“Polygraph Tests Inadmissible”

Detroit Free Press staff writer Nate Trela reports. Excerpt:

Polygraph evidence indicating that former Macomb County Prosecutor Carl Marlinga and two codefendants did not swap campaign contributions for prosecutorial favors will not be seen by a grand jury, nor will it be admissible if the case goes to trial.

U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts said in a written ruling Tuesday that she cannot order the U.S. Attorney’s Office to present the evidence to the grand jury.

She added that the results of polygraph examinations taken by Marlinga, state Sen. Jim Barcia, D-Bay City, and Warren real estate broker Ralph Roberts could not be considered in a trial because the government did not participate in the administration of the tests, let alone know about them.

“Contrary to defendants’ assertion, not all would agree that polygraph results favorable to them are clear, substantial evidence of innocence,” she wrote in the 8-page ruling. “In fact, courts and the scientific community have yet to reach a consensus regarding whether polygraph tests are, indeed, reliable barometers of veracity, particularly when administered unilaterally, as was done here.”

David Griem, an attorney for Roberts, said: “We are disappointed, but not surprised, by the ruling.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel, Marlinga’s attorney Mark Kriger and Barcia’s attorney Harold Gurewitz declined to comment on the ruling.

The attorneys for Marlinga, Barcia and Ralph Roberts — no relation to the judge — filed a motion last month revealing the results of privately administered polygraph exams.

The three men were indicted in April 2004 for allegedly scheming to trade contributions to Marlinga’s ill-fated 2002 congressional campaign for prosecutorial favors for two rape suspects. During their exams they denied wrongdoing.

“Marlinga Lie Detector Test Kept Private”

David Shepardson of the Detroit News reports. Excerpt:

MOUNT CLEMENS — Federal prosecutors won’t have to tell grand jurors about the results of lie detector tests taken by former Macomb County Prosecutor Carl Marlinga and two others charged in a corruption case, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Marlinga, state Sen. Jim Barcia, D-Bay City, and Warren Realtor Ralph Roberts said in March that they had passed privately administered lie detector tests given by retired Michigan police officers who were experienced with polygraph machines.

The three were charged in a nine-count indictment in April 2004, but U.S. District Judge Victoria A. Roberts ruled that the government will have to refile new charges against the three, which likely will mean three separate trials.

The grand jury is set to consider reindicting the three April 20. The three defendants had sought to get their lie detector test results introduced in an effort to dissuade the grand jury from reindicting them. Marlinga had offered to take an FBI-administered test if the government agreed to present the results to the grand jury. They declined.

Roberts noted in her opinion that the defendants — had they failed — wouldn’t have been required to tell the government of the results and that the tests are of questionable scientific value. She also noted that the federal appeals court that oversees Michigan “disfavors the use of polygraph evidence at trial, but has not adopted a … rule prohibiting the practice.”