FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla., April 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Each year, the National Trial Lawyers, an exclusive, invitation- only organization, selects the nation's Top 100 Lawyers. This year, Fort Walton Beach criminal defense attorney Stephen G. Cobb, is a controversial selection.
A Florida-based criminal defense attorney, Cobb is certified by the Florida Bar as an expert in criminal law. However, his claim that crime is a medical problem, rather than a moral failure, has been both criticized and praised. Neuroscience research and brain imaging are the foundation of his claim.
Cobb is passionate about the use of neuroscience and brain imaging in criminal law. Since 2006, he has advocated the elimination of what he calls "blame and punishment based" sentencing laws in favor of a treatment based, long term solution.
University of Pennsylvania professor of law and psychiatry, Stephen J. Morse, takes the opposing view. Professor Morse claims neuroscience research and imaging techniques have no forensic value. In the November 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Bar Association, he bluntly stated that, "Neuroscience has added virtually nothing really relevant to criminal law." Morse is a member of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience.
"Ridiculous," Cobb counters."If a doctor wanted to repair a broken bone without an x-ray, you would find another doctor. Brain imaging is an important tool in the diagnostic tool box."
Morse reasons that people, not brains, commit crimes. Cobb bluntly dismisses such criticism as irresponsible since the brain is the organ which controls human behavior.
All criminal defense lawyers use mental health examinations, but Cobb's criminal defense law firm has used SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) brain imaging as part of the diagnostic protocol since 2006.
"SPECT shocked me," Cobb admits, "Not a single healthy, normal range, patient-defendant brain image in over seven years. Not one."
Cobb states "only three things are needed to break the pattern of criminal behavior:" an accurate patient-defendant diagnosis, customized treatment plans and patient-defendant accountability. "Government sponsored treatment programs have high failure rates, because they skimp on the diagnostics and use a one-size-fits-all approach," he argues, "Better psychological testing and brain imaging should be routine."
The prestigious invitation from the National Trial Lawyers' Organization means the legal community has definitely taken notice, and that the foundation of criminal law is undergoing rapid change. http://youtu.be/aBbYX2RIwco
SOURCE Cobb Criminal Defense Law Firm