BillericaNews BillericaNews Justice Image

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

Defendant's motion to admit polygraph results as evidence

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.


     MIDDLESEX, SS.                          SUPERIOR COURT
                                             Ncs. 97-433



          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.

     [1] 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,

                                       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.


						Andrew Good

      DATED: June 13, 1997
Back to Litigation

Comments are invited by contacting BillericaNews through the News Editor

Jump to the: Home Page or the News Page or the Laws Page

Copyright (c) 1998 BillericaNews. All rights reserved.