Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Criminal Responsibility

  • Robert L. HeilbronnerEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_960

Definition

Criminal responsibility, or the conclusion of guilt for a criminal offense, centers on four elements: (1) The defendant must have committed the act (actus reus). (2) The defendant’s actions must have caused the crime. (3) The defendant must have committed the crime with a guilty state of mind (mens rea). (4) There must be no circumstance constituting a legal defense for the charged crime (e.g., self-defense). In short, there must be the criminal act and the criminal intent and both must be proven, beyond a reasonable doubt. Mental health professionals are typically involved with establishing intent and mens rea, which involves the assessment and professional opinions related to a defendant’s sanity and/or diminished capacity (which includes a decreased level of intent).

Criminal responsibility evaluations are also called sanity evaluations or assessment of mental state at the time of the offense evaluations. Determining whether or not a defendant was sane at the time of the...

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References and Readings

  1. Barr, W. B. (2008). Neuropsychological approaches to criminality and violence. In R. Denney & J. Sullivan (Eds.), Clinical neuropsychology in the criminal forensic setting. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  2. Denney, R. L. (2005). Criminal responsibility and other criminal forensic issues. In G. Larrabee (Ed.), Forensic neuropsychology: A scientific approach. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Heilbronner, R. L., & Waller, D. (2008). Neuropsychological consultation in the sentencing phase of capital cases. In R. Denney & J. Sullivan (Eds.), Clinical neuropsychology in the criminal forensic setting. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  4. Shapiro, D. L. (1999). Criminal responsibility evaluations: A manual for practice. Sarasota: Professional Resource Press.Google Scholar
  5. Wrightsman, L. S., Greene, E., Nietzel, M. T., & Fortune, W. H. (2002). Psychology and the legal system (5th ed.). Belmont: Wadsworth, Thompson Learning.Google Scholar
  6. Yates, K. F., & Denney, R. L. (2008). Neuropsychology in the assessment of mental state at the time of the offense. In R. Denney & J. Sullivan (Eds.), Clinical neuropsychology in the criminal forensic setting. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chicago Neuropsychology GroupChicagoUSA