Normal Topic The Polygraph Interrogation of Kevin Fox (Read 24966 times)
Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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The Polygraph Interrogation of Kevin Fox
May 2nd, 2006 at 1:37pm
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On 27 October 2004, investigators from the Will County, Illinois Sheriff's Office coerced a false confession from Kevin Fox to the sexual molestation and murder of his four-year-old daughter following a polygraph "test" administered by polygrapher Richard Williams.

As a result, Fox spent nearly eight months in prison on a capital murder charge before being exonerated by DNA evidence. The following civil complaint should serve as a cautionary tale to anyone considering whether or not to agree to a polygraph "test" in a criminal investigation.

Fox's suit recently withstood a motion to dismiss. The following text is from Google's cache of the website, www.kevinfoxisinnocent.com. The polygraph is addressed specifically at paras. 29-34.

Quote:

SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT


_____________________________________________________________________

NOW COMES Plaintiff, KEVIN FOX, by and through his attorneys, Kathleen T. Zellner & Associates, P.C., and complaining of Defendants, OFFICE OF THE SHERIFF OF WILL COUNTY, DETECTIVE EDWARD HAYES, DETECTIVE MICHAEL GUILFOYLE, DETECTIVE SCOTT SWEARENGEN, DETECTIVE JOHN RUETTIGER, DETECTIVE BRAD WACHTL, DETECTIVE DAVID DOBROWSKI and RICHARD WILLIAMS, states as follows:


Introduction


          On October 27th, 2004, the Defendants wrapped up what can be best characterized as a botched investigation of the murder of 4-year-old Riley Fox.  Having made critical mistakes in the early stages of the investigation resulting in the destruction of key evidence, Defendants, in a last desperate effort to close the case on the eve of an election, made their move on an easy target - the 27 year old father of Riley Fox.  A young man with no knowledge of the criminal justice system in Illinois and its shameful history of false confessions and wrongful convictions, Kevin Fox was best known for being a great father to his children and a bit too trusting of authority figures.  Seeing no need for an attorney because he had “nothing to hide”, Kevin walked into a locked room from which he may never return.  After hearing hours of threats, lies about the evidence, and promises about a ”deal”, Kevin Fox fell victim to a lethal game of bait and switch.

Believing he had only two options, a 30 year to life sentence with the promise of daily sexual assaults and years of separation from his family or, the bait, a 3-5 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter and immediate release on bond, he chose the later, at the price of agreeing to a fabricated story.

The switch occurred on October 27th when Kevin Fox learned he had not only been tricked into a first degree murder charge but the lethal game ended in the coveted prize for the State - a chance to get a lethal injection.      


Cause of Action


1.         This action is brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 to redress the deprivation under color of law of Plaintiff’s rights as secured by the United States Constitution.

2.         Specifically, as a result of egregious misconduct conduct by law enforcement, Plaintiff, Kevin Fox, was wrongfully arrested for a heinous crime he did not commit.      

3.         DETECTIVE EDWARD HAYES, DETECTIVE MICHAEL GUILFOYLE,

DETECTIVE SCOTT SWEARENGEN, DETECTIVE JOHN RUETTIGER, DETECTIVE BRAD WACHTL, DETECTIVE DAVID DOBROWSKI and RICHARD WILLIAMS (“Defendants”) conspired to secure his arrest and imprisonment by means of coercion.


Jurisdiction and Venue


4.         This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section 1331.

5.         Venue is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section 1391 (b).  All parties reside in the judicial district, and the events giving rise to the claims asserted herein occurred within the district.                                                         


The Parties


6.         Plaintiff, Kevin Fox, was at all relevant times a citizen of the United States and a resident of Will County, Illinois.

7.         Defendant, The Office of the Sheriff of Will County, is an Illinois municipal corporation, and is and or was the employer of each of the defendants.

8.         All of the individual defendants are detectives employed by The Office of the Sheriff of Will County.  Richard Williams was an agent of the Sheriff of Will County.


Factual Background


9.         Prior to June 5, 2004, Plaintiff Kevin Fox resided with his wife, Melissa Fox, their son and their daughter, Riley Fox, in Wilmington, Illinois.

10.       At no time were Kevin and Melissa Fox ever accused of abusing or mistreating their children.  Both Kevin and Melissa Fox were regarded as loving and kind parents to their children.

11.       At approximately 7:50 a.m. on June 6th, 2004, Kevin Fox was awakened by his son Tyler.

12.       Shortly thereafter, Kevin Fox discovered that his daughter, Riley Fox, was missing.  He also discovered that the front door was ajar.  His wife, Melissa, was not present, having spent the night in Chicago for a breast cancer charitable event.

13.       A massive search was undertaken for Riley Fox.  At approximately 3:30 p.m. on June 6, 2004, the body of Riley Fox was found in Forked Creek, a stream that runs through the Forsythe Woods Preserve about four miles from the Fox home.

14.       An investigation was undertaken by the Wilmington Police and the Will County Sheriff’s Department.  Melissa and Kevin Fox fully cooperated.  Kevin Fox provided his DNA and articles of clothing that he had worn on June 5th and June 6th.  Both parents met with investigators and answered all of their questions.

