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Polygraph Testing In The Criminal Case Of US V. Frye

Decent Essays
Innocent people suffer from the crimes that criminals commit within communities. Victims of pedophilia can suffer from anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide. Louise from the Pandora Project tells about her story: “I am a survivor of repeated oral rape as a child of four, and later between the ages of eight and ten, multiple types of rape by a close family friend. If the earlier assaults were bad, the later were most terrifying ordeals; I thought he would kill me. Because I knew what people to do “make babies” but didn’t understand that I wasn’t old enough to have a baby, I lived in constant fear that he would make me pregnant and then everybody would find out. I often felt that I would not survive the next time. The despair and entrapment…show more content…
v. Frye, results of a polygraph test were being taken as evidence. The tests were challenged if whether or not the tests were viable evidence. The D.C. District Circuit Court ruled that if polygraph tests were to be accepted as evidence, the test had to meet three criteria: the test’s reliability must be recognized by the general scientific community, there must be a qualified person conducting the test, and correct procedures must be followed and proven so. These standards are known as the Frye Test and, for 70 years, remained as the judicial standard. Under the Federal Rules of Evidence, in 1975, judges were given more of a choice on whether or not to admit polygraph tests as evidence in court cases, leading to judges having discretion if a polygraph is viable evidence. Therefore, judges could admit a polygraph test if it did not pass the Frye Test, but they could also not admit a test that did pass the Frye Test. Then in 1993, decided by the case Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, a new set of standards were issued. With this, the judges were able to admit polygraph tests, and other scientific evidence, into courts if the theory behind the evidence could be tested, it had been reviewed and published, the error potential was known, and in general, the scientific community accepted the tests and the theory behind it. Since recently, specific and revised standards have been set to guarantee the reliability of polygraphs, judges…show more content…
The subject’s respiratory rate, sweat gland activity, and cardiovascular activity are monitored to determine whether or not the subject is being truthful during a polygraph test. Test givers are now able to distinguish between a subject who is lying and one who has test anxiety because subjects with test anxiety show the symptoms of “lying” over many categories of questions, instead of just one. After their release from prison, over 90% of convicted pedophiles are arrested again for sexual assault. Therefore, in order to help prevent pedophilia, Professor Don Grubin of Newcastle University headed a trial in Northumberland, Surrey, that led to encouraging results for using polygraphs as a way to prevent pedophilia. Because of the case in 1993, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, a new set of standards were issued that stated that judges were able to admit polygraph tests, and other scientific evidence, into courts if the theory behind the evidence could be tested, it had been
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