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Confessions – Post-Voice Stress Analysis – “Honesty Testing” Admissibility: Same Test as Polygraphs

State v. Keith A. Davis2008 WI 71, on Certification
For Davis: Chris A. Gramstrup


¶20      Principles applicable to polygraph testing are equally applicable to voice stress analysis. See Wis. Stat. § 905.065(1); 7 Daniel D. Blinka, Wisconsin Evidence§ 5065.1 (2d ed. 2001) (concluding that there is little reason to treat the forms of honesty testing mentioned in § 905.065 differently, “at least under the present state of the scientific art”). We see no reason at this time to treat these two methods of “honesty testing” differently.¶21      Our analysis, as detailed below, primarily requires us to determine whether a defendant’s statement was given at an interview totally discrete from the voice stress analysis. If the defendant’s statement was given at an interview that was totally discrete from the voice stress analysis test, its admission is not automatically precluded. The statement, however, is also subject to ordinary principles of voluntariness. Therefore, if the statement is given at an interview that is totally discrete from the voice stress analysis test and the statement is voluntarily given, the statement is admissible.

¶44      While some prior precedent from this court and the court of appeals may not have clearly or perhaps even properly articulated the underlying rationale for excluding statements made during honesty testing, [16] the underlying rationale is simply that our state legislature has generally precluded such a scenario under the plain language of Wis. Stat. § 905.065. [17] Wisconsin Stat. § 905.065(2) states, “[a] person has a privilege to refuse to disclose and to prevent another from disclosing any oral or written communications during or any results of an examination using an honesty testing device in which the person was the test subject.”

¶45      Therefore, the legislature has decided that statements made during honesty testing are generally excluded, but if those statements are given at an interview that is totally discrete from the honesty testing, under the factors articulated in this opinion, and the statement was given voluntarily, then the statement is admissible. However, if the statements and examination are not totally discrete events but instead are considered one event, then the statements must be excluded by virtue of Wis. Stat. § 905.065.


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