Indiana man sentenced to 8 months in prison for teaching polygraph-beating methods

A polygraph instructor has been sentenced to eight months in prison for teaching federal job applicants how to deceive a lie detector test. The case has raised concerns over the First Amendment and the legitimacy of polygraph results.

Chad Dixon of Marion, Indiana pleaded guilty last year to wire
fraud and obstructing a government proceeding with his business,
Polygraph Consultants of America. Prosecutors initially sought a
two-year sentence for Dixon, whom they said should be sent a
strong message” for knowingly teaching polygraph
counter-measures to federal job applicants and criminal
suspects.

Assistant US Attorney Anthony Philips told the court that Dixon
trained between 70 and 100 people, including convicted sex
offenders and government contractors with security clearance, how
to get away with lying. Philips claimed Dixon knew that his
customers – who paid Dixon $1,000 a day – were seeking advice on
how to deceive federal agents, constituting a federal
crime.

He adopted their illegitimate ends as their own,” Philips
said. “Mr. Dixon chose to enrich himself by teaching others
how to convincingly lie, cheat and steal
.”

But defense attorney Nina Ginsberg asserted that Dixon’s actions
were protected by the First Amendment, and that his only crime
was explicitly telling his former customers that they should lie
about receiving his help.

It may be unfortunate for federal law enforcement…but it
protected speech to tell people how to lie on a polygraph
,”
Ginsberg said. “Mr. Dixon gave them advice. He didn’t know
they were going to follow that advice
.”

Dixon wrote in court papers that he had turned to polygraph
instruction when his work as an electrician dried up. He told the
judge he regretted his action, saying that he was motivated to
enter the field by the polygraph’s notorious unreliability,
despite its widespread use.

Police interviews conducted on a polygraph are generally
inadmissible in a criminal trial and scholars have argued for 50
years that measuring a person’s blood pressure, pulse, and
perspiration does not necessarily prove if they are being
dishonest. A 1988 Supreme Court ruling declared, “There is
simply no consensus that polygraph evidence is reliable
.”
One of Dixon’s customers was a Virginia man convicted of a sex
crime who had to undergo polygraph tests as part of his
probation. He failed seven consecutive tests before signing up
with Dixon, but passed three tests immediately after receiving
his instruction.

Dixon told the court that his training method simply taught
people how to relax when they were being questioned and silently
count backward in increments of three on other questions, among
other simple techniques.

I couldn’t believe that this was enough to produce truthful
charts
,” he said, confessing that the ease of the training
provided “a false sense of security as to what I was
doing
.”

District Judge Liam O’Grady sympathized with Dixon, admitting
the gray areas” between simply sharing knowledge with
someone, which is constitutionally protected, and intentionally
seeking to deceive the government. 

There’s nothing unlawful about maybe 95 percent of the
business he conducted
,” the judge said. However, he added
that “a sentence of incarceration is absolutely necessary to
deter others
.”

Republished from: RT