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Monday, August 11, 2003

BREAKING NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac

Trial in 23-Year-Old Slaying of Teacher Set to Begin - NEW BRITAIN HERALD, CT - Aug. 8 2003 ...during 1980, latent prints were compared to 132 sources, but no matches were found - until August 2000...

Fingerprints Link 2 Men to Slaying - EL PASO TIMES, TX  - Aug. 7, 2003 ...fingerprints of two robbery suspects linked them to the slaying of a 50-year-old man found in a Lower Valley ditch...

Fingerprint Evidence Disputed in Podiatrist's Homicide Trial - PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, PA - Aug. 6, 2003 ...a detective testified that Karl Long's fingerprints are on blood-stained plastic bags - but the significance of the prints are in dispute...

Fingerprint Network Grows - AUSTRALIAN IT, AUSTRALIA - Aug. 4, 2003 ...police are on the verge of joining the electronic fingerprint network, as they begin deploying a large number of LiveScan devices...

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 over some information on possible ninhydrin control sample solutions.  There has been some excellent board discussion on this topic, so be sure to check it out if the topic interests you.  This week, I am proud to publish an idea that my friend and colleague Craig Coppock and his unit in Spokane, Washington have been using successfully for some time: The PZ-CODE.  Craig introduces this idea:


In order to facilitate a better exchange of information between Spokane latent print examiners working on latent comparisons, the alphanumeric PZ-Code system has been devised. The Palmar Exemplar & Latent Zone Code (PZ-Code) is a very simple division of the palm into zones. Now each area can be referenced in notes simply by writing a short code.

Download a printable version at (http://)www.clpex.com/images/Articles/PZ-Code-printable.jpg

This code is helpful in many ways.  Instead of writing a note of a comparisons of the "Left thenar" you can simply write "LF". To reference the third joint in the right ring finger you can simple write "43." You can also reference a larger area by joining two codes together. "LE-LG" is the hypothenar area of the left hand. "82-83" is the second and third joint of the left middle finger.

The lower palmar area is divided into seven zones that run A-G with zone A starting under the index finger on both hands. The zones A through G are prefaced with “R” or “L” to designate which hand is being referenced. The divisions are very intuitive in that after just a few minutes of study you will rarely need to actually look up a zone on a PZ-Code chart.

The PZ-Code actually goes even further with the addition of information that is located in the “Legend” section of the chart. The PZ-code allows the latent print examiner to reference a specific exemplar impression in a large stack of 10-print cards. An example would be: "3r 3/5/2003" which means; right middle finger rolled impression on 10-print card dated 3-5-03. “3p” would be a plain impression. The PZ-Code is always written in the proper orientation of the latent. With this information, a second examiner, or any examiner wishing to review a case, can do so quickly and efficiently no matter how many 10-prints there are available.

PZ-code is supplemental to other identifying information that may be needed and is intended to be used as a note. However, PZ-Codes can also be used to notify a booking officer that specific major case prints are needed on a subject. Some agencies allow for booking notes that are attached to personal information that could include a case number and a PZ-Code so that the booking officer will know exactly what area of the palmar surface should be printed with extreme care. This is where a reference to a tip may come in handy. If a booking officer reads a PZ-Code "2T" for case 03-12345, the officer will be able to make several impressions of the right index finger tip, knowing that good detail will be needed for some pending comparison.

It is hoped that this coding system will help examiners better communicate with each other, as well as make peer review simpler. Another added advantage is that the examiner who wishes to review their case prior to court will have more detailed notes to assist them. This is especially valuable in rush or surprise cases that provide little time proper case preparation.

If you have any ideas for an improvement please post your suggestions or comments on the message board.

Craig A. Coppock
Spokane County-City Forensic Unit


To discuss this week's Detail, log on to the CLPEX.com
message board and share your thoughts: (http://www.clpex.com/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=2)

And as usual, the onin.com forum (http://onin.com/fp/wwwbd/) is also available for more formal latent print-related discussions.

For discussions with an international flair, check out Dave Charlton's forum at: http://charlton97.proboards12.com/index.cgi



"The latents were lifted from objects in house moved by suspect."

You may have to think about it for a while.  The source is a general request form from an actual case submitted a few years ago.

Contributed by Katie King, San Bernardino SO


UPDATES on CLPEX.com this week...

No major site updates this week.

Feel free to pass The Detail along to other examiners.  This is a free newsletter 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!