At the law firm of Maynard Law Office, LLC, we represent many individuals who are on parole supervision, either Community Supervision for Life (CSL) or Parole Supervision for Life (PSL). Therefore, we vigilantly watch for any court decisions that may affect our clients. On January 21, 2016, the New Jersey Appellate Division published J.B. v. New Jersey State Parole Board, which addresses the administration of polygraph exams on CSL and PSL supervisees.
In J.B., the appellants argued for the dissolution of the polygraph program within the New Jersey Parole Board on the grounds that it violated the First Amendment by impinging on freedom of thought, and the Fifth and Sixth Amendments, violating an offender’s right against self-incrimination and right to an attorney. The court found that the polygraph program is a useful tool in the rehabilitation and treatment of sex offenders, and therefore, denied the appellants’ argument. However, the court did modify the program in a substantial way that will benefit individuals on CSL and PSL. The Court ruled as follows:
- The Parole Board will be “disallowed” to use “machine-generated technical results of such exams as evidence to justify a curtailment of an offender’s activities;” and
- The Parole Board must enhance its regulations and practices “to protect the offenders’ privileges against self-incrimination.”
How will this decision affect CSL and PSL supervisees who will be subject to a polygraph exam?
First, a machine-generated result, i.e., the print out from the machine that indicates an offender is deceptive or lying, may not be used to justify adding new special conditions of parole supervision against a sex offender, nor may it be used as evidence to charge an offender with a CSL/PSL violation (unless both Parole and the offender stipulate in the exam results). Verbal statements made by the offender during the exam may be utilized to levy new special conditions, and/or charge the offender with a violation.
Second, the Parole Board must rewrite its regulation and practice procedures for the administration of a polygraph examination. The Court did not provide any specific guidance on what should be included, however, we may assume that the Parole Board will implement a procedure that will improve the offender’s awareness as to how his statements during an exam may be used so that he may protect himself from self-incrimination.
How to challenge your special conditions of CSL/PSL
If you think you were unjustly given an onerous special condition of parole because of a failure on a polygraph exam, contact our law firm. There may be a potential to have the special condition removed if it was improperly justified based on a machine-generated technical result. Every person’s case is fact-sensitive; therefore, if you have reason to believe that you were negatively affected by a polygraph examination in the past, contact our Morristown law firm for a free consultation.