Recent Trends in Fingerprint Evidence 2012 Texas Forensic
Recent Trends in Fingerprint Evidence 2012 Texas Forensic Science Seminar Melissa R. Gische Physical Scientist/Forensic Examiner Latent Print Operations Unit FBI Laboratory (703) 632-7143 [email protected] 1 Agenda Fingerprints 101 Comparison Process Madrid Error
NAS Report on Forensic Science NIST Report on Human Factors in Latent Print Analysis Hot Topics 2 Fingerprints 101 3 Biological Basis Friction Ridge Skin is Persistent Biological Basis
Underlying structure and regeneration process Empirical Basis Observation Testing Friction Ridge Skin is Unique Babler 2005 Biological Basis Embryonic development Empirical Basis Observation Twin studies Statistical models
Ashbaugh 1998 4 Known Fingerprints Intentional reproduction of the friction ridge arrangement present on the end joints of the fingers. Also referred to as: Standard 10-print card Inked fingerprints Known exemplar
5 Latent Prints Reproduction of the friction ridges left behind in perspiration or other material, such as oil, grease, dirt, blood, or paint, that may cover the surface of the ridges. Also referred to as: Unknown prints Partial prints Patent prints 6
Comparison Process 7 Comparison Process Analysis Compariso n Evaluation Verificatio 8 Substrate, Matrix and Development Medium
Substrate is the surface on which a friction ridge impression is deposited Textured Glass Bottle Matrix is the material coating the friction ridges that can be deposited by the finger. Sweat Superglue
Development medium is the substance with which the matrix reacts that makes the print visible 9 Deposition Pressure Light Medium Heavy Extreme
Amount of pressure exerted when print is deposited 10 Individual Characteristic Information Single characteristics contain multiple types of information Location Type Direction Spatial Relationship
11 Comparison UNKNOWN KNOWN 12 Three Conclusions of Evaluation Identification The decision by an examiner that there are sufficient features in agreement to conclude that two areas of friction ridge
impressions originated from the same source. Identification of an impression to one source is the decision that the likelihood the impression was made by another (different) source is so remote that it is considered as a practical impossibility. Exclusion The decision by an examiner that there are sufficient features in disagreement to conclude that two areas of friction ridge impressions did not originate from the same source. Inconclusive The unknown impression was neither identified nor excluded
as originating from the same source. SWGFAST Standards for Examining Friction Ridge Impressions and Resulting Conclusions 09/13/11 ver. 1.0 Verification & Blind Verification Verification Independent application of Analysis, Comparison, and Evaluation by a second examiner. Blind Verification
Also an independent application of ACE, but the blind verifying examiner does not know the conclusion of the primary examiner. 14 Testifying to Verification New Hampshire v. Langill (2010) Defense objected to verification testimony being presented at trial because it was hearsay and violated his right to cross-examine witnesses against him Trial court overruled defense objection based upon business records exception Trial court concerned that by telling the jury that there
was some verification here, there is a kind of [sub silentio] implication that the verification is consistent with what Ms. Corson said. But, allowed the testimony anyway. NH Supreme Court reversed and remanded Agreed that verification testimony is hearsay and therefore inadmissible 15 Madrid Error 16
Madrid Error March 2004 terrorists detonated bombs on several commuter trains in Madrid, Spain Spanish National Police (SNP) developed latent fingerprints on bag of detonators Submitted images electronically for search in FBIs automated database FBI effected identification with Brandon Mayfield SNP later identified print as an Algerian national (Ouhnane Daoud) FBI admitted error Office of the Inspector General (OIG) investigation 17
Prints in Question Mayfield Latent (LFP 17) Daoud 18 OIG Conclusions OIG Report primary causes of error: Examiners failed to properly apply the ACE- V methodology Practitioner Error
Bias from known prints (circular reasoning) Unusual similarity of the prints (unknown to known) IAFIS found close non-match Faulty reliance on extremely tiny (Level 3) details Inadequate explanations for differences in appearance http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/special/s0601/PDF_list.htm 19 Action Items Re-examination of certain cases Revise SOPs Case documentation
Blind verification policy Training Research 20 Review previous cases IAFIS reviews Cases with a single latent fingerprint identified as a result of an IAFIS search Digital image submitted 16 IAFIS identifications in 14 cases were reviewed and blind verified Original evidence submitted 174 IAFIS identifications were reexamined and blind verified
No false positives found Capital offense reviews ~ 500 subjects reviewed 24 had FBI latent print exams conclusions blind verified no errors detected Ongoing 21 SOP for Examining Friction Ridge Impressions More detailed description of each step of ACE-V.
