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Author Topic: Fingerprints  (Read 7556 times)

Offline ukmicky

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Fingerprints
« on: 21/05/2006 23:52:35 »
I just watched a program on TV.

We all have different fingerprints and if your fingerprint is found at a crime scene and you can't give a good reason for it to be there then legally the police then have enough evidence on its own to find you guilty of the crime especially if that fingerprint is found in the blood of the victim. But should finger prints be used as evidence when it turns out it is not a real forensic science as the results are subjective and are down to the opinion of the fingerprint expert examining them.

Fingerprint experts look for similarities between two fingerprints, they look for a number of points which are the same between the print left at the scene and the suspect and if they find them they will call it a good enough match to convict.  But now it turns out that if they find there are enough matching points they either won’t look for any differences or will cast aside any difference they may find elsewhere on the print and not even mention them in court. As far as the fingerprint experts are concerned they have found 16 matching points so they are the same finger prints

But their have now been a number of cases where the evidence has been successfully challenged in court after conviction because elsewhere on the fingerprint there were maybe only one or two differences meaning that the prints even though strikingly similar wernt actually the same and were from two different people.

But the police still only look for points of similarities rather than look for points of differences and in court one expert can disagree with another, even defence experts have been found to get it wrong and agree with the police when they shouldn’t have.

Which means fingerprint evidence is nothing more than a matter of opinion and not a real science with 100% accuracy and shouldnt be relied upon as conclusive evidence.

Not only that but many people have been convicted from the evidence of partial prints meaning that if their print differed from the one left at the scene but in a region that wasnt left behind, as far as the police and courts are concerned there is enough evidence to convict even though the defence have no chance of looking for any difference in the other regions And because the police have there 16 or so points of similarity the court will accept it as conclusive evidence.

This is wrong and fingerprint identification should now be binned or at the least it should no longer be allowed to be used as a form of conclusive evidence to prove someone’s guilt.


Michael
« Last Edit: 21/05/2006 23:58:00 by ukmicky »


 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Fingerprints
« Reply #1 on: 21/05/2006 23:56:49 »
I think it would be more accurate to say that fingerprinting IS an exact science, but maybe the so-called experts don't always adhere to scientific methods.

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Offline ukmicky

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Re: Fingerprints
« Reply #2 on: 22/05/2006 00:11:02 »
How about

It could be an exact science but not at present.

And as it human to err maybe it should never be especially when consider that everyday someone's liberty or life is decided by the evidence of someone who's opinion may be wrong.

Michael
« Last Edit: 22/05/2006 00:30:15 by ukmicky »
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Fingerprints
« Reply #3 on: 22/05/2006 11:01:19 »
I think the techniques are there already for it to be exact, but the testers aren't always rigorous enough with their testing.

I totally agree that when justice depends on interpretation and opinion there are many pitfalls and everything possible must be done to eradicate these. Guidelines must be laid down that state that differences must also be looked for and if they are not the test must be disregarded. Similarly it should be inadmissable as evidence if there is doubt in more than, say, 3 places.

Personally, I feel that most forensic evidence is pretty controversial as new research is coming to light all the time that casts doubt on previous tests. I well remember the Birmingham 6. Then there are cases of child abuse where further research has shown the original assumptions to be incomplete at best and biased at worst.

But no matter how rigorously the forensic tests are carried out, there will always be doubt about the research methodologies used. Too many scientists turn a blind eye to results that could disprove their theories.

As a final thought, although this opens up a whole new can of worms -  it's easy enough to prove something is not; but can anything be absolutely proven to be? There may always be future research that shows what we thought to be isn't at all. Research can only be probablistic.

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« Last Edit: 22/05/2006 11:03:00 by DoctorBeaver »
 

ROBERT

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Re: Fingerprints
« Reply #4 on: 22/05/2006 11:42:14 »
I think UK micky is referring to the Shirley McKie case:-

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4967160.stm
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Fingerprints
« Reply #5 on: 22/05/2006 11:49:23 »
Particular cases are irrelevant. It's the way cases are presented that is questionable. If it happened in 1 case, it can happen in others.

