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Is a lie detector report allowed in court?

Your Question:
I heard you on Krightsradio and you said that you took a lie detector test that helped you. My attorney told me that a lie detector test can't be used in court so I'm wondering how it helped you. Thank you.

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My Answer:

I'm not an attorney, but it's my understanding of the law that unless the opposing side agrees to admit polygraph examination results (i.e., a lie detector) into evidence, it is not allowed. So on that point, your attorney is probably right. If he's an attorney, and I'm not, I'd bet he's right on more legal things than me anyway. :)

However, I'm sorry I didn't clearly explain HOW the polygraph exam results were used in my case.

First, it's my understanding that hardly anyone can trick an experienced polygraph examiner, so keep that in mind. If you're telling the truth, and you've either made a serious accusation, or you've been accused of one, you better be sure you're telling the truth.

My ex submitted an audio recording to our custody evaluator. On it, she led my (then 3 year old) daughter through a conversation in which my daughter told her that I lock her up in a room in my house for long periods of time and that she's afraid of being locked up in my house. This was among a ton of other false allegations the mother made, but the audio tape was potentially serious damage.

My attorney advised me to take a polygraph ASAP. He referred me to a former Secret Service polygraph examiner, so his credentials were probably impressive if he ever needed to testify. It cost me $400.

48 hours after the audio recording first surfaced, my attorney sent the custody evaluator (and opposing counsel) a report from the polygraph examiner who concluded that I was truthful when I stated I have never locked my daughter in any room; that when I was arrested in 2001 for battery I was actually the victim of violence from my ex; and that my ex told me she would find me and shoot me if I got custody of our daughter.

Keep in mind that the custody evaluator is not bound by the same rules of evidence as a judge. So, before the audio recording could explode into any major situation or investigation, the polygraph exam results may have really neutralized it.

In his report, the custody evaluator made mention of the audio recording and likewise mentioned my polygraph exam. He further reported that the interior doors in my home don't have locks. He concluded that at the time of the audio recording the child was engaged in imagination that had no basis in truth. Unfortunately, he didn't go so far as to attribute the "imagination" to the mother's attempts to poison the child.

Further, my ex and her attorneys had previously repeatedly brought up my arrest for domestic violence (i.e., even though charges were dropped by the prosecutor) in court pleadings from 2001 to 2003. Once the polygraph exam results came out, that matter was never raised again.

If you're a truth-teller, and if you're facing some serious allegations, dropping several hundred dollars on a polygraph exam may prove really beneficial outside of a courtroom. If I'm ever accused of something serious again and a county social worker or law enforcement investigator starts knocking on my door, I definitely want to be able to hand them results from a polygraph exam-- it may shorten or even end their investigation.

All part of the fun that is child custody litigation.

Thanks for writing,

This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.

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