In this new course, students will gain the knowledge and practical experience necessary to successfully and confidently testify in a court of law as a latent print examiner or tenprint examiner.
Fingerprint examiners are frequently called upon to testify in court regarding their techniques, observations, and conclusions. In order to be accepted as an expert witness, the fingerprint examiner must display a current and in-depth knowledge of the science. Although fingerprint testimony was accepted with few judicial challenges for over one hundred years, challenges to fingerprint science as a method of human identification are becoming more common. These challenges are usually brought forth in what are called Frye or Daubert hearings. The use of these hearings was the result of several judicial decisions in the late 20thCentury.
The goal of this Courtroom Testimony for Fingerprint Examiners course is to provide the students with the knowledge, confidence and practical experience necessary to survive qualifying questioning (voir dire), direct, and cross-examination. Students will learn how to take control of their testimony by preparing themselves and the concerned attorney(s) for the voir dire as well as direct examination. The course will cover techniques the witness can employ to effectively explain fingerprint science and its application to the judge and jury.
In order to maximize the students’ opportunity to succeed, this course includes a review of the Frye decision and the Daubert trilogy, as well as several challenges to the admission of fingerprint evidence in court cases, including US v Mitchell (1999). This course will employ both lecture and hands-on training, culminating in a full moot court on the third day of instruction. Due to the extensive amount of hands-on training in this course, enrollment is restricted to 16 participants.