T H E
D E T A I L
Monday, April 15, 2002
(Updated on 5-6-02 to include the statement and petition)
BREAKING NEWz you can
Airport Security for NYC Area (AP)
Two governors announced tougher security measures at the major
airports around New York City on Friday, including requiring criminal background
checks of shop workers and fingerprint scans for all airport employees.
- Apr 12 5:59 PM ET
crime scene lab streamlines investigations
(South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
They photograph the crime scenes and collect and process evidence like fingerprints,
clothing fibers, hair, blood and other fluids. They work in cities all over the
county, including many that have their own police departments and homicide
- Apr 12 7:11 AM ET
Gets New Crime Fighting Tool (WPLG Click10.com)
The mobile lab has state-of-the-art equipment that will allow
investigators to gather and process fingerprints, hairs, and fibers while
still on the scene of a crime. It also has two lasers, a digital imaging
station, and a satellite navigation system.
- Apr 09 2:39 PM ET
Accused Of Raping 87-Year-Old To Stand Trial (KGTV TheSanDiegoChannel.com)
...Latent Print Examiner Rodrigo Viesca testified that a fingerprint
lifted from a bedroom window in the victim's home matched the defendant's on
file in a criminal...
- Apr 10 7:56 PM ET
Good morning via the "Detail," a weekly e-mail newsletter that
greets latent print examiners around the globe every Monday morning. The purpose of the Detail is to help keep you
informed of the current state of affairs in the latent print community, to
provide an avenue to circulate original fingerprint-related articles, and to
announce important events as they happen in our field.
Last week, we looked at a news article
that compiled and summarized much of the challenge as reported lately in the
media. If you would like to read this or other past details, visit the
clpex.com Detail Archives.
This week, we turn to international events in Scotland as Arie
Zeelenberg passes on
information regarding the recent controversial results of the SCRO's "independent
inquiry" into the McKie and Asbury cases. Below are exerpts from a
letter recently circulated by Mr. Zeelenberg.
is a generic letter circulating among fingerprint experts around the world. I
apologise for the fact I am unable to address to you personally and in your own
appeal to your expert judgement and professional ethics.
you may have heard a dreadful mistake is made in Scotland with a wrong
identification of a latent mark in a murder case against a police officer named
Shirley McKie. Her life and career
are ruined as a result of this. After a long investigation the experts of the
Scottish Criminal Record Office refuse to admit to the mistake hiding behind
their opinion. They will be
reinstated in their job and may continue to discredit the fingerprint science
and to make new victims.
McKie, the father of Shirley, a retired Police Superintendent, has presented an
accurate summary of the events in this case and at the same time, makes it very
clear what devastating effects it has had upon their lives. The
presentation is available
on this site.
recently the Scottish authorities have announced that no mistake was made, SCRO
staff simply has another opinion. This puts the suspicion back upon Shirley's
shoulders and will certainly make it more difficult for her to find
justice and compensation.
is recommended that you make your own comparison and draw your your
conclusion. You can find the mark and the comparison print on the internet
at the following link:
you agree that the identification is wrong we ask you to support the following
statement. It is an initiative from Mr. Michael Russell a Member of the
Scottish Parliament and is an appeal to the Fingerprint community.
The statement is written such that it expresses your opinion/conclusion in your
professional domain at the same time minimizing the risk of getting in conflict
with your own organization. Their
will be a list of undersigning experts from all over the world that state their
name, position, organization, city and country.
the undersigned, forensic experts in the field of fingerprint
identification are writing to express our extreme concern about a matter
we consider to have serious implications for our profession.
have learned about an identification of a latent print in a murder case,
allegedly coming from a police officer named Ms. Shirley McKie.
have studied the latent and the comparison print from the left thumb
from Ms. McKie.
every level of detail investigated the two prints show so many
differences that we are convinced that the latent does not originate
from her left thumb.
number and quality of the differences we have observed can be easily
demonstrated to anyone and can only happen in comparing fingerprints
from completely different sources.
is clear that Ms. McKie should have been definitively excluded as a
possible donor at an early stage of the comparison process.
are astonished that any qualified or even non-qualified expert could
deliver a conclusion that they were identical.
are deeply concerned that fingerprint techniques that have proved
dependable for so many years and have served the judicial process so
well for over a century have now been
are also concerned that the victim was a police officer acting in the
line of duty, that her accusers were expert witnesses working for the
Crown Office and that such an injustice could happen again.
continue to excuse such a gross mistake as a ‘matter of opinion’
harms the credibility of fingerprint evidence, the Scottish judicial
system and the position and credibility of the SCRO.
statement expresses our personal view as experts who are bound to their
professional and ethical obligation to expose mistakes and ascertain the
truth without fear or favour.
appeal to you to use your authority and power to correct this mistake,
stop injustice and prevent such a situation
ever arising again.
long as the situation in Scotland continues, we will enable experts to join this
list. It will be allowed to grow as long as necessary; this will be “the
statement will be sent to the Minister of Justice from Scotland, Mr. Jim
Wallace, to the media and will be in the public domain. The Media version
may be an abstract.
don’t have much time; within two weeks there will be a debate in Scottish
Parliament and it would be very helpful if it was ready by then. We need
to speak up for the sake of the McKie family and for the sake of the fingerprint
science. We have a moral and
professional obligation to do so.
forward this Email to your fellow experts in your country and ask them to join
even if you don’t. If
you want to join, your name will be listed underneath the statement.
join the list, simply E-mail the consent form below back to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are under threat of disciplinary
action you may undersign anonymous, we
will verify your identity and will only supply the key information you provide;
For example; fingerprint expert, 45 years, (organization), City, Country.
have studied the prints in the McKie case and it is my expert conclusion
that to identify
these prints is a mistake.
I have read and I support the content of the statement about the McKie
I herewith give consent to list my name under the statement and to
accept that the lay out and wordings of the final letter may differ
slightly from the draft as long as the principal content stays the same.
I accept that a shorter version may be provided to the media.
prefer to be listed anonymous because I am under threat of diciplinairy
What is asked;
Judge the prints at http://onin.com/fp/problemidents.html#second_case
Forward this message to your fellow experts in your country.
Direct any e-mail replies to email@example.com
Be aware that we might be forced to limit the list of the statement sent to the
Minister or media, but all of the names will be published in the public domain.
Please react within a week.
for your cooperation
Head National Fingerprint service
desired, you may affix your name to a "hard copy" of the Petition
consent form and mail it to:
77 Great North Way,
London, NW4 1PT
As usual, the Detail Chat
board is available this week for
informal banter about the Weekly Detail, as is the onin.com forum
for other discussion.
CLPEX.com this week...
Added the transcript of
Iain McKie's presentation on the McKie and Asbury cases:
Feel free to pass the link to The Detail along to other examiners. This is a
free service FOR latent print examiners, BY latent print examiners. There are no
copyrights on The Detail, and the website is open for all to visit.
If you have not yet signed up to receive the Weekly Detail in YOUR e-mail
inbox, go ahead and join the list now so you
don't miss out!
Until next Monday morning, don't work too hard or too little.
Have a GREAT week!