Breaking NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac
DA Wants Review of State Police Crime Lab Record Keeping
- Aug 18, 2006 ...investigation into whether a state crime
lab corrupted evidence in a county court drug trial...
Fingerprint Procedures Upset
SUNDAY TIMES, AUSTRALIA
- Aug 17, 2006
...court ruled it was wrong for officers to take
fingerprints as standard procedure when they already knew someone's
Leading Fingerprint Technology Comes to South Georgia
GA - Aug 14, 2006 ...agency is the first in Georgia to
receive the Vacuum Metal Deposition System...
Convicted Warren Bank Robber Facing
Attempted Armed Robbery Charge
THE BLUFFTON NEWS, IN
- Aug 17, 2006
...The lab matched them to Lloyd... He denied even being
there that day...
Recent CLPEX Posting Activity
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Cowans -- Error or Misconduct?
L.J.Steele 18 Sun Aug 20, 2006 2:42 pm
One Discrepancy Rule
Michele Triplett 3863 Sun Aug 20, 2006 2:12 pm
Whisler 162 Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:08 am
DNA transfer from fingerprint brush?
I. Farrell 654 Wed Aug 16, 2006 9:10 pm
Why Experts Make Errors
charlton97 693 Wed Aug 16, 2006 7:48 pm
Employment Opportunity in California!
Hillary Moses 109 Wed Aug 16, 2006 4:03 pm
UPDATES ON CLPEX.com
No major updates on the site this
Joe Polski brought us the August, 2006 IAI
Stanley Aronson offers insight into the genesis
of the study of fingerprints that sparked the discipline as we know it today
Ailing Physician Contributes to Forensic Science
By Stanley M. Aronson,
Excerpts from the Providence Journal, Published 8/14/06 at:
[William] Herschel was a 44-year-old British physician assigned to the
obscure post of Hoogly, in India. The year was 1877 and Herschel, along with
many on his staff, suffered for months from [a] parasitic form of dysentery.
Records indicate that Herschel was profoundly ill, and his colleagues
described him as pale and hollow-cheeked, with lusterless eyes and feeble
voice. He often conducted his work from a cot, since he was too weak to walk
or even sit at his desk. Much of his work was administrative, including
paying the many Indians hired by the British.
Over the many months of debilitating diarrheal illness, Herschel became
morbidly fascinated with the ridges and whorls on the skin of his
fingertips. To diminish boredom, he began a notebook of fingerprints, using
ordinary ink. Over the years, Herschel made two discoveries: First, a
person's fingerprint pattern never changes; and second, each person's
fingerprints are distinguishable from others'.
On Aug. 15, 1877, Herschel wrote to his superior describing a new method of
personal identification. He had been faced with the same problem confronting
many of his colleagues: How to make certain that the laborer lined up to
receive his pay was indeed the person he claimed to be, since, to the
insensitive British, the Indian workers tended to look alike. A means of
identification more infallible than photography was sought, and so Herschel
had all of his many employees place their fingerprints on their employment
record; when they came to receive payment, their fingerprints were compared
with the original imprint.
Herschel's health deteriorated, and in 1880 he was sent back to England. The
Oct. 28, 1880, issue of the scientific journal Nature carried a letter from
a Scottish physician, Henry Faulds, describing fingerprinting as a way to
identify criminals. A dejected Herschel hastily wrote to the journal
describing his long experience in the forensic use of fingerprinting. Both
physicians then independently wrote to Scotland Yard, advocating
fingerprinting in police work. The police commissioner summarily rejected
The Paris prefect of police, Jean Camecasse, was more receptive to the idea,
so France took the lead in using fingerprinting as the gold standard for
Few looked back to the days when amoebic dysentery had given Dr. Herschel
the time to speculate about the intricacies of the whorls on people's
Stanley M. Aronson, M.D., is dean of medicine emeritus at Brown University
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