Home

Objectives

Bylaws

Members

Documents

Resources

FAQs

Contact Us

Updated 17 November, 2013
  Friction Ridge Community Resource Page
This resource is designed to provide credible responses to questions about friction ridge examination. This information is not presented as exhaustive and does not address all aspects of the below topics. Comments and additional questions recommended for posting on this website are invited. Please contact the SWGFAST Website Committee with information or community resources for posting.

*newest information on top 

Date Category Item Abstract


11/13

 
Letter of Interest A response to the Notice of Inquiry published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the Federal Register on September 27, 2013.

The response is in regards to possible models for the administration and support of discipline-specific guidance groups for forensic science.

 
03/12
 
Online Resource A link to the
NIST Latent Print Examination and Human Factors: Improving the Practice through a Systems Approach document. on their website:

Expert Working Group on Human Factors in Latent Print Analysis. Latent Print Examination and Human Factors: Improving the Practice through a Systems Approach. U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology. 2012.

 

11
/11
 
Online Resource A 64-page, 648K .PDF file of the SWGFAST Response to the Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation Inter-Agency Working Group of the National Science and Technology Council Committee on Science, Subcommittee on Forensic Science

This report aims to provide a consolidated list of annotated bibliographic references of published research related to latent print analysis in response questions forward by the Research Development Testing & Evaluation Interagency Working Group (RDT&E IWG) in their letter to the chair of SWGFAST dated September 9, 2011.

 
10/11
 
Article of Interest A 203-page, 3.4MB .PDF file of a legal guide for the forensic expert

The guide is "designed to give a comprehensive discussion of recommended practices for the forensic expert to follow when preparing for and testifying in court." It is also available (as of October, 2011) in a "live" online format at http://law101.dna.gov.

 
6/11
 
Article of Interest A 53-page, 638K .PDF file of the Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General follow on report related to the Brandon Mayfield incident

The report is "A Review of the FBI's Progress in Responding to the Recommendations in the Office of the Inspector General Report on the Fingerprint Misidentification in the Brandon Mayfield Case. It summarizes the OIG follow-up review, provides overviews of the ACE-V methodology, the Mayfield error and the FBI's response to it, reviews challenges to the latent print discipline, provides recommendations related to research projects, and elaborates on revisions to the FBI's SOPs and their use of documentation and verification procedures.


5/11
 
Legal Document US v. Council
A 14-page, 77K .PDF file of Judge Spencer's legal opinion

Judge Spencer's legal opinion denying a motion to exclude fingerprint evidence. The opinion contains reference to the NAS report, Blind Verification, and mentions the testimony of Jennifer Mnookin who was admitted as an expert for the Defense.


3/11
 
Online Resource A Microsoft Excel file containing a compiled listing of all of the references from the Fingerprint Sourcebook

The SWGFAST Chairperson sponsored the compilation of the references from all of the Fingerprint Sourcebook chapters into one Microsoft Excel file listing the Author, Publication Title, Article Title, Editors, Edition/Volume Number, Publisher, Place of Publication, Date of Publication, Hyperlink (if one exists), Page Numbers, Category, and location of citation within the Sourcebook (chapter number).

3/11
 
Online Resource A website containing NIJ award information

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ)  recently posted a summary of all Forensic Science Research and Development Awards from 2004-2010 which includes a very large section for Friction Ridge related topics.  The awards are divided by discipline into: Forensic Anthropology; Controlled Substances; Crime Scene Investigation; Fire and Arson; Latent Prints and Other Friction Ridge ; Impression Evidence; Forensic Pathology; Questioned Documents; Forensic Toxicology; and Trace Evidence.  A separate link for DNA Research and Development projects can be viewed at the bottom of the page.  All final technical reports associated with each award, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the project title.  Please monitor the website for new technical reports that will be released as soon as possible.  The site can be accessed via the following link:  http://www.nij.gov/topics/forensics/general-forensic-awards.htm

11/10 Legal Document US v. Rose
A 395K 67-page .pdf Motion in Limine and Amicus Brief

