Breaking NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac
Forget Credit Cards Or Checks: Pay With Your Fingerprint
– KSDK-TV, MO -
June 20, 2005 ...It's
simple, easy... You just walk in... put your fingerprint on this,
make your purchase, and it comes out of my checkbook...
Fingerprint reading at forefront of security
– New Zealand
Herald, New Zealand
- June 22, 2005
...more people are turning to biometric solutions to
keep their data secure...
Some visitors delayed by mismatched fingerprints on passports –
CNN - June 23, 2005
...only a tiny fraction of the
millions who enter the United States every year have experienced
such problems, the Homeland Security Department said.
Police say fingerprints link suspects to deadly purse snatching –
The Grand Rapids Press, MI - June 23, 2005
...fingerprints were the key to
eliciting confessions from the two women...
Last week, we looked at an internet article by Simon Cole.
This week, we continue to keep abreast of current latent print related
Potential Daubert Hearing on Simultaneous
to be held in Boston, Massachusetts:
Supreme Judicial Court for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
John Adams Courthouse
One Pemberton Square, Suite 1400, Boston, Massachusetts 02108-1724
Telephone 617-557-1020, Fax 617-557-1145
RE: Docket No. SJC-09478
TERRY L. PATTERSON
NOTICE OF DOCKET ENTRY
Please take note that the following entry was made on the docket of the
June 13, 2005 - ANNOUNCEMENT: The Justices are soliciting amicus
briefs. This reservation and report seeks pretrial resolution of
the issue whether the Commonwealth has met its burden under
Commonwealth v. Lanigan, 419 Mass. 15 (1994) and Daubert v.
Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, 509 U.S. 579 (1993), to establish
the reliability of latent fingerprint individualization applying
ACE-V methodology to simultaneous impressions.
Susan Mellen, Clerk
Definition: Latin term meaning "friend of the court". The name for
a brief filed with the court by someone who is not a party to the case.
"... a phrase that literally means "friend of the court" -- someone who is
not a party to the litigation, but who believes that the court's decision may
affect its interest." William H. Rehnquist, The Supreme Court, page 89.
Amicus Curiae briefs are filed in many Supreme Court matters, both
at the Petition for
Certiorari stage, and when the Court is deciding a case on its merits. Some
studies have shown a positive correlation between number of amicus briefs filed
in support of granting certiorari, and the Court's decision to grant
certiorari. Some friend of the court briefs provide valuable information about
legal arguments, or how a case might affect people other than the parties to the
case. Some organizations file friend of the court briefs in an attempt to
"lobby" the Supreme Court, obtain media attention, or impress members.
"An amicus curiae brief that brings to the attention of the Court
relevant matter not already brought to its attention by the parties may be of
considerable help to the Court. An amicus curiae brief that does not
serve this purpose burdens the Court, and its filing is not favored." Rule
37(1), Rules of the Supreme Court of the U.S.
E-mailed by a CLPEX Member:
DAVID S. BERNSTEIN
Issue Date: June 24 - 30, 2005
A report reveals the sins that led to a wrongful conviction
Stephan Cowans spent seven years behind bars for a crime he did not
commit: shooting a police officer. Even after newly tested DNA
evidence led to a reversal of his conviction in January 2004, the
Suffolk County District Attorney's Office remained convinced of
Cowans's guilt, and initially promised to re-try him. After all,
said David Meier, head of homicide prosecutions, Cowans's thumb
print was right there on a glass the shooter drank from after the
In fact, as Meier soon learned, the print did not match Cowans's. In
fact, it did not come close to matching, despite the trial testimony
of BPD officers from the latent-fingerprint lab, Dennis LeBlanc and
The Cowans fiasco led to grand-jury proceedings against LeBlanc and
McLaughlin, but no indictments. It also prompted a review that found
the remaining BPD latent-fingerprint team untrained and incompetent;
Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole eventually shut the unit down last
But the facts behind the misidentified Cowans print have never been
revealed. Now, the Phoenix has obtained a report produced by an
outside team of experts that the BPD hired to investigate the
incident. Prepared by Ron Smith & Associates, of Mississippi, the
report, dated March 8, 2004, alleges considerable misdeeds.
It also depicts a fingerprint lab where officers rarely documented
what they were doing. LeBlanc's work over a period of five years,
the report found, "revealed an almost total disregard for quality of
evidence received, work performed, comparisons conducted and
verifications conducted." All this was accepted by his supervisors,
says the report. More broadly, the environment in the unit "could
not insure that at least a minimum amount of information was placed
in each case file."
In addition, the review confirms an egregious bit of sloppiness
reported by the Phoenix last May: that a BPD detective mislabeled a
set of fingerprints that is, the detective took a set of sample
prints from one person, but mistakenly placed another person's name
on the card.
But the report suggests that the Cowans case went beyond
carelessness, into actual fraud:
" LeBlanc was told to make the prints match. In a signed report
dated June 24, 1997, LeBlanc wrote that he was given Cowans's name
as the suspect, and "[u]pon my comparison of the latent prints to
the suspects prints, I was to conclude that one of the latents was
identical to the inked impression of one; Stephan Cowans."
" LeBlanc made numerous untrue statements during the Cowans trial,
and deliberately presented the fingerprint as a match when he knew
it was not. The review concluded, "At some point, after the
erroneous identification was made ... Officer Dennis LeBlanc
discovered his mistake and concealed it all the way through trial."
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
Updated the Smiley Files with one new Smiley.
Updated the Training page with a new Ridgeology Science Workshop in Colorado,
August 22-26, instructor: Glenn Langenburg. This course is only 8 weeks
away, so reserve your seat today if you are interested:
firstname.lastname@example.org will hold your
Updated the Training page with information on IAI Training through Ron Smith and
Associates. Courses are scheduled for Demystifying Palm Prints, Courtroom
Testimony Techniques, and Advanced Fingerprint Comparison.
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Until next Monday morning, don't work too hard or too little.
Have a GREAT week!