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Officers relying on unreliable forensic tool

On Behalf of | Dec 17, 2019 | Criminal Defense

People in Maryland who the police suspect of possibly committing crimes might be asked to write statements about what they remember from the incidents. Law enforcement officers use these statements when they build their cases. However, most people might not realize that some police departments use a forensic tool called Scientific Content Analysis or SCAN to analyze the written statements to purportedly detect deception.

SCAN is a system that was developed by a former officer in Israeli intelligence. It is offered by a company called the Laboratory for Scientific Information or LSI. While the company has long touted SCAN as providing a highly accurate analytical method for detecting falsehoods, experts state that the claims are not supported by scientific evidence.

In tests of SCAN, it has been found to not be any more accurate than guessing about when people might be untruthful. Despite this, LSI has successfully marketed SCAN to law enforcement agencies across the U.S., including local and state law enforcement agencies, the FBI, and the CIA. Because it is not reliable, SCAN results are not admissible in court. However, the use of this test means that law enforcement officers may focus on people as suspects who are innocent instead of thoroughly investigating their cases.

People who have been accused of crimes and who are innocent might have been identified as suspects by police officers who used SCAN to analyze their written statements. People might benefit from getting the help of experienced criminal defense attorneys. The lawyers might investigate the facts and circumstances of what occurred to identify problems with the police investigation and to challenge the admissibility of certain types of evidence against their clients. The attorneys may be able to secure the dismissal of the charges against their clients or fight for their rights by litigating their cases through the court and trial processes.