innocence blog

A Web log for the Innocence Institute of Point Park University

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Fingerprints can lie

The FBI fingerprint database may be contributing to wrongful convictions, according to the latest in the Chicago Tribune. The computerized database's digital images lack clarity and allow for manipulation by law enforcement. Police can use Photoshop to alter prints without leaving an electronic record.

Problems with the database first received attention in the case of Brandon Mayfield, the Portland attorney wrongfully accused of aiding terrorists in the Madrid train bombings. A false fingerprint match led police to suspect Mayfield.

The Tribune story is the latest in their series on forensic foul-ups, which deserves attention.


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