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Effective Use of Polygraph Examination in Criminal Defense

Many people are familiar with polygraph machines or polygraph examinations. Some people are even aware that their scientific value is sometimes questioned and the admissibility of examination results in court is highly limited.

Why then would a criminal suspect or defendant submit to a polygraph examination?

First, I would only submit a client to a polygraph under certain, very controlled circumstances. Second, I never submit any client to a law enforcement polygraph and never in an environment that is not controlled by me. Finally, I try to avoid polygraph examinations prior to reviewing all police reports regarding any particular investigation.

So what does this mean to a suspect or defendant in a criminal case?

I recently had a cased dismissed in the San Fernando Courthouse of Los Angeles Superior Court. My client was charged with battery causing great bodily injury following a fight that occurred directly behind his home in the North Valley area. My client was identified by multiple witnesses and picked out of a photo line-up. Further investigation by law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office implicated my client even further with additional identifications and corroborated witness statements. This is where I come in. My client indicated to me that there was another possible suspect who had a similar appearance to him. Based upon this and my client’s vehement denials of guilt in this case, I decided to consult with polygrapher Richard Salinas, an expert witness, polygrapher who has done excellent work for me in the past. He is on the Los Angeles Superior Court Panel of Expert Witnesses and has been doing polygraphs for about 15 years.

Richard reviewed my police reports and investigations and came to the office to meet with me my client and to keep my client comfortable, I had his wife come along too. After the initial interview, I left Richard to perform his examination on my client. Richard completed his pre-examination interview and then began the examination itself. My client passed with flying colors.

I submitted the examination and the training and experience of the polygrapher to the prosecutor and walked out of court with a complete dismissal.

In my next article I will talk about why not to submit to a law enforcement polygraph.

If you have questions about any criminal law matter or successful use of polygraphs in criminal defense please contact me attorney Jeffrey S. Vallens: or email me at: or call me: (818) 783-5700 or (888) 764-4340.