Casework documentation (note taking)

Documentation issues as they apply to latent prints

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Danny L. Harness
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2005 5:31 am
Location: Xenia, Ohio

Casework documentation (note taking)

Post by Danny L. Harness » Wed May 19, 2010 10:22 am

I am wondering what the general thought is in regards to the amount of detail we document in casework. When you have a lot of physical evidence to process which may result in numerous latent evaluations and comparisons, you may need to take very detailed and extensive notes.

What about in a case where there are no named suspect(s) and you are only tasked with the evaluation of a few latent prints to determine it's comparison or AFIS value. In this senario what is the extent of our note taking requirements? I have seen examples ranging from no notes being taken (relying simply on the written report) to the extent of recording digital copies of the latents with written notations.

In light of the current Daubert issues, I wonder what the general opinion is among examiners. Do your departments have specific protocols on what extent is necessary or do you rely on the examiners personal opinion?

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Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:25 am

Re: Casework documentation (note taking)

Post by pjsalicco » Tue May 25, 2010 7:26 am

Hello Danny,

Well some use worksheets and document every latent print by assigning a value and number, while others simply write on the card itself the value and number only. In my agency we assign value as A-AFIS quality, V-value and NV-no value using criteria outlined in our SOPs. All of the latent prints are given this designnation and a number is placed by each in ascending order until all latent prints have been evaluated. An example would be four latent prints on on one latent print card could be marked as A1, A2, V1 and NV . The second latent print card with five latent prints might be assigned A3, V2, V3, NV, NV, the next card wtih three latent prints might be A4, A5, V4. When a worksheet is done for a possible subsequent comparison all latent prints will then be account for by there above designations and the examiner can say that all latent prints were compared as a result of the latent prints exam and have the documentation to back it up.

Hope this makes sense!
Pete Salicco
Dallas Police Department

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