Automatism defense refers to a state directed by psychological and environmental factors in which an individual acted involuntarily and may have committed criminal acts. Essentially, it describes behavior in which a person is unconscious or unaware of an act taking place. Though rare, such scenarios could lead to detrimental cases, such as committing murder while sleepwalking (Aggrawal, 2016). Currently, automatism negates criminal responsibility, but many believe that certain cases cannot qualify for such. I think that research should be expanded on the topic, with increased tests being done on individuals who may have been involved in cases of automatism (Rumbold, 2019).
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The audience for this topic would be criminal investigators and experts in forensic psychology. Certain members of these groups may disagree on the spectrum of what counts or doesn’t count as automatism.
Facial reconstruction is a technique that has been improved over many years and is widely used not only in criminal investigations but for historical purposes too. However, this illuminates the topic of the involvement of race in the work of facial reconstruction. Currently, skull shapes, facial traits, and other components are often used to create distinctions of race. Certain groups disagree with the notion that race is an important asset of facial reconstruction.
There is currently a debate between acknowledging and making race ‘absent’ in the process of facial reconstruction (Nieves Delgado, 2020). I think that the role of race in facial reconstructions, specifically in criminal investigation settings, should be examined. The audience for this topic is likely to include criminal investigators, anthropologists, and other experts in the studies of race. The groups are likely to disagree on theoretical arguments, whether races are truly distinct from one another.
I am leaning towards automatism defense as it is more likely to be examined through quantitative data. As a major in criminal justice, I will be able to analyze the topic from a legal standpoint with input from psychological experts. I am likely to encounter challenges in finding experiments and data that are cohesive with each other and allow for a distinct answer to the problem. I would like the audience to consider what can and cannot be quantified as an automatic response and how should criminal acts done without awareness be categorized.
Aggrawal, A., et al. (2016). Encyclopedia of forensic and legal medicine (2nd ed.). Elsevier.
Nieves Delgado, A. (2020). The problematic use of race in facial reconstruction. Science as Culture, 29(5), 1-26. Web.
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Rumbold, J. (2019). Automatism as a defence in criminal law. Routledge.