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POLYGRAPH

A POLYGRAPH, POPULARLY REFERRED TO AS A LIE


DETECTOR (TEST), IS A DEVICE OR PROCEDURE THAT
MEASURES AND RECORDS SEVERAL PHYSIOLOGICAL
INDICATORS SUCH AS BLOOD PRESSURE, PULSE,
BREATHING OR RHYTHMS/RATIOS, RESPIRATION,
AND SKIN CONDUCTIVITY WHILE A PERSON IS
ASKED AND ANSWERS A SERIES OF QUESTIONS.
THE THEORY IS THAT DECEPTIVE REPLIES WILL PRODUCE
PHYSIOLOGICAL RESPONSES THAT CAN BE DIFFERENTIATED FROM THOSE
ASSOCIATED WITH NON-DECEPTIVE ANSWERS. THEREFORE THE
POLYGRAPH DOES NOT DETECT LIES. IT DETECTS DECEPTIVE BEHAVIOUR
WHEN A PERSON LIES.
NOTWITHSTANDING DOUBTS EXPRESS ABOUT THE RELIABILITY OF
ITS RESULTS, THE POLYGRAPH PARTICULARLY THE MODERN ONES, ARE
STILL BEING USED THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.
POLYGRAPH
QUESTIONING
The way questions are framed and asked in polygraph testing very important,
It can take several forms, One early version was the “relevant-irrelevant” technique
which mix innocent and incriminatory questions like “You are now twenty five years
old?” and “Did you quarrel with the victim?”. The assumption was that lies in response
to the relevant questions would make the needles jump revealing abnormal reaction.
But the problem with this technique is that even a baseless but accusatory question
could produce stress resulting in a false positive answer.

The “comparison question” method tries to avoid this problem by making all
the queries accusatory. In a sex-crime investigatory, for instance, a suspect might be
asked embarrassing control questions such as “Have you ever committed a sexual act
you were ashamed of?” along the questions pertaining more directly to the case. The
idea is that the innocent will show a greater response to the pertinent questions
because they are more important and consequential to them.
ADMISSIBILITY OF
POLYGRAPH TEST

Due to questionable reliability,


the admission of polygraph testing in
USA court has been uncertain and
controversial although it is extensively in
post-conviction supervision. In most
European jurisdictions, polygraph results
are not considered reliable evidence
and are not generally used by the
police forces. In Canada, polygraph is
sometimes employed but in screening
employees for government
organizations.
ADMISSIBILITY OF
POLYGRAPH TEST
The police resorts to
polygraph testing of suspects especially
when there is scarcity of evidence in
solving a crime. It is also used to screen
candidates for sensitive public or private
sector positions. In the United States,
federal government agencies such as FBI
and the CIA and many police
departments such as LAPD used
polygraph examinations to screen new
employees.
ADMISSIBILITY OF
POLYGRAPH TEST

In United Stated, polygraph results or findings offered as


evidence in the court must meet the new standard for admission laid
down in Daubert v Merrell Dow, 509 U.S579. Thus:

Scheffer (1998), the U.S Supreme Court left it up to individual


jurisdiction whether polygraph results could be admitted as evidence in
court cases. The old Frye standard was lifted and all forensic evidence,
including polygraph, had to meet the new Daubert standard which
underlying reasoning or methodology is scientifically valid and properly
can be applied to the facts at issue. While polygraph test is used in
police investigations in US, no defendant or witness can be forced to
undergo the test. In United States v.
ADMISSIBILITY OF
POLYGRAPH TEST
Here’s an article on polygraph’s current status from the Washington post written
by Joan Biskupic:

The United States v. Scheffer ruling came, as “ta time when polygraph
machines are increasingly being used outside the courtroom”—and inside as well.
Prosecutors were using polygraph results “to extract confessions from suspect and
defense lawyer were using “them for leverage in plea bargains”; likewise polygraph
test were being subjective to greater and greater use in the workplace. Employers were
using them to test job applicants with regard to past wrongdoing, and to monitor
present jobholders as well. While the latter practice might raise Fourth Amendment
questions of its own, the use of the polygraph results in the courtroom had become a
battleground for opposing factions of evidentiary experts.
ADMISSIBILITY OF
POLYGRAPH TEST
Like the rulings in the United States, the Philippine Supreme Court rejected polygraph
examination for being unreliable. It cannot “put credit and faith on the result of the lie
detector test inasmuch as it has not been accepted by the scientific community as an
accurate means of ascertaining truth or deception”.
RELIABILITY OF THE
POLYGRAPH TEST

At present the polygraph is used of only by the police but also by the private investigators.
Despite being around for years, its reliability as a lie detector has been fully established
or publicly accepted. Some courts have even rejected its findings and the scientific
community is said to have considered polygraph a pseudoscience.
RELIABILITY OF THE
POLYGRAPH TEST
Much of the criticism against polygraph testing is directed at the possible lack
of skill and experience of the questioner. Without any accepted scientific
standard to follow, the method of the questioning and interpreting test results
are mainly left to the subjective judgment and belief of the examiner. Thus:

How the question is presented can greatly affect the result of the polygraph exam.
There are several variables that an examiner has to take into consideration, such as cultural
and religious beliefs. Some topics may, by their mere mention, cause a specific reaction in the
test that could be misconstrued as deceptive behavior. The design of the question affects the
way the person processes the information and how he or she responds.
RELIABILITY OF THE
POLYGRAPH TEST
Those whose oppose the use of the polygraph testing only have to cite
Oregon’s Green River Killing to support their stand. As an early
suspect Gary Leon Ridgway was subjected to polygraph test in 1984
and passed it. Melvin Foster, another early suspect, took the test in
1982 and failed it. He was branded as the killer.

But when DNA test was done to both of suspects in 2001, Ridgway
was linked to the crime and Foster was not. Ridgway was to plead
guilty to the charge later on while Foster, a taxi driver, was
exonerated and demanded an apology from his investigators.
It is an interesting to note that Ridgway took the polygraph test after
having killed more than 40 victims, the last being a few weeks before
taking the test. Asked how he passed the examinations, Ridgway
simply said that he relaxed wile answering the questions.