COA affirms child-molesting convictions despite polygraph exam dispute

A Clay County man’s child molesting conviction was upheld on Wednesday despite his argument that the results from his polygraph test shouldn’t have been admitted as evidence.

A panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed in Brice Holden v. State of Indiana, 19A-CR-01795, where Brice Holden was convicted of Level 4 felony child molesting.

Holden, who stated he didn’t commit the crime during a polygraph test conducted by law enforcement, was ultimately convicted and sentenced to 12 years with an additional 12-year habitual offender enhancement, after his test indicated that he had given deceptive responses.

After the polygraph examiner who conducted the exam on Holden testified and acknowledged on cross-examination that polygraph examinations were “not an exact science,” Holden raised a hearsay objection to the examiner’s testimony regarding what quality controls were done on his polygraph examinations.

The Clay Circuit Court overruled Holden’s objection, however, and the appellate court later affirmed on the finding that the trial court did not commit fundamental error when it admitted the stipulated results of Holden’s polygraph examination report into evidence.

“Contrasting his case with (State v. Wroe, 16 N.E.3d 462, 466 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied), Holden contends that the admission of the polygraph report here constituted fundamental error because the prosecutor did not agree to forgo investigating him if he passed the polygraph, and, thus, there was no ‘valid consideration, necessary for the formation of a valid contract’ in the Agreed Stipulation (for Polygraph Examination),” Judge Patricia Riley wrote for the appellate court.

“We disagree that Wroe established a threshold for the adequacy of the consideration necessary to support a valid stipulated agreement … Had Holden passed the polygraph, he would have been able to offer the results into evidence at trial without any objection by the State. Holden does not address this provision of the Agreed Stipulation which was sufficient consideration for the formation of a valid contract between him and the State, regardless of the lack of any additional promise on the part of the prosecutor to (forgo) further investigation if Holden had passed the polygraph,” the panel held.

In addition to finding that the admission of the polygraph report did not deprive Holden of a fair trial meriting reversal, the appellate court likewise found no abuse of the trial court’s discretion when it admitted the certified polygraph examiner’s non-hearsay testimony over Holden’s hearsay objection.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets on
{{ count_down }}