Breaking NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac
Legal Challenge Begins to DNA Database
- Feb 27, 2008
...two arrested men want DNA and fingerprints removed from national
Judge Rules for Kinge in Civil Trial
ITHACA JOURNAL, NY
- Feb 27, 2008
... David Harding, the state police investigator who claimed to have
obtained Kinge's fingerprints, pleaded guilty to fabricating the
Theories Explain Delay in IDing Prints Ė
Feb 27, 2008
...police said the break in the case came when an FBI fingerprint
matched prints from the crime scene...
Criminals Obliterating Fingerprints to Avoid Identification
- Mar 2, 2008
Tirado turned out to be Gerald Perez, 33, of 4 Lynch St., and the
stitches were part of a procedure he had performed in the Dominican
Republic to obliterate his fingerprints...
Recent CLPEX Posting Activity
containing new posts
Moderated by Steve Everist
Announcement: Click link any time for recent, relevant fingerprint
Sun Dec 16, 2007 3:36 pm
Dr. Michael West, Forensic Odontologist
Pat A. Wertheim 13 Sun Mar 02, 2008 2:41 pm
Calls for Inquiry to be scrapped
Daktari 16389 Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:28 am
Evidence Fabrication in South Africa
Pat A. Wertheim 13734 Wed Feb 27, 2008 10:54 pm
Palm print AFIS in Florida???
J Fennell 215 Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:49 pm
You just can't help some people....
Cindy Rennie 617 Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:45 am
Trying to find a book
EmmaC 333 Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:43 pm
UPDATES ON CLPEX.com
Updated the Fingerprint Interest Group web page with FIG #
Inserted KEPT #9 - On-Line Forums: Discuss this topic on CLPEX.com - a discussion has
been created for KEPT.
Goodbye to Newz-man Jon Stimac, who has been pulling together our weekly
news for the last 6 years! He has recently stepped up as the Editor of
the IAI's new publication Identification News and this will be his last week
of pulling together links for the Weekly Detail.
Thanks, Jon, for all the hours... it was quite a run for 6
years. I appreciate all the information sharing and knowledge you
contributed to for so long. I'm happy to see you taking that to the next
level with ID News and I wish you the best in all your information sharing
endeavors. Thanks again for everything you have done and that you continue
to do for our community.
If anyone else is interested in pulling together the top 4 weekly articles
for the audience of the Weekly Detail, please reply to the e-mail or send me
a note with your technical approach to how you could/would accomplish the
There are many features associated with news services these days that might
make this an easier task than it used to be. Another option is for us
all to simply refer to the News link that stays at the top of the CLPEX.com
Speaking of the forum, Due to technical difficulties, the board was down half of the week but it is
back up at this time. I apologize for not being able to provide you
with your daily fix of interaction! I am in the process of having my
website re-hosted to a new platform with a new version of PhpBB to support
our forum. Until then, we may have to live with a few more glitches
over the coming weeks / months.
Steve Ostrowski brought us a
summary and links regarding the New Hampshire Supreme Court's appeal of
State v. Langill.
I have often wondered what
we would see if a prominent critic of latent print identification were the
victim of a crime-against-persons where prosecution hinged on a latent print
identification. We all doubt the critic would drop the charges and
allow the individual to walk; rather we would like to see them break down
and admit they know the science is valid and allow justice to be served in
their case. Cully Stimson of the Heritage Foundation does a great job
of framing the importance and many uses of fingerprint identification in an
article that makes us back up a level and realize the success of our
What's this? Fingerprint evidence cannot be trusted?
By CULLY STIMSON
THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION
A trial judge in Maryland recently ruled that the prosecution couldn't use
fingerprint evidence in a murder trial. Why? Because, according to her,
fingerprint evidence isn't reliable. Never mind that the defendant's
fingerprints were found on the car of the person he allegedly shot. Does
this ruling make sense? Fingerprint evidence has been a reliable
crime-fighting tool for more than a century. Police officers, security
experts, prosecutors, defense attorneys ó all rely on fingerprint evidence.
Indeed, its use and reliability isn't limited to the courtroom. Many
parents, for example, have their children fingerprinted so that if they are
abducted, law enforcement has a set of prints to use in the investigation.
Fingerprints are also used to keep track of sex offenders. Under the Adam
Walsh Act, convicted offenders must register with local officials, and their
conviction and image is posted on a national Web site so the public can know
where they are. But they don't just register ó they have to submit their
fingerprints to the authorities.
Communities rely on the authenticity of those fingerprints.
As combat operations continue in Iraq and Afghanistan, coalition forces
continue to engage the enemy. As in all wars, some enemy fighters are
captured. Often, they are hard to identify, because they refuse to follow
the Geneva Conventions by wearing a uniform and identifying themselves once
captured. Those elusive terrorists are identified by their fingerprints. The
military relies on this evidence. In fact, they stake their lives on it.
