« Some sentencing-related highlights from AG Holder's remarks today to the ABA | Main | Key follow-up documents from AG Holder's big sentencing speech »

August 13, 2013

"What Real-World Criminal Cases Tell Us About Genetics Evidence"

The title of this post is the headline of this notable new article on SSRN authored by Deborah Denno. Here is the abstract:

This Article, which is part of a symposium on "Law and Ethics at the Frontier of Genetic Technology," examines an unprecedented experimental study published in Science. The Science study indicated that psychopathic criminal offenders were more likely to receive lighter sentences if a judge was aware of genetic and neurobiological explanations for the offender’s psychopathy.

This Article contends that the study’s conclusions derive from substantial flaws in the study’s design and methodology. The hypothetical case upon which the study is based captures just one narrow and unrepresentative component of how genetic and neurobiological information operates, and the study suffers from serious omissions that affect the validity and reliability of its results.

It is important to call attention to these problems given that the study’s widely-publicized findings are likely to bolster inaccurate perceptions regarding the dangers of allowing behavioral genetics evidence in criminal cases. This Article concludes with a detailed discussion of a number of recent criminal cases involving behavioral genetics evidence. Familiarity with such cases may improve the real-world applicability of future experimental studies exploring the influence of genetics evidence on criminal cases.

August 13, 2013 at 07:05 AM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference "What Real-World Criminal Cases Tell Us About Genetics Evidence":


I have often talked of the upside down, inside out, mirror image Twilight Zone world of the lawyer profession. Aggravating factors are called mitigating factors in this world. Indeed all Supreme Court endorsed mitigating factors make the defendant far more dangerous to the public. However, safety is only the masking purpose of the criminal law. The real purpose is to generate government make work jobs and lawyer employment. Safety sucks, with 20 million index felonies and 17,000 murders and only 2 million prosecutions. The lawyer client has near immunity with a 90% chance of not being brought to the bar, for any serious crime, or for the 200 hundred a year committed by the average antisocial personality.

So a genetic test that makes repeat offending foreseeable results in a shorter sentence.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 13, 2013 5:02:18 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB