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Science and law

Evan Koslow

Evan Koslow

We all know that science is becoming a bigger and bigger part of the criminal law realm. But, what about other areas of law? You may be thinking why would science be relevant in other areas of law, besides, perhaps medical malpractice.

We’ve all felt it, that irresistible urge to point the finger. But new technologies are complicating age-old moral conundrums about accountability.

After listening to the podcast “BLAME,” I began thinking that the justice system is set up to determine whether someone is guilty of (or to blame for) something. Judges and jurors “judge” whether someone is innocent or guilty or is to blame or not to blame for a certain act.

Obviously, in a courtroom setting, given the time constraints that exist as well as the expenses that go long with litigation, it’s difficult if not impossible to use science to determine whether  an individual’s action was pre-disposed or caused by a hidden medical condition.

It is easy to tell if someone is blind, and if they don’t see someone on the floor bleeding and ignored that individual then it was not their fault. Their medical condition made it impossible for them to see their inaction. Same if a deaf person doesn’t hear a screaming child asking for help and that child is later seriously injured.

But what if there is not an “obvious” medical condition, such as being blind or deaf, and someone were to do the same thing, not because they are rude or have no morals but because something scientific prevented them from being able to recognize that they should help? Do we blame that individual?

I think that more thought, understanding, and compassion need to go into the field of law. This is difficult to do in a setting that is set up to access and give blame. However, as an attorney, you can look within yourself to see those perspectives, to better understand where they are coming from, and to make a decision looking at the bigger picture — not just the specific issue why you are involved in a person’s or persons’ lives. This is where ADR should be used more and more, either in lieu of a contested court action or before filing a contested court action.

 

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