Breaking NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac
Engineer Outwits High-Tech Fingerprint Fraud
NEWSWISE - Dec 9, 2005
...simple casts made from a mold can be used to fool most fingerprint
Automated Fingerprinting System to Arrive This Month
– JAMAICAN OBSERVER
- Dec 9, 2005 ...system will help track
down and prosecute criminal offenders...
State Criminal Records Improved
MINING JOURNAL, MI -
Dec 8, 2005 ...Michigan gets new system that
will allow more complete searches of computer records...
Real Life CSI for Technicians
GILROY DISPATCH, CA - Dec 5, 2005 ...the yellow tape is up.
Everything inside the barrier is evidence and needs to be evaluated...
Recent CLPEX Posting Activity
containing new posts
Moderated by Steve Everist
Shaheen 148 Sun Dec 11, 2005 9:13 am
A personal view of Mr. Cole's letter.
Paul R Bivens 119 Sat Dec 10, 2005 12:59 pm
development of latent marks on thermal receipts
flo78 95 Fri Dec 09, 2005 8:46 pm
Friction Ridge Skin Morphology
Boyd 175 Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:42 am
[ Poll ] (Webmaster) - Recent Board Spam
clpexco 506 Wed Dec 07, 2005 11:14 pm
LP Examiners role in proving prior convictions in court...
Carl Speckels 263 Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:09 pm
Latent prints and bombs
Kathy Saviers 326 Wed Dec 07, 2005 4:27 pm
W. Curtis 196 Mon Dec 05, 2005 10:00 pm
Trace metal detection test
RAE 254 Mon Dec 05, 2005 7:20 pm
Fingerprint Dogma Final Exam
Dogma (formerly Guest) 4740 Mon Dec 05, 2005 5:46 pm
Michele Triplett 153 Mon Dec 05, 2005 2:18 pm
Fingerprint Official Admits Expert Dispute
Michele Triplett 191 Mon Dec 05, 2005 2:09 pm
UPDATES ON CLPEX.com
the message board format to require login to post because too many board
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Updated the Detail archives
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Thanks for including the article 'clue
to bomb hoaxer' in 'The Detail 223'.
It's a nice surprise to see a case that I have worked on appear in an
After 22 years of Fingerprint work (16 as a SOCO/CSI), I still get a thrill
from catching criminals.
After three great crime scene examiners and I returned from the scenes, our
dynamic latent fingerprint team set to work on identifying the Bomb Hoaxer.
Sergeant Mal WILLIAMS identified the offender on the public phones.
What a brilliant feeling it is to be there when a major identification is
made. Even more so, to have personally gathered some of the evidence.
It makes a person damn proud to be a Fingerprint Expert or SOCO/CSI.
Also, we have to praise the Police Officers working in the lockups, jails
and watchhouses who take the prints. Without their great work we would have
nothing. Good info in, leads to great identifications coming out.
Kindest regards from Queensland Australia,
Queensland Police Fingerprint Bureau
we looked at the second part of a recent article by Simon Cole regarding
latent print error.
we examine commentary on this article set from the Message Forum.
"A Personal View of Mr. Cole's Letter"
CLPEX Message Forum
Posted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 3:10 pm
I am frankly, quite fed up with the constant accusations that the Science of
Fingerprints is fallible. I read the series of two papers written by Simon Cole,
where in his first part he attacked several instances, indicating that
fingerprints were wrong - when in fact, it was fingerprints that made the story
correct, and the operator was wrong.
(a) Loomis - "...the government admitted that Loomis was not the source..."
Never indicated that the fingerprints were wrong.
(b) Stevens - "...that the print might have been forges." Seems to me there is
human factor here, not the prints.
(c) Stoppelli - "...The FBI excluded Stoppelli as the source of the print..."
from looking at the prints I guess.
