Magazine article Corrections Forum

Printing Errors

Magazine article Corrections Forum

Printing Errors

Article excerpt

Economist

Federal Judge Louis Pollak of Pennsylvania made an unprecedented announcement when he declared that fingerprint forensics was an unreliable science and that he would no longer allow expert testimony in his court from print analysts unless they had the proof to support their statements as to whether or not prints match. Analysts have always claimed that fingerprint forensics is 100 percent error-free, but have never had actual proof to support that determination. During the 1990s, the Supreme Court ruled that federal judges could insist that print experts can only testify about the reliability of forensics methods only if the method has been authentically tested for its error rate. Pollak, a former dean of both Yale and the University of Pennsylvania law schools, did not dismiss fingerprint testimony entirely in his 49-page ruling, but stated that witnesses for both defense and prosecution could testify as to how the prints are obtained, and the differences or similarities. …

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