Thursday, June 6, 2019

Representing low-IQ defendants

We've blogged before about the brain science suggesting that young adults (age 18-25) are not so adult after all, a fact the criminal law should take into account.

It turns out that similar brain science suggests that low-IQ adults of any age (IQ between 71 and 85) are likewise less culpable than higher-functioning adults. In a draft article available now via SSRN, author Adam Lamparello explains that low-IQ adults, like juveniles and young adults, struggle with impulse control and the ability to appreciate the consequences of their actions. They are also more likely than other adults to struggle with mental illness and substance abuse, as well as daily living.

If you have a low-IQ client who does not meet the criteria for intellectual disability, read this article and consider how your client's IQ may have contributed to your client's consent to search, inculpatory statements, or alleged criminal conduct. Challenge the government's proof of mens rea. Make a pitch for a lower sentence. And let us know how it turns out.

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