(d) Caldwell - "...the latent print could not have been made by Caldwell..."
testified by two Latent Print examiners. Here too, fingerprints cleared the
On and on for a total of 22 cases, Mr. Cole attempts to imply the fallibility of
the latent fingerprint world - when in fact, at least to me, he proves the need
I listened to the testimony of an IAI Certified examiner (Mr. Ken Moses) for the
defense in the Mayfield case, where he admitted he had made a mistake on his
identification. I admire him for his honesty and I think it took a lot of guts
to get up in front of his peers and admit to the gross mistake made by all
involved. But, did I hurry out and write a book on how the system was incorrect
and fallible? No! I attempted to look at the whole picture trying to see how I
wouldn't fall into the same situation.
So far in my small career of 36 years of being a latent print examiner, I can
proudly say that I have never made an erroneous match; but, I must add the word
"yet", and can only hope and pray that I never will. (Just because I run my boat
aground and put a hole in the bottom doesn't mean the boat business should be
eliminated. I think I would need more training on how to operate the boat.) The
same goes with the fingerprint field.
I did love one of his statements: "...or, perhaps latent print examiners have
become increasingly complacement, and hence sloppy." Here-here, I couldn't agree
A suggestion for the fingerprint world is requiring more in-depth training for
the people who want to become certified examiners, as well as on-going
Now as I begin to read the second part of Mr. Cole's letter, he seems to attack
the term "ACE-V" but is constantly returning to his pet-peeve term "zero-error
rate." He attacks Agent Meager on his being an "expert" within the
"...scientific areas of methodologies..." and then if he was an "...expert on
their error rate."
Please forgive me, but last week my doctor attempted to get my blood pressure
using a pressure cup - and it failed to work. He simply got another pressure cup
and completed his examination. You know - I forgot to ask him about his "error
rate" in the usage of that type of pressure cup and if he were an "expert" in
his methodology of pressure cups. Am I missing something here?
But lets go on.
An attempt to indicate that we "dummies" out here in the field need to be
"coached" on what to say in a court of law by "Wertheim fils" or even "Wertheim
pere" (as Mr. Cole indicates) is nothing more than pure gibberish. Yes, Mr.
Wertheim made a few suggestions on the possibility of using certain phrases when
confronted in a court of law when asked about certain things concerning "error
rates" - but to say I was coached - get real! I constantly look at different
views from different people who have been through the same experiences that I
have been through or am about to go through. It helps me to be a better orator.
Do I, or am I going to write down each and every error I make on a comparison -
such as writing "left" instead of "right", or "No.#2" instead of "No.#7" - the
answer is NO, I am not. As long as I am the person who makes the comparison and
another person verifies the print have the final "correct" answer when it leaves
our office, we have done our jobs.
To me, the issue of magnifying the possibility of "error rates" is just another
smoke screen used by the guilty parties or someone attempting to write a book. I
believe that if a person alters the attention from the true objective enough
times - the "truth" will eventually be hidden.
Reply Posted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 12:59 pm Post subject: Simon Cole and fingerprint
I agree with what you've taken the time and ownership to put out there. You are
right in understanding that Cole is is not attacking the science of fingerprints
but the competency of its practitioners. Where he adds strength to his argument
are the cases that emerge where the practitioner has let the science down. In
this sense the reliability of the practice brings into question the science. You
made good examples of the doctor and the boating mishap, its all about
competency and the regulation of the qualification. The practice of the science
under the set number standard made it easy for Cole to suggest our house was not
in order as a legitimate science. The science of fingerprint individualization
is about the human form and not national or state policy. Under 'no set number'
he simply attacks the competency of the examiner to get it right. An issue that
assists the position of Cole is use of the term 'expert opinion' as a safeguard
and a defacto probability. Expert opinion should only relate to court testimony
and not to a fingerprint examination. We can already see that Cole will explore
the examination outcome of 'insufficient' as a grey area of competency. Our
science requires us to develop a presentation media that will accompany oral
testimony as a full disclosure of the actual fingerprint examination. Food for
thought but hopefully the message will get through to progressive leaders who
will advance the cause.
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