Breaking NEWz you can UzE...
Kasey Wertheim (your name could be here!)
Letter writer is an 'apple-pie American'
Modesto Bee, CA -
Mar 19, 2008
"Daniel Cron currently works part-time
contracting with the State of California as a Certified
Latent (fingerprint) Print Examiner, ...
Beating likely grounded pilot's career
News-Journal, FL - Mar 16, 2008
"What he meant was that police would not be able
to find any of his fingerprints in my house, but they did,"
McEvoy said ...
Public Safety: Crime
Tampabay.com, FL -
Mar 16, 2008
The tube raises the fingerprint, which
then can be dusted and put on a latent lift card for
analysis. Whatever they process, whether it be an old candy ...
Recent CLPEX Posting Activity
containing new posts
Moderated by Steve Everist
Announcement: Click link any time for recent, relevant fingerprint
clpexco 1752 16 Dec 2007 03:36 pm
KEPT - Keeping Examiners Prepared for Testimony
clpexco 2132 24 Mar 2008 02:00 am
Evidence Fabrication in South Africa
Pat A. Wertheim 16643 24 Mar 2008 01:28 am
Error Rate Paper
g. 447 24 Mar 2008 12:19 am
Judge to head fingerprint inquiry
sharon cook 1616 22 Mar 2008 05:20 pm
Calls for Inquiry to be scrapped
Daktari 19507 21 Mar 2008 08:18 pm
Distortion Class in Minnesota
g. 191 19 Mar 2008 08:41 pm
Case at Supreme Court
Pat A. Wertheim 360 18 Mar 2008 01:18 pm
UPDATES ON CLPEX.com
Updated the Fingerprint Interest Group (FIG) page with FIG #37.
Inserted Keeping Examiners Prepared for Testimony (KEPT) #12: Blind
Verification - Concerns. Discuss this topic on CLPEX.com - a discussion has
been created for KEPT.
we looked at the SWGFAST draft for comment on Simultaneous Impressions.
although late, we look at
the SWGFAST Update by Chairperson Lenny Butt as well as the process to
return comments to SWGFAST on reviewed documents.
The mission of the Scientific Working Group on
Friction Ridge Analysis, Study and Technology (SWGFAST) is to establish
consensus guidelines and standards for the forensic examination of
fingerprints, palm prints and foot prints.
SWGFAST, established in 1995, is one of several Scientific Working Groups
(SWG). The overall intent of Scientific Working Groups is to improve
forensic science practices and build consensus amongst federal, state, and
local forensic laboratories and practitioners. The SWGs are a focal point
for discussion on key issues confronting various forensic science
disciplines which will lead to the establishment of guidelines and standards
through consensus and general acceptance. The guidelines and standards
published by them are widely recognized by the forensic community, the
courts, and the forensic laboratory accrediting bodies.
SWGFAST has developed and published standards, guidelines and recommended
practices for many areas of specific interest to the latent print community.
There are a number of new topics that are currently being worked on and
several more under consideration for the future. SWGFAST addresses this
workload on a consensus decision of priority as determined by the members.
The membership of SWGFAST is comprised of a diverse group of dedicated and
professionally recognized individuals. This includes not only latent print
experts from law enforcement agencies, but also defense experts,
researchers, instructors, academicians, laboratory managers, and others.
This group’s diversity provides a varied perspective which results in well
thought-out, heavily scrutinized guidelines and standards even before they
go out for comment to the general scientific community.
SWGFAST has expanded its focus from only forensic latent print examinations
to include tenprint examinations and operations. The fundamental principles
and scientific foundations for friction ridge impression examinations are
the same for both types of examinations. However, there are specific aspects
of each which have unique circumstances and applications and require
separate considerations when establishing best practices. Because of these
differences, SWGFAST has established a Standing Committee to specifically
address tenprint examinations.
