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Monday, June 24, 2002

BREAKING NEWz you can UzE...

An Ironic, Historical Outing in Southern England -22 Jun 2002 -by Kasey Wertheim- As many of you know, I am beginning the third week of Ridgeology training here in England.  You won't believe what I came across during my weekend outing with Dave Charlton!...

Airlines Plan Quick System for Identifying Passengers  By Robert O'Harrow Jr., Washington Post Staff Writer, Saturday, June 22, 2002; Page E01   Several airlines have begun working on plans for a passenger identification system that would rely on background checks, fingerprints, iris scans and high-tech IDs to verify individuals' identities and speed security screening at airports.

Adobe Photoshop Print Charting Used in California VanDam Trial -June 21, 2002  (side note: Good job, Jeffrey Graham and San Diego PD on the original ident!)  From the article:  "[Pat] Wertheim gave jurors a computer slide show on fingerprint analysis and showed them ridge by ridge how the prints from the RV matched identically Danielle's.  "There is complete consistency," Wertheim repeated each time he compared the ridges, creases and points.  [The Defendant], Westerfield seemed rapt by Wertheim's colorful Powerpoint [PhotoShop] presentation. He turned his chair and stared intently toward a projection screen on the courtroom wall."   (Full Story: CourtTV.com:  Experts: Girl's prints found in Westerfield's RV)
(the presentation is not video archived on Court TV. I have an e-mail in to CTV asking to post an archive video of the Photoshop demonstration and Pat's testimony, as they have done with the Mother's testimony, Father's testimony, DNA testimony, etc.. Perhaps it would help if those of you who are interested in seeing the presentation of that identification also filled out the CourtTV feedback form at the bottom of the linked page above)

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 looked at an e-logue on certification propriety.  This week we see the final Recommendations of the Fingerprint Forum, held in Chicago, Illinois on April 29-30, 2002.  As you already know, the Forum was hosted by the IAI, along with West Virginia University, to bring together concerned members of the fingerprint community to fully explore the ramifications of Daubert and other court decisions, and to chart a course of action for the future.   As a result of recent legal challenges in court, the agenda was designed to address issues including: "How to establish the scientific basis of fingerprint identification (in court),  standards for fingerprint identification, sufficiency of matching criteria, methodological and practitioner error, ten print identification vs. latent identification, etc."  The meeting consisted of invited representatives of  the IAI, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD), SWGFAST, National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the FBI's Laboratory and Criminal Justice Information System's (CJIS) Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), The Canadian Identification Society, The Fingerprint Society, and others.



Chicago Fingerprint Forum Recommendations
April 29-30, 2002

This forum recognizes the reliability of friction ridge identification as practiced during the last 100 years. As scientists, we encourage education of the judiciary and the general public on the existing theoretical and empirical foundations of friction ridge impression evidence. In addition, we encourage continued scientific research, and collaboration with the larger scientific community, to further investigate and strengthen those foundations.

1.  Scientific Research/Study Friction Ridge Impressions

An initial project should take the form of the generation and publication of a sourcebook for friction ridge examinations[1], which would provide educational, training, and research resources for the international scientific community.

Continual evaluative/critical reviews of the state of the science are encouraged. 

Novel research to assess the reliability of friction ridge impression examinations is also encouraged and should include impressions that address both the quality and quantity of ridge detail included in Levels 1, 2, and 3 details. 

2.  Existence & Maintenance of Standards

Methodological guidelines and standards exist for the science of friction ridge examination. It is recommended that the Scientific Working Group on Friction Ridge Analysis, Study, and Technology (SWGFAST) continue to compile, promulgate, and disseminate consensus guidelines and standards in cooperation with the international friction ridge community.

It is recommended that standard reference material (SRM) be created for use in research, development, and maintenance.  

3.  Examiner Qualifications

It is recommended that all friction ridge/fingerprint examiners be made aware of the education and training standards promulgated by SWGFAST[2] and the Technical Working Group on Forensic Science Education and Training (TWGED) and meet or exceed those standards.  In addition, friction ridge/fingerprint examiners, when eligible, should become certified through competency-based certification programs (FBI, IAI, RCMP, etc.), and maintain that certification throughout their working career. Funding should be sought to support the certification of all eligible friction ridge/fingerprint examiners.

[1] An example would be the Sourcebook in Forensic Serology, Immunology and Biochemistry published by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice;  Author:  R.E. Gaensslen, Ph.D., University of New Haven, West Haven, CT, August, 1983.

[2] Journal of Forensic Identification 52(3): 263-348, 2002; also available at www.swgfast.org


June 21, 2002



Over the next two weeks, we will discuss the Vegas Daubert Symposium and courtroom charting.  I will TRY to format an internet version of a comparison similar to the Adobe Photoshop identification I charted out for use the VanDam trial, mentioned in the Breaking NeWz section above.  I don't know how well it will translate into web images, but I'll give it my best shot.  If anyone has any strong feelings on whether or not courtroom demonstrations should be used to show the jury 1) the identification process AND/OR 2) the actual identification in that case, write up a paragraph (or page) or two for me to include in next week's Detail.  You know where to reach me: kaseywertheim@aol.com

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.


UPDATES on CLPEX.com this week...

No major updates on the site this week.

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

Have a GREAT week!


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