Why are any of us responsible for our actions?

Forensic psychologist William Bernet of Vanderbuilt:

“A person doesn’t choose to have this particular gene or this particular genetic makeup,” Bernet says. “A person doesn’t choose to be abused as a child. So I think that should be taken into consideration when we’re talking about criminal responsibility.”

He speaks of his client, Bradley Waldroup, who attacked butchered his estranged wife’s friend while attempting to kill his wife–after he told his children to come say bye to mama.   Lovely man to offer his children the opportunity.  Of the crime scene:

When the police arrived at Bradley Waldroup’s trailer home in the mountains of Tennessee, they found a war zone. There was blood on the walls, blood on the carpet, blood on the truck outside, even blood on the Bible that Waldroup had been reading before all hell broke loose.

Leslie Bradshaw was the mother of five who went to help a friend and encountered unspeakable violence.

Waldroup’s attorneys knew it wasn’t a question of whodunnit.  In effort to mitigate his sentencing, they pursued genetic testing and hit paydirt.  Waldroup possesses

a particular variant of the MAO-A gene — also known as the warrior gene because it has been associated with violence.

The jury bought it.

Another juror, Debbie Beaty, says the science helped persuade her that Waldroup was not entirely in control of his actions.

“Evidently it’s just something that doesn’t tick right,” Beaty says. “Some people without this would react totally different than he would.”

And even though prosecutors tried to play down the genetic evidence, Beaty felt it was a major factor.

“A diagnosis is a diagnosis, it’s there,” she says. “A bad gene is a bad gene.”

After 11 hours of deliberation, the jury convicted Waldroup of voluntary manslaughter — not murder — and attempted second-degree murder.

This just burns me.

Melissa Clouthier makes a valid point:

There will be those found for the genetic marker to have a hyper-active sex drive. Will they be considered not responsible for rape?

(Hey, maybe that’s Al Gore’s defense!)

But in all seriousness, it can work both ways: what happens when innocent people are convicted of crimes they didn’t commit all because they possess a “bad gene” and had a bad childhood? 

H/T: memeorandum


3 Responses

  1. Dr. WIlliam Bernet is also pushing for “parental alienation disorder” to be included in the upcoming new revision to the diagnostic bible that psychologists and psychiatrists use (the “DSM-V”). One of his diagnostic criteria for it is if a child has “independent thinker phenomenon” they may have “parental alienation disorder.” This is a legal tool of abuse used by abusers to get custody of children from their victims. (They claim children are afraid of them because mom told them to be, not because of the abuser’s actions). Several judges organizations have realized this and have warned judges not to accept claims of this in child custody cases. But court whores like Dr. Bernet, who make handsome fees off of their “expert testimony” make barrels full of money providing testimony about this in courts.

    BTW, I love your website….I’ll be back…

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by WWTS, politicaljunkieMom. politicaljunkieMom said: Why are any of us responsible for our actions?: http://wp.me/pKYgb-k1 […]

  3. I wonder: With his “bad gene,” will this guy get a reduced sentence, leaving him plenty of time to butcher someone else later?

    The way society is heading, it won’t be long before his victim is considered complicit in her murder because she possessed a “victim” gene.

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