between brain and behavior, including criminal behavior. The research field studying the possible and actual impact of neuroscience on the l…
Neuroscience produces a wealth of data on the relationship between brain and behavior, including criminal behavior. The research field studying the possible and actual impact of neuroscience on the law and legal practices, is called neurolaw. It is a new and rapidly developing domain of interdisciplinary research. Since forensic psychiatry has to do with both neuroscience and the law, neurolaw is of specific relevance for this psychiatric specialty. In this contribution, I will discuss three main research areas in neurolaw - revision, assessment, and intervention - and explore their relevance for forensic psychiatry. I will identify some valuable possibilities as well as some notable challenges - both technical and ethical - for forensic psychiatry regarding neurolaw developments.
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- Three Research Strategies of Neuroscience and the Future of Legal Imaging Evidence. [Journal Article]
- FNFront Neurosci 2018; 12:120
- Neuroscientific imaging evidence (NIE) has become an integral part of the criminal justice system in the United States. However, in most legal cases, NIE is submitted and used only to mitigate penalt…
Neuroscientific imaging evidence (NIE) has become an integral part of the criminal justice system in the United States. However, in most legal cases, NIE is submitted and used only to mitigate penalties because the court does not recognize it as substantial evidence, considering its lack of reliability. Nevertheless, we here discuss how neuroscience is expected to improve the use of NIE in the legal system. For this purpose, we classified the efforts of neuroscientists into three research strategies: cognitive subtraction, the data-driven approach, and the brain-manipulation approach. Cognitive subtraction is outdated and problematic; consequently, the court deemed it to be an inadequate approach in terms of legal evidence in 2012. In contrast, the data-driven and brain manipulation approaches, which are state-of-the-art approaches, have overcome the limitations of cognitive subtraction. The data-driven approach brings data science into the field and is benefiting immensely from the development of research platforms that allow automatized collection, analysis, and sharing of data. This broadens the scale of imaging evidence. The brain-manipulation approach uses high-functioning tools that facilitate non-invasive and precise human brain manipulation. These two approaches are expected to have synergistic effects. Neuroscience has strived to improve the evidential reliability of NIE, with considerable success. With the support of cutting-edge technologies, and the progress of these approaches, the evidential status of NIE will be improved and NIE will become an increasingly important part of legal practice.