False witness: why is the US still using hypnosis to convict criminals?

Published in “The Guardian” (UK) on Oct 20, 2019

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. By Ariel Ramchandani

In January 2016, Charles Flores, a Texas prisoner, was moved to death watch, where inmates awaiting execution spend their final months. Seventeen years earlier, Flores had been convicted of murdering a woman in a Dallas suburb in the course of a robbery, a crime he says he did not commit. All of his appeals had been denied and his lethal injection was scheduled for 2 June.

Flores’s new neighbour on death watch, who was due to die in two weeks, gave him the name of his attorney, Gregory Gardner. Gardner specialised in fighting capital punishment convictions and had helped this man take his case to the US supreme court. Flores wrote to Gardner, telling him about the troubling course his trial had taken. No physical evidence had been presented to tie him to the murder, his defence had failed him in multiple ways and, perhaps most troublingly, the only eye witness who claimed to have seen him at the scene of the crime had been hypnotised by police during questioning. [Read more on The Guardian]

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