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Monday, May 26, 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
Fingerprints prompt arrest of 2 now charged with Bradenton burglary
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, FL - 5 hours ago
Late Saturday, fingerprint evidence in the Fore home led Manatee County sheriff's detectives to arrest and jail two suspects, Marcos Herrera and Otis C. ...

Facts show the true side of science behind CSI', TX - May 25, 2008
Fiction: When the "CSI" team runs fingerprints through a computer database, a screen instantly pops up with the suspect's picture and information. ...

Co-defendant, victims testify in murder-for-hire case
C&G Newspapers, MI - May 23, 2008
Tracee McIntosh, a fingerprint examiner with the Michigan State Policeís Sterling Heights crime lab, indicated that Reed, Hill and Vezirovicís fingerprints ...

Hundreds of cold cases to be reopened
Northampton Chronicle & Echo, UK - May 20, 2008
Hundreds of cold case crimes could be reopened after groundbreaking method of detecting fingerprints was developed by Northamptonshire Police forensic ...

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 2873 16 Dec 2007 03:36 pm

Evidence Fabrication in South Africa
Pat A. Wertheim 24811 26 May 2008 12:03 pm

The Case of the Great Toe Print
Charles Parker 345 25 May 2008 11:44 pm

"Forged" fingerprints
Pat A. Wertheim 8206 25 May 2008 11:03 pm

Interpol European Expert Group on Fingerprint Identification
3 Iain McKie 266 25 May 2008 04:21 pm

forms latent print documentation
juroc 226 25 May 2008 01:24 pm

Calls for Inquiry to be scrapped
Daktari 31947 24 May 2008 09:13 pm

Dr. Henry Lee makes life interesting for the rest of us.
Cindy Rennie 711 24 May 2008 12:33 pm

Does the FBI take palm impressions?
Cindy Rennie 90 23 May 2008 06:31 pm

Latent Palm Print On Safety Glass
Charles Parker 186 23 May 2008 04:17 pm Needs Your Help
Boyd Baumgartner 157 23 May 2008 02:00 am

Coffee On My Key Board This Morning
Ann Horsman 273 22 May 2008 01:11 pm

"Death Valley" ranch of Charles Manson
Pat A. Wertheim 512 22 May 2008 05:31 am

ACE-V in History
Boyd Baumgartner 703 21 May 2008 07:04 pm

Latent Position Vermont Forensic Lab
Jeremy Johnson 176 21 May 2008 05:04 pm

LIMS system in Latent Print Units
kimba325 277 21 May 2008 01:02 pm

Duplicate Lifts
Charles Parker 1673 21 May 2008 01:01 pm

KEPT - Keeping Examiners Prepared for Testimony
clpexco 5603 21 May 2008 09:26 am

Paper prints still used?
antonroland 258 21 May 2008 05:16 am

Grinds My Gears
Charles Parker 765 20 May 2008 01:55 pm

Early Daubert
Charles Parker 225 20 May 2008 12:10 pm



Updated the Fingerprint Interest Group (FIG) page with FIG #46; an overlay with other various distortion types, submitted by Sharon Cook.  You can send your example of unique distortion to Charlie Parker:

Updated the forum Keeping Examiners Prepared for Testimony (KEPT) thread with KEPT #21; Comparison Phase - Contemporaneous Documentation, submitted by Michelle Triplett.  You can send your questions on courtroom topics to Michelle Triplett:

Updated the Detail Archives


Last week

We laughed at a humorous anecdote in a clean version of the "Peter Griffin" Family Guy style of humor - "You Know What Grinds My Gears..." about a latent print examiner's day in court.

This week

Charlie Parker passes on an article on cross-linking latent cases through latent-to-latent comparisons.

Cross Link
by Charles J. Parker

A number of years ago I was given an article that was originally published in England and had to deal with cross-linking cases. It primarily dealt with shoe prints and that by actively collecting those from crime scenes and using a type of classification that some cases could be cross-linked to provide investigators with additional leads. The idea of linking of different crime scenes is certainly nothing new. It has been done through M.O., tools used at crime scenes, shoe prints, to some extent firearms evidence.

Recently DNA has been used very effectively to cross-link different serious crimes. One that comes readily to mind is the link between two murders that occurred in 1986 and 1991 that pooled the information from two different crimes that eventually resolved the two cases by other evidence. Latent prints do not readily lend themselves to linkage of different crimes like other types of evidence. Perhaps it is the type of evidence it is or perhaps just the sheer volume or amount that are recovered. This is not to say that cases cannot or have not been linked by latent prints before a suspect is identified, I am just saying I believe it is more difficult.