15.       From June 6th to October 26th, 2004, no arrests were made based upon any forensic or other evidence developed by investigators.  The investigation was at a standstill without any viable leads, in large measure because the initial investigation was botched.  The bridge at Forked Creek was not secured.  The public was allowed to climb all over the bridge, destroying potentially vital evidence.  The creek was drained, without proper mapping of the creek bed.  The hooks used to search the creek bed distorted the crime scene.  Instead of questioning everyone present in the crime scene, area authorities evacuated the area, allowing potential suspects to escape.  The only real “suspect” in the case was Kevin Fox, who became the focus of the investigation because the detectives “had a feeling” he did it.  It is noteworthy that not one viable piece of evidence was developed against Kevin Fox from June 6th to October 26th, when the defendants tricked him into agreeing with their fabricated story.

16.          It is significant that the Defendants proceeded to arrest Kevin Fox on October 26th-27th, just 6 days before the election for the Will County State’s Attorney, without having all the forensic results of the investigation and without having investigated other significant leads in the case.  There is not, and will not be, any DNA evidence linking Kevin Fox to any crime against his daughter Riley Fox.  On January 28, 2005, State’s Attorney James Glasgow disclosed, in open court, that there was no DNA evidence in the case.  Furthermore, S.A. Glasgow stated “We do have some analysis of some videotapes that’s being done by a laboratory, so we don’t know an exact date when that will be available ...”.  Assistant State’s Attorney Phillip Mock stated “some items were sent to the FBI that they are sending back to us that they claim a report is done.  We haven’t received it yet.”  Clearly, Kevin Fox was arrested and charged on his uncorroborated statement given on October 26 - 27, 2004.  The Will County State’s Attorney has no DNA evidence and had not received any other reports at the time of the alleged “confession” of Kevin Fox.

17.       A strikingly similar case in La Porte, Indiana was never examined by the Defendants.   La Porte is only 96 miles from Wilmington.  In the La Porte case the victim, an 8-year-old-girl, was taken from her home after the intruder entered through a cut window screen.  Her mouth was taped shut and her pajama pants and underwear were removed.  The suspect dropped her after being startled by a dog barking.  In the Riley Fox case, her underwear was removed and her mouth was taped shut.  The intruder entered from the garage and laundry room doors, which had broken locks, and exited through the front door.  Significantly, that same night, the neighbor directly across the street from the Fox home had a screen cut.

18.          Defendant’s police dogs went immediately from sniffing Riley Fox’s clothes to a specific house in the neighborhood.  The dogs entered the house.  The neighbor lied to the police claiming that Riley Fox and her brother had been to his house several times.  Riley Fox had never been allowed to visit this neighbor’s house.  The investigator failed to confirm this fact with the Fox family. 

19.       Witnesses, who had been at the creek at the exact location the body was found, are certain the body was not there until shortly before it was found.  These witnesses were never interviewed by the police, but their observations would make it impossible for Kevin Fox to have disposed of the body, since he was with authorities from approximately 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on June 7, 2004.

20.       The time of death of Riley Fox is much more likely to have occurred between 4-6 hours prior to her body being found than between 1:30 a.m. and 7:50 a.m., according to the pathological findings made pursuant to the autopsy.

21.       There is no physical evidence linking Kevin Fox to the crime.

22.       Other statements by the County Coroner that Riley Fox was conscious when thrown into the water are false and medically incorrect.

23.       On October 26th, 2004, Defendant Swearengen requested that Melissa and Kevin Fox come to the sheriff’s office because he had something “important” to tell them.

24.       Melissa and Kevin Fox arrived at 7:00 p.m.  They were immediately separated and never saw each other alone for the next 14 2 hours.  Their two brief encounters over these hours were in the presence of the Defendants.

25.       Despite Kevin Fox’s repeated claims of innocence, a systematic effort was made by Defendants to intimidate, coerce, confuse, mislead and trick Kevin Fox into implicating himself in his daughter’s death.

26.       Mr. Fox was kept in a locked room in a locked area for 14 2  hours.  He attempted to leave several times but was ordered to sit down by the Defendant Wachtl and Defendant Hayes.

27.        Mr. Fox asked several times to contact his father for the purposes of obtaining an attorney.  Each time, he was told by the Defendants that he was 27 years old and that he did not need a lawyer or his father.

28.        Mr. Fox was subjected to hours of confrontational and aggressive interrogation by the Defendants who tried to convince Kevin Fox that his situation was hopeless and that the evidence would inevitably lead to his arrest and conviction for first degree murder and a 30 year to life sentence unless he implicated himself in the accidental death of his daughter.   

29.        Mr. Fox was told that a polygraph test was “absolutely reliable” and “good evidence” in Illinois, that if he took the test and passed, he would be cleared of any involvement in his daughter’s death, otherwise, he would be charged with first degree murder.  Kevin Fox was never told that polygraphs are not admissible in Illinois and have never met threshold requirements of reliability.      

30.        The Defendant, Richard Williams, told Kevin that he had given “thousands of polygraphs” and “never made a mistake.”  A thorough review of Mr. Williams’ credentials as a polygraph examiner were not investigated prior to using him on this assignment.

