T H E
D E T A I L
Monday, December 2, 2002
BREAKING NEWz you can
compiled by Jon Stimac
Crime Suspects' Prints Won't Leave - THE
BATTLE CREEK ENQUIRER - Nov. 24, 2002 ...city
is one of a handful of departments in the state who are a keyboard away
from the Michigan State Police fingerprint data bank...
Links Oregon Man to Slaying of 13-year-old Girl - SEATTLE
TIMES - Nov. 24, 2002
is the first physical evidence linking suspect to the slayings of one of
the girls whose bodies were found on his property...
Databases Missing a Link - USA
TODAY - Nov. 24, 2002 ...governments
have spent billions of dollars upgrading technology during the past
decade, yet officials' ability to share information remains limited...
Police Chief Resolving Fingerprint Feud - WATE
6 NEWS - Nov. 27, 2002 ...Knox
County Sheriff and Knoxville Police Chief met Wednesday to resolve a
fingerprinting feud between the departments...
Releases Man Jailed for 2 Years - SAN
FRANCISCO CHRONICLE - Nov.
27, 2002 ...additional
print comparisons were to determine whether suspect could be ruled out as
the person who had made the latent...
Perps with 21st-Century Ease -
CHICAGO DAILY HERALD - Nov. 28, 2002 ...
system allows for quicker access to suspect information, including quicker
dissemination to other departments across the state...
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 on Ebay! As most of you know, the first Monday of every
month is reserved for a unique fingerprint related auction starting at just one
penny. Up for auction this month is a set of three ACE FINGERPRINT INK
bottles in a brown leather-like case. Two of the bottles are
unopened! Check out this unique auction at http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=743338967
The Georgia Division of the IAI is sponsoring David Ashbaugh's course,
"Forensic Ridgeology" June 16-20, 2003. The cost is $400 and
there are 25 seats available. For more information, phone or e-mail Steve
Greene at (404) 469-7039, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website calendar at
David "Ski" Witzki highlighted several
reasons we should stay up to speed on digital imaging and the courts. This
week it is my pleasure to give Glenn Langenburg the floor. But before I
do, I just wanted to express how much I appreciate Glenn and his efforts in
advancing the field of friction ridge impression individualization.
Although I have only known Glenn well for a short while, it is obvious that he
has a true passion for this line of work and will serve the fingerprint
community well over the course of his career.
Dear Fellow Colleagues,
To many, the O.J. Simpson trial is considered “The Trial of the Century”.
Perhaps this is deservingly so. However,
as a latent print examiner in the
, U.S. v. Byron Mitchell represents to me, the “Trial of the Century”
for latent print examiners since our discipline’s first introduction into
American courts in People v. Jennings in 1911.
A quick recap of Mitchell: convicted robber (pre-Daubert), Byron
Mitchell, appealed his case; he was given a new trial (post-Daubert).
Key evidence was two latent prints placing Mitchell in the get-away
vehicle. The defense challenged the
latent print evidence and filed motions in limine to exclude latent print
evidence as, according to the defense, it did not meet the criteria for
reliability as put forth by the guidelines spelled out in Daubert.
For the first time in 80 years, the discipline was asked by the court to
defend the underlying science and methodology that form the foundation of
friction ridge skin identifications.
The government assembled a veritable “A-list” of expert witnesses to defend
the discipline—not limiting the list to ONLY latent print examiners.
Dr. William Babler, Sgt. David Ashbaugh, Special Agent Ed German, FBI
Unit Chief Steve Meagher, Donald Ziesig of Lockheed Martin, Dr. Bruce Budowle,
and Pat Wertheim all testified for the government during the five-day Daubert
hearing held in July of 1999. The
defense called four witnesses, including three critics of note: Dr. Simon Cole,
Dr. David Stoney, and Prof. James Starrs.
In short, the presiding jurist, Justice J. Curtis Joyner, ruled in favor of the
discipline and denied the request of defense to exclude the latent print
evidence. The ruling was oral (a
formal written opinion was not provided by Joyner).
