Court Upholds Defendant’s Polygraph Waiver in Recent Michigan Sex Offense Case

Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Michigan sex assault case discussing the defendant’s challenge to the lower court’s finding that he waived his rights before taking a polygraph test. The case highlights the importance of speaking with a Michigan criminal defense attorney before agreeing to speak with detectives or give up any of your rights when you could face serious allegations.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, detectives suspected the defendant of sexually assaulting his daughter. During their investigation, detectives asked the defendant if he would take a polygraph test, otherwise known as a “lie detector” test. Law enforcement cannot require someone to take a polygraph, and the results are typically not admissible in court. However, if the defendant agrees to the test and waives their rights, detectives can administer a lie-detector test. While the results of the test may not be admissible, a finding that the defendant was not telling the truth may prompt them to make other statements that are admissible. That is exactly what happened in this case.

The detectives read the defendant his Miranda rights, and the defendant agreed to take a lie detector test. During the test, the defendant admitted to sexually assaulting his daughter and, at the conclusion of the test, he wrote her an apology letter.

Later, the defendant sought suppression of his statements and the apology letter. He argued that his waiver of rights was not voluntary and that his confession was a result of his involuntary waiver.

The court rejected the defendant’s argument on appeal. The court noted that there are several considerations when assessing whether a defendant’s statement is voluntary, including:

  • the defendant’s level of education;
  • the defendant’s previous experience with law enforcement;
  • the length of questioning;
  • the length of detention before questioning began;
  • the defendant’s lack of counsel;
  • whether the defendant was injured, intoxicated or injured at the time of the statement; and
  • whether the defendant was abused or threatened with abuse.

The court explained that none of these factors alone can prove that a statement was involuntary and that courts must take the totality of the circumstances into account.

Here, the court found that the defendant’s confession was not involuntary. In doing so, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that he did not understand the rights he was giving up. The court noted that the two detectives who oversaw the confession testified that the defendant seemed to understand what rights he was giving up and that they explained everything to him before proceeding with the polygraph test.

Have You Been Asked to Take a Lie Detector Test?

If detectives contacted you asking if you would agree to a lie detector test, or you are facing serious criminal charges after taking such a test, reach out to Michigan Defense Law for immediate assistance. Our dedicated Michigan criminal defense lawyers have decades of experience representing clients in some of the most complex and high-stakes cases. We can help ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, call Michigan Defense Law at 248-451-2200 today.

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