What is ACE-V – in forensic science

An acronym for analysis, comparison, evaluation, and verification. This is the process used by latent fingerprint examiners to evaluate the patterns of latent fingerprints. The first step (analysis) involves studying the latent fingerprint to determine if it is suitable for comparisons. To do a comparison, the latent fingerprint has to be reasonably clear and a sufficient portion of the finger must have made contact with the surface and left an impression. It is also important to be able to tell what made the impression, be it a finger, thumb, or palm. Once the examiner determines that the print can be compared, the examiner selects what to compare it to, such as a sample taken from a suspect or a print retrieved from a database search. Comparision involves a feature-by-feature examination of each and will ideally result in exclusion (the prints could not have come from the same person or common source) or indentification (individu-alization) that conclusively links the two compared impressions to the same person. The results may also be inconclusive, a case in which definititive identification or exclusion cannot be made. The final step is verification of the results by another qualified analyst.