Monday, January 23, 2012


For those of you who practice in Federal Court, there has been a noticeable focus on defendant's financial condition. First, it is a major topic during the pretrial services interview, ostensibly for purposes of considering release pending trial. However, I can never shake the feeling that it's real purpose is to set up the defendant for imposition of a fine or for recovering restitution if the defendant is convicted.

Second, there has been renewed focus on recovering restitution from defendants. While the government can literally follow you to the grave trying to civilly recover unpaid restitution, the efforts to collect during a defendant's period of supervised release have reached a new milestone. In the Western District of Wisconsin, the following has now become a condition of post incarceration release:

Special Condition 6: “Undergo at least one financial evaluation per year which may involve use of a polygraph, as approved by the supervising U.S. probation officer.”

Have we really reached the stage of using polygraphs ala sex offenders to verify a defendant's financial condition? Oh boy, one can only imagine what is next.

Hopefully my next post won't be quite as depressing.

P.S. Maybe this will allow defendant's to use polygraphs in a pre-emptive manner at non trial hearings. Sure, and I've got some moon rock for sale.