CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, August 19, 2011

"The Abuse Excuse"

From Crime and Consequences, discussing a death-row appeal:

Jackson's lawyers in the appeal argue that his trial defense failed to present an adequate picture of the sexual, physical and psychological abuse he endured as a child.

Notably, Jackson's brother and sister were not called to testify at trial, reportedly because Jackson's defense believed it would harm his case as his brother suffered the same abuse and has no criminal record.

And there is the fallacy of the abuse excuse.  Yes, it's a terrible thing if someone has a bad childhood.  But regrettably lots of people do, and very few of them become murderers.  The decision to rape and murder remains an act of free will no matter how bad your childhood was.

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