Would Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth Hold Up in Court?
WOULD WONDER WOMAN’S LASSO OF TRUTH HOLD UP IN COURT?
SHOULD I SUBMIT TO A LIE DETECTOR TEST IF THE POLICE REQUEST I TAKE ONE?
You should consult a criminal defense lawyer immediately before considering taking a lie detector test (polygraph test).
The polygraph was developed in the early 1900s by American Psychologist William Moulton Martston. In the early 1940s, he would later go on to create the DC Comics character, Wonder Woman and her Lasso of Truth.
Today, lie detector test are generally NOT admissible at trial. If you take a lie detector test and you pass there is no guarantee you will be exonerated in the eyes of the Government. On the other hand, if you fail a lie detector test I believe it would be difficult for the Government to disregard this piece of evidence.
In State v. Council, 515 S.E.2d 508335 S.C. 1 (S.C. 1999) the South Carolina Supreme Court “held the results of polygraph examinations are generally not admissible because the reliability of the tests is questionable.” State v. Wright, 322 S.C. 253, 471 S.E.2d 700 (1996); State v. Copeland, 278 S.C. 572, 300 S.E.2d 63 (1982). Additionally, “this Court has declined to admit in mitigation the results of a polygraph exam offered during the penalty phase of a trial.21 Copeland, supra.”
The United States Supreme Court has recently found that a per se rule against the admission of polygraph evidence does not violate a defendant’s right to present relevant evidence in his defense as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. United States v. Scheffer, 523 U.S. 303, 118 S.Ct. 1261, 140 L.Ed.2d 413 (1998). In Scheffer, the Court recognized, “there is simply no consensus that polygraph evidence is reliable. To this day, the scientific community remains extremely polarized about the reliability of polygraph techniques.” Scheffer, 118 S.Ct. at 1265.