Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Exculpatory Polygraph Test Results Found Unreliable and Inadmissible by Federal Trial Court

United States v. Moultrie, 552 F. Supp. 2d 598, 599-600 & 602 (N.D. Miss. 2008) (criminal defendant sought to introduce exculpatory results of privately-administered polygraph tests; "In U.S. v. Posado, the Fifth Circuit overturned the per se inadmissibility of polygraph evidence. 57 F.3d 428 (5th Cir. 1995). In making this determination, the Fifth Circuit reviewed the Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 113 S. Ct. 2786, 125 L. Ed. 2d 469 (1993) analysis of Fed. R. Evid. 702, which governs the admissibility of expert testimony. The Posado panel stated that Rule 702 requires that the 'trial judge make initial determinations under Rule 104(a) that the preferred evidence possesses sufficient evidentiary reliability to be admissible as scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge and that the proffered evidence is relevant in the sense that it will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue.' 57 F.3d at 432."; "This court has thoroughly considered all of the testimony and scientific evidence presented by Moultrie. However, the court finds more persuasive the study performed by the National Academy of Sciences. This study is the most comprehensive study on the subject and the scholars involved actually reviewed some of the very studies discussed by Dr. Raskin during his direct examination. Notably, the Academy's 2003 conclusion that polygraphs work at a rate above chance, but below perfection has not moved far from the Office of Technology Assessment's conclusion twenty years earlier that polygraph examinations work better than chance, but with a rate of significant error. The court finds that the defendant has not established that the science behind polygraph examinations is sufficiently reliable to be deemed admissible. Accordingly, Moultrie's motion to admit the results of his polygraph examinations must be DENIED."


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