Breaking NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac
Zones Linked to FBI's Fingerprint Database –
HOMELAND RESPONSE, OH -
July 7, 2005 ...U.S. military
using the same tools police in the U.S. use to check criminal
Inmate Can Fight Trial's Lip-Print Evidence –
CHICAGO TRIBUNE, IL - July 7, 2005
...a man convicted of murder with the help of
controversial lip-print evidence will get a chance to argue that
flawed forensics sent him to prison...
Fingerprints Used to Identify Woman's Body –
THE HOUSTON CHRONICLES, TX - July 6, 2005
...if not for fingerprints taken from a
driving arrest, authorities still would not know the identity of a
woman whose body was discovered...
Meet the Crime Scene Investigator for Bentonville PD –
BENTONVILLE DAILY RECORD, AR - July 4, 2005
...on TV, the stars almost wipe their
brushes along surfaces, she said. "They’re actually wiping off the
we reviewed current latent print related McKie case
events as SCRO examiners went public and there were discussions of
we look at a recent line of questioning in court
involving IAI certification and the individuals involved in the erroneous
Brandon Mayfield identification.
A Letter to the IAI RE: Certification Issues
From Ronan Shouldice
I am a member of the I.A.I. (#17711), and a CLPE (#01-08) and am writing to you
[I.A.I.] on a matter of some concern. I have recently been in the position of
having to defend my Certification in the courtroom, of seeing it diminished in
the eyes of a polled jury, and of having no specific answers regarding the
position of the I.A.I. on erroneous identifications by I.A.I. Certified
Examiners. This was following a cross-examination which highlighted an erroneous
identification by other CLPE holders whose current status is generally unknown.
Having worked hard to attain CLPE status, I am extremely upset by having to
I am referring, of course, to the Brandon Mayfield case aftermath and the
unfortunate circumstances surrounding the misidentification of Mr. Mayfield. Ken
Moses, retired SFPD, was apparently de-certified by the Latent Print
Certification Board in August 2004. Inexplicably, there has been no publication
of this fact by the I.A.I., and so the timely action of the CLPE Board has been
squandered. The consequence of this is that the hard-won Certification has been
devalued greatly. The prevailing perception is that the I.A.I. has done nothing
to defend the high standards of CLPE status in the profession, and the failure
to act is a discredit to the 722 Certified Examiners worldwide.
I read the report by Robert Stacey (JFI Vol. 54, No. 6) in which a select
committee examined the circumstances leading to the misidentification. It was an
impressive report, and concludes, “the consequences to any examiner for any such
error should reflect the agency’s seriousness about issues involving quality
assurance”. Even here, however, there is no mention of the I.A.I. recommended
sanctions against Certified examiners who are unfortunate enough to find
themselves in such a situation.
I should add that Ken
Moses is someone I regard highly on both a personal and professional level, and
that he has been more than forthcoming about his role in the Mayfield case.
However, this issue is greater than the individual and warrants attention by the
organization that is regarded as being the gatekeeper of the profession. The
membership deserves at least that much. My suggestion would be that any change
in an examiner’s Certification status be published in the JFI, just as new
applicants or awardees are. The idea is simply to reinforce the high standard
inherent in CLPE attainment by demonstrating that the I.A.I. has the courage of
conviction to act following thorough review of an erroneous identification. It
would further allow the membership to be kept abreast of such critical issues
and minimize the devaluing of such a prized credential.
[in a separate e-mail correspondence]
The court case that led me to this was a residential burglary case
with a long exposure for the defendant. I'll summarize the main details and then
get into the certification issue.
The case involved a single partial latent palmprint on a cashbox. There
were no other latents developed, and there was evidence of "cleanup".
Simon cole was retained by the defense and was allowed, by a visiting
judge, to testify.
The victim testified and was found to be somewhat 'unsympathetic' by the
jury (wealthy and came across as indifferent) while the defendant's Mother sat
in court every day.
The assistant DA, who is very capable, addressed all the usual areas in the
qualifications phase, including IAI Certification, and went into some detail
about the difficulties in attaining CLPE and the relatively few there are.
Defense refused to stipulate to expertise and immediately initiated a line of
questioning regarding the Mayfield case. You can imagine the rest...
When the subject of CLPE examiners being involved in the mis-identification
was hammered home to the jury, the defense sat down and her job of obliterating
claims of expertise and the value of Certification was done.
At the time, I had no idea as to the fate of any of the examiners, and
could not advise the ADA on re-direct. I could not address the position of the
IAI on this matter because I could find nothing in print indicating pending or
I cannot say realistically how much impact this ultimately had on the hung
jury (ten to two, by the way, with 2 dissenting). There were other issues at
play. The point is, however, and what drove me to become more proactive about
getting to the bottom of this, is that it clearly DID diminish my capacity to
testify on a level that satisfied the jury's expectation of expertise. The
beating that Certification took after the line of questioning obviously did not
help a case that was based solely upon one partial latent! What enhanced the
problem was my inability to articulate the "official" position, or to testify
with confidence that the IAI had moved to immediately review and take
The jurors, without exception, wanted to believe in the print testimony,
but had in one case a great misgiving about the non-blind verification process
we use here in SF. Food for thought. The dissenters could not understand the
absence of prints at the point of entry, despite rigorous testimony addressing
that, or the absence of other latents throughout the house. Again, despite
descriptive testimony, one juror could not fathom the principals of AFIS
searching.....The ADA figured at the end of the day that the 2 hung jurors just
didn't want to put this guy away regardless and made their stand on what was
available to them. The remaining jurors, when polled, were completely convinced
of the defendant's guilt and were frustrated at the outcome.
in the IAI Update by Joe Polski in a review of IAI Board results from
the mid-year meeting
, we saw the first published official IAI position on
"The results with
respect to the certification of the individuals involved [in the Mayfield/Madrid
bombing case] will be published in the September/October JFI. It should be
noted that the individuals involved in that incident [the erroneous
identification] are no longer certified as Latent Print Examiners by the IAI."
message board is always open: (http://clpex.com/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=2).
For more formal latent print discussions, visit
UPDATES ON CLPEX.com
Changed to the new CLPEX.com Message Board. We have had more
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