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January 1, 2008

Pa court makes sure state sex offenders make resolution not to lie

As detailed in this AP story, 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."  The ruling came in Commonwealth v. Shrawder, No. 1894 MDA 2006 (Pa. Super. App. Dec. 31, 2007) (available here), and here is a snippet:

Upon considering the caselaw cited above and the testimony presented at the October 11, 2006, hearing, we find the therapeutic polygraph is an essential tool for a therapist whose job it is to reveal an offender’s deception and encourage him or her to confront his or her urges and 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.  We also note that, as Mr. Kobierecki’s testimony indicates, the candor of Appellant or any other probationer is always expected during a probation inquiry, whether or not his responses are being recorded through a polygraph test.  We therefore conclude that polygraph testing can, and in this case does, further sentencing goals without excessive deprivations of liberty and hold that a therapeutic polygraph is a proper element in a sex offender treatment program for a convicted sexual offender and does not violate a probationer’s rights under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution or under Article One, Section Nine of the Pennsylvania Constitution, so long as the inquiries made pursuant to it relate to the underlying offense for which an offender has been sentenced and do not compel him or her to provide information that could be used against him or her in a subsequent criminal trial.

January 1, 2008 at 03:53 PM | Permalink


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» Polygraphs and Parole from Objective - Justice
Just as there is no right to a jury trial before probation may be revoked, neither is the privilege against compelled self-incrimination available to a probationer. Murphy, 465 U.S. at 436. [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 2, 2008 4:48:54 PM


so it not okay for sex offender to lie but it okay for police to lie

i am a registered sex offender
also check out
support group for sex offender

Posted by: nk | Jan 1, 2008 6:07:34 PM

I'm not sure the article mentions anything about the police lying, and if a sex offender in probation or parole has to lie, then that's a bigger consern.

I don't agree with the obvious unconstitutional laws created against sex offenders, but I don't think this case is any different than if a probation officer investigates if a person under his supervision is lying or not.

The constitutional question in this case is, would they apply it to those that are no longer under state supervision? or if its used to file charges against him. I don't think that is mentioned either.

By the way, thanks for the link, i'll check it out.

Posted by: EJ | Jan 2, 2008 2:18:33 AM

"therapeutic polygraph" Interesting use of words. What about the fact that polygraphs are unreliable? How therapeutic is that?

Posted by: Steve | Jan 2, 2008 8:40:01 AM

The last sentence of the opinion clearly means that if a probationer confesses to new crimes then the statements can not be used against him in a new prosecution and could only be used to violate his probation.
But lets suppose he fesses up to having child porn on his computer and the feds go get a warrant and then charge him with possession of child porn images. Odds are that a federal court would not suppress the evidence. And, in sentencing this person for this new offense would use these statements to enhance a federal sentence.
Strict construction of the Fifth Amendment must result in the opposite holding in this case. The Fifth Amendment clause: "nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." Here the person is compelled (he gets revoked and goes to jail for not being a witness); he is in a criminal case; he is compelled to be a witness against himself. I suppose that you can dress up some "tool" and call it "therapeutic" and thus trump the Constitution.

Posted by: | Jan 3, 2008 6:19:24 AM

I am a citizen who is interested to know if a person is a convicted, paroled in 1995, & registered child sex offender, are they allowed to have any contact with children? I have not been able to find any information regarding this issue.
What should I do if I have seen this registered sex offender take a young boy (approx. 13-15 yrs. old) into their dwelling unsupervised, over night?
This has really been eating at me since I witnessed this event.
Please respond as soon as possible.
Thank you,
Mrs. H.

Posted by: my5sns | Oct 8, 2008 4:45:53 PM

I dont understand is it possible for a sex offender to get 30years in prison if he violates his parole/probation coming in contact with his own sister/niece which are minors and as a family what can we do to prevent that?

Posted by: avi | Jan 22, 2009 12:22:13 AM

I am a convicted sex offender who was forced to take a lie detector as part of my "Therapy". The lie detector is suppose to be used as a therapy tool to help guys confront their denials about why they committed the offense. The reality is that it is now a probation violation device. The state lies to you and tells you to be upfront about your sexual history and then they use it against you in court. I was resentenced to 2-4 years in state prison after they violated me for the results of the polygraph. The polygraph admiminstrators are getting huge money to get sex offenders to admit to anything for violations. My polygraph administrator even made up things I never said and reported them. He was suppose to tape the conference but never did. He pulls in 300 per test. It is now a money maker. They ask for all kinds of sexual history so it can all and will be all used against you in court. They fucked me over big time. If you refuse to answer a question they throw you out of treatment which is a violation. If you answer the question honestly they will violate you. Everything you say can be used against you. My polygraph guy was even caught in court lying about what was actually said and then admittted he never taped the interview. The only recourse an sex offender has is to take the 5th admendment. Great right. but if you do...you will be thrown in prison for refusing treatment. Then you have to get an attorney and fight it. The lie detector for sex offenders is a lie. Its not a treatment tool, at all. Its a probation violation device as well as a way to uncover previous uncharged criminal contact. It is also used to dig through your past for any "deviant sexual" behavior. I would love to administer it to some of these politicians. Im sure we can dig up a few dirty little secrets. As long as political gain is at the heart of sex offender treatment...because thats all megans law and lie detector tests are....used by politicians to assure the public they are protecting the children....wanna get elected....run on the tough on sex offender crime bills...doesnt matter if they trample everyone constitutional rights...oh yea...megans law isnt punitive..the politicians feed everyone that crap...if i dont register i goto jail for 7 years....isnt that punitive????? You wanna know what is really happening now in the sex offender world??? Because of lie detectors and megans law..guys are going silent. They refuse to say anything in treatment because it can all be used against you in court. Sex offender treatment is not protected - Guys are now afraid to be honest and open about their behaviors because of the reprocussions. Guys are afraid to speak about eh past becuase taht information is being used in court as supportive evidence not of the violation but of threat to community. The real truth is megans law and AWA and lie detecttor tests are creating an environment of fear. Not only for the public but now for the offenders. Most offenders in prison are refusing treatment and maxing out for fear of further persecution. I was open and honest about my life and the mistakes I made. It was all taken into court and read and used against as a threat to society. What I learned is to say nothing. Many Sex offenders have now adopted the same fear. Say Nothing. What these laws are really doing is creating a new sub class of people. They are creating an environment of fear where the sex offender can no longer address his or her problems for fear of incarceration. So it is doing exactly opposite that the Shrawder law is trying to accomplish. Hey thats okay I guess....at least it makes it easier to get elected.

Posted by: joe | Jul 17, 2013 3:50:28 PM

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