Capital punishment, Death penalty
Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure | Law and Psychology | Neurosciences
The neuroscience of empathy provides one more reason to believe that the decision to sentence another human being to death is inevitably an arbitrary one, and one that cannot be divorced from either race or caprice. While we can tinker with aspects of capital trials that exacerbate caprice and discrimination stemming from empathy, we cannot alter basic neural responses to the pain of others and therefore cannot rationalize (in either sense of the word) empathic responses.
Sheri Lynn Johnson, et al., "When Empathy Bites Back: Cautionary Tales from Neuroscience for Capital Sentencing," 85 Fordham Law Review (2016)