T H E
D E T A I L
Monday, April 1, 2002
BREAKING NEWz you can
It's BidNow week!
Up for auction on Ebay this week is a vintage Faurot latent print powder
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subscribers last week! And still growing strong.
NEW: The Weekly Detail
In order to continue to bring
you the quality service you have come to expect, I have decided to implement a
small subscription fee of $20 to cover basic expenses involved in hosting and
updating the website and producing the Weekly Detail. Payments will be
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from each of your bank accounts.
I figure $20 a week is a fair price to pay for such a quality SENSE of
HUMOR!!! April Fools. :)~ ha ha haaaa You have to admit... I
had you for a second, anyway! :) NOoooo... the Detail has been, and
will probably always remain free of charge to latent print
examiners. As many examiners as possible need this service, and to
charge would drop quite a few off the list. I AM considering some ways to
let fingerprint supply companies help with expenses. If you have any
creative ideas, let me know!
Good morning via the "Detail," a weekly e-mail newsletter that
greets latent print examiners around the globe 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.
Last week, Steve Howard gave further
insight into Judge
13 reversal of his January 7 ruling to exclude latent print examiner opinion
testimony. As always, the Detail Archives
are available for past Details, or visit
the Detail chat
board to catch up on some great comments on Judge Pollak's ruling.
This week, Lisa O'Daniel brings us a report on the Mid-States IAI Divisions
Conference last week (March 24-29, 2002) in Peoria, Illinois.
In 1997 and 1998, a Forensic Scientist named
Janet Girten from the Illinois Division I.A.I., headed a committee of
representatives from several mid-western states which created the first
multi-state educational conference in which many of these divisions had ever
participated. That gathering illustrated how combining each divisionís
resources could provide a large-scale conference which offered more and
different educational opportunities to attendees. Most of the participating
divisions could not offer members so many diverse choices on their own. That
first conference proved to be such a success that four years later, the leaders
of the Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North and
South Dakota and Wisconsin I.A.I. Divisions decided to hold a second multi-state
educational conference. This meeting was well attended and equally successful.
The 2002 Mid-States I.A.I. Divisions Educational Conference offered the
chance to make new contacts or renew old friendships with members of other
divisions, an opportunity to visit with numerous vendors, and most importantly,
it offered a wide variety of speakers and educational topics.
Every gathering offers an opportunity to meet
new examiners or investigators and renew old friendships with members of other
divisions. This conference was no different. Many members and some non-members
from all points of the mid-west region were able to join us in Peoria, IL,
including the two members of the North/South Dakotas Division. Incidentally,
this division was in jeopardy of losing its charter however, because of its
participation in this event, the division no longer has to worry about that. We
were are all pleased by this turn of events and wish the Dakotas Division luck
in its continued growth.
As seen in any conference, the vendors were
present with all their newest and greatest tools and supplies. This year, in
addition to the usual booths, many companies contributed to the success of the
conference by providing much needed financial support to the conference
committee through sponsorships and workshops. Many vendors were able to provide
extra sponsorships this year and deserve the thanks of the membership. Without
such assistance, the committee would not have been able to provide many items
such as the name badges, breakfasts and other goodies, all leading to a top
notch event! Additionally, several vendors held workshops where they were able
to give attendees a hands on experience with several products. For example,
Payton Scientific exhibited alternative light sources and a superglue vacuum
chamber, Mr. Dick Warrington of Lynn Peavy allowed a group to play with several
casting materials and lifting tapes, and Mr. David Witzke illustrated the
advantages of image enhancement using Adobe Photoshop. Such experience is not
only valuable to the vendor for sales purposes, it is valuable to investigators
and laboratory personnel as well. By seeing products up close we know what is
available for our own use or what we may see used by others.
The Speakers and Presentations
Perhaps the most important part of any
conference are the speakers and their presentations. This gathering brought
together speakers from various backgrounds in an attempt to provide a well
rounded educational program. I am a latent print examiner and my focus for this
conference focused in that area. The sessions titled Friction Ridge Pattern
Formation: The Results of New Research, Friction Ridge Skin, Fingerprint
Photography, Courtroom Testimony Techniques, and S.C.R.O.: Scotlandís
Fingerprint Misidentification Case were among the workshops and presentations I
attended. Of equal importance to the latent print examiner were workshops titled
Daubert Preparation and Ridgeology Science Workshop and Demystifying Palm Prints
Workshop. Summaries of these sessions follow.
1. "Friction Ridge Skin" by Dr.
William Babler, Ph.D. This presentation is based on Dr. Bablerís doctoral
thesis "The Prenatal Origins of Population Differences in Human
Dermatoglyphics." This talk outlines the complete development of
friction ridge skin in the human fetus between 10 and 17 weeks of
development and includes visual examples of the developmental stages in both
diagrams and photographic reproductions of actual fetal tissue. This is a
must for all examiners to understand the basic principles of permanence and
uniqueness of latent prints.
