Normal Topic Peter J. Brannon Identified as Polygraph Operator Who Falsely Accused Byron Halsey (Read 39022 times)
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Peter J. Brannon Identified as Polygraph Operator Who Falsely Accused Byron Halsey
Jul 13th, 2007 at 12:20pm
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The polygraph examiner who in 1985 falsely accused Byron Anthony Halsey of deception regarding the rape and murder of his girlfriend's two young children is Peter J. Brannon of Green Brook, New Jersey. Confronted with the polygraph results, Halsey ultimately made a false confession. This year, after 22 years behind bars for crimes he did not commit, Halsey was exonerated by DNA evidence.

According to Brannon's website, he is a past president and life member of the American Association of Police Polygraphists.

To the polygraph examiners reading this: no one becomes a polygraph examiner hoping to falsely accuse the innocent. Peter Brannon, a one-time Catholic priest, must be devastated by what he did. But you need to know that no amount of training, no amount of experience, can make up for polygraphy's lack of scientific underpinnings. Understand that you are practicing a voodoo science. It's time you stopped pretending otherwise.

Quote:
Star-Ledger, The (Newark, NJ)
March 3, 1996
Edition: UNION
Section: UNION
Page: 27

Police polygrapher will retire from a life of uncovering lies
Author: ROBERT E. MISSECK

Article Text:

If Sgt. Peter J. Brannon, a polygraph expert for the Union County Prosecutor's Office, told you his life hasn't been interesting, it would be a lie.

Brannon is a former Roman Catholic priest turned cop, and 25 years after deciding to make the change from ``collar to cuffs,'` he says it's time to turn in his badge.

He retires May1 and will start yet another career working with an ambulance service in his hometown of Green Brook.

The 53-year-old looks back fondly at his brief term as a priest in Jersey City, where he developed an interest in police work while serving as the unofficial chaplain for the Sixth Precinct, as well as his 25 years in law enforcement.

"In both jobs I got to see the worst in people, and good people in the worst of times,'` said Brannon, who obtained his expertise with the polygraph during a four-year stint with the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office prior to coming to Union County.Brannon said the lie detector is an electronic instrument that graphically records some of the physiological reactions that are commonly associated with lying.

He said the device records ``a person's fear of detection of deception. In other words, it can detect when somebody doesn't want to be found out that they are lying.'`

Brannon, who has administered 2,500 polygraph examinations during his career, said ``Whether a subject is male or female is not a factor in how someone will react to a polygraph. The same goes for somebody's race, religion or age.'`

"After administering polygraphs for the last 15 years, you learn some very interesting things about people,'` said Brannon. ``Such as, probably 70 percent of the people tested are being truthful.'`

Why would somebody who is guilty submit themselves to a polygraph test? ``The main reason is that they think they can beat it,'` Brannon said. ``And sometimes they can, if the tester is inexperienced. I would rather make a mistake that way than inculpate an innocent person,'` he said.

Among the more notorious of Brannon's polygraph test ``flunkees'` was Byron Halsey, a Plainfield man convicted of sexually abusing and killing his girlfriend's young daughter and son in 1985. Halsey also hammered five nails into the boy's head while he was still alive.

Halsey was a 24-year old laborer at a plastics plant in Somerset County when he killed 7-year-old Tina Urquhart and her 8-year-old brother, Tyrone. The children's bodies were found in the basement of a rooming house on East Seventh Street where he lived with the victims and their mother, Margaret.

Halsey initially denied committing the killings, but later confessed after flunking the lie detector test. He is currently serving 60 years to life in prison.


In 1988, Ronald Parton flunked Brannon's exam and wound up being convicted of arson for a fire that destroyed a boarding house in Westfield. There are also a number of accused rapists, child molesters and other suspects who could not fool Brannon and his polygraph.

Among those exculpated by Brannon's polygraph was Frederick Douglas, a Newark man who was freed in the midst of his trial for the 1990 drug-related murder of a man in Elizabeth after the polygraph proved him to be truthful when he said he didn't commit the crime.

Most recently, Brannon gave polygraph examinations to two inmates accused of raping a female prisoner at the Union County Jail in Elizabeth.

The 32-year-old Elizabeth woman, who was briefly housed in the jail after being arrested for failing to appear in court on outstanding motor vehicle tickets, accused Monte Johnson, 25, of restraining her while 34-year-old Mark Cannon raped her in a bathroom in the jail's booking and releasing area.

Both inmates denied the rape allegations and agreed to submit to a polygraph examination. They passed and charges against both men were dropped by the prosecutor's office.

In New Jersey, a polygraph examination can only be administered if the subject ``knowingly and willingly agrees to the admissibility of the results in court,'` according to acting Union County Prosecutor Edward M. Neafsey.

