Category Archives: Criminal

The Daily Digest, 1/18/2013, Automatism

Automatism vs. Insanity – Affirmative Defense or Negation of Mens Rea and Actus Reus? While you read about automatism or unconsciousness in case books, you don’t often see them in judicial opinions. In the case today, the defendant argued that … Continue reading

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Back by popular demand – the digest! Equitable Tolling

Back by popular demand is the daily digest of law and biosciences cases, particularly those related to criminal law. The defense is still at it, but they aren’t having much luck with claims of equitable tolling based on poor memory … Continue reading

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The Daily Digest, 6/6/2011

One of the most interesting claims using neurological evidence is withdrawal of a guilty plea, arguing the entry of that plea was involuntary or that the defendant lacked the competency to enter such a plea. This was a claim of … Continue reading

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The Daily Digest, 6/2/2011

The frontal lobe region of the brain has been implicated in executive functioning, planning, and premeditation. Individuals with neurological deficits, particularly in executive functioning, are more likely to act impulsively, without premeditation, and without anticipation of the consequences of their … Continue reading

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The Daily Digest, 5/27/11

Twice this year I have come across a case in which a juvenile offender has used evidence of his developing brain to challenge his transfer from the juvenile docket to adult court. In the case today, the defendant seems to … Continue reading

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The Daily Digest, 4/25/11

In Schriro v. Landrigan, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari on two questions: (1) Whether a defendant can knowingly and voluntarily waive his right to have mitigating evidence introduced on his behalf in a capital case, and (2) Whether … Continue reading

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The Daily Digest, 4/14/11

I’ve noticed a recent trend of cases reporting a defendant’s use of a past or recent head injury to challenge the improvident waiver of his rights — e.g. waiving the right to a jury trial, the right to remain silent, … Continue reading

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The Daily Digest, 4/13/11

[Note from Blog Editor Nita Farahany -- I'm pleased to welcome and introduce guest contributor and author of this post, Ken Murray, Federal Public Defender in Arizona, Capital Habeas Unit] Offense Heinousness, Double-Edged Sword of Brain Damage “If the evidence … Continue reading

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The Daily Digest, 4/12/11

[Note from Blog Editor Nita Farahany -- I'm pleased to welcome and introduce guest contributor and author of this post, Stephanie Kostiuk, currently a 2L at Vanderbilt Law School] Mental/Emotional Age and Developing Brain Theory This blog has previously discussed … Continue reading

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The Daily Digest, 4/11/11

The case today has a really fascinating discussion of (in)voluntary intoxication. Can alcoholism, itself, satisfy the standard for a mental disease or defect for the insanity defense? In other words, can a defendant prevail on the claim that his mental … Continue reading

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