People v. Hughes Case Brief

Summary of People v. Hughes (1983)

Facts: V was raped and beaten. She could not remember the attacker so the police had her hypnotized. Originally she did not identify the ? definitively as her attacker, however after being administered (with her consent) the “truth telling drug" she identified the ? as her attacker and his brother as the other person at the scene. At trial, neighbors were also called for purposes of corroborating the V’s recollections.

Issue: Whether the V’s testimony, under hypnosis for the purpose of refreshing or restoring her memory of the incident should be admitted?

Holding: No.

Reasoning: The court finds there is no set precedent as to using hypnosis to invoke the witness’s memory of the attack. The court focuses on whether or no the results of hypnosis are generally accepted as reliable in the scientific community. The court says no b/c it is not officially a reliable means of restoring memory. However, b/c there has to be a new trial, this court notes its agreement that hypnosis does not necessarily render a witness incompetent to testify. The witness should be analyzed as to pre-hypnosis recollection and whether the hypnosis was impermissibly suggestive.

Decision: Affirmed, new trial



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