Behavioral Sciences & the Law

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Volume 17 Issue 4 (October/December 1999), Pages 407-551

Facilitated communication: rejected in science, accepted in court—a case study and analysis of the use of FC evidence under Frye and Daubert (pages 517-541)

Abstract

This article traces the phenomenon of facilitated communication (FC) from its introduction to the United States in 1990 to its use in recent court proceedings. FC is an alleged breakthrough technique that enables nonverbal individuals with developmental disabilities to communicate via a form of assisted typing. Widespread use of FC resulted in miraculous communications and surprising allegations of abuse. The growing importance and notoriety of FC attracted the interest of the scientific community which rejected the technique after numerous controlled studies were undertaken. Despite the rejection of FC by the scientific community, however, some courts have accepted this unproven technique by evading their state's test of scientific admissibility. It is asserted that court decisions admitting FC evidence are pretextural, and it is argued that FC should not be admitted into court proceedings. In addition, this report analyzes the future of FC in those states that have adopted the newer Daubert standard for scientific evidence. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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