Polygraph Testing in Sex Crime Cases
Sex offense cases are notoriously fraught with false allegations, fabricated circumstances, and deception. Consequently, effectively utilizing a polygraph examination to convince a prosecutor of a person’s innocence while also demonstrating the weakness of the prosecutor’s case can be an important and instrumental tool to getting charges dropped, reduced, or dismissed before trial. The sex crime lawyers at Grabel & Associates have been specializing in the effective use of polygraph examinations to obtain successful results for more than nineteen years and can guide you through the process to achieve a favorable outcome.
Polygraph Investigator Selection
Deciding what private polygraph evaluator to select is one of the most critical decisions in choosing to take a private polygraph examination. The emphasis of choice should be on which polygraph evaluator will carry the most weight and value with the prosecutor. This will vary county by county. The correct examiner for the situation will depend on which examiner will have the most impact on the charge decision with the prosecutor. The right examiner for the case might be the former head of polygraphing for the police in the area or a polygraph evaluator who is highly respected in that county. Grabel & Associates has been successfully using polygraph examinations to get charges dropped for nearly 20 years, and stay up to date on local prosecutor proclivities for polygraph selection in all 83 counties in Michigan.
If You Pass A Private Polygraph Test
If a person is charged with criminal sexual conduct or related sex crime, then taking a polygraph examination may be beneficial for demonstrating a person's innocence and convincing a prosecutor the case should not move forward. If a person successfully passes a polygraph examination, then there are options. A person may be able to take a police administered polygraph examination to satisfy a prosecutor of their innocence, or if the charge is older, then it may make sense to offer a polygraph examination to the alleged victim.
Police Polygraph Testing vs. Private Polygraph Testing
The police may request that a person conduct a polygraph examination, but the test will have very different questions than if you were to take a private polygraph examination. Police are familiar with the prosecutorial process and understand the types of items that are necessary to incriminate an individual and help the prosecutor reach a conviction. Consequently, if the police ever ask you to take a lie detector polygraph examination, then you should immediately contact an experienced Michigan defense attorney to coordinate the examination. Grabel & Associates ensures that your attorney is present during the examination. Additionally, your attorney will review all examination questions to ensure that they are not overly prejudicial or incriminating.
Offering a Polygraph Examination to an Alleged Victim
Asking an alleged victim to take a polygraph examination only makes sense if the alleged offender has already passed an independent private polygraph examination. Two factors are usually included in an offer to the alleged victim. An offer to pay for the private examination and agree to any polygraph examiner the alleged victim chooses. Therefore, if the alleged victim does not want to undergo an examination, then it weakens the credibility of their testimony. Additionally, if they decide to take the polygraph examination and fail it, then it may show they lied about the allegations. Finally, a private polygraph examination might evoke a confession by the alleged victim that the entire claim was fabricated.
Basic Components of a Michigan Polygraph Test
A polygraph examination is designed to measure and record various physiological indicators while the participant is asked a question. Typically, there are baseline questions that are used as control questions, and a person's physiological reactions to the control questions are measured. Then a person is asked questions that pertain to a person's knowledge or innocence regarding material facts of the case being investigated. The physiological results from the control questions are compared to the results from the pertinent questions to determine if any abnormal stress levels may indicate deception. The charts from both sets of questions are then analyzed to determine if a person has been truthful in answering the questions.
The primary physiological indicators that are measured are:
- A person’s pulse
- A person’s rate of breath and volume of air intake
- A person’s relative blood pressure
- A person’s electrodermal activity
- A person’s gross motor movements
Three Stages of a Polygraph Interview
Polygraph examinations can be useful in criminal investigations and Child Protective Services proceedings to determine an individual’s knowledge or participation in a particular crime or incident. Results can also be incorporated into an aggressive criminal defense strategy. The results are not only useful for demonstrating if someone is lying, but also are useful if someone is telling the truth. There are three stages to a polygraph examination: the pretest interview, material questions, and chart collection and examination.
The pretest is the portion of the examination that reviews biographical and medical data. The examiner will ask non-accusatory questions for the pretest interview that are used as control questions to determine the baseline parameters of the person's physiological responses to questions. The questions are called control questions because the true and accurate answers are already known. For example: Is your birthday May 1st? Were you born in Michigan? Is your name Bob?
The next phase is when the questions that are material to the investigation will be asked. These questions are probative of the operative facts of the investigation, and are a person’s physiological responses to these questions as compared to the physiological results from the control questions during the chart examination to determine the person’s truthfulness in answering individual questions.
The review of the charts typically takes around ten minutes and has four potential outcomes. The charts can indicate that there was no significant response consistent with deception which indicates the participant gave truthful responses. Conversely, a result indicating a significant response consistent with deception indicates lying or a failed test. The test results can also be inconclusive if the chart data is not clear enough to decide or incomplete if the test was not finished. The entire polygraph examination process usually lasts between two to three hours, but the determinative questions relating to the case only take around thirty minutes of that period.
Our Approach to Polygraph Examinations in Michigan
A polygraph examination is a powerful tool for demonstrating a person’s innocence and casting doubt on an accuser. Polygraph examinations are most frequently utilized during the pre-trial process to influence the prosecutor’s charge decision. A private polygraph examination should always be taken before agreeing to a police polygraph examination, and Grabel & Associates will help connect clients with the most reputable and credible polygraphists in their area. Additionally, polygraphs may be used during the post-conviction relief process during a motion for a new trial. Therefore, there are several opportunities to improve the outcome of a case by properly invoking a person’s right to pursue a private polygraph examination to support their innocence.
Grabel & Associates has been using polygraph examinations to help clients obtain favorable outcomes against criminal charges and civil child protective proceedings for nearly 20 years. Grabel & Associates is the premier criminal defense law firm in Michigan, and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 1-800-883-2138 to schedule your free consultation today, and begin formulating your own effective, expeditious, and comprehensive legal defense strategy.