Caleb Beames reports for television station KTRE on the case of a probationer in Texas who has been sentenced to eight years in prison, largely on the ground that she failed three polygraph screening interrogations. Such judicial reliance on polygraph outcomes is entirely inappropriate, because polygraphy has no scientific basis:
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – A former Huntington teacher who was convicted in 2008 for having an improper relationship with a 17-year-old received an eight-year prison sentence Thursday morning for violating the conditions of her probation.
During Thursday’s probation revocation hearing in the 217th Judicial District Court, the only person that took the stand was a polygraph expert who testified that Melissa Williams failed three separate polygraph tests.
Friends and family of Melissa Williams on Wednesday described the former Huntington ISD teacher as a good person that was working hard to get her life back on track after being convicted in 2008 for having an improper relationship with a 17 year-old.
Williams, 46, of Conroe, was given probation but turned herself in last month after allegedly violating her probation terms. In Wednesday’s probation hearing, Lisa Page, a supervision officer for Angelina County’s probation department, argued that there was enough evidence to revoke her probation. Those little things included accessing the Internet without supervision, possession of pornography, having direct contact with a child under 17 without supervision, possession of alcohol, and association with a known felon. However, the biggest issue was the fact that Williams failed three separate polygraph exams while she was taking classes at a rehab center in the Houston area.
Page said “there were a lot of little things that just added up.”
Page’s statements were countered by Williams’ current probation officer in Montgomery County, Chad Alonzo.
“She has had no problems in the last year… she’s not a threat to the local community,” Alonzo said. “She’s in the top 10 percent of all the people I am assigned to.”
In her own defense, Williams argued that she had made some mistakes since being on probation, but they were minor offenses and she took the proper action and reported them to her probation officer. She also said that the counseling classes have helped and she would go back if allowed.
The final witness to take the stand was Polygraph Examiner Bobby Rachel.
Rachel said, “She was deceptive on all 3 polygraphs. The results of all the test were deceptive.”
Shortly after his questioning the judge sentenced Williams to 8 years in prison.
Supervision officer Lisa Page said she is satisfied but admits it was a tricky case.
” Her being female, sometimes violations are overlooked or their not noticed,” she said.
District Attorney Clyde Herrington was also satisfied with the sentence.
“She was on a Ten year probation, so that was pretty close to the maximum,” Herrington said.