How much does it cost American taxpayers when polygraph is used in a criminal investigation? Members of a federal court jury in Putnam County, N.Y., decided Thursday it would cost them millions.
Jurors awarded Jeffrey Deskovic $40 million, according to one news report, after finding that ex-Putnam Sheriff’s Investigator Daniel Stephens fabricated evidence and coerced Deskovic’s false confession to the 1989 murder and rape of a Peekskill High School classmate. A pre-trial agreement, however, will limit the payout to $10 million.
The verdict comes almost eight years after DNA evidence proved Deskovic, now 41, was not involved in the crime. As far as I’m concerned, the most interesting aspect of this story can be found in a single paragraph:
The federal jury found that Stephens fabricated the ejaculation statement and, through his aggressive, hours-long polygraph examination, coerced Deskovic into confessing when he was interrogated again by Peekskill Detective Thomas McIntyre. Jurors also found Stephens conspired with detectives to violate Deskovic’s constitutional rights.
Why the interest on my part? Because Deskovic’s wrongful conviction was one of several I highlighted in my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo.
To understand everything I’ve uncovered about the polygraph and other credibility assessment technologies, order a copy of The Clapper Memo.