Sunday, December 22, 2013

United States v. Piccinonna case brief

United States v. Piccinonna case brief summary
885 F.2d 1529 (11th Cir. 1989)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellant sought review of the judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, excluding the testimony of his polygraph expert and polygraph examination results and convicting him of knowingly making false material statements to a grand jury in violation of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, 18 U.S.C.S. § 1623.

CASE FACTS
The district court found inadmissible appellant's polygraph expert's testimony and polygraph examination results and convicted him of knowingly making false material statements to a grand jury in violation of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, 18 U.S.C.S. § 1623. Appellant sought review, and the court vacated and remanded, modifying the per se rule of excluding polygraph evidence.

DISCUSSION

  • The court found that, in the wake of new empirical evidence and scholarly opinion, the wholesale exclusion under Fed. R. Evid. 702 was unwarranted, and that polygraph evidence might be admitted at trial when both parties stipulated in advance as to the test's circumstances and as to the scope of its admissibility. 
  • The court found that polygraph evidence also might be used to impeach or corroborate the testimony of a witness at trial, subject to three preliminary conditions: the party planning to use the evidence must provide adequate notice to the opposing party; the opposing party must be given reasonable opportunity to have its own polygraph expert administer a test covering substantially the same questions, and admissibility was to be governed by the Federal Rules of Evidence.
CONCLUSION
The court vacated appellant's conviction for knowingly making false statements to a grand jury and remanded for further proceedings because it found that polygraph expert testimony and polygraph examination evidence may be admissible when both parties stipulated in advance as to the test's circumstances and the scope of its admissibility and also to impeach or corroborate testimony.

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