BOSTON, Dec. 27, 2005 – Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley released the following statement regarding today’s Supreme Judicial Court decision in the case of Commonwealth v. TERRY PATTERSON, who is awaiting re-trial for the 1993 murder of Boston Police Detective John Mulligan.“We are extremely pleased that today the state’s highest court, in agreement with the Superior Court motion judge\’s findings and rulings and the Commonwealth’s arguments, upheld the reliability of fingerprint science in general and the ACE-V method of comparing individual fingerprints in particular. The Supreme Judicial Court’s decision underscores what a century of investigations and prosecutions have established: fingerprint evidence is a valid and credible science based upon clear, definable standards of analysis and verification.
“With respect to the Court’s ruling regarding the simultaneous fingerprint impressions in Commonwealth v. Terry Patterson, the district attorney’s office is reviewing the impact of that portion of the Court\’s decision upon the potential admissibility of the latent fingerprints matched to the defendant on three separate occasions: by the Boston police in 1994, by the Massachusetts State Police in 2004, and by a private fingerprint consulting expert, Ron Smith & Associates, in 2005.
“To the extent that the Court found that the Commonwealth ‘has not yet met its burden of proving the reliability of examinations of simultaneous fingerprint impressions,’ the district attorney’s office is evaluating whether to seek to present additional expert evidence regarding the reliability of simultaneous impressions to the trial judge in order to satisfy that additional burden. As well, we continue to prepare to re-try Terry Patterson and are confident he will again be held accountable for the tragic murder of Boston Police Det. John Mulligan.”

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