Genetics and Criminality: The Potential Misuse of Scientific Information in Court

Pages: 277
Item #: 431728A
ISBN: 978-1-55798-580-4
List Price: $29.95
Member/Affiliate Price: $24.95
Copyright: 1999
Format: Hardcover
Note: This book is out of print and no longer available for purchase.

As scientists come closer to identifying genetic markers for human behavior, society is challenged to determine how reliable these findings might be and whether they can be used to solve real-life problems. If there are specific genes that predispose people to violence, how should the courts use this genetic information? Does it matter, in prosecution and sentencing, whether a genetic predisposition to criminality exists? How should we weigh this information against environmental influences such as poverty or physical abuse?

This book examines these questions by considering the perspectives of leaders in science, medicine, law, and philosophy, perspectives that don't neatly intersect. Essential reading for social scientists and criminal lawyers, Genetics and Criminality offers a thought-provoking analysis of the delicate balance between knowledge and justice.

Table of Contents




I. History of Genetic Research and the Philosophy of Free Will and Determinism

Introduction to Part I

  1. On the Threshold: Illusion and Reality in American Psychiatric Thought
    Gerald N. Grob
    • Criminal Determinism in Twentieth-Century America
    Edward J . Larson
  2. "Big Ideas, Images and Distorted Facts": The Insanity Defense, Genetics, and the "Political World"
    Michael L. Perlin
  3. The Genetics of Behavior and Concepts of Free Will and Determinism
    Dan W. Brock and Allen E. Buchanan
    • Genetics, Social Responsibility, and Social Practices
    Lisa S. Parker
    • Natural-Born Defense Attorneys
    Robert F. Schopp

II. The Complex Interface of Clinical Psychiatry and Genetic Research

Introduction to Part II

  1. Phenomenology of Psychiatric Illnesses With Special Reference to Risk of Violence and Other Criminal Behavior
    Samuel B. Guze
    • Genetic Research and the Clinical Subtleties of Mental Illness
    Mark Leppert
    • Violence and Mental Illness: Additional Complexities
    Robert M. Wettstein
  2. Genetic Research on Mental Disorders
    Steven O. Moldin
    • New Techniques in the Genetic Analysis of Complex Illness
    Hilary Coon

III. Genetic Research in Relation to Criminal and Juvenile Law

Introduction to Part III

  1. Criminal Responsibility and the "Genetics Defense"
    Rebecca Dresser
    • The "Genetics Defense": Hurdles and Pressures
    Mary Crossley
    • The Use of Human Genome Research in Criminal Defense and Mitigation of Punishment
    Daniel A. Summer
    • The "Defective Gene" Defense in Criminal Cases
    Creighton C. Horton II
  2. Juvenile Law and Genetics
    Mark A. Small
  3. Juvenile Culpability and Genetics
    Jeffrey A. Kovnick

IV. Conclusions and Recommendations

  1. A Brave New Crime-Free World?
    Mary Coombs
  2. Criminal Law
    Leslie Pickering Francis
  3. The New Genetics and Juvenile Law
    William M. McMahon

Author Index

Subject Index

About the Editors

Editor Bios

Jeffrey R. Botkin, MD, MPH, is a professor of pediatrics and an adjunct professor of internal medicine in the Division of Medical Ethics at the University of Utah. He is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He is a pediatrician with fellowship training in law, ethics, and health at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, and he is the director of the Genetic Science in Society (GENESIS) program at the University of Utah Center for Human Genome Research, a program devoted to education and research on the ethical, legal, and social implications of genetic research.

His research and writing focuses on ethical and legal issues in prenatal diagnosis and genetic testing for cancer susceptibility. He is a member of the Committee on Bioethics for the American Academy of Pediatrics and is on the editorial board for the American Journal of Medical Genetics.

William M. McMahon, MD, is associate professor of psychiatry and adjunct associate professor of pediatrics and psychology at the University of Utah. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees as well as his first year of psychiatry residency at the University of Kansas, and subsequently served as a medical intern at Gorgas Hospital in the Canal Zone. He completed residency training in general psychiatry, followed by a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Utah. He served as president of the Utah Psychiatric Association in 1981. His clinical duties have included directing an inpatient psychiatry unit for children and adolescents; directing a clinic for children with Tourette syndrome, learning problems, and autism; and serving as a court-appointed examiner for commitment hearings.

He was awarded the Karl Manwaring Memorial Award by the Utah Tourette Syndrome Association, and is listed in The Best Doctors in America. In 1992, he was awarded a National Institute of Mental Health grant for training in molecular and clinical genetics. His research is focused on genetic components of Tourette, autism, and other neurobehavioral disorders.

Leslie Pickering Francis, JD, PhD, is a professor of law, professor of philosophy, and an adjunct professor of internal medicine at the Division of Medical Ethics at the University of Utah. She received her PhD in philosophy from the University of Michigan in 1974 and her JD from the University of Utah in 1981. She was a law clerk to Judge Abner Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1981–82.

She specializes in health law, bioethics, and legal ethics, and is the author of a number of articles on issues in philosophy of law, health care, and professional ethics. She is currently a member of the American Law Institute, the American Bar Association's Commission on the Legal Problems of the Elderly, the Executive Committee of the Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Association, and the Utah state bar's Ethics Advisory Opinion Committee. She also chairs the American Philosophical Association's Committee for the Defense of the Professional Rights of Philosophers.

Reviews & Awards
Genetics and Criminality succeeds in bringing together an interdisciplinary group of experts in philosophy, medicine, psychiatry, and law to review the implications of the new genetic data from the courtroom and society…The philosophical discussion of free will and determinism in this book is lively because the judicial matters to be decided — matters involving insanity, long jail sentences, and the death penalty, for example — are of paramount importance…The scientific authors emphasize the gaps in our knowledge of the relation between genotype and phenotype and not that the cause of psychiatric illness is multifactorial and includes undefined environmental components. The legal authors pull together philosophical and medical information…These legal analyses are easy to comprehend.
New England Journal of Medicine, June 8, 2000