Psychiatrist, Psychology Professor Examine “Immature Teen Brain” Defense.

In the Washington Post (5/8) “The Volokh Conspiracy” blog, psychiatrist Sally Satel, MD, and psychology Scott O. Lilienfeld, PhD, write that attorneys for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was convicted last month on multiple charges for the role he played in the Boston Marathon bombings, plan to call as a witness a neuroscientist “to show that Tsarnaev, who was 19 when he committed the crime, possessed an ‘immature teen brain,’” thereby “citing a well-established neuroscientific finding that the killer’s brain, like all teenage brains, was still in a formative stage.” In 2005, in a “landmark” case before the US Supreme Court, Roper v. Simmons, “in a joint amicus brief, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association and other organizations explained that the adolescent reward system is more sensitive than that of an adult.” Drs. Satel and Lilienfeld observe, “Numerous studies reveal that claiming ‘my client’s brain made him do it’ weakens ascriptions of responsibility in a way that ‘his lousy childhood made him do it’ does not.”

Related Links:

— “The ‘immature teen brain’ defense and the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial,”Dr. Sally Satel, The Washington Post, May 7, 2015.

Posted in In The News.