In a recent Minnesota Court of Appeals decision, that court ruled that polygraph test results are not admissible as substantive evidence of a probation violation in probation-revocation proceedings because polygraph testing has not been proven reliable.

Prior Minnesota case law has already established that the results of polygraph tests, as well as evidence that a defendant took or refused to take such a test, are not admissible in Minnesota in either criminal or civil trials. Prior decisions have held that polygraph results lack the reliability that is necessary to be admitted as scientific evidence. The rationale for the rule prohibiting the admissibility of polygraph-related evidence is that polygraph examinations do not have “such scientific and psychological accuracy, nor its operators such sureness of interpretation of results shown therefrom, as to justify submission thereof to a jury as evidence of the guilt or innocence of a person accused of a crime.”


The Court of Appeals’ recent decision now extends this prior precedent that applied to civil and criminal trials to prohibit the use of polygraph tests as substantive evidence in probation violation proceedings. A number of other states already prohibit such use of polygraph tests in probation violation matters, while others still allow it.

The court specifically stated that it did not intend its decision to limit the use of polygraph testing as a tool in law enforcement or from being imposed as a condition of probation to be implemented in treatment, therapy, monitoring, or evaluation of offenders. The ruling only prohibits the results of a polygraph from being admitted as substantive evidence to prove that an offender violated a condition of probation. If an offender was required to submit to polygraph tests as a condition of probation, evidence that an offender refused to take a polygraph would be admissible to prove a violation of such a condition of probation.

If you, or a loved one, are facing a probation violation or a criminal charge of any kind, contact The Law Office of John J. Leunig at 952-540-6800, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for a free consultation. The lawyers at The Law Office of John J. Leunig provide vigorous, intelligent and personalized representation to people accused of crimes in State and Federal courts.

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