Is my client lying to me?
An important utilization of the polygraph involves an attorney's "need to know" in a case. Clients routinely lie or minimize their involvement in an allegation to their attorney. In the interest of developing the best defense, polygraph interviews and examinations routinely yield vital information that helps you do your job. The additional information obtained through the polygraph process can reduce potential embarrassment and other surprises during a case, should certain salient information that was withheld from you be unexpectedly revealed in open court. Although examination results and associated interviews conducted in this manner are confidential and protected by attorney-client privilege, information can be released to another party at your discretion.
How else can the polygraph help my case?
A successful polygraph examination can be of assistance to you as a defendant's attorney in a variety of cases. Criminal cases, civil cases, insurance disputes, bankruptcy law, marital and family law, sex abuse allegations, real estate law; any case that revolves around a factual dispute between two parties.
In close criminal cases, a positive polygraph examination may turn the tide for you. When, for example, you believe the prosecutor may question the reliability of a key witness, a positive test result can provide ammunition to help strengthen your case, or even have the charge dismissed. Defendants can also be examined directly about their role, or the commission of key actions center to the prosecution's case when uncertainty exists.
In most types of civil cases, your case is in court because two parties are having a factual dispute over an event or incident. These factual disputes can be successfully resolved with polygraph examinations by both parties. Exceptionally accurate Paired Testing Exams (Marin Protocol) may be an option in such instances.
Under certain circumstances, issues of intent can be resolved by polygraph examinations.
When should you begin thinking about a polygraph examination for a client?
Obviously, the most useful time to have your client polygraphed is prior to the time a prosecutor has reached a charging decision. You want to get the prosecutor wondering early whether the information from his investigators and informants is accurate. You want to be able to go into the prosecutor's office and pitch your side of a case not only with facts, but those facts corroborated by a positive polygraph test.
On the other hand, since many cases come in to the attorney after charges have already been filed, there is nothing wrong with having your client submit to a polygraph exam after charging.
Additionally, a polygraph can assist with reassuring you, the attorney, about your client's claims of innocence. The polygraph exam and related interviews can give you key information that your client may have withheld from you!
Should you let your client be polygraphed by the police or the government?
There are three arguments against allowing your clients to submit to a polygraph examination by the police or the government. First, the interpretation of the test is subjective. Therefore, unless you know the government examiner and trust his impartiality and experience, you should not allow him to test your client.
Second, you give the prosecutor the opportunity to conduct discovery about your case directly from your client. You never know what question the prosecutor's examiner will ask during the examination or the pre-test interview, or when your client's answer to those questions may surface later and hurt your case.
Third, polygraph examiners have two professions. They are polygraph examiners, but they are also professional interviewers and interrogators. Typically, a polygraph examiner for a particular department or government agency is one of the best, if not the very best interviewer/interrogator in that department. Remember, the opinion of the examiner as to the results of the polygraph test is generally not admissible in court, but every word your client utters from the moment he enters the polygraph examination room until he leaves that room is admissible.
Who should you go to for a polygraph examination?
Remember that the most important criteria for selecting a private polygraph examiner is the examiner's training and education, his experience, and his reputation in the legal community for accuracy, impartiality, honesty and experience.
At your request, should your client pass his polygraph examination we will make the pre-test materials, the polygraph charts themselves, and all other test materials available to the police or government examiner for their review.
How do I protect the confidentiality of the examination?
Unlike an examination given by the government or a police agency, everything about an examination with Abacus Forensic Polygraph, LLC is considered confidential, attorney-client work product. We will ask you to provide us with a letter to that effect before the examination.
Everything about the examination, including the simple fact that a test was administered, will not be released without your prior written permission. You are in control about the release of any and all information about the examination.
How do I arrange for my client to be tested?
Abacus Forensic Polygraph has offices in Mesa, Arizona. Call our offices to discuss your proposed use of the polygraph. We will discuss possible test questions and techniques with you. If you decide to schedule an examination, we can usually arrange for a polygraph examination within two or three days.
Choosing an Examiner . . .
Although courts and commentators continue to question the validity of polygraph tests results, among certain courts the long-term trend may be toward a more liberal attitude regarding the admissibility of the polygraph. Additionally, newly published research on polygraph techniques is giving the polygraph process more credence than ever before. Additionally, outside of formal court proceedings, polygraph exams may be used effectively to advance the interests of your client. In negotiations with the prosecutor, the polygraph is - and will continue to be - a valuable defense tool.
Selection of a polygraph examiner is crucial to providing the very best defense for your clients. Arizona State has no licensing laws for polygraph examiners. There are untrained "polygraph operators" who lack formal training and professional certifications that offering polygraph services to legal professionals. Also beware of interns or others with minimal training and experience who are self-proclaimed experts.
Abacus Forensic Polygraph can offer you professional services at reasonable prices to allow you to use the polygraph as part of your practice. Our examiners complete annual Continuing Education certification to ensure the latest validated techniques are employed in concert with the highest ethical standards, mandated by the premier professional organizations of the polygraph field.
Call us for details of fees and services. At your request, we will provide training certificates and resumes. Let us show you how easy it is to extend polygraph services to your clients.
We are frequently available evenings, weekends, and holidays, as well as during normal business hours. With our state-of-the-art computerized polygraph equipment, we can perform polygraph testing at our offices, your facilities, in a jail, or in the field. Our offices are located in Mesa, Arizona, and provide the latest in polygraph equipment and comfort. We also have recording equipment to video tape examinations at your request.