Neuroscientific Evidence and Criminal Responsibility in the Netherlands

Chapter

Abstract

Insights from neuroscientific research are increasingly advancing our understanding of the neural correlates of human behaviour, cognition and emotion and can therefore be of significant practical use in a legal context. One of the most fundamental legal applications of neuroscience refers to the assessment of criminal responsibility. Recent empirical studies have established links between certain brain structures and antisocial or criminal behaviour. Three areas of brain abnormalities that are relevant for assessments of criminal responsibility can be differentiated: (1) impairments in the frontal lobes and associated problems with impulse control, aggressiveness and the processing of information that is evocative of moral emotions, (2) abnormalities in the limbic system and associated problems in affective processing and (3) the potential side effects of neurotechnologies and associated problems with impulse control, aggressiveness and disinhibited behaviour. This chapter addresses recent research findings in these three areas and how these could affect responsibility assessments. In addition, eight cases are discussed in which insights from neuroscientific research have been used by Dutch courts in responsibility assessments. By illustrating how neuroscientific evidence has already entered the courtroom in the Netherlands, the possible conditions and implications of such practice are addressed.

References

  1. Aharoni E, Funk C, Sinnott-Armstrong W, Gazzaniga M (2008) Can neurological evidence help courts assess criminal responsibility? Lessons from law and neuroscience. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1124:145–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barendregt M, Muller E, Nijman H, de Beurs E (2008) Factors associated with experts’ opinions regarding criminal responsibility in the Netherlands. Behav Sci Law 26:619–631CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barkataki I, Kumari V, Das M, Taylor P, Sharma T (2006) Volumetric structural brain abnormalities in men with schizophrenia or antisocial personality disorder. Behav Brain Res 169(2):239–247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barkataki I, Kumari V, Das M, Sumich A, Taylor P, Sharma T (2008) Neural correlates of deficient response inhibition in mentally disordered violent individuals. Behav Sci Law 26:51–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Beauregard M, Levesque J, Bourgouin P (2001) Neural correlates of conscious self-regulation of emotion. The Journal of Neuroscience 21 RC165: 1–6Google Scholar
  6. Beckman M (2004) Crime, culpability, and the adolescent brain. Science 305:596–599CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Breggin PR (2003/2004) Suicidality, violence and mania caused by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): a review and analysis. Int J Risk Saf Med 16:31–49Google Scholar
  8. Brower MC, Price BH (2001) Neuropsychiatry of frontal lobe dysfunction in violent and criminal behaviour: a critical review. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 71:720–726CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Buckholtz JW, Asplund CL, Dux PE, Zald DH, Gore JC, Jones OD, Marois R (2008) The neural correlates of third-party punishment. Neuron 60:930–940CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Burns JM, Swerdlow RH (2003) Right orbitofrontal tumor with pedophilia symptom and constructional apraxia sign. Arch Neurol 60:437–440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Buruma Y (1998) Het schuldig subject. In: Borgers MJ, Koopmans IM, Kristen FGH (eds) Verwijtbare uitholling van schuld? Ars Aequi Libri, Nijmegen, pp 1–9Google Scholar
  12. Casebeer WD, Churchland PS (2003) The neural mechanisms of moral cognition: a multiple-aspect approach to moral judgment and decision-making. Biol Philos 18:169–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Damasio H, Grabowski T, Frank R, Galaburda AM, Damasio AR (1994) The return of Phineas Gage: clues about the brain from the skull of a famous patient. Science 264(5162):1102–1106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. De Hullu J (1998) Bedreigingen van het schuldbeginsel? In: Borgers MJ, Koopmans IM, Kristen FGH (eds) Verwijtbare uitholling van schuld? Ars Aequi Libri, Nijmegen, pp 179–187Google Scholar
  15. De Hullu J (2003) Materieel Strafrecht. Kluwer, DeventerGoogle Scholar
