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Questions of right and wrong quickly become obscured when social science invades the courtroom, writes James Q. Wilson, author of The Moral Sense and On Character. The justice system is now dangerously prone to the "abuse excuse," in which defendants deny personal responsibility for their crimes and instead blame outside forces for making them do their deeds (e.g. the Menendez brothers). As a result, trials can become duels between so-called expert witnesses who, like mercenaries, will offer their highly partisan services to any lawyer who can pay them. This slim volume (112 pages) provides a helpful overview to an important problem and offers constructive solutions for avoiding future debacles. [via]