Stephen G. Cobb - Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

Crime And Treatment Begins With A SPECT Brain Imaging Diagnosis


Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

Hi, welcome back to our special Florida Criminal Law TV Series Crime And Treatment, a series of short videos explaining how we use new paradigm in criminal law. The old paradigm, crime and punishment is not working and that’s abundantly clear. And so, the states, as I mentioned earlier, have tried to do some rehabilitative help for people and it is not working very well. However, we can create crime and treatment that is affective and does work and it all starts with that one thing I referenced in a last video that is missing, and that is, a proper diagnostic evaluation. What is a proper diagnostic evaluation because by now, you have learned that sitting in front of a psychiatrist for 45 minutes, having chemical surgery performed on your brain without any nuclear imaging is a little bit unusual. Think about this for a moment. If you had a broken bone, like the 12-year old in an earlier video, would you demand an imaging before any treatment of that organ commenced? Absolutely, it is a no-brainer.

What if you have an operation on an organ or some part of your body in your chest cavity, are you going to have some form of MRI? You better believe it. The doctor would be negligent not to order one. Now, consider this. When someone is pregnant, are they using different types of technology to obtain visual images as part of the diagnostic protocol? Of course, and we all know that. So, when it comes to the most difficult to treat and the most important organ in the human body, we are not doing that, that is exactly the problem. And Crime And Treatment addresses that by using a technology for brain imaging known as SPECT. It stands for Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography.

Now, first, I am going to talk about the technology and later I am going to talk about how we use it in court but first, let’s talk about the technology. Basically, when a SPECT scan is done, someone is given a radioisotope on two different occasions. On one occasion, they will be performing a concentration test; on the other occasion, they are going to be relaxed and resting. The reason is when you get two sets of images, the doctor can better make the diagnostic analysis. Is that all they are using is SPECT the doctor in a box? Absolutely not. Instead, what happens is the physician uses a number of other things as well. For example, what is known as psychometric testing, a patient history, a family history and a number of other different psychological and psychiatric tests.

By the time this process is completed, you end up with a massive three ring binders, not some little two-page report or something but a three ring binder that is going to be filled full of information about the testing, about the brain imaging and the treatment program. Now, normally, when this is done, we could use a number of different clinics because SPECT brain imaging has grown rapidly since I first started using it in 2005. However, we exclusively use Amen Clinics and the reason we use Amen clinics is not because we are beholding to Amen clinics, I am more than willing to use other clinics. However, there is a slight problem. When you want to use brain imaging in the courtroom, you have to have certain evidence, rules followed. And Amen Clinics can give me what I need.

Most frequently, for cases in Florida, people go to the clinic that is based in Atlanta. I advise them to budget at least 2 to 3 days with this type of diagnostic evaluation because just the evaluation is going to take days. Now, I want you to contrast that with how we treat people who have a bad alcohol abuse disorder or drug problem. There is this massive rush to treatment race them to the clinic, we know what to do. Whereas with brain imaging clinics, they say, “Well, we do not really know what to do at this point until we have all of the evidence in front of us”. And when you think about it, that makes sense because whether it is a trial or a sentencing hearing, lawyers do not take cases to trial until they have all of the evidence discovered. So, it is the same principle. And when you think about it, it is a good medicine because you want to diagnose first and treat second.

Now, in our next segment of Florida criminal law TV, we are going to be discussing how I use brain imaging in a criminal case.

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

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Stephen G. Cobb, Esq.

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