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What about the circumstances that caused him to appear disabled at birth? Were there any genetic factors? Could you make a case that the lack of support beyond three months in hospital rehab caused the crime? That he wouldn’t have done it if the financial crisis of 2008 hadn’t led to Caroline’s job loss and their foreclosure, stirring up Conway’s anger and sense of injustice? It seems futile to sort out these complexities and determine the degree to which an individual is responsible for an action. And yet, this is exactly what the criminal justice system does when assigning blame.

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“Blameworthiness should be removed from the legal argot,” writes neuroscientist David Eagleman, one of the most vocal proponents of what he calls a “biologically informed jurisprudence.” Instead of haggling over the degree of culpability, he continues, “we should focus on what to do, moving forward, with an accused lawbreaker.”