Brains on Trial with Alan Alda, Part 1
Wednesday, September 11 at 10:00 p.m.
Join host Alan Alda in a unique blending of his two passions — drama and science.
Using a fictional crime — a convenience store robbery that goes horribly wrong — this two-part program builds a gripping courtroom drama. The program probes the brains of the major participants —defendant, witnesses, jurors, judge — while Alan Alda visits neuroscientists who explore how brains work when they become entangled with the law.
In part one, "Determining Guilt," Jimmy Moran is on trial, who at 18 took part in a store robbery during which the storeowner’s wife was shot and grievously injured.
Presiding is distinguished U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff, who has a longstanding interest in neuroscience and its conceivable effect on criminal law. The trial raises common questions: Is a witness lying? How reliable is eyewitness testimony? What’s the best way to avoid a biased jury? How well can the defendant’s intentions be judged? Alan Alda explores how brain-scanning technology is providing insights into these questions.