31.       During the polygraph exam, Defendant, Richard Williams, used polygraph equipment that is well-known to give incorrect results and is not even used by many police departments.

32.         After the exam, Defendant,  Richard Williams, yelled at Kevin Fox, “you did it.  It’s alright to say you did it.”  At best, the test results were inconclusive and highly questionable.

33.         Defendant Hayes yelled at Melissa Fox, “Your fucking husband killed your fucking daughter and he doesn’t love you or her.”  Melissa told him to stop talking that way about her daughter and her husband.

34.       After the polygraph test, Defendant Hayes had begun to fill out, in Kevin Fox’s presence, an arrest sheet for first degree murder.  Defendant Guilfoyle began hitting handcuffs on the table in front of Kevin Fox.  Defendant Hayes told Kevin Fox  you don’t have much time.  If  I finish the sheet, you are being charged with first degree murder with 30 years to life.  He told Kevin Fox to empty his pockets, trying to make him believe he was about to be arrested for first degree murder.

35.      Defendant Hayes told Kevin Fox that Hayes “knew people” at the jail and that he would “make sure” that Fox was “fucked” everyday in the jail unless he told them what they wanted to hear.

36.         The Defendants told Kevin Fox his family had abandoned him, his wife was going to divorce him and that another man would be raising his son.

37.         Specifically, Defendant Ruettiger, told Kevin Fox that after showing his father the evidence, his father stormed out of the jail saying, “Do what you want with him.”  This was a lie. Mr. Curt Fox flatly denies ever making this statement.  He has never changed his belief in Kevin Fox’s innocence.

38.          Defendants Ruettiger and Dobrowski made impermissible physical contact with Kevin Fox.  Defendant Ruettiger straddled Fox’s legs, pressing his testicles into Fox;’s knee.  He grabbed the back of Fox’s shirt and pulled his face to him, saying, “your family doesn’t love you, so just say you did it.”  Defendant Dobrowski, at various times, rubbed Kevin Fox’s shoulders, arms and leg. These actions made Kevin Fox very apprehensive.

39.         Kevin Fox was told by Defendant Ruettiger that his wife, Melissa was shown “the evidence” and she left the jail saying, “I had a feeling he did it.” Melissa denies ever saying this.  She has never abandoned her belief in Kevin Fox’s innocence.  Kevin Fox was told his 7-year-old son Tyler thought he was guilty - another lie.

40.         Defendant Swearengen told Kevin Fox that his hands matched the lumps on his daughter’s head.  This was flatly untrue since no valid scientific comparison is possible between lumps and hands.  Furthermore, there were no lumps on Riley Fox’s head according to the autopsy report.

41.        In a further effort to manipulate and coerce Kevin Fox into making a statement, Defendant Guilfoyle stated to Kevin, “Riley is in the room with you right now.  She is in pain and needs closure.”  Kevin Fox was also in pain at that point and needed closure of what he perceived to be a hopeless situation.

42.         Defendant Swearengen burst into the room and said that he had talked to the State’s Attorney (Jeff Tomazck) and the State’s Attorney said, “Hurry back.  I can help this kid if he acts now.  I can make a deal for him.”  Defendant Swearengen says, “Kevin, I am excited about this.  It’s now or never.  Say it was an accident.  Get your help from the State’s Attorney so you can go home to your family.  If you pass it up, you will spend your life in prison.  If you say it was an accident, it’s involuntary manslaughter with a 3-5 year sentence.  You’ll serve half.  Go home now on bond.”

43.         Kevin Fox had been misled by the defendants into believing his situation was hopeless.  Because he had been lied to about the existence of the evidence against him, he thought that there was no way out of being arrested.  On the one hand, he could continue resisting and he would be charged with first-degree murder and face the possibility of life in prison.  He had been guaranteed that Defendant Hayes would make sure that choice included being raped everyday.  On the other hand, if he said it was an accident, he would get a few years for involuntary manslaughter, be bonded out immediately, and return to his family.  There were no other choices.

44.       Kevin Fox was fed an entire story by the Defendants.  He was told to say that an accident occurred at home, which killed Riley.  He was told to say he panicked and threw Riley’s body in the creek.  The Defendants explained since she was dead when he put her in the creek, he could only be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

45.       Once the Defendants had Kevin Fox’s statement, they would claim that Riley Fox was alive when she went in the water, so they could charge Kevin Fox with first degree murder.            

46.          Prior to the videotaped statement, Defendant Hayes, showed Kevin a picture of Riley with duct tape on her mouth.  Hayes told Kevin Fox to say he taped her to make it look like an abduction.  Defendant Hayes also told Kevin Fox that “something had been put in Riley’s vagina” so Kevin should say he slipped his finger in her to make it look like an abduction.

47.       Kevin Fox’s last recollection of the Defendants on October 27, 2004 is hearing them laughing and congratulating themselves in the hallway after they completed their videotape.

48.       The Defendants grossly and intentionally misled Kevin Fox as to the amount and strength of the evidence against him.  Defendants falsely persuaded Kevin Fox that his chances of avoiding conviction were hopeless.  Defendants used extreme physical and psychological manipulation to intimidate Kevin Fox into agreeing with the Defendant’s fabricated story about the death of Riley Fox.  Kevin Fox did not voluntarily give any statements implicating him in his daughter’s death.       



