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Hypnosis and Law Enforcement in California

NCJ Number
Journal of California Law Enforcement Volume: 20 Issue: 3 Dated: (1986) Pages: 125-128
P Kincade
Date Published
4 pages
This article reviews the effectiveness of hypnosis in providing additional information from witnesses, notes California court decisions that prohibit the use of hypnotically induced testimony in court, and discusses a new California law that provides for the use of prehypnotic testimony in court.
In an evaluation of 462 hypno-investigations conducted by the Los Angeles Police Department from 1975 through September 1979, hypnosis yielded additional information in 80.3 percent of the cases. In People v. Shirley (1982) the California Supreme Court ruled, however, that any information obtained or subject matter covered under hypnosis is not admissible as evidence, although hypnosis may be used to obtain leads that may assist in the securing of additional admissible evidence. A 1986 California law permits the use of prehypnosis testimony by a witness subsequently hypnotized, on the condition that the hypnosis is done by a licensed health professional. Thus, hypnosis may be used to obtain additional information from a witness. However, that additional information cannot be used as evidence per se, but the testimony of the witness prior to hypnosis can be presented in court if the hypnosis was done by a licensed health professional. 4 references.