The reliability of an identification relying solely on Ridgeology


The non- numeric arena that many analysts find themselves in is but a house made of cards due to the ambiguous definitions and applications of the identification process.  The reliance of the ACE-V (Analysis, Comparison, Evaluation, and Verification) process as being reliable as a scientific approach fails to factor in the principal premise of the scientific approach, VALIDATION.  Unless you can validate your evaluation which relies on shapes, pores and ridge bumps as being scientifically founded, then no matter how you approach the identification, it will be unfounded and unreliable.

There must be some threshold established where absoluteness exists utilizing only 2nd level detail based upon the empirical studies of the past, validated by the computer powers of the present.  Ridgeology has it's place to supplement the identification process above and beyond the statistical models, but not to supplant the statistical analysis of uniqueness to the exclusion of all others in the world.  This supplemental application of Ridgeology would be to justify individualization below the statistical threshold.  Dr. Edmond Locard (The father of Poroscopy), stated in 1914 that 12 Galton details in agreement is absolute. Anything between 8-12 Galton details can be identified supplementing the Galton detail with Clarity, Rarity of detail, and the presence of pores. Dr. Locard never stated that Clarity was meant for anything other than going below the statistical threshold. Is it then logical that because of this his study is invalid?  No.  He did not quantify quality except to state that  between 20 to 40 pores in agreement are needed to make and identification.  

Unfortunately, many analysts have accepted the uniqueness of shape to the individual to mean uniqueness that is sufficient to individualize.  The true question is when is there enough uniqueness to individualize?  It is a Quantitative question that requires a numerical value to answer. 

 In argument of uniqueness, the non-point  counters use the analogy of your wife (or significant other)  walking down the mall and how close they have to get, for you to identify them.  The true scientific test is not showing recognition to someone whose features are so firmly imprinted into their memory, but what it takes for a stranger to recognize them.  Even standing straight in front of them, they must compare an infinite number of  detail.  Finding that a sufficient number of corresponding agreements between the eyes, nose, ears, chin, lips, mouth size, etc. without any dissimilarities, the stranger can render an identification to the exclusion of all others.  Will that stranger ID the person with one eye or  one eye, one ear, and one half of the lips?  There must be a NUMBER of consistencies for the stranger to make the ID.

If counting gross characters are invalid for individualization, then why does the entire world rely on actuaries?  Insurances, utilizing statistical analysis know when you are likely to die and accord a risk factor to judge the premium. There is a statistical probability established in  state lotteries where to place 6 balls out of 51 spaces is astronomical in the odds against it occurring.  In fingerprints, what is wrong with using the statistical (scientific quantification) in  relying on 8 out of 75 to 3000+ spaces?  

Granted, the lottery balls have an infinite (360 degrees) of 3rd level detail of scratches, nicks and bumps on each and every ball.  The true test of the quality versus quantity issue is for one to go and try and claim the prize with 2 numbers and raise the issue of the scratch on the ball as being sufficient to claim the prize.

If quantification means nothing in the identification process, then why in the Daubert hearing did the FBI do a  statistical computerized study comparing 50,000 fingerprints to 50,000 fingerprints  to support the uniqueness of the Galton detail relationship?  Their study determined that it was mathematically impossible for two people to have in excess of four(4) matching Galton characteristics in agreement.