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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 148736 Find in a Library
Title: Fault Lines
Journal: ABA Journal  Volume:80  Dated:(June 1994)  Pages:40-45
Author(s): S B Goldberg
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 6
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the recent phenomenon used by the media and defense lawyers to argue that murder suspects were driven to commit their crimes by internal or external forces that limited their individual responsibility.
Abstract: According to this concept, many offenders are actually victims suffering from a myriad of "syndromes," labeled premenstrual, post-partum, post-traumatic stress, black rage, cocaine-induced psychosis, battered women's, battered children's, and xyy chromosome. Some experts feel that this "doctrine of victimology" is changing the legal system as defendants successfully challenge previously well-defined rules of law concerning self-defense and criminal responsibility. On the other hand, even though many jurors seem amenable to the idea that some crimes are excusable, on the whole, the courts are establishing stringent standards for the admission of evidence relating to any of the syndrome- laden defenses. One indication of the courts' conservatism on this issue is the difficulty of introducing these conditions as evidence for mitigating a sentence.
Main Term(s): Courts
Index Term(s): Criminal responsibility; Defense preparation; Homicide causes
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