AND A 51K 6-page .pdf U.S. District court holding

Motion in Limine to Admit Expert Testimony of Latent Fingerprint Identification Without a Daubert Hearing, filed 7-27-09, arguing that 1) “The fourth Circuit and Every Federal Court of Appeals continue to accept expert evidence of the identification of latent fingerprints pursuant to the ACE-V methodology without a Daubert hearing,” 2) the “lack of a numerical point requirement does not render ACE-V unreliable,” 3) “The recent NAS report does not purport to reach legal conclusions about admissibility of latent print evidence,” and 4) “The NAS report does not conclude that the methodology of latent fingerprint identification is unreliable.” AND Amicus Brief on behalf of a college of international practitioners and researchers involved in the field of fingerprint identification and members of the SWGFAST in support of the State’s Motion for Reconsideration, arguing that “in excluding the fingerprint evidence in this case, the court relied on testimony and evidence that does not represent an appropriate and correct view of fingerprint methodology,” and “the court improperly evaluated the reliability of fingerprint identification by comparison with DNA statistical models cited by defense experts. Such models neither show greater reliability of the DNA model nor the unreliability of fingerprint identification.”

Holding from U.S. District Judge Blake filed on 12-8-09 holding that “fingerprint identification evidence based on the ACE-V methodology is generally accepted in the relevant scientific community, has a very low incidence of erroneous misidentifications, and is sufficiently reliable to be admissible under Fed. R. Ev. 702 generally and specifically in this case.”

11/10 Legal Document US v. Gerard
A 142K 4-page Firearms ruling filed 6-7-10 in the US Army Trial Judiciary Fifth Judicial Circuit in Germany
Grants the defense motion to exclude the testimony of a firearms examiner because” testimony that it would be practically impossible for a tool other than the seized AK-47 to have made the marks on the cartridge case would be substantially outweighed by the unfair prejudice associated with its unreliability. Specifically, it states that “although AFTE is well-intentioned in it’s testing [of examiners], the test results are not consistently reliable for a number of reasons. The tests are not blind,… [and] do not consistently mirror the level of difficulty presented during routine operations.”
11/10 Legal Document US v. Baines
A 52K 30-page .pdf file
A holding filed 7-20-09 in the US Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, affirming the conviction involving latent fingerprint evidence, evaluating the Daubert factors to conclude that the trial judge and district court did not abuse their discretion in admitting latent fingerprint evidence.
11/10 Legal Document US v. Keita
A 1.5 MB 53-page .pdf file

A Defense Motion to Exclude Latent Fingerprint Testimony dated 10-30-2009 in Superior Court of the District of Columbia, based in part on the NRC NAS report, that “the relevant scientific community does not generally accept that latent fingerprint analysis can reliably and accurately demonstrate a connection between a latent print and a specific individual.” Argument: “The relevant scientific community for latent print identification includes impartial scientists as well as latent print examiners;” “The report of the National Research Council reflects the conclusions of the relevant scientific community for latent print identification;” “The relevant scientific community recognizes that” 1) “a valid scientific basis for latent fingerprint identification has never been demonstrated,” 2) “the claim that latent print identification is infallible is scientifically implausible and demonstrably false,” 3) the claim of a fingerprint ‘match’ is meaningless in the absence of probability rate data,” 4) “latent fingerprint examination is a subjective analysis conducted without standards or controls for bias,” and therefore “the latent fingerprint testimony should be excluded as more prejudicial than probative.”

11/10 Legal Document WA v. Sims
A 2.5 MB 102-page .pdf file

A Defense Motion to Exclude Latent Fingerprint Testimony filed 11-20-09 in King County Superior Court, claiming that the “relevant scientific community” (including “impartial scientists and scholars”) concludes much as the National research Council (NAS report) – “does not generally accept that fingerprint examiners can accurately and reliably connect a latent print to a specific individual to the exclusion of all others” because “The relevant scientific community recognizes that” 1) “a valid scientific basis for latent fingerprint identification has never been demonstrated,” 2) “the claim that latent fingerprint identification is infallible is scientifically implausible and demonstrably false,” 3) the claim of a fingerprint ‘match’ is meaningless in the absence of probability rate data,” and 4) latent fingerprint examination is a subjective analysis when conducted without standards or controls for bias.” Therefore “the latent fingerprint testimony should be excluded as more prejudicial than probative”.

