Terry A. Smith
|Posted on Monday, March 17, 2003 - 09:03 am: ||
First, I wouldn't call "traditional charting" outdated. Using photo-enlargements with indicator lines is still an effective way to illustrate agreement of characteristics between a found print and a known exemplar. The other real benefit of the "traditional" method is that if entered into evidence, the chart is portable, the jury can take it with them into the jury room and each juror can study it, on their own. I still like the old method, there's something about the smell of stop-bath, or the smell of an overheated dry-mount press, that takes me back to simpler days.
The use of "electronic presentations" is surely going to increase. I haven't had one in the courtroom yet, and I'm admittedly a bit anxious about the possible outcomes. First, there is the laptop issue, which is getting better with technology, but it seems to me that everytime I really need the thing to work perfectly - it doesn't. Next there is the projection problem- or connectivity with the courts' monitoring system - if they have one. I will admit, though, that it is wonderful to be able to display the entire path of a friction ridge print - that is a single ridge, rather than just pointing to it's termination - or bifurcation. This ability really helps to convey the idea that we make our scientific conclusions on more than merely "points". The presentation has a slicker, more professional look.
You mention that Photoshop is expensive. The software for Adobe is top of the line from what I can see but there are less expensive alternatives. I like a program called Jasc Paint Shop Pro - which is about 1/4 of the cost of Adobe's. I've also used PowerPoint (MS) as the presentation medium. Still, assuming you have good computer equipment available, the cost of electronic imaging, and the ability to make rapid changes and correct mistakes rapidly offsets any expense when compared with "personnel hours" spent messing around in the darkroom with the old method.
I find that the best way to train is to do. Pick up the software and play with it. You'd be surprised.
|Posted on Monday, March 17, 2003 - 07:52 am: ||
If charting of fingerprints is now considered outdated as compared to lines and photoshop presentation, how should this presentation be done now in the courtroom in order to convey to the judge or jury the conclusion of the examiner? Do you know of some websites or articles in the web that share the techniques on how to chart fingerprints without using that expensive photoshop presentation? Is there any new in the presentation that level three is mostly find in order to effect identification?