It is common knowledge that fingerprinting is common practice used by the police when trying to solve a case. By having a large number of the populations fingerprints on file, officers have an easier time finding a suspect. Does this mean that fingerprints are sufficient enough evidence to make a conviction? For an individual facing imprisonment, fingerprints could be the difference between the verdict of guilty or not guilty.
A lot of people think that fingerprints will lead to the immediate arrest of a suspect, but fingerprints alone are not enough to build a case against a suspect. Every person’s fingerprints are unique. Arches, ridges, whorls, and other individual characteristics make for a one of a kind set. Although fingerprints are unique, it still takes a skilled and trained analyst to determine if one set matches to another. When prints are taken from an object they are not always in the best condition. Smudges, smears, overlapping prints, as well as other factors can alter the fingerprints making it more difficult to match. It has been found that in 20% of cases where an individual has been falsely accused, the fingerprints were incorrectly analyzed.
Why to Hire A Criminal Defense Lawyer if Accused
When a person has been accused of a crime, it can feel like the entire world is against them. By having the assistance of a skilled criminal defense attorney, the accused will feel that they aren’t alone. The attorney can examine the allegations brought against their client, the conditions in which the arrest was made, as well as any evidence held by the prosecution. Their experience allows them discuss issues with the prosecution, and even determine the validity of the prosecutor’s evidence.
A criminal record can stay with an individual for the rest of their life, and can damage their reputation. This is why having proper representation is so important. Having a skilled lawyer who is able to tell your side of the story help you immensely. They will be able to examine your case, anticipate the prosecution’s strategy, and develop a defense for the client. Speaking to a lawyer is as soon as possible is important to having the best defense. The attorney’s knowledge of what evidence is important, as well as what action the prosecution plans to take against the accused will be very beneficial.
If you are looking to find an experienced defense attorney, it is much easier than you think. Thanks to the internet, you can explore your options from the comfort of your own home.
What Fingerprints Are and Why Identical Twins Prints Don’t Match?
It is no surprise that genetics take a part in the development of a person’s fingerprints. DNA is the architect of the ridges and whorls that make up the prints distinct formation. The reason why we have fingerprints at all is still a mystery. Some say it is to help with our ability to grip surfaces, others believe they are what allow us to more accurately feel textures. Regardless of their purpose in nature, they have become useful in the search for justice.
Dermal Papillae, tiny ‘pegs’ that hold the outer layer of skin to the, more sensitive, sublayers, are what create the actual print itself. During fetal development, fingerprints begin to develop, and from week six through thirteen of pregnancy, amniotic liquids modify the fetus’s final fingerprint pattern. Throughout life, as the body grows, these pegs will move slightly. These shifts are based upon factors from nutrition to growth patterns. This is why twins, although they have similar DNA, may have visibly different fingerprints. The likelihood of a 2 people having the same fingerprints is approximately 1 in 64 billion.
Why do we leave fingerprints on approximately every surface we touch?
Simply put, grease and sweat. As gross as this might sound, our bodies are covered in it. Every ridge of a fingerprint will have pores beneath it, and within those pores are sweat glands. Although, you may not notice this sweat, it is there and when grip or press your fingers against a surface, it presses against those pores, squeezing out traces of sweat on to the aforementioned surface. The residue left behind is in the pattern of your fingerprint.
How much of a Fingerprint is needed to grant a Conviction?
It is uncommon that charges would be brought against someone based solely on fingerprints. How much then, of a fingerprint does an officer need? Surprisingly, they use more of the finger than most people think. There was the instance of Robert Philips, a gangster, having a plastic surgeon remove the skin from his fingertips. In instances like this officers will take a print of the entire finger. Because of this Philips was imprisoned when they matched prints found at a crime scene with the ridges found on the second joints of his fingers.
Many felons are surprised at how little of a print can be used to move them out of the courtroom and into the cell. It isn’t so much about how many or how much of a print is found, but the level of detail in the print. There are certain parts of a print that are more easily definable and can be used when only partial prints are found. When three ridges come close together, this area is called a delta. The center, either a peak or circle, of the finger is called the core. A ridge that branches into two ridges is known as bifurcation, and any small individual ridges are referred to as dots. The analyst or computer uses this information to make a map of the print and designates certain points as “landmarks” and tries to match them with prints that are on file. If twelve points line up, they can call this a match, but the best matches will usually populate fifty matches.
Although, fingerprints do not guarantee a conviction, they are vital in the process of finding a suspect. If you are accused of a crime, whether your fingerprints are evidence or not, contact a criminal defense attorney. You may not know what evidence is being brought against you, or its validity. A member of our skilled criminal defense team of attorneys in South Carolina will be able to examine these things for you and help to provide the best line of defense while maintaining your innocence.
Chase Harbin is a Criminal Defense Lawyer who practices in Pickens and Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 17 years now. Chase Harbin believes in defending the accused. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.