Partial Fingerprints Barred from Murder Trial
Brandon Mayfield, the Oregon man who was arrested because his fingerprint “matched” that of an Algerian who handled one of the Madrid bombs, now has a legacy: a judge has ruled partial prints cannot be used in a murder case.
“The repercussions are terrifically broad,” said David L. Faigman, a professor at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law and an editor of Modern Scientific Evidence: The Law and Science of Expert Testimony.
“Fingerprints, before DNA, were always considered the gold standard of forensic science, and it’s turning out that there’s a lot more tin in that field than gold,” he said. “The public needs to understand that. This judge is declaring, not to mix my metaphors, that the emperor has no clothes.”