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G o o d   M o r n i n g !
Monday, April 21, 2008

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...
by Kasey Wertheim (your name could be here!)

Academy gets hands on fingerprinting
Columbus Telegram, NE - Apr 16, 2008
“For a fingerprint to be viable we have to be able to pick up 13 points of identification which are found in the loops, whirls and ridges of a latent print ...
University of Leicester Forensic Research Centre Joins With Police ...
Loughborough News, UK - Apr 16, 2008
Current successes from the collaboration include the development of a method of analysing fingerprints using x-rays and nanoparticles; and a study into the ...
Print this: Police join key US database
Florida Times-Union, FL - Apr 15, 2008
"We got six confirmed hits recognizing latent fingerprints and matching fingerprints through IAFIS in cases ranging from burglaries to entering autos," ...

Puerto Rican Nationalist Tied To San Juan Attacks
Hartford Courant, United States - Apr 15, 2008
Assistant US Attorney Henry K. Kopel said Monday that the FBI found Gonzalez's fingerprint in a mobile home used to move $2 million of the money and Victor ...
State Police System Fingers Vineland Man in 24 Car Burglaries
Cape May County Herald,  United States - Apr 14, 2008
By Herald Staff COLD SPRING — A Vineland man made a match in the State Police Automated Fingerprint System, and, on April 11 was charged with 24 car ...
Recent CLPEX Posting Activity
Last Week's Board topics containing new posts
Moderated by Steve Everist

Announcement: Click link any time for recent, relevant fingerprint NEWS
clpexco 2253 16 Dec 2007 03:36 pm

"Forged" fingerprints
Pat A. Wertheim 13 20 Apr 2008 05:21 pm

KEPT - Keeping Examiners Prepared for Testimony
clpexco 3363 20 Apr 2008 02:27 pm

Calls for Inquiry to be scrapped
Daktari 25138 19 Apr 2008 02:52 pm

Evidence Fabrication
Bob McAuley 2184 18 Apr 2008 07:59 pm

IAI Conference Category Update
Steve Everist 995 15 Apr 2008 09:49 pm

Latent Print Exam and Forensic Tech Positions - CONUS/OCONUS
wkpetroka 214 15 Apr 2008 06:31 pm

Fingerprint Reports testimonial? NY's Rawlins
L.J.Steele 381 14 Apr 2008 08:43 pm

New Hampshire Supreme Court Ruling
Dennis Degler 651 14 Apr 2008 07:46 pm

aluminium and black powder
charlie 254 13 Apr 2008 09:00 pm



Updated the Fingerprint Interest Group (FIG) page with FIG #41.  Visit the FIG page to see this example of  Vertical Pressure.  Thanks to Sharon Cook for this submission!... and you can send your example of unique distortion to Charlie Parker:

Inserted Michelle Triplett's Keeping Examiners Prepared for Testimony (KEPT) #16: Terminology - No Identification Effected.   Discuss this topic on - a discussion has been created for KEPT.

Last week

we looked at a NY Court of Appeals decision on the testimonial nature of fingerprint evidence under Crawford.

This week

We continue the legal theme with a Maryland court decision to deny a motion to exclude fingerprint evidence in MD v. Johnson.  The defendant had asserted that ACE-V was subjective, lacked matching criteria, and did not require documentation.  He also asserted that fingerprint evidence should be excluded because fingerprint examiners claim matching with "absolute certainty", without independent testing / verification / peer review and there is no quantified error rate. Circuit Court Judge Sweeney cited a number of cases that support the use of fingerprints in U.S. and Maryland courts of law, and ultimately he denied the motion to exclude.  The expert can testify to similarities and differences, and even state that the prints closely or exactly match.  Furthermore, the Judge stated that any "alleged flaws with the method may be the subject of cross-examination of the State's witness, and the Defendant is free to call his own expert to refute the State's witness."

However, Judge Sweeney delivered an important exception to the denial of the motion.  In his own words, he stated that "there appears to be no factual foundation for the examiner to "express an opinion that no other person could have a similar number of matching points or what the probability or lack of probability is of the existence of such persons."  He goes on to state that "if the State believes that it can present such a basis grounded in validated research, scientific studies or otherwise, to allow the witness to make that conclusion, then it can move to make such a demonstration and obtain a further ruling on the issue from the court prior to the testimony being presented.  As it stands now, the examiner can testify to and demonstrate similarities and differences, and express an opinion that the latent print "exactly" (the judge's word) matches the known print.

State of Maryland vs. Lamont Anthony Johnson, in the Circuit Court for Howard County, Maryland
March 26, 2008.


Upon consideration of the Defendant's Motion to Exclude Testimony of Forensic Fingerprint Examiner and All Fingerprint Evidence and the State's Response thereto, it is this 26th day of March, 2008 ordered that the Defendant's Motion to exclude the State's fingerprint evidence is hereby denied except to the extent that the opinion testimony will be limited as set forth in the memorandum filed this date and it is further ordered that any request by the Defendant for a Frye-Reed hearing is hereby denied.

Signed: Judge Dennis Sweeney

For the full decision, you will find the .pdf file of page images here:

KEPT - Keeping Examiners Prepared for Testimony - #16
Terminology - No Identification Effected
by Michele Triplett, King County Sheriff's Office

Disclaimer:  The intent of this is to provide thought provoking discussion.  No claims of accuracy exist. 


Question – Terminology:

(This question would be to a verifier or a supervisor) The results for KL3 indicate that no identification was effected.  Therefore it has been established that my client did not leave this latent print.  Isn’t that true?


Possible Answers:

a)      Yes.

b)      No.

c)      I’m not sure if the original examiner excluded your client or not.



ASCLD/LAB and SWGFAST both recommend technical reviews.  SWGFAST specifically states that The reported results are clear, concise, accurate, and complete.  Phrases such as ‘No Identification Effected’ may have different meanings to different people.  If agencies are using their own phrases in their reports then these statements should be defined somewhere.



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

Have a GREAT week!