Murder in Manhattan and the Dawn of Neuroscience in America's Courtrooms
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Author: Kevin Davis
Called “the best kind of nonfiction” by Michael Connelly, this riveting new book combines true crime, brain science, and courtroom drama. In 1991, the police were called to East 72nd St. in Manhattan, where a woman's body had fallen from a twelfth-story window. The woman’s husband, Herbert Weinstein, soon confessed to having hit and strangled his wife after an argument, then dropping her body out of their apartment window to make it look like a suicide. The 65-year-old Weinstein, a quiet, unassuming retired advertising executive, had no criminal record, no history of violent behavior—not even a short temper. How, then, to explain this horrific act? Journalist Kevin Davis uses the perplexing story of the Weinstein murder to present a riveting, deeply researched exploration of the intersection of neuroscience and criminal justice. Shortly after Weinstein was arrested, an MRI revealed a cyst the size of an orange on his brain’s frontal lobe, the part of the brain that governs judgment and impulse control. Weinstein’s lawyer seized on that discovery, arguing that the cyst had impaired Weinstein’s judgment and that he should not be held criminally responsible for the murder. It was the first case in the United States in which a judge allowed a scan showing a defendant’s brain activity to be admitted as evidence to support a claim of innocence. The Weinstein case marked the dawn of a new era in America's courtrooms, raising complex and often troubling questions about how we define responsibility and free will, how we view the purpose of punishment, and how strongly we are willing to bring scientific evidence to bear on moral questions. Davis brings to light not only the intricacies of the Weinstein case but also the broader history linking brain injuries and aberrant behavior, from the bizarre stories of Phineas Gage and Charles Whitman, perpetrator of the 1966 Texas Tower massacre, to the role that brain damage may play in violence carried out by football players and troubled veterans of America’s twenty-first century wars. The Weinstein case opened the door for a novel defense that continues to transform the legal system: Criminal lawyers are increasingly turning to neuroscience and introducing the effects of brain injuries—whether caused by trauma or by tumors, cancer, or drug or alcohol abuse—and arguing that such damage should be considered in determining guilt or innocence, the death penalty or years behind bars. As he takes stock of the past, present and future of neuroscience in the courts, Davis offers a powerful account of its potential and its hazards. Thought-provoking and brilliantly crafted, The Brain Defense marries a murder mystery complete with colorful characters and courtroom drama with a sophisticated discussion of how our legal system has changed—and must continue to change—as we broaden our understanding of the human mind.
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Author: David Boonin
This book brings together a large and diverse collection of philosophical papers addressing a wide variety of public policy issues. Topics covered range from long-standing subjects of debate such as abortion, punishment, and freedom of expression, to more recent controversies such as those over gene editing, military drones, and statues honoring Confederate soldiers. Part I focuses on the criminal justice system, including issues that arise before, during, and after criminal trials. Part II covers matters of national defense and sovereignty, including chapters on military ethics, terrorism, and immigration. Part III, which explores political participation, manipulation, and standing, includes discussions of issues involving voting rights, the use of nudges, and claims of equal status. Part IV covers a variety of issues involving freedom of speech and expression. Part V deals with questions of justice and inequality. Part VI considers topics involving bioethics and biotechnology. Part VII is devoted to beginning of life issues, such as cloning and surrogacy, and end of life issues, such as assisted suicide and organ procurement. Part VIII navigates emerging environmental issues, including treatments of the urban environment and extraterrestrial environments.
The Culture of Mass Shootings in America
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Author: Tom Diaz
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Category: Social Science
Tragedy in Aurora is about the 2012 murder of budding sports journalist Jessica (Jessi) Redfield Ghawi in a public mass shooting, and the widening circle of pain it inflicted on her family, friends, police, medical first responders, and others. The book is at the same time a deep examination of the causes and potential cures of the quintessential 21st century American sickness—public mass shootings. At the heart of that examination is an unpacking of America’s deep polarization and political gridlock. It addresses head on the question of why? Why is American gun violence so different from other countries? Why does nothing seem to change? The “Parkland kids” inspired hope of change. But the ultimate questions stubbornly remain—what should, what can, and what will Americans do to reduce gun violence? Tragedy in Aurora argues that the answer lies in a conscious cultural redefinition of American civic order. Over recent decades, America has defined a cultural “new normal” about guns and gun violence. Americans express formalistic dismay after every public mass shooting. But many accept gun violence as an inevitable, even necessary, and to some laudable part of what it means to be “American.” Although Americans claim to be shocked with each new outrage, so far they have failed to coalesce around an effective way to reduce gun death and injury. The debate is bogged down in polarized and profoundly ideological political and cultural argument. Meanwhile, America continues to lead the globe in its pandemic levels of gun deaths and injuries. Combined with the cynical “learned helplessness” of its politicians, the result is gridlock and a growing roll of victims of carnage. Is there a path out of this cultural and political gridlock? Tragedy in Aurora argues that if America is to reduce gun violence it must expand the debate and confront the fundamental question of “who are we?” Tom Diaz gives a new understanding of American culture and the potential for change offered by the growing number and ongoing organization of victims and survivors of gun violence. Without conscious cultural change, the book argues, there is little prospect of effective laws or public policy to reduce gun violence in general and public mass shootings in particular.
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Author: Matthew Lippman
Publisher: SAGE Publications
“This is a well-rounded book that seems more interesting to students than other books I have used. It provides information on some cutting-edge themes in law and society while staying well grounded in the theories used by law and society practitioners.” —Lydia Brashear Tiede, Associate Professor, University of Houston Law and Society, Second Edition, offers a contemporary, concise overview of the structure and function of legal institutions, along with a lively discussion of both criminal and civil law and their impact on society. Unlike other books on law and society, Matthew Lippman takes an interdisciplinary approach that highlights the relevance of the law throughout our society. Distinctive coverage of diversity, inequality, civil liberties, and globalism is intertwined through an organized theme in a strong narrative. The highly anticipated Second Edition of this practical and invigorating text introduces students to both the influence of law on society and the influence of society on the law. Discussions of the pressing issues facing today’s society include key topics such as the law and inequality, international human rights, privacy and surveillance, and law and social control. Log in at study.sagepub.com/lippmanls2e for additional teaching and learning tools.
Inside the Turbulent World of Huntington Disease
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Author: Thomas D. Bird
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Can You Help Me?: Living in the Turbulent World of Huntington Disease shares the surprising, insightful, challenging, and even encouraging stories of patients and their families who live with Huntington Disease. Having seen patients for more than 40 years, Dr Thomas Bird, a pioneer neurogeneticist, adds a human touch to this genetic brain disease that devastates persons during mid-life when they can least afford it. With a brief history of Huntington Disease and the occasional scientific detail, the true heart of the book is the human experience of the disorder: - The man who cannot stay out of prison because he is addicted to being a burglar. - Another man shoots and kills his roommate while watching television and cannot explain why he did it. - The woman with Huntington Disease copes with her depression by using Texas line dancing. - A twelve year old girl with juvenile Huntington Disease who can barely walk and talk, but her classmates rally around with touching and heartfelt support. - And the 72 year old man with late onset Huntington Disease and severe depression is made worse by ECT, but improved (for a while) with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. These are just some of the compelling stories of people of all ages and in all walks of life who feel trapped by a progressive degenerative brain disease from which there is no escape.