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DACTYLOGRAPHY

  1. Fingerprints can not lie, but liars can make fingerprints.

    -Paraphrase of a Old Proverb “Figures do not lie, but liars can do figures” (Reproduced in the “Journal of Forensic Sciences” Vol 44, No. 5, September 1999, on page 963, at the top of the Paper “A chronological Review of Fingerprint Forgery” by B. Geller et al.)

  2. Jekyll’s finger patterns remain the same when he transforms himself into Hyde!

    -Henry Faulds (1843-1930), one of the founders of the science of dactylography, commenting on the famous story “The Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson, stressing that despite a complete change in appearance, the person could still be caught by the science of dactylography. (Quoted in “Suspect Identities - A History of Fingerprinting and Criminal Identification” by Simon A. Cole, Harvard University press, 2001, Page 3)

  3. Every human being carries with him from his cradle to his grave certain physical marks which do not change their character, and by which he can always be identified - and that without shade of doubt or question. These marks are his signature, his physiological autograph, so to speak, and this autograph can not be counterfeited, nor can he disguise it or hide it away, nor can it become illegible by the wear and mutations of time. This signature is not his face - age can change that beyond recognition; it is not his hair, for that can fall out; it is not his height, for duplicates of that exist; it is not his form, for duplicates of that exist also, whereas this signature is this man's very own - there is no duplicate of it among the swarming populations of the globe. This autograph consists of the delicate lines or corrugations with which Nature marks the insides of the hands and the soles of the feet.

    -Samuel Clemens, writing as Mark Twain, in The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson, 1894 (Quoted by Colin Beavan, at the beginning of his book “Fingerprints - The origins of crime detection and the murder case that launched forensic science”, Hyperion, New York, 2001

  4. A fingerprint expert can tell apart the marks of two digits more easily than he can differentiate two people’s faces.

    -Colin Beavan, on page 11 of his book “Fingerprints - The origins of crime detection and the murder case that launched forensic science”, Hyperion, New York, 2001

  5. A person’s fingerprint set is like a biological seal which, one impressed, can never be denied.

    -Colin Beavan, on page 11 of his book “Fingerprints - The origins of crime detection and the murder case that launched forensic science”, Hyperion, New York, 2001

  6. Fingerprints are like pages from the Recording Angel’s book of deeds.

    -Colin Beavan, on page 14 of his book “Fingerprints - The origins of crime detection and the murder case that launched forensic science”, Hyperion, New York, 2001

  7. The glands make each finger like a self-inking rubber stamp, leaving calling cards on every surface it touches.

    -Colin Beavan, on page 14 of his book “Fingerprints - The origins of crime detection and the murder case that launched forensic science”, Hyperion, New York, 2001

  8. But by far the most beautiful and characteristic of all superficial marks are the small furrows, with the intervening ridges and their pores that are disposed in a singularly complex yet regular order on the under surfaces of the hands and feet.

    - Francis Galton in his lecture “Personal Description and Identification” at the weekly evening meeting of the Royal Institution on May 25, 1888. Quoted by Colin Beavan, in his book “Fingerprints - The origins of crime detection and the murder case that launched forensic science”, Hyperion, New York, 2001, page 105

  9. No scientific basis exists for requiring that a pre-determined minimum number of friction ridge features must be present in two impressions in order to establish a positive identification.

    -The “Ne’urim Declaration” 1995 (Quoted in “Suspect Identities - A History of Fingerprinting and Criminal Identification” by Simon A. Cole, Harvard University press, 2001, Page 259)

  10. I at first had little faith in this expert evidence, but after the experiment conducted by Lieutenant Faurot in the court-room, in the presence of the Court and jury….. when he was able to designate the person who made the imprint on the glass, I became satisfied that there is something to this science.

    -Judge Otto A. Rosalsky, sentencing hearing, “People of the State of New York v. Carlo Crispi, 1911 (Quoted in “Suspect Identities - A History of Fingerprinting and Criminal Identification” by Simon A. Cole, Harvard University press, 2001, Page 168)

DIATOMS

  1. There is hardly a medicolegal journal that has not taken part in the “war of diatoms” in one way or another.

    -Spitz and Fisher in their book “Medicolegal Investigation of Death” 2nd Edition, page 360

  2. The forensic pathology community has been, historically, polarized in its general acceptance of the diatom test as a definitive diagnostic test for drowning.

