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State v. Sharpe

435 P.3d 887 (2019)

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State v. Sharpe

Alaska Supreme Court

435 P.3d 887 (2019)

Facts

Jyzyk Sharpe (defendant) sought to introduce expert testimony from Dr. David Raskin, a psychologist and polygraph examiner who administered a polygraph test of Sharpe using the “comparison-question technique,” or CQT. In a CQT polygraph test, the examiner asks the examinee three types of questions while measuring the examinee’s physical response: (1) neutral questions, such as the examinee’s name; (2) broad comparison questions on relevant topics, such as whether the examinee had ever previously engaged in a certain type of conduct similar to the conduct at issue in the case; and (3) specific relevant questions, including whether the examinee committed the precise conduct at issue. CQT test results are based on the theory that truthful subjects will have a stronger physical reaction to the broad comparison questions, and deceptive subjects will react more strongly to the specific questions. Raskin planned to testify that Sharpe was truthful when he denied committing the charged crime during the polygraph test. The trial court determined that Raskin’s testimony satisfied the requirements for admissibility of scientific evidence under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), and the Alaska Rules of Evidence. The State of Alaska (plaintiff) filed a petition for review of the trial court’s decision, but the appeals court denied the petition. The state then filed a petition for hearing in the Alaska Supreme Court. The court consolidated Sharpe’s case with two other criminal cases involving the admissibility of expert testimony by Raskin about CQT polygraph tests.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stowers, C.J.)

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