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Using Polygraph Evidence after Scheffer, Part 1
By Charles Daniels
There is no single category of evidence in the history of American law that has been subjected to stricter scrutiny by the courts, to greater resistance against admission and to such a widespread reluctance to accept scientific developments in the courtroom than polygraph evidence. The cases in which it has been admitted are the exceptional ones, and the vast majority of reported opinions either deny its use with little analysis or employ techniques of exclusion that are not used against other forms of evidence. Ironically, this hostile response by the courts occurs in a country that sees widespread use of the polygraph in other settings, particularly by the same government entities that routinely and vigorously oppose its use against them in court.
Part I of this article reviews the historical development of the approaches of courts in the United States to the admission of results of polygraph examinations, will analyze the current realities, and will consider what the future might bri
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