Texas Rangers Stop Using Hypnosis to Investigate Crimes

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Yes, you read that title correctly. According to the Dallas Morning News, Texas Rangers and the Texas Department of Public Safety have stopped using hypnosis in their efforts to investigate crimes in the State of Texas. If you had no idea that this was a thing, you are not alone. The controversial practice of using hypnosis as part of the Texas Department of Public Safety’s investigative process ended in January (of this very year) – after a run of more than four decades. If you need a minute to absorb this information, no one can blame you, and if you are facing a criminal charge in the State of Texas, you probably do not need to be told that it is in your best interest to work closely with an experienced Temple Criminal Defense Lawyer.

The Department’s Decision

A spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety shared that the decision to end the use of hypnosis was made in response to the availability of better investigative techniques, but many wonder what role The Dallas Morning News’s report – called The Memory Room – played in the department’s decision-making process. The newspaper article raises critical questions regarding the legitimacy of the practice of hypnosis for investigative purposes in the first place. The article makes all of the following important points:

  • The State of Texas built one of the largest police hypnosis programs in the nation.

  • The department repeatedly defended – and even doubled down on – its investment in hypnosis as a means of investigating witnesses to crimes.

  • All of this is in spite of the fact that there is reliable scientific evidence that hypnosis can lead to distortions in witnesses’ memories and can, therefore, lead to false convictions.

Texas Rangers Called Out

The article, which was published in April of 2020, relays that Texas Rangers are some of the most involved hypnotists in the entire state. In fact, since 1980, they have hypnotized at least 1,700 witnesses. Further, the Rangers turned to hypnosis just two months before the practice was abolished in the investigation of an attempted kidnapping (in October of 2020). Finally, according to the department’s internal memos, the Department of Public Safety conducted eight separate sessions of hypnosis just last year, and three of these were related to murder investigations. All of this begs the question if Texas authorities have better, more effective practices at hand, why do they continue to fall back on hypnosis.

You Need an Experienced Temple Criminal Defense Lawyer on Your Side

If you are facing a criminal charge in the State of Texas, you need professional legal counsel, and Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Temple, Texas, is a resourceful criminal defense lawyer who is invested in zealously defending your rights in pursuit of your case’s best possible resolution. For more information about how we can help you, please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 today.


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