Court Eyes Use Of Hypnosis in Etan Patz Case

NEW YORK (AP) -

As one of the nation’s most infamous missing-child cases heads toward trial, a court is looking at a tool used long ago in the decades-old investigation: hypnosis.

Prosecutors asked a judge Monday to bar any mention of hypnosis — or any information obtained through it — from Pedro Hernandez’ murder trial in the 1979 vanishing of Etan Patz.

Etan’s disappearance spurred a fervent and sprawling investigation, and included tips from psychics and involved lie detector tests and hypnosis for some witnesses. Bystanders and even Etan’s mother were hypnotized in hopes of eliciting memories.

Prosecutors argue that memories that emerged via hypnosis shouldn’t be allowed as evidence. But Hernandez’s lawyer says the fact that a witness underwent hypnosis “might be relevant to what they are saying.”

State Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley wants more information about hypnosis before deciding.