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Monday, June 10, 2002

BREAKING NEWz you can UzE...

Rule that Gagged MSPs (In the McKie Case) May be Lifted - The Scotsman - 06 Jun 2002 -- SIR David Steel has opened the way for the Scottish parliament to review the rule which has prevented MSPs from debating the case of a former policewoman, Shirley McKie, who has been fighting to clear her name over accusations of perjury.

U.S. to Track Visitors Deemed a Security Risk  By a Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, June 6, 2002; Page A01, Washington Post - 06 Jun 2002  The Justice Department announced plans yesterday to fingerprint and photograph more than 100,000 visa holders who pose "national security concerns,"...

Arab Leader Decries U.S. Fingerprint Proposal
 - CNN.com - 6-8-02  CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- The Arab League secretary-general on Saturday questioned the legality of a U.S. proposal to fingerprint and photograph visitors to America, saying such measures were "discriminatory" against Arabs and Muslims.

Italy toughens immigrant stance  BBC - 04 Jun 2002   ... has frequently linked immigration with crime, will make foreigners provide fingerprints for identification purposes, while those immigrants who return to the ...

Seattle launches missing-children ID program
 Seattle Post Intelligencer - 07 Jun 2002
... contain a child's physical description, a current photograph and a set of fingerprints.  Nearly 450,000 kits were distributed last year. The National Center for ...


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, we reviewed a recent Florida Supreme Court ruling barring a knife mark identification.  I held off on drawing the correlation between this and non-friction ridge skin identification.  The basic premises are the same for impression evidence and knife mark identification.  individual marks on a source, when transferred to a receiving surface in sufficient quantity and quality, it allows for the possibility of positive identification of that source.  The basic premises are the same for friction ridge skin and non-friction ridge skin impressions:  human skin, and all biology, is unique, and if a sufficient quantity and quality of a unique source transfers to a surface, it allows for the possibility of positive identification of the source.  The judge did not say knife mark evidence was not scientific.  The judge was dissatisfied with how that scientific testimony was presented, and cited Daubert terminology to emphasize that point.  If you didn't have a chance to review last week's Detail, it is available in the Detail Archives.

This week we look at the most interesting AFIS hit I have ever seen.  If you have one to top this one, what are you waiting for?  Send it in!!  Doede Rijpkema submits this week's Detail from Amsterdam, and this appears as a re-print from Fingerprint Whorld, the official publication of the Fingerprint Society in the UK.


During the more than 25 years that Iím working as a fingerprint-specialist I think this was the most remarkable case I came upon.

On a warm Thursday evening in August 1996 a couple walked towards their apartment building in one of the suburbs of Amsterdam. Suddenly two men approached them on a bike. One of them took hold of the woman and tried to get her purse. The other, wearing a ski mask, threatened her husband with a handgun. This man however, six feet tall and in good shape, appeared not to be an easy victim. 

It started a fight with his attacker and the blows fell thick and fast at both sides. Eventually it ended in a struggle on the ground. The villain had him in an iron grip and [the victim] feared an imminent defeat when he suddenly saw a hand in front of his face. He didnít hesitate a second and bit the nearest finger. So hard, he bit off the fingertip.

The robber cried out in pain, dropped his gun and his hood and ran away with his accomplice.  Not until then the victim realized he had a fingertip in his mouth. 

He went with his wife to the police station nearby and an official report was taken. When the man handed the fingertip, the officer on duty was astonished and actually had no idea what to do with it, so he put it in the refrigerator.

The weekend passed and on Monday morning the protocol landed on the desk of sergeant-detective Joop Reder. A die-hard with a lot of experience who saw immediately the prospects of the fingertip, as well as the risks. He realized the victim had taken an enormous risk by biting. Imagine the robber was a drug addict with a dangerous disease as hepatitis-B or even Aids. He instantly called me and explained what had happened.  Of course I told him to bring this fingertip to my department.

The pain this villain must have had! His finger was bitten off just below the core and the nail was still on it. (See photo 1 and 2)

I made several rolled impression (see image) of the tip and went to the AFIS-system.

The victim had stated that it was the little finger from the right hand, which I found doubtful because it looked like a left loop. It was anyway a little finger, so I started a search for finger number 5, 100 respondents. Search processor respondents: 808643. No result. 

The second search: no finger number, 100 respondents. Search processor respondents ten times as many: 8086430. Within five minutes the hit was made, first place on the list, score 4180 (second: 2010). As I expected: a left little finger.

Sergeant-detective Reder was thrilled and started an immediate search for the robber. 

On Thursday a patrol car spotted the man and he was arrested.

He had not seen a doctor, afraid as he was to expose himself. And even now it was hard to persuade him to go to the hospital. When he finally agreed, he appeared to be just in time to save his finger.

The hospital also tested his blood and it was a great relief they didnít find a contagious disease as mentioned above.

Eventually he was convicted for this armed robbery and went to jail for several years.

The Printrack Company organizes every year a conference for their AFIS-users and during this conference there is a Hit Of The Year contest. This was one of the submitted cases and awarded as Hit of The Year!


As usual, for informal banter about the weekly Detail, visit
the CLPEX chat board (http://www.clpex.com/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=2)   And the onin.com forum (http://onin.com/fp/wwwbd/) is available for more formal discussion.

If you have an interesting case or an article for publication in the Detail, attach to an e-mail to kaseywertheim@aol.com

UPDATES on CLPEX.com this week...

Updated the CLPEX.com bookstore.  There was a lot of buying and selling of books through the site last month.  This week I added new Galton, Faulds, Cummins and Midlo, Wentworth and Wilder, Holt, Scott, and a pristine copy of Loesch.  Check out the ONLY online latent print examiner bookstore for these and more.

Added this week's story to the Articles page... "AFIS Tip"  :)

Feel free to pass the link to The Detail along to other examiners. This is a free service FOR latent print examiners, BY latent print examiners. There are no copyrights on The Detail, and the website is open for all to visit.

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

Have a GREAT week!


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