Are innocent people ever convicted based on fingerprint evidence?

Are innocent people ever convicted on based on fingerprint evidence? Fingerprints are 100% accurate, aren’t t they? Yes and No.

Yes – innocent people are convicted of fingerprints.

In the UK there have been two cases, stemming from one crime, in where people were wrongly convicted based on fingerprint evidence. One for murder and one perjury.

No – fingerprints are not 100% accurate. Fingerprint evidence relies on human interpretation, and humans make errors.

It took years of appeals and assistance from multiple countries for the two people in the UK have their convictions over turned.  If its happened not once but twice, it shows it can happen, and the fact its so hard to appeal against fingerprint evidence indicates how compelling fingerprint evidence is.  It is statistically unlikely after over a hundreds of thousands of trials cases around the world that only two people have been wrongly convicted.

Fingerprints require human interpretation, humans make mistakes. Two errors in the world ever, for a subject which takes years of training to be an expert and has been around for a hundred years, just does not sound right. And its not.

Errors have been made by the FBI who claimed that Brandon Mayfields fingerprint was linked to the Madrid bombing, that stated that they were 100% correct and it was an “absolutely incontrovertible match”; but they were wrong. The Spanish police showed the FBI were wrong, the US DoJ criticized the FBI, and the FBI had to pay Brandon Mayfield $2 million in 2006.

There have been other cases around the world, and these are the ones were the innocent person has ability to gather a strong enough defense team to over come phenomenal power of finger print evidence, it stands to reason that there are many other people that have been wrongly convicted, but could not prove it.

The LAPD have also had internal issues with fingerprints and errors, who else has?


One Response to “Are innocent people ever convicted based on fingerprint evidence?”

  1. Electronic Discovery is wrong…? « Data – Where is it? Says:

    […] has errors, but so do must other systems of evidence. Fingerprints are not, as many people think, 100% reliable, but require human […]

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