The Champion

July 2010 , Page 47 

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The Lack of Statistics and Distortion Can Weaken Fingerprint Accuracy

By Michael Cherry; Edward J. Imwinkelried; Manfred Schenk

Fingerprint examiners claim that their subjective analyzes yield accurate conclusions as to the source of the images they study. However, that claim is suspect. Examiners rely on partial, distorted images. Moreover, they have yet to construct a convincing statistical case validating their approach. Consequently, forensic researchers throughout the world are proposing alternative methodologies for evaluating fingerprints. For example, some researchers are developing a fundamentally different, computerized approach to fingerprint comparisons. Rather than relying on subjective human interpretation, this approach carefully scans and measures the features in the images being compared. When the computer finds differences, the computer produces exhibits that clearly visualize the differences – differences showing either that the prints came from different people or that they are too deformed to be of evidentiary value. In the authors' experience, most crime scene

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