DOREEN HUNTINGTON, being first duly sworn, testified as follows during DIRECT EXAMINATION by MR. PANOSH:
Q Would you state your name, please.
A Doreen Huntington.
Q And you're employed with the Guilford County Sheriff's Department; is that correct?
Q And your specialty is?
A Latent print examiner and AFIS examiner.
Q What training do you have to be a latent print examiner?
A I have a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Ohio State University in criminology and criminal justice. I have attended the 40-hour latent fingerprint course given by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I've also attended the 120-hour administrative advanced latent fingerprint course given at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. I have taught numerous courses to local agencies concerning fingerprint evidence, processing, classification. And
also attended numerous seminars and training sessions in my field.
Q Have you previously been recognized as an expert in the field of latent print examination?
A Yes, I have.
MR. PANOSH: Your Honor, we'd tender her to the Court as an expert.
THE COURT: Do you wish to examine her credentials, gentlemen?
MR. LLOYD: No. We stipulate that she's qualified to give opinions in the field of latent fingerprints.
THE COURT: The Court finds Ms. Huntington to be an expert in the field of latent print identification, by training, education and experience, and may express an opinion in that area.
Q Drawing your attention then to the exhibits that I've placed before you, which are State's Exhibits 83-A through I, and specifically picking up 83-A, what is 83-A?
A 83-A is a latent lift card containing one latent lift print.
Q What is a latent lift card?
A When a crime scene is processed for any fingerprints, the crime scene is processed, the tape is laid on the fingerprint, and then the tape is placed on the lift card. And this lift card is just a white card, where the lift itself is placed, here's the edge of the tape, from the lift. (Indicated.) And on the back is information concerning the lift itself, such as the case name, the victim's name, where it was lifted from, date and time, and the person who lifted it.
Q What is 83-B?
A It is also a latent lift card containing two separate lifts.
Q Going back to 83-A, where was it taken from?
A 83-A was taken from the rear passenger side boat, inside, above seat cushion.
Q And where was 83-B taken from?
A The back passenger window, driver's side. Excuse me. The outside back passenger window, driver's side.
Q 83-C, please?
A Is from the inside front passenger window.
A Is from the inside driver's window.
Q Is this again a fingerprint?
A Fingerprint lift card containing one latent print lift.
Q And 83-E?
A Is a lift card containing one fingerprint lift, lifted from the boat, rear passenger inside, alongside of boat, above seat cushion.
Q In the course of your duties as a fingerprint analyst, where you submitted the known fingerprints of Patricia Kimble, Ronnie Kimble and Theodore Kimble?
A I was submitted the fingerprints of Ronnie and Theodore Kimble, but not of Patricia Kimble. There were no fingerprints obtained from her.
Q And were you able to determine whether or not the latent fingerprints that were lifted from the boat and the vehicle, and that have been labeled 83-A through 83-E, were those of Ronnie or Theodore Kimble?
A No, they're not.
Q Were the results of your analysis that they were not their prints, or were the results inconclusive?
A Of the -- from State's Exhibits 83-A through E, there was three fingerprints and three palm prints of value. Wait a minute. Excuse me. Let me make sure I have the right -(Time was allowed for the witness.)
A Well, of the exhibits you've mentioned, Exhibit 83-A and 83-B, one fingerprint of value was lifted from 83-A. The other ones, 83-B, C, D and E, do not contain any fingerprints of value.
Q What do you mean by "of value"?
A When I make a comparison, I have to have certain characteristics in that fingerprint to be of value. I have to have enough detail of the fingerprint, in order to make a comparison. On these lifts, 83-- I just wanted to make sure I've got these right. 83-B, C, D and E, there was actual lifts done, but either the fingerprints were smudged or there were not enough detail in order for me to make a comparison.
Q There were insufficient characteristics on each print to make an identification?
Q And in regard to the one latent print that was of value, were you able to determine whether or not it was a
print of Ronnie or Theodore Kimble?
A Excuse me. I was distracted. Could you repeat that, please.
Q With regard to the one latent print that you determined to be of value, did it turn out to be the print of Ronnie or Theodore Kimble?
A No, it did not.
Q Did you also submit that particular print to the AFIS system?
A No. I submitted the print from Exhibit 83-H to the AFIS system.
Q And what is the AFIS system?
A AFIS is a computer. And AFIS stands for Automated Fingerprint Identification System. And essentially what it is, it's a computer system that the database consists of all the inked 10-print cards of anyone who has been arrested in the state of North Carolina. They are entered into the database, are computerized, encoded into a database. Then what I can -- am capable of doing, what AFIS is capable of doing is, taking a fingerprint from a crime scene, encoding it in a similar way with the characteristics of that fingerprint. Then you ask the computer system to do a search of the database, trying -- attempting to get a match from the fingerprint from the crime scene, against the database of the state -- from the state of North Carolina.
Q And what were the results of that AFIS search?
A When I submitted this fingerprint through the computer for a search, when I submit it, I ask for a certain number of respondents back. The computer gives me back its best guess. Then I have to go in, it takes a human person to go in and actually compare the latent print from the crime scene to the inked fingerprint that the computer is submitting as its best guess. In this case, I did not have a positive match. There was no matching impression found.
Q So is it fair to say that of the fingerprints, the latent fingerprints that were recovered at the crime scene, you were unable to link any of those latent fingerprints to any particular individual?
MR. PANOSH: No further questions. Thank you.
CROSS-EXAMINATION by MR. LLOYD:
Q Officer Huntington, you did not submit print 83-A to the computerized system, did you?
A No, I did not. It was not -- the computer has to have -- I don't know how to explain this. The computer can only see certain parts of a fingerprint. For instance, it can't -- it cannot -- you cannot submit palm prints through the system. And it has to have a sufficient number of points. And it's based really on my experience and my experience
with fingerprints and my experience with AFIS. And in my opinion, this fingerprint itself was identifiable, but was not of sufficient quality to be submitted through the AFIS computer.
Q So you yourself deemed it of insufficient quality to submit it to the computerized system?
A Right. It's identifiable, but it is not -- it was not good enough to submit through the computer for a search.
MR. LLOYD: That's all I have, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Step down, ma'am.
Published August 15, 2006. Report broken links or other problems.
© PWC Consulting. Visit our website at www.preventwrongfulconvictions.org for information on our Mission and Services, and to sign up for our Newsletter.