Challenges to Fingerprints

Metabolomic fingerprinting: challenges and opportunities.
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This check is a quality assurance mechanism and is the final phase of the ACE-V [4]. The law enforcement agencies or forensic laboratories of different countries apply various standards criteria for identification in fingerprint examination. The empirical approach calls upon the examiner to require a minimum number of minutiae or points in the agreement without discrepancies between a mark and a print before concluding on individualization. The number of points required varies from country to country and also from examiner to examiner in the same country. There are, e.

The holistic approach calls for an assessment by the examiner of each comparison based on its own merit in terms of quality and quantity as revealed by the mark and the print. This informed judgment is based on training, experience, and expert knowledge [6].

Problems with the underlying science

Fingerprint experts reach a conclusion as to whether the fingerprints found at the crime scene match those of the accused on the basis of matching points'. At the moment there are no universal standards of matching points.

IARPA Announces the "Nail to Nail Fingerprint Challenge" To Develop Next Generation Fingerprints

To investigate the potential benefits of blind verification, we posed the following question: Given a mated image pair, what is the probability, p v , that two examiners would both reach exclusion decisions? Previous studies 1 — 4 are surveyed in ref. When there was a lack of consensus, much of the variation could be explained by examiner differences: Examiners showed varying tendencies toward no-value or inconclusive decisions, or toward conclusions SI Appendix , Fig. They have also reviewed issues concerning its reliability. Four of the five distinct latents on which false positives occurred vs.

Examiners historically have employed identification standards ranging from eight to sixteen matching characteristics, or "points of similarity. The same is applied in the United Kingdom. On the contrary, other countries have set standards. For example, Australia has a minimum standard of twelve matching ridge characteristics whereas France and Italy have sixteen.

There is a strong difference between adversarial and accusatorial inquisitorial systems in respect with the involvement of an expert in criminal proceedings. At adversarial systems, it is common for fingerprint experts to be called by both parties: the prosecution and the defence. However, in inquisitorial procedure, the parties are not completely out from the expert reporting process, since it is sometimes possible for them to request that certain specific questions be put to the expert, to make comments on the expert's report once it has been placed in the case-file, to raise supplementary questions and possibly request the appointment of an expert to give a second opinion, to request the expert at the hearing to clarify material which is still unclear, and to have their own private expert interviewed [9].

There are also certain legal challenges that exist in fingerprint examination in practice.

Supplemental Content

Here we are stressing some legal challenges that are more important in our view and are under debate in professional literature. For instance, in adversarial systems, especially in the United States, the institute of scientific admissibility of expert evidence exists, that contains number of rules as admissibility criteria of expert evidence from the view of its scientific reliability.

Rule is a result of several well-known cases in USA [10] that are special guidelines to help the judge to assess scientific reliability and probative value of expert evidence [11]. In inquisitorial criminal justice, the court, in assessing the evidence, is not bound by formal rules. An exception to this principle is the exclusionary general rule: judges may not base their conviction on unlawfully obtained evidence.

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Jump to: navigation , search. Chichester: Wiley, , Vol. Amsterdam: Thela Thesis, , p. United States F D. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. Carmichael in -- the Supreme Court declared that federal judges must determine the reliability of expert testimony before admitting it.

About two dozen state court systems have followed suit. Judges have already limited the use of handwriting analysis after reliability challenges. In , Robert Epstein, a federal public defender in Philadelphia, made the first effort to have fingerprint identification declared inadmissible under the Daubert standards.

Convicted Oregon burglar challenges fingerprint evidence

His pretrial motion, in a case involving a man accused of driving the getaway car in a robbery, was denied by Judge J. Curtis Joyner of Federal District Court. But Mr. Epstein's tactic has nevertheless been widely imitated. Last year, in a burglary case in Montgomery County, Md. Law enforcement officials recognized soon after the Daubert ruling that fingerprinting could be vulnerable to challenges.

Result Filters

In early , the Justice Department's research arm, the National Institute of Justice, started putting together a call for studies to come up with standardized, statistically tested procedures for comparing fingerprints that ''produce correct results with acceptable error rates. In a sign of further concern, the Federal Bureau of Investigation asked the institute in September ''to withhold releasing the fingerprint solicitation until after the Philadelphia trial had ended,'' according to institute memorandums obtained by Mr. The F. The solicitation was released in March , a few weeks after Mr.


Epstein's client was convicted. The institute received four proposals but rejected all of them and will start the solicitation process over. Despite all the publicity DNA testing has received, for now, fingerprints are more useful because they are easier to collect than DNA, forensic experts say.

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Daubert Challenges to Fingerprints. Paul C. Giannelli. Follow this and additional works at: The authors have meticulously researched the field of fingerprint comparisons rates, contamination, training, and court challenges to fingerprints, among others.

But critics say the profession of fingerprint analysis is not as rigorous as generally believed. On a proficiency test of examiners conducted with the approval of the International Association of Identification, the profession's certifying organization, one in five examiners made at least one ''false positive'' identification -- linking a mock crime-scene print to the wrong person. Fingerprint experts point out that the error rate was lower on subsequent tests.

The challenges have also attacked the variability in training methods for examiners, pointing out that agencies like the F. And while the International Association of Identification has a rigorous certifying test, about half the current or would-be examiners who take it fail, without apparent career consequences.

Smith added that most of the 5, examiners in the country have never taken the test. While fingerprint misidentifications are rarely discovered, they do happen. Richard Jackson was cleared of a murder conviction in Philadelphia in because three examiners had erroneously matched his prints to those found at the scene.

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A similar reversal occurred in in Minnesota. In that case, both the prosecution and defense fingerprint experts mismatched a print to the defendant.

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Paul Sarmousakis, the assistant United States attorney who prosecuted Mr. Epstein's client, said that the occasional human error did not invalidate fingerprinting. Sarmousakis asked.