The question to count or not to count points is a matter of a friction ridge examiners manner of defending their opinion in view of the NAS report and it’s continuing fall out onto the forensic science community.

By not counting points, the examiner relies solely on the biological uniqueness paradigm. A key question with this approach is at what level of features the examiner can perceive uniqueness as well as the durability of these levels to persist in the transfer of touch. This reliance of uniqueness is weak in defending their conclusion as it is totally subjective based upon the examiner’s training, experience, and ability. Using this approach it is also difficult to reliably reproduce results as all examiners have different levels of these three bases.

Counting points without taking into consideration the biological uniqueness paradigm, is also narrow sighted as statistical measurements on their own do not equate to individualization. Quantification gives a measure of likelihood that anyone else may share the same number of clear durable features not that there is a likelihood that the mark in question could only have been made by a particular person.

Defending ones conclusion must have a reliable and repeatable basis. Both of these approaches together can support an examiners opinion that it is scientifically and biologically impossible, or sufficiently unlikely for a friction ridge impression to have been made by another person.

Counting to a particular number of durable level 2 Galton friction ridge features supports scientific research data from probability modeling which denotes scientifically predictable reliability of uniqueness. At this number of features in agreement between the unknown and known impressions without discrepancies infers that the likelihood that anyone else could share those features is so remote that it can be ignored. Empirically this ignoring opinion is supported in that no two persons have ever been found to have this number of features in agreement in direct comparison or AFIS searching.

This impression has not been individualized to an individual as the only possible donor but statistically it supports that opinion. Upon reaching this statistically scientific level, finding a number of clear level 3 features in agreement an examiner can conclude that it is scientifically and biologically impossible for anyone else to have made the impression, and an opinion of sole source attribution to the known impression is possible and supported.