Friday, May 16, 2014

New Release: Hoffman on the Evolution of Judge and Jury

New from Cambridge University Press: The Punisher's Brain: The Evolution of Judge and Jury (2014), by Morris B. Hoffman. Hoffman is an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a Colorado state trial judge. The Press explains:
Why do we punish, and why do we forgive? Are these learned behaviors, or is there something deeper going on? This book argues that there is indeed something deeper going on, and that our essential response to the killers, rapists, and other wrongdoers among us has been programmed into our brains by evolution. Using evidence and arguments from neuroscience and evolutionary psychology, Morris B. Hoffman traces the development of our innate drives to punish – and to forgive – throughout human history. He describes how, over time, these innate drives became codified into our present legal systems and how the responsibility and authority to punish and forgive was delegated to one person – the judge – or a subset of the group – the jury. Hoffman shows how these urges inform our most deeply held legal principles and how they might animate some legal reforms.

A few blurbs:
"Morris Hoffman’s fascinating exploration of the intersection of criminal law and biology will inform and provoke. It is a tour de force of speculative, interdisciplinary scholarship."  -- Stephen J. Morse

"The Punisher’s Brain is lucid, clever, and a delight to read. Judge Hoffman draws on evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, English legal history, and - often most engagingly - his own experiences on the bench to guide the reader on a compelling tour of our punishing instincts." -- Francis X. Shen
More information is available here.