Michele Triplett's Fingerprint Terms ©
A collection of over 1000 terms used in the Science of Fingerprint Identification.

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An acronym, which stands for Gatekeeper, created by Glenn Langenburg in 
2001 to help remember the suggested Daubert criteria.  The theories or
technique should have:

(G)eneral Acceptance
(T)ested (has been)
(K)nown Standards
(P)eer Review and Publication
(R)ate of Error (known or potential)

A color coded system of documenting the level of confidence that an examiner has 
assigned to friction ridge details observed in fingerprint images. The level of 
confidence refers to the analyst’s certainty of the existence of the feature and 
the tolerance which has been assigned to that feature. This system was developed 
by Glenn Langenburg in 2005 and published in 2011.  GYRO is an acronym for 
Green / Yellow / Red / Orange.  Although these colors are used in GYRO, other 
colors can be used as long as the meaning of the colors is established.  

(G)reen is used to note ridge details observed with high confidence levels.
(Y)ellow is used to note ridge details observed with medium confidence levels 
     (details that may be associated with minimal distortion).
(R)ed is used to note ridge details observed with a great deal of uncertainty 
     (details that may be on the edges or associated with high distortion).
(O)range is used to note ridge details not initially observed while analyzing 
the latent print, but observed in the latent print after noticing the details 
in the exemplar print.

Galton Details
Term referring to friction ridge characteristics (also known as minutiae) attributed 
to the research of English fingerprint pioneer, Sir Francis Galton.
SWGFAST, Standard Terminology of Friction Ridge Examination 3-23-11 ver. 3.0

Galton, Sir Francis (Feb. 16, 1822-Jan 17, 1911)
Early fingerprint pioneer.  Credited with naming the original details found 
in a fingerprint.  In his 1892 book "Finger Prints", Galton refers to them 
as forking ridges, beginning or ending ridges, islands and enclosures (pg. 90).

Garson, Dr. John George
Dr. Garson learned about anthropometry directly from Alphonse Bertillon.  He was a 
staunch supporter of the Anthropometry System in the late 1800's and early 1900’s.  
During the 1890’s, he headed the Scotland Yard Anthropometric Office. In 1894, when 
the Troup Committee recommended adding fingerprints to Bertillon cards, Garson 
implemented a system of classification that was used in conjunction with the 
anthropometry system but it does not appear that the fingerprints were used for 
identification purposes for some time after this.  In 1900, he presented his system 
to the British Association for the Advancement of Science at Bradford and 
subsequently wrote a book explaining it, titled “A System of Classification of 
Finger Impressions” (1900).  In the same year Dr. Garson testified in front of the 
Belper Committee against using fingerprints as a form of identification.  Garson’s 
name appears in some well-known identification cases.  His name comes up as being 
involved in Adolph Beck’s 1895 erroneous identification due to personal recognition 
and he is known for testifying for the defense in the 1905 Stratton Brothers case.

General Consensus
In science, general consensus refers to the common opinion after rigorous debate rather 
than a democratic vote. A question has been presented, debated and settled to the 
satisfaction of others. Inquiries may still exist but they are rare and continually 

General Electric Co. vs. Joiner (1997)
In a unanimous decision, the court overturned part of the lower court's decision, 
ruling that trial judges can specify the kind of scientific testimony that juries can hear.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/supcourt/1997-98/genelec.htm 02-27-03

Some people have interpreted this court decision to mean that the courts can determine 
if the science was applied reliably (which is different that Daubert which determines if 
the science is reliable).

See Daubert and Kumho Tire Co.

Generating Layer of Epidermis
See Stratum Basale.

A reagent used to develop friction ridge detail on porous items producing dark blue 
images.  Genipin can be visualized with or without fluorescence.
J Forensic Sci, Mar. 2004, Vol. 49, No. 2

Having to do with origin and natural growth or the genes.
Quantitative-Qualitative Friction Ridge Analysis, David R. Ashbaugh 1999 CRC Press

Gentian Violet
Violet stain used to develop or enhance friction ridge detail, which 
can be viewed by either fluorescence or nonfluorescence.  
Also known as Crystal Violet.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0

A stain that dyes the fats, greases and oils that are sebaceous sweat.  
Usually used on the adhesive side of tape.

George, Marc Terrance
On Sept. 24, 2005 Marc Terrance George tried to enter the United States illegally.  
In the process it was determined George had altered his fingerprints by having 
surgery to switch the skin on his hands and feet.  On May 3, 2006, George was 
sentenced to 13 months in jail for money laundering and drug trafficking.

In May 2007, the doctor who performed the surgery, Dr. José L. Covarrubias, was 
arrested trying to enter the United States.  Dr. Covarrubias was charged with 
conspiring to distribute marijuana.  In Nov. 2007, he plead guilty to a federal 
charge of harboring and concealing a fugitive.  On Feb. 12, 2008, he was 
sentenced to 18 months in prison.  6 months were taken off of his sentence 
for his cooperation during the investigation.  

German, Edward Raymond
Ed German is considered to be one of the most prominent and influential examiners 
in the latent print community. He began his career with the FBI in 1971 and has 
since been involved in every aspect of latent print work, including research, 
training, and setting industry standards. He has been a distinguished representative 
of many fingerprint organizations - he held various leadership roles in the IAI, 
is a Fellow in The Fingerprint Society, an active member of ASCLD, a charter member 
of the Japan Identification Society, and served as a member and Committee Chairman 
for SWGFAST.  Early on he was involved in many research projects, the most notable 
resulting in his invention of Redwop in 1986. In addition, he was responsible for 
the introduction of cyanoacrylate fuming, potassium thiocyanate, and RUVIS to many 
English-speaking countries. He was the first Examiner to testify to visualization 
of latent prints using lasers (Sierra Vista, AZ, Oct. 1981), and was a key witness 
in the first Daubert Hearing (US v. Mitchell, 1999). He has also been a contributor 
to many authoritative books and publications, which include “Scott’s Fingerprint 
Mechanics”, “Advances of Fingerprint Technology” and McGraw Hill “Encyclopedia of 
Science and Technology” as well as being the primary author of the Boy Scouts of 
America’s “Fingerprinting Merit Badge Pamphlet”. Besides his fingerprint expertise, 
he is also an expert in many other areas of forensic science including footwear, 
tire, and fabric impression evidence. This is only a brief summary of the contributions 
and accomplishments Ed German has brought to the latent print community. He has received 
numerous awards and honors for his significant efforts and is recognized as one of the 
leading experts in his field.  

Germinating Layer of Epidermis
See Stratum Basal.

Giglio v. United States (1972)
An extension of the Brady decision which states that the prosecutor is obligated to 
disclose impeachment material to the defense.  Impeachment material can include 
honesty, integrity, impartiality, and credibility.

See Brady and United States v Henthorn.

Glacial Acetic Acid
Chemical used in the preparation of reagents and dye stains.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0

Glandular Folds
Folds on the underside of the epidermis that correspond to the friction 
ridges, aka primary ridges.

Glycine is the simplest amino acid and the second most common amino acid 
found in proteins, occurring at a rate of approximately 7.5%.  Since amino 
acids are one of the organic components of eccrine sweat, glycine is often 
used to test latent print chemicals for an amino acid reaction.

Gold Chloride
A metal salt used in the multimetal process for developing latent prints.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0

Gold Tetrachloride / Colloidal Gold
Initial suspension used in the Multimetal Deposition Process.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0

Granular Layer of Epidermis
See Stratum Granulosum.

Grew, Dr. Nehemiah (September 26, 1641-March 25, 1712)
Dr. Nehemiah Grew was an English scientist and physician who microscopically 
studied cells, tissues, and organs of plants.  He was born in Mancetter Parish, 
Warwickshire 1641 and died in 1712 in London.  In 1684 he described the patterns 
on the hands in great detail.  Besides the ridges, he also noted pores.  Dr. Grew’s 
writings are some of the earliest writing found on the subject of fingerprints, 
subsequent to Marcello Malpighi.

Grieve, David L. (July 29, 1940 - present)
David Grieve began his fingerprint career in 1965 with the Portland Police Bureau, 
Portland, Oregon.  In 1974, Mr. Grieve became the technical supervisor of the 
Washington State Patrol's Identification Section in Olympia, Washington, helping 
to resurrect a state bureau that had been dormant for 13 years .  Mr. Grieve 
accepted a position with the Illinois State Police in 1982 at their Maywood 
Laboratory as a forensic scientist.  In 1984, Mr. Grieve assumed the responsibility 
of training coordinator in the Illinois State Police Forensic Sciences Command, and 
has since then trained over 65 forensic scientists in the mysteries and nuances of 
latent print examination.  Mr. Grieve was editor of the Journal of Forensic 
Identification from 1990 to 2001, and has been a member of the FBI-sponsored 
Scientific Working Group on Friction Ridge Analysis, Study and Technology since 1996.  
Mr. Grieve was selected by the US Attorney's Office in Philadelphia to be part of the 
government's team in the first Daubert challenge to fingerprints, US v Mitchell, in 
1999.  Also that same year, Mr. Grieve testified for the defense in High Court, Glasgow, 
Scotland, related to an incorrect fingerprint identification in which a police officer 
was charged with perjury and subsequently acquitted.  In addition, Mr. Grieve was the 
chief delegate to the International Forensic Science Symposium in Taiwan, a moderator 
at the International Symposium on Fingerprint Detection and Identification in Israel, 
invited speaker to fingerprint conferences in the UK, and participated in a forensic 
science exchange program in Moscow, Russia. 
On Nov. 30, 2007, David Grieve retired from the Illinois State Police Department.

Grip Print
A recording of the friction skin typically touching an object when gripped. This includes 
the side of the index finger, the inner side of the interdigital area, the web area and 
the inner side of the thumb.

Gun Blueing
A solution consisting of acetic acid, selenious acid and cupric salt, 
used to develop friction ridge detail on metal surfaces.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0

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