The question of whether to admit the testimony of witnesses hypnotized prior to trial in subsequent criminal proceedings has been the source of much controversy in recent years. The Nebraska Supreme Court dealt with the admissibility of hypnotically influenced testimony in State v. Palmer, which was handed down in December 1981. Although the holding of Palmer appears to provide a clear rule, it does leave several questions unanswered, as indicated by the fact that the case is again pending before the court on appeal. The reasoning of the court in reaching its decision is also somewhat lacking. The purpose of this Note is to analyze and evaluate Palmer in light of the decisions of other jurisdictions dealing with the admissibility of hypnotically influenced testimony as well as the current scientific and legal literature on this issue. First, the existing case law on hypnosis and hypnotically influenced testimony is examined. Second, the Palmer decision itself is compared and analyzed. Finally, modifications and clarifications of the position taken in Palmer, and other recent decisions in accord with Palmer, are suggested.
Mark A. Christensen,
Pretrial Hypnosis and Its Effect on Witness Competency in Criminal Trials: State v. Palmer, 210 Neb. 206, 313 N.W.2d 648 (1981),
62 Neb. L. Rev.
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