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Scientists Educate Judges on Neurobehavioral Research – Boys Town National Hospital


This event was a combined scientific and
judicial discussion of the latest in brain science. It’s a really complex way
of the brain dealing with the empathic process. More and more often these cases
are coming into the courts. This type of brain scan information appears at
five percent of homicides and 25 percent of the death penalty cases that we
have to preside over. So it’s important that our judges as gatekeepers
at the evidence and also sometimes in charge of sentencing understand the significance.
What these scans can show and what they can’t. And again one of the
reasons why we think this sort of problems that empathy is so important is
because it interferes with your capacity to really care about harming other
individuals. There’s a big benefit in what I call judges in lab coats, actually
having the experiences. So not only are we looking at slides and powerpoints and
presentations, we were able to go into the lab and talk to Dr. Blair about what his process is. My goal here of what we were trying to do was to provide the tools or the
knowledge based tools in order to understand when neuroscience data is
coming into the courtroom whether they should or should not take it on board
and whether they want to be asking additional question of what type of
additional questions and also to show where some of the limitations are
currently but where we really hope to be in a not too distant future. you

Reynold King

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