COUNT I


(Due Process B 42 U.S.C., Section 1983)


1-48.    Plaintiff realleges, restates and incorporates by reference, paragraphs 1-48 of this Complaint at Law as and for paragraph 1 of this Count I.

49.       Defendants, while acting under color of law and within the scope of their employment as detectives and/or as a polygraph examiner, deprived Plaintiff of his constitutional right to due process.  Each of the Defendants deliberately fabricated false statements, thereby causing the false arrest of Plaintiff, causing him to be falsely imprisoned and causing him to be prosecuted.

50.       Defendants provided false allegations that were the basis of the criminal complaint and withheld exculpatory evidence.

51.       Absent this misconduct, the arrest and prosecution of Plaintiff could not and would not have been pursued.                     

52.       As a result of the violation of his constitutional right to due process Plaintiff suffered and continues to suffer injuries.

53.       The misconduct that occurred in this Count was objectively unreasonable and was undertaken intentionally with willful indifference to Plaintiff’s constitutional rights.                              


COUNT II


(False Arrest B 42 U.S.C., Section 1983)


1-53.    Plaintiff realleges, restates and incorporates by reference, Count I of this Complaint at Law as and for paragraphs 1 -53 of this Count II.

54.       Plaintiff was improperly seized and arrested by Defendants without legitimate probable cause.  Plaintiff was denied liberty without justification in violation of the Constitution.

55.       As a result of the above-described wrongful infringement of Plaintiff’s rights, Plaintiff has suffered damages, including but not limited to substantial mental distress and anguish.

56.       The misconduct described in this Count was undertaken with malice, willfulness,and reckless indifference to the rights of others.

COUNT III


(Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress B State Law Claim)


1-56.    Plaintiff realleges, restates and incorporates by reference, Counts I and II of this Complaint at Law as and for paragraphs 1 -56 of this Count III.

57.       The acts and conduct of Defendants set forth above were extreme and outrageous.  The Defendants intended to cause, or were in reckless disregard of the probability that their conduct would cause, severe emotional distress to the Plaintiff.

58.       Said actions and conduct did directly and proximately cause severe emotional distress to the Plaintiff.

59.       The misconduct described in this Count was undertaken with malice, willfulness, and reckless indifference to the rights of others.

60.       As a proximate result of Defendants’ wrongful acts, Plaintiff suffered damages, including severe emotional distress and anguish.

COUNT IV


(False Imprisonment B State Law Claim)


1-60.    Plaintiff realleges, restates and incorporates by reference, Counts I - III of this Complaint at Law as and for paragraphs 1 - 60 of this Count IV.

61.       Defendants individually and/or jointly and in conspiracy, falsely imprisoned the Plaintiff without probable cause.

62.       Defendants are liable for this false imprisonment because it was proximately caused by their unlawful actions as set forth above.

63.       The false imprisonment of the Plaintiff by the Defendants continues from October 26, 2004 to present.

64.       As a result of the wrongful acts of the Defendants in falsely imprisoning the Plaintiff, he has suffered the injuries and damages as set forth above.

COUNT V


(Respondeat Superior B State Law Claim)


1-64.    Plaintiff realleges, restates and incorporates by reference, Counts I - IV of this Complaint at Law as and for paragraphs 1 - 64 of this Count V.

65.       In committing the acts above, each of the Defendants were members of, and/or agents of, the Office of the Sheriff of Will County acting at all relevant times within the scope of their employment.

66.       Defendant, The Office of the Sheriff of Will County is liable as principle for all torts committed by its agents.

COUNT VI


(Conspiracy)


1-66.    Plaintiff realleges, restates and incorporates by reference, Counts I - VI of this Complaint at Law as and for paragraphs 1 - 66 of this Count VI.

67.       Defendants together reached an understanding, engaged in a course of conduct, and otherwise jointly acted and/or conspired among and between themselves to falsely arrest and imprison and to intentionally inflict severe emotional distress on Plaintiff.

68.       In furtherance of this conspiracy or conspiracies, Defendants named above, committed the overt acts set forth above including, but not limited to, the wrongful imprisonment and prosecution of the Plaintiffs, of knowingly concealing exculpatory evidence about Plaintiff, including but not limited to, the making of knowing misstatements and the presentation of this knowingly false and incomplete evidence to prosecutors and the filing of false and incomplete statements and reports.

69.       Said conspiracy or conspiracies and overt acts were continued from October 26, 2004 to present.

70.       Defendants’ acts, as set forth above, in action jointly and/or conspiring together to falsely imprison, maliciously prosecute and intentionally inflict emotional distress on Plaintiff constitutes the tort of conspiracy.

71.           This conspiracy proximately caused the injuries to the Plaintiff as set forth above.


WHEREFORE, Plaintiff KEVIN FOX, respectfully requests that this Court enter judgment in his favor and against Defendants, awarding compensatory damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees, along with punitive damages against each of the Defendants in their individual capacities, as well as any other relief this Court deems just and appropriate.



