Is a Polygraph Worth It?
Happy Friday, everybody. For this week’s video, I wanted to talk briefly about polygraph examinations. Now, polygraphs, or lie detector tests, however you know them, are something that most people are familiar with because you’ve watched either Unsolved Mysteries, or Cold Case Files, or one of these CSI shows, or something like that. But most people don’t realize what they can be used for in an actual criminal case. Now, some of you are probably aware that, for as long as I can remember, polygraphs and their results are not admissible in court during a proceeding to try to determine somebody’s guilt or innocence. Okay? So most people, or most criminal defense lawyers, just look past them because you can’t really use them in trial.
However, they do still serve some very vital purposes. For example, if you have a case that has not yet been indicted and has to get presented to the grand jury, we’ve been very successful in using past polygraph examinations to present to the grand jury panel to try to convince them not to indict a client. Likewise, if you have a prosecutor who’s on the fence on whether or not they should dismiss a case, especially if it’s a case like an assault, family violence, or a sexual assault case or something like that, where it’s really two people putting their words against one another… It’s a “he said, she said.” If you can give them a past polygraph from your clients, sometimes that’s the nudge they need in order to feel comfortable dismissing the case against your client.
So there are a multitude of ways that a polygraph examination, a polygraph report, can be useful. You just have to really make sure that you’re using a reputable examiner who is comfortable with the county where you’re practicing. Usually my first call is to the probation department, because they utilize polygraph examiners from time to time, and I ask who they use or whose results they trust. Because if it’s somebody who already has a rapport with the county and who’s already done work on behalf of the county, you’re likely to get a little bit better results when you’re dealing with that prosecutor. So keep that in mind.
Again, as always, if you guys have any questions about any of this, you want to talk about it further, or you want to run something by me, feel free to give me a shout, give me a call, give me an email. I’m happy to discuss it with you. Hope everybody out there’s staying safe, and I look forward to talking to y’all next week.