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The Center for Law and Biosciences received this very gracious (and unnecessary!) thank you letter today from the dependent’s counsel, Gary Seiser. I speak on behalf of Emily, Hank and myself when I say it was a pleasure assisting you, Gary. We are very happy with the outcome. To see the background on this case that has been made public, see Emily’s blog entry here and the Wired article covering the story, here. — Teneille
Professor Henry “Hank” Greely
Director, Center for Law and the Biosciences
Stanford Law School
March 25, 2009
I wanted to thank you for agreeing to co-counsel the evidentiary hearing on the admissibility of fMRI for lie detection, and for all the help you gave me in preparing for the hearing.
I also wanted to thank Emily Murphy, Ph.D., and Teneille Brown, J.D., both at Stanford, for all they did for me. As someone who had never heard of fMRI, let alone fMRI for lie detection, their almost daily explanations, suggestions, and help were invaluable.
Three others also deserve thanks. Anthony Wagner, Ph.D., at Stanford gave me a broader understanding of fMRI. Rich Haier, Ph.D., at UC Irvine was extremely helpful answering questions and providing me with material. And Andy Kozel, M.D., of the University of Texas Southwestern, for agreeing to talk with me and to share his latest articles; his openness and honesty were very welcome.
Special mention should go to Marcus Raichle, M.D., of Washington University in St. Louis, for agreeing to take time out of his very busy schedule to fly to San Diego and testify that use of fMRI for lie detection is not yet generally accepted by the relevant scientific community as reliable, especially for real world, high-stakes situations involving individuals. Talking with a senior scientist of his stature and knowing he would be our witness was an honor.
I could not have adequately prepared for this evidentiary hearing on admissibility without all of you. Now I understand both the great potential of fMRI for lie detection, and the many hurdles yet to be overcome before it is ready for the courtroom. It has definitely been a learning experience.
As you know, this week the proponents of the evidence withdrew their request to have it admitted, thus ending the issue in our case. I won’t speculate on why they did that. I will only say I was confident that with all the help I had received, you assisting as co-counsel, and Marc Raichle on the stand, we would have prevailed. In a way, we did.
As you understand, the confidential nature of our proceedings prevents me from saying more at this time, but please know the help from all of you in the legal and scientific communities was greatly appreciated.
Gary C. Seiser, Senior Deputy
Office of County Counsel
Juvenile Dependency Division
4955 Mercury Street
San Diego, CA 92111-1703
Certified Child Welfare Law Specialist (CWLS)
National Association of Counsel for Children
Accredited by the State Bar of California
Board of Legal Specialization