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GA: Can’t pay for a lie detector test? For one man that could mean jail

A North Georgia homeless man may go to prison for 18 months because he cannot come up with $250 to take a court-ordered polygraph test.

Such a move would seem to violate a U.S. Supreme Court ruling declaring it unconstitutional to jail someone for failing to pay a fee or fine. But the man’s attorney, McCracken Poston, said the state Department Community of Supervision is nonetheless pushing for the punishment.

“It’s crazy,” Poston told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, saying his client, Robert Murphy, has been unable to find a job since he was convicted of a sex offense and had recently been living under a bridge that spans the South Chickamauga Creek. Full Article

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  1. Eric Knight

    And yet, he doesn’t have to register as a sex offender. He’s actually in far better shape than the average registrant, though his plight is still horrible. I’m not trying to make light of his situation, but compare it to having to register.

  2. kat

    Read the latest WAR blog, registrants chances for employment are sabotaged on a daily basis.
    The governmental barriers for sex offenders who have served their time and are trying to find jobs are ridiculous.
    And then, to add insult to injury, the government expects those who they have forced into joblessness to pay fees for registry, polygraphs, sex offender treatment, etc, with money they don’t have or be locked up, again.
    This guy is sleeping out in the cold, eating food out of cans and the government still insists on reaching into his pockets to try and make a buck.
    Our government is seriously twisted. It’s sick. It’s cruel and unusual punishment. The registry needs a complete overhaul. Maybe now that so many in Politicians and Hollywood stars of fame and fortune are being accused of sex abuse, maybe now the Registry, will get a second look.
    We can’t very well have all those powerful and well off people being labeled registrants, now can we?
    Oh, silly me, they’re called “sex addicts” and go to fancy resorts for “treatment” of their Non-DSM-V illness. Meanwhile, John Q. Public gets labeled “violent sex offender” gets thrown in jail or prison where they receive no treatment at all. Then when they get out they are forced to participate in treatment that they have to pay for. They get arrested for failure to pay fines, because they can’t find minimum wage jobs to pay for treatment, registry fees or polygraphs that aren’t even admissible in courts anymore.
    It’s just sad.

  3. mike r

    Agreed Kat, this is getting close to Nazism and the Japanese internment camps, and is definitely worse then McCarthyism, oligarchy, feudalism, dictatorship, slavery and many other disgusting gov. entities and actions. It’s also tbe definition of demagoguery.

  4. Dustin

    Will be approaching this problem myself. The PO-selected polygrapher here refuses to test me because I had the nerve to complain when I “passed” their first stupid test and they submitted someone else’s “failed” test to my PO. Admin error they say they fixed. I wanted proof in writing since I can’t view my probation file and they won’t provide it. Nor will they give me the test I paid for, eventually claiming (falsely) it falls under HIIPA. When I submitted formal complaints to the state probation department, the BBB, and every polygraph agency they are a member of (all ignored), they got the PO to lean on me to back off. Only did because I can’t afford a lawyer.

    My next test, I told the tester that I wanted a note made that there was reason to believe the results were predetermined. After a little more confrontation, I “passed” his stupid test despite his best efforts (confining the space sat in, long pauses between questions, etc.). Afterward, the polygrapher said his company wouldn’t test me any more because I obviously don’t trust them. Go figure.

    Now, my problem. I’m due again in January and all the cheapest I’ve found is around $500. No way I can come up with that – could barely raise the $225 the other clowns wanted. Tried to bring the matter to my PO at my last check-ins, but he wasn’t there and won’t answer my texts. Not sure how this is going to play out. Currently trying to put my case together for a revocation hearing, but not sure how to have it available to me if I end up back in county.

    • Mike S


      Your story annoys me to no end!! I was in group with a guy that the POs hated because he stood up to them and acted like a amature lawyer. They gave him TWO groups a week and quarterly polys. $365 a month in PO and Group fees with a $300 a quarter Polygraph. That ~$5,500 a year in POST legal fees to live. Worst part was we are in PA and he was a NJ transfer with lifetime probation.

      As you all know the end of this story, he was violated for being cut from group for failing a poly based on deception on the question of viewing porn. Denied it up and down and spent the usual 30-45 days in county. He was not allowed back at the group and was sent elsewhere. Here is the part that I think you might like.

