Sharen Ghatan: Science is Vital to the Practice of Criminal Law
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Aug. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The popular idea that children make criminal decisions as a result of their upbringing may now hold scientific truth according to a recent study conducted by University College London. A recent article from Scientific Daily observes these findings and hints at the possibility they may have on adjusting current legal practices. Sharen Ghatan, a California-based criminal defense attorney, has a passion for representing clients in juvenile legal matters and hopes this new research can influence regulations in today’s legal systems.
According to the article, Dr. Eamon McCory and his team were able to provide evidence that links early adversity, such as childhood trauma or violent upbringing, with “the development of brain connectivity and functions.” The article explains, “For many young offenders such early adversity is a common experience, and it may increase both their vulnerability to mental health problems and also their risk of problem behaviors.” In addition to that study, Scientific Daily also highlights a research study conducted by Dr. Seena Fazel of Oxford University. Fazel found that both social disadvantage and Traumatic Brain Injury “significantly increases the risk of involvement in violent crime.” Those findings were confirmed, as the article reports that 45 percent of young offenders suffered some form of Traumatic Brain Injury in their earlier years.
Sharen Ghatan is fascinated by these results as she explains, “I always see a ray of hope in these young defendants. After all, these are mere children who committed an error in judgment and still have the potential to make a course correction.” However, her personal feelings are not currently reflected in existing legal procedures and regulations; many young convicted criminals face charges that are reported to only escalate their risky or violent behavior in future years. Such patterns may be the source of ongoing juvenile crime; as untreated young offenders grow older and have children, they may also raise their children in damaging environments.
Following the suggestions set forth by these neuroscientists, Sharen Ghatan notes that these results may help young criminals address their problems directly through effort to improve their behavioral patterns. She concludes, “If prosecutors gave greater weight to scientific discoveries of how early traumatic incidents disturb the normal growth of these children’s brains, perhaps, they would be more sympathetic and willing to negotiate better dispositions in these instances. These kids deserve another chance – life has already dealt them a bad hand, let’s not make their poor decisions have devastating consequences on what was once a rosy future.”
Sharen Ghatan is a native of Marin County, CA (Northern California). She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from prestigious UC Berkeley. Subsequently, she attended and ultimately graduated from Whittier Law School in 1999.
She has since worked at New Line Cinema and Motion Picture Association of America. Ms. Ghatan found her passion for the criminal field and has had her own criminal defense firm since 2001.
Ms. Ghatan is a member of the California State Bar, and is licensed to practice before all courts in the state of California. Additionally, in October 2007, Ms. Ghatan became one of the elite attorneys to be licensed to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States. She is quite proud of this honor and hopes to revisit Washington DC with a ground-breaking criminal matter soon.
SOURCE Sharen Ghatan