JURY DEMAND


Plaintiff, Kevin Fox, hereby demands a trial by jury pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 38(b) on all issues so triable.



Respectfully Submitted:





___________________________

Kathleen T. Zellner

         

Kathleen T. Zellner & Associates, P.C.

1717 North Naper Blvd.

Suite 203

Naperville, IL 60563

(630) 955-1212


« Last Edit: May 2nd, 2006 at 2:19pm by George W. Maschke »  

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Re: The Polygraph Interrogation of Kevin Fox
Reply #1 - May 2nd, 2006 at 4:42pm
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George,

Good catch on this one. And it has survived a motion to suppress ! Oh yeah this one has legs and will follow the money trail. Exactly as predicted from previous posts about the capital case in Virginia. It was only a matter of time before we got one with valid irregularities and downright wrongful findings. And to all of our polygraphers, do the words told you so, mean anything to you ... hehehe

Regards .....

Update 11:38 PM EST:

What no postings from our elite and noble polygraphers. Could it be that this case sets an example for future litigation. Oh ... I think so. Funny when you think you got something we can't shut the resident polygraphers up .... hmmm anything to say here.
« Last Edit: May 3rd, 2006 at 6:56am by EosJupiter »  

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Re: The Polygraph Interrogation of Kevin Fox
Reply #2 - Nov 6th, 2007 at 11:33am
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After much delay, Kevin Fox's lawsuit against law enforcement personnel who coerced from him a false confession to the murderof his four-year-old daughter Riley is scheduled to begin today (Tuesday, 6 November 2007). Among those named in the lawsuit is polygrapher Richard Williams, who is currently vice president of the Illinois Polygraph Society:

Quote:
http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/heraldnews/news/636551,4_1_JO06_FOX_S1.articl...

Riley Fox's dad set to get his day in federal court
RIGHTS VIOLATED FOR 'CONFESSION'?

November 6, 2007
By KIM SMITH STAFF WRITER

CHICAGO -- Kevin Fox's civil rights lawsuit is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. today in U.S. District Court.

The lawsuit was initially filed in November of 2004 and lists former Will County State's Attorney Jeff Tomczak; a jailer; a county social worker; six detectives; and a polygraph examiner with conspiring to coerce Kevin Fox into adopting a fabricated tale of how he killed his daughter, Riley.

U.S. District Judge John W. Darrah has denied all motions to dismiss the civil suit, including the latest one this past September. A trial date of Nov. 5 was set and recently changed to Nov. 6.

"It could take as long as Wednesday before a jury gets selected," said Will County Sheriff's spokesman Pat Barry. "Personally, I think it may not go. There have been talks of settlements."

Around 8 a.m. on June 6, 2004, Kevin Fox reported his daughter missing from their Wilmington home. He told police he had picked up Riley, 3, and her brother Tyler, 7, from their grandparents' home late the night before after attending a concert. His wife, Melissa Fox, was spending the night with friends planning to participate in the Avon Breast Cancer Walk.

The news spread and in hours hundreds of volunteers scoured the area in an attempt to find the missing child. Her body was found that afternoon in Forked Creek nearly four miles from her home.

Kevin Fox was arrested and charged with her murder following a 14-hour police interrogation in October 2004.

Reportedly, he broke down and told authorities he accidently killed Riley when he struck her head with the bathroom door. In his panic, he tried to make her death look like an abduction and sexual assault before dumping her body into the creek.

Later, Kevin Fox said he gave the statement after being misled into thinking he would be charged with involuntary manslaughter instead of first-degree murder. He also said he was threatened and denied access to a lawyer as investigators screamed at him and vowed to see that he was sexually assaulted in prison if he did not give a statement saying he was involved in his daughter's death.

Kevin Fox spent eight months in jail until DNA evidence showed samples recovered from Riley's body were not his.

Kevin Fox is represented by attorney Kathleen Zellner of Naperville. Scott Panek, Zellner's office manager, said it is possible that the jury could get picked today with opening statements to follow either in the afternoon or on Wednesday.

"I am almost sure," Panek said.

Reporter Kim Smith can be reached at (815) 729-6067 or at ksmith@scn1.com
  

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Re: The Polygraph Interrogation of Kevin Fox
Reply #3 - Nov 20th, 2007 at 2:56pm
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On Monday, 19 November 2007, David Raskin testified regarding Richard Williams's polygraph "testing" of Kevin Fox:

Quote:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-foxboth20nov20,1,250940,print.story

Expert says father was misled about test
Polygraph results faulty, Fox jury told

By Hal Dardick

Tribune staff reporter

November 20, 2007

A polygraph-examination expert testified Monday that a lie-detector test given to Kevin Fox was inconclusive, not proof of deception as Fox was told before he made an incriminating statement in the murder of his 3-year-old daughter, Riley.

David Raskin, a consulting forensic psychologist who has worked frequently with the federal government on polygraph-exam techniques, said the examiner, Richard Williams, did not properly "score" a lie-detector test he gave to Fox.

After the test, detectives told Fox he had failed and that he better tell them what really happened to Riley, according to a federal civil rights suit Kevin Fox and his wife, Melissa, have filed against Will County. The couple allege Fox's statement was coerced and was among other "fabricated" evidence in the case in which Fox was charged with his daughter's murder.

