Fingerprinting and Probability

in Truth Machine

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780226498065
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226498089 | DOI:
Fingerprinting and Probability

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This chapter investigates why latent fingerprint comparisons have thus far proved intractable to probabilistic analysis. It explains that forensic DNA researchers did not claim that DNA fingerprints were unique to individuals and that they developed probability estimates by collecting samples and building databases of DNA profiles from samples drawn from various so-called racial or ethnic populations. The chapter also considers the work of the latent print examiner and comments on the court's usual practice of allowing them to “testify about identity as if it were fact, not opinion.”

Keywords: latent fingerprint; DNA fingerprints; probability estimates; DNA profiles; latent print examiner; forensic DNA researchers

Chapter.  2784 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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