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Did Polygraph Misdirect the Elizabeth Smart Case?
Mar 13th, 2003 at 9:57am
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In an article titled, "Salt Lake City Girl Found Alive," Washington Post staff writers Rene Sanchez and T.R. Reid report that Elizabeth Smart, who was abducted from her home last year, has been re-united with her family. Two suspects are in police custody.

The investigation had earlier focused on Richard Ricci, an ex-convict and handyman for the Smart family, who reportedly failed a lie detector "test." Ricci died of a brain hemorrhage while in police custody. According to a UPI report titled "Smarts hope Ricci's death brings new clues" and published in the Washington Times on 31 August 2002:

Quote:
...The former handyman, 48, came to the attention of police and FBI agents because of his past and because he reportedly was not considered truthful in a polygraph test.

Ricci had denied any involvement in Elizabeth's kidnapping, reportedly by a man in a tan cap who slipped into the family's $1 million home during the pre-dawn hours of June 5 and forced the teenager to leave with him in her pajamas and tennis shoes. There has been no sign of the girl since then.

Police have conceded that Ricci's death has nearly derailed the investigation, although they vowed to continue following up on leads.

  

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Re: Did Polygraph Misdirect the Elizabeth Smart Ca
Reply #1 - Mar 13th, 2003 at 5:05pm
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Quote:

In an article titled, "Salt Lake City Girl Found Alive," Washington Post staff writers Rene Sanchez and T.R. Reid report that Elizabeth Smart, who was abducted from her home last year, has been re-united with her family. Two suspects are in police custody.

The investigation had earlier focused on Richard Ricci, an ex-convict and handyman for the Smart family, who reportedly failed a lie detector "test." Ricci died of a brain hemorrhage while in police custody. According to a UPI report titled "Smarts hope Ricci's death brings new clues" and published in the Washington Times on 31 August 2002:


If memory serves the entire male portion of Miss Smart's family was polygraphed, several of whom were polygraphed multiple times. Her uncle was polygraphed no fewer than five times, and he observed on both 'On The Record' and on Sean Hannity's show that those experiences were the worst of his life. He equated them to 'a living hell'.
  

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Re: Did Polygraph Misdirect the Elizabeth Smart Ca
Reply #2 - Mar 13th, 2003 at 5:31pm
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Utah seems to be a polygraph center. Much of the polygraph research seems to come from there though I don't think the state is that big. I wonder if they taped the tests like SD does.

I have not found other reports that Ricci "failed" but did find reference to him taking 2 polygraphs, the first considered inconclusive (perhaps this is where the phrase "failed to pass" came from) and supposidly passing the second. Apparently he also confessed, during poly interrogation, to the burglary that the Smart's had been suspicious he commited.  It was also widely reported that his wife passed a polygraph - she stated they had been together that night.

It appears the investigators used the polygraph more as an interrogation tool than anything else, concluding, regardless of polygraph results, that Ricci was guilty.  He was suspicious due to a long history of criminal activity.  After he died of a stroke, while under extreme pressure to reveal where the girl was, the investigators slowed the investigation, suggesting the knowledge of where her body was died with him.

-Marty
  

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Re: Did Polygraph Misdirect the Elizabeth Smart Ca
Reply #3 - Mar 13th, 2003 at 5:33pm
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Golly George, I don't know if the polygraph misdirected the Smart investigation, but I do think it was the cause behind the recent space shuttle tragedy, the rift between the US and France, the Kennedy assassinations, and the bad snow storms in the north east this winter.  Makes about as much sense.

By the way, did Mr. Ricci fail or not?  What does "reportedly failed a lie detector" actually mean?   

Oh, I think alien abductions are a result of polygraph too.

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Re: Did Polygraph Misdirect the Elizabeth Smart Ca
Reply #4 - Mar 13th, 2003 at 8:58pm
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Batman wrote on Mar 13th, 2003 at 5:33pm:
Golly George, I don't know if the polygraph misdirected the Smart investigation, but I do think it was the cause behind the recent space shuttle tragedy, the rift between the US and France, the Kennedy assassinations, and the bad snow storms in the north east this winter.  Makes about as much sense.


Shame on you sir, for failing to publicly acknowledge that your profession misled and misdirected valuable police manpower towards a man (Ricci) police now state 'had nothing to do with it'. I won't even get into the emotional distress your buddies caused by tormenting this poor girl's uncle and father during polygraph interrogations that her father described as "four hours of hell... We've been ripped apart by our polygraph[s]," Tom Smart told CNN. "We've been ripped apart to the core."  Bravo gentlemen! Nicely done!

Quote:
By the way, did Mr. Ricci fail or not?  What does "reportedly failed a lie detector" actually mean?


For you of all people on this message board to demand unequivocal definitions over what words and phrases actually mean is pretty galling, in my opinion.

A handyman being questioned in the abduction of 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart has failed a lie-detector test in the case... (Fox News Service)

[Ricci]... failed lie detector tests (Salt Lake Tribune)

Is that clear enough, unequivocal enough for you? I'd say it's far more clear than your tortured explanation over why you lied to the collective readership of this board with regard to your actual occupation.

