Dan Ribacoff Helps Free an Innocent Man Who Was Wrongfully Spent 27 Years in Prison

June 22, 2020

On a summer night in Buffalo in 1991, a street fight in front of a restaurant led to the shooting and killing of Torriano Jackson. Because of an anonymous tip, the local authorities arrested Valentino Dixon for the murder, who was later sentenced to 38.5 years to life in prison. It seemed like a clear cut case, however, there was one large problem: Valentino Dixon was an innocent man. During his years in prison, he continued to profess his innocence. Lamarr Scott had even confessed to the media that he himself was guilty of the crime, but Buffalo law enforcement chose to ignore this information and further pursued Valentino Dixon. Dixon remained in prison for 27 years and would still be there if not for Dan Ribacoff's investigative work.

Martin Tankleff, an exonerated man himself who became an attorney and professor at Georgetown University along with fellow Attorney/Professor Marc Howard, ran a class on wrongfully convicted persons. One case that they had the students examine was the case of Valentino Dixon. After two undergraduate students were assigned to his case, they were able to discover new evidence that caused Valentino Dixon's case to be reopened. In light of this newly discovered information, Dan Ribacoff was asked to conduct a pro bono polygraph test at the Erie County District Attorney's office on Valentino Dixon. This polygraph test was part of the 440 motion to overturn the murder conviction. In the state of New York, a polygraph is admissible as part of the 440 motion to vacate a wrongful conviction. This is much to the surprise of many people who believe that polygraph tests are not admissible in court.

Dan Ribacoff conducted an extensive interview with Valentino Dixon, who was at the time shackled at the hands and legs. The interview was conducted with the Assistant District Attorneys and their investigators watching in another location through a monitor. The polygraph test conducted by Ribacoff revealed that Mr. Dixon had been telling the truth for almost 3 decades that he was in fact not the shooter!

In September of 2018, due to the hard work done by the Georgetown University Students, Professors Howard and Tankleff, the reinvestigation by the Erie County DAs office and Dan Ribacoff’s polygraph test, all charges against Valentino Dixon were vacated. He was a free man at last! Lamarr Scott, the true killer, was later convicted of the crime and is currently serving his time in prison.

What most people do not know is that the polygraph is a highly effective forensic tool used by law enforcement agencies, military and intelligence agencies throughout the world. It has been used to detect both deception and truthfulness since 1921. Mass studies conducted by the American Polygraph Association have shown polygraph exams to be 98% accurate, which is more accurate than most medical tests.

Daniel Ribacoff currently holds numerous advanced certifications in polygraphs and post conviction sex offender polygraph testing. He is also an approved police polygraph examiner holding CT POSTC approval.

Connect with Dan

Need to connect with Dan about working on a case or project?

By clicking the button above, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use, including receiving emails.