NACVSA Exposes Inaccuracies of Polygraph Tests

According to the National Association of Computer Voice Stress Analysts (NACVSA), a disturbing trend has been exposed involving innocent people failing polygraph examinations and then being interrogated until they confess. Had it not been for the advent of DNA evidence and other advanced investigative technologies many of the thousands of people who failed polygraphs and were later wrongly convicted of crimes would spend their lives in prison, or worse, have been executed.

The Associated Press reported that Jeffery Deskovic was wrongly convicted for murder and spent 16 years in prison. He had voluntarily taken a polygraph test which lasted seven-hours and was told he failed. He was on the floor in the fetal position when detectives took his confession. In 2006 DNA evidence cleared him and so far this egregious error has cost the government close to 14 million dollars in awards to Deskovic.

The AP also reported that an innocent Darrel Parker was sentenced to life in prison for his wife’s murder. Hours after his wife’s funeral, Parker was summoned to the police station where he was subjected to a 12- hour polygraph examination. The polygraph operator stated Parker failed the test and then coerced a confession from him. Parker’s conviction was overturned by a federal appeals court 16 years later and he received a full pardon.

Frank Sterling was a “person of interest” in a murder investigation and he agreed to take a polygraph test from the New York State Police. Mark Christie was another ‘person of interest’ in the same case and also took a polygraph. Christie passed the polygraph but Sterling failed. Police then coerced a confession from Sterling. Sterling was convicted and spent 22 years in prison. Ironically, Christie, who was the actual killer and passed the polygraph, went on to kill four-year-old Kali Ann Poulton. After his conviction for Kali’s murder, he confessed to the murder Sterling was found guilty of after failing a polygraph.

In addition to many innocent people being wrongfully sent to prison because of failing the polygraph, in 2008 the Associated Press reported that the federal government admitted the polygraph test could be easily beaten using simple techniques. Many criminals have done just that. Nonetheless, federal agents then began arresting individuals teaching the simple steps to defeat the polygraph, which were publicly available on the Internet.

According to an article published in Law and Order, the Computer Voice Stress Analyzer (CVSA) is far superior to the error-prone polygraph, and the CVSA is now being used by over 2,000 law enforcement agencies worldwide including those in Atlanta, Nashville, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Miami as well as the California Highway Patrol and the US Federal Courts.

According to the NACVSA, serious questions remain about the 100-year old polygraph device and its well documented high error rate. For instance, why do the US Departments of Justice and Defense continue to support the polygraph when the CVSA has been scientifically proven to be the most accurate truth verification tool available in the world and is available today?