Lie Detector Machines

The Cuyahoga County Court of Appeals has just recently issued a decision about the use of lie detector machines (i.e. polygraphs) in criminal trials. In State v. Banner, the Court held that Ohio law only allows the use of polygraph results if (i) the defense and the prosecutor agree to the process and use at trial and (ii) the trial judge agrees that the process is reliable. Further, either party can still chose to cross-examine the polygraph expert on the test results at trial. Obviously, both the prosecutor and the defense lawyer must first agree to the porcess in order for any part of this process to begin or the results to be admitted. This almost never happens. In Banner, a police officer was permitted to testify that the defendant nervously refused to take a polygraph test once offered. The Court found that this testimony was admitted in violation of Ohio law and reversed the child rape conviction. The matter will soon be re-tried by the prosecutor.