Tuesday, January 12, 2010

More On Polygraphs

Polygraphs continue to serve as invaluable tools for Bryan|College Station criminal defense lawyers when clients are accused of a crime in Brazos County. Recently, while talking with my local polygrapher, Stuart Ervin, owner of Central Texas Polygraph, Bryan, TX who reminded me how often a client's skin is saved by a clean polygraph chart. Stuart noted how the polygraph is used to demonstrate the client's truthful story to a grand jury. Stuart also noted while the number of people who fail the polygraph is high, clients often share valuable information with him they hadn't disclosed to me, their defense lawyer. This confidential information is important in planning an effective defense, nonetheless.

Stuart noted the risk of taking a PRIVATE polygraph is zero. (polygraphs given by the police, however, ARE NOT confidential and can be used against the client) The entire polygraph record is considered attorney/client work product and is always absolutely confidential when the polygrapher is hired as a defense expert. Furthermore, professional polygraphers and their staff remain obligated to keep all client interviews completely secret.

Finally, if the results of a polygraph are positive, then the price for the exam (usually around $500.00) is a small one. We now possess a report widely utilized by grand juries demonstrating the truthfulness of the client. If the polygraph results are negative, the exam remains confidential . . . as if the exam never took place.

So don't be afraid of a private polygraph administered by your lawyer's hired expert. It just might save your skin, too.


John S said...

Many people are terrified of taking a polygraph. As a defense lawyer, how often would you say you recommend your clients take a polygraph test? I'd be interested to hear if you received new information as a result of a polygraph that helped you win a case for a client.

Stephen Gustitis said...

John: I recommend a polygraph whenever I think a pass will help me negotiate for my client. It is a no lose situation. If the client passes, everyone knows. If the client fails, no one will ever know. I recently utilized a polygraph to obtain a dismissal, even though I thought my client's story would not hold water. Despite my personal opinion, the client passed and the prosecutor dismissed the case.