Conflict Of Interest and Legal Ramifications

A polygraph expert who is a sworn officer of the law is duty bound to enforce the law and apprehend and report anyone who is in violation of the law. Therefore such an officer should avoid situations where there is a conflict of interest wherein the officer is prevented from performing his duties as a law enforcement officer. Such conflict of interest arises when:

a. The polygraph expert who is a law enforcement officer agrees to serve as the agent of a defense attorney under the privilege communication which prevents the expert from divulging any information about the case or the polygraph results to anyone without the express permission of the examinee and his attorney. The polygraph expert is no longer in a position to execute his sworn duty as a law enforcement officer to apprehend and/or report any crimes that may come to his attention during the conduct of his PV examination.

b. The polygraph expert who is a law enforcement officer agrees to serve as the agent of a psychiatrist or psychologist under privilege communication. The same conflict of interest as written in sub-paragraph a. above would apply.

c. Opposing counsel could challenge the results of a PV examination conducted under the conditions specified in sub-paragraphs a. and b. Such a challenge would be based on the fact that the polygraph expert was unduly influenced to find the examinee truthful in order to:

  1. Avoid a confrontation with the examinee with deceptive results that would likely produce an admission of guilt or confession to a crime that he would then not be able to report.
  2. Avoid having to report admission of a crime during review of comparison questions.

Hence this conflict of interest would nullify and render inadmissible the results of the proffered PV examination.