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NEWS ’80s, he worked alongside some of the nation’s pre-eminent experts in lie detection, chasing what he called “bad guys” in the oil industry, analyzing national security screenings and lecturing to law enforcement agencies across the globe before moving to Boise in 1995. “There are police agencies that are very conservative about using polygraphs. They do their investigations, narrow the field of suspects and then offer polygraphs to a few people,” said Honts. “But there are other agencies that run polygraphs to thin the field. It’s a lazy way to do police work.” But dealing with someone already convicted and sentenced to death requires a very specific science—something called a comparison question test. “You want your [CQT] to be as sharp as possible,” he said. “Go right to the heart of the matter.” The questions asked of Leavitt couldn’t have been clearer: “Did you stab Danette Elg?” “Did you remove Danette Elg’s internal genitals?” “Were you present when Danette Elg was stabbed?” Honts said Leavitt passed the test, answering “no” to each. “The probability analysis suggest that it is very unlikely that Mr. Leavitt was attempting deception to the relevant questions of this examination,” wrote Honts in his report to Nevin. Nevin immediately fired off an affidavit to U.S. District Court. “If counsel had not immediately made the test results available, this would have provided silent confirmation that Mr. Leavitt 10

had failed,” wrote Nevin. “Particularly for this reason, Mr. Leavitt’s passing the polygraph examination provides eloquent confirmation that he is not Danette Elg’s killer, and that he is, on the contrary, innocent.” Nevin isn’t asking for his client to be released from prison, at least not yet. But he called for what he said was an “emergency motion” to use 21st century DNA testing on the 36-year-old evidence used to convict Leavitt. In particular, Nevin wants new forensic testing on a shirt, shorts, panties, a lock and a sex crime kit. But J. Scott Andrew, the current prosecuting attorney for Bingham County, is having none of it. “I believe the timing of the current request makes it clear that it is merely a tactic to delay Mr. Leavitt’s execution,” wrote Andrew on May 21 in reply to the evidence request. “I am not willing to participate in yet another heartbreaking and frustrating delay for the victim’s family. “ Andrew said that he was only “prepared to intervene” if forced by court order. And though Honts said he wouldn’t talk on the record regarding his polygraph of Leavitt until a court hearing could be held, he has confidence in the Idaho judiciary. “To be honest, I think Idaho’s in pretty good shape. My impression of the Idaho Bar and, in particular, prosecutors is that they honestly try to do a good job,” said Honts. “I don’t run into too many prosecutors who are ego- or power-driven or win-at-all-costs. The vast majority of the bar is highly ethical and just trying to do a good job.”

SPIRITED CONVERSATION Five Wives not a member of the Idaho liquor clan ANDREW CRISP When national media outlets—from NPR to Fox News—reported that the Idaho State Liquor Division had divorced itself from Five Wives Vodka, most observers theorized that the title was offensive to Mormons. But the man who oversees Idaho’s liquor laws said there was much more to the story than offending members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “For us to put a bottle on the shelf with five women hiking up their skirts with kittens over their genitals—we do have some shred of standards,” said Jeff Anderson, ISLD administrator. “And at the end of the day, we can only carry so many things.” Anderson said it’s not uncommon for his agency to deny products that are sold—even successfully—elsewhere. Products selected by the ISLD end up in more than 100 state liquor stores. “The product is OK, it’s average,” said Anderson. “But at $21.95, we don’t see it being successful in Idaho. The packaging was

12 | JUNE 6–12, 2012 | BOISEweekly

only the tie-breaker.” Anderson said the Five Wives brand, compared to an Idaho average of $7.95 for a bottle of vodka, helped lead him to his ultimate decision. “Of the 2,400 [items] we carry, 10 percent of those represent 80 percent of sales,” said Anderson. “In a market that has thousands of potential brands and sizes, nobody carries everything. In the last year, we had about 500 presented to us. We listed about 150.” Meanwhile, Anderson is paying closer attention to liquor in Washington, which privatized its spirit sales on June 1. Anderson is skeptical of the new Washington model, pointing to some hefty taxes and fees when consumers face the cash register. According to the Seattle Post Intelligencer, the tariffs include a 10 percent distributor fee and a 17 percent retail fee. “They’re not going to transition into the privatization model without price fluctuation,” he said. WWW. B O I S E WE E KLY. C O M

Boise Weekly Vol. 20 Issue 50  

Idaho's Only Alternative

Boise Weekly Vol. 20 Issue 50  

Idaho's Only Alternative