‘Aggravating & Mitigating Circumstances’

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder | Criminal Behavior

Bipolar Disorder: The Highs and the Lows Bipolar disorder (BD) is a mental illness affecting people from different areas all over the world, in which a person experiences what many would call extreme mood fluctuations often for no apparent reason. Ranked seventh on the list of non-fatal illnesses, it is considered one of the most costly disorders to affect humans. This post will explore topics such as: the differences between BD I, BD II, and other similar mental illnesses such as borderline personality disorder and cyclothymic disorder, what it is like to live with this illness, the structural differences of an afflicted brain, the benefits of treatment, and the prognosis of the disorder. People with BD tend to change moods more rapidly than someone in the general population, many times without warning. Many psychiatrists will refer to this as a patient’s lability. This cycling of “highs” and “lows” is a trademark symptom of someone with BD, but does not automatically mean someone meets the diagnostic criteria. Many times this might not be very noticeable; depending on the person, these moods may last for days, or even months. Both… Read More

Battered Woman Syndrome

Battered Woman Syndrome | Law and Criminal Behavior

Battered Women Syndrome Over 10% of homicides in the U.S. are by women, and a high percentage of these cases involve the killing of an abusive romantic partner. In fact, the majority of women that are in prison for murder are victims domestic violence. Women who are abused by their partners are believed to be more sensitive to perceived danger, and so have increased fear and anxiety responses. What Are Some Possible Defenses For The Battered Woman When Dealing With A Murder Charge? Legally, battered woman syndrome is not a defense when used by itself. The abused woman must show that she was forced to murder the husband out of self-defense, or because of temporary insanity. The battered woman self-defense only works if it can be shown that she was forced into the act of killing out of the fear for her own life, or the lives of her children. What is Self-Defense? Generally, self-defense is defined as the use of force to prevent serious bodily harm or death; the person must reasonably believe they, or someone they are responsible, is in imminent danger. Anyone claiming lethal force… Read More

The Context of the Crime | The Psychology of Criminal Behavior

Psychology of the criminal mind

The Context of the Crime Psychology of Criminal Behavior Instead of strictly exploring legal topics like most law blogs, regurgitating much of the same legal jargon and Appeal Court decisions, this site will focus on the criminal justice system from a different perspective. The purpose of this blog will be to explore topics in the area of forensic psychology, the processes of the legal system, specifically the criminal justice system, with the knowledge of the psychological concepts and findings in mind; in other words, the psychology of criminal behavior. This post will focus on why the context matters when dealing with a criminal charge. Knowing the psychology of the criminal mind and the psychological processes that contribute to a criminal offense is just as important, if not more important, than the written laws, or the interpretation of them. Adequately trying a case, whether in the perspective of the state or federal prosecutor, or the criminal defense attorney, requires at least some ability to step into the suspect’s shoes in order to convince the jury and to reach the sought after verdict. Keep in mind throughout this discussion… Read More