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SCOW to review police use of polygraph results to coerce confessions

State v. Adam W. Vice, 2018AP2220-CR, petition for review of a published, split opinion granted August 20, 2020, case activity

Issue for review: (State’s petition for review; Vice’s response)

During a post-polygraph interview, police repeatedly referenced Vice’s polygraph test results and failed to inform him that the results would be inadmissible in court. Did the court of appeals give undue weight to these factors in assessing the voluntariness of Vice’s confession to sexual assault of a four year old?

According to the State’s petition, SCOTUS holds that the use of polygraph results during questioning is not inherently coercive. Wyrick v. Fields, 459 U.S. 42, (1982). And SCOW holds that an isolated reference to a polygraph test during a post-polygraph interview does not make the interview coercive. State v. Davis, 2008 WI 71, ¶41, 310 Wis. 2d 583, 751 N.W.2d 332. The State wants to extend that rule to cases where police repeated reference a failed polygraph test during an interview.

The State also objects to the court of appeals’ statement that police should inform the suspect that his polygraph results are inadmissible if they plan to use them to elicit the his confession. After all, “officers have license to misrepresent or fabricate evidence in other contexts.” Petition at 2.

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