“ETHICS COMPLAINT: Polygraph Expert: Test Inconclusive”

Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Frank Geary reports on a polygraph “test” that the Review-Journal paid Nevada polygrapher Dick Putnam to administer to Gene Smith, a fired Clark County, Nevada employee who has filed an ethics complaint “accusing Clark County Commissioner Erin Kenny of conspiring to break into the county administration building to copy records in an attempt to hurt Commissioner Mary Kincaid’s re-election chances.”

Results of Smith’s test were inconclusive, according to a report released Monday by the examiner, Dick Putnam, a Reno area resident who performed polygraph tests for 16 years for the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department and who state courts recognize as an expert in the field.

The test, which lasted about three hours, was performed at a downtown Las Vegas law office and only Putnam and Smith were in the room at the time.

Smith’s results don’t indicate whether he was being truthful in his allegations against Kenny, Putnam said. Five percent to 10 percent of polygraph tests come back with inconclusive results, which can occur if a subject is nervous or if the questions are poorly worded, according to polygraph experts outside Nevada. Experts say such results can also occur when the subject is being deceptive.

“The charts obtained from two separate sets of questions were not adequate to support any opinion with regard to (Smith’s) truthfulness,” Putnam said. “Why inconclusive results occur has been studied, but no one has been able to come up with an answer.”

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