53 Brentwood Blog

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Well well well, if I were the pizza cop, I would be more cautious than others (see below) to trust the fingerprints on the pizza crust….

Three highly skilled FBI fingerprint experts declared this year that Oregon lawyer Brandon Mayfield's fingerprint matched a partial print found on a bag in Madrid that contained explosive detonators. U.S. officials called it "absolutely incontrovertible" and a "bingo match." Mayfield was promptly taken into custody as a material witness. Last week the FBI admitted that it goofed; the print actually belongs to Ouhnane Daoud, an Algerian.
Fingerprint evidence has long been considered an infallible form of proof, powerful enough to support a criminal conviction even without any other evidence. But when three top experts manage to blow such an important identification, our longstanding faith in fingerprints must be questioned. … In fact, the science of fingerprinting is surprisingly underdeveloped.

By Jennifer L. Mnookin
Saturday, May 29
The Washington Post Company


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