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ROBERT

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Re: Fingerprints
« Reply #6 on: 22/05/2006 12:15:36 »
The Shirley McKie case demonstrates that the science behind fingerprint recognition is sound,
 some dermatoglyphic "experts" are not.

In the interests of balance here is some evidence for the "honest mistake" hypothesis:-
" To view Dr. Dror’s interview on BBC’s Newsnight.. "
http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/%7eid/bbc.html
(I'm not convinced).
« Last Edit: 22/05/2006 12:17:08 by ROBERT »
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Fingerprints
« Reply #7 on: 22/05/2006 13:42:03 »
Would it not be possible, (because the fingerprint is a mark left) to gather further information from the print itself !..not the style and pattern but also some genetic material ?...

...What is a fingerprint ?...apart from an impression left from the underside of your finger is it not more intrinsically a piece of you ?..isn't it left because oils have been left ?...the medium of the print itself ?

Men are the same as women, just inside out !
 

Offline ukmicky

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Re: Fingerprints
« Reply #8 on: 23/05/2006 03:19:29 »
In the Shirley McKie case the experts are still in disagreement

Michael
 

ROBERT

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Re: Fingerprints
« Reply #9 on: 24/05/2006 12:59:50 »
" There is good evidence that more experts inside the SCRO denied the identification of Shirley McKie than supported it. And even at the time, there was clear evidence that Ms McKie was being truthful in her denial that she had been inside Marion Ross' house where the print had been developed. Yet the four who claimed the erroneous identification were encouraged to go ahead and testify against Ms McKie. There is strong indication the SCRO "experts" knowingly perjured themselves, as disclosed in the official inquiry report calling for criminal prosecution of those four."
http://www.clpex.com/board/threads/2005-Apr-15/2948/2948.htm

 

Offline Harlan Pepper

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Re: Fingerprints
« Reply #10 on: 22/08/2006 13:14:32 »
Shirley McKie nearly lost her job for leaving a palm print on evidence in 1993.

Shirley McKie would have lost her job, generous Police Pension, and humiliated her police family had the print been confirmed as hers.

Shirley McKie was 15 feet away from the door frame at the time the print appeared.

Shirley McKie had the keys signed out to the murder locus on two concurrent occassions.

The four SCRO officers stand by their identification and have been cleared of any worng doing by disciplinary and by peer review.  External quality assurers haven't found a mistake.

The SCRO officers are bound by the official secrets act, they cannot talk about this case other than under privalege of court or parliament.
They were denied thier day in court, which they were all ready and waiting for, when Shirley McKie took the money.

Shirley McKies original expert Peter Swann found that the print was a match and that it could not have been transplanted.  The McKies have tried to silence Peter Swann ever since.  They chickened out of their day in court in front of Lord Butler.  Peter Swann was there, waiting.

Shirley McKie denied knowledge of Peter Swann at her perjury trial.

Malcolm Graham, the Asbury case expert confirmed all identifications, and stands by these.

John Berry found no less than 32 points in agreement, with no discrepancies.

Michael Pass confirmed the match in the asbury case.
The Danes confirmed the match in the Asbury case.

The McKie experts:

Pat Wertheim: Self-taught, can't produce hard copies of evidence.

Arie Zeelenburg (heavily inolved with Itiel Drors study) has ran a campaign against the SCR0 using Wertheims low quality images.
His team failed the Evett & Williams comparisons very badly. The SCRo came top.

Allan Bayle, Gary Dempster, John McLeod: have all had to apologise for mistakes they have made on other SCRO cases, for misleading the media, and for their calls to close the SCRO down.

If you speak out about this case you get threatening phonecalls and threatened with litigation.  The McKies said they would only appear at the parlimentary enquiry if the convenor acknowledged Shirley McKies innocence (as proven in court, if in doubt about the merits of the Jury system please see the Tommy Sheridan case) therefore implicating the SCRO's guilt.  Pauline McNeill refused to do this.

The public have not heard the full truth, a campaign, masterminded by Iain McKie (a former Police media relations officer) and lazy journalism by Shelly Joffre (participants on her shows appeared under the watchful eye of McKies litigator) prevents this.

