Prof. Snead Explains Impact of Neuroscience on Courts

Author: Susan Good

carter snead faculty

Notre Dame Associate Professor of Law Carter Snead recently spoke to an assembly of judges about the use of neuroimaging evidence in the courtroom in civil and criminal contexts. His talk was part of the Judicial Seminar on Emerging Issues in Neuroscience, held at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada. Snead is a member of the faculty for the program, which just received an award from the American Bar Association for excellence in judicial education.

Snead—the only non-scientist presenting—shared his research alongside prominent neuroscientists from Duke University, the University of Virginia, the University of Michigan, and the University of California, Irvine, who spoke about how their work might have implications for the law.
The seminar was jointly sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Center for State Courts, and the Dana Foundation.

Snead’s research focuses on the intersection of law and bioethics. His scholarship explores the possibility, mechanisms, and wisdom of the governance of science, medicine, and biotechnology according to ethical principles.

In 2002 Snead accepted the position of general counsel for the President’s Council on Bioethics. In that capacity, he advised the chairman and council members on the legal and public policy dimensions of numerous ethical questions arising from advances in biomedical science and biotechnology. He was the principal drafter of the council’s 2004 report, “Reproduction and Responsibility: The Regulation of New Biotechnologies,” a comprehensive critical assessment of the governance (both public and private) of the activities at the intersection of assisted reproduction, human embryo research, and genetics. Snead continues to serve the council as an expert consultant.

In 2007, Snead was appointed (along with Dr. Edmund Pellegrino, Chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics) to be the Permanent Observer for the U.S. Government at the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee on Bioethics (CDBI). In that capacity, he assists the CDBI in its efforts to elaborate international instruments and standards for the ethical governance of science and medicine.

In 2008, the director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) appointed Snead to a four-year term as one of 36 independent experts on UNESCO’s International Bioethics Committee (IBC). The committee is the only forum in the United Nations system devoted to reflection on bioethics and public policy.

Contact: Prof. Carter Snead, 202-607-0963(cell); 574-631-8259 (office);