The background

October 26, 2007

Baltimore County Circuit Judge Susan M. Souder ruled this week that fingerprint evidence, a mainstay of police forensics for more than a century, is not reliable enough to be used as evidence in the murder trial of Bryan Keith Rose, who could be sentenced to death if convicted.

Prosecutors, defense attorneys, legal experts and law enforcement officials are assessing the implications of the ruling on a method that fingerprint examiners say is 100 percent reliable and critics assail as "trust me" forensic science.

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