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Monday, April 3, 2006

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

Top QC Calls for Review of Fingerprint Cases  SCOTSMAN, UK - March 30, 2006 ...the McKie case has stuck at the very root of the legal system...

Bloody Print Led to Defendant, CSI Testifies KANSAS.COM, MO - March 29, 2006 ...a surprising discovery above the lifeless body of a gunshot victim...

Prints Fingered Restaurant Thief   LANCASHIRE EVENING TELEGRAPH, UK - March 28, 2006 ...a man who broke into a restaurant was traced by fingerprints left at the scene...

'No Legal Reason' to Hide McKie Files   SCOTSMAN, UK - March 27, 2006 figures contradicted the Executive's claims that making public secret reports would undermine a basic principle of Scots law...

Recent CLPEX Posting Activity
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Help w/ Master's Thesis
Rebecca W 319 Sun Apr 02, 2006 1:44 pm

formation of friction ridge skin
mary ellen holmberg 287 Fri Mar 31, 2006 3:05 am

[ Poll ] "Point" Standard
ccpereira 637 Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:02 pm

nator9692 1270 Wed Mar 29, 2006 5:59 pm

LPE Opening - Viva Las Vegas!
Alice Maceo 204 Tue Mar 28, 2006 5:55 pm

Weekly Detail March 27th
Graham F 219 Mon Mar 27, 2006 4:01 pm

[ Poll ] McKie / Peter Swan
Curious 781 Mon Mar 27, 2006 12:02 am



Updated the Detail Archives

Filled the 3 open positions for in-country DoD Biometrics - thank you to those who expressed interest and applied.

Still accepting resumes for other in-country and out-of-country contract work - send to

Job Announcement:
Starting Annual Salary $59,139 - $71,949
Annual Salary Range $59,139 - $87,539
OPENING DATE: Wednesday, March 22, 2006
CLOSING DATE: Open until a sufficient number of qualified individuals have submitted application packages.
DUTIES: Latent Print Examiner II conducts fingerprint comparisons of latent prints and finger and palm print exemplar files; and performs a variety of tasks relative to assigned areas of responsibility.  The eligibility list established from this recruitment will be in effect for 18 months.
More detail can be found at the web link:



Last week

we examined the multi-faceted world of forensics, biometric technology, and investigation.

This week

Steve Scarborough brings us a look at how to incorporate ACE into latent print examiner testimony summation.

Testimony Highlighting ACE

by Steve Scarborough

It is always good to share ideas and concepts with fellow fingerprint experts. Recently, when talking to the Wertheims, some stimulating conversation revolved around testimony techniques and I was inspired to compile these paragraphs.

The concept is to highlight ACE methodology when testifying and to add ACE to the summation statement.  This may be old hat to many fingerprint experts out there with Ridgeology training and classes, but there may be some fingerprint experts that that mqy want to take a look at certain aspects of this style of testimony.
    Most fingerprint experts adapt, improve, and adjust their testimony as their experience, training and the knowledge increases. [1]  Many experts have adapted the standard question list that is given to prosecutors to include questions about ACE methodology.[2] Many experts have just included that concept and all the various levels of ridgeology and ACE that apply to fingerprint comparisons within their testimony.

     One approach to testimony for the fingerprint expert would be to also add ACE methodology terms in the summation. Many of us were taught by the FBI and at training schools to add a summation statement to wrap up our examination conclusions. These summation statements usually involve something like “based upon my examination of the inked prints in the name of John Doe and the latent print from the gun, it is my conclusion that they were both made by the same person.”

     An approach using ACE might be a summation statement like: “After my Analysis of the latent print, observing and noting the clarity and quantity of ridge characteristics, ridge flow and ridge paths on the latent print. And then after my Comparison between the latent print and the known prints of John Doe, noting the areas and features in agreement, I made an Evaluation of the all the unique features and arrived at the conclusion that both impressions were made by the same person.”    

    A longer version of ACE summation testimony might proceed as follows:  

     “I analyzed all the variables of the friction ridge impression in question and noted all the many variables of a latent print such as surface and processing technique. I analyzed the latent print to determine if the quality and quantity of the latent print ridge paths, the clarity of all three levels of ridge detail was sufficient to proceed with my examination.

If this had not occured I would have stopped my examination.  I then proceeded on to the next phase.

     “I analyzed the known print to determine if it was of sufficient quality for comparison so I could proceed with the process. I then made a comparison with the latent print and the set of known prints. 

     "This is the point that I used my observation of the 3 levels of detail to orient the print, and using focal points made comparisons with the ridge formations in the latent and known print.  A side by side comparison was conducted to determine if the three levels of detail in the two impressions were in agreement.  I then noted all those unique formations and ridge paths that were in agreement.

     “I then made my Evaluation based upon the analysis and comparison. I made my conclusion based upon the information I observed in these impressions and based upon my training, experience and knowledge.

     “I determined that there was agreement between the friction ridge formations, in sequence having sufficient uniqueness to individualize.  The unique features that I observed in the latent print are in agreement with those in the known print. 

      “It is my conclusion that the latent from the crime scene and the known prints of John Doe were made by the same person.”

     Obviously, the individual fingerprint expert can choose which portions of these statements are right for their style of comparison testimony.  These statements can be shortened or expanded, but the essence is to incorporate ACE into the summation statement. Highlighting ACE in the summation is a proactive approach to fingerprint comparison testimony.

[1] Wertheim, P. Qualifying as an Expert Fingerprint Witness: Designing a Set of Questions to Assist in Court Testimony. J. For. Ident. 1990, 40 (2)  

[2] Scarborough, Steve A Comprehensive Question List for the Courtroom: Re-evaluating and Revising the Qualifying Question List for Latent Print Testimony J. For. Ident. 2002, 52 (6)

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

Have a GREAT week!