This blog discusses polygraphs and other lie detection techniques that law enforcement officers may use when interrogating someone. Polygraphs are something that I get asked about quite a bit, especially in sex cases where the prosecutors and cops rarely have any physical evidence or video evidence or any documentary evidence like that. The person may ask, Hey, what can I take a polygraph? Or should I go take this polygraph? A lot of times law enforcement officers here will try to get someone to participate in a polygraph before they can consult with counsel. An important thing to know about polygraphs in Georgia is that in trial the results of that polygraph are only admissible if both parties agree that they are admissible. So, you can imagine that for both parties to agree to the admissibility of the polygraph that agreement usually has to take place before the polygraph is complete. Because if you wait until afterward, then whoever’s side is not favored by the polygraph, well, they’re probably not going to agree to have it admitted at the trial for the jury’s consideration. So that is something to consider. Additionally, just because you agree to the admission of a polygraph, that does not mean that you agree to the accuracy of the polygraph. Essentially, the agreement is only to allow the polygraphs to be admissible. You can still challenge an unfavorable polygraph result with expert testimony. If prosecutors or cops tell the defendant that the polygraph is admissible at trial, that constitutes a stipulation to the admissibility on their part. Many times people’s number one question to me is if they don’t take the polygraph, doesn’t that make me look bad? And that is a good question. But the answer is that at trial whether you were willing to participate in a polygraph is inadmissible, the jury will never hear about that. So, if you decide not to take a polygraph, that is evidence that the jury will not hear. There have historically been other types of like truth detection, like truth serum, voice stress analysis, things of that nature. Those things are also inadmissible as evidence in criminal trials in Georgia.
J. Ryan Brown Law, LLC