|Posted on Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 11:34 am: ||
I wish it were as simple as Judge Pollak precluding a particular expert from giving testimony in that case. Unfortunately, that is not what has happened. The ruling handed down includes reference that the ACE-V methodology used in fingerprint examination does NOT meet 3 of the 4 Daubert standards (general acceptance being the element it does meet). Unfortunately, what the judge is saying is that expert testimony (in general) regarding an individualization opinion based on the ACE-V methodology does not meet the Daubert standard for the admission of scientific evidence. The 49 page decision gives much more detail, and can be accessed at the following link:
Judge Pollak's Decision
Naturally, this has implications in many forensic disciplines, since the ACE-V methodology is not unique to friction ridge skin identification.
Joshua Wayne Bergeron
|Posted on Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 08:30 am: ||
I would like to know who was trying to give this testimony. I have not read the court transcrpit myself but it sounds as though this judge is saying to whomever the witness is, he or she is not qualified to give an expert oppinion. The judge never said that an actual expert could not give his or hers oppinion as to an identification or not.
|Posted on Wednesday, January 09, 2002 - 09:14 am: ||
That would definitely be one way to sum it up.
|Posted on Wednesday, January 09, 2002 - 08:21 am: ||
I'm I mistaken that this Judge is giving the Juries more power than the Fingerprint Examiner who have been in the field for years or maybe not years, but have done a considerable amount of study to be called a Latent Print Examiner.
|Posted on Tuesday, January 08, 2002 - 04:02 pm: ||
In a very unique federal court ruling issued yesterday, the judge ruled that fingerprints are unique, but that nobody is qualified to issue an expert opinion identifying them as matching (or as not matching) any one person.
Lawyers for Carlos Llera-Plaza, Victor Rodriguez and Wilfredo Martinez Acosta asked U.S. District Judge Louis H. Pollak to bar prosecutors from admitting expert fingerprint identification testimony incriminating them. The defendants are accused of operating a multimillion dollar cocaine ring between 1996 and 1998, and prosecutors allege they are linked to four murders.
Yesterday, Judge Pollak issued a ruling adverse to the science of fingerprints. The 49 page document ends as follows:
Conclusion: Case reference:
A. This court will take judicial notice of the uniqueness and permanence of fingerprints.
B. The parties will be able to present expert fingerprint testimony (1) describing how any latent and rolled prints at issue in this case were obtained, (2) identifying, and placing before the jury, such fingerprints and any necessary magnifications, and (3) pointing out any observed similarities and differences between a particular latent print and a particular rolled print alleged by the government to be attributable to the same persons. But the parties will not be permitted to present testimony expressing an opinion of an expert witness that a particular latent print matches, or does not match, the rolled print of a particular persons and hence is, or is not, the fingerprint of that person.
United States of America
Carlos Ivan Llera Plaza,
Wilfredo Martinez Acosta,
and Victor Rodriguez
Cr. No. 98-362-10, 11, 12 in the US District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
AMAZING... Per this Federal judge's 7 JAN 2002 order Fingerprint Experts may NOT testify to fingerprint identifications regardless of the number of corresponding level 2 characteristics (often called points) and further, may NOT testify that two different fingerprints were NOT made by the same person. It is all to be left up to the jury to decide from their own layperson observations.
This court decision means that laypersons on juries will be asked to interpret often complex friction ridge impressions and make a determination as to positive identification or elimination (a determination they would not be permitted to make in most crime labs until they had years of full-time experience).
Hopefully the US Attorney's Office will either appeal the decision or request reconsideration. I will update my website if they do either. I plan to post the full 49 page ruling soon at http://onin.com/fp/daubert_links.html
The score is now about 20 to 1... twenty court decisions in favor of the science of fingerprints (including three appellate court decisions) and now one adverse decision.