Breaking NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac
Nature's Barcode – JOURNAL TIMES ONLINE,
WI - May
27, 2005 ...your
fingerprints are increasingly being used for more than
Extra Digits –
MEDFORD MAIL TRIBUNE, OR - May 25, 2005
...Oregon infant has been the center of attention
with his 12 fingers and 14 toes...
Seized Drug $$ Used on Backlog of Fingerprints –
BOSTON HERALD, MA - May 25, 2005
...Boston PD has used $187,000
earmarked for drug programs to process a backlog of fingerprint
Australian Fingerprint Experts Axed –
BENDIGO ADVERTISER, AUSTRALIA - May 23, 2005
...plans to scrap a major
crime-solving service in Bendigo would hamper police
(Distrubuted Tuesday, May 31 after the U.S. Memorial
Last week, we thought about what happens when a splinter is allowed to
This week Iain McKie responds to that and we consider Memorial Day.
The Real Debate
In his ‘Weekly Detail’ on www.clpex.com Kasey Wertheim raises an issue of
supreme importance to the profession of fingerprinting.
He reflects on what happens when a splinter is allowed to fester. The splinters
in question are the unresolved disputes about the ‘Shirley McKie’ and ‘Marion
Ross’ ‘identificationsclaimed by SCRO and Peter Swann.
Kasey says, “It is past time to remove this splinter from the latent print
discipline.” But how ?
As I have observed in the past the real danger in this whole affair is that by
failing to face the issues square on your profession stands to be split wide
open by disputes like this.
It can be argued that the reluctance of the Fingerprint Society and the IAI to
create more of a worldwide
consensus among experts has allowed the splinter to fester to a stage where it
now represents a serious threat to fingerprinting.
The danger is that you allow the smokescreen, currently being deployed to
protect the reputation of the few, to obscure the fact that the overwhelming
body of evidence from
Shirley’s trial and the HMCI’s independent enquiry to the statement by 171 world
experts and the major police enquiry – points to SCRO and their supporters being
wrong. That this smokescreen threatens your profession far more than Shirley is
As I have already stated the facts of the Shirley McKie and Marion Ross
‘identifications cannot be changed and will be evaluated in the Court of Session
next year. The problem for your profession is how to prevent your critics
climbing on the bandwagon so conveniently offered them over the past two weeks.
Kasey observes, “In reality, the heart of the issue is the concept of "sides"
concerning a particular latent print comparison. There should be no "sides"
regarding the identity versus the nonidentity of any pair of impressions except
for truth. When an element of mistruth exists, as it must in any case of
opposing conclusions, it becomes a splinter in the greater body of worldwide
forensic science that must be dealt with.”
My case is that the truth is there for everyone to see if they choose to see it.
That others see it differently is fine by me but not I suspect for a forensic
science already under pressure from so many quarters.
Kasey Wertheim is right doing nothing is not an option. I will cooperate fully
in any coherent action to remove these splinters be that by independent enquiry,
debate or whatever. Do nothing and I fear you will give your critics yet more
opportunity to attack fingerprinting as a forensic science and devalue a
valuable crime detection and prevention resource.
31 May 2005
message board is always open: (http://www.clpex.com/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=2).
For more formal latent print discussions, visit
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Have a GREAT week!