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Monday, August 27, 2001

Welcome to the fourth "Detail," a weekly e-mail newsletter that greets you every Monday morning. 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.

BREAKING NEWz you can UzE...
A controversial article appears in the premier London, England newspaper, The Telegraph, regarding Alan Bayle's recent resignation from the latent print section of Scotland Yard.  Experts are upset that only neutral comments are being made, and no official stance has yet been taken by Scotland Yard regarding the latent print evidence in the McNamara case.

If you are not familiar with the McNamara case, a good starting point would be reading the transcripts themselves.

IDENT'S WANTED! pages is now up!  You can now run the "Top Ten Most Wanted" Latent prints from around the country your AFIS system, and upload your highest quality unidentified latent print from that unsolved rape, murder, bombing, etc... for others to run.  Thanks, Ed German, for guiding the process of taking this page from "in the works" to a reality!

For those of us who, from last week's Detail, were expecting Simon Cole to drop by the Discussion Forum; I did my part.  I even sent The Detail to both of his e-mail addresses!  I guess he isn't up for the challenge of addressing last weeks NEWz, or answering the challenge on the discussion board.  Oh well... maybe he will change his mind later.  

This week, we are ending a short series on Daubert issues. We started by looking at Testing and Validation, then we defined and studied Error Rate, last week we looked at General Acceptance, and this week we will end with Peer Review.  If you missed how to address previous issues, you can read the Details to catch up.

The issue of peer review, like that of general acceptance, is really a non-issue when it comes to fingerprints.   The government summed up the concept of peer review in just one sentence in a Daubert Hearing report in the Mitchell case:

The fingerprint field and its theories and techniques have been published and peer reviewed during a period of over a hundred years.

In only one other place was any reference to peer review found, and that was with regards to the peer review of SWGFAST's guidelines regarding minimum qualifications and training to competency.  I don't believe this issue needed to be addressed more than it was because the general acceptance of the use of fingerprints as a means of identification really involves peer review having already taken place.  Peer review might be more important in situations involving new and/or novel scientific techniques.

Next week we will take a closer look at a possible reason why we have seen three serious errors in England in a short period of time.  Stay tuned for the first original article in The Detail!

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Added to the Breaking NEWz you can UzE page
Added a new discussion on the message board for any comments on this week's Detail: Peer Review

Almost Completed!!: a "Classic" book section with first edition copies (available for sale) of classic texts, including Galton, Faulds, Henry, Cummins / Midlo, Wilder / Wentworth, and other great titles.  I will be working more on this section over the week, and I am planning a grand opening involving, let's just say, EBAY!!!  It should be an interesting unveiling.   If you have duplicate copies of any old fingerprint titles, e-mail me; we will work out a "deal" and get them into the hands of a needy latent print examiner. :)

Until next Monday morning, don't work too hard or too little.
Have a GREAT week!


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