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G o o d   M o r n i n g !
Monday, April 5, 2004

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...
compiled by Jon Stimac

U.S. Expanding Fingerprint Efforts CBS NEWS  - April 2, 2004 ... program requiring foreigners to be fingerprinted before entering the country is being expanded to include America's closest allies...

Fingerprints on Bottle Solved 23-Year Old Murder Case SEATTLE POST INTELLIGENCER, WA - Mar 30, 2004 ... an empty bottle that sat for years in the police identification section helped solve case...

Forensic Investigators Use All Their Senses STUFF.CO.NZ  - Mar 30, 2004 ...each forensic science discipline is complementary, says New Zealand expert…

Fingerprint Lock ELECTRIC NEWS NET - Mar 29, 2004 ...Fingerprint Lock is said to be so accurate that it has only a one in 1 million chance of opening up to the wrong print…


It's time for the 2004 T-shirt logo contest!  E-mail your suggestions to by noon next Sunday, and I'll post the top 10 next Monday morning for voting. 


"Comparative Science in the Daubert World"
October 29-30, 2004
Las Vegas, Nevada

Sponsored by:
The American Board of Forensic Document Examiners

Daubert is still here and continues to play a pivotal role in the world of expert opinion testimony.  Various forensic sciences, such as Documents, Fingerprints, Shoe/Tire, and Firearms/Toolmarks have not been immune to these challenges.

During a Daubert hearing, the trial judge serves as a “gatekeeper” and must determine whether the expected trial testimony has a reliable basis in the knowledge and experience of the relevant discipline.  In assessing the reliability of an expert’s testimony, the court may consider the following:

·          Whether the technique or methodology has been or can be tested
·          Whether the technique or methodology has been subjected to peer review
·          Known or potential error rates
·          Existence of standards controlling the technique’s operation
·          Extent to which the methodology or technique employed by the expert is generally accepted in the scientific community

The factors as laid out by the Daubert Court, although not intended to be a checklist, are routinely being utilized as such by the “gatekeeper”.  The expert and the attorney must be prepared to present and discuss each factor.  Failure to adequately address each of these may result in the exclusion of the expert’s testimony, or in the alternative, limiting the testimony of the expert at trial. 

Since the mid-1990’s, the disciplines of Questioned Documents and Fingerprints have each undergone several challenges.  Recently other disciplines (e.g. Firearms/Tool marks) have started to face their own Daubert challenges.  As demonstrated at the 2002 multi-discipline seminar, “The Daubert World: Past, Present and Future”, issues facing one discipline are often relevant to others.  Successes and/or failures provide numerous lessons for all of the “comparative” sciences. 

Due to the overlap of issues, and the growth of Daubert challenges across various disciplines, ABFDE has expanded upon the previous multi-discipline program to include presentations on Documents and Latent Prints, as well as Firearms/Toolmarks, and Shoe/Tire impressions.  The issues are the same; the only difference is the subject matter.  We are all in this together. 

An unprecedented group of speakers with varied backgrounds and expertise will provide attendees with the knowledge and tools (i.e. the key) to meet these challenges and to unlock the gate protected by the “gatekeepers”.   “Comparative Science in the Daubert World” has been designed to bring together the perspectives of judges, attorneys, experts, researchers, and others.

Speakers include:

·          Judge Stephanie Domitrovich (Erie County, PA)
·          Dr. Moshe Kam (Drexel University)
·          Dr.  Thomas Busey (Indiana)
·          Mr. John Vanderkolk (Indiana)
·          Mr. David Leta -AUSA (Atlanta, GA)
·          Mr. Pat Wertheim  (Tuscon, AZ)
·          Prof. William McComas (Univ. of Southern California)
·          “Daubertized” forensic experts (Federal, State, and Private)
·          And others

The exclusive list of speakers will discuss numerous issues pertaining to forensic science and Daubert, to include the following:

·          A review of Frye and the Daubert Trilogy
·          Judicial Expectations in Daubert Hearings
·          Preparing for a Daubert Hearing
·          What is science?
·          Overview of the various forensic “comparative” sciences vs. Daubert
·          Expert/Attorney relationship in preparing for a Daubert challenge
·          Discovery requests (Rule 16-Fed. Rules of Evid.)
·          Research in Forensic Science – Meeting the Daubert Factors
·          “Expert” critics

$325 per person by September 10th ($400 after Sept. 11, 2004)
Class size is limited to 150.
Check payable, in U.S. funds, to “ABFDE” or government voucher must accompany registration form. 
Registration forms (see below) and payments should be mailed to:        

Kirsten Jackson
U.S. Postal Inspection Service
Crime Laboratory
22433 Randolph Drive
Dulles,Virginia  20104-1000
Phone:     (703) 406-7103
Fax:         (703) 406-7111

Cancellation Refund Policy
4 - weeks notice       100%
2-4 weeks notice      50%
2 weeks or less        25%
*Substitutions must be approved.

Hotel Information

Hotel registration and transportation charges are the responsibility of the registrant.

The Orleans Hotel & Casino
4500 W. Tropicana Avenue
Las Vegas
, Nevada  89103

Reservations: 1-800-675-3267
Reservations must be made Mon-Fri 7AM-11PM Pacific Time or Sat-Sun between 9AM-5PM Pacific Time. 

When making reservations you must identify yourself as an attendee of the LVMPD Crime Lab.

Room Rates:  $59 Thursday/ $99 Friday-Saturday/night

ABFDE reserves the right to cancel the seminar, with full refund, if there are an insufficient number of registrants.

The seminar is open to ABFDE diplomates; members of ASQDE, SWAFDE, SAFDE, AAFS (QD-section), CSFS, MAAFS, and MAFS; full-time examiners in Latent Print, Shoe/Tire marks, or Firearm/Tool marks.. Requests from applicants not meeting the listed requirements above will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


Last week, Paul Brannon shared a recent find regarding latent print documentation.  This week, Joe Polski, Chief Operations Officer for the IAI and Chairperosn for the CFSO, relates that we (as a discipline) need every bit of data we can possibly gather in order to present an accurate summary of the needs and state of various forensic non-DNA disciplines to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee.  Below are his comments:



As you may know, recent legislation passed by the United States Senate Appropriations Committee directed that the forensic science organizations represented by the Consortium of Forensic Science Organizations (CFSO) compile a needs analysis of forensic science beyond DNA.  DNA has received much publicity, very deservedly, but it is the CFSO’s view that there are many other forensic disciplines that contribute to the criminal justice system and those must not be forgotten.  The text of the Senate language is as follows:

Improving Forensic Capabilities - The National Institute of Justice [NIJ], in conjunction with its own Office of Science & Technology, the American Society of Crime Lab Directors, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, the International Association for Identification, and the National Association of Medical Examiners, is directed to develop a plan which will address the needs of the crime lab and medical examiner community beyond the ‘‘DNA Initiative’’ and report back to the Committees on Appropriations no later than 180 days from the date of enactment of this Act. The report should address the following: (1) manpower and equipment needs, (2) continuing education policies, (3) professionalism and accreditation standards, and (4) the level of collaboration needed between Federal forensic science labs and State/local forensic science Labs for the administration of justice.

The CFSO is composed of the IAI, the
American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD) and the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME).  It is most unusual that individual associations are named in federal legislation but that is what has occurred.  Each organization was asked to name three people to serve on a committee to prepare a needs assessment of certain disciplines represented by their organization.  IAI President Jan Johnson appointed Mike Campbell, Joe Polski and herself to this committee as the IAI’s representatives.  The IAI will compile data for Pattern Evidence (Fingerprints, Footwear/Tiretrack etc.), Crime Scene Investigation and Bloodstain Pattern Analysis and prepare a report and presentation for a Summit Meeting to be held May 18 and 19 in Washington, DC. 

The committee is in the process of gathering information respecting the above disciplines.  We are especially interested in data from those agencies where forensic identification services are not part of a crime laboratory.  Much data has been collected from crime laboratories but very little from those units that operate, generally but not always, within police or sheriff’s departments and are not part of a crime lab.  We hope to raise the profile of those types of service providers and their needs.

Attached is a short questionnaire that will assist us in preparing our report to Congress.  Please take a few minutes to complete the requested information and send it back via e-mail to me at  

In addition, we would very much appreciate if division secretaries or editors would send this questionnaire to division members.  Committee Chairs, please forward this on to your committee members for, hopefully, their response.

We need this information as soon as possible but no later than
April 20, 2004.  Don’t hesitate to contact any of the committee members by phone or e-mail if you have any questions.  If you do not have answers to all questions, please answer those you can.  We also realize some of the questions ask for statistics that may be unavailable but if you can provide a relatively close estimate, we appreciate it.  Please note that agencies will not be individually identified.  We will only use summary data.  If your agency chooses to remain anonymous, that’s fine.  We would like to know who completes the survey so we can make contact if there are any questions.

Thank you in advance for your response to this survey.  Please contact any committee member or me at the number shown below if you have any questions.

The IAI 180 Day Study Committee

Mike Campbell
Captain of Police,
Milwaukee Police Dept.
Phone:  (414) 630-9670

Jan Johnson
Forensic Specialist Trainer
Escambia Co. Sheriff's Office
Phone:  (850) 554-1287

Joe Polski

Chief Operations Officer
International Association for Identification
2535 Pilot Knob Road, Suite 117

Mendota Heights, MN 55120-1120
Phone: (651) 681-8566
Fax: (651) 681-8443



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Comments on LATENT PRINTS...

"A charcoal carbon-based powder sticks to the amino acids left behind, and the
print is then lifted..."

Submitted by Jon Stimac



Overcome delegation anxiety

Delegation is an ideal way to develop employees' talents and abilities while allowing you to work on important tasks.  So why are people often reluctant to delegate?  Here are some common reasons for not delegating and ways to overcome them:

"The employee won't do it as well as I can."  Don't expect a staffer to perform at the same level as you.  Think about how well you performed the task when it was new to you.  With training and experience, your staff members will improve.  In the mean time, remind yourself to accept less than perfect performance.

"It's what I've always done."  The more often you perform a task the more habitual it becomes.  Form a new habit: Every day, spend 15 minutes training a team member to perform a newly delegated task.

"My employees are too take on additional tasks."  What are  they busy doing?  Re-evaluate your staffers' workloads.  Don't let them waste valuable time on unimportant tasks.  Instead of feeling guilty about giving them more work, remember that you're giving them better work.

-Adapted from The Indispensable Employee, Eric Weber, via Communication Briefings, January 2004, 800.722.9221,



Posted 180 day survey forms and Daubert Seminar registration forms

Added two new smileys to the SmileyFiles


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

Have a GREAT week!