RM160: Polygraphs: The Truth Behind The Myths

RM160 is an exciting episode. We were joined by Brian Von Behren. Brian is the individual who challenged Colorado on their use of the polygraph. He asserted that he cannot be compelled to answer potentially incriminating questions as a condition of supervision. Brian was ultimately victorious in the Tenth Circuit.

[2:00] Listener question regarding transferring supervision to another state

[7:58] Brian Von Behren on Sex Offender Supervision Polygraphs

[54:07] Listener question regarding sexual history polygraphs

[58:24] Hope vs. Indiana Seventh Circuit 2021

Read Transcript of RM160: Polygraphs: The Truth Behind The Myths



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7 thoughts on “RM160: Polygraphs: The Truth Behind The Myths

  1. If the use of the snake oil technology which is the polygraph was done away with by the 10th circuit for those who are on supervision, then will there be a similar action taken in the Ninth Circuit and other parts of the country where people who are under supervision are still being subjected to this nonsense? I’ve taken quite a few of these tests (and passed them all) since I’ve been on probation and it just seems to be another form of harassment which blatantly violates rights supposedly protected by the Constitution.
    Not only that, but since the polygraphs are not 100% accurate, a fact that many polygraphists attest to, then why even do it? They are not even accepted by the courts, so basically, doing this is just a waste of time and a waste of money for everyone involved…well, except for the polygraph techs who are making decent money doing this.

    • Thanks for posting – I agree with you entirely. But with one or two little caveats: While on supervision, you do have a diminished expectation of your constitutional rights. For example, your search and seizure rights aren’t “gone”, but they are definitely reduced.
      The second piece, is absolutely – they’re garbage. Slightly better than a coin-toss. But if you go sit down for the “interview” and you confess to all of the things you’ve done wrong, then the machine did it’s job of intimidating you into confessing. The objective of the machine is to make sure you remain in compliance. And you step all over yourself, and tell on yourself, then it has done it’s job.

      I don’t agree with it and think it’s total garbage. But I have hard time arguing with that aspect.

  2. Thank you for making this podcast available. I also was very disturbed by the sex offender questionnaire that I was required to fill out prior to my own polygraph. After completing it , I went the next week and took my polygraph test. The gentleman who took the test conducts all the tests in my region along with his wife. When I questioned him about the ridiculousness of the questionnaire he informed me that the questionnaire (apparently the same one others are having to complete)was developed by the doctor who canceled Jeffrey Dahmer. So apparently, any of us on the registry are now considered equal with this flesh-eating maniac. If this doesn’t demonstrate a lack of strategy in dealing with people with minor or one-time mistakes. Nothing does. Another interesting question I received after the polygraph was finished by the person administering the test was whether I masturbated. I am formed this gentleman that the test was over and I obviously passed and I could not see how in the hell that question could be relevant. My assumption is simply he was getting off on asking.

    • It’s ridiculous. It’s total junk / crap science. And I think we need to get the rest of the PFRs to fight back in one form or another. We stop this when we fight back. Not enough of us are fighting. Not just the PFRs, but the ones that are in our immediate circles.

      • You are right. Not enough are fighting back, but the sad thing about fighting back is that, sadly, it typically takes a lot of money to fight back. I think many people are so fed up with things that they are willing to speak out, but when it comes to having the financial resources needed to do so, not many people have those resources available.

        • I accept that. It does take mountains of money. But thinking to recent presidential candidates, Sanders received something in the $20 range from each donor. This applies to “us” too. We the PFRs would be able to contribute single digit dollars. But in the masses, we’d have thousands of dollars to let an organization like NARSOL pull the resources to mount larger challenges. Just like the Butts County, GA case. NARSOL funded that with the donations from it’s members across the country

  3. Check out this ebook and site: https://antipolygraph.org/

    I’ve taken two polygraphs in my life: one before being on the registry and one as part of my conviction. Both went the same.
    Unreadable! Turns out if you answer the first ten questions truthfully (they want you to tell little white lies about the control questions).
    They came back and said in both cases my results were indeterminate since I answered the control questions truthfully.

    Read the ebook. You can stop every future polygraph in its tracks.

    The other issue is that code of professional ethics for psychologists and psychiatrists requires that everything they do be based on sound science. Therefore, since the polygraph is NOT sound science, it’s absolute junk, they should lose their license for using it.

    The last one I took was administered by a young punk SBI agent who was a real a-hole. He followed the exact script from the ebook above and everything went exactly as described. I’ll never take another one. Just remember, you can answer “yes” to the control
    questions, just DON’T expand on it. Just say “yes.”

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