Past SPI Speaker, Dr. Michael Welner's Journal Article on Landmark Research Measuring a Crime's Depravity

For twenty years, Dr. Michael Welner has been spearheading research aiming at terms in criminal law statutes such as “heinous,” “depraved,” “inhuman,” “vile,” and “evil” that currently distinguish crimes deserving of greater punishment. Without consistency and clarity in definition, courts have long wrestled with the fair assessment of the worst-of-the-worst crimes.

Inspired by casework experience, which illustrates to all forensic scientists that some crimes are truly more severe than others in their class, Dr. Welner set out to determine what it is that makes one murder “heinous” or more depraved than other murders. The Journal of Criminal Justice articles detail the inspiration and development of the Depravity Standard as a valid, reliable instrument to assist judges, jurors, corrections officials, lawmakers, and the academic community in this challenging responsibility.

Click here to read Dr. Welner's article.