Private Polygraph Tests
Taking a Polygraph – The Short Road to a Conviction.
There are very few, if any, reasons to take a law enforcement polygraph test. If an accused service member passes it, the polygraph will not be admissible in court.
If the polygraph shows “deception indicated,” then you apparently failed. The polygrapher (who is a well-trained senior CID, NCIS or OSI agent) will then conduct what is called a post-polygraph interrogation and often squeeze out an admission or a confession, often times to crimes you were not even initially suspected of.
There are three basic rules to law enforcement polygraph examinations:
- A suspect shouldn’t be talking to law enforcement in the first place. Law enforcement is not on your side, they are not there to help you out—they want you to confess so they can close out their case.
- Don’t take a polygraph offered by a law enforcement agency.
- Don’t ask law enforcement to take a polygraph. If you have already talked to law enforcement and they want you to take a polygraph, they don’t believe your story and a polygraph isn’t going to help. If they believed you, they wouldn’t ask you to take a polygraph.
Misconceptions About Polygraphs
If you take the polygraph and actually pass it, the polygrapher is allowed to lie to you and tell you that the polygraph “indicates deception” – even if it did not – and then use that as a tool to interrogate you and get you to make admissions or a confession.
A service member could legitimately pass a polygraph, get lied to about the results, and then be bullied or tricked into a confession without even knowing it.
Of course, the prosecutor could use this admission to charge you with a crime and because polygraphs are inadmissible in court, the military defense attorney would never be able to tell the jury that you actually passed the polygraph prior to being coerced into the confession.
There is a widespread misconception that if a suspect passes a polygraph, the government won’t charge them and their case will not go through the court-martial process. This is incorrect. Bilecki & Tipon has seen countless cases where a suspect took a polygraph, passed the polygraph and the government still charged them. Because polygraphs are inadmissible in court, the defense attorneys were never able to tell the jury that our client actually passed the polygraph.
Finally, if you take a polygraph and you legitimately fail it, a suspect has just about guaranteed themselves a court-martial, and perhaps a conviction. While the results of the polygraph will not come into evidence, just about everything a suspect says during the pre-polygraph and post-polygraph interview will be testified to by the law enforcement agents at trial as if you confessed to the crime. Once this occurs, a defense attorney’s goal of obtaining an acquittal becomes significantly more difficult.
Taking a Private Polygraph Test
The bottom line is that in the military, many prosecutors and law enforcement agents want to win at all costs and a polygraph is simply a tool to get a suspect to confess. If you really want to take a polygraph, contact us and we can set up an in-house polygraph or voice stress analysis test. Then, if you pass, we can consider using it to prevent you from getting charged. Using these techniques require considerable war-gaming and vetting – they are not for the timid.
At Bilecki & Tipon, we have extensive experience in winning cases that involve polygraphs and post-polygraph confessions. If you have found yourself in this situation, contact us at (808) 745-1041 to discuss all of your options.