He said Brannon ``is one of the most expe- rienced and professional polygraph examiners around. He is so widely respected in his field that his peers elected him Northeast Regional Director of the American Association of Police Polygraphists and also as its president.'`

Neafsey said, ``It is crucial that a polygraph examiner have the expertise and talent that Pete has because the polygraph, when used widely, is a valuable law enforcement tool in helping to establish a suspect's innocence as well as guilt.'`

"One of the things I feel the best about is that a number of innocent people were cleared because they passed my polygraph examination, said Brannon, whose family includes his wife of 25 years, Connie, and their three children, Marybeth, 23, James, 22, and Thomas, 21.

Born in Plainfield, Brannon and his family moved to Marietta, Ohio, when he was 10 because his father, an executive with Union Carbide, was transferred. They moved back to Union County five years later, settling in Scotch Plains.

He graduated Holy Trinity High School in Westfield in 1960, then went to Seton Hall University's Divinity School to study for the priesthood. ``At the time, I thought I was ready to commit my life to the church,'` Brannon said.

After two years, he left Seton Hall and continued his studies at the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Mahwah. He was ordained on May 25, 1968.

He was assigned to St. Nicholas Church in Jersey City, but decided to leave the priesthood in 1970. ``I discovered the priestly life was just not something I felt I was called to do,'` he said.

Learning from friends on the Jersey City police force that the department in Green Brook was looking for additional patrolmen, Brannon took the test and was hired in March 1971.

During his more than eight years with the Green Brook police, Brannon worked patrol and was involved in several prominent investigations, including the slaying of a housewife who was shot by her husband as she was coming home from Christmas Eve Mass in 1976. Brannon took the husband into custody as the man was coming out of his house, gun in hand.

He left Green Brook police in 1979 and joined the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office, where his friend and mentor, the late Capt. Jim Hoffman, got him interested in the polygraph and in child abuse investigations.

"I got into the polygraph because the instrument and its applications fascinated me. I wanted to do child abuse cases because I thought I could help these kids preserve some small part of their world and punish the abusers who had hurt them,'` Brannon said.

He attended the New York School of Lie Detection in 1982 and after seven weeks of training became a polygraph examiner for the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office, where he also served as commander of the Child Abuse Unit.

Brannon left after four years and joined the Union County Prosecutor's Office as the polygraph expert and as a member of the Child Abuse Unit. In 1993, he was transferred to the Domestic Violence Unit.


For previous discussion of the Halsey case, see DNA proves Byron Halsey's Innocence, falsely accused by a polygraph.
« Last Edit: Sep 15th, 2007 at 10:47am by George W. Maschke »  

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Re: Peter J. Brannon Identified as Polygraph Operator Who Falsely Accused Byron Halsey
Reply #1 - Jul 15th, 2007 at 10:17am
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Quote:
To the polygraph examiners reading this: no one becomes a polygraph examiner hoping to falsely accuse the innocent. Peter Brannon, a one-time Catholic priest, must be devastated by what he did. But you need to know that no amount of training, no amount of experience, can make up for polygraphy's lack of scientific underpinnings. Understand that you are practicing a voodoo science. It's time you stopped pretending otherwise.

This is an excellent point, George.

Unfortunately, I have the feeling that when polygraph examiners hear of a verified "mistake" by a fellow examiner, they certainly just shrug and think something like, "Well, I bet the guy was lying about something." 

I have had lots of people on other message boards tell me that during my three pre-employment polygraph "failures" I must have been lying about something, perhaps even something I didn't even know I was lying about, which is why I failed.  The amount of people out there who are just unable to accept the fact that it is possible to tell the truth and "fail" a polygraph is frustratingly large.
  

Lorsque vous utilisez un argumentum ad hominem, tout le monde sait que vous êtes intellectuellement faillite.
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Re: Peter J. Brannon Identified as Polygraph Operator Who Falsely Accused Byron Halsey
Reply #2 - Jul 16th, 2007 at 4:11am
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"After administering polygraphs for the last 15 years, you learn some very interesting things about people,'` said Brannon. ``Such as, probably 70 percent of the people tested are being truthful.'`

Gulible brettski: WOW! Golly gee mister, so you mean 3/10ths of society are just outright, pathalogical liars? Boy oh boy, I'll never believe anything unless they're hooked up to a polygraph!

Cynical brettski: Well, there's been a lot of debate about a polygraph's accuracy since, well, since it was invented. It seems a lot more believable that the error rate of a polygraph is around 30%. Seriously, could society even function with so many people lying at any given time?

