Level one refers to ridge flow; loops, whirls and arches. Level two concerns the detail of each ridge path; turns the ridge takes, size and shape, and the location where the ridge terminates. Deviations will include bifurcations, ending ridges, and dots and it is common for a fingerprint to contain 75-175 ridge oath deviations. These deviations are a major focus of latent print examinations. Level three includes the tiny features of the friction ridges such as shape, width, and location of pores. Latent fingerprint detection methods utilized as the primary evidentiary material in a court case have been shown to have the potential for contextual bias and confirmation bias, both of which were identified in the high profile FBI case Brandon Mayfield Madrid train bombing.
In the case of Brian Rose fingerprints were actually excluded based on the mere potential of error caused by observational bias. Though no error was shown to be true in the case the Judge was concerned that the failure to verify the work by other scientists using blind procedures could possibly lead to another Mayfield case (Langenburg, Champod, & Wertheim, 2009). Confirmation bias is related to the observer’ s expectations.
The observer may have a tendency to see what they want rather than to use analytical skills. The fingerprint process known as ACE-V was used in the Rose case and this process compares an unknown fingerprint against a known example. The ACE-V acronym represents four stages of fingerprint identification; analysis, comparison, evaluation and verification. A blind testing procedure must be used. during the verification process, an examination of the evidence may be done by a second specialist when the second examiner is aware of the conclusions of the initial examiner. In the Rose case the verification was described as ‘ independent’ this was not a credible point.
Those who verify consult with first examiners and are advised of the first examiners conclusions.
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