The Use of Polygraphs: The Denver Broncos

No lie: Broncos keeping Kircus
By Mike Chambers
Denver Post Staff Writer
Posted: 05/30/2007 01:00:00 AM MDT

Broncos receiver David Kircus won’t lose his job over the incident that led to his May 21 arrest for second-degree assault, coach Mike Shanahan said Tuesday.

Shanahan said Kircus passed a polygraph test Friday and the coach said he believes the receiver acted in self-defense in a fistfight with a Centennial man in the early morning hours of May 20.

“David came to me and said, ‘Hey, Coach, I guarantee I did not take the first swing. I defended myself. I probably used poor judgment, being at the wrong place at the wrong time.’

“I said, ‘Well, David, I’ll give you a chance to take a lie-detector test,’ and he wanted to do that. And he passed it with flying colors, so he will be on our football team,” Shanahan said.

Kircus is accused of assaulting Jeff Krieger, 26, in the driveway of Krieger’s home in the 8200 block of South Krameria Way at 3:27 a.m. on May 20. Krieger suffered multiple facial fractures. Kircus was charged with second-degree assault, a Class 4 felony, which carries a minimum mandatory sentence of five years in prison and a range of up to 16 years.

Shanahan said an FBI agent – “someone that does it for a living” – administered the polygraph test.

“That’s fair enough for me,” Shanahan said. “When your career is based on if it comes out positive or negative, I get a good feeling he defended himself.”

Most courts question the reliability of polygraph tests and will not allow them as evidence. But Denver-area attorney H. Michael Steinberg said there is a big difference between passing a test and passing it with “flying colors,” as Shanahan stated it.

“The examiner will tell you that you passed, but he’s the only one that knows to the true extent, by how much of a margin,” Steinberg said. “When you’re talking about flying colors, there is no doubt that you were telling the truth. I believe in these tests.”

Kircus is represented by attorney Harvey Steinberg, who is not related to H. Michael Steinberg. It’s not the first time the Broncos have used a polygraph test on players, college or pro.

“It’s been very good for us over the years, or at least my experience over the years,” Shanahan said.

And what about those who have flunked? “They weren’t with us,” Shanahan said.

Kircus declined comment.

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