      I ended up in a similar situation and was tossed from group for filing a Right to Know petition with the State. I wanted to see what the Group submitted to the State to be on the approved list of providers. I received a packet with a bunch of BS right off the ATSA website. Some parts were word for word.

      Shortly after I received this packet, I was notified by my PO that the Group is releasing me because they believe that they can no longer provide me services because I don’t trust them. Again, this is only through my PO because I have not seen any paperwork from the Group. PO, at the time, was a good guy and did not violate me. Told me that he has been sending RCs to this new group and I was quickly enrolled.

      Now, back to the guy who got tossed, he was in the New Group and had a story to tell one night in the parking lot…..

      Turns out that after his remand waiting for his “gag 2” hearing that he was visited by his PO. Now, he was not represented. She told him that she will recommend time served on the technical if he showed up to court and just accepted it. He agreed.

      In court, the judge, who is same judge I had, had some questions for the RC. And the RC answered all of them in great detail. Needless to say, the judges in most areas do not have any idea what happens after they send you on your way. This judge found out the abuse that the RC was under. Having 20 more days inside with a pencil and legal pad did not help the case for the PO and the Group facilitators.

      This was 4 years ago and, from what I heard from people that were still in the original Group, a lot of people were moved out by the “good” POs.

      Not sure if this helps or inflames your situation but document everything as well as you can because it could save your liberty.

      Oh, I forgot to mention. I called the Right to Know dept for PA and asked them their policy on anonymity for filer. Their response was that all requests were anonymous. I dug deeper and requested all of the paperwork surrounding my request and it turns out that they had no access to the information on the Group facilitator so they just forwarded my request to the owner, with all my contact info on the it. Took about a year and a strongly worded letter from my lawyer, but I finally found out why I was dismissed!

      • Dustin

        Mike S,

        There is no Right to Know department in Georgia, and if there were, it wouldn’t apply to my probation file anyway. Parole and probation files here are classified state secrets and parolees/probationers aren’t allowed to view them in whole or in part.

        My thing about the polygraphs (aside from their inaccuracy) is the company won’t give me the results. I consider it a commerce issue – I am the customer, I paid for it, they require my written consent to distribute to the probation office and treatment provider. It’s not medical information – all questions are oriented toward probation term compliance. Therefore, in my view, it’s my property. Nothing short of sledgehammer induced hypnosis will convince me that the reason the company won’t give me the results is to keep me from showing their findings are either arbitrary or ordered by the probation office.

        • Mike s

          I think what probation and tr polygraph company is more afraid is that you take the “test” that you paid for and passed and assert it in court as an indicator that you are in compliance and the test shows that you do not pose a threat to the general public or yourself.

          Since probation and treatment full the coffers of the polygraph companies, the last thing any of them want is Dustin off of probation before they get their full revenue.

        • Dustin

          Mike S,

          Have 13 years left on paper and a judge that would hang every accused (much less convicted) SO if he had the option, so coming off probation early is unlikely at best. My best hope for that is the judge retires when I become eligible and hinges on who replaces him.

          Decided if I end up in a revocation hearing, I’m going to turn it into a crusade against polygraphy and force the court to answer how it can order* SOs to take polygraphs while denying its reliability in any other kind of case. Pretty sure that’s a can of worms they’d rather not open.

          Compounding the problem is that the group leader wants to raise my fee from $15 to $40 a week. Told her that’s impossible – I only make about $320 per week. $270 goes to rent and child support and I cannot and will not give her 40 of the remaining 50. Her only response was “Well, try.” Going to tell her when I see her next that if she can’t or won’t leave the fee at $15 she’s just going to have to kick me out and I’ll pick it up with the court later.

          I don’t think the two problems are inter-related, but wouldn’t be surprised if they were. She often crows about what great and wonderful Americans the POs and polygraphers are and is either unwilling or unable to see that they act completely different around her than around us. Would be less than shocking if she were the same way.

          * A proxy order – they normally don’t order them directly; they order the SO to complete a PO-approved program, but won’t approve a program unless it requires polygraphs. Pretty sure there’s a time requirement as well, to circumvent a Georgia law that requires probation to go inactive (reporting only) after 2 years unless the PO can show cause to continue on active. A hearing is statutorily mandated, but the PO slips a waiver into their terms. Already prepared to argue that the hearing is a legislative requirement and not subject to waiver by the probationer.

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