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The results of a lie detector test are not admissible in court, and everyone knows it. Do you know why, though? Well, for one thing, they're notoriously easy to beat, and just as notorious for producing false leads. The problem is that polygraph machines check for changes in things like blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature. These bodily functions can be controlled and manipulated by doing nothing more than constricting your sphincter muscle or thinking "exciting" thoughts.
Even when the potential liar being tested isn't cognizant of the many tricks and tactics they have at their disposal in a fight against the truth, there's still plenty of reason to not trust the results of a polygraph test. See, when a person fails a polygraph test during the course of a murder investigation, it's often the result of a weirdly worded question, as opposed to any actual wrongdoing. Instead of coming right out and asking, "Did you kill your wife?" or something along those lines, they'll ask, "Do you feel responsibility for your wife's death?"
Your instinctive answer is most likely going to be "no" if you truly are innocent (or even if you're not). But let's say your wife went for a walk and never came back, and immediately prior to that, you asked her if she wanted a ride and she insisted that she did not. You'd probably feel kind of responsible for her death for not talking her into taking that ride, right?
See the next entry before you answer, sir.
Sure you would, and that's exactly what the authorities are hoping for, because by the time they're strapping you to a machine to determine the veracity of your story, they already think you're guilty. Fooling you into failing with deceptive wording isn't going to get you convicted, but it definitely gives the police just cause to continue investigating you as the prime suspect.
That's why, if you do ever find yourself facing down the business end of a police interrogation, regardless of your guilt or innocence, your best course of action is to ...
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Fuck it -- if someone close to you is murdered, get a lawyer immediately. Whether you're truly guilty or not is beside the point. Once the authorities have you inside an interrogation room, they have one goal in mind, and that is to get you to confess to murder. In their eyes, an innocent person would not admit to a crime they did not commit, no matter how harsh of a turn the questioning may take. There are countless stories of innocent men and women, often under the age of legal consent or otherwise not mentally competent to handle a situation of that nature, who have taken the fall for things they didn't do, just to make the interrogation end.
Meanwhile, it's just as difficult to put an exact number on how many times I've watched a true crime show where the real killers, no matter how often they're interrogated, never say a word. As a result, they usually go years or even decades without paying for their crime. They don't confess to the police, they don't tell their friends, they just get away with murder for a lot of fucking years.
Fashion is his only crime now.
We all know that wealthy people find that the justice system breaks in their favor on a shockingly regular basis. Hell, we couldn't even convict Robert Blake (you know him as Beretta, kids) of shooting his wife, and his alibi was that he was walking back to the bar to retrieve a gun he'd left there at the time of the murder. Of course, he could afford to say not much else and let a lawyer do the rest of the talking. So, no matter how stupid his excuse might have been, without physical evidence or a confession, police are going to have a tough time convicting anyone for any crime. Sure, some of the effectiveness of that strategy is going to be dependent upon the skill of your lawyer, but if we're talking about the difference between you saying something the law interprets as suspicious and you saying absolutely nothing to get yourself in hotter water than you deserve to be, having anyone with even a basic understanding of the law on hand to remind you to shut the fuck up should be all you need.
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At least she's nice about it.
Ah, but immediately lawyering up makes you look guilty, right? Maybe, but during the course of a murder investigation, especially one involving someone close to you, the list of things that might cause suspicion to be cast in your direction is an extremely long one. Anything from being seen arguing in public to simply having a respectably sized life insurance policy is usually enough to do the trick, and once the law makes that kind of connection, their focus on you will be intense, even if they're traveling down a completely incorrect path.
A great example is the case of Michael Morton. He was convicted of killing his wife in 1986 and spent 25 years in prison for the crime. He claimed he was at work and that an intruder must have been responsible. Not only did police refuse to believe Morton's story, but they actually withheld evidence that likely would have exonerated him. According to their theory, he killed his wife after she refused to have sex with him on his birthday.
A brutal crime waiting to happen.
In addition to the "at work" alibi, the couple's 3-year-old son witnessed the attack and said his father was definitely not present. There was also a bloody bandanna found near the scene that was never entered into evidence during the trial. When someone finally bothered testing it, they found DNA belonging to both Morton's wife and ... convicted killer Mark Norwood. He killed a second woman, Debra Baker, in almost the exact same way, two years after committing the crime that eventually led to Michael Morton wrongly serving a quarter of a century in prison.
Don't be Michael Morton. If someone you love is murdered, get a lawyer, stat. Unless you're guilty, of course. In that case just confess already before one of us takes the fall for your shenanigans.
Adam hosts a podcast called Unpopular Opinion that you should listen to on SoundCloud and a live stand-up comedy show of the same name that you should come see sometime if you're in the Los Angeles area. You should also be his friend on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.
For more closet psychos we've located, check out Everyday Life If One Crime Were Suddenly Legal.