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National Trial Lawyers Selects Contoversial Fort Walton Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla., April 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Each year, the National Trial Lawyers, an exclusive, invitation- only organization, selects the nation's Top 100 Lawyers. This year, Fort Walton Beach criminal defense attorney Stephen G. Cobb, is a controversial selection.

A Florida-based criminal defense attorney, Cobb is certified by the Florida Bar as an expert in criminal law. However, his claim that crime is a medical problem, rather than a moral failure, has been both criticized and praised. Neuroscience research and brain imaging are the foundation of his claim.

"Top 100? That's quite flattering. I'm happier when someone stops getting arrested for DUI or domestic violence," he said, on the steps of the courthouse in south Okaloosa County.

Cobb is passionate about the use of neuroscience and brain imaging in criminal law. Since 2006, he has advocated the elimination of what he calls "blame and punishment based" sentencing laws in favor of a treatment based, long term solution.  

University of Pennsylvania professor of law and psychiatry, Stephen J. Morse, takes the opposing view. Professor Morse claims neuroscience research and imaging techniques have no forensic value. In the November 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Bar Association, he bluntly stated that, "Neuroscience has added virtually nothing really relevant to criminal law." Morse is a member of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience.

"Ridiculous," Cobb counters."If a doctor wanted to repair a broken bone without an x-ray, you would find another doctor. Brain imaging is an important tool in the diagnostic tool box."

Morse reasons that people, not brains, commit crimes. Cobb bluntly dismisses such criticism as irresponsible since the brain is the organ which controls human behavior.

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