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September 26, 2018

Polygraph Exam Evidence

Case: State of Tennessee v. Quintis McCaleb

Issue: Are statements made after a polygraph test admissible?

Facts:   Defendant took a polygraph test. Immediately after the test ended and under questioning by police, “Defendant broke down and admitted to the allegations during the post-polygraph interview.” Defendant moved to suppress the confession. The trial court suppressed the statements, holding they were voluntary but excludable under Rule 403 because “[Defendant] would need to refer to the polygraph examination in order to explain the context of his statements.” The State filed an interlocutory appeal.

Appellate Decision:   The intermediate court reversed, holding the statements are admissible “with adequate redaction” to remove reference to the polygraph. The court held that “Defendant is not required to do anything at all in response to the introduction of the statements” and “has the ability to provide context for the statements even without mention of the polygraph examination.”

Review Granted: September 13, 2018.

Prediction:   Ben thinks the Supreme Court will affirm for the reasons provided by the intermediate court.