Everything in life evolves and takes another form. Crime is no exception it does the same thing as well. Crime is changing in the modern world we live in today and criminals are more sophisticated and intelligent then before. The computer world has brought many technological advancements and even the criminal justice system has benefit from it. One of the most useful gifts that was given to the system was fingerprint and palm print. This advancement brought with it advantages and disadvantages. The effects of these advances on the constitution can be surprising.

The advances also effect the efficiency of the criminal justice system from the perspective of crime control. These crucial findings can lead to recommendations concerning the use and reliance on these advances. The act makes it a federal offense to knowingly transfer or use, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of federal law or that constitutes a felony under any applicable state or local law. Schmalleger, 2010, ch. 9). Advantages and Disadvantages “Fingerprint-based criminal checks can be a valuable tool to help mitigate risk in an organization’s background screening program. ”(Sferry,2009) “More organizations would probably utilize this tool except for the simple fact that access to state and federal fingerprint databases for employment purposes requires legislated permission. ” (Sferry,2009) The ability to use fingerprinting as a means of proving identity was revolutionary.

What this did was offer an infallible means of ability to be able to verify personal identification. This made the recording of criminals and their identities a common practice and method to be able to determine their culpability and involvement as suspects in future crimes. Fingerprinting and now palm printing are practices that have been in place for over 100 years to provide accurate identification for criminals. In all of this time, no two-finger prints have ever been recorded to be identical in billions of human and automated computer scans and comparisons.

They are the most commonly used forensic evidence in the world today and they continue to be the most common method for identifying persons as the database of finger and palm prints grows. They remain an advantage for many reasons. Of all human characteristics they are one that never changes. They are a single unique attribute that can only belong to the single individual and can guarantee an absolute match. Unlike names or faces, they can’t be changed.

The biggest advantage is why they are still in use today and considered the most effective means of identification, if a finger print matches; you have successfully identified the person it belongs to without question. In our criminal justice system we live by a rule that has made this country great, you are considered innocent until proven guilty. If your fingerprint is found on a murder weapon, you are very close to being proven guilty. The biggest disadvantage with this method is that the majority of the records on file are from criminals.

If a match comes back and the person with the print has no record then you have no way to find that person because they have never been caught as a criminal. Finger and palm printing databases only consists of individuals who have committed crimes and have criminal records. And even this may not be true in all cases, some jurisdictions choose to only fingerprint specific types of crimes. Even then if a person has had their finger or palm print matched to their criminal records, the identified print check needs to still be validated by the prosecuting jurisdiction to ensure that the record is accurate and up to date.

These types of databases like most databases can be heavily flawed. The biggest disadvantage that these methods have to offer is that only criminals are recorded. Assessing the Effects Fingerprints and palm prints have been used for at least a century but has recently become computerized to help identify people whether or not involved in a crime or any other situation. The Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) technology is used to show all of the ridges and dots and any other information that can be determined from the fingerprints and palm prints.

The Automated Fingerprint Identification System has the capability to store a large number amount of fingerprints and palm prints, which are sent to a repository so they will be on record with the federal and state governments. (Biometrics, August 2006) Some people think that all of the fingerprints and the palm prints flow the same direction throughout the pattern of the fingerprints and/or palm prints. Once the fingerprints and palm prints are taken and stored, if the prints that come up in any investigations then they will be on record so they are available to identify the victim and possibly the suspect.

Criminal procedures can also be a double edged sword for the public and the police. Criminal procedures encompasses several major stages that law enforcement, prosecutors, and defense attorneys abide by. The first involves law enforcement interrogating, searches and making a lawful arrest which consist of probable cause. ” When it comes to the government’s improperly intruding on the private homes of its citizens, the Fourth Amendment must at least mean to ensure basic, preventive protections to the individual who gave the government its power in the first place”. Indianapolis Business Journal, 2011). Many TV shows mislead the public into believing what they see on TV is fact. Interrogations conducted by police officers cannot take place without an individual being advised of his or her legal rights. A defendant has the right to ask for legal counsel and does not have to answer any questions asked by the police. In that instance the defendant is protected by the law. There are situations where the tide can change and the defendant gives up that right and tells the police what happened.

That particular situation does not always happen but when it does, it helps law enforcement tremendously. In return law enforcement will provide the defendant with a plea bargain. This is a good example of how both sides can work together and still gain. The second stage involves the granting of bail and the pretrial motions. This gives the individual the right for due process. Pretrial motions are used to establish grounds for the alleged charges. This is put into place to protect the rights of the public and to justify the actions of the prosecution.

The third stage is the formal charging by the prosecution in the court of law. At this point the individual is within his or her right to make a plea. The fourth stage involves other participants like a jury or a possible judge. The defendant still has rights all the way through the judicial process and even has the right to ask for a jury or bench trial. One or the other will determine if the individual is innocent or guilty. The fifth stage involves sentencing ranging from the judge, victims, defense attorneys, and even prosecutors.

They all play a vital role during this time but just when you might think that the rights for the defendant has ended because he or she is going to prison, it actually continues. The sixth stage involves an appellate review by the higher courts. This is requested by the individual that was charged and is now going to prison. These stages all exercise the rights of the constitution through due process for the defendant and allowing the defendant to make decisions involving the case.

At the same time the criminal procedures in the judicial process displays it is a fair but just process for both sides. The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendment have a strong message that can be assessed in the criminal justice system and bring correlation to the constitutional right of the accused. Fingerprints From the womb to death, one thing that never changes is a person’s fingerprints. Fingerprinting identification in the criminal justice system has been in existence for more than 100 years. Its first use in the United States was in 1902.

Because of everyone’s unique fingerprint map or features, no two individuals are alike. On the other hand, a person’s physical characteristics are subject to change over time. Fingerprinting is one of the most accurate techniques in personal identification. In the criminal justice system, fingerprinting is a power tool. Its uses in the criminal justice system have made it possible to convict guilty individuals with low odds of inaccuracy (The FBI: The Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2011). The evidence of fingerprints are enough for the conviction of criminals accused of a crime. Fingerprint identification effects are far more positive identifications of persons worldwide daily than any other human identification procedure”( EDinformatics, 1999, p. 1). The use of fingerprints to control crime is effective to a certain extent. For example, if a fingerprint is found at a crime scene the print is useless until a match for that print is obtained; therefore, the print remains unusable until a match is obtain or an individual is arrested to matchthe print. Palm Prints Palm print recognition matching characteristics are similar to those of fingerprints.

The identification of the friction ridge impressions is the main characteristics for both techniques. The technique to obtain the palm print is the same as with fingerprinting. One has to be arrested or have a prior record in order for either the fingerprint or palm print to be matched to the database. From the perspective of crime control, “Law enforcement agencies indicate that at least 30 percent of the prints lifted from crime scenes-from knife hilts, gun grips, steering wheels, window panes-are of palms, not fingers” (www. iometrics. org, 2006, p. 3). In some cases when fingerprints are not available, palm prints are enabling law enforcement to obtain another form of evidence. Therefore, the increasing interest to obtain palm prints to solve cases are on the rise. The use of palm print indentification in the criminal justice will assist law enforcement in the positive identification of criminals for conviction. Also this technology has aided in the solving of crimes quickly with accuracy.


New technology that is used in law enforcement has given law enforcement great advantages and disadvantages. The effects of these advantages on constitutional rights surprisingly does not change due process for the accused. A defendant is still entitled to all rights under law. Many cases have been solved through this unique technological advancement and has also controlled certain crimes because of the apprehension rate. The recommendations concerning the use of this advancement is that more law enforcement agencies continue to to fund programs with this advancement.