  16. Frank MJ, Samanta J, Moustafa AA, Sherman SJ (2007) Hold your horses: impulsivity, deep brain stimulation, and medication in Parkinsonism. Science 318:1309–1312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gabriëls L, Cosyns P, Nuttin B, Demeulemeester H, Gybels J (2003) Deep brain stimulation for treatment refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder: psychopathological and neuropsychological outcome in three cases. Acta Psychiatr Scand 107(4):275–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Garland B, Glimcher PW (2006) Cognitive neuroscience and the law. Curr Opin Neurobiol 16:130–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gazzaniga MS (2005) The ethical brain. Dana Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  20. Glannon W (2005) Neurobiology, neuroimaging, and free will. Midwest Stud Philos 29:68–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Goodenough OR, Prehn K (2004) A neuroscientific approach to normative judgment in law and justice. Philos Trans R Soc B 359:1709–1726CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Goodenough OR, Tucker M (2010) Law and cognitive neuroscience. Annu Rev Law Soc Sci 6:61–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Greely HT (2004) Prediction, litigation, privacy, and property: some possible legal and social implications of advances in neuroscience. In: Garland B (ed) Neuroscience and the law: brain, mind, and the scales of justice. Dana Press, New York, pp 114–156Google Scholar
  24. Greely HT (2008) Neuroscience and criminal justice: not responsibility but treatment. Kansas Law Rev 56:1103–1138Google Scholar
  25. Greene J, Cohen J (2004) For the law, neuroscience changes nothing and everything. Philos Trans R Soc B 359:1775–1785CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Greene JD, Nystrom LE, Engell AD, Darley JM, Cohen JD (2004) The neural bases of cognitive conflict and control in moral judgment. Neuron 44:389–400CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Grey BJ (2007) Neuroscience, emotional harm, and emotional distress tort claims. Am J Bioeth 7(9):65–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gurley JR, Marcus DK (2008) The effects of neuroimaging and brain injury on insanity defenses. Behav Sci Law 26:85–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hälbig TD, Tse W, Frisina PG, Baker BR, Hollander E, Shapiro H, Tagliati M, Koller WC, Olanow CW (2009) Subthalamic deep brain stimulation and impulse control in Parkinson’s disease. Eur J Neurol 16:493–497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Haynes J-D, Sakai K, Rees G, Gilbert S, Frith C, Passingham RE (2007) Reading hidden intentions in the human brain. Curr Biol 17(4):323–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Healy D, Herxheimer A, Menkes DB (2007) Antidepressants and violence: problems at the interface of medicine and law. Int J Risk Saf Med 19:17–33Google Scholar
  32. Horn NR, Dolan M, Elliott R, Deakin JFW, Woodruff PWR (2003) Response inhibition and impulsivity: an fMRI study. Neuropsychologia 41:1959–1966CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Houeto JL, Mesnage V, Mallet L, Pillon B, Gargiulo M, Tezenas du Moncel S, Bonnet AM, Pidoux B, Dormont D, Cornu P, Agid Y (2002) Behavioural disorders, Parkinson’s disease and subthalamic stimulation. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 72:701–707CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hughes V (2010) Science in court: head case. Nature 464:340–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hyman SE, Malenka RC, Nestler EJ (2006) Neural mechanisms of addiction: the role of reward-related learning and memory. Annu Rev Neurosci 29:565–598CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Jelicic M, Merckelbach H (2007) Hersenscans in de rechtzaal: oppassen geblazen! Nederlands Juristenblad 44:2794–2800Google Scholar
  37. Jones OD, Buckholtz JW, Schall JD, Marois R (2009) Brain imaging for legal thinkers: a guide for the perplexed. Stanford Technology Law Review 5. http://stlr.stanford.edu/pdf/jones-brain-imaging.pdf
  38. Kiehl K (2006) A cognitive neuroscience perspective on psychopathy: evidence for paralimbic system dysfunction. Psychiatry Res 142:107–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kiehl K, Smith AM, Hare RD, Mendrek A, Forster BB, Brink J, Liddle PF (2001) Limbic abnormalities in affective processing by criminal psychopaths as revealed by functional magnetic resonance imaging. Biol Psychiatry 50:677–684CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Klaming L, Haselager P (2010) Did my brain implant make me do it? Questions raised by DBS regarding psychological continuity, responsibility for action and mental competence. Neuroethics. doi:10.1007/s12152-010-9093-1Google Scholar
  41. Klaming L, Vedder A (2009) Brushing up our memories: can we use neurotechnologies to improve eyewitness memory? Law Innov Technol 2:203–221Google Scholar
  42. Knoch D, Gianotti LRR, Baumgartner T, Fehr E (2010) A neural marker of costly punishment behavior. Psychol Sci 21:337–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kolber AJ (2007) Pain detection and the privacy of subjective experience. Am J Law Med 33:433–456Google Scholar
