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Polygraph Litigation

Recent polygraph litigation provides vivid documentation of polygraph abuse. If you have documents from polygraph-related litigation that you think should be included on this page, contact AntiPolygraph.org.

  • Ciralsky v. CIA, et al. filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Former CIA laywer Adam J. Ciralsky was fired after "failing" an allegedly rigged CIA polygraph "test." This complaint documents CIA polygraph abuse and ethno-religious profiling.
  • U.S. v. Dixon Case 1:12-cr-00521-LO in the Eastern District of Virginia. On 17 December 2012, Chad Dixon of Marion, Indiana entered a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney, pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of obstruction of an agency proceeding in connection with his business activity teaching people how to pass polygraph examinations. The teaching of polygraph countermeasures has not previously been construed as a crime in the United States. The following are the publicly available filings in this case, which was originally under seal:
  • Grogan v. Paolella, et al. Case No. BC391778 in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles, Central District. Polygraph examiner John L. Grogan seeks damages in excess of one million dollars for defamation from polygraphers Joseph Paolella, Jack Trimarco, Ralph Hilliard, and twenty John Does. Selected case documents are provided below:
    • Complaint (324 kb PDF) of plaintiff John Leo Grogan filed 30 May 2008
    • Motion to Strike (2.5 mb PDF) of defendant Joseph Paolella filed 27 June 2008
    • Declaration (908 kb PDF) of Jack Trimarco in Support of Motion to Strike Complaint for Defamation, Invasion of Privacy (False Light), and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress filed 6 August 2008
    • Memorandum of Points and Authorities (752 kb PDF) in Support of John Trimarco A.K.A. Jack Trimarco and Jack Trimarco & Associates Polygraph/Investigations, Inc.'s Special Motion to Strike filed 6 August 2008
    • Request for Judicial Notice (956 kb PDF) by John Trimarco A.K.A. Jack Trimarco, Moving Party filed 6 August 2008
    • Answer (176 kb PDF) by Defendant Ralph Hilliard and Wordnet Solutions, Inc. to Complaint filed 8 August 2008
    • Tentative Ruling (702 kb PDF) on Motion to Strike Complaint Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure Section 425.16 dated 24 October 2008. In this ruling, Judge Helen I. Bendix rejected defendant Jack Trimarco's motion to dismiss the case under California's anti-SLAPP statute.
  • Guzman v. Macrolife Natural, Inc., et al. Case No. BC489103 in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles. Doe Amendments with Original Complaint (5.7 mb PDF) alleging defendants unlawfully compelled plaintiff to submit to a polygraph test in connection with an allegedly stolen ring. Polygraph operators John Grogan and Lisa Javoric are named as defendants.
  • Higazy v. Templeton. U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal Docket No. 05-4148-cv. FBI special agent and polygraph examiner Michael Templeton allegedly coerced a false confession from the plaintiff, Abdallah Higazy, concerning the provenance of an aviation radio that, as it turned out, a security guard had planted in his Manhattan hotel room in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. For discussion, see FBI Polygrapher Michael Templeton Named in Lawsuit (Higazy v. Templeton) on the AntiPolygraph.org message board.
    • Withdrawn Opinion (164kb PDF) dated 18 October 2007 reversing dismissal of lawsuit by United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Published on the Court website on 18 October 2007 and withdrawn some two hours later, reportedly "out of a concern that it might disclose information contained in a portion of the appendix on appeal that was submitted under seal."
    • Opinion (161kb PDF) dated 19 October 2007 reinstating Higazy's lawsuit against FBI Special Agent and polygrapher Michael Templeton. A redacted version of the opinion withdrawn the day before.
  • Idaho v. Perry. Idaho Supreme Court 2003 Opinion No. 109, filed 5 November 2003 (note typographical error in date on cover sheet). Docket Number 29718. In this 9-page ruling, the Idaho Supreme Court rejected Craig T. Perry's motion in limine to allow testimony by Dr. Charles R. Honts, who conducted a polygraph examination of Perry.
