Breaking NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac
Fingerprint System Increases Arrests – LOS
ANGELES TIMES, CA
- Feb 20, 2005 ...installed
fingerprinting system identifies criminals among the 1 million
illegal migrants apprehended annually...
Art Mystery, da Vinci's Fingerprint –
SEATTLE TIMES, WA - Feb 20, 2005
...a newly discovered fingerprint, along with
stylistic similarities, are making experts think of da Vinci...
Accord Reached on Fingerprint Act –
OBSERVER REPORTER, JAMAICA - Feb 18, 2005
...agreement met between Jamaica's
government and opposition on proposals for the Fingerprint
Fingerprints Now Scanned –
POST SEARCHLIGHT, GA - FEB 15, 2005
...a new way of taking fingerprints
at the county jail may help the Sheriff’s Department improve safety
while saving time and money,...
SWGFAST met the week before last and addressed several important topics. One of
the topics was a recent letter from Ralph M. Keaton to ASCLD/LAB accredited
forensic laboratories regarding latent print documentation. Concerns were
brought forward during the SWGFAST meeting by attendees as well as other non-SWGFAST
members. The concern centered around the implications of the clarification
letter (below) and the amount of effort necessary to achieve the documentation
required by ASCLD/LAB, according to certain interpretations of the letter. The
level of concern was such that a meeting was held during the week with an ASCLD/LAB
representative and re-clarification was provided from SWGFAST to ASCLD/LAB on
this issue. It is not unreasonable for agencies to utilize the grace period
mentioned below and to potentially expect additional clarification from ASCLD/LAB
to be forthcoming in the near future. The January letter appears below, and
re-clarification will be distributed in the Detail if/as soon as it becomes
ASCLD/LAB Latent Print Examinations Documentation Requirements
The ASCLD/LAB Board recently became aware that there is significant
misunderstanding amongst accredited and applicant laboratories concerning
requirements for examination documentation in the latent print discipline. In an
effort to clarify expectations, ASCLD/LAB sought and received input from
respected representatives of the latent print community on the topic. The
attached document was generated as a result of that input and after much
deliberation by the Board.
The requirements for latent print examination documentation as outlined (below)
will become effective immediately and all laboratories inspected hereafter will
be inspected to this standard. However, there will be a grace period until July
1, 2005, during which a laboratory which does not meet the outlined requirements
for latent print examination documentation may satisfy the requirements, when
inspected, by presenting a plan for bringing the laboratory into compliance.
Effective July 1, 2005, all laboratories must be in compliance with these
requirements as outlined.
Ralph M. Keaton
Minimum Latent Print Examination Documentation
The following document is intended to address and clarify the extent of the
examination documentation required by ASCLD/LAB for latent print examinations.
ASCLD/LAB has other requirements for examination documentation which are not
addressed in this document. Those requirements are still applicable.
For another competent examiner or supervisor to evaluate what was done and to
interpret the data, examination documentation must include the following as part
of the case record.
1) All Examination Activities
Another competent examiner should be able to determine from the examiners'
notations each examination activity conducted, the sequence of those activities
and the results of the activities. The activities can include the development
techniques applied, controls or reagent checks used in development techniques,
photography/digital imaging used, any AFIS searches conducted, known exemplar
capture and/or retrieval, comparisons conducted and conclusions reached.
It is not required that the examination documentation provide a detailed
description of the thought process involved in the analysis, comparison or
evaluation. However, examination documentation must include which prints were
analyzed, compared, evaluated and conclusions reached. Examination documentation
must also acknowledge the existence and disposition of any captured latent
prints which were not analyzed, compared or evaluated.
If known exemplars are used in the examination, the original or reproduction
suitable for comparison of the known exemplar must be retained as part of the
case record. When the laboratory cannot ensure that an AFIS will maintain the
actual data used and relied upon in the examination, the laboratory must
maintain an image of the actual data in its case record.
2) Latent Print Lifts and/or Photographs/Digital Images of the Latent Prints
Without the images of the latent prints another competent examiner cannot
evaluate what was done or interpret the data. Narrative descriptions, diagrams
and drawings of latent prints alone are insufficient. While it is permissible to
keep all prints, ASCLD/LAB does not require that prints or photographs/digital
images of latent prints which have no value for comparison be maintained in the
case record. Neither does ASCLD/LAB require that prints or photographs/digital
images of latent prints which are of value for comparison be maintained in the
case record if the prints are not examined or compared.
Digital images of latent prints electronically stored may be included as
examination documentation in the case record, as defined by laboratory policy,
as long as the media has the appropriate security to ensure that the images
3) Annotations on Original Evidence or on Photographs/Digital Images that
Correlate to Written Notes
When annotations are made on latent print lifts and/or photographs/digital
images of latent prints, the lifts and/or photographs/digital images with the
annotations or a copy thereof must be retained as examination documentation.
For those agencies which maintain custody and control of latent print evidence,
the laboratory may, by policy, define latent print lifts and photographs/digital
images with annotations, to be both evidence and examination documentation and
be included as part of the case record. Annotations may include, but are not
limited to, designations of latent prints of value, markings regarding an
identification, charting, etc.
When laboratory policy and procedure allows latent print evidence to also serve
as examination documentation, the laboratory must handle the latent prints in a
manner that ASCLD/LAB's requirements for evidence are met.
Some critical thinking questions:
1) Does an evaluation of what was done, how it was done, and an interpretation
of the data require comparison quality latent print images? If not, what quality
would suffice? In what situations would you rather capture an image versus write
2) In number 1 of Mr. Keaton's letter, it is mentioned that "...examination
documentation must include which prints were analyzed, compared, evaluated and
conclusions reached" and later, that "If known exemplars are used in the
examination, the original or reproduction suitable for comparison of the known
exemplar must be retained as part of the case record." Do you interpret
"conclusion reached" to include exclusions? Would you consider this wording to
indicate that you are required to keep images of every AFIS comparison you
conduct, including both Idents and Exclusions? Do you feel this is practical or
possible to accomplish?
3) What do you consider "annotations" on lifts? Is it practical for
non-retaining agencies (state crime laboratories, etc.) to capture all
annotations made on items of evidence?
message board is always open: (http://www.clpex.com/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=2).
For more formal latent print discussions, visit
UPDATES ON CLPEX.com
Added one new Smiley to the Smiley Files (and a really good one at that!)
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Until next Monday morning, don't work too hard or too little.
Have a GREAT week!