|Home Page||Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Middlesex Superior Court|
|Action:||Louise Woodward's MOTION IN LIMINE To Admit Polygraph Evidence And For An Evidentiary Hearing|
|Date:||November 10, 1997|
|Case:||Commonwealth v. Louise Woodward|
|Docket:||Criminal No. 97-0433|
|Location:||City of Cambridge, Massachusetts|
Commentary: The following is a formal request by Louise Woodward asking the court to be allowed to admit into evidence at the trial, the results of a lie detector test that was administered by a polygraph expert that she hired. Both Woodward's lawyers and the prosecution filed Memoranda of Law in support of, and in opposition to, this motion. The prosecution also had made a request for a polygraph test to be conducted by the state police, however records do not indicate this test was actually undertaken. The defense offers to allow the results to be reviewed by the state police.
COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS MIDDLESEX, SS. SUPERIOR COURT Ncs. 97-433 COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS V. LOUISE WOODWARD LOUISE WOODWARD'S MOTION IN LIMINE TO ADMIT POLYGRAPH EVIDENCE AND FOR AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING Pursuant to the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, Article XII of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, and M.G.L. c. 263, (Section) 5, Louise Woodward hereby moves this Court in limine for the admission at trial of the results of a polygraph examination conducted of her on May 7, 1997. Defendant seeks to admit these results at trial as both substantive and corroborative evidence. In further support of this motion, defendant states as follows: As detailed in the "Memorandum of Law in Support of Louise Woodward's Motion In Limine to Admit Polygraph Evidence and for an Evidentiary Hearing," which is filed herewith, and is hereby incorporated by reference, Ms. Woodward was subjected to a polygraph examination on May 7, 1997, by Dr. David C. Raskin, one of the world's leading polygraph experts. During the course of this examination Ms. Woodward was asked relevant questions about whether she caused injury to Matthew Eappen while he was in her care on February 4, 1997. Ms. Woodward responded negatively to -2 - having caused any injuries to Matthew Eappen, and Dr. Raskin concluded that her answers to these questions were truthful to a confidence level of 95 percent. Dr. Raskin's results were independently evaluated by Dr. Charles Honts, another leading Polygrapher, who confirmed that Ms. Woodward had answered truthfully when responding to relevant questions about whether she had injured Matthew. (The affidavits of David C. Raskin, M. D. and Charles R. Honts, Ph.D., are attached to the Memorandum of Law, and are also hereby incorporated by reference herein.) As outlined in the accompanying Memo of Law, polygraph evidence is no longer per se inadmissible in the courts of the Commonwealth, and is now admissible under the rules governing the admission of expert testimony in this Commonwealth, as defined by Commonwealth v. Lanigan 419 Mass. 15 (1994), Commonwealth v. Stewart, supra, 422 Mass. at 385 (1996), and Daubert v. Merrill Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 509 U.S. 579, 113 S.Ct. 2786 (1993). The defendant submits that the results of her polygraph examination in this case should be admitted as both substantive and corroborative evidence, because of the extensive evidence which shows that (1) the polygraph technique used in this case has been demonstrated to be scientifically reliable and valid (i.e.,has a high level of accuracy), and (2) Dr. Raskin's own individual proficiency as a polygraph examiner has been confirmed by published scientific studies which demonstrate that his conclusions as to whether a subject is truthful or deceptive are highly accurate. - 3 - Ms. Woodward seeks, and is entitled to, an evidentiary hearing for the Purpose Of presenting live witnesses and documentary evidence demonstrating that the polygraph results which she seeks to admit at trial meet the Daubert standards.1 She further seeks access to the Commonwealth's experienced polygraph expert, Lieutenant John Consigli of the Massachusetts State Police, for the purpose of having Lt. Consigli review Dr. Raskin's Polygraph charts and reports, and for the further purpose of Ms. Woodwardis submitting to a second polygraph examination conducted by Lt. Consigli. Defendant submits that if Lt. Consigii were to review Dr. Raskin's charts or were to perform his own polygraph examination of her, he would confirm that she truthfully answered the questions which were posed to her by Dr. Raskin.  As noted in the Memorandum Of Law, this Court can grant this motion without holding a hearing, but it may not deny this motion without giving the defendant the opportunity to present live witnesses and documentary evidence to the Court for the purpose of demonstrating that the polygraph examinatation conducted in this case meets the Lanigan/Stewart standards for the admission of expert scientific evidence. - 4 - WHEREFORE, Defendant Louise Woodward moves that this Court grant her motion in limine and the other requested relief. DATED: June 13, 1997 Respectfully submitted, (signature) Andrew Good BBO #201240 Silverglate & Good 83 Atlantic Avenue Boston, MA 02110-3711 (617) 523 - 5933 I, Andrew Good, hereby certify that I have this day served the foregoing On Assistant District Attorney Lynn Rooney, 40 Thorndike Street, Cambridge, MA 02141 by causing a true copy of same to be delivered in hand. (signature) Andrew Good DATED: June 13, 1997
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