relied on this faulty concept of memory
November 13, 2019 11:00 AM   Subscribe

False witness: why is the US still using hypnosis to convict criminals? "For decades, US law enforcement has used ‘forensic hypnosis’ to help solve crimes – yet despite growing evidence that it is junk science, this method is still being used to send people to death row." [The Guardian]
posted by readinghippo (13 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Because the US remains, in some ways, a deeply 18th C country?
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:05 AM on November 13, 2019 [26 favorites]

At this point I would be more surprised if there was a forensic discipline that wasn't hokum used by cops to stitch up whoever they've decided is guilty beforehand. It's been shown to be the case for at least lie detectors, fiber analysis, and bite matching plus this and the arson and blood spatter examples the article gives.
posted by Copronymus at 11:43 AM on November 13, 2019 [41 favorites]

One of the streaming services should develop a season of "CSI: For Reals" where they just fabricate everything to put whoever they want in jail. You know, like in the real world.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 1:18 PM on November 13, 2019 [15 favorites]

What happened to the CSI Effect that cops were whining about?

I guess they figured out they could just lie their asses off?
posted by Horkus at 1:28 PM on November 13, 2019

Why was the US ever using hypnosis to convict criminals?!
posted by asnider at 1:36 PM on November 13, 2019 [6 favorites]

Question posed in the FPP needs re-punctuation.
Why is the US still using hypnosis? To convict "criminals".
posted by Nerd of the North at 1:39 PM on November 13, 2019 [11 favorites]

Every time I see the word “forensics” used in conjunction with “law enforcement” it becomes a synonym for “smoke and mirrors.” That’s completely on law enforcement. I kind of feel sorry for anyone studying to go into forensics. What validity the field may have is certainly devalued by garbage like this.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:37 PM on November 13, 2019 [4 favorites]

Why? Because ACAB.
posted by nofundy at 4:14 PM on November 13, 2019 [6 favorites]

posted by clawsoon at 5:20 PM on November 13, 2019 in, how is this even a thing??
posted by clawsoon at 5:24 PM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Many practitioners of forensic hypnosis know that it can create false memories, but it is a risk they willingly take. “More memory, how could that be a bad thing?” said Carol Denicker, a hypnotist in New York state.

I just.
posted by Not A Thing at 4:48 AM on November 14, 2019 [2 favorites] in, how is this even a thing??

Basically all forensic "science" is bullshit. Hair and fiber analysis, blood splatter analysis, firearm ballistics, handwriting, etc. All bullshit. Even fingerprint analysis is severely flawed, and DNA is only reliable under ideal conditions.

Cops will seize upon anything to make the case they want to make. And the thing is, most cops are not the brightest bulbs. Detectives are not a bunch of Sherlock Holmeses, more like Inspecteur Clouseaus with a heart condition and a gun.

But we'll continue using this bullshit to put people in jail for life or kill them, especially if they're black, or of the undesirable sort.
posted by dis_integration at 2:19 PM on November 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Some of those forensic "sciences" do indeed have some usefulness despite being misused by police and prosecutors and considered by courts and juries to have far more reliability and specificity than they actually have.

Some of them don't even deserve to have "science" attached, even in quote marks.
posted by wierdo at 9:56 PM on November 14, 2019

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