T H E
D E T A I L
Monday, September 2, 2002
BREAKING NEWz you can
by Jon Stimac
Fingerprinting Made Easy - THE
NEW YORK TIMES - Aug.
Nassau and Suffolk Police Departments are trading conventional paper and ink for
Federal Agency to Mandate ID Cards for Transit Workers
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE - Aug. 24, 2002
...cards would likely use a form of biometric identification, gleaned from the
user's eyes, voice, palms or fingerprints...
Texas Executes Man Who Killed Three Relatives
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE - Aug. 28, 2002
...fingerprints were found and his bloody clothing was traced to the victims...
NYC Examiner to Use New Identification Method
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE - Aug. 29, 2002
...In a last-ditch effort to identify more casualties of the WTC disaster, the
NYC medical examiner expects to begin using an experimental DNA test...
An Island Full of Suspects -The
Los Angeles Times - Aug. 30, 2002 ...
police launch a voluntary program to get the fingerprints of every island
resident between the ages of 15 and 70...
Additional Related Link:
Australia Police Probe Woman's Death -The
Los Angeles Times - Aug. 11, 2002
began taking fingerprints from Norfolk Island's 1,800 residents in an effort
to solve the killing of the 29-year-old...
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.
It's BidNow week! The first Monday of every month is YOUR opportunity to
bid on a unique fingerprint-related item on Ebay. This week, up for
auction is a "mint in the box" vintage magnifying glass recently (unofficially)
valued at around $50. As usual, our BidNow auctions start at only a penny,
so get your name on the list early. To see the auction, visit
We are in the middle of reviewing ten
Daubert Concepts that we are compiling into a comprehensive
Daubert Card to be used however you see fit.
This week we take a look at the last three concepts.
As mentioned the last two weeks, the Daubert Card addresses the concepts surrounding
recent legal challenges regarding the admissibility of fingerprint evidence.
Most agree that the exact answer to each of these concepts is best prepared by
the individual examiner based on his/her training, knowledge, and experience.
Therefore, the concepts themselves and the concept response is addressed in the
Daubert Card, and word-for-word answers are not given. This also forces
each examiner to think through each issue and exactly how they would address it on the
witness stand in front of a jury. If YOU formulate your answer it will
sound better to a jury than if you used someone else's words just right, but they
sounded "canned." Here is this week's continuation of the Daubert Concept
Have all elements of fingerprint examination been peer reviewed?
Related questions might include:
Do you feel it is important for peer review outside the
The fingerprint field and it's theories and techniques have been published
and peer reviewed during a period of over a hundred years. This
includes publication in peer-review journals outside the scope of
9) Would you consider fingerprint examination a
law enforcement function?
Other sub-concepts include:
What other applications are there for fingerprint
Most of the early pioneers of fingerprint identification were scientists and
doctors from around the world. Today, the science of fingerprints has
wide acceptance in business, academic, scientific and biometric communities.
Although friction ridge skin identification is primarily used in
law-enforcement environments, it is also used:
-in hospitals for newborn identification
-in the military for casualty identification
-in the identification of deceased victims of mass
-increasingly in security devices, such as touch-pad
locks in airports,
or home and automobile keyless entry systems.
10) How can you justify
using small distorted fragments for individualization?
Other sub-concepts include:
What if there was a dissimilarity in the 75% of a
matching print you could NOT see?
No two touches are ever exactly the same, therefore all impressions contain
some level of distortion. No friction ridge skin impression contains
all the detail present on the source, therefore all prints are partial
recordings. In short, all impressions are "partial, distorted
fragments." The real issue is whether there is a detectable quality
and quantity of uniqueness to permit individualization. Once identity
has been established, the examiner knows that any further recording of the
print would have also matched. Therefore, if an individualization has
been made (by a competent examiner following the correct ACE-V methodology),
it is understood that suggesting a dissimilarity outside that available area
is to propose an impossible situation. If an examiner does not truly
believe that with the print in question, they should reconsider the
Well, there you have the last of the Daubert Concepts and their responses. I
have added these to our Daubert Card and linked directly to it from the home page.
Also, the message
has been quite active with some excellent discussion on law and theory, so feel free to informally chat about these
or other issues. And remember,
the Daubert Card is a living, breathing document, so if you see an area you
would like updated, please drop me a note. And as you customize your
answers, remember that addressing the Daubert issues in front of a
JURY is the road we are on right now, so think of your responses in that light.
I will advise you through the Detail if updates are made.
The onin.com forum
(http://onin.com/fp/wwwbd/) is also available for more formal latent
CLPEX.com this week...
Updated the Daubert Card page.
Feel free to pass 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
Until next Monday morning, don't work too hard or too little.
Have a GREAT week