Federal Judge Approves Computer Voice Stress Analysis to Monitor Sex Offenders
A U.S. federal court has ruled that sex offenders can be required to submit to computer voice stress analyzer (CVSA) examinations as part of their post-release supervision. Northern District of New York Chief Judge Norman A. Mordue ruled the technique is analogous to polygraph examinations, which have been accepted by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals as a way to monitor the activities of those under post-release supervision.
Testimony before Judge Mordue indicated that some 1,800 law enforcement agencies in the United States have the devices available. Most have been manufactured by the National Institute for Truth Verification Federal Services (NFS), a West Palm Beach, Fla., company that has been producing the systems since 1988.
A Department of Defense survey of U.S. law enforcement users of CVSA reported that 86 percent found the CVSA to be either very or extremely accurate. The DOD survey also found that the vast majority of deceptive results with the CVSA were validated by obtaining confessions, and that the CVSA had a very small error rate - less than 0.5 percent.
Police departments in Atlanta, New Orleans, Nashville, Baltimore, and Miami, as well as the California Highway Patrol, depend on CVSA to investigate criminal cases and to screen police applicants.
"As an investigative and decision support tool, CVSA has proven itself to be invaluable to law enforcement," said Lt. Kenneth Merchant, of the Erie, Pa., Police Department, who serves as legislative affairs director at the National Association of Computer Voice Stress Analysts (NACVSA), an organization that represents over 2,000 law enforcement agencies globally.