APNewsBreak: Lawyers: Tennis ref passed polygraph

Associated Press Modified: October 9, 2012 at 1:46 pm •  Published: October 9, 2012
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The sometimes controversial technique of lie detection by polygraph has entered the case of a professional tennis referee charged with bludgeoning her husband to death with a coffee cup.

Lois Ann Goodman's lawyers told The Associated Press that she passed a privately administered polygraph examination, testing as truthful when she denied any role in her husband's death.

Lawyers for the 70-year-old Goodman said they suggested the district attorney reevaluate the case based on the results and consider dismissing the charge.

District attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said prosecutors will not comment until the material is brought up in court.

Goodman's attorney Robert Sheahen said polygraph technology has become an accepted form of investigating cases in recent years and sometimes leads authorities to either file charges or drop them.

"This is a technique used by many major law enforcement agencies in the country," Sheahen said. "Some cases rise and fall on the polygraph."

The FBI trains polygraphers, and Jack Trimarco, the expert who administered Goodman's test, was FBI trained and has done testing in a number of high-profile cases.

Although polygraphs are used by the government and in private industry, the one place they are generally not used is in criminal courts where most states ban them from jury trials.

"The sole reason the courts don't use them is they say the jurors are the lie detectors in a trial," said Sheahan. "They feel the polygraph usurps the province of the jury."

A few states allow polygraph evidence if both sides in a trial stipulate to it.

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