Foreign visitors to the United States are required to place their finger on
an electronic reader when they arrive. Their print is instantly compared
against a database of other prints. The system was put in place after Sept.
11 to determine whether someone should be allowed into our country. The
Department of Homeland Security relies on fingerprint evidence to protect
all of us.
In many states, convicted criminals are required to provide their
fingerprints to the government so that, in the future, if they commit
another crime, authorities can compare the known prints to the new prints.
Authorities do this because many career criminals use multiple aliases.
States rely on fingerprint evidence to hold recidivists accountable.
In some of the most secure business, government and military buildings, you
have to place your fingers and palm into a reader to gain access to
sensitive areas. Since, as we all know, no two fingerprints have ever been
proven to be the same, there is a high degree of confidence that the person
presenting her fingerprint to the reader is the person actually authorized
access to the top-secret area. Security experts rely on fingerprint
evidence, and for good reason.
It would be a different story if fingerprints were an untested practice. In
our criminal justice system, it is right and proper to test the validity of
new scientific techniques. The last thing anyone wants to see happen is for
an innocent person to be detained or convicted based on unreliable
scientific methods. We must keep an open mind when a criminal defense
attorney tests the prosecution's attempted use of a new scientific technique
in court whose reliability has not been established. Techniques that have
been accepted in the relevant scientific community as reliable have been and
should be admitted. Unreliable techniques, and quackery, should be excluded.
But defense attorneys, too, have relied on fingerprint evidence for years.
They routinely argue that the lack of fingerprints in a case, or the
presence of a third parties' fingerprints at the scene of the crime, is
valuable ó reliable ó evidence for a jury to consider.
Fingerprints, in short, have a long and dependable history. The science of
reading a fingerprint has proved to be reliable to judges in every country,
and indeed in every state in the United States. You and I rely on
fingerprint evidence everyday to keep us safe. Indeed, the U.S. Supreme
Court, in an opinion written in 1969 by Justice William Brennan said that
fingerprint evidence is a "more reliable and effective crime-solving tool
than eyewitness identifications and confessions."
Perhaps the Maryland trial judge forgot to read that case.
About the writer: Cully Stimson, a former prosecutor and defense attorney,
is a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Readers may write to
the author in care of The Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Avenue NE,
Washington, D.C. 20002; Web site: www.heritage.org.
Keeping Examiners Prepared for Testimony - #9
by Michele Triplett, King County
Disclaimer: The intent
of this is to provide thought provoking discussion. No claims of accuracy
Question Ė On-Line Forums:
This could relate to any information on the internet or
information in a newspaper article.
An on-line chat board may not be a reliable source of information
because answers arenít always as accurate or as comprehensive as they should
An on-line chat board may not be a reliable source of information
because the answers may just be someoneís opinion and may not be tested or
Iíd have to read the entire thread to understand the context of this
Iím unfamiliar with forum and cannot comment on what was said.
Yes, I did say that but I meantÖ..
I canít comment on this because I donít know if they were referring
to a specific incident, a specific case, or rules that only affect a
I am aware that this was said but I donít know what this person was
basing this information on.
Iíve seen this image on the internet but I canít vouch for the
authentication of the image.
Iíve heard several people state that attorneyís are
bringing up information from on-line forums during interviews or testimony.
Some people use this as a reason not to post on these forums and others use
this as a way to slight those who do post. On-line forums or blogs can be
very informative and therefore I donít believe people should discourage
their use. Itís more important that we understand the context of the
information and not be afraid to answer to this if this comes up in court.
Answers a, b, c, d, f, g and h: These are all
Answer e: I would discourage any discussion
that sounds like the examiner is being defensive. These on-line forums are
a valuable source of information but need to be kept within the appropriate
context. Although they may be valuable at a specific time for a specific
topic, the information from these conversations may not be as useful during
a trial or to determine the expertise of a practitioner.
Feel free to pass The Detail along to other
examiners. This is a free newsletter FOR latent print examiners, BY
latent print examiners.
With the exception of weeks such as this week, there
are no copyrights on The Detail content. As always, the website is
open for all to visit!
If you have not yet signed up to receive the
Weekly Detail in YOUR e-mail inbox, go ahead and
join the list now so you don't miss out! (To join this free e-mail
newsletter, enter your name and e-mail address on the following page:
You will be sent a Confirmation e-mail... just click on the link in that
e-mail, or paste it into an Internet Explorer address bar, and you are
signed up!) If you have problems receiving the Detail from a work
e-mail address, there have been past issues with department e-mail filters
considering the Detail as potential unsolicited e-mail. Try
subscribing from a home e-mail address or contact your IT department to
allow e-mails from Topica. Members may unsubscribe at any time.
If you have difficulties with the sign-up process or have been inadvertently
removed from the list, e-mail me personally at
email@example.com and I will try
to work things out.
Until next Monday morning, don't work too hard or too little.
Have a GREAT week!