If a private polygrapher accidentally showed a clip my personal polygraph to a police officer without my consent, would he be able to seize it and use it in court?

A private polygrapher was working with the police on another case. When he was fast-forwarding through the tape, it showed my polygraph session (which is another case the officer is working on). Can the arresting officer seize the VHS tape at that point as evidence?

Asked on September 18, 2011 under Criminal Law, Colorado


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Here is the issue; the polygraph was taken as a result of a request or order by the court or prosecutor since you are being charged with a crime. While polygraphs themselves cannot be submitted as direct evidence in most cases, they can be used to impeach your testimony in most cases. Therefore, the police can certainly use it (and may not need a warrant to seize it if the prosecutor asked for it). The prosecutor can certainly share it with the police investigator or even the arresting officer if it is going to be used as part of his testimony but whether the court will use that testimony substantively will depend on the questions asked and how the officer responds. Talk to your lawyer (criminal defense attorney) about this episode and see if your counsel can seek to have the polygraph test results suppressed if they turn out not to be good for you.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.