  • Lafayette Instrument Company, Inc., Respondent (145 kb PDF). U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Export Administration order dated 8 December 1999 implementing a settlement agreement requiring polygraph manufacturer to pay a civil penalty of $10,000 for allowing re-export of polygraph instruments from Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China.
  • Livers v. Schenck, et al. Statement of Complaint (76-kb PDF) filed 11 March 2008 in the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska. Nebraska State Patrol investigator and polygraph examiner Charles O'Callaghan is among the defendants named in this lawsuit brought by Matthew Livers, who was coerced into falsely confessing to the murder of his uncle and aunt.
  • Mallard -v- The Queen [2003] WASCA 296 (340 kb PDF). In this judgment, filed 3 December 2003, the Western Australia Court of Criminal Appeal found polygraph "evidence" to be inadmissible, concluding, at para. 369, "On the whole of the evidence of the other material before us, it has not been shown that the polygraph technique is a reliable method for determining truth or untruth and nor is there the degree of acceptance within the relevant scientific community which would indicate that it is seen as being so. That being the case the evidence of the polygraph examination would not have assisted the trier of fact (jury)." (Download in Microsoft Word format.)
  • Mapp and Shirley v. City of Hattiesburg. Cause Numbers CI02-0374 and CI02-0372. Order dated 31 October 2003 reinstating two Hattiesburg, Mississippi police officers with back pay. Officer Dean Shirly had been fired for failing a polygraph "test."
  • McCarthy v. Moore, et al. Case Number 048-228282-08 filed in Tarrant County, Texas District Court. Plaintiff Joseph L. McCarthy, a licensed polygraph examiner in Texas certified to conduct post-conviction sex offender testing, alleges the existence of an unlawful referral scheme wherein sex offender therapists and probation officers directed sex offenders to certain polygraph examiners, rather than allowing them to go to any properly credentialed polygraph examiner.
  • Miranda v. Clark County, Nevada, et al. Opinion No. 00-15734 (35 kb PDF), D.C. No. CV-98-01121-LDG. In this opinion, filed 8 February 2002, a 3-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed Miranda's suit, ruling that it is not unconstitutional for a locality to base its allocation of defense resources on the results of a criminal defendant's polygraph test. The plaintiff-appelant, Roberto Hernandez Miranda, was sentenced to death for first degree murder in 1981 but released from prison in 1996 when the Nevada Supreme Court overturned his conviction.
  • Miranda v. Clark County, Nevada, et al. Opinion No. 00-15734 (99 kb PDF), D.C. No. CV-98-01121-LDG. In this opinion, filed 3 February 2003, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the U.S. Court of Appeals' earlier ruling and re-instated the plaintiff's lawsuit.
  • New Jersey v. A.O. (Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, Docket No. A-5388-04T4). Opinion (125 kb PDF) dated 27 November 2007 rejecting the admissibility of uncounseled polygraph stipulations. The Court concluded "it is fundamentally unfair to permit an uncounseled defendant to stake his fate on what may be the equivalent of a coin toss."
  • Polygraph School of Science, et al. v. American Polygraph Association, et al. Case No. CV-13-607-PHX-SPL filed 25 March 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.
    • Statement of Complaint (14 mb PDF) This complaint stems from the American Polygraph Association's revocation of the Polygraph School of Science's accreditation following a surprise inspection by Roy Ortiz. The School alleges libel, slander, disparagement [sic] of treatment, discrimination, and pain and suffering. Among other relief sought, plaintiffs seek $250,000,000 in damages from the APA and $250,000,000 from APA officials in their individual capacities.
    • Order (41 kb PDF) dated 2 May 2013 directing the parties to meet and confer prior to the filing of any motion to dismiss to determine whether any alleged defect "can be cured by filing an amended pleading."

  • Ohio v. Sharma. (Summit County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR 06-09-3248). In this sexual battery case, the judge admitted polygraph evidence over the prosecutor's objection. For discussion, see Critique of Louis I. Rovner's Polygraph Examination and Testimony in Ohio v. Sharma.
    • Volume I (13.1 mb PDF) of pre-trial hearing on admissibility of polygraph evidence. This document includes the testimony of polygraph examiners William D. Evans and Steven Stechschulte, 2 April 2007.
