posted 01-02-2008 09:05 AM
Here's the link to the article, and I'll paste it below in case the link doesn't work for long:
Pa. court OKs use of 'therapeutic' polygraphs for sex offenders
By MARK SCOLFORO
A Pennsylvania appeals court ruled Monday that forcing a convicted sex offender to take annual lie detector tests does not violate constitutional protections against self-incrimination.
A Superior Court panel called polygraph tests an essential tool for therapists trying to get offenders to confront their urges or examine their deviant behavior.
"The test results further the primary goal of counseling as part of a sexual offender's sentence, which is to rehabilitate the offender and prevent recidivism, with reasonably small incremental deprivations of the offender's liberty," wrote Judge Correale F. Stevens for the unanimous three-judge panel.
The court said test questions must relate to the underlying offense and may not force offenders to admit things that might be used against them in a future criminal trial.
The ruling involves the case of Robin Dale Shrawder, on probation after pleading no contest in Lycoming County in 2005 to luring a child into a motor vehicle and corruption of minors.
Shrawder, the judges ruled, "remains free to assert his Fifth Amendment privilege if any incriminating questions or coercive tactics are actually employed during the polygraph examination."
Shrawder was arrested after trying to entice two 16-year-old girls into his vehicle to perform sex acts for money, and was sentenced to three years of probation.
He was required to cooperate with sexual offender counseling, but in September 2006 he filed a court motion saying the polygraph would violate his constitutional rights. A county judge later ruled the lie detector tests were a reasonable condition of Shrawder's probation, and he appealed.
The Superior Court judges noted that the issue has arisen in other states and within the federal courts, where the use of polygraphs has been generally upheld, although often with restrictions on what may be asked.