The Impact of Behavioral Genetics on Criminal Law

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Hosted by Law & Contemporary Problems
Co-Sponsored by The Institute of Genome Sciences and Policy's Center for Genomics Ethics, Law, and Policy and the American Bar Association's Science and Technology Section

April 8-9, 2005

Download the conference program (pdf)

Registration Form

Law & Contemporary Problems, a quarterly journal published by Duke University School of Law, along with the Center for Genome Ethics, Law, and Policy, and the ABA's Science and Technology Section, is pleased to announce its upcoming conference on “The Impact of Behavioral Genetics on Criminal Law.” The conference will be held at Duke Law School on April 8-9. We invite you to attend.

Since its earliest inception, the field of behavioral genetics has sought to understand and explain observed variations in behavioral traits between individuals. As the field evolves and gains credibility, scientific research demonstrating a genetic contribution to behavioral differences in violence, aggression, impulsivity, drug and alcohol abuse, antisocial personality disorder and other related traits continue to be introduced into law. The potential use of such information spans many areas of the law, but most immediate is its continuing impact on criminal law. The scattered case-by-case approach to introducing behavioral genetics into criminal law is problematic, however, particularly in light of potential divergent outcomes.

Significant scientific strides have been made over the past decade in the field of behavioral genetics. Although the science is still in its infancy, stymied by disagreement over basic methodology and inconsistent definitions and metrics for measuring behavioral differences, already behavioral genetics has been used in criminal trials, including attempts to introduce it as exculpatory evidence, mitigating evidence during sentencing, and to bolster or discredit preexisting legal theories.

To explore questions arising from the relationship between behavioral genetics and criminal law, we have assembled an impressive and diverse group of scholars with expertise in genetics science and policy, criminal law, criminal responsibility, and constitutional law to speak about timely issues such as the relationship between behavioral genetics and addiction, criminal responsibility, predictions of future dangerousness, constitutional issues raised by DNA databanks, the implications for sentencing policy; and the approach to juvenile justice–to name just a few of the topics slated for the conference’s agenda.

Because space is limited for the conference, we ask that you complete the registration form and indicate your interest in attending. Registration is free for all members of the Duke Community and ABA Science and Technology Section Members. We will also waive the registration fee for anyone presenting a valid student I.D. from and college or university. For all others, the registration fee is $15, the cost for lunch on Saturday is $15, and a dinner reception with the speakers on Friday is $35. Please mark the appropriate boxes on the registration form should you be interested in either, and make checks payable to "Law & Contemporary Problems." Up to 9.5 hours of CLE Credit will also be available through the North Carolina State Bar for those who are interested. Please return this registration form no later than April 1, 2005 if you wish to attend. Space is very limited, and we anticipate a great deal of interest in this conference.

On Friday, April 8th, parking will be available to off-campus registrants in the visitors' lot on Science Drive across from the Fuqua School of Business.
On Saturday, April 9th, parking will be available in the law school lot on Towerview Road.

We hope to see you at Duke Law in April for what promises to be an exciting, informative conference.

Conference Schedule

Duke Law School
Room 3043

12:00-1:00: Film: Tracy Island Project (1 st screening)

(This film will be shown two other times during the conference)

1:00-1:30: Welcome remarks
Katharine Bartlett
A. Kenneth Pye Professor of Law
Duke Law School

and co-Special Editors

James E. Coleman, Jr.
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of the Practice of Law
Duke University School of Law
Nita Farahany
Judicial Clerk, The Honorable Judith Rogers,
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia

Session I
Behavioral Genetics in Context

1:30-2:00: Behavioral Genetics in the broader context of Behavioral Biology
Owen Jones
Professor of Law & Professor of Biological Sciences
Vanderbilt University

2:00-2:30: Behavioral Genetics in the context of neuroscience and the law Brent Garland
Senior Program Associate, Scientific Freedom, Responsibility and Law Program
American Association for the Advancement of Science

2:30-2:45: Break

2:45-3:15: Panel: Owen Jones & Brent Garland

Session II
Behavioral Genetics: The Science of Violence, Aggression,
and Related Traits

3:15-3:45: Behavioral Genetics: the science
Laura Baker
Associate Professor, Department of Psychology
University of Southern California

3:45-4:15: Behavioral Genetics: objections to the science
Jonathan Kaplan
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Oregon State University

4:15-4:30: Break

4:30-5:00 Panel: Laura Baker and Jonathan Kaplan

Session III
Behavioral Genetics and Criminal Responsibility

5:00-5:45: Behavioral Genetics, Criminal Responsibility & Addiction
Stephen Morse
Ferdinand Wakeman Hubbell Professor of Law
Professor of Psychology and Law in Psychiatry
University of Pennsylvania Law School & School of Medicine

5:45-6:00: Closing Remarks

6:00: Reception

6:00-7:00: Film: Tracy Island Project (2 nd screening)

Day 2
Implications for the Criminal Justice System

8:15-9:15: Continental Breakfast

8:30-9:30: Film: Tracy Island Project (3 rd screening)

Session III (continued)
Behavioral Genetics and Criminal Responsibility

9:30-10:15: Rediscovering Criminal Responsibility though Behavioral Genetics

Nita Farahany and James Coleman

Session IV
Behavioral Genetics and Crime: Individuals and Populations Affected

10:15-10:45: Behavioral Genetics and Criminal DNA Databases
David Kaye
Regents’ Professor, Arizona State University College of Law
Fellow, Center for the Study of Law, Science & Technology

10:45-11:00: Break

11:00-11:30: Remarks on the Issues Raised by the Tracy Island Project
Karen Rothenberg
Marjorie Cook Professor of Law
Founding Director of the Law & Health Care Program
University of Maryland School of Law.

11:30-12:00: Panel: Karen Rothenberg and David Kaye

12:00-1:00: Lunch
R. David Thomas Executive Conference Center
Fuqua School of Business

Session V
Behavioral Genetics: Substantive Areas Impacted in the Criminal Justice System

1:00-1:30: Post- Mobley Update
Deborah Denno
Professor of Law
Fordham University School of Law

1:30-2:00: Predictions of Future Dangerousness
Erica Beecher-Monas
Professor of Law
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
William H. Bowen School of Law

2:00-2:30: Differential Impact on the Juvenile Justice System
Jane Rutherford
Professor of Law
Co-Director, Family Law Center
Depaul University College of law

2:30-2:45: Break

2:45-3:30: Panel: Deborah Denno, Erica Beecher-Monas, and Jane Rutherford

3:30-3:45: Closing remarks