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Monday, July 14, 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
Ex-care worker jailed for murder
BBC News, UK - Jul 3, 2008
A former care worker who beat an 83-year-old woman to death in 1994 has been jailed for life at the Old Bailey. Edward Ross of West India Dock, Poplar, ...
Where the crime lab wouldn’t go
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, AK - Jul 10, 2008
“Out of every 100 things we fingerprint, all kinds of surfaces, we only get fingerprints that are usable on about 14 percent. “And that’s in Anchorage,” he ...
New York Post, NY - Jul 10, 2008
Databases - like those of fingerprints and other key information - can play a huge role in the War on Terror. So can the sharing of such info between ...
Clearer Fingerprints Even on Wet Surfaces Possible With Nano-Zinc
MedIndia, India - Jul 8, 2008
McDonagh says that he and his colleagues worked in collaboration with the Australian Federal Police, and tested a new fingerprint powder based on zinc oxide ...

Recent CLPEX Posting Activity
Last Week's Board topics containing new posts
Moderated by Steve Everist

Click link any time for recent, relevant fingerprint NEWS
by clpexco on Sun Dec 16, 2007 10:36 am 0 Replies 3429 Views Last post by clpexco
on Sun Dec 16, 2007 10:36 am

Evidence Fabrication in South Africa
1 ... 14, 15, 16by Pat A. Wertheim on Fri Nov 30, 2007 12:48 pm 235 Replies 27818 Views Last post by clpexco
on Sun Jul 13, 2008 12:29 pm

History Board
by Charles Parker on Sun Jul 13, 2008 8:57 am 0 Replies 21 Views Last post by Charles Parker
on Sun Jul 13, 2008 8:57 am

Calls for Inquiry to be scrapped
1 ... 27, 28, 29by Daktari on Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:28 am 423 Replies 37279 Views Last post by Pat A. Wertheim
on Sat Jul 12, 2008 9:55 am

Lord Johnston
1, 2by charlton97 on Sat Jun 21, 2008 3:07 am 29 Replies 1063 Views Last post by Big Wullie
on Fri Jul 11, 2008 9:15 pm

Interesting news about someone from the chat board
by Michele on Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:54 pm 2 Replies 322 Views Last post by jcurtit
on Fri Jul 11, 2008 3:07 pm

LPE Job Posting for King County Washington
by Michele on Fri Jul 11, 2008 7:52 am 0 Replies 71 Views Last post by Michele
on Fri Jul 11, 2008 7:52 am

photoshop enhancements
by Ger208k on Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:50 pm 13 Replies 489 Views Last post by George Reis
on Thu Jul 10, 2008 6:29 pm

Simultaneous Impression(s)
by Charles Parker on Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:50 am 14 Replies 416 Views Last post by Gerald Clough
on Thu Jul 10, 2008 1:16 pm

One step cyanoacrylate/dye stain technique
by Connie Muller-Ford on Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:17 am 4 Replies 540 Views Last post by Connie Muller-Ford
on Thu Jul 10, 2008 11:22 am

Sr. Criminalist-Boston Police Dept. Latent Print Unit
by hannaford on Tue Jul 08, 2008 2:18 pm 0 Replies 133 Views Last post by hannaford
on Tue Jul 08, 2008 2:18 pm

IAI Conference Topics - Louisville, Kentucky 2008:

Louisville Hotels
by Steve Everist on Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:35 am 10 Replies 618 Views Last post by Kasey Wertheim
on Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:05 am

Certification Tests at Louisville IAI
by Steve Everist on Fri Jun 06, 2008 10:50 pm 4 Replies 120 Views Last post by Steve Everist
on Mon Jul 07, 2008 7:27 pm

Documentation issues as they apply to latent prints

New SWGFAST draft
by radarmoose on Sun Jun 29, 2008 2:26 am 6 Replies 98 Views Last post by Charles Parker
on Sun Jul 13, 2008 11:24 am

Backing Latent Lifts
by Charles Parker on Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:31 am 10 Replies 160 Views Last post by Charles Parker
on Sun Jul 13, 2008 10:59 am

Latent Form Documentation
by Charles Parker on Tue Jul 08, 2008 4:52 pm 3 Replies 63 Views Last post by Gerald Clough
on Wed Jul 09, 2008 11:42 am

Historical topics related to latent print examination
Moderator: Charles Parker

Welcome To History
by Charles Parker on Fri Jul 04, 2008 1:39 pm 1 Replies 34 Views Last post by antonroland
on Wed Jul 09, 2008 1:14 am

Early Plantar Cases
by Charles Parker on Sun Jul 06, 2008 9:20 am 5 Replies 78 Views Last post by Charles Parker
on Sun Jul 13, 2008 8:51 am

The Rojas Murders
by Charles Parker on Fri Jul 04, 2008 1:58 pm 5 Replies 66 Views Last post by Charles Parker
on Sun Jul 13, 2008 7:54 am

The Venzio Case
by Charles Parker on Sun Jul 13, 2008 7:48 am 0 Replies 5 Views Last post by Charles Parker
on Sun Jul 13, 2008 7:48 am

Dr.Henry P. de Forest
by Charles Parker on Sat Jul 05, 2008 8:12 am 2 Replies 49 Views Last post by Ernie Hamm
on Sat Jul 12, 2008 11:07 am



Updated the Fingerprint Interest Group (FIG) page with FIG #53; movement, doubling; submitted by Bonnie Manno.  You can send your example of unique distortion to Charlie Parker:  For discussion, visit the forum FIG thread.

