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TRUTH ABOUT THE LIE DETECTOR IN FEDERAL COURT

NCJ Number
60422
Journal
Temple Law Quarterly Volume: 51 Issue: 1 Dated: (1978) Pages: 69-96
Author(s)
M E SQUIRES
Date Published
1978
Length
28 pages
Annotation
CASE LAW DEALING WITH THE ADMISSIBILITY OF LIE DETECTOR EVIDENCE TO DISCOVER THE TRUTH IN FEDERAL COURTS IS REVIEWED.
Abstract
A FEDERAL APPELLATE COURT WAS THE FIRST COURT TO CONSIDER AND REJECT LIE DETECTOR RESULTS, AND THAT DECISION (FRYE V. THE UNITED STATES) IS THE LEADING CASE IN THE FIELD. FEDERAL COURTS IN GENERAL, MORE THAN STATE COURTS, OPPOSE THE ADMISSION OF LIE DETECTOR TEST RESULTS. MANY COURTS BASE THEIR REJECTION ON THE ASSERTION THAT THE LIE DETECTOR IS NOT ACCURATE UNLESS THE EXAMINER IS COMPETENT, AND FEW QUALIFIED EXAMINERS EXIST. OF THE MANY FEDERAL CASES THAT REJECT LIE DETECTOR EVIDENCE, ONLY FOUR PROVIDE LEGAL REASONING OF ANY CONSEQUENCE (UNITED STATES V. STROMBERG, A PLEA FOR PRESERVATION OF THE JURY SYSTEM; UNITED V. URQUIDEZ, CONCEDING THAT THE ART OF POLYGRAPHY HAS NOT YET ADVANCED FAR ENOUGH TO PERMIT A COURT TO EXAMINE THE LARGE NUMBER OF VARIABLES INVOLVED WITHOUT UNDUE CONSUMPTION OF THE COURT'S TIME; UNITED STATES V. WILSON, INVOLVING A THOROUGH REVIEW OF SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE ABOUT THE RELIABILITY OF LIE DETECTORS; AND THE UNITED STATES V. ALEXANDER, DELIVERING THE MOST THOROUGH RESPONSE TO CONTENTIONS OF LIE DETECTOR PROPONENTS). FEDERAL DECISIONS FAVORING ADMISSIBILITY ARE USUALLY CITED AS INDICATIVE OF A TREND TOWARD THE GENERAL ADMISSIBILITY OF LIE DETECTOR RESULTS IN FEDERAL COURTS. THE TRIAL COURT'S DISCRETION TO ADMIT EVIDENCE, PECULIAR FACTUAL SITUATIONS, AND JUDICIAL INDICATIONS OF THE FUTURE ADMISSIBILITY OF LIE DETECTOR TEST RESULTS ARE DISCUSSED. THE PROGNOSIS BASED ON UNITED STATES V. OLIVER AND UNITED STATES V. ALEXANDER, IS EVALUATED. (DEP)