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Media > Newsletters > Law Enforcement Bulletin > October 2012 > State v. Jackson — Ninth District Court of Appeals, (Lorain, Medina, Summit, and Wayne), Aug. 22, 20

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State v. Jackson — Ninth District Court of Appeals, (Lorain, Medina, Summit, and Wayne), Aug. 22, 2012

Question: When a polygraph examiner encourages a suspect to tell the truth and explain himself during a polygraph examination, are the suspect’s subsequent statements coerced?
Quick Answer: No, if a suspect voluntarily submits to a polygraph examination, encouragement to tell the truth isn’t necessarily coercive or threatening. 
Facts: Jason Jackson agreed to submit to a polygraph examination. The peace officer scheduled the examination at the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI). Jackson declined the officer’s offer to drive Jackson to BCI, so the two drove separately. On the morning of the examination, Jackson followed the officer to BCI. After Jackson finished the polygraph examination, the examiner informed him that several of his answers were deceptive in nature and asked him to explain himself. Jackson then verbally confessed to rape. Jackson then left BCI, and he was not arrested until nearly two weeks later.
Why this case is important: When a person voluntarily submits to a polygraph examination they are not in custody for Miranda purposes. Jackson voluntarily agreed to take the examination, drove to the examination of his own accord, and left in the same manner when the examination concluded. The consent to interview form that Jackson signed before the polygraph stated that he was informed of his right to refuse to submit to the examination and that he was undergoing the examination on his own free will. Although the examiner encouraged Jackson to explain himself and tell the truth, this wasn’t a threat or coercion. 
Keep in mind: A confession is not voluntary if the defendant’s will is overborne. In determining whether a confession was voluntary, the court considers the totality of the circumstances, including the defendant’s age, mentality, and prior criminal experience; the length, intensity, and frequency of interrogation; the existence of physical deprivation or mistreatment; and the existence of threat or inducement.
Visit the Ninth District Court of Appeals website  to read the entire opinion.