Submit ZIP Code

Got a Quick Question?

(120 characters remaining)
100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Court: Massachusetts Police Must Take Lie Detector Tests

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled this week that police involved in internal investigations may be forced to take lie detector tests. The decision clarifies a law prohibiting employers from pressuring employees to submit to polygraph testing during criminal investigations, noting that cases involving potentially criminal actions are not protected by the restriction.

According to, the decision comes from a case involving Officer Kevin J. Furtado, who was accused in 1999 of sexually abusing two minor children. Before the county charged Furtado with any criminal offenses, though, the children’s mother reportedly announced that the accusations were unfounded.

Though the case bypassed criminal court, sources indicate that the county initiated an internal departmental investigation.

During the course of that investigation, Furtado evidently refused to take a lie detector test, citing a law that bars employers from pressing their workers into submitting to such tests. But it seems Furtado’s boss preferred to play it safe and refused to let Furtado come back to work until he took the test.

Furtado apparently refused the lie detector test because of a state law that permits such tests specifically in criminal investigations. Because he was never officially charged with any criminal offenses, Furtado’s criminal defense allegedly argued, the department could not force him to take the test.

The Patriot Ledger notes that, once he was promised that the results of the polygraph couldn’t be used as evidence in a criminal case against him, Furtado agreed to submit to the test. The results, according to reports, were inconclusive, which means that no disciplinary action was taken. Furtado then sued the county for violating his rights, but saw his case dismissed by two courts.

And the Supreme Court, too, disagreed with Furtado’s reasoning. In its decision, the Justices indicated that any investigation of criminal behavior could justify a lie detector test, whether or not an actual criminal case was likely to be initiated.

Additionally, the Court noted in its decision that requiring law enforcement officials to submit to lie detection tests is in the best interests of law enforcement as a unit, and so is not protected by the employer/employee lie detection ban, and does not require that formal criminal charges be brought against the test-taker.

The Court reportedly also mentioned that the results of lie detector tests from departmental investigations of officers cannot be used as evidence in criminal court.

PAID ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENT: THIS WEB SITE IS A GROUP ADVERTISEMENT AND THE PARTICIPATING ATTORNEYS ARE INCLUDED BECAUSE THEY PAY AN ADVERTISING FEE. It is not a lawyer referral service or prepaid legal services plan. Total Criminal Defense is not a law firm. Your request for contact will be forwarded to the local lawyer who has paid to advertise in the ZIP code you provide. Total Criminal Defense does not endorse or recommend any lawyer or law firm who participates in the network. It does not make any representation and has not made any judgment as to the qualifications, expertise or credentials of any participating lawyer. No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. The information contained herein is not legal advice. Any information you submit to Total Criminal Defense may not be protected by attorney-client privilege. All photos are of models and do not depict clients. All case evaluations are performed by participating attorneys. To see the attorney in your area who is responsible for this advertisement, please click here or call 866-200-8052.

FLORIDA ONLY: Total Criminal Defense is considered a lawyer referral service in the state of Florida under the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct. By all other standards, Total Criminal Defense is a group advertisement and not a lawyer referral service.

If you live in Florida, Mississippi, Missouri, New York or Wyoming, please click here