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Fingerprint Evidence, Evaluation of

Fingerprints and other friction ridges of the skin have a persistent structure that often leaves characteristic evidence at crime scenes. Latent print examiners compare this evidence with inked copies of friction ridge skin from a known suspect to determine whether these two patterns originate from the same source. This examination process uses computer databases for initial screening, but all evidence presented in court is based on human comparisons. Experts must establish their credentials in order to testify, and recent vision science work has suggested that experts possess visual mechanisms that novices do not. However, these experts have also shown evidence of biases, and critics have begun to question the evidentiary value of fingerprints.

Sources of Evidence

Impressions left by volar skin, or the ridged skin of the ...

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