Lowered Standards for Identification of Fingerprints

January 11, 2011 by David S. Seltzer

A recent blog post by forensic consultant Paul Laska has valuable information for criminal defendants throughout florida and for south Florida criminal defense attorneys like me. In this post, Laska explains a change in policy for the International Association for Identification, which is the professional organization serving forensic fingerprint specialists. Last July, the IAI removed its ability to sanction specialists who make faulty identifications. As a result, there isn't much but professional pride to keep specialists from putting forth uncertain, sloppy or biased work as scientific and accurate. This has bad implications for both prosecutors and Miami criminal defense lawyers, who can't rely on fingerprint identification with the same confidence as before. In my own practice, I expect to rely more heavily than before on forensic specialists who can give their own opinions on the accuracy of a fingerprint identification, to defend clients who may be victims of false identification.

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