Written by Kristi Mayo   

ONE OF THE CHALLENGES of writing and editing a magazine is telling a story in a relatively small amount of space. Sometimes it seems like there is never enough room to say everything that needs to be said. I find myself making tough decisions about what parts stay and what parts go.

Writing one article that appears in this issue—“90,000 Images” (Page 30)— presented that kind of a problem. I spent several hours on the phone interviewing David Knoerlein, who served as the imaging-systems manager for the Mass Graves Investigation Team in Iraq. He told me the full story: from touching down at night in a helicopter onto the inky blackness of the Iraqi desert, to watching archaeologists carefully exhuming and processing the skeletonized bodies of victims of genocide, to the sight of scorpions and spiders scuttling across evidence on the copy stand under his tent in Baghdad. Tucked into the full story there were so many smaller stories—and I realized I faced the tough decision of picking just one of them.

So the story I helped Knoerlein tell is about creating standard operating procedures and sticking to them in order to maintain the integrity of digital images for use in the courtroom. Although the backdrop of a war zone is exotic and the implications of the case are historic, what I wrote is essentially a case study that I hope you will find useful when examining your own agency’s digital-imaging policies and procedures.

Meanwhile, sometimes a story cannot be told in just one issue of the magazine because it is an ongoing tale. Beginning in the March-April 2007 issue, we have brought you news of The State of New Hampshire v. Richard Langill case—the one where a judge ruled to exclude the testimony of a fingerprint examiner based on an “unreliable” application of the ACE-V method. As the case moved through the New Hampshire court system, we kept you posted on its progress. In this issue, we provide information about the most recent ruling from the New Hampshire Supreme Court, along with a brief timeline summarizing the case (Page 10). It seems this story may finally have reached a conclusion…

Or has it?

The Langill case has brought up a number of questions in the fingerprint community, particularly regarding bench notes and the blind verification process. That is a story that will undoubtedly go on, and one that you will hear more about in future issues of Evidence Technology Magazine.

Getting all of this critical information packed into one easy-to-read, easy-to-digest format is certainly a challenge. But dealing with these continuing and varied stories is also what makes my job fun.

Keep your news and ideas coming. I look forward to having an opportunity to tell your story.

Kristi Mayo, editor
Evidence Technology Magazine

  May-June 2008 (Volume 6, Number 3)
Evidence Technology Magazine
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