Recommending a Polygraph, Pro’s and Con’s for Attorneys Representing Targets in White Collar Crime Investigations in Florida.

People, police included, make up their minds fast, like traffic through Miami. Once they decide that a particular client is a target of the investigation, it is an uphill battle for a lawyer to shake that belief. This is particularly true in a white collar case where the evidence consists so much more of flat paper and less of people with depth, personality and degrees of guilt or innocence. Investigators that have found a theory supported by the evidence are unlikely to have that belief shaken by protestations of innocence.

A polygraph is one thing that can make a dent. Now, it is certainly true that the polygraphs are inadmissible. It is also true that the test itself can be manipulated. They are subject to human error and human interpretation. For this reason it is critical to use an examiner that has an excellent reputation known to the police. There’s nothing worse than presenting a polygraph taken by someone who the police think is a hired gun. However, if a suspect subjects himself to a polygraph examiner who is believed to be unbiased and comes through with flying colors then the attorney has a real opportunity to make progress.

First a client’s willingness to take a polygraph speaks volumes about their sincerity. Second the results of that polygraph give the investigative officer something solid, some piece of paper to set against the other paper evidence. At that moment, and sometimes for the first time, the investigator has a reason to look for another theory. An attorney worth anything at all, had better have a compelling alternate theory at the ready.

Florida Courts have never determined that a polygraph is sufficiently accurate to be admissible. However, according to the Florida Supreme Court in Delap v. State, if both parties waive their objections to the test it can be admitted. So, if you have a client who is very confident that they will pass a polygraph. And by that I mean one that has already taken and passed a polygraph, you may seek a deal with the prosecutor that says the client will take a polygraph with an examiner that both attorneys agree upon and whatever the results are, you will agree to their admissibility.

This is strong evidence that not only the suspect, but the attorney really believes that the accused is innocence. Even the most hardened prosecutor has to take a step back and reconsider whether they have the right suspect. This might not only help you win the case, but prevent charges from ever being filed in the first place.