  44. Kozel FA, Johnson KA, Mu Q, Grenesko EL, Laken SJ, George MS (2005) Detecting deception using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Biol Psychiatry 58:605–613CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Laakso MP, Gunning-Dixon F, Vaurio O, Repo E, Soininen H, Tiihonen J (2002) Prefrontal volume in habitually violent subjects with antisocial personality disorder and type 2 alcoholism. Psychiatry Res Neuroimaging 114:95–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Langleben DD, Schroeder L, Maldjian JA, Gur RC, McDonald S, Ragland JD, O’Brien CP, Childress AR (2002) Brain activity during simulated deception: an event-related functional magnetic resonance study. Neuroimage 15:727–732CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Leentjens AFG, Visser-Vandewalle V, Temel Y, Verhey FRJ (2004) Manipuleerbare wilsbekwaamheid: een ethisch probleem bij elektrostimulatie van de nucleaus subthalamicus voor ernstige ziekte van Parkinson. Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde 148:1394–1397Google Scholar
  48. Liddle PF, Kiehl KA, Smith AM (2001) Event-related fMRI study of response inhibition. Human Brain Mapping 12:100–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Limousin P, Krack P, Pollak P, Benazzouz A, Ardouin C, Hoffmann D, Benabid A-L (1998) Electrical stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus in advanced Parkinson’s disease. N Engl J Med 339(16):1105–1111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. LJN AV1864, District Court Utrecht, 14 February 2006Google Scholar
  51. LJN AY8840, District Court Breda, 26 September 2006Google Scholar
  52. LJN BA3923, District Court Amsterdam, 26 April 2007Google Scholar
  53. LJN BA9671, District Court Utrecht, 16 July 2007Google Scholar
  54. LJN BB2861, District Court’s-Hertogenbosch, 5 September 2007Google Scholar
  55. LJN BC9296, District Court Amsterdam, 28 March 2008Google Scholar
  56. LJN BI6332, District Court Leeuwarden, 4 June 2009Google Scholar
  57. LJN BK3854, Court of Appeals Amsterdam, 19 November 2009Google Scholar
  58. LJN BK4178, District Court Haarlem, 24 November 2009Google Scholar
  59. LJN BK5962, District Court Alkmaar, 24 June 2008Google Scholar
  60. LJN BL5774, District Court’s-Gravenhage, 26 February 2010Google Scholar
  61. LJN BM1948, District Court’s-Gravenhage, 22 April 2010Google Scholar
  62. LJN BM8774, District Court Amsterdam, 21 June 2010Google Scholar
  63. LJN BN0983, District Court Maastricht, 13 July 2010Google Scholar
  64. LJN BN5666, Court of Appeals Amsterdam, 27 August 2010Google Scholar
  65. LJN BN7251, District Court Alkmaar, 16 September 2010Google Scholar
  66. LJN BO0306, District Court Utrecht, 6 October 2010Google Scholar
  67. Maibom HL (2008) The mad, the bad, and the psychopath. Neuroethics 1:167–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Mayberg HS, Lozano AM, Voon V, McNeely HE, Seminowicz D, Hamani C, Schwalb JM, Kennedy SH (2005) Deep brain stimulation for treatment-resistant depression. Neuron 45(5):651–660CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. McCabe DP, Castel AD (2007) Seeing is believing: the effect of brain images on judgments of scientific reasoning. Cognition 107:343–352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Merckelbach H, M Jelicic C, de Ruijter (2009) De B. heeft een persoonlijkheidsstoornis en doodt zijn vriendin. Maandblad Geestelijke Volksgezondheid 9:747–759Google Scholar
  71. Miller G (2008) Investigating the psychopathic mind. Science 321:1284–1286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Moll J, de Oliveira-Souza R, Eslinger PJ, Bramati IE, Mourao-Miranda J, Andreiuolo PA, Pessoa L (2002) The neural correlates of moral sensitivity: a functional magnetic resonance imaging investigation of basic and moral emotions. J Neurosci 22:2730–2736Google Scholar
  73. Mooij AWM (2005) De vraag naar de toerekeningsvatbaarheid. Voordrachtenreeks van het Lutje Psychiatrisch-Juridisch Gezelschap 11:7–20Google Scholar
  74. Morse SJ (2004) New neuroscience, old problems. In: Garland B (ed) Neuroscience and the law: brain, mind, and the scales of justice. Dana Press, New York, pp 157–198Google Scholar
  75. Morse SJ (2006) Brain overclaim syndrome and criminal responsibility: a diagnostic note. Ohio State J Criminal Law 3(2):397–412Google Scholar
  76. Morse SJ (2007) The non-problem of free will in forensic psychiatry and psychology. Behav Sci Law 25:203–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Müller JL, Sommer M, Wagner V, Lange K, Taschler H, Roder CH, Schuierer G, Klein HE, Hajak G (2003) Abnormalities in emotion processing within cortical and subcortical regions in criminal psychopaths: evidence from a functional magnetic resonance imaging study using picture with emotional content. Psychiatry Res Neuroimaging 54:152–162Google Scholar
  78. Ochsner KN, Ludlow DH, Knierim K, Hanelin J, Ramachandran T, Glover GC, Mackey SC (2006) Neural correlates of individual differences in pain-related fear and anxiety. Pain 120:69–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Okado F, Okajima K (2001) Violent acts associated with fluvoxamine treatment. J Psychiatry Neurosci 26:339–340Google Scholar
