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Nobody knows how many people sit wrongfully convicted in prison due to errors in fingerprint matching. But a new study suggests there could be a thousand or more unknown identification errors a year in the United States.
Criminologist Simon Cole of the University of California at Irvine examined all 22 known cases of fingerprint mistakes made since 1920.
Most of the 22 cases were revealed only through "extremely fortuitous circumstances," such as a post-conviction DNA test, the intervention of foreign police and in one case a deadly lab accident that led to the re-evaluation of evidence, Cole said today.
One highly publicized example was the case of Brandon Mayfield, a Portland lawyer held for two weeks as a suspect in the Madrid train bombings in 2004. FBI investigators matched prints at the scene to Mayfield, and an independent examiner verified the match. But Spanish National Police examiners insisted the prints did not match Mayfield and eventually identified another man who matched the prints.
The FBI acknowledged the error and Mayfield was released.
Other studies have shown an error rate of 0.8 percent in matching prints.
Originally posted by they see ALL
i can't believe this way could have errors...
Originally posted by SpittinCobra
We are human there will always be room for errors.
Originally posted by WyrdeOne
Edit: Oh, and if you ever want to get rid of your fingerprints for whatever reason, I hear you can score the pads with sandpaper and hold your fingertips in fresh squeezed grapefruti juice for 45 minutes or so. It should dissolve all the contours and leave your fingertips smooth as a baby's bum.