Quote:
Oh, I think alien abductions are a result of polygraph too.


Perhaps that's a common trait you share with former American Polygraph Association President 'Dr' Edward Gelb.... oh wait, you already cut him loose after (and only after) it became apparent to anyone with more than a brain stem that Gelb is a serial liar and perjurer with regard to his CV.
« Last Edit: Mar 13th, 2003 at 9:44pm by beech trees »  

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Re: Did Polygraph Misdirect the Elizabeth Smart Ca
Reply #5 - Mar 13th, 2003 at 11:03pm
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Interesting the way the info comes out:  Here's a timeline:

Fox News: 6/25
Failed polygraph and reportedly confessed to burglarizing Smart's home. [This report was not sourced.] One can assume "failing" resulted in that confession if true. Note: later the cops didn't comment about the polygraphs.

Salt Lake Tribune: 6/27
Chief of Police quoted as saying Ricci had been polygraphed twice. Refused comment on results.

Salt Lake Tribune: 6/27
Ricci's wifes atty, Smith, says Ricci polygraphed twice, hasn't heard results. Says Wife polygraphed and passed. (Wife provided alibi)

Salt Lake Tribune: 6/29
Ricci has taken two polygraph tests, Smith said. In the first test, the result was inconclusive, but on the second, Ricci said "he did well," Smith said. 
-----------------------


Looks likely the police homed in on him largely from the burglary confession obtained in the first polygraph and ignored the second as well as his wife's polygraph. This makes some sense as the cops only believe polygraphs when it shows someone is guilty. In this case someone who admits to burglarizing their house is a very reasonable suspect regardless of any polygraph. 

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Re: Did Polygraph Misdirect the Elizabeth Smart Ca
Reply #6 - Mar 14th, 2003 at 1:11am
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How interesting that a 14-15 year old girl can go "missing" for nine months, part of that time spent in the same area from which she was "abducted", she is "reported" to have attended a party with her "abductors", yet she is never able to let anyone know she is Elizabeth Smart, the girl abducted from Utah.   

And rumor has it that her "abductor" is some sort of self proclaimed "prophet", and that Elizabeth was in the vacinity of police officers on numerous occasions yet didn't make any effort to identify herself.

Also interesting comments on the part of the father upon her return.  He states she has "matured" and that she is "tanned".
Guess he thought she maybe went to Disney World.

Who knows what any of this means, but just some observations from a jaded, biased, law enforcement official.  I'm sure my suspicions are incorrect, and certainly misled by the polygraph.

Bottom line is, blame the polygraph first, and then the the incompitent police department for botching the investigation.

In the meantime, take a peak at those closest to the victim, listen to what they say, listen to what the victim says.  Try to put aside your hatred for that evil tool, the polygraph, and just listen and observe.  You might be surprised at what you hear.

I'll save some of your the post, "Shame on me for not believing this innocent young victim, and her poor tortured relatives who were put through as her uncle put it, 'living hell' by having to take a polygraph."   

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Re: Did Polygraph Misdirect the Elizabeth Smart Ca
Reply #7 - Mar 14th, 2003 at 1:32am
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Batman,

You are jaded, Crusader!

Compliance psychology is a powerful thing. Surely you have noticed how quickly most examinees become dominated in an exam.  I think a 14 year old girl, widely described as obedient, could be dominated by a Prophet. He may not have had a cape, but he sure did bear a strong resemblance to OBL. Probably a lot of PC folks out there that didn't want to lift the veil on his companions.

Who was that YoYo that convinced people to be get castrated so they could more easily leave their "shells" when the time came? And then there was the Grape KoolAid of which nearly a thousand people lined up and partook.

From all accounts she gave her name when asked and was quite happy to see her parents.  Not like she robbed a bank but hey, that did result in conviction then partial and eventual full pardon.

UPDATES:
It is now being reported that the first cop that talked to her noticed she was nervous, she claimed eye problems that was why she didn't want to remove her sun classes. He pulled her aside and she remarked: "You think I'm that E. Smart girl that ran away, I'm not."   Looks to be more like a full brainwashing than a light rinse.

"ran away" ??????

-Marty
« Last Edit: Mar 14th, 2003 at 3:06am by Marty »  

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Re: Did Polygraph Misdirect the Elizabeth Smart Ca
Reply #8 - Mar 14th, 2003 at 3:35am
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Batman,

It is not clear what the issues you raise about Ms. Smart's behavior and any involvement/relationship to her alleged abductors has to do with the appropriateness of any polygraph examinations given in connection with this investigation and the degree to which polygraph exam results were correct.  Sorry, but the temporary diversion will not lead us (or anyone else) from the caption of this thread.  As Joe Lewis is reported to have said, Batman, you can run but you can't hide with this one.
  
