J.B. VS. NEW JERSEY STATE PAROLE BOARD/ L.A. VS. NEW JERSEY STATE PAROLE BOARD/ B.M. VS. NEW JERSEY STATE PAROLE BOARD/ W.M. VS. NEW JERSEY STATE PAROLE BOARD/ R.L. VS. NEW JERSEY STATE PAROLE BOARD
Appellants and intervenor Public Defender challenge the practices of the New Jersey State Parole Board in administering polygraph examinations periodically to released sex offenders who are subject to either parole supervision for life ("PSL") or its statutory predecessor, community supervision for life ("CSL"), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6.4. The challengers argue that such polygraphs violate their rights under various provisions of the United States and New Jersey Constitutions. They also contend that the agency's use of polygraphs, which have been declared unreliable evidence in our courts of law, is unreasonable, arbitrary, and capricious.
Based upon the extensive record of factual and expert testimony in hearings conducted before the trial court pursuant to our referral under Rule 2:5-5(b), we reject appellants' categorical attempt to invalidate all polygraph testing conducted by the Parole Board. We find ample support in the record for the trial court's finding that such testing reasonably can assist parole officers and treatment professionals in making better-informed decisions as to supervision and treatment.
Our validation of polygraph testing in this discrete PSL/CSL context is subject to certain important provisos. Given persisting concerns about polygraph accuracy, we conclude that the Parole Board may not use machine-generated "technical" polygraph results in any evidential manner to support imposing sanctions or increased restrictions on the monitored individuals. That does not, however, preclude the evidential use of the substance of any admissions or other statements made by the offenders at a polygraph session.
We also hold that the Parole Board must enhance its regulations and practices to safeguard an offender's right to invoke his constitutional privilege against self-incrimination in responding to any questions