Bioethics Blogs

Guilty or Not Guilty: Policy Considerations for Using Neuroimaging as Evidence in Courts

By Sunidhi Ramesh
This post was written as part of a class assignment from students who took a neuroethics course with Dr. Rommelfanger in Paris of Summer 2016. 

Sunidhi Ramesh, an Atlanta native, is a third year student at Emory University where she is double majoring in Sociology and Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology. She plans to pursue a career in medicine and holds a deep interest in sparking conversation and change around her, particularly in regards to pressing social matters and how education in America is both viewed and handled. In her spare time, Sunidhi is a writer, bridge player, dancer, and violinist.
 In 1893, Dr. Henry Howard Holmes opened his World’s Fair Hotel to the world [1].
But what his guests did not know was that the basement was filled with jars of poison, boxes of bones, and large surgical tables. Chutes from the guest rooms existed only to slide bodies into a pile downstairs. In the few months that the hotel was open for the public, Holmes, dubbed America’s first serial killer, killed an estimated number of 200 guests. Two years later, he was put on trial, found guilty, and sentenced to death [1].

H. H. Holmes, image courtesy WikiCommons
“I was born with the devil in me. I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than the poet can help the inspiration to sing,” Holmes is quoted to have said [1]. But our judicial system does not care much for whether or not a murderer “can help it.” A crime is a crime; a murder is a murder.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.