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Why Is Brain Imaging Important In Criminal Cases?

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What Do You Have To Say To Other Firms Not Adopting Brain Imaging?

First of all, in Florida, you are looking at Rule 3.850 in effective assistance of counsel motion and you are also looking at potential petition for ineffective assistance of counsel under 3.851 which is the death penalty rule if neuroscience has not been used. In my view, if somebody is handling a criminal case and there are clear and present indicators that there is a significant behavior problem that is a result of brain dysfunction that is not readily apparent without using imaging but it’s readily apparent based on prior record, in particular. Prior record is, in my view, is the number one thing that is a red flag for brain imaging.

If lawyers are not using that as part of their defensive arsenal, in mitigation, in sentencing, in negotiations for reductions and negotiated dismissals, I think that there is going to come a day where the bar is going to say that is per se negligence. So that’s what I have to say for them, the case you handled 5 years ago, you didn’t do brain imaging on, you’re going to need to consider the ramifications of that and especially in going forward because I take the view that; certainly in death cases and in major felonies, if lawyers are not looking at mental health mitigation, period, they are ineffective as advocates on behalf of their clients. So this whole stuff of “it won’t work. It’s bad for business. The brain imaging costs too much.”

It runs around $3500 to have one of these studies done. It’s pricey, it’s not covered by insurance but when you are talking about $3500 compared to a month of incarceration which is much more expensive, not to the individual paying of course, but to society as a whole, I think that’s a real problem because we are just sitting over there going, “Oh. It costs too much to do this but we have plenty of money for prisons.” It doesn’t make sense and from the perspective of a practicing lawyer, I know what’s going through their heads. They are thinking, ”that’s $3500 that could be in my pocket as my fee.” That’s a lot of what’s going on.

But the reality is that lawyers in the defense forum need to be using this material or I can tell you right now. I don’t sit on any disciplinary committees or grievance boards or anything like this in any state, for any reason but if I did, question number one that I would be asking in a lot of cases was “What type of mental health mitigation was pursued?” and if it was not, why not? That’s going to be a very hard question for a lot of lawyers to answer, I think.

Disclaimer: Raw, Unedited Transcript


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“"This is actually one of the best law firms I've had the pleasure of dealing with. They stick with you throughout the entire process, walking you through every step and they know the law! They were able to help me get out of a situation that had occurred because of a technicality and was very knowledgeable in the process. I would recommend them to anyone."”

James S.

“"Such a great service to go through when dealing with any legal matter! Mr. Cobb is very knowledgable and will take the time to understand and communicate with you in a timely manner."”

Dreeana A.

“"Everything was great and smooth working with Mr. Cobb. He was fast and efficient and answered any questions I had."”

Joshua T.

“"I would recommend Attorney Cobb to others. I would describe him as an honest and straightforward lawyer. All my concerns were addressed."”

Crystal H.

“"He was excellent, he did everything without me having to do much especially not living close. I hired him and told him everything and he did it all and it was a great experience. The legal assistant that works there was also amazing."”

Joseph S.

“"It was as clean of a process as it could have been for me. He handled everything for me because I live out of state and made it so simple and easy. He was great and thorough and I hardly had to do anything."”

William S.

“"If you can hire Stephen as your attorney then definitely do that. He talked openly and gave me assurance and even his legal assistant that works there is amazing. I never had any problems or trouble with them."”

Lonnie M.

“"I have used other lawyers in the past. I was facing years but left court with probation and a suspended sentence. Thank you and god bless you."”

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