  80. Peyron R, Laurent B, Garcia-Larrea L (2000) Functional imaging of brain responses to pain: a review and meta-analysis. J Clin Neurophysiol 30(5):263–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Raine A, Buchsbaum M, LaCasse L (1997) Brain abnormalities in murderers indicated by positron emission tomography. Biol Psychiatry 42:495–508CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Raine A, Meloy JR, Bihrle S, Stoddard J, LaCasse L, Buchsbaum MS (1998) Reduced prefrontal and increased subcortical brain functioning assessed using positron emission tomography in predatory and affective murderers. Behav Sci Law 16:319–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Reeves D, Mills MJ, Billick SB, Brodie JD (2003) Limitations of brain imaging in forensic psychiatry. J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 31(1):89–96Google Scholar
  84. Reimer M (2008) Psychopathy without (the language of) disorder. Neuroethics 1:185–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Roper v. Simmons, United States Supreme Court, 1 March 2005Google Scholar
  86. Roskies AL (2006) Neuroscientific challenges to free will and responsibility. Trends Cogn Sci 10(9):419–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Sapolsky RM (2004) The frontal cortex and the criminal justice system. Philos Trans R Soc B 359:1787–1796CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Schleim S, Spranger TM, Erk S, Walter H (2010) From moral to legal judgment: the influence of normative context in lawyers and other academics. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. doi:10.1093/scan/nsq010Google Scholar
  89. Sensi M, Eleopra R, Cavallo MA, Sette E, Milani P, Quatrale R, Capone JG, Tugnoli V, Tola MR, Granieri E, Data PG (2004) Explosive-aggressive behavior related to bilateral subthalamic stimulation. Parkinsonism Relat Disord 10:247–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Seymour B, Singer T, Dolan R (2007) The neurobiology of punishment. Nat Rev Neurosci 8:300–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Sinnott-Armstrong W, Roskies A, Brown T, Murphy E (2008) Brain images as legal evidence. Episteme J Soc Epistemol 5(3):359–373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Spence SA, Farrow TFD, Herford AE, Wilkinson ID, Zheng Y, Woodruff PWR (2001) Behavioural and functional anatomical correlates of deception in humans. Neuroreport 12(13):2849–2853CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Spence SA, Hunter MD, Farrow TFD, Green RD, Leung DH, Hughes CJ, Ganesan V (2004) A cognitive neurobiological account of deception: evidence from functional neuroimaging. Philos Trans R Soc B 359:1755–1762CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Stevens L, Prinsen M (2009) Afwezigheid van opzet bij de geestelijk gestoorde verdachte. Expertise en Recht 5(6):113–118Google Scholar
  95. Sturm V, Lenartz D, Koulousakis A, Treuer H, Herholz K, Klein JC, Klosterkötter J (2003) The nucleus accumbens: a target for deep brain stimulation in obsessive-compulsive- and anxiety-disorders. J Chem Neuroanat 26(4):293–299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Tovino S (2007) Functional neuroimaging and the law: trends and directions for future scholarship. Am J Bioeth 7(9):44–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Vedder A, Klaming L (2010) Human enhancement for the common good: using neurotechnologies to improve eyewitness memory. Am J Bioeth Neurosci 1(3):22–33Google Scholar
  98. Vincent NA (2010a) On the relevance of neuroscience to criminal law. Criminal Law Philos 4:77–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. Vincent NA (2010b) Madness, badness and neuroimaging-based responsibility assessments. In: Freeman M (ed) Law and neuroscience, current legal issues. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  100. Volkow ND, Tancredi LR, Grant C, Gillespie H, Valentine A, Mullani N, Wang GL, Hollister L (1995) Brain glucose metabolism in violent psychiatric patients: a preliminary study. Psychiatry Res 61:243–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Weaver FW, Follett K, Stern M, Hur K, Harris C, Marks WJ Jr, Rothlind J, Sagher O, Reda D, Moy CS, Pahwa R, Burchiel K, Hogarth P, Lai EC, Duda JE, Holloway K, Samii A, Horn S, Bronstein J, Stoner G, Heemskerk J, Huang GD (2009) Bilateral deep brain stimulation vs bestmedical therapy for patients with advanced Parkinson disease: a randomized controlled trial. J Am Med Assoc 301(1):63–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. Weisberg DS, Keil FC, Goodstein J, Rawson E, Gray JR (2008) The seductive allure of neuroscience explanations. J Cogn Neurosci 20(3):470–477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Wolpe PR, Foster KR, Langleben DD (2005) Emerging neurotechnologies for lie-detection: promises and perils. Am J Bioeth 5(2):39–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and SocietyTilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations