Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Publications Count: 31106

Select areas to restrict search in scientific publication database:
Psychopathic Disorders and Judges Sentencing: Can Neurosciences Change This Aggravating Factor in a Mitigating Factor?
Psychopathic disorders are taking an important part in judge sentencing, especially in Canada. First, we will see how this phenomenon can be illustrated by the high proportion of psychopath offenders incarcerated in North American prisons. Many decisions in Canadians courtrooms seem to point out that psychopathy is often used as a strong argument by the judges to preserve public safety. The fact that psychopathy is often associated with violence, recklessness and recidivism, could explain why many judges consider psychopathic disorders as an aggravating factor. Generally, the judge reasoning is based on Article 753 of Canadian Criminal Code related to dangerous offenders, which is used for individuals who show a pattern of repetitive and persistent aggressive behaviour. Then we will show how, with cognitive neurosciences, the psychopath’s situation in courtrooms would probably change. Cerebral imaging and news data provided by the neurosciences show that emotional and volitional functions in psychopath’s brains are impaired. Understanding these new issues could enable some judges to recognize psychopathic disorders as a mitigating factor. Finally, two important questions ought to be raised in this article: can exploring psychopaths ‘brains really change the judge sentencing in Canadian courtrooms? If yes, can judges consider psychopathy more as a mitigating factor than an aggravating factor?
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):


[1] Matt Logan et Robert D. Hare, «La psychopathie criminelle: introduction à l'égard des policiers», (2010), p. 2
[2] Craig S. Neumann et Robert D. HARE, «Psychopathic traits in a large community sample: Links to violence, alcohol use, and intelligence», (2008) 76, p. 893-900
[3] Gina M. Vincent et Stephen D. Hart, «Legal uses and assessment of psychopathy», (2012)
[4] Robert James R. Blair, «Applying a cognitive neuroscience perspective to the disorder of psychopathy», (2005) 17 Development and Psychopathology
[5] Henry Werlinder, Psychopathy : a history of the concepts : analysis of the origin and development of a family of concepts in psychopathology, Stockholm, Uppsala Universitet, 1978
[6] Jennifer Cox, David S. Dematteo et Elizabeth E. Foster, «The effect of the Psychopathy Checklist--Revised in capital cases: mock jurors' responses to the label of psychopathy», (2010) 28 Behavior Science and the Law; Jenny Laurell et Anna Maria Daderman, «Psychopathy (PCLR) in a forensic psychiatric sample of homicide offenders: some reliability issues», (2007) 30International journal of law and psychiatry
[7] Julien-Daniel Guelfi et American Psychiatric Association, DSM-IV-TR: Manuel statistique et diagnostique des troubles mentaux, 4e éd., texte rév, Paris, Masson, 2003, p. 808
[8] Organisation Mondiale de la Santé, Classification internationale des maladies, Paris, Masson, 1994
[9] Aharon Barak, «The Judge in a Democracy», (2008) 56 The American Journal of Comparative Law
[10] Ivan Zinger et A. E Forth, «Psychopathy and Canadian Criminal Proceedings: The Potential for Human Rights Abuses», (1998) 40 Canadian Journal of Criminology
[11] Stephen Porter, Leanne ten Brinke et Kevin Wilson, «Crime profiles and conditional release performance of psychopathic and non psychopathic sexual offenders», (2009) 14 Legal and Criminological Psychology
[12] Erika Braithwaite, Examining the incremental validity of psychopathy versus antisocial personnality disorder in understanding patterns of criminal behavior, Département de Psychologie, Université de Montreal, 2010
[13] Laurent F. Friedman et Simon N. Verdun-Jones, «Blaming the Parts Instead of the Person: understanding and Applying Neurobiological Factors Associated with Psychopathy», (2010) 52 Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice
[14] Canadian criminal code, art. 753
[15] L. F. Friedman et S. N. Verdun-Jones, préc., note 18
[16] R. v. W.T.W., (1997) B.C.J. No. 3157 (BCPC) (QL)
[17] Jenny Laurell et Anna M. Daderman, «Recidivism is related to psychopathy (PCL-R) in a group of men convicted of homicide», (2005) 28International journal of law and psychiatry
[18] Howard E. Barbaree, «Psychopathy, treatment behavior, and recidivism: an extended follow-up of Seto and Barbaree», (2005) 20 Journal of Interpersonal Violence
[19] L. F. Friedman et S. N. Verdun-Jones, préc., note 18
[20] Richard Dawkins, «Straf is wetenschappelijk achterhaald», (2006) NRCHandelsblad
[21] G. B. Palermo, «Psychopathy: Early and Recent Clinical Observations and the Law», (2011) 55 International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
[22] Carl B. Gacono, James L. Loving, F. Barton Evans et Michael T. Jumes, «The Psychopathy Checklist-Revised: PCL-R Testimony and Forensic Practice», (2002) 2 Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice
[23] Lisa G. Aspinwall, Teneille R. Brown et James Tabery, «The Double- Edged Sword: Does Biomechanism Increase or Decrease Judges' Sentencing of Psychopaths?», (2012) 337 Science
[24] Adam Lamparello, «Using Cognitive Neuroscience to predict Future Dangerousness», (2011) 42 Columbia Human rights law review
[25] Kimberly D. Phillips, «Empathy for psychopaths: Using fMRI Brains Scans to Plea for Leniency in Death Penaltys Cases», (2013) 37 Law and Psychology Review
[26] Adrian Raine, «From Genes to Brain to Antisocial Behavior», (2008) 17Current Directions in Psychological Science
[27] Robert James Blair, K. S. Pershardt, S. Budhani, D. G. Mitchell etD. S. Pine, «The development of psychopathy», (2006) 47 Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
[28] R. J. R. Blair, D. G. V. Mitchell, K. S. Peschardt, E. Colledge, R. A. Leonard, J. H. Shine, L. K. Murray et D. I. Perrett, «Reduced sensitivity to others’ fearful expressions in psychopathic individuals», (2004) 37Personality and Individual Differences.
[29] Robert James R. Blair, «The emergence of psychopathy: implications for the neuropsychological approach to developmental disorders», (2006) 101Cognition.
[30] Robert James R. BLAIR, «The Cognitive Neuroscience of Psychopathy and Implications for Judgments of Responsibility», (2008) 1 Neuroethics
[31] David De Matteo et John F. Edens, «The role and relevance of the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised in Court: A case law survey of U.S. Courts (1991-2004)», (2006) 12(2) Psychology, Public Policy, and Law
[32] Sarah Becker, A glimpse into the future? The Current, Potential, and Appropriate Role of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) Evidence as a predictor of Dangerousness in the American Criminal Sentencing Context, Faculty of law, University of Toronto, 2013
[33] L.G. Aspinwall, T.R. Brown et J. Tabery, préc., note 31
[34] Hyman GROSS, A Theory of criminal justice, New York, Oxford Press University, 1979
[35] Judith G. Edersheim, Rebecca Weintraub Brendel et Bruce H. Price, «Neuroimaging, Diminished Capacity and Mitigation», dans Neuroimaging in Forensic Psychiatry: From the Clinic to the courtroom, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2012,
[36] L.G. Aspinwall, T.R. Brown et J. Tabery, préc., note 31
[37] Brett Walker, «When the Facts and the Law Are Against You, Argue the Genes? : A pragmatic Analysis of Genotyping Mitigation Defendants in Death Penalty Cases», (2013) 90 Washington University Law Review
[38] People v. Morgan (1999) 719 N.E.2d 681 (III.1999).
[39] Rogers v. State (2001) 783 So 2d 980 (Fla.2001).
