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Tags Bill Dillon , Clever Hans , John Preston

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Old 31st July 2009, 02:08 AM   #1
Ernie M
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Fake scent-tracking dog reminiscent of Clever Hans

Here is a story about a fake scent-tracking dog, who along with it's handler, John Preston, helped wrongly convict and send people to prison.

This is strongly reminiscent of the fake abilities of the horse, Clever HansWP where Clever Hans could only perform and get the right answers when it's trainer/handler knew the answers.

Only Clever Hans never sent someone wrongly to jail.

INVOLUNTARY CUES/MINIMAL CUES
Clever Hans, the horse (and others like him), got the correct answers from involuntary and/or minimal cues from the trainer/handler's body language.

READ ABOUT THE FRAUD OF JOHN PRESTON
Fake scent-tracking dog sends man to prison for 26 year.

Here are a couple quotes from the article that describe the dog's inability to sniff-and-track (my words) accurately.

Quote:
Documents obtained by CNN show he could not even follow a scent for one-hundred feet. The judge determined the dog could only track successfully when his handler had advance knowledge of the case.
Quote:
Dillon thinks Preston and his scent-tracking dog were part of a larger conspiracy.

“Preston could lead the dog to the suspect or the evidence,” alleges Dillon, but “any cases that were weak, not good enough to go to the jury, they [the prosecution] fed Preston information, paid him good money to come and lie.”

Further disgusting issues as quoted from article:
Quote:
Preston and his four-legged so-called expert were discredited in 1987. But the state of Florida never reviewed cases on which he’d testified . And nobody ever told Bill Dillon – who sat in prison another 20 years before he ever knew a thing about it. It wasn’t until 2006 that he heard Preston was a fake.

It is highly unfortunate that this fake scent-tracking dog and handler weren't discovered and stopped earlier.
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Old 31st July 2009, 08:38 AM   #2
Amapola
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That's really strange that they never checked into the cases he'd been involved with. I wonder why not?

I wonder if the handler really believed the dog was infallible. The owner of Clever Hans did not realize the horse was taking cues from him, but actually believed his horse knew and understood the math questions and so on.
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Old 3rd August 2009, 01:16 PM   #3
Ernie M
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"What goes down the leash, comes up the leash."

I liked the way that quote sounded, so I've included it here:
"What goes down the leash, comes up the leash,"
said Charles Mesloh, "former canine officer and criminologist at Florida Coast University."

Basically, it means that dogs, for various reasons, can make mistakes, in some instances- from handler input/error or, a cheating dog that just wanted to please.

Read the time.com article,
Dogs and the Scent of a Crime: Science or Shaky Evidence?

It questions the accuracy and validity of sniffer dogs, and touches on details of some people who were wrongly jailed for crimes they didn't commit.

Note: I posted this same message in a similar thread by Ranb, http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=149604
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Old 12th August 2009, 09:19 AM   #4
Tricky
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Like a furry polygraph - Dog wrongfully convicts defendants

You thought lie detectors were bad? How about scent-tracking dogs.
Quote:
Last weekend, we looked at the case of Bill Dillon, the Brevard County resident imprisoned for 27 years before DNA tests set him free…
At least two other men suffered the same fate — and another shared link: a dog.
Not just any dog. A wonder dog helped convict all three men: a German shepherd named Harass II, who wowed juries with his amazing ability to place suspects at the scenes of crimes.
Finally, somebody thought to simply test the dog.
Quote:
It all came to a conclusion when Judge Gilbert Goshorn requested a tracking test after a case where the dog supposedly discovered a scent at a scene six months after a murder. And the dog got a big FAIL.
It seems people are conditioned to believe that these dogs, since they have no stake in the outcome, cannot make a mistake. I hope that judges in Florida will employ a bit more skepticism in the future.

And why did it take 27 years to get a DNA test?
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Old 12th August 2009, 11:15 AM   #5
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Discussion taking place here; http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=149635 and here; http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=149604

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