What Latent Print Examiner has not had a request at one time or another from an investigator who is asking that the latent prints from one case be compared with the latent prints from a different case? Most LPE that I know when faced with such a request will actively try to discourage it as an examination that is non-productive. The most common argument that I hear against it is that even if the investigator was extremely lucky and one latent print did match another one that the case would be no further along since NO ONE INDIVIDUAL HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED. This completely ignores the fact that the information on two cases can now be combined which does from my POV improve the possibility of those cases being solved.

Now those LPE that refuse to conduct latent to latent comparisons have some weight to defend their position. In over 35 years of conducting latent to latent case comparisons requested by investigators I have yet to link two cases. I have done it more by chance or memory than by investigators request. One memory latent to latent case by another examiner eventually led to closing of over 70 burglary cases of which 28 of those cases had latent prints identified to one subject.

When AFIS was first introduced that was an area of search that was built in, and I can remember AFIS Vendors at conferences touting that the system can search not only latent to record or record to latent but latent to latent. That was exciting for me in that now here was a vehicle to link cases. AFIS does work that way but not as much as some people may have expected, which I do not fault the AFIS Systems so much as the problem lies with the operators.

The current local AFIS that I work with searches both ten-prints and palm prints and the latent to latent search is automatic all an operator has to do is open that list and take a look. But I have noticed most examiners do not. With the larger systems to have a latent to latent search you have to ask for it to be done and I have never noticed an examiner asking for a LI to LI search. Perhaps since it is an unusual occurrence most examiners do not know how to deal with it or the mindset comes in that it does not prove anything anyway as the subject is still not identified.

In the last 36 months I have dealt with or currently dealing with five sets of latent to latent case identifications of which three I am still actively pursuing. Over the years I have developed my own method of dealing with latent to latent identifications and the following are the steps I follow.

1. Pull both cases and compare the latent prints indicated by the AFIS return. It is not necessary to compare all the latent prints in the case as you have already made the link and now comes the work of finding who that they belong to. There are exceptions to comparing all the latent prints and one exception is to take two fragmentary prints and combine the information to perform a more accurate AFIS Search.

2. Notify those detectives or investigators of the link in the cases. There is sometimes information on a case that may not be present in the case file, or has not made it into the case file yet. Provide the link to the investigators so that the information can be pooled. They will probably also provide potential suspects to be compared. Remember when one case falls both will fall. Also when a subject is doing more than just random and opportunistic burglaries they are more than likely serial burglars.

3. Pull the reports and files and make a determination that we are not dealing with the same officer, crime scene personnel or the same victim at both crime scenes. If there is information that both scenes are shared by a single person then prints need to be obtained to eliminate that person as the latent to latent link.

4. Review each latent in both cases and search any marginal latent prints. Re-launch for search the latent prints under different configurations. In other words search everything in those cases every which way but loose.

5. Some might debate the making of a report of the cross-link, but I am a firm believer in documentation through reports and this would be the time to do it. Others might elect to wait until a subject has been positively identified. I disagree with that approach.

6. Re-launch the latent prints in these cases every 6 months as the threshold score for a direct search is different than the threshold score for a record to latent file automatic search.

Some Latent Print Examiners may proclaim that they have never seen a latent to latent identification which is sad because I believe they are there but they have to be actively looked for. I wish you good hunting.


KEPT - Keeping Examiners Prepared for Testimony - #21
Comparison Phase - Contemporaneous Documentation
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 Ė Contemporaneous Documentation:
When did this person become a suspect?
When did you do that particular comparison?
How long did it take?

Possible Answers:
a) Iím not sure.
b) I didnít document that information.
c) It took a while.
d) We donít document that information because itís not important to the identification process. Individualizations are based on the characteristics in the images, not on when information was obtained. That may be important to a different part of this case and if it is, then maybe the detective may have that information.
e) (You may be able to give this information if itís in your case notes).

Contemporaneous documentation of events is important to physical examinations or tasks that canít be redone at a later date but this isnít needed or scientifically recommended for analytical tasks, like the identification process, that can be redone at any time.
Answers a and b: People use to recommend short answers but this view isnít as acceptable as it use to be. If you answer the above question with a short answer then it appears that you did a less than acceptable jobÖ.that your work was lacking.
Answer c: If you donít have the answer then itís better to say that and indicate why you may not have the answer. Sometimes vague answers, like ďit took a whileĒ, appear unprofessional and may give the jury a poor perception of you as an expert.
Answer d: This answer is the same as a and b but it includes the reason why you didnít do something.
Answer e: If this information is part of your case notes then you can state the answer but it may be important to mention this isnít required information. If another expert testifies in the same case and they donít have this type of information then you may not want it to appear that they should have included this information.


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

Have a GREAT week!