As scientists make new discoveries,learning more about human genetics each day. A multitude of new arguments willarise.
As is in the case of the MAO-A gene, this gene is frequently utilized in our courtsystem and associated to antisocial behavior. In this paper, I will give myopinion on why I believe this gene should not be the sole factor when reachinga verdict. Inmy opinion, the judge should not consider generic evidence to play a role in criminalcases because judging or mitigating the individuals act to commit a crimeshould not be determined on types of genetics but on actions. Some believecertain people are born with a gene that makes them aggressive and are morelikely to have criminal tendencies. On the other hand, people argue thatindividuals that experience hard environment and social experiences are morelikely to have criminal behavior. A case of nature against nurture. Datasuggest that average citizens do not share the belief that genetic data canhelp identify defendants whose behavior is sufficiently beyond their voluntarycontrol to warrant findings of diminished responsibility (e.
g., conviction ofmanslaughter rather than murder) or to mitigate sentences (Appelbaum andScurich 2014 p.96) I believe that the individual committing the crime has thecontrol over their actions and behavior. Everyone has different motives on whythey commit crimes, whether necessity or is simply a matter of wantingsomething so badly they are willing to withstand the consequences. In a bailhearing a judge’s decision to deny bail to someone that has certain geneticquality is unfair. It goes against their constitutional and human rights.Decisions should be based on culpability, past behaviors, motive and theaftermath of the crime. Genetic evidence is slowly making its way to thecourtroom but it is something that the judge should not facture into theoutcome because the findings are inconclusive.
Thedefendant has the right to present evidence that can prove his innocence or hisguilt. The sixth amendment guarantees the defendant to rights that cannot betaken away. It would not be right to deny someone that opportunity, especiallyin their own trial. Now that being said, showing genetic evidence would neitherhelp or hurt them in their trial. For example, if someone was trying to use theexcuse that he or she has the MAO-A gene and that is the reason why he or shecommitted a crime. This would only givethe jury one factor to take into account when it comes time to deliberate.
TheMAO-A gene only tells you that he or she has the potential to be aggressive andthey might be a bigger threat in the future. On the other side if the person istrying to prove that he or she does not have the MAO-A gene, therefore is lessof a threat to society. The jury can’tbase their decision on just genetic evidence; all the evidence and criminalfacts in the case needs to be reviewed. Only then can a jury come to anappropriate conclusion Whenpresenting genetic evidence in a case there could be aggravating and mitigatingelements that could be presented.
This doesn’t guarantee the defendant argumentwill hold up and the sentence reduced. In fact, the evidence presented could hurt the defendant. There is awide definition of what these factors are, each state has its owninterpretation of what that will be. Aggravating factors that might bepresented by the prosecutors could be prior criminal history, types of crimesand repeated offences can show the individuals thirst for violence. Priorcriminal history alone can be an aggravating factor in the defendant’s casesince one way to determine criminal behavior is to look into the past crimes.If the defendant is constantly getting into trouble they might determine thatgenetic evidence is not necessary. If the defendant, has repeated arrest itcould also be a reason to dismiss the genetic evidence.
Regardless of genetics, the individual isdemonstrating an un-wiliness to follow the law. Another aggravating factor is theway that the victim was abused or murder. The more gruesome the crime the moresevere the sentence should be for the defendant. In this case, the defendant’sactions could be enough evidence to base the case on without the use of geneticevidence.
Onthe other hand, mitigating factors that could be in the defendant’s favor couldbe a certain gene, their mental stability, the type of involvement in thecrime. If the defense party proves that the MAO-A gene somehow inspire thedefendant into committing the crime, it could be a reason to mitigate thesentence. Mental stability can also be a lessening factor if the defendant wasdiagnosed with mental illness before and after the crime occurred. In myopinion, in capital punishment cases this approach rarely works because thetype of case. The members of the court also take in consideration the role thatthe defendant took while committing the crime. Someone that is coincident ofwhat there are doing knows what exactly is taking place.
Inconclusion, data that proves the connection between the criminal behavior andgenetics is inconclusive. Genetic evidence should not be a consider incriminal. There are theories on how a person becomes killer. Nature versusnurture explains how the theory of someone becoming genetically made to havecriminal tendencies or life experiences and the environment. Individuals thatchoose to break the law can’t be determine by genetics.