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Full-Text Articles in Law

Deciding Death, Corinna Barrett Lain Oct 2007

Deciding Death, Corinna Barrett Lain

Duke Law Journal

When the Supreme Court is deciding death, how much does law matter? Scholars long have lamented the majoritarian nature of the Court's Eighth Amendment '' evolving standards of decency '' doctrine, but their criticism misses the mark. Majoritarian doctrine does not drive the Court's decisions in this area; majoritarian forces elsewhere do. To make my point, I first examine three sets of '' evolving standards '' death penalty decisions in which the Court implicitly or explicitly reversed itself, attacking the legal justification for the Court's change of position and offering an extralegal explanation for why those cases came out the …


Bad Nature, Bad Nurture, And Testimony Regarding Maoa And Slc6a4 Genotyping In Murder Trials, Nita A. Farahany, William Bernet, Cindy L. Vnencak-Jones, Stephen A. Montgomery Jan 2007

Bad Nature, Bad Nurture, And Testimony Regarding Maoa And Slc6a4 Genotyping In Murder Trials, Nita A. Farahany, William Bernet, Cindy L. Vnencak-Jones, Stephen A. Montgomery

Faculty Scholarship

Recent research—in which subjects were studied longitudinally from childhood until adulthood—has started to clarify how a child’s environment and genetic makeup interact to create a violent adolescent or adult. For example, male subjects who were born with a particular allele of the monoamine oxidase A gene and also were maltreated as children had a much greater likelihood of manifesting violent antisocial behavior as adolescents and adults. Also, individuals who were born with particular alleles of the serotonin transporter gene and also experienced multiple stressful life events were more likely to manifest serious depression and suicidality. This research raises the question …