Exoneree Deskovic wins round in suit against polygraphist

In February, I posted an article here about how the polygraph is often used to induce false confessions. One of the most outrageous examples of that was the case of Jeffrey Deskovic. Deskovic spent almost 16 years in prison before he was released in 2006 after testing matched DNA found on the victim identified the real killer, who pleaded guilty to the crime in 2007.

As reported here, Deskovic has already donated about $1.5 million from the money he was awarded in two court cases he filed after his release to start the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice to promote awareness of wrongful convictions and related issues.

Now Deskovic is focusing attention on the misuse of polygraphs in criminal investigations, starting with his own case. As reported here, a federal judge has refused to dismiss Deskovic’s claim that the investigator who administered the lie-detector test that prompted his false confession violated his rights.

According to Deskovic, the investigator told him that he had failed the polygraph test and then said, “You just told me within yourself, through the polygraph results, that you committed (the murder). All we want you to do is verbalize it.” After more intimidation and manipulation, Deskovic acceded to the investigator’s request.

Sadly, investigators still use the polygraphs in this fashion to get confessions. I am currently investigating a case in which a high-school dropout with a low IQ confessed to a crime after being told the polygraph proved he was guilty. No matter how many false confessions involving the polygraph are exposed, police continue to use it as a tool to obtain confessions from young or easily manipulated individuals.

4 responses to “Exoneree Deskovic wins round in suit against polygraphist

  1. Did he pass the test and the polygraph tester lied to him that he failed? Or, did he fail the test, and the polygraph tester just went with it and pushed harder? Either way I believe polygraphs to be junk science, but I would like some clarification on this point. It could influence what direction my arguments take when I discuss this with other people. Thanks.

    • Deskovic apparently failed the exam. But the polygraphist used the type of test most top polygraphists don’t use because it is considered less accurate. But exam results are only as good as the polygraphist, and many polygraphists ask questions in a confrontational style that produce a reaction the polygraph will interpret as a sign of deception. On top of that, there is no scientific basis for belief that what the polygraph looks for is a true measure of deception.

  2. Mr. Yantz, thanks for covering this and for the update. I also had the pleasure of taking the test due to being a passenger of a stolen vehicle ( I thought the driver was test driving like he said). An officer took me out of a cell, gave me my wallet & said to find $75 bucks to pay for the exam. The polygraphist ( who was an ex-cop) left me handcuffed while asking questions and said “you are not being truthful you know something about the case”. I asked him how long has he been taking $75 bucks from inmates at 4 in the morning? Taking back to cell, where I told everyone to save their money, it’s a trick. No one else took the bait while I was there.

    Same cop took me out of cell and drove me to my apt. gave me 30 mins to put all of my belongings in parkinglot, drove me back.
    About a week later, let out of jail at 3 AM, broke, jobless & homeless. Lack of Evidence & no one (not even my attorney / lawyer knew a darn thing about the 3 AM testing, the eviction or why I was forced to spend the exact amount of money in my wallet.

    *Folks, don’t get in vehicles that are not yours and or a family member. Don’t pay for any Test without getting an attorney involved even if they snatch you out of a cell and stand over you.

    Sir, if you ever find yourself in the great state of confusion aka: Texas and are need of anything from gas to an extra hand I’m your man 24/7 365. Good luck in the investigation mentioned earlier.
    Thanks.
    Thomas R. Griffith

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