Questioning a Courtroom Proof of the Uniqueness of Fingerprints

International Statistical Review, Vol. 71, No. 3, pp. 521-533, 2003

17 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2006

See all articles by David H. Kaye

David H. Kaye

The Pennsylvania State University (University Park) – Penn State Law; Arizona State University - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law - School of Life Science

Abstract

Forensic scientists or analysts concerned with "individualization" often presume that features such as fingerprint minutia are unique to each individual. In the United States, defendants in criminal cases have been demanding proof of such assumptions. In at least two cases, the government of the United States has successfully relied on an unpublished statistical study prepared specifically for litigation to demonstrate the uniqueness of fingerprints. This article suggests that the study is neither designed nor executed in a way that can show whether an individual's fingerprint impressions are unique.

Keywords: forensic statistics, individualization, probability evidence, fingerprints.

Suggested Citation

Kaye, David H., Questioning a Courtroom Proof of the Uniqueness of Fingerprints. International Statistical Review, Vol. 71, No. 3, pp. 521-533, 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=944365

David H. Kaye (Contact Author)

The Pennsylvania State University (University Park) – Penn State Law

Lewis Katz Building
University Park, PA 16802
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.personal.psu.edu/dhk3/index.htm

Arizona State University - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law - School of Life Science ( email )

111 E Taylor St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.personal.psu.edu/dhk3/index.htm

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