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'Master of deceit' gets 8 months in prison

| Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, 8:27 p.m.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — An Indiana Little League coach accused of threatening national security by teaching government job applicants how to beat lie detector tests was sentenced on Friday to eight months in prison.

Prosecutors asked a federal judge to send a “strong message” by sentencing Chad Dixon, 34, to prison in their unprecedented crackdown aimed at deterring other such polygraph instructors. They described Dixon as a “master of deceit” whose students included child molesters, intelligence employees and law enforcement applicants.

U.S. District Judge Liam O'Grady's sentence bolsters federal authorities' pursuit of similar cases. Despite prosecutors' depiction of Dixon's conduct as “dangerous,” the case sparked a debate over whether the federal government should be pursuing such cases given questions about the reliability of lie detectors, which are not accepted by most courts as evidence.

Prosecutors, who had asked for almost two years in prison, said Dixon crossed the line between free speech protected under the First Amendment and criminal conduct when he told some of his clients to conceal what he taught them while undergoing government polygraphs.

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