BadGenes and Criminal Responsibility Summary
Thisarticle tries to determine facts on the notion that some genes tendto push people into antisocial behavior and final criminal actions.The Scientific proof shows that the genetic makeup of an individualplays a vital role in determining whether this person can havecriminal tendencies. Another factor based on the environment that theindividual grew up in also facilitates their orientation towards actsthat go against the law. An individual’s intelligent quotient isdetermined by their genes. For a person with slightly below averageIQ, the surroundings that they live in can influence their choices onwhether to be upstanding citizens or to follow a life of crime.However, since human behavior and the decisions they make cannot bepredicted, it is important to consider all the factors that mighthave pushed a person into committing criminal acts. This strategywill help provide legal treatment for those that have psychologicalissues. The article focuses on the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) geneand how it influences the psychological and physical mannerisms of aperson. Two areas of significance include the scientific facts on theMAOA gene and its function in antisocial behavior and the legalrepercussions and recommendations for this knowledge in court cases.
TheMAOA gene located on the X chromosome has the function of regulatingthe dopamine and serotonin that are neurotransmitters. When the MAOAgene fails, the control of these two neurotransmitters ultimatelyfails. Thus, a person begins having erratic behaviors. Females havetwo X chromosomes and are less susceptible to this defect compared tomen who only have one X chromosome. The MAOA-L allele, also known asthe “warrior gene” usually makes individuals have aggressivemannerisms that can cause harm to themselves or those around. A studyconducted on a Dutch family that exhibited such behavior showed thatthe MAOA gene in their body was not functioning properly. Recentstudies have shown that the MAOA-L allele tends to make individuals,especially males to lack control in their emotional control andcognitive acts thus making this gene responsible for most actionsthat break the law from people with such defects. The effects of thisgene have only been noted in males as the results from females arestill inconclusive. However, it should be noted that this “warriorgene” is not the only factor that makes people act irrationally.Other reasons play a significant part such as childhood upbringingand other environmental factors.
Thelegal implications of these findings tend to be skeptical as guiltyoffenders might tend to relinquish blame from them and place it ontheir biological structure. This tendency will go against theprinciple of the Justice Department that aims at punishing all crimescommitted. Considering this legal skepticism, the approach whendealing with such instances where a defendant puts blame on theirgenetic makeup should be handled with caution. The reason is that,other environmental influences such as childhood upbringing thatmight make a person commit violent acts are usually disregarded inthe courts of law. Placing importance on such a theory that has onlygenerated inconsistent results will be unfair. Also, considering thatthis postulate is only for the male, it will create a public outcryfrom the feminists. The best solution will be to find all the playersinvolved and to provide a ruling that will not only provide justicebut will also safeguard the wellbeing of the society. Such legalproceedings should therefore be thoroughly scrutinized, and everyangle of the case should be analyzed using qualified experts so thatthe right decision can be made (González-Tapia & Obsuth, 2015).
González-Tapia,M. I., & Obsuth, I. (2015). “Bad genes” & criminalresponsibility. Internationaljournal of law and psychiatry, 39,60-71.