Thursday, March 11, 2010
An eleven-year-old boy in Pennsylvania is charged with murdering his future stepmother. A judge will soon decide whether he will be tried as an adult and possibly face life in prison without the possibility of parole. (In unrelated cases, the Supreme Court is deciding whether juvenile life-without-the-possibility-of-parole sentences violate the Constitution). Here's a clip from Good Morning America about the case, including comments from law professor Doug Berman (at about 2minutes 50seconds):
You'll notice that the Good Morning America writers seem to suggest (at about 3 minutes and 10 seconds) that brain imaging evidence was relevant to the Supreme Court's decision in Roper v. Simmons (which held that the death penalty is unconstitutional when applied to those who were younger than 18 at the time they murdered). While there was quite a bit of brain imaging evidence provided to the Supreme Court, I don't think there's much reason to believe that brain imaging evidence affected the court's decision.