By Eliza Sanders, Marketing —
Jeffrey Deskovic, founder of the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, was wrongly convicted of first-degree rape and murder and served a prison sentence for the crimes. At the time, he did not realize he was a suspect, as he constantly visited the police to give them information about his classmate, the victim. He then describes a polygraph test that he was given in which he was harassed and bullied by the polygrapher to the point of tears. He was yelled at, his personal space was invaded and was told that he had failed his test, so he should just confess. He maintained through all of it that he was innocent, although the experience left him traumatized. When DNA testing came back as someone else some years later, he was exonerated and released from prison.
It is unfortunate that a great tool, like polygraphing, can be abused this way. The one being tested is at the mercy of whatever agenda the one giving the test may have. In a perfect world, that agenda would always be professionalism. But unfortunately, people can be corrupted, even those in positions of authority.
While it is impossible to say if this was the case with Jeffrey, as we only have his accounting and not the police officers who were involved, it does raise doubts. How could one pass a polygraph test if they were pumped full of coffee and being yelled at in close proximity? Was it impartial? Was it objective? A jury hearing this recounting might be skeptical of such a test’s results.
A new form of lie detection, called EyeDetect, would address this problem. EyeDetect is a computer-based system that tracks eye movements to find deception. An examinee would sit in front of a computer screen, be presented with a serious of pre-determined questions that they would read and reply true or false to. While there is a test proctor watching them to ensure compliance, they are otherwise uninvolved in the whole process. After the test is taken, it is scored by a computer algorithm, free from bias. It is quick, straightforward and painless.
This method is nice to consider when we recognize that the truth about lie detection is that the person asking the questions can also be a liar.