Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

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

Diminished Responsibility

  • Robert L. HeilbronnerEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_967


Diminished responsibility refers to mitigating circumstances of a crime that justify a reduced sentence. This form of defense is also referred to as the “partial responsibility doctrine.” Mitigating circumstances are raised in court at the time of sentencing. Thus, diminished responsibility is not solely related to issues regarding intent and is distinct from the diminished capacity defense. For example, this form of defense was utilized in People v. Poddar (1974), which preceded the Tarasoff case, in which the defendant intended to kill his girlfriend, but did so as a result of stress created by American relationships, since Poddar was only familiar with arranged marriages within Indian culture. It is evident, from this example, that the diminished responsibility defense does not argue lesser intent (e.g., diminished capacity defense) and does not argue for insanity. Instead, it argues for circumstantial factors, in this case cultural, being at least partially responsible...

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References and Readings

  1. Denney, R. L., & Wynkoop, T. F. (2000). Clinical neuropsychology in the criminal forensic setting. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 15, 804–828.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. People v. Poddar, 10 Cal. 3d 750, 518. P 2d 342, III Call Rptr. 910 (1974).Google Scholar
  3. 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

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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chicago Neuropsychology GroupChicagoUSA