Williams, a licensed polygraph examiner employed by the Cook County sheriff's department, is among the defendants, who also include five Will County sheriff's detectives, the estate of a sixth, a forensic interviewer and the county itself. The Foxes seek unspecified damages.

Fox was arrested Oct. 27, 2004, after a nearly 14-hour, overnight interrogation that included the lie-detector test. He was released eight months later, after tests on DNA from Riley's rape kit excluded his genetic profile.

Williams was called in the night of the interrogation to give Fox the test. Raskin said the only reason a polygraph might be given during the night is if the subject to be tested is usually awake during those hours.

"It should never be a surprise," he said, adding that the test subject should be well-rested and nourished. "It should be like a doctor's appointment." A host of conditions, including exhaustion, can affect the test, he said.

U.S. District Court Judge John Darrah ruled earlier Monday that defense attorneys can argue to the jury that Fox wasn't under arrest until after he made the incriminating statement, which was videotaped. Kathleen Zellner, the Foxes' attorney, had argued that he was under arrest as soon as he was placed in a locked interrogation room the night before.

Ultimately, the jurors will decide when Fox was arrested and whether detectives had probable cause to make the arrest. To make those assessments, based on the arguments that Darrah said he would allow, they likely will have to view Fox's incriminating statement, which has not been made public.

Details of the statement are known, including that Fox said he accidentally hit Riley in the head with a door, then tried to make the accident look like a sexual assault and murder.

Riley's body was found June 6, 2004, in Forked Creek, about four miles from her family's Wilmington home, less than eight hours after her father reported her missing. The case remains unsolved.

Also testifying Monday was attorney Ryan Stephan, who was contacted by Chad Fox, Kevin's older brother, shortly after Riley's murder. The next day he faxed a letter to Sheriff's Deputy Scott Swearengen, the lead detective on the case, asking that Fox family members not be questioned unless police contacted him first and an attorney was present.

Despite that letter, detectives continued to talk to Kevin and Melissa Fox frequently, according to prior testimony.

On cross-examination, Stephan said he talked via telephone to Kevin, and possibly Melissa, before issuing the letter. He said he had no contact with them between then and Fox's arrest.

In earlier testimony, Swearengen said Melissa told him she "had no knowledge" of the letter and to disregard it.
  

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Re: The Polygraph Interrogation of Kevin Fox
Reply #4 - Nov 23rd, 2007 at 10:33am
Mark & QuoteQuote Print Post  
David Raskin's testimony in Kevin Fox's lawsuit continued on Tuesday, 20 November 2007:

Quote:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/northwest/chi-foxboth21nov21,1,1803202....

Test didn't prove Fox lied, jury is told
By Hal Dardick
Tribune staff reporter
November 21, 2007

A computer score of a lie-detector test given to Kevin Fox -- just before he made an incriminating statement to police in his 3-year-old daughter's murder -- fell in the deceptive range, but did not prove he was lying, a polygraph-exam expert testified Tuesday.

David Raskin said the computer score was "more in the deceptive direction" but not at a level deemed "definitely deceptive." A well-trained, experienced polygraph-test expert would not base a conclusion on the computer score, he said.

A seasoned tester would rely on a "numerical score," calculated by measuring results of the test and plugging them into a formula, Raskin said. When he did that with Fox's test, "the overall result [was] inconclusive," he said.

The computer scoring, he added, "could very well be a false positive," due to exhaustion or stress. Fox's test was administered after 1 a.m., more than six hours into an interrogation that lasted nearly 14 hours.

In October 2004, Kevin Fox, then of Wilmington, was charged with sexual assault and murder in the June 2004 death of his daughter, Riley. He was released eight months later, after tests on DNA from Riley's rape kit excluded his genetic profile. The case remains unsolved.

Kevin Fox and his wife, Melissa, are suing five Will County sheriff's detectives, the estate of a sixth, a forensic interviewer, the county, and Richard Williams, a licensed polygraph examiner employed by the Cook County Sheriff's Department who was brought in to help with the case.

They allege evidence against Kevin Fox was fabricated, including the incriminating statement, which they contend was coerced in the early morning of Oct. 27, 2004, after Fox said he was told he failed the polygraph test. They seek unspecified damages.

Raskin said Williams tried to create a numerical score of Fox's test about two weeks after he gave it, and after the Foxes filed their federal civil rights suit, but plugged in the wrong data. Shown one set of Williams' calculations, Raskin said: "I think it was fabricated....I've never seen anything like it in all of my career."
  

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Re: The Polygraph Interrogation of Kevin Fox
Reply #5 - Dec 5th, 2007 at 9:53am
Mark & QuoteQuote Print Post  
On Tuesday, 4 December 2007, Kevin Fox took the stand to testify about his polygraph "test" and interrogation. Note that the investigators' interrogation of Fox just before challenging him to take a polygraph would have sensitized him (even more than he already must have been) to the relevant questions, making his "failing" all the more likely:

Quote:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-foxboth5dec05,1,5219931.story

Slain girl's dad tells of cop interrogation
Fox testifies police ignored his rights

By Hal Dardick

Tribune staff reporter

December 5, 2007

During the nearly 14-hour interrogation of Kevin Fox that ended in his arrest for the sexual assault and murder of his 3-year-old daughter, police failed to explain his rights, told him to stay put when he tried to leave and ignored his request for a lawyer, Fox testified Tuesday.