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Re: Did Polygraph Misdirect the Elizabeth Smart Ca
Reply #9 - Mar 14th, 2003 at 3:46am
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Anonymous,

As for the title of the thread, it looks fairly likely the police ignored Ricci's polygraph (except for the presumed burglary) and pursued the guy with the access, and criminal background in spite of evidence to the contrary. It's interesting to note that, in addition to describing their poly sessions as being 4 hours of hell, the Smart's did not think Ricci was involved. 4 hours of hell is not a polygraph. It's an interrogation.  That is SOP in these cases. The poly is just the prop.

As much as we dislike the polygraph it is very important not to jump to conclusions about things just because it supports the cause. That makes us just as subject to "bias" as the polygraphers themselves.

-Marty
  

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Re: Did Polygraph Misdirect the Elizabeth Smart Ca
Reply #10 - Mar 14th, 2003 at 4:15am
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The investigation had earlier focused on Richard Ricci, an ex-convict and handyman for the Smart family, who reportedly failed a lie detector "test." 

Quote:...The former handyman, 48, came to the attention of police and FBI agents because of his past and because he reportedly was not considered truthful in a polygraph test.
Not considered truthful???  What does that mean?
 
Typical of you george to twist and contort this statement to fit into your agenda.
Let me ask you something. How many people have actually passed an exam because or your advice. I guess we will never know that. However I have tried what you have instructed on your site and its not easy. 
The average person does not have the time nor the resources to practice what they read on here. 
But I do have to say Your site does prove useful when applying for training in this area.
Thanks to you and this site I was able to attend training at DODPI fully paid by my department.


 


 
  
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Re: Did Polygraph Misdirect the Elizabeth Smart Ca
Reply #11 - Mar 14th, 2003 at 4:42am
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Thanks George,

You write:

Quote:
...Thanks to you and this site I was able to attend training at DODPI fully paid by my department....
.

Apparently you received your money's worth.  Unfortunately your department did not.   Wink
  
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Re: Did Polygraph Misdirect the Elizabeth Smart Ca
Reply #12 - Mar 14th, 2003 at 4:57am
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Thanks George

You must have gone to your higher-ups and said "I have read antipolygraph.org and don't believe what they are saying. I believe in the polygraph, I believe in the polygraph, I do, I do, I do, I do. And Toto too". Here I come DODPI for eight weeks and received the power to control people's lives and livelyhood. You alone. Feels good, huh? And to think - our hard earned taxes allowed you to gain that power. WHEW!!!
  
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Re: Did Polygraph Misdirect the Elizabeth Smart Ca
Reply #13 - Mar 14th, 2003 at 6:34am
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Batman wrote on Mar 14th, 2003 at 1:11am:

How interesting that a 14-15 year old girl can go "missing" for nine months, part of that time spent in the same area from which she was "abducted", she is "reported" to have attended a party with her "abductors", yet she is never able to let anyone know she is Elizabeth Smart, the girl abducted from Utah.  

And rumor has it that her "abductor" is some sort of self proclaimed "prophet", and that Elizabeth was in the vacinity of police officers on numerous occasions yet didn't make any effort to identify herself.


It is indeed weird, but it's hardly unknown, from a psychological standpoint.  Few details of her abduction experience have been made public.  For all we know, she was told they would kill her family if she escaped, or something else equally nasty.

Quote:
Who knows what any of this means, but just some observations from a jaded, biased, law enforcement official.  I'm sure my suspicions are incorrect, and certainly misled by the polygraph.


He can be taught!

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Re: Did Polygraph Misdirect the Elizabeth Smart Ca
Reply #14 - Mar 14th, 2003 at 11:32am
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Marty wrote on Mar 14th, 2003 at 3:46am:

Anonymous,

As for the title of the thread, it looks fairly likely the police ignored Ricci's polygraph (except for the presumed burglary) and pursued the guy with the access, and criminal background in spite of evidence to the contrary. It's interesting to note that, in addition to describing their poly sessions as being 4 hours of hell, the Smart's did not think Ricci was involved. 4 hours of hell is not a polygraph. It's an interrogation.  That is SOP in these cases. The poly is just the prop.

As much as we dislike the polygraph it is very important not to jump to conclusions about things just because it supports the cause. That makes us just as subject to "bias" as the polygraphers themselves.

-Marty

 
Marty,

I agree that it's important not to jump to conclusions, and it is for this reason that I chose to make the title of this message thread a question ("Did Polygraph Misdirect the Elizabeth Smart Case?") rather than a statement of fact or opinion.

I also agree that there was reason apart from polygraph results for reasonable suspicions about Richard Ricci, and based on reporting about the case, I don't think we can conclude that but for the polygraph, investigators would not have focused their efforts on a man who turnded out to be innocent. However, it appears that reliance on the polygraph may well have contributed to investigators' conviction that Ricci was their man.

It appears that Salt Lake City police do place some faith in polygraph chart readings, and do not merely use the polygraph as an interrogatory prop: it was reported that the FBI reviewed Ed Smart's polygraph results (see Fox News report, "Elizabeth Smart's Father Given Polygraph Test"). If the SLC police did not put some stock in polygraphy beyond its value as an aid to interrogation, then there would have been no point in having the FBI review Ed Smart's polygraph charts.
  

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