How Old Is That Fingerprint?
by Douglas Ankney
While forensic scientists have, for more than a hundred years, been able to opine that a fingerprint came from a particular person, the limitations of science did not permit them to state when the fingerprint was left by that person.
But that limitation may have been recently shattered. Using a method of matrix-assisted laser/desorption ionization mass spectrometry (“MALDI-MS”), researchers were able to track shifting levels of triacylglycerols (body oil). Pinning down the time the person touched the object and left the fingerprint would assist investigators in establishing a better timeline, in ruling out a suspect or in contradicting one’s story.
The new study, published in Analytical Chemistry by researchers Paige Hinners, Madison Thomas, and Young-Jin Lee from Iowa State University, indicates the researchers could reliably determine the triacylglycerol degradation rate for each person over the course of seven days.
“Most compounds in fingerprints can be measured using this technique,” said Lee. “But we focused on triacylglycerols as they are highly abundant and much more reliably measured than others.” The rate of degradation differed according to each individual, and more testing needs to be done using the MALDI-MS to account for multiple variables such as environmental factors and experimental conditions.
More from this issue:
- Racism and Wrongful Convictions, by Matthew Clarke
- Sixth Circuit Grants Habeas Relief After Michigan Court Violates Confrontation Clause, by Dale Chappell
- Ninth Circuit: Mental Impairment that Prevented ‘Monitoring’ of Habeas Counsel’s Actions May Require Equitable Tolling, by Dale Chappell
- Tenth Circuit Vacates District Court’s Order Sealing Plea Supplement, Explaining Local Court Rule Doesn’t Abrogate Common Law Right of Access to Judicial Records, by Douglas Ankney
- Federal Judge Issues Order Reducing 40-Year Stacked § 924(c) Sentence Based on First Step Act Changes to Compassionate Release, by Chad Marks
- Latest Forensic Technology, Pattern Analysis, May Be ‘Pseudoscience’, by Michael Fortino, Ph.D
- SCOTUS: Jury Verdicts Must Be Unanimous to Convict on Criminal Charges, Overruling Apodaca, by Douglas Ankney
- ATF: What Is a Gun?, by Jayson Hawkins
- Michigan Supreme Court Announces that Duress May be Asserted as an Affirmative Defense to Felony Murder, Overruling Gimotty and Etheridge, by Douglas Ankney
- Texas Court of Criminal Appeals: Failure to Include ‘Or Others’ in Jury Instruction for Self-Defense Against Multiple Assailants Deprived Defendant of Defense, by Dale Chappell
- Virus Vigilantes v. Virus Violators: Shunning, Shaming, or Policing COVID-19 May not Be the Cure, by Michael Fortino, Ph.D
- SCOTUS: Due Process Doesn’t Require States to Adopt a Specific Test for Determining Insanity, by Douglas Ankney
- Fifth Circuit: Defendant Lacked Culpability in Attempting to Export Ammunition by Merely Purchasing It, by Anthony Accurso
- Second Circuit: Habeas Petition Not Moot Where It Attacked Inactive Original Order That Gave Rise to Current Active Order Restraining Petitioner’s Liberty, by Douglas Ankney
- Iowa Supreme Court Vacates Guilty Plea for Lack of Evidence and Ineffective Assistance of Counsel, by David Reutter
- Federal District Court Finds ‘Confusion’ Over Law in State Court Excused Late Filing of § 2255 Motion, by Dale Chappell
- Seventh Circuit Reiterates IAC Requires Only ‘Reasonable Probability,’ Not ‘More Likely Than Not,’ of Different Outcome, by Dale Chappell
- Divide and Conquer: New Algorithm Examines Crime-Scene Bullets Segment by Segment
- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Files Statement on Court’s Refusal to Hear Habeas Case, Despite Deep Circuit Split, by Dale Chappell
- SCOTUS: Knowledge that Driver’s License of Vehicle’s Registered Owner Was Revoked Provides Reasonable Suspicion to Initiate Traffic Stop, by Douglas Ankney
- Don’t Allow Government to Abuse Emergency Powers After COVID-19 Threat Subsides, by Douglas Ankney
- Illinois Supreme Court: Failing to Stipulate Felon Status Allowing Jury to Hear About Murder Conviction Constitutes IAC, by Anthony Accurso
- Notorious Louisiana Prosecutor Fired for Misconduct Technicality, by Edward Lyon
- 10th Circuit: Evidence Insufficient to Support Conviction for Attempting to Kill Witness, by Douglas Ankney
- $369,000 Settlement in Police Raid of Journalist’s Home and Office
- Delaware Supreme Court Clarifies Meaning of ‘Mixture’ as Used in State’s Controlled Substances Act, by Douglas Ankney
- Colorado Supreme Court: Defendant Has No Duty to Bring Himself to Trial, by Douglas Ankney
