Fingerprint matching has long been considered a critical investigative tool. However, despite its longtime claims of being infallible, the practice started to fall out of favor over the last few years with emerging science indicating that finding a “match” on a fingerprint was more likely to indicate a concordant connection than one that is without a doubt identical.
As noted in a 2014 study published in the journal Public Library of Science, examination of latent fingerprints is often a complex task, even with advanced image processing. In many cases, fingerprints gathered at crime scenes contain less information than those collected under controlled conditions. They can be distorted and might only contain part of the total fingerprint. So despite assertions that fingerprint analysis is “infallible” or has a “zero error rate,” there are many cases in which errors are found and we find that certain assertions of infallibility were implausible.
Despite this, police and prosecutors in South Florida are increasingly relying on fingerprint evidence and analysis in making their cases against criminal defendants in Fort Lauderdale and surrounding areas. Continue reading