Normal Topic A Public Challenge to Fort Bend County, Texas Sheriff's Office Polygraph Examiner Lt. James Fontenot (Read 6170 times)
Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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A Public Challenge to Fort Bend County, Texas Sheriff's Office Polygraph Examiner Lt. James Fontenot
Nov 6th, 2014 at 1:03pm
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Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office Polygraph Examiner James Fontenot

I challenge Lieutenant James Fontenot, a polygraph examiner with the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office to prove his claim that "that stuff online on how to beat a polygraph test does NOT work, these behaviors are easily recognized by a polygraph examiner."

Fontenot made this claim to reporter Nora Al Anber for an article puff piece published by Texas news website on 5 November 2014:


No matter how candid one may be, sometimes answers to our most personal questions are not so comfortable to share, and when it comes down to it, not everyone is as honest as they seem or want to be.

Unmasking yourself in front of a polygraph examiner can be quite intimidating and trying to beating this test is plain impossible.

Answering probably the most asked question to a polygraph examiner, "I have never met anyone who I felt could beat the polygraph. That stuff online on how to beat a polygraph test does NOT work, these behaviors are easily recognized by a polygraph examiner," said Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office Lt. James Fontenot who recently received the Tim Kennedy Examiner of the Year Award presented by the Texas Association of Law Enforcement Polygraph Investigators for 2014, the top honor for polygraph examiners in the state. There are 263 licensed polygraph examiners in Texas.

Polygraph testing is an investigative tool to help find the truth, with results that can affect peoples lives drastically, and the sheriff's office at Fort Bend is particularly meticulous as not to judge nor share personal information.

"We make no claims. We do nothing but find the truth; it's not up to us to make any decisions," said Paul Mosley, captain of the Internal Affairs Division. Mosley who has known Fontenot for more than 23 years, said he's one of the most trusted, honest individuals you could meet; "He is a student of what he does, and he's very good at it," he added.

According to scientific research, a polygraph test is 86 percent to 98 percent accurate. "The polygraph is nothing but the pursuit of the truth. The motto is: "Polygraph and God we trust, everyone else we polygraph," Fontenot said laughing. 

Fontenot makes it a habit to give each individual the benefit of the doubt and asks the question not twice but three times. He does a comprehensive research prior to meeting each individual he interviews; "Knowing more about the individual than they think you do is an advantage, and if they leave something out, I will ask them about it," he added.

Fontenot also does examinations for other agencies, including the District Attorney's Office, the FBI and the Treasury Department. He also works as a sub-contractor with a private examiner. The types of polygraph tests Fontenot performs are criminal, pre-employment (EPPA), investigation, as well as infidelity testing.

No test is less important than the other. Some of Fontenot's most recent associations were in two capital murder investigation cases where Fontenot's testing extracted two full confessions that involved the deaths of toddlers. One of the cases was in June 2014, where babysitter Kelly Lynn Gann received a life in prison sentence without the possibility of parole for the murder of a toddler.

Fontenot said, "I've spent 22 years in military, been to combat, but nothing bothers me more than people who take advantage of defenseless kids, and this woman took advantage of that. The tests were not consistent with her story."

Fontenot joined the Naval Reserve for a year and spent 21 years in the U.S. Army, retiring at the rank of chief warrant officer. His career took him all over the world, including Europe, the Middle East, South America, Central America, the Caribbean, Asia, Alaska and the U.S. mainland.

He joined the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office in 1992 as a detention officer civilian, and simultaneously attended Wharton County Junior College to become a Texas peace officer. He then moved to the Patrol Division and later to the Criminal Investigation Division where he worked approximately seven years each. Fontenot also was a member of the SWAT team throughout his patrol years and part of his CID tenure. After his promotion to sergeant in 2006, he was assigned to the Internal Affairs Division, which eventually lead to his promotion to IAD lieutenant.

In 2007 Fontenot graduated from the Texas DPS Polygraph School, followed by a one-year internship served under renowned private polygraph examiner and mentor, Ernie Hulsey. Two years after completing his state-licensing exam, Fontenot joined the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office where at the time he was the only one conducting polygraph testing in the IAD.

Soon after Fontenot joined the IAD he started expanding and enhancing the IAD by setting up new state-of-the art polygraph suites at the sheriff's office and introducing new practices such as employing audio-visual taping during exams. "We started doing things before they were required; it was required in January 2014, however, that began here in 2007," he said.

It takes a minimum of two hours to conduct a test, depending on the individual," Fontenot said. "My longest exam was four hours. The examinee was a bank robbery suspect."

Throughout his career Fontenot has performed more than 3,000 polygraph tests. He understands, trusts and takes pride in this "instrument" and explains that it is a diagnostic piece of instrumentation and not a machine. "The polygraph doesn't have any moving parts that would define it as a 'machine.'"

Mosley concluded, "The polygraph works. And these examiners will surely tell AND show you it does." is the Internet's leading source of information on how to pass (or beat) a polygraph test. The National Research Council has expressed concern that polygraphy is not robust against countermeasures. And no polygrapher has ever demonstrated any ability to detect them. Polygraph community training material published by indicates that polygraphers have no coherent -- let alone effective -- methodology for detecting the kinds of countermeasures outlined in our free book, The Lie Behind the Lie Detector.

Operation Lie Busters, the federal government's ongoing criminal investigation aimed at suppressing the public availability of information about polygraph countermeasures is further strong circumstantial evidence that polygraph countermeasures are effective and not easily detected.

Thus, I challenge Lt. Fontenot to publicly support his public claim that "that stuff online on how to beat a polygraph test does NOT work" and that "these behaviors are easily recognized by a polygraph examiner."

George W. Maschke
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A Public Challenge to Fort Bend County, Texas Sheriff's Office Polygraph Examiner Lt. James Fontenot

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