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Monday, April 14, 2008

 
The purpose of the Detail is to help keep you informed of the current state of affairs in the latent print community, to provide an avenue to circulate original fingerprint-related articles, and to announce important events as they happen in our field.
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Breaking NEWz you can UzE...
by Kasey Wertheim (your name could be here!)

Tucson crime-lab worker resigns; had mishandled evidence in 6 cases
Arizona Republic, AZ - Apr 13, 2008
Skowron, 49, was the crime laboratory coordinator at the time and conducted latent fingerprint testing. The results of the internal investigation have been ...
Suit Says Toy Kit Contains Asbestos
New York Times, United States - Apr 13, 2008
... a crime-scene kit based on the series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” contained asbestos in a powder used to dust for fingerprints. ...
Teen Held in Identical Twin's Death
The Associated Press - Apr 12, 2008
Then police arrested his identical twin, an advanced placement student also active in their high school band. Authorities are accusing Derris Lewis of ...

Alert deputy leads investigators to suspected child abductor
Humble, TX - Apr 11, 2008
The fingerprints obtained at the scene of that burglary were still being processed. 5:40 pm -- The 7-year-old child who disappeared near her bus stop walks ...
Expert Finds Fingerprints on Alleged Jackson Pollock Painting Were Forged
Newswire Today (press release), UK - Apr 9, 2008
In October 2007, Pat Wertheim accompanied Thomas Hanley to view the fingerprints on the canvas and stretcher of the painting at the Long Island home of its ...
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Recent CLPEX Posting Activity
Last Week's Board topics containing new posts
Moderated by Steve Everist


Announcement: Click link any time for recent, relevant fingerprint NEWS
clpexco 2110 16 Dec 2007 03:36 pm

KEPT - Keeping Examiners Prepared for Testimony
clpexco 2978 13 Apr 2008 07:51 pm

aluminium and black powder
charlie 11 13 Apr 2008 04:50 pm

Heat/Humidity Chamber Recommendations?
Mark 957 11 Apr 2008 11:29 am

Evidence Fabrication in South Africa
Pat A. Wertheim 19316 10 Apr 2008 05:40 pm

Evidence Fabrication
Bob McAuley 1490 10 Apr 2008 04:29 pm

Calls for Inquiry to be scrapped
Daktari 23282 10 Apr 2008 11:28 am

LPE and Forensic Tech Positions - CONUS/OCONUS
wkpetroka 7832 09 Apr 2008 01:24 pm

Announcement
sorbitol 270 08 Apr 2008 05:23 pm

Help
kerryc32 439 08 Apr 2008 05:08 pm

The ol' chicken and the egg question (DNA & Latent print
Kelly Speckels 424 07 Apr 2008 10:39 pm

New Hampshire Supreme Court Ruling
Dennis Degler 368 07 Apr 2008 04:37 pm

IAI Conference Category Update
Steve Everist 678 07 Apr 2008 01:03 pm


(http://clpex.com/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=2)
 

 UPDATES ON CLPEX.com

Updated the Fingerprint Interest Group (FIG) page with FIG #40.

Inserted Keeping Examiners Prepared for Testimony (KEPT) #15: Proficiency Testing - What Are Proficiency Tests Testing For?   Discuss this topic on CLPEX.com - a discussion has been created for KEPT.
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Last week

Steve Ostrowski brought us good news from New Hampshire that the NH Supreme Court reversed Langill.

This week


We continue the legal theme with further evidence of why the Supreme Court is reviewing the testimonial - non-testimonial issue of forensic evidence.

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NY Court of Appeals rules DNA isn't, but fingerprint analysis is testimonial under Crawford 
LawyersUSA. Boston: Mar 10, 2008.


Abstract (Summary)
"[The officer's] fingerprint reports, inherently accusatory and offered to prove an essential element of the crimes charged, could be nothing but testimonial. ... Nevertheless, admission of [the] reports was harmless error beyond a reasonable doubt ... [since they] were cumulative, as the expert who did testify ... reached that same conclusion after comparing the latent prints from those two establishments," the court said.

The second defendant was convicted of sexual abuse after admission of an independent laboratory's DNA analysis report linking him to the crime, along with testimony from experts as to the testing procedures. But the experts hadn't prepared the admitted reports.

