EvidenceProf Blog

Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

Saturday, November 3, 2012

No Lie: Court Of Appeals Of New Mexico Finds Prosecutor Can't Comment On Defendant's Failure To Take Polygraph

As I have noted, in most U.S. jurisdictions, polygraph evidence is per se inadmissible. In somewhere between 12-20 jurisdictions, polygraph evidence is admissible only if the prosecution and defense stipulate that polygraph evidence will be admissible before the defendant takes a polygraph test. Finally, in New Mexico, polygraph evidence is admissible even without a prior stipulation. But, as the recent opinion of the Court of Appeals of New Mexico in State v. Solis, 2012 WL 4434153 (N.M.App. 2012), the situation in New Mexico really isn't that different than the situation in the stipulation states.

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November 3, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Caught In A Lie?: Court Of Appeals Of Indiana Finds Polygraph Evidence Admissible Pursuant To Stipulation

The Indidana State Police open an internal investigation against a police officer. As part of the investigation, the Superintendent of the Indiana State Police orders the officer to submit to a polygraph examination. At the beginning of the examination, the officer signs a document acknowledging "any statement, information or evidence which is gained by reason of this interview can and will be used against [me] in any departmental disciplinary proceeding." At a subsequent disciplinary proceeding, should the results of the polygraph test be admissible? According to the recent opinion of the Court of Appeals of Indiana in Decker v. Whitesell, 2012 WL 4846573 (Ind.App. 2012), the answer is "yes."

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November 2, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

No Pregnant Pause: Illinois Court Rejects Defendant's Attempt To Analogize Home Pregnancy Tests To Polygraph Tests

As I noted in my post on Tuesday, in most jurisdictions, polygraph evidence is per se inadmissible. The conventional wisdom is that polygraph results are a lot less reliable than people, including jurors, think them to be. So, does the same logic apply to home pregnancy tests? That was what the defendant claimed in People v. Prather, 2012 WL 5295801 (Ill.App. 2 Dist. 2012). So, how did the court rule?

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November 1, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dog Day Afternoon: Supreme Court Oral Arguments Today In Jardines & Harris

Today, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the two drug sniffing dog cases: Jardines v. State, 73 So.3d 34, 49 (Fla. 2011) and Harris v. State, 71 So.3d 756 (Fla. 2011). Here was my blog post about theamici brief in JardinesJardines post. And here was my blog post about the amici brief in HarrisHarris post.


October 31, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

EvidenceProf Blog's 6th Annual Halloween Movie Pick

Earlier this year, The Weinstein Company released the schlocktastic "Piranha 3DD" in theaters. The film, scripted by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton and directed by John Gulager, was a reunion of sorts, coming seven years after their collaboration on the horror movie, "Feast." "Feast" was the product of the third season of the late, great "Project Greenlight," the show in which neophyte screenwriters and directors were given the chance to become the next Matt Damon and Ben Affleck

The third season of "Project Greenlight" was its last, with the attempt to shift to genre filmmaking in the wake of the financial failures of "Stolen Summer" and "The Battle of Shaker Heights" being unsuccessful, but the PGL franchise has several lasting legacies: Shia LaBeoufChris Moore. "Project Runway," Dunstan and Melton went on to pen the last four "Saw" movies. And who's to say that Affleck didn't learn a thing or two about what not to do as a director from the show before helming such well received productions as "Gone Baby Gone," "The Town," and "Argo."

Many are calling "Argo" the Oscar favorite this year. That film concerns a 1980 joint CIA-Canadian secret operation to extract six fugitive American diplomatic personnel out of revolutionary Iran. Specifically, the operation consisted of the creation of the titular fake science fiction film as a cover for sneaking operatives into Iran and sneaking American hostages out. Here's an idea: How about reteaming GulagerMelton, and Dunstan to make the fake science fiction movie into an actual movie? Sure, it's sci-fi and not horror, so it's not quite in their wheelhouse, but with the success and publicity of "Argo," you'd have to think that an actual "Argo" movie could do quite well.

As for  "Feast," well, I can't recommend it for the reasons stated in the review below (from my days reviewing DVDs), but I wholeheartedly recommend all three seasons of "Project Greenlight." 

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October 31, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Which Lie Did I Tell? Texas Case Reveals That Polygraph Results Are Admissible In Probation Revocation Proceedings

As I have noted on several occasions, polygraph evidence is per se inadmissible in the vast majority of jurisdictions in the United States. Only New Mexico allows for the admission of polygraph evidence without the prior stipulation of the parties. Moreover, about a dozen states allow for the admission of polygraph evidence based upon a prior stipulation by the prosecution and defense. In these jurisdictions, polygraph results will be admissible if both sides stipulate to admissibility before the defendant takes the polygraph test.

The above, however, refers to the (in)admissibility of polygraph evidence at trial. Can a court, however, place a condition on probation pursuant to which the probationer must submit to periodic polygraph examinations and have his probation revoked if he either (a) fails to submit to such examinations; or (b) fails one of these examinations?

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October 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 29, 2012

It Was 20 Years Ago Today: Documents Created On October 29, 1992 Are Now "Ancient" Documents

The other day, as we were toggling through the various music channels in our U-verse package, my wife and I came upon the "Classic Alternative" station. A song came on, possibly from Nirvana, and my wife expressed surprise that something from the early 1990s would be classified as "classic." The evidence analogue to this reaction can be found in Federal Rule of Evidence 803(16) and Federal Rule of Evidence 901(b)(8).

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October 29, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I Rest My Case, Take 6: Eastern District Of Michigan Applies Rule 614(b) Test To Rule 614(a)

In a series of five posts, I have addressed the question of whether judges should be able to use their power under Federal Rule of Evidence 614(a) and state counterparts to call additional witnesses after both parties have rested. One of the reasons that I have written these posts is that I wonder whether courts should be able to call witnesses after both parties have rested, particularly in a criminal case. Another reason, however, is the simple lack of much precedent at all about whether and when judges can exercise their Rule 614(a) power either after or after the parties have rested. In United States v. Flores, 702 F.Supp.2d 794 (E.D.Mich. 2010), the Eastern District of Michigan noted this gap in precedent and attempted to fill the void. So, how did it do?

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October 28, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)