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The Champion

August 2017 , Page 30 

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Effective Defense Polygraphs

By Christophir A. Kerr

The polygraph examination can be an extremely effective defense tool. From persuading a client with unrealistic ideas about his prospects at trial to carrying the defense burden on a sentencing issue or corroborating a defendant’s testimony,1 the polygraph should almost always be considered. Widely used and trusted by prosecutors, law enforcement, and intelligence agency officials, this versatile test also can greatly benefit the defense practitioner — if used correctly.

This article provides some practice tips using recent federal cases in which defense polygraphs helped save defendants from prison and millions of dollars in criminal forfeiture, along with successful and unsuccessful efforts to use test results at trial.2 There are lessons in each; the cases demonstrate the importance of using a highly credible examiner, carefully crafting test questions, and consulting with a highly qualified scientist for any evidentiary hearing. While admitting polygraph results in

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