Breaking NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac
Science, tradition at war in forensics
BALTIMORE SUN, MD
2007 "Prosecutors in the Baltimore County case cannot
appeal the decision, and they have asked the judge to reconsider her
fingerprint decision challenged
- Oct 30, 2007
.“This [judge] stands alone in American jurisprudence in ruling that
fingerprint identification evidence is not reliable enough to be
rejects request to toss out fingerprints –
BALTIMORE SUN, MD - Nov 4, 2007
"...he had read and "respectfully" disagreed with the decision of
Judge Susan M. Souder."
California man held for 43-year-old murder
- Nov 3, 2007
in 1964, the process of collecting and matching fingerprints was all
done manually," Gonzalez said.
Recent CLPEX Posting Activity
containing new posts
Moderated by Steve Everist
Baltimore Judge declares Fingerprints
Justice Pie 968 Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:04 pm
Latent Print Examiner Positions - CONUS/OCONUS
wkpetroka 4059 Sun Nov 04, 2007 12:20 am
Statistics and Misidentifications - The weeks Detail
Michele Triplett 28246 Sat Nov 03, 2007 9:38 am
Pat A. Wertheim 3430 Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:32 pm
Stitched vs Singular Live Scan Palm Images
Boyd Baumgartner 1189 Fri Nov 02, 2007 1:05 am
DNA and Fingerprints
Charles Parker 84 Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:51 pm
and on a lighter note.....
Angie 392 Thu Nov 01, 2007 1:43 pm
Norberto Rivera 164 Wed Oct 31, 2007 10:47 pm
Give us your opinion
RJ Hillman 789 Wed Oct 31, 2007 3:08 am
ULW and IAFIS
Charles Parker 828 Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:44 pm
Maryland v. Bryan Rose
Red.Sox.Fan 547 Mon Oct 29, 2007 3:50 pm
UPDATES ON CLPEX.com
Updated the Fingerprint Interest Group web page with FIG #
Updated the Detail Archives
we started a 3-part historical series on the
rarity of features in friction ridge identification.
we continue with part 2 of
The Reference Shelf (Santamaria
by J. Hess
LAPD Latent Finger Print Section
In this column last month we stated that two studies dealing with the
qualitative weight of various ridge characteristics based on their frequency
of occurrence would be reported.
This month an idea from Spain will be discussed. The researcher involved is
Florentino Santamaria Beltran. While Chief of the Technical Police
Laboratory in Madrid, Spain, he delivered his outline to the International
Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) at its assembly in Oslo, Norway, in
1953. He called the paper simply, “A New Method of Evaluating Ridge
Characteristics.” The address was discussed in the August-September, 1953,
issue of the International Criminal Police Review, the official publication
of Interpol. The full report was published in the May, 1955, issue of Finger
Print and Identification Magazine. In addition, Salil Kumar Chatterjee of
India devotes a full chapter to Santamaria’s method in his book,
“Finger-Palm and Sole Prints.”
Mr. Santamaria first made his premise public in 1942 at the First Spanish
Congress of Forensic Medicine, held in Madrid. Apparently little notice was
given his proposal at that time, outside of the Latin American countries,
and due to internal conditions the author himself was unable to give his
theory world-wide publicity until later.
His hypothesis is summed up in this quotation from his Oslo paper: “If the
value of each characteristic is different, will it not be equally so for
each collection of points?” “And if they are different, then why should we
say, ‘You must have ten to twelve points to establish identity,’ taking into
account of the individual value as though all points has the same value?”
“In other words, in the face of all logic the total identification value of
ten to twelve ridge endings, bifurcations or convergences (which in addition
to being invariable, occur very frequently) is at present considered to be
equal to that of a collection of an equal number of characteristics points,
one or more of which are very rare. This is a state of affairs which I
consider should be corrected.”
Compiled Frequency Table
The theory advanced by Mr. Santamaria is based on a study of 1,000 prints
and recording the frequency of occurrence of ten different types of ridge
characteristics, per 1,000 ridges. He compiled a table of figures reflecting
the number of times each characteristic appeared, and from this table
grouped these characteristics and assigned relative weight to their
occurrence in this manner:
FREQUENCY RANGE WEIGHTED VALUE
Ridge Ending 1
Deviated Break 2
Point or Dot 2
By this method, a partial print having ten ridge endings with a value of 1
each would total 10, a valid identification. Another print might contain
five ridge endings or bifurcations with a value of 1 each; one ridge dot
with a value of 2; and one intersection, rated at 3; with a cumulative total
of 10, equally as valid as identification. Thus one print containing but
seven characteristic, with due consideration for the comparative value of
each, would be as emphatic as one containing ten of the more common points
Other Features Weighted
In addition to weighting the points, he believes that certain
“peculiarities” appearing in the print should add value to the
identification. A print with a rarity or a lack of characteristic points, or
a scar, or one showing abundant pore structure, would receive an additional
value of 1 to be included in the total score. For example, if an area
available for study had a total value of 9, but in addition contained one of
these peculiarities, the total value would then be 10.
As might be expected, reaction from various finger print workers around the
world was varied and ranged from near total acceptance, with minor
modifications, by Peru, to a comment, “deplorable” from an Italian source.
Following publication of the report by Finger Print And Identification
Magazine, several subsequent issues contained a wealth of stimulating
comment on Mr. Santamaria’s work, as well as other aspects of comparison and
identification by some of the world’s leading friction ridge authorities.
Weakness Of The Proposal
At this point, the “New Method” would appear to be an improvement over out
generally accepted “quantitative” system with its strictly arbitrary
requirement for a given number of points of identity. This method would
provide a measure of flexibility and allow the print examiner greater
latitude of interpretation in considering factors other than mere numerical
values. However, closer examination of the process by which these
qualitative values were determined reveals yet another arbitrary factor. For
example, the study shows that ridge endings occur at the rate of about 534
per 1,000 ridges, while bifurcations are present only some 282 times. Yet
the weighted value assigned to each of these characteristics is 1. In the
same 1,000 ridges, a ridge dot occurs about 22 times, but its value is 2, as
compared to a ridge ending which would occur roughly 25 times more often.
The obvious reply might then be, “Let’s discard this arbitrary value and
give these individual characteristics their actual value, based on the
frequency of occurrence.” But, would any print examiner what to depend upon
one intersection for an identification, even though this characteristic
appears only twice per 1,000 ridges as compared to 534 ridge endings?
Mr. Santamaria’s “New Method” summarizes many arguments advanced by print
men the world over and probably applied in varying degrees by all of us at
one time or another. Yet we find it hard to accept either his arbitrary
values or the relative values established by actual occurrence ratio between
various points. Neither method seems to offer a satisfactory solution, so as
in many other areas of finger print work; there exists a need for additional
research and study.
The next column will deal with the results of such a research by a worker in
yet another part of the world.
(Grammar and spelling corrections made by Charles J. Parker 10-13-07)
(Originally printed in Finger Print and Identification
Magazine, Vol. 52 No.; April 1971)
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