[40] Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, art. 7
[41] Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, art. 12
[42] R. v. Bishop, 1993 ABCA 274
Vol:15 No:03 2021Vol:15 No:02 2021Vol:15 No:01 2021
Vol:14 No:12 2020Vol:14 No:11 2020Vol:14 No:10 2020Vol:14 No:09 2020Vol:14 No:08 2020Vol:14 No:07 2020Vol:14 No:06 2020Vol:14 No:05 2020Vol:14 No:04 2020Vol:14 No:03 2020Vol:14 No:02 2020Vol:14 No:01 2020
Vol:13 No:12 2019Vol:13 No:11 2019Vol:13 No:10 2019Vol:13 No:09 2019Vol:13 No:08 2019Vol:13 No:07 2019Vol:13 No:06 2019Vol:13 No:05 2019Vol:13 No:04 2019Vol:13 No:03 2019Vol:13 No:02 2019Vol:13 No:01 2019
Vol:12 No:12 2018Vol:12 No:11 2018Vol:12 No:10 2018Vol:12 No:09 2018Vol:12 No:08 2018Vol:12 No:07 2018Vol:12 No:06 2018Vol:12 No:05 2018Vol:12 No:04 2018Vol:12 No:03 2018Vol:12 No:02 2018Vol:12 No:01 2018
Vol:11 No:12 2017Vol:11 No:11 2017Vol:11 No:10 2017Vol:11 No:09 2017Vol:11 No:08 2017Vol:11 No:07 2017Vol:11 No:06 2017Vol:11 No:05 2017Vol:11 No:04 2017Vol:11 No:03 2017Vol:11 No:02 2017Vol:11 No:01 2017
Vol:10 No:12 2016Vol:10 No:11 2016Vol:10 No:10 2016Vol:10 No:09 2016Vol:10 No:08 2016Vol:10 No:07 2016Vol:10 No:06 2016Vol:10 No:05 2016Vol:10 No:04 2016Vol:10 No:03 2016Vol:10 No:02 2016Vol:10 No:01 2016
Vol:9 No:12 2015Vol:9 No:11 2015Vol:9 No:10 2015Vol:9 No:09 2015Vol:9 No:08 2015Vol:9 No:07 2015Vol:9 No:06 2015Vol:9 No:05 2015Vol:9 No:04 2015Vol:9 No:03 2015Vol:9 No:02 2015Vol:9 No:01 2015
Vol:8 No:12 2014Vol:8 No:11 2014Vol:8 No:10 2014Vol:8 No:09 2014Vol:8 No:08 2014Vol:8 No:07 2014Vol:8 No:06 2014Vol:8 No:05 2014Vol:8 No:04 2014Vol:8 No:03 2014Vol:8 No:02 2014Vol:8 No:01 2014
Vol:7 No:12 2013Vol:7 No:11 2013Vol:7 No:10 2013Vol:7 No:09 2013Vol:7 No:08 2013Vol:7 No:07 2013Vol:7 No:06 2013Vol:7 No:05 2013Vol:7 No:04 2013Vol:7 No:03 2013Vol:7 No:02 2013Vol:7 No:01 2013
Vol:6 No:12 2012Vol:6 No:11 2012Vol:6 No:10 2012Vol:6 No:09 2012Vol:6 No:08 2012Vol:6 No:07 2012Vol:6 No:06 2012Vol:6 No:05 2012Vol:6 No:04 2012Vol:6 No:03 2012Vol:6 No:02 2012Vol:6 No:01 2012
Vol:5 No:12 2011Vol:5 No:11 2011Vol:5 No:10 2011Vol:5 No:09 2011Vol:5 No:08 2011Vol:5 No:07 2011Vol:5 No:06 2011Vol:5 No:05 2011Vol:5 No:04 2011Vol:5 No:03 2011Vol:5 No:02 2011Vol:5 No:01 2011
Vol:4 No:12 2010Vol:4 No:11 2010Vol:4 No:10 2010Vol:4 No:09 2010Vol:4 No:08 2010Vol:4 No:07 2010Vol:4 No:06 2010Vol:4 No:05 2010Vol:4 No:04 2010Vol:4 No:03 2010Vol:4 No:02 2010Vol:4 No:01 2010
Vol:3 No:12 2009Vol:3 No:11 2009Vol:3 No:10 2009Vol:3 No:09 2009Vol:3 No:08 2009Vol:3 No:07 2009Vol:3 No:06 2009Vol:3 No:05 2009Vol:3 No:04 2009Vol:3 No:03 2009Vol:3 No:02 2009Vol:3 No:01 2009
Vol:2 No:12 2008Vol:2 No:11 2008Vol:2 No:10 2008Vol:2 No:09 2008Vol:2 No:08 2008Vol:2 No:07 2008Vol:2 No:06 2008Vol:2 No:05 2008Vol:2 No:04 2008Vol:2 No:03 2008Vol:2 No:02 2008Vol:2 No:01 2008
Vol:1 No:12 2007Vol:1 No:11 2007Vol:1 No:10 2007Vol:1 No:09 2007Vol:1 No:08 2007Vol:1 No:07 2007Vol:1 No:06 2007Vol:1 No:05 2007Vol:1 No:04 2007Vol:1 No:03 2007Vol:1 No:02 2007Vol:1 No:01 2007