11/10 Legal Document OR v. Angius
A 1 MB 9-page .pdf file

A 7-2-2010 ruling denying defendant’s Motion to Exclude Fingerprint Evidence in Oregon’s Lane County Circuit Court through an analysis of 12 factors based on State v. O’Key, 321 Or 285 (1995): testibility of falsifiability, peer review and publication, known or potential rate of error, existence and maintenance of standards, degree of acceptance in the relevant scientific community, expert’s qualifications and stature, use that has been made of the test, extent to which other courts admit the test into evidence, novelty of the test, extent to which the test relies on subjective interpretation of the examiner, presence of safeguards in the procedure, and “other factors”.

11/10 Legal Document NH v. Connor
A 58K 7-page .pdf file

New Hampshire Supreme Court opinion issued on 12-14-07 that deals with the concept of Verification “bolstering” the examiner’s testimony. The court reverses and remands the case back to trial because it finds that the direct testimony of the examiner went too far in explaining the verification process and the “hearsay” of the results of the second examiner during verification.

11/10 Legal Document MN v. Hull
A 129K 4-page .pdf file dated 9-30-08

MN v. Hull - Appeal
A 132K 38-page .pdf file dated 9-9-10

MN District Court judge Steven Anderson denies Defendant’s Motion to Exclude Fingerprint Analysis due to the long-held general acceptance as scientifically reliable and that it was adequately applied in this case. Appeal: The decision was not reviewed at the appellate level because even if it was in error, the error would be harmless because of other overwhelming evidence supporting the guilty verdict. Justice Meyer writes (concurring) that any error was harmless, but holding that the district court should have done more to rule on the general acceptance and reliability of latent print examination (rather than only ruling on it’s acceptance as applied to this case).

11/10 Legal Document MD v. L.A. Johnson
A 421K 25-page .pdf file

A March 26, 2008 Howard County Circuit Court order denying the Defendant’s request for a Frye-Reed hearing and Motion to Exclude latent print evidence holding that even though important questions about latent print examination have been raised, (such as the potential bias of verifying examiners, the lack of a requirement that detailed notes be kept by the examiner, the lack of a criterion for declaring a match or identification, the lack of available data about error rate among examiners, and the advisability of using level 3 details in friction ridge comparisons) that the examiner can testify “that Defendant’s print closely or exactly matches” the latent print and “can point out the similarities and the differences, if any, between the latent print and the exemplar – but that the testimony is constrained to not include “absolute” testimony “to the exclusion of all others in the world.”

11/10 Legal Document Oregon v. Quezada
A 14-page 1.3MB .pdf file

A January 22, 2010 Public Defender Motion in Limine to exclude latent print testimony because of “…the lack of concrete data regarding the probability of fingerprint matches, the lack of adequate safeguards against false matches, the heightened danger of unfair prejudice, and a variety of other factors…” including that “fingerprint analysis is not scientifically valid,” “there is increasing doubt in the scientific and legal communities as to the veracity of fingerprint evidence,” “there is no evidence regarding rate of error in fingerprint analysis,” “there is a high degree of subjective interpretation in fingerprint analysis,” “the trier of fact cannot adequately verify the results of fingerprint analysis,” “there is a lack of standards…,” and “there is no evidence regarding the care with which the technique of fingerprint analysis was employed.”

11/10 Legal Document US v. Anderson, Jenkins, Warren, Bates and English
A 1.4MB 40-page .pdf file

The court concludes that “sufficient validation has been done and sufficient standards exist” in firearms examination “to permit the government’s expert to declare a firearms ‘match’ to a ‘practical certainty,’ or to a ‘reasonable degree of certainty..,’ but that the expert may not express his opinions to a ‘reasonable degree of scientific certainty,’ or state that there is a match to an exact statistical certainty... In addition, in explaining the meaning of the term ‘practical certainty,’ … the examiner may not state that it would be ‘practically impossible’ or ‘virtually impossible’ for another firearm to have contributed the same marks.

11/10 Legal Document Bunche v. Florida
An 85K 4-page .pdf file

The February 18, 2009 appellate court decision addressing the concept of verification, holding that it’s improper bolstering for the latent print examiner to testify that someone else arrived at the same conclusion, or even to “explain the use of a second examiner in the verification process” of ACE-V.

