Child Protective Services Lie Detector Test in Michigan During Sex Crime Cases

A polygraph lie detector examination can be an important step in a sex crime or Child Protective Services investigation. However, it is essential that a polygraph examination is handled correctly to ensure that there is a benefit, rather than an impediment to a person’s case. Grabel & Associates has specialized in effectively using polygraph examinations to exonerate clients and convince prosecutors and Child Protective Services to drop charges and allegations for more than 19 years.

Polygraph Basics and Acceptable Uses

A polygraph examination is a test that uses a system of sensors to detect consistent physiological changes in a person's body. Typically, a session will begin with a set of control questions to provide a baseline of a person's physiological stress levels while giving true answers to known questions. These "baseline" stress indicators are recorded to detect deviations from the baseline during investigatory questioning to determine if a person is telling the truth or may be deceptive or lying.

Polygraph results are not admissible during a trial to prove a person’s innocence or to support a person’s testimony. Consequently, polygraph results are not admissible at trial except for the limited exceptions of motions for suppression of evidence and motions for a new trial during the post-conviction relief phase. However, polygraph examination results are still tremendously useful during the pre-trial period as a negotiation tool and to influence a prosecutor to drop the charges.

It is important to acknowledge that although the actual results of a polygraph examination are not admissible at trial, statements made during the examination may be admissible against a person at trial. For example, if a person confessed to a crime during a polygraph investigation, then the statement of admission may be admissible at trial, even though the corresponding examination results as to whether the person was speaking truthfully or not would not be admissible.

Should I Take a Polygraph Examination if Child Protective Services or a Prosecutor Offers One?

If a person under investigation by either Child Protective Services for abuse or neglect or a prosecutor’s office for a sex crime, then that person should not agree to submit to a police polygraph examination without first consulting with a qualified, knowledgeable, and experienced attorney. Police polygraphists are experts at using polygraph examinations to obtain information and admissions that may be used in court to incriminate a person, because admissions made during a polygraph investigation are admissible during trial. Questions can be phrased in ways that provide a bias towards the answers police examiners are looking for, and therefore, it is essential to have an attorney review the questions before the examination and to be present for the actual examination. However, before agreeing to submit to a police polygraph examination, it is imperative that a person first proves they can pass a polygraph examination with a private examiner before submitting to a police polygraph examination that will be reviewed by the prosecutor.

Begin with a Private Polygraph Examination

Deciding to agree to take a police polygraph examination should only be done after a person first successfully passes a private polygraph examination. A private polygraph examination has several advantages and benefits. First, the questions will be objective and straightforward to ensure that there is no bias. Next, if for some reason a person fails a private examination, then there is no reason to release the results of the polygraph examination to Child Protective Services or the prosecutor. Additionally, if for some reason a person fails an initial private polygraph examination, then they can try another private polygraph test without repercussion.

There are many reasons that a person may fail a polygraph examination. For example, there could have been disruptions during the course of the examinations that distracted or confused the participant and lead to a faulty readout on the equipment. Additionally, studies indicate that polygraphs are not always accurate, and therefore, occasionally the results will not be indicative of the truth in reality. However, it is still a valuable tool that some prosecutors rely heavily on while deciding to proceed forward with a case. Consequently, a private polygraph examination is a significant first step towards determining whether to take a police polygraph examination, because of the reduced risk associated with having the discretion whether to release the results.

If a person passes a private polygraph examination, it does not automatically mean that they must take a police administered polygraph examination. If a reputable polygraphist performs the examination and the results are considered reliable, then it may not be necessary to move forward with any additional polygraph examinations. One of the most critical factors in taking a private polygraph examination is the selection of the polygraph examiner.

For example, a reputable Grand Rapids polygraphist may not carry much weight with the prosecutor of Ingham County, but selecting a reputable polygraphist in Ingham County will undoubtedly give more weight with Ingham County prosecutor’s charge decision. Grabel & Associates has been facilitating private polygraph examinations across all of Michigan's 83 counties for nearly 20 years and maintains a network of professional contacts with the most credible, reputable, and influential polygraphists in Michigan.

Offering the Alleged Victim or Accuser a Polygraph Examination

If a person passes a private polygraph examination, then it may make sense in some circumstances to offer a private polygraph examination to the alleged victim or accuser. An offer would indicate that the client successfully passed a polygraph examination regarding the charges or incident in question, and will offer to pay for a polygraph examination with an examiner of the alleged victim's choosing. Therefore, if the alleged victim declines the opportunity to refute the veracity of the client's polygraph results and prove their statements as true, then it reflects negatively on the alleged victim's credibility. Additionally, if the alleged victim agrees to take the examination, then they might fail. Grabel & Associates has had many successful outcomes using this approach including situations where the accuser admits that they lied about the entire situation, and consequently the cases were dropped and dismissed.

Polygraph Process

Polygraph examinations are frequently used in sex crimes and Child Protective Services investigations to determine if a person is truthful regarding knowledge about a particular crime, allegation, or incident. Consequently, an effective legal defense strategy may implement the use of polygraph investigations to help prove a client's innocence. A polygraph examination is comprised of three different sections including a pretest interview, investigative questioning, and reviewing the charts. First, a participant is connected to several sensors and electrodes to monitor the following physiological outputs:

  • A person’s pulse
  • A person’s breathing volume and rate
  • A person’s relative blood pressure
  • A person’s electrodermal activity
  • A person’s gross motor movements

The first stage is the pretest interview when the examiner asks control questions pertaining to a person’s biographical and medical history. These control questions are used as a baseline measurement of the person’s physiological outputs to be compared against the investigative questions. Typically, this phase of the examination lasts nearly twice as long as the actual investigative questioning.

The next phase of a polygraph examination is the investigative questioning portion and is when the questions relevant to the subject matter of the case or investigation are asked. Investigatory questions ask directly about the allegations or incidents related to a Child Protective Services or police investigation.

The final phase of the process is when the examiner reviews the charts. A qualified polygraph examiner can review the charts from the control and investigative questions in as little as ten minutes. The results will be presented as falling into one of four categories. First, the results can indicate that there was no significant response consistent with deception. This category means that the examination suggests that the person successfully passed the examination and answered the questions truthfully. Next, the charts could indicate a significant response consistent with deception. The last two categories occur either when results are inconclusive because the chart data is not clear enough to decide or an incomplete if the test was not completed.

Grabel & Associates Approach to Polygraph Examinations

Grabel & Associates has had tremendous success using polygraph examinations to get charges dropped and dismissed and understands when and how to use polygraph examinations to achieve a successful outcome. Grabel & Associates has been specializing in criminal defense for nearly 20 years and has practiced before judges and prosecutors in all of Michigan's 83 counties. Grabel & Associates are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 1-800-883-2138 to schedule your free comprehensive consultation and to begin the process of developing your own expeditious, aggressive, and successful legal defense strategy.

Client Reviews

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Great lawyer he went into court and ripped the girl trying to lie on me a new one. He fot me off on all charges and with out him i would be in prision. Thank you so much i will definitely keep your number and pass it on to any one in trouble and keep it for future incase i ever have to go back to court K. J.
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Just starting the case. Scott Grabel is a very down to earth kind of guy. He doesn't rush you and answers your questions very thoroughly. Scott and Tim Doman return calls quickly. We're still early but I will post an update throughout our process. D. J.
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