Can A Polygraph Test Be Used in Criminal Proceedings?
The polygraph machine, or the polygraph, has been around for the past 100 years. It was developed to determine whether or not someone was being truthful for a given statement. What a polygraph does is it judges several different types of physical or psychological reactions to a question. For example, it will determine someone’s blood pressure goes up or goes down depending on a question and an answer. It will determine the increase in sweating during some types of question and answers, also the increase of the heartbeat. Those three types of things, also the way a person reacts to a question based on pulse, blood pressure, sweating. The theory behind it is that people have certain involuntary reactions to certain questions and answers. Based upon those criteria, polygraph professionals will render an opinion whether or not a person has been truthful in response to a question. The question is whether or not they’re admissible in a criminal court proceeding. That means can the government, or can the defense bring a polygraph professional in to say that the defendant took a polygraph he or she passed it, meaning that they did not commit the crime. Or can the government say that they subjected the defendant while he was in police custody to the polygraph and he failed it, giving the jury the idea that the defendant was not being truthful or that they committed the crime. Generally, American courts have not allowed the admission of polygraph tests in the criminal proceedings. The reason why is because it does not meet the Frye test. The Frye test is based upon a Supreme Court ruling that said in order for scientific evidence to be admissible, it had to meet certain scientific criteria. Most courts and most jurisdictions have determined that the polygraph did not meet the scientific criteria of the Frye test and therefore was not admissible. You’ll find that most states and jurisdictions will not allow the government to introduce, if they possess it, the results of a polygraph test if the defendant admitted to the crime and the polygraph found that the person was being truthful. Or the contrary, if the person denied committing the crime but the polygraph professional determined that the person was not being truthful, or lying. So, simple answer: polygraph admissible or not admissible? Most states as of today do not allow the polygraph because it does not meet the Frye test and is not scientifically reliable.
The criminal defense attorneys at Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A. are fighting for our clients rights in criminal defense cases in Clearwater, Tampa, Bradenton, Spring Hill, Pinellas, Pasco, New Port Richey, Manatee, Hillsborough and Hernando Counties in Florida.
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Kevin Hayslett, Esq.
J. Kevin Hayslettis an attorney practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and DUI Defense from the Clearwater office and Hillsborough office. Kevin is an avid tennis player and is currently nationally rated in singles and doubles. You can follow Kevin onGoogle+, oron Radio IO on his show, "Kevin's Law". Kevin can also be heard on the Sirius Satellite Radio show during the "Ask the Lawyer" segment, which can be heard the first Thursday of every month.