2. "Friction Ridge Pattern Formation:
The Results of New Research" by Mr. Kasey Wertheim of the Mississippi
State Crime Laboratory and creator of the Weekly Detail. This lecture is the
perfect compliment to Dr. Bablerís "Friction Ridge Skin." Mr.
Wertheim has extensively studied the works of Dr. Babler and others to
determine how patterns form in friction ridge skin. His presentation
includes computer animated models which can also be seen on his website ()
Again, this presentation is a must for all latent fingerprint examiners.
Additionally, Mr. Wertheim presented the "Ridgeology Science
Workshop." Students who attended this workshop were instructed on how
to find and use clues within the ridge flow of fingerprints to aid them in
their comparisons. The goal of this instruction is to help latent print
examiners to become faster and more efficient.
3. "Fingerprint Photography" by
Mr. John Kilgore and Mr. Chris Kauffman. This lecture critically reviewed
how to approach the photographic preservation of latent fingerprints using
different lighting methods and different cameras.
4. "Courtroom Testimony
Techniques" by Mr. Ron Smith of the Mississippi State Crime Laboratory.
Mr. Smith has spent many years interviewing witnesses, judges, prosecutors,
defense attorneys and jurors to determine what each group expects of an
expert witness. He has put together a lively presentation designed to teach
each of us to be a better witness. Mr. Smith discusses everything from dress
to defense strategy but, he put the most emphasis on what the jury expects
of you as a witness, including what will make the expert witness most
effective and believable. By the way, for all you Ron Smith fans out there,
he even found a way to work in his famous phrase "...that dog will
hunt, now!" Additionally, he held a shortened version of his
"Demystifying Palm Prints Workshop." Mr. Smith uses this forum to
teach latent print examiners to use clues in the palmer ridge flow to
determine the orientation of a palm print. Once again, his goal is to
improve the efficiency and accuracy of an examinerís comparison process.
5. "S.C.R.O.: Scotlandís
Fingerprint Misidentification Case" by Mr. David Grieve of the Illinois
State Police. In this presentation, Mr. Grieve explains the circumstances
surrounding the misidentification of a latent print to Detective Constable
Shirley McKie by the S.C.R.O. and the resulting perjury charges which have
destroyed her career. Mr. Grieve explains how Ms. McKie located and
contacted himself and Mr. Pat Wertheim via the internet. In the end, he and
Mr. Wertheim testified on Ms. McKieís behalf and both agreed the
identification was indeed erroneous. What makes this case so significant is
the continued cover-up by the S.C.R.O. The S.C.R.O. still contends that the
identification is correct and Internal Independent Enquiries have concluded
that "...no matters of misconduct or lack of capability have taken
place..." in this case. If you would like to see the prints in this
case or learn more about it, go to Additionally, you can find information on
that site pertaining to how you may show your support for Ms. McKie as well
as your displeasure about this cover-up. Mr. Grieve ended his presentation
by strongly recommending each and every examiner who believes the prints
were misidentified should do this. Finally, Mr. Grieve presented information
pertaining to the Daubert hearings. His discussion reviewed the preparation
for the first Daubert hearing on fingerprint evidence, US v. Mitchell. He
also, outlined Daubert criteria for forensic evidence and spoke about future
In the end, the 2002 Mid-State Divisions
I.A.I. Educational Conference was a great success. The educational opportunities
were invaluable. In addition to the program outlined above for latent print
examiners, this conference offered plenty of courses to fill the schedules of
crime scene investigators as well. To their credit, the MDEC committee created
an environment encouraging comradery among members, a forum to test the newest
commercial equipment available and offered excellent educational opportunities.
What took the committee over a year to plan, was over in one week and left each
attendee feeling mentally fulfilled.
As usual, the Detail Chat
board is available this week for
informal banter about the Weekly Detail, as is the onin.com forum
for other discussion.
Over the next couple of weeks, we
will continue to look at the Plaza / Daubert issues in more depth.
CLPEX.com this week...
Added two new books to the
online bookstore for latent print examiners:
Holt, "The Genetics of Dermal Ridges" (previously
unavailable, and currently no other copies found on the internet)
Condition: 9 With dust jacket in Mylar, a few stains and rubs to dust
jacket, NO bumps or rubs to corners of book! Clean and tight, pages white
with light pencil underlining, previous owner's name in front cover: "Deitrick"
This is an EXCELLENT copy of a very VERY hard to find book which offers the most
in depth coverage of the hereditability of pattern features of it's time.
Book number 399, $95
Francis Galton, "Finger Print Directories"
Condition: 6 Faded spine w/ chips to top and bottom,
rear hinge loose from spine, but binding is tight. Pages white with no
markings seen. A great bargain price matched nowhere online! Book
number 398, $95
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Until next Monday morning, don't work too hard or too little.
Have a GREAT week!