The committee will meet for the first time in the Spring of 2008. Membership
within SWGFAST has been expanded to include experts to address this aspect
of the fingerprint discipline. It is recognized by SWGFAST that the
differences between the two applications of fingerprints is not readily
discernible outside of the fingerprint expert community. This is most
evident when the courts are considering fingerprint testimony, whether it is
tenprint testimony for prior arrest record purposes during sentencing or
latent print testimony during trial. The expansion of SWGFAST to include the
tenprint examinations is a natural progression and will build a strong tie
between these two distinct applications of fingerprints under one Scientific
During SWGFAST deliberations over the years, it became evident that the
discipline was lacking a central resource for information with the related
reference material for many of the issues being discussed. SWGFAST initiated
a proposal to create a Fingerprint SourceBook. The National Institute of
Justice sponsored the SourceBook project via a grant to West Virginia
University. This will become a significant asset to the fingerprint
community. The manner of and final release dates have yet to be determined.
Another significant initiative currently involving SWGFAST is the National
Academy of Sciences (NAS) study for Identifying the Needs of the Forensic
Science Community. The U.S. Congress under the Science, State, Justice,
Commerce, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2006 (public law #
109-108), has provided funding for this study. SWGFAST is supportive of this
endeavor, and has committed to acting as an expert resource to the NAS
committee. During the second NAS open meeting a SWGFAST representative
presented before the Committee providing insight to our business practices,
as well as the SWGFAST created guidelines and standards. This included
information regarding the acceptance and enforcement of the guidelines and
standards, as well as quality assurance, and research issues.
The SWGFAST guidelines, standards, position statements, and a resource kit
for the press, are available on www.swgfast.org. Feedback regarding documents that
have been published as a “draft for comment,” or suggestions for new
documents, the press kit, position statements, or research topics may be
submitted via the website. An automated response will acknowledge the
submission and the comments will be presented at a subsequent SWGFAST
During the SWGFAST meeting of September 17 to 21, 2007 The Stephen B.
Meagher Commitment to the Friction Ridge Science Award was established. This
award is intended for SWGFAST members who have demonstrated outstanding
efforts in promoting the friction ridge science and SWGFAST. The first
presentation of the award was made to Stephen Meagher.
The next scheduled meeting of SWGFAST will be held in Huntsville, Texas the
week of April 27 to May 2, 2008.
Leonard Butt, Chair
Scientific Working Group on Friction Ridge Analysis, Study and Technology
According to the SWGFAST Bylaws, documents presented as "drafts for comment"
are published for community review. During this review period, the community
is encouraged to submit comments on any "draft for comment" document.
Although interested persons may contact any SWGFAST member to discuss the
documents, comments and suggestions for changes must be submitted to the
SWGFAST Executive Secretary to be reviewed at a SWGFAST meeting.
The comment period for a "draft for comment" document will extend until the
SWGFAST meeting following the next International Association for
Identification Annual Educational Seminar.
Comments and suggestions for changes must be submitted in writing, with
contributor information (name, address, phone number, and email address), to
the SWGFAST Executive Secretary. Contributor information will allow SWGFAST
to contact the contributor for additional information if necessary, and
notify the contributor of the outcome of the SWGFAST discussions on the
Maggie Black, Executive Secretary
Orange County Sheriff-Coroner
Forensic Science Services
320 N. Flower Street
Santa Ana, CA 92703
Keeping Examiners Prepared for Testimony - #12
Blind Verification - Concerns
by Michele Triplett, King County
The intent of this is to provide thought provoking discussion.
No claims of accuracy exist.
Concerns over Blind Verification:
What would some concerns be when doing blind
Since the original evidence has the conclusions
written on it, how do we recreate the evidence and not jeopardize the
quality of the images.
If we use reproduced images then it’s not a true
representation of the original evidence.
It’s time consuming and we don’t have the time to do
this on every case.
One concern is that people think blind verification
is the best quality assurance measure but it doesn’t look at the reasons
behind a conclusion, which is a scientific protocol.
Blind verification has a place in looking at
reliability but it shouldn’t be used as a replacement for peer review.
This is the perfect opportunity to say that blind
verification isn’t the best quality assurance measure.
It looks for reliable conclusions but it doesn’t insure the
principles and methods used were reliable enough to be used.
Answers a and b:
We may not be able to reproduce images that are exactly like the
originals but it is possible to duplicate images so they’re an adequate
representation of the of the originals.
This is a truthful statement but it disregards the fact that blind
verification isn’t needed in every case.
Blind verification is a tool to protect against bias and bias is only
a problem when alternative conclusions are plausible (in complex
Answers d and e:
I think both of these answers educate the courts about blind
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