AAAS Report (2017)

Latent Fingerprint Examination is part of Forensic Science Assessments: A Quality and Gap Analysis. Published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Forensic science is an essential tool for investigating crime and helping to determine guilt or innocence at trial but questions have been raised about the validity and reliability of many forensic science disciplines. In some cases, reports and testimony based on substandard science have contributed to the convictions of individuals later proven innocent

This report addresses latent fingerprint examination, setting forth what is known about fingerprint examination and what remains unknown. Following the section on the Genesis of this Report, is a summary of conclusions and recommendations. Each conclusion is accompanied by a page number(s) referring to the location in the body of the report where support for it can be found. The body of the report then provides a detailed analysis of the scientific foundations for latent print examination, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and making suggestions for further research. The body of the report is followed by appendices that: (1) describe the methods that were used to prepare this report; (2) provide a primer on latent print examination; (3) provide a bibliography and questions prepared by the National Science and Technology Council’s Subcommittee on Forensic Science that the working group used as a starting point for its analysis; (4) provide background on the working group that prepared this report on behalf of AAAS; and (5) provide background on the project advisory committee and staff.