Personally, what I really hate about polygraph examiners are the claims they make for sheer shock value. Some of the stuff they say doesn't even make sense. For example, there's this company in the United Kingdom named Distress Services, a 'profesional lie detector testing service,' They have a websight where the discuss the value of the polygraph for anyone and everyone. The make a particularly interesting claim about the merits for pre-employment screening with polygraphs:

Pre Applicant Screening
With over 25% of job applications containing a lie about serious matters such as previous convictions or drug taking, your company could be exposing itself to unnecessary risk. The present day threat of terrorism has also exposed many organisations previously not at risk to a new and real danger. Please contact us for further information on how our services can assist you in the recruitment of personnel and the security of your business.


http://www.polygraphs.co.uk/services.asp

Gullible brettski: Oh my God! Terrorists could be in my office right now! Save Me!

Cynical brettski: Hold on! That doesn't make any sense! How could 25% of job applicants be lying about prior convictions when less than 1% of any country's population is actually in prison? Are 25% of us are shooting up on hard drugs? Maybe the 25% of people failing the drug use question are actually just false positives. I know that's a lofty theory, but maybe, just maybe, mankind isn't hopeless.

I remember reading up on the infamous Dr. Marston. Who apparently preffered to have female employees because he viewed men as being more violent, dishonest, and lazy. I guess his groundbreaking research revealed the failings of the Y chromosome. Honestly, does polygraph training teach their students to lose faith in humaninty, or just to turn their brain off?

P.S. I'm new to discussion boards. How do I do that cool quote in a box thing?
  
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Re: Peter J. Brannon Identified as Polygraph Operator Who Falsely Accused Byron Halsey
Reply #3 - Jul 16th, 2007 at 4:56am
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Brettski,

In the interview, Peter Brannon did not suggest that 30% of the population are "pathological liars." Your inference that he did is mistaken.

Similarly, in the polygraph advertisement you cite, it wasn't claimed that 25% of job applicants have prior criminal convictions, but rather that 25% of job applications (not applicants, and there is not necessarily a 1:1 ratio between them) contain a "serious lie" (omission of a prior criminal conviction being just one example thereof). While the polygraph company's assertion may be questioned, misrepresenting it and setting up a straw man argument to knock down is no way to go about doing so.

Brettski wrote on Jul 16th, 2007 at 4:11am:
P.S. I'm new to discussion boards. How do I do that cool quote in a box thing?


To quote an entire post, click the "Quote" button rather than the "Reply" button when starting your post. You can The quoted text will appear between bracketed "quote tags," like this:

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Re: Peter J. Brannon Identified as Polygraph Operator Who Falsely Accused Byron Halsey
Reply #4 - Jul 16th, 2007 at 6:42pm
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Brettski wrote on Jul 16th, 2007 at 4:11am:


I remember reading up on the infamous Dr. Marston. Who apparently preffered to have female employees.......


Maybe he was just a horny old devil..?
  
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Re: Peter J. Brannon Identified as Polygraph Operator Who Falsely Accused Byron Halsey
Reply #5 - Jul 17th, 2007 at 12:05am
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Quote:
Peter Brannon did not suggest that 30% of the population are "pathological liars." Your inference that he did is mistaken.


lol, I was just joking around George. Indeed, I did use a sarcastic license to exagerate the statement for comedic effect. If it wasn't clear that the post was meant to be humorous in nature, I'm sorry.

However, Brannon does state "You learn some interesting things about people." In this context, I'd say 'people' is refferring to all people with a global scope, and he is talking about human nature when he states the "70% of people tested are being truthful" if you continue to use the same context for 'people.' My view is that's a depressing statistic that's untrue to say the least. I found it amusing, and I'm a jerk. I think it was fairly obvious that I wasn't making a formal accusation.

Yes, I also noticed the careful choice of words by Distress Services, but again, the context clearly suggests that a large portion of the population is prone to drug use in spite of what I call a phony disclaimer.

A phony disclaimer is when someone knowingly makes a statement in such a way that they can deny 
what they really meant when they said the statement. For example, when someone says:

"I'm not racist, but..." 

You know there about to say something that actually, is extremely racist, they just don't want to be judged for it. Similarly, when Distress Services says that 25% of job applications contain a serious lie, such as drug use, what they technically said is clearly different from what they want the reader to think. 25% is a big number, and drug use is a powerful word: they naturally go together. On the flip side, a "serious lie" is not a common use term or phrase that refers to anything in particular, it's just filler.

Context and innuendo is far more important than technicallities. The entire meaning of any sentence changes when someone holds their arms in front of their chest. Think about when stores sell choclate bars for 99 cents. No one can say their technically misleading anybody, but there's an obvious deception taking place through the context of placeholders.

Quote:
"Give them an alluring woman stronger than themselves to submit to, and they'll be proud to become her willing slaves!"
William Marters commenting on male readers of Wonder Woman

Indeed 1904, the horny old devil theory has strong arguments. So does the bondage fetish theory.