Is there a massive conspiracy against Shirley McKie?
Should David Asbury be a free man?
Do the SCRO have anythng to answer for?

These are the questions.  Bruce McPhee retires from the Scottish Parliament before the next elections, he has been put up the SNP's fall-guy, career politicain Alex Neil seems to have forgotton all about the McKies after the Allan Bayle fiasco, he knows that the tide is turning.

The truth is out there.
 

Offline Mjhavok

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Re: Fingerprints
« Reply #11 on: 23/08/2006 23:00:09 »
I work at SCRO. Well I work in the SCRO building part time doing a data entry type job to get some cash while I am at University :-D.

I read somewhere that fingerprints found at a scene have a 99.99% accuracy rate if they match them to someone else. This seems like a great rate of accuracy but when you are talking about millions of people it begins to break down. Nowhere near as accurate as DNA can be. The whol CSI thing where they put fingerprints into a computer and get a match after 2 minutes is so bogus. If a match if found it is usually confirmed by an actual expert who examines it. Since experts are human they can make mistakes.

 

Offline Mjhavok

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Re: Fingerprints
« Reply #12 on: 23/08/2006 23:00:09 »
I work at SCRO. Well I work in the SCRO building part time doing a data entry type job to get some cash while I am at University :-D.

I read somewhere that fingerprints found at a scene have a 99.99% accuracy rate if they match them to someone else. This seems like a great rate of accuracy but when you are talking about millions of people it begins to break down. Nowhere near as accurate as DNA can be. The whol CSI thing where they put fingerprints into a computer and get a match after 2 minutes is so bogus. If a match if found it is usually confirmed by an actual expert who examines it. Since experts are human they can make mistakes.

 

Offline weed4me

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Re: Fingerprints
« Reply #13 on: 24/08/2006 22:53:51 »
fingerprints are nothing but fat and sweat on touched items...so in theory, if you grease your fingers up with lard...no fingerprints would be left. i might also recommend gloves however

"You have to stay in shape. My grandmother, she started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She's 97 today and we don't know where the hell she is."
 

Offline Mjhavok

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Re: Fingerprints
« Reply #14 on: 23/08/2006 23:00:09 »
I work at SCRO. Well I work in the SCRO building part time doing a data entry type job to get some cash while I am at University :-D.

I read somewhere that fingerprints found at a scene have a 99.99% accuracy rate if they match them to someone else. This seems like a great rate of accuracy but when you are talking about millions of people it begins to break down. Nowhere near as accurate as DNA can be. The whol CSI thing where they put fingerprints into a computer and get a match after 2 minutes is so bogus. If a match if found it is usually confirmed by an actual expert who examines it. Since experts are human they can make mistakes.

 

Offline weed4me

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Re: Fingerprints
« Reply #15 on: 24/08/2006 22:53:51 »
fingerprints are nothing but fat and sweat on touched items...so in theory, if you grease your fingers up with lard...no fingerprints would be left. i might also recommend gloves however

"You have to stay in shape. My grandmother, she started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She's 97 today and we don't know where the hell she is."
 

sharkeyandgeorge

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Re: Fingerprints
« Reply #16 on: 25/08/2006 14:45:13 »
one of major difficulties with identifing finger print it that the actual print you have to try to match up are imperfect. The surface the print is on, any contamination of the said surface, dirt and the fact that most prints recovered are partials all make the collection of clear prints very difficult and the prints people have on thier fingertips are almost as bad callouses(common to heavy computer users) blisters, cuts, scrapes can make the taken finger prints pretty difficult to use. ot to mention the most common problem of smearing and smudging. this is one of the reasons that a limeted amount of points are used as it is often very difficult to find more even if the prints are the same.
bearing these points in mind I think that finger print technology should still be used but that also it is made clear in court that like polygraph evidence in america this evidence is not definitive and we should get rid of this misnomer that it is.
 

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Re: Fingerprints
« Reply #16 on: 25/08/2006 14:45:13 »

 

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