    • Volume II (14.5 mb PDF). Pre-trial testimony of Louis I. Rovner, 2 April 2007.
    • Order (252 kb PDF) granting Defendant's Motion to Admit Polygraph Examinations.
    • Polygraph Examination of Sahil Sharma (YouTube). Video of examination conducted by Louis I. Rovner.
    • Testimony of Louis I. Rovner (2.8 mb PDF) at trial, 16 August 2007.

  • People v. Wilkinson. California Supreme Court Opinion No. S111028 (234 kb PDF | 134 kb MS Word file), filed 29 July 2004. In this opinion, the California Supreme Court ruled that "in light of the categorical prohibition on the admission of polygraph evidence in Penal Code section 351.1, the trial court did not err in declining to hold a Kelly/Frye hearing regarding the [polygraph] evidence proffered by defendant."
  • Polkey v. Transtecs Corp. (65 kb PDF) United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, No. 04-14949, D.C. Docket No. 03-00056-CV-RV, filed 29 March 2005. In this published opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court's granting of summary judgment to the plaintiff, Sabrina Polkey, whom Transtecs Corp. fired following her refusal to submit to a polygraph "test."
  • South Carolina v. Robert Andrew Palmer Amended Order on Polygraph Motion (176 kb PDF | 33 kb MS Word file). The defendant, charged with homicide by child abuse and abetting homicide by child abuse, sought to admit polygraph results at trial. After hearing testimony from William G. Iacono and Charles R. Honts, the court found that polygraph examinations are unreliable and denied the motion to admit.
  • Tenenbaum v. Simeninni, et al. (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan Case No. 98-CV-74473-DT) David A. Tenenbaum is a chemical engineer employed by the United States Army in civilian capacity. In the mid-1990s, he became the subject of an intensive espionage investigation, and was accused of showing "deception" in a polygraph interrogation. His suit documents polygraph abuse, ethno-religious profiling, and other governmental misconduct.
  • United States of America v. Ray Dwight Sluss Case No. 2:13-cr-090 in the Eastern District of Tennessee, Greeneville Division. Sluss was a convicted sex offender who purchased Doug Williams' manual, How to Sting the Polygraph. After federal agents seized Williams' business records, an FBI agent visited Sluss to ask about his purchase. A subsequent search of Sluss's home led to the discovery of child pornography, for which Sluss was ultimately sentenced to 17.5 years in prison. Sluss's purchase of information about polygraph countermeasures is mentioned in court filings associated with an unsuccessful motion to suppress evidence.
  • United States of America v. Jamaico Tennison Case No. 1:15-cr-00212-MCA in the District of New Mexico. On 11 June 2014, FBI Special Agent Jennifer Sullivan conducted a polygraph interrogation of Jamaico Tennison regarding an allegation of improper sexual touching of a child. Although Tennison was not under arrest, Sullivan advised him that he had the right to have a lawyer present, and that if he could not afford a lawyer, one would be appointed before questioning, if he wished. However, when Tennison asked Sullivan if she would appoint a lawyer for him, she replied, "We don't appoint lawyers." Sullivan polygraphed Tennison, accused him of deception, conducted a post-test interrogation, and obtained a confession. Federal District Judge M. Christina Armijo ultimately granted a defense motion to suppress Tennison's inculpatory statements, holding that the United States had not met its burden of proving that they were voluntary. The FBI's deliberate practice of not recording polygraph examinations was a factor in the court's ruling.
    • Defendant's Motion to Suppress Statements Made on June 11, 2014 filed on 13 August 2015. Arguing that statements should be suppressed because Tennison did not voluntarily waive his right to counsel and that notwithstanding Miranda, the government cannot prove by a preponderance that Tennison's statements were voluntary.
      • Exhibit A. FBI Form FD-395, Advice of Rights.
      • Exhibit B. FBI Form FD-398, Consent to Interview with Polygraph.
      • Exhibit C. Declaration of Charles Honts, Ph.D.
