Author Archives: Nita A. Farahany

About Nita A. Farahany

Professor of Law and Philosophy, Professor of Genome Sciences and Policy

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, 4/20/11

Is the Government Targeting our Genomes? I’ve reported previously on the claims by some private citizens that they are “targeted individuals” of government experiments. That case, and my knowledge of these claims to date was limited to targeting neurological functioning. … Continue reading

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The Daily Digest, 4/19/11

The New York Times on Sunday ran a provocative op-ed co-authored by one of my colleagues at Vanderbilt, Nancy King. In that editorial, the authors call for reform to the endless process of habeas review, arguing that claims are reviewed, … Continue reading

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The Daily Digest, 4/18/11

Neuropsychologists v. Neuropsychiatrists The discussion by the majority and dissenting opinions in the case today about neuropsychological versus neuropsychiatric testing reveals just how detailed and technical the debates over cognitive neuroscience are becoming in legal cases. The dissent explains in … 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, 4/11/11

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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The Daily Digest, 4/8/11

Competency proceedings seem like a natural place for criminal defendants to introduce expert evidence using cognitive neuroscience or behavioral genetics. In competency proceedings, while objective manifestations of competency are relevant, so is evidence about the particular defendant’s subjective capacity. A … Continue reading

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The Daily Digest, 4/7/11

The case today presents a now-classic (and failed) attempt to use evidence of drug use and past head injuries as mitigating evidence in a capital case. In both of the defendant’s two retrials for sentencing, the jury sentenced the defendant … Continue reading

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The Daily Digest, 4/5/11

After the major decision handed down by the United States Supreme Court yesterday, all bets are off on the likely success of claims for ineffective assistance of counsel for failure to introduce mitigating brain evidence at trial. The case may … Continue reading

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The Daily Digest, 4/1/11

A jurisdictional never-never land exists between federal courts and state prisoners. The case today is the first in a series that will introduce this wasteland when it comes to brain-scanning requests. In the case today, a prisoner sought, through a … Continue reading

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