11/10 Legal Document Markham v. Maryland
A 179K 36-page .pdf file

A November 25, 2009 Maryland appellate court opinion addressing the concept of holding a reliability hearing for latent print evidence. Considering other cases and rulings, the court holds that ACE-V is sufficiently reliable to not require another separate hearing and that the concept should instead be the subject of cross-examination of the latent print examiner during trial.

11/10 Legal Document MA v. Gambora limiting latent print examiner testimony

A 56K 30-page .pdf file of the written opinion in MA v. Gambora. The judge allowed testimony by a latent print examiner to Individualization because he did not testify that the process was error free. (p. 17)  In the concurring opinion text (p. 28) it is clarified that the testimony of the verifying examiner was allowed because he testified that it was his "opinion" that the defendant "made" the latent prints.



10/10
Information Resource  Link to the NIJ Fingerprint Sourcebook

The Fingerprint Sourcebook by the Scientific Working Group on Friction Ridge Analysis, Study and Technology (SWGFAST) et al. is the definitive guide to the science of fingerprint identification funded by NIJ. The Sourcebook will be published in stages.



10/10
Legal Document  Judge Waddoups Order limiting latent print examiner testimony A ≈94K 3-page .pdf file of the September 16th order of US District Judge Waddoups. The order limits the testimony of latent print examiners in the case but the examiners did testify and present latent print demonstrations; and the defendant was found guilty.
7/10 IAI Resolution  IAI Resolution 2010-18. A ≈26K 2-page .pdf file of the official IAI resolution. On July 16th during the 2010 IAI Annual Educational Conference in Spokane, WA., the IAI passed resolution 2010-18 which rescinds the resolutions 1979-7 and 1980-5.
3/10 Position Statement Collaborative Testing Services, Inc. (CTS) issues a Statement on the use of Proficiency Testing Data for Error Rate Determinations. A ≈1,039K 3-page .pdf file that expands and clarifies the official position of CTS; that the use of CTS proficiency testing results should not be used a source for the determination of error rates for forensic science disciplines because results on "artifact samples" may not reflect casework level examination standards, truly "correct" or "incorrect" responses, or examiner performance in true casework situations.
3/10 Legal document US District Court for Massachusetts - Judge D.J. Gertner issues this Procedural Order for trace evidence. A ≈688K 3-page .pdf file of the Judge Nancy Gertner's Order for both parties in each case to identify in advance whether or not they are introducing trace evidence, whether or not they seek a Daubert/Kumho hearing, and the witnesses & exhibits required for the hearing.
2/10 Legal document California v. Greenwood Order regarding the consideration and denial by Judge Schnegg of an October 30, 2009 Motion to Exclude Fingerprint Evidence. A ≈18K 4-page .pdf file of the Judge Schnegg's Order in Superior Court of the United States of California for the County of Los Angeles, Case Number BA351185, denying the defendant's motion to exclude fingerprint evidence pursuant to People v. Kelly (1976) 17 Cal.3d 24.
2/10 Legal document California v. Greenwood Order regarding the consideration and denial by Judge Schnegg of an October 30, 2009 Motion to Exclude Fingerprint Evidence. A ≈688K 4-page .pdf file of the Judge Schnegg's Order in Superior Court of the United States of California for the County of Los Angeles, Case Number BA351185, denying the defendant's motion to exclude fingerprint evidence pursuant to People v. Kelly (1976) 17 Cal.3d 24.
9/09 Legal document US v. Rose Motion In Limine to Admit Testimony Without a Daubert Hearing, with Amicus Brief A ≈305K 40-page .pdf file of the US v. Rose: Government's Supplemental Motion In Limine to admit expert testimony of latent fingerprint identification without a Daubert hearing. CCB-08-0149, with the associated Amicus Brief.

 

 

 

 

Home |  Objectives Bylaws  | Members | Search

Documents | Resources   FAQs   About SWGs |  Contact

Copyright 1996-2013 Scientific Working Group on Friction Ridge Analysis, Study and Technology
All rights reserved.