September 24, 2022

Brain scan evidence dismissed in New York court

But lawyers keep on trying to use the technology to determine whether people are telling the truth

Brain-scans are still not admissible as
evidence in US courts. This week a court in Brooklyn dismissed an attempt by a lawyer
to use a fMRI scan to break the deadlock in a he-said/she-said employment civil
suit. A woman has alleged that she was not given good jobs by an employment
agency after she complained about sexual harassment in a previous job. The
agency boss denied this, but another employee contracted her. A brain scan done
by Cephos, a company which claims to provide “independent, scientific
validation that someone is telling the truth” would have been used to prove that she was being truthful.

However, the defending lawyer successfully
argued that it is the jury’s job to determine the credibility of witnesses, not
a machine’s.

This failure is unlikely to halt the push to use fMRI scans in the
courtroom. Wired.com reports that lawyers in another case, in Tennessee, are
attempting to get a brain scan admitted as evidence later this month. A psychiatrist
has been charged with defrauding Medicare and Medicaid in the way he contracted
and billed for his services. However, he contends that he did not intend to
defraud the government and underwent a brain scan to prove it. ~ Wired,
May 5

Michael Cook
brain scans
fMRI