Thorough analysis of latent print must be documented before looking at known print. Any data relied upon during comparison or evaluation that differs from initial analysis must be separately documented. Verifiers must separately conduct and document their ACE. 22 SOP for Examining Friction Ridge Impressions Confidence that a distortion explanation for a difference must be same degree of confidence
needed for an identification. If Level 3 detail is significantly relied upon to reach a conclusion it must be documented AND All available known prints on file must be checked to determine if that relied upon Level 3 detail is reliably and consistently reproduced. 23 Blind Verification Policy All single conclusions in a submission (identifications, exclusions, and inconclusives) Ex. 1 10 latent fingerprints detected, 9 of which are
identified to person A and 1 is excluded from person A The 9 identifications would be verified and the 1 exclusion would be blind verified. Ex. 2 3 latent fingerprints detected, 1 is identified to person A, 1 is identified to person B, and 1 is identified to person C All 3 identifications would be verified and blind verified. Value decision may also be blind verified Blind verifier never knows what he is getting 24
Blind Verification Policy Supervisor puts together the blind verification packet Blind verifier receives image(s) of latent print(s) and an envelope that may contain known prints If the blind verifier determines the print(s) to be of value, he would then open the envelope and compare any known prints. Blind verifier documents his ACE on the image(s). Once he has reached a conclusion, the packet is returned to the supervisor. If there is disagreement between the primary examiners conclusion and the blind verifiers conclusion, then the conflict resolution process would begin.
25 NAS Report February 2009 26 Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward National Academy of Sciences Committee on Identifying the Needs of the Forensic Sciences Community 27
NAS Recommendations 1. Congress should establish and appropriate funds for an independent federal entity, the National Institute of Forensic Science 2. Standard terminology 3. Research accuracy, reliability, and validity
4. Remove all public forensic laboratories from the administrative control of law enforcement agencies 5. Research human observer bias and sources of human error 6. Standards
28 NAS Recommendations 7. Mandate accreditation and certification 8. Quality assurance and quality control procedures 9. National code of ethics
10. Education Graduate programs Research universities Legal community 11. Medicolegal death investigation 12. Nationwide fingerprint data interoperability 13. Homeland security 29 NAS Report Key Findings Lack of validity testing Overstatement of conclusions
Absolute certainty Lack of statistical support Lack of standards Subjectivity Error rates, sources of error Lack of scientific culture Cognitive bias 30 NIST Report Expert Working Group on Human Factors in Latent Print Analysis February 2012 31
Expert Working Group on Human Factors in Latent Print Analysis Funded by NIJs Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences and NISTs Law Enforcement Standards Office Charged with developing an understanding of the role of human factors and their contributions to errors in latent print analysis, evaluating approaches to
reducing these errors, and making recommendations to researchers and policymakers Expert Working Group on Human Factors in Latent Print Analysis 32 Working Group Members The Working Group consisted of experts from forensic disciplines, statisticians, psychologists, engineers, other scientific experts, legal scholars, and representatives of professional organizations. Forensic professionals: 17
Professional Organization Representatives: 4 Statisticians: 3 Legal Scholars: 4 Psychologists: 3 Other Scientists/Researchers: 3 Staff: 2 Expert Working Group on Human Factors in Latent Print Analysis 33 ACE-V ACE-V defines the steps of the latent print
examination process, as detailed in the process map developed by the Working Group: Analysis Comparison Evaluation Verification Expert Working Group on Human Factors in Latent Print Analysis 34 Latent Print Examination and Human
Factors: Improving the Practice through a Systems Approach Report Chapters: The Latent Print Examination Process and Terminology Human Factors and Errors Interpreting Latent Prints Looking Ahead to Emerging and Improving Technology Reports and Documentation Testimony A Systems Approach to the Work Environment Training and Education Human Factors Issues for Management Summary of Recommendations
Expert Working Group on Human Factors in Latent Print Analysis 35 Human Factors in Interpretation Some human factors can affect all stages of the latent print examination process. Bias: Minimize the effect of contextual information by keeping irrelevant information from the examiner. Documentation: Make notes and reports as transparent as possible to enable repeatability.
