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The Impact of Behavioral Sciences on Criminal Law$
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Nita A. Farahany

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195340525

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195340525.001.0001

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Behavioral Genetics Evidence in Criminal Cases: 1994–2007

Behavioral Genetics Evidence in Criminal Cases: 1994–2007

(p.317) 10 Behavioral Genetics Evidence in Criminal Cases: 1994–2007
The Impact of Behavioral Sciences on Criminal Law

Deborah W. Denno

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the question: how have courts and litigators treated behavioral genetics evidence in criminal cases between 1994 and 2007. The chapter proceeds as follows. Part II briefly reviews the facts and legal arguments in the Stephen Mobley case. Part III addresses the primary issues that concerned the court in Mobley, noting that many of the reasons for the controversy over the potential use of behavioral genetics evidence in 1994 remain the same today. Part IV discusses the forty-eight behavioral genetics and crime cases occurring between 1994 and 2007, during the time Mobley and Schriro v. Landrigan spurred the topical dispute. Part V concludes that contrary to some commentators' warnings during the Mobley appeal, the last thirteen years have not revealed a legally irresponsible application of behavioral genetics factors in criminal cases. Rather, courts continue to regard behavioral genetics variables skeptically, and society still embraces the same political and moral concerns over the role of such information. At the same time, courts have failed to provide sound and conceptually consistent reasons either for denying defendants' offers of behavioral genetics evidence or for viewing such evidence in the worst light for defendants.

Keywords:   criminal justice system, Stephen Mobley, behavioral genomics, Schriro v. Landrigan

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