Tuesday, August 18, 2020

'Eyes for lies': The Intercept's Jordan Smith casts light on a training program featuring a self--styled human lie detector named Renee Ellory who calls herself “Eyes for Lies ” and claims she’s one of just 50 people identified by scientists as having the ability to spot deception “with exceptional accuracy." Too good to be true? Read on!

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: This Blog is interested in false confessions because of the disturbing number of exonerations in the USA, Canada and multiple other jurisdictions throughout the world, where, in the absence of incriminating forensic evidence the conviction is based on self-incrimination – and because of the growing body of  scientific research showing how vulnerable suspects are to widely used interrogation methods  such as  the notorious ‘Reid Technique.’ As  all too many of this Blog's post have shown, I also recognize that pressure for false confessions can take many forms, up to and including physical violence, even physical and mental torture.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog:


PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Investigative Journalist Jordan Smith is one of the finest analysts of America's criminal justice system.  She is in top form here, with her assessment of a program billed as "new tools for detecting deception' featuring a human lie detector  named Renee Ellory who calls herself “Eyes for Lies ” and claims she’s one of just 50 people identified by scientists as having the ability to spot deception “with exceptional accuracy." Too good to be true?  Read Jordan Smith's  entire article "The junk science cops use to decide you're lying" at the link below. Because it is rather lengthy I will only give you a taste.  The rest is up to you!

Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog.


STORY: "The Junk Science cops use  to decide you're lying," by investigative Reporter Jordan Smith, published bye The Intercept on August 12, 2020. (Per the intercept: "Jordan Smith is a state and national award-winning investigative journalist based in Austin, Texas. She has covered criminal justice for more than 20 years and, during that time, has developed a reputation as a resourceful and dogged reporter with a talent for analyzing complex social and legal issues. She is regarded as one of the best investigative reporters in Texas. A longtime staff writer for the Austin Chronicle, her work has also appeared in The Nation, the Crime Report, and Salon, among other places."

SUB-HEADING:  "Leaked documents detail law enforcement trainings in lie detection techniques  that have been discredited by science."

GIST: "Participants spanned the law enforcement spectrum and included the chief of a small police department, corrections officers, university cops, state troopers, various members of the Milwaukee Police Department as well as individuals from the U.S. Probation Office and the FBI. In surveys filled out after the training, which took place in November 2015, the common complaint was that there weren’t enough structured breaks; as one participant put it, “the mind can only absorb what the buttocks can tolerate.” But otherwise, a majority of the 82 respondents gave the training high marks. Participants wrote that they would incorporate what they’d learned into their police work. A number of them said the most valuable thing they learned was “the seven universal facial expressions that all people have all over the world as a good indicator” of lying, as one trainee put it.

It might seem reassuring that so many law enforcement officers found a skills training so valuable. But not in this case. That’s because Ellory’s lie detection training is based what many psychologists say are largely discredited theories, if not simply junk science. “It’s completely bogus,” said Jeff Kukucka, an assistant professor of psychology and law at Towson University who studies forensic confirmation bias, interrogations, and false confessions. “And what’s maybe more alarming about it … is that this isn’t new. We’ve known for quite a while that this stuff doesn’t work, but it’s still being peddled as if it does.”
The BlueLeaks documents contain numerous flyers for trainings offered to police agencies across the country. Many of them promote methods of interviewing and interrogation, lie detection, and detecting “danger,” such as Ellory’s, that rest on unsteady scientific ground and have been linked to false confessions and wrongful convictions. The documents offer a window into how various training methods perpetuate myths — subjective, hunch-based approaches to interpreting human behavior that are unreliable and have been discredited by leading psychologists — that police are then encouraged to use in crime solving."

The entire story can be read at:

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic"  section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com.  Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;
FINAL WORD:  (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases):  "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices."
Lawyer Radha Natarajan:
Executive Director: New England Innocence Project;