A motion to admit polygraph test results as evidence in the manslaughter trial of Miranda Hopkins, of Troy, accused of killing her 7-week-old baby in January, was denied Friday by a judge in Waldo County Superior Court in Belfast.

Hopkins’ lawyer, Laura Shaw,filed a motion in August to have the results of polygraph tests allowed as evidence at trial, showing that Hopkins did not kill her infant son.

Jury selection in the trial is scheduled to begin Thursday. The trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 30.

Shaw, an attorney with Camden Law, filed the motion to admit the test and its results, as they “overwhelmingly demonstrated” that Hopkins was innocent, according to court documents. Shaw said the examination, conducted by licensed polygraph administrator Mark Teceno, indicated there was more than a 99 percent certainty that Hopkins was telling the truth.

Superior Court Justice Robert Murray disagreed, ruling orally from the bench following a hearing on the motion Friday, according to a court clerk.

Shaw did not return repeated calls and messages Friday, despite having alerted reporters about the hearing earlier in the day. Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea did not return an email for comment on the ruling.


Lisa Marchese, head of the criminal division at the attorney general’s office, said by phone Friday that the state objected to the introduction of the polygraph test results during Hopkins’ trial.

“There is overwhelming case law in support of the state’s position opposing the defendant’s motion,” Marchese said.

Hopkins called 911 Jan. 12 from her trailer home on North Dixmont Road in Troy, saying her infant son, Jaxson, was unresponsive. The infant was pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of the baby’s death was listed as blunt force trauma that included cuts and bruises on the head and skull, rib fractures, and bleeding on the surface of the brain.

She was arrested Jan. 13.

Hopkins originally was charged with knowing or depraved indifference murder, punishable by 25 years to life in prison. She was indicted by a Waldo County grand jury in February on a lesser charge of manslaughter.

Manslaughter is a class A felony, as is a charge of murder, but it carries a lesser penalty. It’s punishable by a period of time in prison not to exceed 30 years. An indictment is not a finding of guilt, but is a determination by the grand jury that there’s enough evidence in a case to proceed with trial.


Shaw conceded in her motion to allow the test results that the Law Court in Maine generally supports the belief that polygraph examinations are not sufficiently reliable to allow the results, or a defendant’s willingness or unwillingness to take the test, as evidence.

But Shaw added in her motion that any decision to exclude polygraph evidence from admission at Hopkins’ trial is not binding in her case for a number of reasons.

In her motion, Shaw states that the court case that initially decided the polygraph question dates to 1954 and standards are not the same ones used by the Law Court today. The motion also states that in those early cases, polygraph tests had not been developed enough so that the result could be considered competent evidence.

Hopkins allegedly told authorities she woke up and found her baby cold, white and “beat to hell.” The infant was pronounced dead at the scene. Hopkins lived with Jaxson and two other sons, ages 6 and 8, who both have autism, she told police.

But Hopkins allegedly also told police she must have “blacked out” and was “so drunk that she did not remember,” saying she had drunk whiskey and ingested the antihistamine drug Benadryl, according to a police affidavit filed with the court.

Hopkins contended in court documents that one or both of her other sons might have killed their infant brother, possibly by crushing the child while rolling over in bed.


After the polygraph tests were administered, Teceno’s results concluded that the data collected from Hopkins “was not likely collected from a person being deceptive.”

According to Shaw’s motion, Hopkins willingly submitted to the examination and stated she did not inflict the injuries on her son.

Shaw’s motion before the court said the results should be admitted at least for the limited purpose of rebutting arguments made by the state and corroborate the defendant’s testimony. Shaw writes that Hopkins repeatedly has denied harming her son in any way and denied the charge during the polygraph, so her denials should be admitted to corroborate her prior statements.

They will not be admitted.

The court document also says that the state’s initial complaint and expected theory in the prosecution of the case centers on Hopkins’ credibility.

“We are shocked that the state is not only continuing to prosecute a woman who has proven her innocence, but is asking that this evidence of her innocence be hidden from the jury,” Shaw said in an email in August. “Because the state is choosing to ignore evidence of Miranda’s innocence, we have been forced to file this motion to ask the judge to admit the evidence at trial.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: