UPDATE 05-06-10: The judge in this case has ruled to exclude fMRI evidence in the trial.
In a move that could have serious consequences for the future of neuroscience in court, an attorney in Brooklyn plans to introduce fMRI scans to prove that a key witness in an employer-retaliation case is being truthful.
If the brain scan is admitted, it would be a legal first in the United States, reports Wired Science:
General fMRI data from research has been used in sentencing, but an individual’s brain scan has yet to be entered as evidence in a civil or criminal trial to help the jury determine whether someone was telling the truth. Individual fMRI evidence was offered in at least one other case by a San Diego attorney defending a father accused of sexual abuse, but the evidence was eventually withdrawn and did not make it into the record.
Researchers in a small number of studies have shown brain scans can identify lying in subjects with an accuracy ranging between 76 percent to over 90 percent. However, scientific evidence for fMRI-based lie detection is still inconclusive, according to Time and The New Yorker.
Previously: Brain scan used in court in potential fMRI first