Committee on Forensic Psychophysiology Aims at Reducing Perjury with New Standard
The aim of a new ASTM standard developed by Committee E52 on Forensic Psychophysiology is to assist the judicial system in reducing incidents of perjury. The new standard, E 2324, Guide for PDD Paired Testing, is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee E52.05 on Psychophysiological Detection of Deception (PDD).
According to George Baranowski, founder, Mindsight Consultants, the guide could be used during a court case in which one or two opposing witnesses would have to be lying while on the witness stand. In such cases, either side of the action could request that both witnesses be given a polygraph test as described in E 2324. The testimony of a witness who is determined to be untruthful by the polygraph results would be excluded but only if the other partys polygraph examination resulted in a non-deceptive determination.
The standard is to serve as a guide for judges and attorneys to resolve these concerns of perjured testimony that have troubled the judicial system for years, says Baranowski, who is vice chairman of Committee E52. It is not the ultimate panacea, but when applied to civil cases it can eliminate or at least reduce frivolous lawsuits. Baranowski says that use of E 2324 will reduce the workload and time spent in courts on non-meritorious cases, allowing more time for cases that deserve it. Baranowski also believes that the standard will reduce the number of cases that are decided incorrectly due to perjured testimony.
Baranowski says that, while some would argue that using polygraph tests in this way takes away jurors ability to assess the truth, he disagrees. What it does do is eliminate perjured testimony so that jurors have a much clearer picture of the true facts of the case before them, says Baranowski.
Committee E52 welcomes participation from any parties interested in future revisions to E 2324.
George Baranowski, Mindsight Consultants, Michigan City, Ind.
ASTM staff: Carolyn Sheahan
Upcoming Meeting: Dec. 4-5,
December Committee Week, Dallas, Texas