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Peoria City Councilman takes polygraph – says he did not hit wife

Peoria (WEEK) – A Polygraph Examiner says he believes Peoria City Councilman Zach Oyler spoke truthfully when stating he didn’t hit his wife.

Specifically, the results showed he had “no significant emotional disturbances indicative of deception” while taking a polygraph test.

Court documents were filed by his attorney Robert Hanauer on Tuesday.  Oyler, who was arrested on July 30th, is facing allegations of domestic violence.

The document said Oyler requested the polygraph examination.

From that report, when asked, “Did you come straight home after leaving work?” Oyler answered , “No”

To the question, “Did you physically strike or hit your wife Heather?” Oyler answered, “No”

The document said that Oyler plans to testify in his defense.

It also is asking the court to admit the polygraph as evidence in the case.

The document said the reasoning for this is to “corroborate the testimony of a witness at trial.”  The document highlights “the corroborative testimony of the polygraph examiner is critical in Zach’s Sixth Amendment right to present his defense to these extremely serious charges.”

Local attorney Shaun Cusack, who is not affiliated with the case, said it is very rare for a polygraph to be used in the courtroom.

“Never seen one in front of a jury that’s for sure. If anything it may come out in a pre-trial stage when you’re trying to argue motions to suppress or eliminate certain types of evidence. It may come in to corroborate somebody’s testimony.” said Cusack

The test was conducted by licensed Polygraph Examiner Steve Woody on September 12th.

In his report Woody said, “In the professional opinion of the Examiner based solely on the polygraph record, Zach told the truth regarding all relevant questions.”

Cusack said Illinois is one of eight states that allows results from a scientific technique in court only if it is generally accepted as reliable by the scientific community. This is known as the Frye Standard.

“They haven’t been proven to be scientifically infallible yet and that’s the test the polygraph has continually, since its inception, been up against.” said Cusack

Cusack said if deemed admissible it could hold a lot of weight in trial as what he called an emotional eye witness.

“The lie detector would report to expose a man’s inner feelings about a question and whether or not they’re accurate and I think that can be very persuasive, especially if you have the persons testimony and it’s backed up with something.” said Cusack

Zach Oyler pleaded not guilty on September 11th in court. He is charged with domestic battery and interfering with the reporting of domestic violence.

His trial is set for January 13th. Oyler will be in court again on October 13th for a status hearing.


Kaitlin Pearson

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