LMAO, gosh, I'm funny. Trust me guys, one day we'll look back on this discussion and laugh. We'll be like "Hey, remember that time Brannon ruined the life on an innocent man? Ha Ha" Well... maybe we won't be saying that, but I still say my post was funny. Everyone loves a good rant.
  
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Re: Peter J. Brannon Identified as Polygraph Operator Who Falsely Accused Byron Halsey
Reply #6 - Jul 17th, 2007 at 3:49pm
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Re: Peter J. Brannon Identified as Polygraph Operator Who Falsely Accused Byron Halsey
Reply #7 - Jun 3rd, 2008 at 12:26am
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Mr. Brannon,

My name is Ronald Rigoberto parton, I am the man the union county prosecutors office framed for the arson in new jersey. They had every reason to suspect the land lord of the building. They had an ey witness place him there twenty minutes before the fire, They utilized your polygraph test and an informant for a detective in cramdon to obtain my original warrant of arrest. I went to trial and was found guilty because my public defender dishored my right and constant requests to have a luthern priest brought in to court as my character witness to testify as to my involvement with homeless resources as a homeless advocate. Sir, is there anyway in hell I can utilize your statements to over turn my original conviction. I spent four years to the day in prison for a crime I did not do. It has haunted me all my life. I spend every day of my life seeking vindication by my acts as an activist for social and environmental concerns. The only thing I;'ve ever wanted to take to the grave with me is a story I call, "The Westfield Crossing". They framed me and they framed me real good. For Gods sake tell me there is some way for me to be vindicated and exonerated from that crime. There were times in my cell in trenton state prison I thought about lying and just saying the land lord, Ralph Rapiano,  payed me to do it so that I could take him down. It didn't matter be that I was already in prison. What mattered was making that bastard pay for what he did. He did it and I know in my heart he did it. He was the only one that had everything to gain from the arson.  Please contact me, I need to talk about this.
activateamericatrademarks@hotmail.com
activateamerica@hotmail.com
  
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Re: Peter J. Brannon Identified as Polygraph Operator Who Falsely Accused Byron Halsey
Reply #8 - Jun 3rd, 2008 at 12:32am
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"Oh My God, I just realized today is June second, it has been twenty years to the day they framed me. If someone would have been hurt, or killed in that fire, I would still be serving time in Trenton State Prison for a crime I did not do."Quote:
Mr. Brannon,

My name is Ronald Rigoberto parton, I am the man the union county prosecutors office framed for the arson in new jersey. They had every reason to suspect the land lord of the building. They had an ey witness place him there twenty minutes before the fire, They utilized your polygraph test and an informant for a detective in cramdon to obtain my original warrant of arrest. I went to trial and was found guilty because my public defender dishored my right and constant requests to have a luthern priest brought in to court as my character witness to testify as to my involvement with homeless resources as a homeless advocate. Sir, is there anyway in hell I can utilize your statements to over turn my original conviction. I spent four years to the day in prison for a crime I did not do. It has haunted me all my life. I spend every day of my life seeking vindication by my acts as an activist for social and environmental concerns. The only thing I;'ve ever wanted to take to the grave with me is a story I call, "The Westfield Crossing". They framed me and they framed me real good. For Gods sake tell me there is some way for me to be vindicated and exonerated from that crime. There were times in my cell in trenton state prison I thought about lying and just saying the land lord, Ralph Rapiano,  payed me to do it so that I could take him down. It didn't matter be that I was already in prison. What mattered was making that bastard pay for what he did. He did it and I know in my heart he did it. He was the only one that had everything to gain from the arson.  Please contact me, I need to talk about this.
activateamericatrademarks@hotmail.com
activateamerica@hotmail.com

  
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Re: Peter J. Brannon Identified as Polygraph Operator Who Falsely Accused Byron Halsey
Reply #9 - Dec 14th, 2010 at 9:35pm
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In reference to Byron Halsey, he was without a doubt involved 
in the murders of those two beautiful children.  Common sense will tell you that.  He was in charge of caring for them.  He has a history of drug charges.  He had his buddy over, they probably got high and did their evil deed.  Please do not defend Mr. Halsey.  He is an evil man. Your child may be next.
  
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Re: Peter J. Brannon Identified as Polygraph Operator Who Falsely Accused Byron Halsey
Reply #10 - Feb 12th, 2012 at 3:13pm
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Way to add insult to injury, Santiago. Interesting how you didn't bother to mention the actual murderer even once.
Quote:
In reference to Byron Halsey, he was without a doubt involved 
in the murders of those two beautiful children.  Common sense will tell you that.  He was in charge of caring for them.  He has a history of drug charges.  He had his buddy over, they probably got high and did their evil deed.  Please do not defend Mr. Halsey.  He is an evil man. Your child may be next.

  
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Peter J. Brannon Identified as Polygraph Operator Who Falsely Accused Byron Halsey

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