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2006

Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law

Health Law and Policy

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The Brain-Disordered Defendant: Neuroscience And Legal Insanity In The Twenty-First Century, Richard E. Redding Oct 2006

The Brain-Disordered Defendant: Neuroscience And Legal Insanity In The Twenty-First Century, Richard E. Redding

Working Paper Series

Brain-damaged defendants are seen everyday in American courtrooms, and in many cases, their criminal behavior appears to be the product of extremely poor judgment and self-control. Some have a disorder in the frontal lobes, the area of the brain responsible for judgment and impulse control. Yet because defendants suffering from frontal lobe dysfunction usually understand the difference between right and wrong, they are unable to avail themselves of the only insanity defense available in many states, a defense based on the narrow McNaghten test. “Irresistible impulse” (or “control”) tests, on the other hand, provide an insanity defense to those who ...