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G o o d   M o r n i n g !
Monday, August 2, 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

Fingerprinting Plan Earns U.S. Dubious Honor   OAKLAND TRIBUNE, CA  - July 29, 2004 ...A British civil liberties group named a U.S. program to fingerprint foreign visitors as the year's most menacing project....

Police Warn Businesses of Surge in Fraud Cases   FT WAYNE NEWS-SENTINEL, IN - July 29, 2004 ...requiring all customers using a check to place a fingerprint on it may help...

Toeing The Line Pays - Claim NEWS24.COM, SO. AFRICA  - July 27, 2004 ...South African man allegedly used his toe-prints to falsify pension invoices...

Fingerprint Mix-up Sparks Class-action Suit OREGONIAN, OR  - July 23, 2004 Oregon man blames Livescan, a faulty digital fingerprinting technology, for ruining his business...

Last week
we looked at a rough draft of a proposed resolution or position statement to submit to the IAI for consideration in St. Louis.  There was quite a bit of discussion on the message board which led to quite a bit of modification and "trimming" of the resolution into an almost final draft of what will be submitted this week.  This week the draft will be submitted to the Latent Print Subcommittee as a draft for recommendation to the Resolutions Committee.  Please have any comments either posted on the message board or sent to me privately by Tuesday to allow plenty of time for this process to occur.

This week

we closed on our new home in West Virginia!  Details and updated contact information can be found online ( or in the "Updates" section below.  The bookstore is unpacked and has been updated (details below in "updates") and we will be "selling out" of the old t-shirts and putting the new ones up for sale in time for delivery at the conference.  More on that soon!

This week we also take a look at the latest wording on the IAI draft proposal for a position statement / resolution, and we look at another scenario for consideration.

The current draft wording for the resolution / position statement appears below:

Whereas the ______ of the International Association for Identification, in conference in St. Louis this ____ day of August, 2004, has considered the issue of conclusions in fingerprint examinations, and

Whereas it is not scientifically possible for one latent print impression to originate from two or more different sources, and

Whereas it is not scientifically possible for one source to have both been the origin and not been the origin of a single latent print impression, and

Whereas individualization (identification) is the conclusion that two impressions were made by the same source, and

Whereas exclusion is the conclusion that two impressions were not made by the same source, and

Whereas individualization and exclusion are mutually exclusive conclusions, and

Whereas it is possible for differing opinions to exist in regards to the sufficiency or insufficiency of similarity for individualization (individualization versus inconclusive), and

Whereas it is possible for differing opinions to exist in regards to the sufficiency or insufficiency of dissimilarity for exclusion (exclusion versus inconclusive), and

Whereas erroneous conclusions (individualization and exclusion) in fingerprint examination can result in the loss of liberty or even life,

Therefore be it resolved that while sufficiency or insufficiency for a conclusion may be a matter of opinion, conflicting conclusions (individualization versus exclusion) on the same set of impressions are not acceptable, and

Be it further resolved that in any situation in which conflicting conclusions (individualization versus exclusion) exist in regards to the same set of impressions, scientific basis exists for only one correct conclusion; by definition the other must be erroneous.


Please make any suggestions for modification by Tuesday evening... I would like this to go to the Latent Print Subcommittee on Wednesday.

This week we look at another in a small series of hypothetical scenarios to make you think... and to generate feedback for inclusion in a presentation of this topic in St. Louis.


Examiner performs ACE and finds sufficient uniqueness in sequence to individualize the only latent print in a major case; makes notes to this effect and turns in the case to a reviewer in the same agency

Suspect is one of many suspects; police don't have any other evidence

Print is on an object that has probative value in the case

A reviewer of the case finds agreement present, but not sufficient to individualize

Rather than stand their ground, they go ahead and sign off on the individualization knowing it was above their ability level, but also knowing that the original case Examiner has never made an erroneous identification.

