Field research within latent print comparison has remained sparse in the context of an otherwise growing body of literature examining the discipline. Studies examining how ACE-V procedures are implemented within active crime laboratories are especially lacking in light of research suggesting significant variability in examiner practices despite standardized ACE-V procedures. To date, no studies have examined a potentially important aspect of the Analysis phase: digital image editing. We provide information on the prevalence and types of latent print image editing within one laboratory (i.e., Houston Forensic Science Center), examine the potential effect of image editing on objective print quality and clarity (i.e., LQMetrics scores), and explore potential examiner differences in editing effectiveness. Results indicate that most latent prints are edited in some manner, and that image editing improves the quality and clarity of print images as defined by an objective quality metric, although examiners varied in their ability to improve the clarity of print images. Findings suggest that formal guidance or documentation of standard editing procedures would likely improve the reliability of examiner conclusions early in the latent print comparison process.
Does image editing improve the quality of latent prints? An analysis of image-editing techniques in one crime laboratory
Journal: Science & Justice
Primary Author: Brett Gardner
Secondary Authors: Maddisen Neuman, Sharon Kelley, Anni Hong, Robin Mejia