Monthly Archives: June 2010

Brain scan lie detection excluded from court

court houseWired Science is reported that a Tennessee court has thrown out lie detection “evidence” from brain scans because it was unscientific. The defendant had offered the scans as proof that he was not lying about defrauding the government over Medicare payments.

The defense tried to use brain scans of the defendant to prove its client had not intentionally defrauded the government. In a 39-page opinion, Judge Tu Pham provided both a rebuke of this kind of fMRI evidence now, and a roadmap for how future defendants may be able to satisfy the Daubert standard, which governs the admissibility of scientific evidence.

It is particularly important to note that the company actually violated their own protocols during the scan. After two tests produced different results, the testing was repeated a third time until the desire result was obtained.

“Dr. Semrau risked nothing in having the testing performed, and Dr. Laken himself testified that had the results not been favorable to Dr. Semrau, they would have never been released,” Pham noted.

Further, the company expert was unwilling to say if the defendant was lying or telling the truth on any specific question, but instead whether the person was “more overall” telling the truth.