Updated the forum Keeping Examiners Prepared for Testimony (KEPT) thread with KEPT #28; Research Studies - Lockheed Martin 50K X 50K study, submitted by Michelle Triplett.  You can send your questions on courtroom topics to Michelle Triplett:

Updated the Detail Archives


Last week

we reviewed the NIJ funded latent print training program sponsored by the National Forensic Science Training Center (NFSTC).

This week

we look at commentary and an article on the origin of the powder rubbing technique.

Origin of the Powder Rubbing Technique
Original Article in FP&ID Magazine, by Michael R. Grimm, CLPE and Richard A. Taylor, CLPE; with posting and commentary by Ed German, Webservant

In the decades since the post-cyanoacrylate (super glue) "powder rubbing" process was published, many agencies have adopted it as the last step in examining any nonporous (glass, metal, plastic, etc.) surface. Because cyanoacrylate polymerization creates a relatively strong three-dimensional structure when latent prints are developed, powder can be rubbed over such cyano-processed prints (as a last step in the processing sequence). The powder rubbing process can create contrast that enables photography and identification of previously undetected friction ridge impressions.

The following excerpt was extracted from "Super Glue Sticks It to the Bad Guys", published in Identification News, Vol. 34, No. 2, March 1984, pages 7-11, by Michael R. Grimm, CLPE and Richard A. Taylor, CLPE, both employed by the Virginia State Crime Laboratory in Roanoke, Virginia, USA.

... Within the past month a discovery was made involving the use of super glue to process plastic bags from two drug cases and a petit larceny of a black powder pistol kit. In the first case sixteen baggies were processed in the conventional manner - with only one showing a little ridge detail of no value for identification. While holding the bag up to the light for better viewing it slipped out of the examiner's hand, which was protected by the use of rubber surgeons gloves. Upon examination of the area that was under the thumb and forefinger where the bag was held, it was noted that ridge detail had “appeared,” white ridges with a very light brown colored background! Further deliberate ‘ rubbing ‘ of the bag with the rubber surgeons gloves produced two fingerprints of value for identification. Subsequent treatment of the remaining fifteen bags resulted in two more fingerprints of value, two of which were later identified as the fingerprints of one of the suspects. Similar treatment of the cellophane wrapped pistol kit produced a palm impression of extreme clarity showing even the fine pore structure of the ridges. The latest case entailed the processing of eight bags of cocaine. Conventional methods produced no discernible ridge detail. However, use of the "rubbing technique" supplied the examiner with two fingerprints later identified as those of one of the suspects.

The “rubbing” technique appears to change the black powdered surface to a shade of light to medium brown with the ridge detail appearing in white. Very vigorous rubbing seems to enhance the ridge detail rather than delete it as you might expect....


The color of the friction ridge detail developed with this process depends on several factors, including the following:

- The color of powder used;
- The presence of contaminants on the surface;
- Whether the friction ridge impression was deposited from the finger/palm, or was caused by the finger/palm removing (lifting away) part of a contaminate coating already present on the surface.

The basic concept is that the powder is rubbed on the relatively smooth surface bearing hard, three-dimensional (super glue-developed) ridges and furrows of cyanoacrylate polymer, causing contrast by filling furrows and accumulating powder on each side of the three dimensional friction ridge detail.

Many latent print examiners have used this technique to reveal impressions that were previously invisible by cyanyo-fuming followed with dye-stains, laser examination and "normal dusting" with fingerprint powders. Sometimes the failure of detection through dye staining and laser (or alternate light sources) exam may be due to background/substrate luminescence that quenches (competes with) the faint glowing of weak (minute deposit) friction ridge impressions. Sometimes the lack of detection through normal dusting after cyano-fuming may be due to the absence of sufficiently "sticky" friction ridge deposits.

This technique is simple, inexpensive, and risks nothing when all conventional techniques have already been exhausted without developing identifiable latent prints.

Nothing works to successfully develop latent prints on all nonporous surfaces and the powder rubbing technique will definitely not produce successful results each time it is used. However, consistent use as a last-step procedure on nonporous surfaces will produce enough successful instances to convince examiners to always consider it when all other steps have failed.


KEPT - Keeping Examiners Prepared for Testimony - #27
Methodology Error Rate - Theoretical vs. Actual
by Michele Triplett, King County Sheriff's Office

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


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


Question – The FBI - Lockheed Martin 50k x 50k Study:

Any question regarding the FBI - Lockheed Martin 50k x 50k Study.


Possible Answers:

a)      This was a research study done in 1999 to show support for the theory of biological uniqueness of fingerprints.

b)      This was a study that showed the probability of the same configuration of minutia occurring in two fully rolled prints is 1 in 10 to the 97th power.  The probability of a latent print having the same minutia as another rolled impression is 1 in 10 to the 27th power.

c)      This was a study done in 1999 by the FBI and Lockheed Martin.  This study has never been published or peer reviewed to show if the study or the results are scientifically sound.  Until this is done it would be improper for me to testify to this study.



How you chose to testify is your choice but even if you have in-depth information regarding this study, it may not be scientifically valid since it hasn’t been peer reviewed.  Giving the jury information you know isn’t supported, isn’t educating the jury but it’s a sign that you’re trying to convince the jury of your view.  This is a sign that an expert witness isn’t independent or objective in their views and some people may consider this to be an inappropriate action.



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

Have a GREAT week!