Law Office of Tim Powers
Sometimes a polygraph ("lie detector") examination report is
helpful in the defense of a criminal case. Such reports are not generally
admissible at trial, so that the jury will probably never see the report.
But it might be a useful tool in convincing either the prosecutor or the
grand jury not to proceed with the case.
Sometimes I see criminal-defense lawyers offering to let prosecutors'
polygraph examiners (usually police officers) question their clients.
This is generally sloppy lawyering, if not downright ineffective assistance
of counsel. I even took over one case in which the previous lawyer had
not only let the polygraph examiner from the Sheriff's Office examine
the client, but then also let the investigating officer and the polygraph
examiner interrogate the client in the lawyer's absence!
Government polygraph examiners use the polygraph as a tool to get confessions.
Being told that the machine says you're lying provides tremendous
motivation to change — or at least explain — your story. Sometimes
a police polygraph examiner will tell the accused that he has failed the
polygraph regardless of the real result.
Any accused who is going to take a polygraph exam should, if only for that
reason, first take one from an independent examiner. The exam costs (in
the DFW Metroplex area) less than $1,000. If the accused fails, the result
never goes any farther than the lawyer, who knows that (for whatever reason)
the client can't pass a polygraph exam and shouldn't waste his
time taking the government's exam.
If the accused passes, however, he may have a result that the prosecutor
will accept. If the prosecutor still insists on a police examiner performing
the examination, the client knows going in what to expect and knows that
he can pass a polygraph examination. He will not be susceptible to the
police polygrapher's interrogation tactics.
(As in any context, any accused who is going to be talking to the government
should be thoroughly rehearsed in not allowing the discussion to go any
farther than it has to.)
If you are seeking aggressive criminal representation by an experienced
criminal defense attorney for your Denton County criminal case or arrest
in Denton County, contact the offices of Tim Powers today. There is no
charge or obligation for the initial consultation. 940.580.2899.
*Tim Powers is an attorney licensed to practice law by the Supreme Court
of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For
legal advice about any specific legal question you should directly consult