A DNA analysis is not testimonial under Crawford but latent fingerprint comparison reports are, New York's highest court has ruled in two separate appeals.

The first defendant was convicted of several burglaries after an officer obtained his fingerprints from evidence at one of the crime scenes. A different officer later matched the prints to latent fingerprints obtained from the other crime scenes. Both officers' reports were admitted into evidence but only one of the officer's testified, discussing the findings in both reports.

The defendant argued admission of the reports violated Crawford because they were testimonial.

The court ruled that fingerprint reports were testimonial under Crawford but found their admission was harmless error.

"[The officer's] fingerprint reports, inherently accusatory and offered to prove an essential element of the crimes charged, could be nothing but testimonial. ... Nevertheless, admission of [the] reports was harmless error beyond a reasonable doubt ... [since they] were cumulative, as the expert who did testify ... reached that same conclusion after comparing the latent prints from those two establishments," the court said.

DNA analysis

The second defendant was convicted of sexual abuse after admission of an independent laboratory's DNA analysis report linking him to the crime, along with testimony from experts as to the testing procedures. But the experts hadn't prepared the admitted reports.

The defendant argued that admission of the DNA analysis violated Crawford.

But the court disagreed.

"A salient characteristic of objective, highly scientific testing like DNA analysis is that the results are not inherently biased toward inculpating the defendant; they can also exculpate. The inescapable corollary is that police or prosecutorial involvement is unlikely to have any impact on the test's results," the court said.

It cited similar cases from California, Massachusetts and Ohio.

New York Court of Appeals. People v. Rawlins, No. 6; People v. Meekins, No. 7. Feb. 19, 2008. Lawyers USA No. 9939321.

Credit: LawyersUSA Staff Report
Dolan Media Newswires
ProQuest database, retrieved 4-13-08
For educational non-commercial use only, copyright by Dolan Media Newswires reserved


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KEPT - Keeping Examiners Prepared for Testimony - #15
Proficiency Testing - What are Proficiency Tests Testing For?
by Michele Triplett, King County Sheriff's Office

Disclaimer:  The intent of this is to provide thought provoking discussion.  No claims of accuracy exist. 

 

Question – Proficiency Testing:

What are proficiency tests testing for?

 

Possible Answers:

a)      Proficiency tests are a critical tool for evaluating a laboratory’s overall performance.

b)      Proficiency tests are testing to see if an examiner can arrive at accurate conclusions.

c)      Proficiency test are something that is done to help you comply with accreditation.

d)     Proficiency tests are testing to see if an examiner can make individualizations.

e)      Proficiency test can help get advanced warning of potential performance problems.

f)       Proficiency tests are testing to see if examiners can orient latent prints, locate a potential source of the latent print, and individualize the latent print.

g)      Proficiency tests are testing to see if a practitioners or laboratories can find answers that others would arrive at (consensus answers).

 

Discussion:

The CTS tests can be administered in several different ways.  Individual offices can require justification behind conclusions and agencies can require that examiners state the reason for a non-individualization.  A non-individualization could be due to an exclusion, due to an insufficient amount of information, or due to an inability to orient and locate the latent print.  The answers below are not considering how individual offices are using the CTS test but only looking at how CTS is using the test.

Answer a:   This is stated on the CTS website.  While it is a critical tool for evaluating the ability to make individualizations, it doesn’t test other job functions of an examiner.  Stating it evaluates the overall performance may be a slight exaggeration depending on the job functions of the examiners in your office.

Answer b:  The CTS latent print test doesn’t only insure that conclusions are accurate, the conclusions that are considered correct are both accurate (ground truth) and conclusions that others would arrive at (consensus answer).

Answer c:  Proficiency tests do help you comply with accreditation but this answer doesn’t answer the question that was asked.

Answers d, e, and f:  These answers are correct but if someone doesn’t individualize a latent print then these tests don’t determine where the problem lies (orienting a latent print, locating potential candidates, individualizing who left the latent print, or perhaps differing tolerance levels).

Answer g:  This may be the best answer for two reasons.  First, some agencies use the CTS tests for individuals while other agencies take the test as a group.  And second, the conclusions that CTS gives are not simply the ground truth answers but the answers that at least 75% of accredited labs arrived at.


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Until next Monday morning, don't work too hard or too little.

Have a GREAT week!