Let’s say we have a guy who suffered a closed head injury some years ago such that he’s recovered as much from it as he is likely to. A lingering effect of his injury he is that he now longer appreciates the consequences of his actions - he can’t see that a particular action might lead to punishment. But, his injury did leave mnay other functions intact - he can still set in motion a complex series of events and follow them to their conclusion.
So, let’s assume that he commits a crime that requires some preparation - let’s make it document intensive. He’ll need to tell different things to different people for his scheme to work.
Unfortunately for him, he pushes the ruse one step too far and is caught. If we go back to the beginning idea that he couldn’t appreciate the risk of punishment when he set his crime into motion, do we consider this disability when deciding how and whether to punish him?
I think that he should still be punished. His inability to appreciate possible punishment doesn’t mean that he can’t know what he set out to do was wrong. I don’t beleive the scenario I write suggests that he didn’t intend his actions, although there is room to argue that he didn’t intend to commit a crime. I say his intent to ommit the act should override any subjective belief as to whether it he thought he was committing a crime.
So, what to debate? I’d like thoughts on whether and to what extent a head injury should be a factor in deciding criminal liability. I’d like to see if the person in the scenario I wrote should get some slack, because my first answer is that he shouldn’t.