Biological Behavior

Topics: Ronald Reagan, Reagan assassination attempt, John Hinckley, Jr. Pages: 2 (480 words) Published: January 22, 2012
Biological Criminal Behavior
December 12, 2011

Biological Criminal Behavior
Significant genetic and psychological evidence exists that supports the notion that biology played a role in explaining Mr. Hinckley’s crime of the attempted assignation of President Ronald Reagan by in 1981, including seriously injuring to three other people. According to Schmalleger (2012), “The shape of a person’s skull corresponds to the shape of the underlying brain and is therefore indicative of the personality, (p. 89). Because of the actions of John Hinckley Congress enacted changes to the law that affected the way defense attorneys used the insanity defense in order to protect their clients in court due to concerns that some defendants had no metal disorders, and others were classified as having personality disorders. Those who support the mens rea approach argue that if the courts had considered Hinckley’s mental culpability he would have likely been found guilty because they claim he was clear about his intentions. The notes Hinckley left for film star Jodie Foster showed how disturbed he was. John Hinckley reportedly admitted that he was fantasizing about the life of a character in a famous movie. This article went on to explain that Hinckley suffered from other physical ailments that caused significant weight gain and also required prescriptions such as Valium, antidepressants, and antihistamines. In addition, “At his trial the defense successfully won a battle to introduce a CAT-scan test showing the widened suici of the brain found, according to one defense psychiatrist, in one of three schizophrenics” (Carrithers, 1985, p. 24, para 7). During Hinckley’s trial the prosecution and defense both argued that he suffered from clinical issues such as paranoid personality disorder, depressive neurosis, process schizophrenia, or dysthymic disorder. The legislation passed by Congress relating to Hinckley’s insanity plea was aimed at protecting the rights of...

References: ABC. (2011). Blogs. Retrieved from,
Carrithers, D. W. (1985). The Insanity Defense and Presidential Peril. Society, 22(5), 23-27.
Schmalleger, F. (2012). Criminology today: An interactive introduction. (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
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