Lie Detector Tests for Convicted Sex Offenders in NJ
Several months ago, the Supreme Court in New Jersey upheld the practice of sex offenders being required to take lie detector tests as part of their parole. This is legal, as long as the parolee is aware that they have rights against self-incrimination during the test. Some sex offenders are sentenced to monitoring for the rest of their lives using lie detectors, as this is to make sure that they do not reoffend during parole and that they are following their treatment plan and other terms required to stay out of prison.
Several parolees had challenged the use of these tests with the claim that there isn’t enough research that they are scientifically valid, and that it is almost the same as a coerced interrogation. The court determined that the state’s interest in protecting the public by ensuring that sex offenders stick with their parole and treatment conditions will outweigh the right to privacy of the offender. However, the courts also determined that the results of a polygraph test couldn’t be used as the basis for a criminal charge against the sex offender.
This means that a parolee undergoing a lie detector test can refuse to answer a question if it would bring about another criminal investigation. This is due to the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment, which allows a citizen the right to not testify against themselves. It does not mean that a parole officer and other authorities are unable to investigate a situation separately, but that they aren’t able to use the required lie detector test as a way to prove wrongdoing.
If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime or you feel that your rights are being impinged upon by your parole officer, it’s time to get a defense attorney that will be on your side. Contact the law office of Jill R. Cohen today to discuss the details of your case.