Expert Working Group on Human Factors in Latent Print Analysis 36 Research Needs The Working Group identified several areas that require additional research, including: The effect of cognitive bias on examiners reliability Human factors issues related to the interpretation of latent print evidence Examiners ability to determine suitability and sufficiency Automated quality determination Probabilistic models to report qualified conclusions
with a scientific basis AFIS technology and interoperability improvements Expert Working Group on Human Factors in Latent Print Analysis 37 Summary In its report, the Working Group endeavored to highlight human factors that could be affecting latent print examiners and to provide solutions to minimize these effects. The full report, Latent Print Examination and Human Factors: Improving the Practice through a Systems
Approach, is available at www.nist.gov/oles/. Additional related NIJ research reports can be found http ://www.nij.gov/nij/topics/forensics/evidence/impressi on/projects-frictionridge.htm Expert Working Group on Human Factors in Latent Print Analysis 38 Hot Topics Error Rate Validity Testing Absolute Certainty To the exclusion of all others
Bias 39 Error Rate What is the error rate for friction ridge comparisons? Inappropriate to claim a zero error rate in the practice of the method. Important to not dismiss the fact that there is always the chance of human error. 40
Types of Errors Technical Errors associated with data interpretation False positive (erroneous identification) Falsely identifying someone as the source of a latent print False negative (erroneous exclusion) Falsely excluding someone as the source of a latent print Administrative Errors not associated with
data interpretation Clerical errors (e.g. typographical, transcription) 41 Validity Testing Has ACE-V been validated? Are examiners reaching reliable conclusions? 42
Accuracy & Reliability of Forensic Latent Fingerprint Decisions Black Box study 169 examiners presented with ~100 image pairs resulting in 17,121 total decisions Positive Predictive Value = 99.8% When examiners said identification, they were right 99.8% of the time. False Positive Rate = 0.1% 0.1% of comparisons of non-mated pairs resulted in identification decisions (false positives) 6 total false positives
No two examiners made the same false identification Ulery, B.T.; Hicklin, A.R.; Buscaglia, J.; and Roberts, M.A. (2011). Accuracy and Reliability of Forensic Latent Fingerprint Decisions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108(19): 7733-7738. Accuracy & Reliability of Forensic Latent Fingerprint Decisions Negative Predictive Value = 86.6% When examiners said exclusion, they were right 86.6% of the time. False Negative Rate = 7.5% 7.5% of comparisons of mated pairs resulted in exclusion decisions (false negatives) 85% of examiners made at least one false
negative error Ulery, B.T.; Hicklin, A.R.; Buscaglia, J.; and Roberts, M.A. (2011). Accuracy and Reliability of Forensic Latent Fingerprint Decisions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108(19): 7733-7738. Absolute Certainty Are you 100% certain of the identification? The certainty often associated with an identification is a measure of the examiners confidence in his or her opinion based on the data observed, and not a statement of absolute scientific truth.
45 To the exclusion of all others Can latent prints be attributed to a particular source to the exclusion of all other sources? How do you know, with absolute certainty, that there isnt another area of friction ridge skin on another individual that could have left a similar looking latent print? Until we have a way to quantify sufficiency, examiners must recognize the hypothetical chance that another area of friction ridge skin could have left a similar looking latent.
If theres a realistic chance of this happening, its most likely going to be with a borderline print near the sufficiency threshold. 46 Standard for Identification SWGFAST The decision by an examiner that there are sufficient features in agreement to conclude that two areas of friction ridge impressions originated from the same source. Identification of an impression to one source is the decision that the likelihood the impression was made by another (different)
source is so remote that it is considered as a practical impossibility. SWGFAST Standards for Examining Friction Ridge Impressions and Resulting Conclusions 09/13/11 ver. 1.0 Posted: 10/26/11 47 Bias Can latent print examiners be affected by bias? Potential for bias with any cognitive process
Does not necessarily lead to error Awareness Training QA measures 48 Ensuring Quality Qualifications of Examiner Training duration comparisons Qualification/Certification Internal External
Proficiency Tests Internal External (CTS) Qualifications of Laboratory Accreditation ISO 17025 Quality System SWGFAST guidelines and standards Verification policy Technical &
Administrative Reviews Case file audits Past Performance personnel records 49 Questions? 50
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