    • Motion to Exclude Testimony of Chase Foster from Suppression Hearing or for Production of Documents Upon Which Foster Relied in Forming His Opinions filed on 3 December 2015.
      • Exhibit A. Curriculum vitae of FBI Supervisory Special Agent Chase A. Foster.
      • Exhibit B. Extract from hearing transcript in U.S. v. James Jeremiah Dyson describing FBI Special Agent Jennifer Sullivan's training and experience.
    • Suppression Hearing Transcript - Day 1. Including testimony by FBI special agents Matthew Schaeffer and Jennifer Sullivan, who testifies, among other things (at p. 104), that she feels polygraphs are 100 percent accurate.
    • Suppression Hearing Transcript - Day 2. Including testimony by FBI supervisory special agent Chase Foster and professor Charles R. Honts, who testifies, among other things (at p. 159), that "roughly one in three actually innocent people passes" the polygraph technique used by the FBI in this case.
    • Suppression Hearing Transcript - Day 3. Including testimony by Charles R. Honts and Jamaico Tennison.
    • Order Suppressing Evidence filed on 9 June 2016. Holding that the United States had not met its burden of proving that Tennison's statement was voluntary. The court noted that "[n]either the pre-test, the polygraph examination proper, or the post-test interrogation was recorded" and that "the absence of a recording of the interrogation, which would have permitted the Court to hear the actual words and the tones of voice of the participants, constitutes a failure of proof as to whether SA Sullivan conducted her interrogation within Fifth Amendment bounds."
  • United States of America v. Douglas G. Williams Case 5:14-cr-00318-M in the Western District of Oklahoma. On 13 November 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted Douglas Gene Williams with two counts of mail fraud and three counts of witness tampering in connection with his business activity teaching people how to pass polygraph examinations. Two undercover agents posing as a federal employee and a federal applicant posed as customers. Each charge carried a potential sentence of up to 20 years imprisonment. Trial began on Tuesday, 12 May 2015 at 9:00 A.M. before Chief Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange. On the second day of the trial, Williams changed his plea from not guilty to guilty. See also AntiPolygraph.org's reporting from Day 1 and Day 2 of the trial. On 30 October 2015, Williams began serving a 24-month sentence at the minimum security federal prison camp in Florence, Colorado. He was released on 26 July 2017.
    • Indictment and Criminal Cover Sheet filed on 13 November 2014.
    • Arraignment Minute Sheet dated 18 November 2014. Williams pled not guilty, was released on his own recognizance, and the case was set for 13 January 2015.
    • Joint Statement of Discovery Conference held on 2 December 2014, filed on 8 December 2014.
    • Plaintiff's Motion for Protective Order filed 8 December 2014. The U.S. Department of Justice requests that "a protective order be entered as to all discovery materials provided in this matter."
    • Protective Order dated 19 December 2014 granting U.S. Department of Justice request for a protective order restricting distribution of discovery materials.
    • Defendant's Motion for Continuance dated 24 December 2014. This request by Doug Williams' attorney, Stephen H. Buzin, seeks continuance of the trial date to the June 2015 docket.
    • Plaintiff's Response to Defendant's Motion for Continuance dated 31 December 2014. Stating no objection to continuance but requesting trial date earlier than June 2015.
    • Order dated 5 January 2015. Case is moved to the April 2015 docket.
    • Defendant's Unopposed Motion for Continuance dated 18 March 2015, requesting continuance to "the next 2015 trial docket," citing, among other things, the receipt on 2 March 2015 of an additional 425 pages of discovery material from the U.S. Government, and noting that on 16 March 2015, "counsel for Defendant was advised by counsel for the United States of America a third discovery disclosure would be produced in the coming weeks."
    • Order dated 25 March 2015. Case is moved to the May 2015 docket.
    • United States' Proposed Jury Instructions dated 4 May 2015. Among other things, the prosecution wishes the judge to instruct the jury that "[a]n internal investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security into the possible commission of a federal offense" and "[a] pre-employment suitability determination and security background investigation conducted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection" qualify as official proceedings within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b) (Witness Tampering).
