Posado , 57 F. In a pre- Daubert decision, United States v. Piccinonna , F.
In the latter circumstance, the party seeking to introduce the polygraph results must provide adequate notice to the opposing party; the opposing party must be given adequate opportunity to have its own polygraph expert administer a test covering substantially the same questions; and the evidence must be admissible under the rules governing corroboration or impeachment.
Consequently, the government continues to have several good arguments for excluding polygraph evidence. First, a prosecutor can still attack the reliability of polygraph evidence both generally and as administered in the case at hand.
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The FBI polygraph unit has provided affidavits and live testimony in several district courts to rebut a defendant's proffer that his polygraph results are reliable, and stands ready to assist any prosecutor confronted with such a motion to introduce polygraph results. Second, the prosecutor can argue that even if the test was properly administered and reliable, it would not "assist the trier of fact" under Rule Jurors have long been considered competent to gauge the credibility of live witnesses without resort to expert opinion. Since time immemorial our system has entrusted credibility determinations to the judgment of juries, which assess credibility in reliance on their common-sense evaluations of demeanor, bias, and the plausibility of the narrative.
Prosecutors should argue that expert opinion on credibility invades the jury's province. Third, the prosecutor should argue that polygraph results are inadmissible under Rule as prejudicial, misleading, and a waste of time. Williams , 95 F.
- 262. Polygraphs—Introduction at Trial!
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Pettigrew , 77 F. Sherlin , 67 F. Kwong , 69 F. Finally, polygraph results may be inadmissible under Federal Rule of Evidence "unless or until the credibility of that witness [is] first attacked.
Although the government should seek the exclusion of polygraph results in the district court, there is no bar to the introduction of voluntary incriminatory statements made during a polygraph examination. If the defendant claims that his confession was coerced, some circuits have held that the government may rebut the claim of coercion by introducing evidence of the polygraph examination.
Figueroa , 15 F. Johnson , F. Kampiles , F. Further, the Tenth Circuit has permitted the government to introduce polygraph results to explain why the government had not conducted a more thorough investigation. Hall , F.
Finally, in Wood v. In , the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reiterated that "polygraphy did not enjoy general acceptance from the scientific community. The reality is that multiple factors — including nervousness in a high-stakes situation — can affect the readings detected by a polygraph machine, and give an impression that the subject is lying. For that reason, polygraphs are not generally admissible in any criminal case, even though police interrogators will sometimes trick a suspect into submitting to one. Polygraphs may be admissible in civil cases, depending on the state, and some states allow polygraph tests to be used in criminal cases if everyone agrees to it.
In short, polygraphs may offer some — albeit slight — confidence that a person is telling the truth about a particular incident. Studies have shown that when a well-trained examiner uses a polygraph, he or she can detect lying with relative accuracy. But a polygraph is not perfect: An examiner's interpretation is subjective, and results are idiosyncratic to the person being tested.
Under the right circumstances, the polygraph allegedly can be fooled by a trained individual. Even some of my forensic evidence students "beat the test" when I bring a polygraph examiner in for a classroom demonstration. Perhaps the 11th Circuit summed it up best : There is no Pinocchio factor associated with polygraphs. As much as we'd like a sign as obvious as a growing nose, there's no percent reliable physical sign of telling a lie.
A polygraph examination demonstrates " that the examinee believes her own story. A subject's willingness to even submit to an exam often reveals a level of veracity and can fill a void when the other party has not similarly submitted to an exam. Explore further.
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