He spent eight months in jail before DNA from his daughter's rape kit was found to not match his genetic profile and he was freed.

As he was interrogated, Will County sheriff's detectives told Fox he failed a lie-detector test, which an expert has testified was inconclusive, and falsely told him that his family believed he was guilty, he said. They also said he would be raped daily in jail unless he admitted he killed Riley, he said.

They showed him a photo of his dead daughter, he testified. That photo was shown Tuesday to the federal jury weighing whether Fox's civil rights were violated by his arrest, based on what he claims were fabricated evidence and a coerced incriminating statement.

"I felt hopeless," Fox testified in the trial's fifth week. "I just lost my daughter. They said my wife left me, my father left me and my son left me. . . . I had no one in my life. No one."

During the overnight interrogation, which ended before 9 a.m. Oct. 27, 2004, he felt such remorse over not protecting his daughter that he wanted to die, Fox said. "After all the times I told her I would protect her . . . I wasn't there to protect her," he said.

Those emotions, combined with exhaustion and a promise of leniency from detectives if he admitted to accidentally killing Riley, led Fox to make the statement, he said.

"I went along with an accident story just to get out," he said. "I knew the story was bull and that it would be checked out, and I would be cleared."

Fox and his wife, Melissa, are suing five sheriff's detectives, the estate of a sixth, a polygraph examiner, a forensic interviewer and the county. They seek unspecified damages.

On June 6, 2004, Riley's body was found in Forked Creek, about four miles from the family's Wilmington home. Melissa Fox had been in Chicago on a cancer fundraising walk, and Kevin Fox reported their daughter missing. The case remains unsolved.

Fox, who wore a gray suit, white shirt and silk tie, at times choked up and cried during his testimony. He is expected to be cross examined Wednesday.

At one point he looked at the defendants sitting around a courtroom table and delivered a rebuke.

"This whole thing is screwed up," he said. "I don't believe that you guys could do such a thing. I can't."

When the interrogation started shortly after 7 p.m. Oct. 26, 2004, Fox signed a form stating he understood he had the right not to talk and to have an attorney present. Detective Scott Swearengen falsely told him Melissa had signed the form too, he said.

"He put it in front of me and he pointed to a line where I was supposed to sign, and I signed it," he said, saying the rights were not explained to him.

When detectives said they believed he killed Riley, he jumped up and denied it in strong language, he said. He then tried to leave, he said.

"You sit your ass down," Detective Brad Wachtl said, Fox testified. "If I was free to leave, I would have been able to walk out."

They said they had evidence that later proved not to be true, he said. Detectives taunted him, saying he was afraid to take a lie-detector test, so he agreed to, believing he would pass and be allowed to go home, Fox said.

After being told he failed the test, Melissa was brought in the room and was told he failed, he said. "She put her hand on my knee and said, 'Kevin, I believe you,' " Fox said. "And that's when [Sgt.] Ed Hayes yelled from the other hallway and said, 'Get her . . . out of here.' "

Melissa was removed, he said. On her way out, Hayes shouted at her in a profanity-laced tirade that her husband had killed her daughter, Fox said.

"At that point, I'm falling apart," he said. "That whole summer, I blamed myself for her death, because there were all those what ifs. . . . I'm just emotionally, mentally, physically drained."

Detectives told him that his son, Tyler, who was 6 when Riley was killed, said Fox left the house with Riley during the early-morning hours on the day she was killed. Detective Michael Guilfoyle has testified that Tyler told him that, but the Foxes' attorney, Kathleen Zellner, has called it a fabrication.

Fox said detectives told him his father and Melissa had left the Police Department. They said they left to get a cell phone and try to contact an attorney.

Fox said Guilfoyle then said, "Riley is begging, down on her knees, begging you to put this to closure, to say that you did it."

After Hayes showed him the photo and Swearengen said he would be charged with involuntary manslaughter, which would allow him to post bail, he gave police the statement they wanted, Fox said.

Before describing the interrogation, Fox told jurors how he collapsed upon learning Riley had been killed.

"A lot of people have certain characteristics in the world, things they are good at," Fox said. "What I thought my claim to fame was, was being a father. I thought that's why I was brought into this world."

hdardick@tribune.com
  

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Re: The Polygraph Interrogation of Kevin Fox
Reply #6 - Dec 8th, 2007 at 3:46am
Mark & QuoteQuote Print Post  
Don't believe their lies.  They don't care about getting the criminal, they just want to be able to say they arrested and prosecuted someone.  If it's the right person, well, that's a bonus.

I think this has been posted here before, but it's worth showing it again--How Police Interrogation Works:

http://people.howstuffworks.com/police-interrogation1.htm

It's very interesting. 

Don't make the mistake that Mr. Fox did--don't answer any questions without a lawyer!  If you are in police custody you have a right to an attorney before you answer any questions.  Asking for one doesn't make you look guilty, it makes you look smart! 

