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Articles by Jordan Smith

How the Criminal Justice System Fails People With Mental Illness

“I found your baby,” Michelle Durden recalls the police officer saying after her son went missing. “He’s alive. And he’s in jail.”

At first, Michelle Durden thought her eldest son, Cameron Davis, was just going through some early 20s growing pains. He dropped out of ...

The Junk Science Cops Use to Decide You’re Lying

Leaked documents detail law enforcement trainings in lie detection techniques that have been discredited by scientists.

by Jordan Smith, The Intercept

The article was originally published on August 12, 2020, and is republished with permission from The Intercept, an award-winning nonprofit news organization dedicated to holding the powerful accountable through fearless, adversarial journalism. Sign up for The Intercept’s Newsletter.

The training session was billed as “cutting edge,” and dozens of law enforcement professionals signed up to learn about “New Tools for Detecting Deception” from a human lie detector who calls herself “Eyes for Lies.” Her real name is Renee Ellory, and she claims that she’s one of just 50 people identified by scientists as having the ability to spot deception “with exceptional accuracy.”

A flyer for the event, hosted by Wisconsin’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area — a federal program that supports law enforcement drug interdiction work — was included among a trove of law enforcement documents that were hacked and posted online in June under the title BlueLeaks. The promo copy leans heavily into Ellory’s skill at ferreting out deception in others. She is “exceptional at pinpointing a liar and can tell you why she doesn’t trust someone ...



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