Thursday, April 29, 1999

Polygraph results won't be used


Judge wants witnesses to say they had tests

BY DAN HORN
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A dispute over lie detector evidence ended Wednesday when a judge agreed not to seek the results of polygraph tests given to witnesses in a criminal case.

        The tests became an issue this week when Judge Robert Kraft said he wanted to question a witness about polygraphs in the trial of former Cincinnati Police Officer Patrick Knight.

        The polygraph tests were given to four women who claim Mr. Knight coerced them into sex by threatening to arrest them.

        Attorneys on both sides of the case opposed the judge's request and were poised to argue against it today in the Ohio 1st District Court of Appeals.

        But the hearing was called off after prosecutors, defense attorneys and the judge resolved the issue.

        Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen said the agreement calls for the attorneys to acknowledge that polygraphs were administered, but it does not allow any discussion of the results.

        “It's a fair resolution,” Mr. Allen said. “I think it was recognized that all sides want to keep the case proceeding. It's not a matter of anyone winning or losing.”

        Mr. Knight's trial, in its third week, had been delayed pending the outcome of the appeal. He is charged with sexual battery and bribery.

        Because Mr. Knight requested a trial without a jury, the case will be decided by Judge Kraft.

        The lie detector issue arose when the judge indicated he wanted to question a witness about the results of the lie detector tests.

        While the tests are commonly used by law enforcement, courts across the country have consistently rejected their use in trials. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that polygraph evidence was inadmissible at a military trial.

        Mr. Allen and Mr. Knight's attorney, Merlyn Shiverdecker, both opposed the judge's effort to introduce such evidence.

        Judge Kraft could not be reached for comment late Wednesday and Mr. Allen would not say why the judge changed his mind about seeking the polygraph evidence.

        The trial is expected to resume as early as today in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.

       



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