Of course, the cops would rather you be dumb.  So would polygraphers.

Lethe, PhD
  

Is former APA President Skip Webb evil or just stupid?

Is former APA President Ed Gelb an idiot or does the polygraph just not work?

Did you know that polygrapher Sackett doesn't care about detecting deception to relevant questions?
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Polygraph Examiner Richard Williams Dismissed as Defendant in Fox Lawsuit
Reply #7 - Dec 12th, 2007 at 9:43pm
Mark & QuoteQuote Print Post  
Will County Sheriff's Office polygraph examiner Richard Williams has been dismissed as a defendant in Kevin Fox's lawsuit:

Quote:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-fox13_webdec13,1,7403297.story

Judge dismisses 3 defendants in Fox's civil rights suit

By Hal Dardick
Tribune staff reporter
1:53 PM CST, December 12, 2007

Three of eight defendants in Kevin Fox's federal civil rights suit alleging authorities tried to railroad him for his daughter's slayings were dismissed from the case today, U.S. District Judge John Darrah announced.

"You should not speculate as to why they have been dismissed," Darrah told the jury hearing the case, which is in its sixth week.

None of the defendants was dismissed on a legal motion before the court. Kathleen Zellner, attorney for Kevin Fox and his wife, Melissa, would say only that there was "a resolution" to claims against them. Defense attorneys declined to comment.

The Foxes were suing five Will County sheriff's detectives, the estate of a sixth, a polygraph examiner, a forensic interviewer and the county.

They allege authorities fabricated evidence and coerced an incriminating statement from Fox in connection with the June 6, 2004, slaying of his 3-year-old daughter, Riley.

Fox, 30, was arrested nearly five months after Riley's death. Eight months later, tests showed DNA from Riley's rape kit did not match his genetic profile and he was released from jail, where he had awaited trial in a potential death-penalty case.

The dismissed defendants had limited roles in the investigation that led to Fox's arrest, according to their attorneys. Those dismissed were the forensic interviewer, Mary Jane Pluth; the polygraph examiner, Cook County Sheriff's Detective Richard Williams; and a detective, Deputy David Dobrowski.

Pluth, who works at the Will County Children's Advocacy Center, interviewed Riley's older brother, Tyler, who was 6 when his sister died. The interview ended with Tyler in tears.

Williams was called in early Oct. 27, 2004, to conduct a lie-detector test on Fox. He concluded that Fox had failed. An expert for the Fox side said the test was actually inconclusive, but the defense team did not yet call its expert to the stand and no longer plans to do so.

Compared with other detectives in the case, Dobrowski played a limited role, particularly during the 14-hour, overnight interrogation on Oct. 26-27, 2004, that ended with Fox's statement and arrest.

Though Fox is now a free man, the case remains unsolved. Detectives say they had probable cause to arrest Fox even without his statement.

They said three have testified that they still believe he might have been involved in the crime, despite newer DNA evidence from duct tape that covered Riley's mouth that also excluded Fox.

The announcement of the dismissed defendants came before Sheriff's Sgt. Edward Hayes—who began supervising detectives assigned to the case in mid-October 2004—got to the heart of his testimony.

Hayes strongly denied allegations about the interrogation that Melissa and Kevin Fox leveled against him in their testimony.

Hayes said he was "100 percent positive" he did not show Fox a crime-scene photograph of Riley, half-dressed in full rigor mortis with duct tape over her mouth.

Fox first made the photograph claim in a news release issued by Zellner shortly after his arrest. He said he did not know duct tape had been used until he saw the photo.

Hayes denied telling Fox he would make sure he was sexually assaulted every day in jail unless he admitted involvement in the crime, and said he never filled out a booking form for first-degree murder while telling Fox it was his last chance to say he had killed Riley by accident.

In his statement, Fox said he accidentally hurt Riley when he opened a bathroom door into her. Thinking she was dead, he tried to make the accident look like an abduction, sexual assault and murder, he said in the statement.

But Fox alleges he was forced to make the statement and that detectives who interrogated him had fed him many details from the crime scene, including the fact that Riley was assaulted.

Hayes also said he never ordered the FBI to halt all DNA testing. He only asked them to stop testing semen stains on bedding that detectives had concluded had no relation to the crime, he said.

An FBI log, however, indicates Hayes ordered a stop to all DNA testing a week after Fox's arrest, according to trial testimony.

Before the lunch break, Zellner began her cross-examination and it quickly became heated.

She asked him how Fox knew there was a photograph of his daughter with duct tape over her mouth. "He told us he duct-taped her," Hayes responded.

hdardick@tribune.com
« Last Edit: Dec 12th, 2007 at 10:00pm by George W. Maschke »  

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Re: The Polygraph Interrogation of Kevin Fox
Reply #8 - Dec 5th, 2011 at 1:18am
Mark & QuoteQuote Print Post  
Swearengen is a liar and a con artist. How they let him keep his job (as menial as it is) A job Barnie Fife couldn't screw up, is beyond me. However, I'm a firm believer in justice and 'what goes around comes around.' I hope that poor family finds their peace.
  
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The Polygraph Interrogation of Kevin Fox

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