Tell no lies: News 3 puts polygraph exams to the test

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Trust. It's a major pillar of any relationship. It's not something that is easily earned, and it's even harder to get back once it's lost.

A Virginia Beach polygraph service is helping people get to the truth. All it takes is several hours of questioning and a polygraph exam.

David Goldberg, owner of Executive Protection Group, has been in the polygraph business for 17 years.

"It's been a phenomenal career. I have helped a lot of individuals get closure," he said.

But getting closure isn't always a comfortable process.

"Everyone is absolutely 100% nervous," explained Goldberg. "As an examiner, we take that under advisement - meaning we know you are nervous. Once we hook you up, we are going to take your nervous anxiety as a baseline reading."

News 3's Allison Mechanic in the hot seat

A baseline reading comes from sensors. They are placed on a subject's fingers and around their chest and stomach. A blood pressure cuff is also placed around their arm and they are seated in a special chair.

Once their baseline reading is recorded, Goldberg starts asking questions. He's not just listening to the answers, though; he's watching how the subject's body reacts to the question asked and the answers they give. He's also watching for counter-measures, or movements a person makes to try and throw off the reading.

"We are able to pick that up instantly because of the sensors that are hooked up on you, and we will call you out on it. A very good examiner will call you out on it: 'You're moving.'"

It's why Goldberg says the test cannot be beat.

"People do come in here and try. We have so many different components to the polygraph now. It's so advanced that we can determine if you are trying to beat the instrument," Goldberg said.

Polygraph exams are often used by law enforcement, but in the state of Virginia, the results from polygraph tests are often left outside the courtroom. According to Rule 2:402 from the Virginia State Supreme Court, polygraph testing results are inadmissible because they are generally viewed as carrying the misleading aura of reliability while being in fact wholly unreliable.

Goldberg says that shouldn't stop people from taking the test.

"A lot of people have the thought in their head, Why take it because it's not going to be inadmissible? but I can tell you a lot of people have lost out on it thinking it's not when really it has helped. I have assisted individuals who have been falsely accused and get out of prison," he said.

Most people assume they can only take a polygraph exam for criminal charges, but according to Goldberg, they can be used for anything. At his Virginia Beach office, he says people take polygraphs for everything: from job interviews; to couples who believe their significant other is cheating on them; to even people participating in body building competitions.

"There's not one profession that I have never tested. There's not an issue that cannot be tested," explained Goldberg. "It's not just for investigating crimes. It is in reference to getting people closure and their life back on track and proving whatever they want to prove."

Regardless of the outcome of the test, Goldberg says the results are always positive.

"I give closure to everyone for everything - even the ones who I find that have been deceiving someone or holding back information. I give closure to even that person," Goldberg said. "They are not lying anymore; it really gives closure to everyone involved. It's closure all around."