May 19, 2024

Brain scan fails legal test in Tennessee

But judge does not rule it out as a possibility
American lawyers are itching to get fMRI
brain scans admitted in court as evidence of their client’s mental state. All
previous attempts have failed, although sometimes they may have had an effect
upon sentencing in a few cases.

The latest high-profile case concluded this
week in Tennessee where Lorne Semrau, the CEO of two nursing homes accused of
rorting Medicare, is pleading that he had acted in good faith. He submitted
brain scans taken by lie detection company, Cephos, to demonstrate his

Federal Court Judge Tu Pham dismissed them
as evidence but, significantly, added that “in the future, should fMRI-based
lie detection undergo further testing, development, and peer review, improve
upon standards controlling the technique’s operation, and gain acceptance by
the scientific community for use in the real world, this methodology may be
found to be admissible”. ~ Wired, June 1

Michael Cook
brain scans
lie detection