New technique may be able to date fingerprints

A key factor in the dubious conviction of Texan Kerry Max Cook in a 1977 rape and murder case was testimony of a police officer that the age of Cook’s fingerprints at the victim’s apartment near Cook’s put him there at the time of the murder. The officer later admitted that he knew his testimony was not supported by science but that the prosecutor pressured to make the statement anyway.

Now the prosecutorial science fiction of the 1970s may be on thee verge of becoming a scientific fact. As Discovery News reports here, Dutch scientists say they have discovered how to accurately date fingerprints. If true, the discovery could let police place a suspect at the scene at the time a crime was committed or help defense investigators prove that the prints were left there well before or after the event.

2 responses to “New technique may be able to date fingerprints

  1. VERY interesting. I’m skeptical. I’d love to see the DATA on this. Is this just more junk science aborning? Rigorous controlled scientific testing and statistically verifiable DATA will eventually tell.

  2. I’m slightly skeptical, too, but the Dutch have furthered the development of some other effective forensic techniques so this is at least worth watching.

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