|Posted on Sunday, July 20, 2003 - 12:37 pm: ||
Answers to Questions:
(1) Latent prints are developed on metal containers all the time.
(2) Anything that comes into contact with latent prints on a surface can potentially deteriorate or destroy them.
(3) Yes, any argument is valid because everyone is entitled to their opinion. The weight to be placed on that opinion and whether or not a judge will admit it as expert testimony versus layperson opinion/observation is a different topic.
In general, investigators and Latent Print Examiners should never skip processing a relatively smooth metal, plastic, paper, etc., surface merely because a long period of time has passed, because it has been handled by multiple persons, because it was wet, etc. Unless they have E.S.P., they cannot know that there are no invisible impressions deposited in a contaminate that would have survived extreme outdoor conditions, survived exposure to rain, would have survived exposure to methamphetamine bouncing against it, etc.
The FAQs at this website discuss other considerations, such as the absence of sufficient manpower resources at every agency to do everything possible for every case. Besides possibly having the mistaken belief that methamphetamine destroys all latent prints, the person or agency conducting the investigation may also have made the administrative decision to skip processing some evidence due to other pending investigations/work with a higher priority.
|Posted on Saturday, July 19, 2003 - 01:50 pm: ||
Situation: A small metal container with methamphetamines inside.
Questions: (1) Can latent prints be lifted from the exterior of the container? (2) Do methampetamines destroy fingerprints? (3) Is there a valid argument that the contents will negate the crime lab's efforts to lift prints from the container?
If possible, please respond by email also. Thanks