- Fifth Circuit Finds IAC for Failure to Object to Court’s Jury Instructions that Constructively Amended Indictment by Lowering Government’s Burden of Proof, by Dale Chappell
- Pennsylvania Supreme Court: Cronic’s Presumption of Prejudice Triggered by Counsel Failing to Secure Interpreter for First Day of Trial, by Douglas Ankney
- Ohio Supreme Court Announces New Standard for ‘Actual Racial Bias’ for Jurors and Holds Counsel Was Ineffective for Failing to Strike Racially Biased Juror, by Douglas Ankney
- U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Fifth Circuit’s Rule Barring Plain-Error Review of Unpreserved Factual Arguments, by Dale Chappell
- FBI’s Long History of Squelching Political Dissent Under the Guise of National Security, by Jayson Hawkins
- Utah Supreme Court: Dismissal of Second Post-Conviction Petition Improper Where First Petition Voluntarily Withdrawn, by Douglas Ankney
- No Consequences for Prosecutors’ Bad Behavior, by Jayson Hawkins
- Nevada Supreme Court Rules Bail Determination Requires Due Process and Severs Unconstitutional Language from Bail Statute, by Douglas Ankney
- Federal Court Overturns Conviction for Person Linked to Former Subway Spokesperson’s Child Porn Case, by Dale Chappell
- Study Sheds Light on ‘Recidivism’ and Probation and Parole Violations, by Dale Chappell
- Utah Residents Can Wind Up in Jail When They Miss Loan Payments, by Kevin Bliss
- California Court of Appeal: Unoccupied Running Vehicle Doesn’t Justify Warrantless Search of Residence, by Douglas Ankney
- Interpreting Emojis as Court Evidence, by Anthony Accurso
- LAPD Officers Accused of Entering Names of Innocent People Into Gang Database, by Douglas Ankney
- ‘No-Knock Raids’ an Increasing Danger to Public Safety, by Jayson Hawkins
- Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Clarifies Standards for Exit Order and Patfrisk, by Anthony Accurso
- A Mass Purge of Misconduct Records by Phoenix, Arizona Police, by Bill Barton
- Cops in Missouri Exploit Loophole to Seize $2.6 Million from Innocent Citizens, by Douglas Ankney
- How Old Is That Fingerprint?, by Douglas Ankney
- News in Brief
More from Douglas Ankney:
- U.S. District Court Says Rhode Island Department of Corrections Violated “Morris Rules”, Aug. 1, 2020
- San Quentin Had Zero COVID-19 Cases Until California Officials Sent Infected Prisoners, Triggered Wildfire, Aug. 1, 2020
- Harvard Prison Divestment Campaign Files Suit Seeking to Sever University’s Financial Ties With Prison Industrial Complex, Aug. 1, 2020
- Tenth Circuit: Deputy ‘Trying to Help’ Doesn’t Make Search Permissible Under Community Caretaking Exception to Warrant Requirement, July 15, 2020
- Report Finds NYPD Officers Accidentally Deploy Tasers 25% of the Time, July 15, 2020
- California Supreme Court: § 459.5(b) Prohibits Charging Shoplifting and Theft for Same Property, July 15, 2020
- Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court: GPS Monitoring Unreasonable When It Doesn’t Further Any Governmental Interest, July 15, 2020
- Seventh Circuit Reverses Denial of Motion to Suppress Because Police Lacked Reasonable Suspicion to Frisk, July 15, 2020
- Colorado Supreme Court: Warrant Allowing General Search of Cellphone Unconstitutional Violation of Particularity Requirement, July 15, 2020
- Kansas Supreme Court: District Court Failed to Apprise Defendant of Right to Jury Trial, July 15, 2020
More from these topics:
- D.C. Circuit Reverses Nearly 50-Year-Old Murder Conviction Over Faulty Hair Evidence, July 15, 2020. junk science.
- Myth of Technology as an Equalizing Force in Criminal Justice, July 15, 2020. junk science, Police State-Surveillance, Social Media.
- South Carolina Supreme Court Overturns Murder Conviction Where State Presented Improper Testimony Regarding Trace DNA Evidence, July 15, 2020. junk science, DNA Evidence/Testing.
- Two New Forensic DNA Standards Added to the OSAC Registry, July 15, 2020. DNA Testing/Samples, junk science.
- Government Study Finds Facial Recognition Sorely Lacking in Accuracy, July 15, 2020. junk science, EP2P Software.
- Dogs Can Detect One-Billionth of a Teaspoon of Gasoline, July 15, 2020. junk science, Drug-Sniffing Dog.
- New Method to Determine Time of Death for Forensic Investigators, July 15, 2020. junk science, Death/Bodily Injury.
- Minnesota Lab Figures Out How to Tell Between Legal Hemp and Illegal Marijuana, July 15, 2020. junk science, Medical Marijuana.
- Small Forensics Lab Finds Niche in Analyzing Tiniest Bits of Evidence, July 15, 2020. junk science.
- Police Use of Robotic Technology Raises Civil Liberty Concerns, July 15, 2020. junk science, Police State-Surveillance, Electronic Surveillance.