In 1988, a convicted murderer, Robert Francis, contended he had FAS and that his condition should be considered a mitigating factor in sentencing him for torturing and then shooting someone who informed against him. The psychiatrist who testified Francis had FAS, however, never tested Francis’s ability to reason. He also said Francis’s IQ was in the normal range, and he had not looked for any physical evidence of brain damage, adding he was basing his diagnosis solely on Francis’s facial characteristics (Francis a State, 1988). Because he believed Francis had facial features compatible with the syndrome, the psychiatrist felt that there was no need for tests, no need to prove a history of prenatal alcohol exposure, no need to determine Francis’s growth history, and no need to determine his cognitive abilities. He simply assumed anyone with FAS facial features must be brain damaged, and, therefore, that person’s ability to control violent behavior must also be impaired.
KeywordsFacial Feature Prenatal Alcohol Exposure Palpebral Fissure Craniofacial Anomaly Facial Anomaly
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