Polygraph Examination and Testimony of Admission
Recently, I was in a courtroom where a criminal jury trial had just concluded. The jury verdict was guilty. I could overhear the conversation between the defendant, his family and the defense attorney. It was clear that they were all frustrated that during the trial the government presented testimony of admissions made by the defendant. Evidently they had been made as part of a polygraph examination. There was shock and confusion as to how and why this testimony was allowed to be heard by the jury. “ I thought you said lie detectors were not admissible.”
What Is a Polygraph Examination and How Is It Used?
A polygraph or lie detector test is made up of the three parts. To participate in a polygraph examination an individual must participate in a pre-test interview, the actual test, and post test interview. While it is true that the results of a polygraph examination are inadmissible in a jury trial, anything said during the pre-test or post-test interview is admissible.
Here is how law enforcement uses these parts of the polygraph examination as an investigation tool. During the pre-test interview, the interviewer plays “good cop”. This is often a friendly conversation “let's get to know each other”, “tell me about yourself”, “how did the false accusation come about”. The accused is now comfortable, his or her guard is lowered. The accused is thinking the examiner is a friend. The Officer then hooks the accused up to the polygraph machine and asks the pretext questions. After which, the examiner looks confused-shocked-hurt almost. “I can’t figure this out…. You didn’t pass. Can you think of anything that might cause confusion on the charts?” The post-test interview begins. The accused makes statements that a skilled team of detectives can weave into essentially a confession. The accused is now charged with a crime and is head to a jury trial and an unknown future.
Don’t let this happen to you. Avoid jail. If you are the target of a criminal investigation, before you do anything else, call an experienced defense attorney. We have a proven record of using polygraph tests to our clients’ advantage. This strategy has been successful in felony and misdemeanor cases, on both state and federal levels. It works on a wide variety of crimes including, CSC, rape, assault, drug crimes, larceny, armed robbery, embezzlement, and murder cases.