Suspect is charged

So what are you thinking so far?  Heartburn?  Is there any procedure, quality assurance or quality control mechanism that could be in place to avoid this scenario?  If so, what?   Do you think it would often go unnoticed?  How would this be discovered?  Acted upon?

Let's continue the hypothetical scenario...

Suspect has been in jail for 1 year and upon appeal the fingerprint evidence is reviewed by an ethical, competent, independent examiner hired by the defense

Independent examiner identifies, has verified, and reports the individualization

Subsequent image publication reveals to you that it was a "tough" but good identification

Reviewer is still employed doing active casework

Agency position: "what's the problem?"

Science's position: "that was a type 1 error!"

Possible questions to answer on the message board:

What argument would you use for or against this being type 1 error?  Was it harmless error?  Why or why not?

The decision of the reviewer was technically correct... but how would you describe it... right/wrong? good/bad?  ethical/unethical?

How would you go about attempting to demonstrate (prove, show, articulate) this "problem" if called upon to do so?  Do you feel it can be proven?  What should be the consequences of "pushing the envelope" beyond ability level on a correct match if it could be proven?

Do you know of a case with a similar scenario?  If so, for research sake, I would be interested in details by private e-mail.

I intend to present this and other concepts in St. Louis.  General thoughts from the message board may be referenced without permission being asked, but no specific references or quotations will be used.  Specific concepts or excerpts from private e-mail may be referenced and cited, with permission from the author of course.

If you post, try to follow "threads" and keep like thoughts together.  Also, before you start typing consider what you are going to say and type a short, specific, basic, and focused subject line entry about your response:

Remember, if you post to the board:

-Keep similar thoughts together
-Add a short, specific, distilled subject line entry about your response
-Stay focused on the thread concept, or start a new thread with a different concept

Enjoy the CLPEX message board!

Next week we will look at an issue that was sparked from the discussion board this week... the issue of objectivity in Analysis and Comparison.


To discuss this Detail, the message board is always open: (

More formal latent print discussions are available at (


The fingerprint section of a large police department recently had a mandatory 1/2 hour safety class on how to sit down in rolling chairs.  To pass on the benefit of this course to all, the appropriate technique is below:

"Take hold of the arms and get control of the chair before sitting down."




Set a good example for employees

To inspire employees and command respect, always speak and act in the organization's best interests.  Use these tips to help you lead by example:

1) Treat everyone with respect an graciousness.  Everyone you work with - from your biggest customer to the maintenance crew - contributes to your organization's success.  Keep that in mind when greeting them in the hall, answering a question or talking with them at organization functions.

2) Put your clients on a pedestal.  Begin staff meetings by talking about how the organization solved a problem for a client or customer.  Constantly remind staffers that their job is to serve customers, no matter what their job titles are.

3) Refer to the mission statement frequently.  Employees look to managers to give their day-to-day work purpose and meaning.  One of the best ways to do that is to take every opportunity to remind people of the organization's mission.  When announcing a business decision, for example, use the mission to explain your decision.

4) Tie everything to goals.  Even when delivering criticism, tie your comments back to the organization's goals.  Saying "You need to redo the illustrations on the brochure to reflect our commitment to diversity" improves employees' understanding of your organization's priorities.

5) Don't complain about the organization to employees or clients.  It sets a bad example, and destroys your creditibility.

-Adapted from "Becoming a Leader: Communication Techniques that Motivate, Guide and Inspire Employees to Excel,", by briefings publishing group, via Communication Briefings, February 2004, 800.722.9221,


Updated contact info:

Kasey Wertheim
Director of Forensic Services
LumenIQ, Inc.
242 W. Philadelphia Ave.
Bridgeport, WV 26330
Daytime CJIS/Lockheed Martin desk: (304) 625-5046
Cell: (304) 629-6795
Home: (304) 848-0874
Work e-mail:,
Home email:

Updated the Detail Archives.

Updated the Bookstore!  Check out a few new titles, including a very very rare Wentworth and Wilder, a very rare hardcover Cummins and Midlo, and many other new additions.  It is unpacked and ready to go!

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!