Though YouTube has strict guidelines when it comes to uploading video content on the site, that hasn’t stopped millions of users from showcasing oddities from time to time. If we were to say that someone uploaded footage of a man undergoing a prison-administered polygraph test — something that more often than not isn’t meant for public view — over the past weekend, you’d probably guess that it’s already been pulled and the feds are knocking on the user’s door already. In any other situation that would be the case, but this video of convicted murderer Luke Mitchell being questioned was not only posted publicly on YouTube with legal permission, but it is also possibly the first of its kind to be presented publicly on the Internet.
In June 2004, Mitchell of Edinburgh, Scotland had been accused of murdering his then girlfriend Jodi Jones. The two were 15 and 14 years old at the time, respectively, and Mitchell’s been incarcerated since. He’s been serving a life sentence for his purported homicide, but Terry Mullins of the British Polygraph Association arranged for a polygraph test in April of 2012 to assert that Mitchell wasn’t responsible for the death of Jones. Results of the session showed that Mitchell had indeed been telling the truth.
Soon after passing the polygraph test, Mitchell and those advocating his freedom successfully lobbied that the video footage of the polygraph test be presented publicly on YouTube under the permission of the Scottish Prison Service, and it’s already garnered over 13,000 views. His supporters hope that the video will convince the Scottish Prison System to be lenient with Mitchell, perhaps even going as far as reducing his sentence or acquit him of all charges.
This is no doubt an interesting milestone in the history of the legal system and Internet culture, but it leaves us wondering if this is perhaps the start of a trend in the same way that one can easily look up people’s mugshots in an online criminal database. Though it goes without saying that any future footage of polygraph tests will likely lack the significance and social impact of Mitchell’s case:
- Twelephone brings in-browser video calling to Twitter
- Anonymous hacks MIT site in wake of Aaron Swartz’s suicide
- NRA blames violent video games for shootings, releases violent video game in response