Kasey and I have talked extensively about how important this case is to our
discipline and our history. We have
labored to make these transcripts readily and easily available for all
examiners. For the first time ever,
for potentially a limited time (6 months to a year perhaps), THE ENTIRE DAUBERT
HEARING TRANSCRIPTS and the oral ruling by Joyner, and all of the motions and
memoranda filed that we could get our hands on, ARE AVAILABLE ON THIS SITE.
Having said that there are a few additional
points to address:
The files are in .pdf format and
Acrobat Reader to open.
The entire Daubert hearing transcripts and additional material is
approximately 85 MB in size. This is
about 1/7 of a standard CD-R. If you
intend to print these out, they will fill several 3-ring binders (approximately
1200 pages in all).
Kasey’s space is limited on his server.
He doesn’t know how long they can be stored here.
We are currently looking for a more permanent home/server/archive for
If you cannot download these
files or would prefer a CD-R with all of these files mailed to you, I will
gladly send one to you (with all of the Plaza rulings, testimony by James Starrs
in AZ v. Rodriguez, Simon Cole in NY v. Hyatt, and additional goodies) FREE OF
CHARGE! However there is a catch:
I will gladly send you a disk IF you send me something first.
Information. I am interested
in archiving latent print examiner transcripts, unpublished research,
interesting identifications, stories, cases, important rulings, bizarre or
little known court rulings, audio/video clips, etc.
Anything that you can contribute to the community “library”.
I am interested in obtaining more documents for archival from Mitchell
if anyone has any (e.g. more defense motions, exhibits/charts used, etc.) and
especially a clear fingerprint card of Mitchell. (Glenn... I believe I have some
of this stuff, especially the exhibits... I'll get with you soon)
We are in the process of trying to begin an archival committee or
“community library” through the IAI. This
would be an extremely helpful service for examiners.
The service would also not necessarily have to be limited to latent print
examiners but could service all of the identification disciplines that the IAI
represents worldwide. It seems that there should be a central location, that all
examiners can access, quickly and easily, to obtain important transcripts,
judicial decisions, articles, and other instructional information. Luckily we
have progressive individuals such as Kasey, “Dusty” Clark, Ed German,
Ashbaugh, etc. that currently provide such services.
But an active jurisprudence/archival committee in the I.A.I. could
centralize and consolidate all of our resources and archives.
I truly hope examiners, especially those in
training, will make time to read these transcripts.
They are useful information and demonstrate how “seasoned veterans”
handle difficult Daubert questions.
Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
Latent Print Examiner
As you can tell, Glenn has a true passion for
information. For that reason, I have asked and Glenn has agreed to host
the new Information section of the CLPEX website. This area has previously
been known as the "Articles" page, but as you will see on the home
page, it has been changed to "Reference" and the page title reads
"Latent Print Reference Grail". (sort of the Holy Grail of fingerprint
information) Our vision for this page transcends articles, and includes
old books, unpublished manuscripts, important transcripts and legal decisions,
etc. As Glenn mentioned, the possibility of creating a special IAI
committee to explore information archival is being pursued and very positive
feedback has been received. We hope those of you who have something to
offer will contact Glenn and get him that information. Don't wait until
next year or until the IAI forms a committee. We are ready to go
NOW! Glenn can be reached at .
To discuss this week's Detail, visit the informal CLPEX.com
As usual, the onin.com forum
(http://onin.com/fp/wwwbd/) is also available for more formal latent
Next week, we are playing it by ear. There are no pressing topics, so if
you have something you have been wanting to submit, perhaps next week is your
week! I'm just an e-mail away at email@example.com.
Let me know!
CLPEX.com this week...
Updated "Articles" page
to "Reference" page and added the Mitchell section to the Legal /
Daubert subject heading
Updated the Newzroom
Updated the Detail Archives
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
miss out! (To join this free e-mail newsletter, send a blank e-mail to:
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email@example.com and I will work
Until next Monday morning, don't work too hard or too little.
Have a GREAT week!