Sentencing proceedings are very much affected by a finding of mental retardation. Unlike mental illnesses, mental retardation is a permanent condition that is best characterized by low intelligence and significant limitations in particular areas of adaptive behavior. Often a person is born mentally retarded. However, defects in the developmental process and render a person mentally retarded as well. Many neurological conditions are associated with mental retardation. These include, cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
The Forensic Panel’s expert neuroradiologist can assess findings on imaging scans to see whether these resemble any particular conditions associated with mental retardation. With the oversight and guidance of peer-review, conclusions in even controversial cases can reflect a scientific certainty that is immune from cross examination.