    • United States' Requested Voir Dire Questions dated 4 May 2015. The prosecution wishes to identify (and presumably eliminate) any potential jurors who have taken a polygraph "test" before, or who have a family member who has done so, or who have concerns about the use of polygraph examinations.
    • Trial Brief of United States dated 4 May 2015. Prosecution seeks to exclude any evidence or argument regarding the reliability of polygraph examinations, entrapment, or the defendant's prior good acts or lack of a criminal record.
    • Defendant's Proposed Jury Instructions dated 5 May 2015. Suggests that defendant may choose not testify and that an entrapment defense will be presented.
    • United States' Objections to Defendant's Proposed Jury Instructions dated 7 May 2015. States objections concerning defendant's proposed jury instructions on mail fraud, witness tampering, and entrapment.
    • Petition to Enter Plea of Guilty dated 13 May 2015. On the second day of the jury trial, Doug Williams changed his plea from not guilty to guilty with respect to each of the five charges against him. There was no plea agreement with the prosecution.
    • United States' Motion for a Final Order of Forfeiture and Imposition of Forfeiture Money Judgment dated 29 May 2015. Seeks an order that Williams pay the U.S. Government $7,750, which is the amount he received from undercover agents in connection with Operation Lie Busters.
    • United States' Memorandum in Aid of Sentencing dated 17 September 2015. "[T]he government respectfully recommends that the Court impose a custodial sentence within the Sentencing Guidelines Range of 24 to 30 months."
    • Defendant's Memorandum in Aid of Sentencing dated 21 September 2015. Requesting "a downward departure and variance from the United States Sentencing Guidelines" and enumerating mitigating factors, including the U.S. Probation Officer's finding that "there are no identifiable victims in these offenses."
    • Sentencing Minute Sheet dated 22 September 2015. Summation of sentencing hearing.
    • Judgment dated 22 September 2015. Doug Williams was sentenced to 24 months in prison, with the judge recommending that the sentence be served at the Federal Correctional Institution, El Reno. Williams must surrender himself no later than noon on 30 October 2015. He is additionally ordered to pay a $500 "special assessment." Upon release, Williams will be subjected to three years' "supervised release" during which he "shall not participate in any form of polygraph-related activity."
    • Motion for Modification of the Terms of Supervised Release filed 21 November 2016. In this pro se motion, Doug Williams "requests that the Court remove the current condition prohibiting his participation in any form of polygraph related activity or modify the condition consistent with the Tenth Circuit law."
    • United States' Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Modification of the Terms of Supervised Release filed 10 February 2017. In arguing that Doug Williams should not be allowed to engage in polygraph-related activities, the government effectively concedes that polygraph countermeasures are effective.
    • Reply to Government's Opposition filed 21 February 2017. In this pro se brief, Doug Williams rebuts the United States' opposition to his motion for modification of the terms of supervised release.
  • Filings by Mark S. Zaid, Esq. Mr. Zaid represented eleven plaintiffs who were denied federal employment based solely on unsubstantiated accusations of deception during pre-employment polygraph "tests." The case was ultimately dismissed on procedural grounds, with no ruling on the merits.
  • United States of America v. Albert M. Lee. Opinion No. 01-4485/4496 (46 kb PDF), United States Court of Appeals for the Third District, filed 7 January 2003. In this precedential opinion, the court finds that requiring sex offenders to submit to post-conviction polygraph screening does not violate their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
  • United States of America v. Carl Marlinga et al. Order Denying Defendants' Joint Motion for Introduction and Admission of Polygraph Evidence (19 kb PDF) in Case No. 04-80372 dated 12 April 2005 by Judge Victoria A. Roberts, United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan.
  • United States of America v. Ricardo C. Williams Report and Recommendation (127 kb PDF) in Daubert hearing on admissibility of polygraph evidence in Case No. 1:03-CR-636-5-JEC dated 4 October 2005 by Magistrate Judge Janet F. King, United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia.
  • New Mexico Supreme Court No. 27,915. Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law (869 kb PDF) by District Judge Richard J. Knowles, concluding that "[t]he results of polygraph testing are not sufficiently reliable for admissibility in courts in New Mexico."

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