Karyotype, Predictability and Culpability

  • Alan M. Dershowitz


From the beginning of recorded history, prophets have attempted to foresee harmful occurrences, such as flood, famine, pestilence, earthquake and volcanic eruption. Attempting to predict crime ‐ ‐ to determine who is likely to become a criminal — has also captured the imagination of mankind for centuries. From the Bible’s “stubborn and rebellious son,” identifiable by his gluttony and drunkenness; to Lombroso’s “born criminal and criminaloid,” identifiable by the shape of his cranium; to Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck’s 3 year-old delinquent, identifiable by a composite score derived from familial relationships ‐ ‐ “experts” have claimed the ability to spot the mark of the potential criminal before he or she has committed serious crimes. Though the results have not generally met with scientific approval, it is still widely believed ‐ ‐ by many policemen, judges, psychiatrists, lawyers and members of the general public ‐ ‐ that there are ways of distinguishing real criminals from the rest of us. Most recently, it has been suggested that the presence of the XYY karyotype in a man may be associated with ‐ ‐ and consequently predictive of ‐ ‐ certain kinds of violent crime.


Temporal Lobe Epilepsy Violent Crime Mental Hospital Criminal Responsibility Expert Testimony 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan M. Dershowitz
    • 1
  1. 1.Harvard Law SchoolUSA

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