    -Michael S. Pollanen in his excellent book “Forensic Diatomology and drowning”, Elsevier, 1998 at page 6

DISPUTED PATERNITY

  1. A trial of bastardy is a trial of the blood.

    -Y.B., 12 Edw. 2, 388 (ed. 1679 from Sergeant Maynard’s MS) (From “Legal Medicine Annual, 1976, page 239, appearing at the top of the article “Paternity Actions - A matter of opinion or a trial of blood?” by Michael J. Beautyman)

DISSECTION AND OBSERVATION

  1. Those who have dissected or inspected many bodies have at least learnt to doubt; while others who are ignorant of anatomy and do not take the trouble to attend it are in no doubt at all.

    -Giovanni Battista Morgagni (1682-1771); Italian Anatomist and Pathologist

  2. The corpse is a silent witness who never lies.

    -Anonymous

  3. Pay attention to the little things, and the big things will take care of themselves.

    -S. Venston

  4. Oh! Look, the dead teach the living!

    -Winternitz

  5. Taceant colloquia. Effugiat risus. Hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae.
    (Let conversation cease. Let laughter flee. This is the place where death delights to help the living)

    -Latin Proverb (Quoted in Bernard Knight’s “Forensic Pathology” at the Title Page. This quote is also supposed to have been inscribed on the lobby wall of Milton Helpern’s new office building {Milton Helpern was the third Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York})

  6. Mortui vivos docent - The dead teach the living.

    -Anonymous (Quoted in "The Autopsy-Medical Practice and Public Policy" by Rolla B. Hill and Robert E. Anderson; Butterworths 1988, page 191)

  7. Only the living have problems with the dead. Death is a mystery only to the living, and the living look to death for help

    -(From the frontpage of a forensic medicine practical notebook prescribed for undergraduate students at the Department of Forensic Medicine, Al-Ameen Medical College, Bijapur, India)

  8. Death comes to the aid of life.

    -An inscription in a Paris dissecting room

  9. I see no more than you, but I have trained myself to notice what I see.

    -Sherlock Holmes, "The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier" (Quoted in "Forensic Investigation of Explosives" Ed. Alexander Beveridge. Page 101

  10. What the mind knows, the eyes will detect

    -(From the frontpage of a forensic medicine practical notebook prescribed for undergraduate students at the Department of Froensic Medicine, Al-Ameen Medical College, Bijapur, India)

  11. Dead body is extremely eloquent and honestly informative, if one exercises patience in listening to it.

    -Anonymous

  12. No autopsy should be taken as trivial; even those appearing most routine may throw up unexpected surprises.

    -Anil Aggrawal

DNA TECHNOLOGY

  1. We wish to suggest a structure for the salt of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)….

    -James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick in a scientific article published in “Nature” on April 23, 1953

    (N.B. This quote is given in the book “DNA Technology - The Awesome skill” by I. Edward Alcamo, at the top of the Preface section. The author goes on to say that this article - with this opening sentence - stimulated a revolution in science and medicine. 31 years later - in 1984 - (Sir) Alec Jeffreys would develop the first DNA profiling test.)

  2. DNA technology could be the greatest single advance in the search for truth, conviction of the guilty, and aquittal of the innocent since the advent of cross-examination.

    -Judge Joseph Harris (1988) in People vs Wesley, 140 Misc. 2d 306, 533 N.Y.S. 2d 643 (Co. Ct. 1988) (Quoted in “DNA Fingerprinting- An introduction” by Lorne T. Kirby page xv: Stockton Press, 1990)

  3. DNA technology is the most awesome skill acquired since the splitting of the atom.

    -Editorial in a major news magazine (Reproduced on the back jacket of the book “DNA Technology - The Awesome skill” by I. Edward Alcamo)

  4. We have the potential within our grasp of a technology that in routine investigations will identify suspects as reliably as fingerprints.

    -Jeremy Travis, Director, National Institute of Justice (quoted in “Blood Trail - True crime mysteries solved by DNA Detectives” by Judge Gerald Sheindlin and Catherine Whitney on page 117)

  5. If we had called this “idiosyncratic Southern blot profiling,” nobody would have taken a blind bit of notice. Call it “DNA fingerprinting,” and the penny dropped.

    -Alect Jeffreys, 1996 (Quoted in “Suspect Identities - A History of Fingerprinting and Criminal Identification” by Simon A. Cole, Harvard University press, 2001, Page 287)

  6. Our genetic differences are at the heart of one of the most fascinating paradoxes of the human condition: that we are all different, yet we are all the same.

    -Geneticist Mary-Claire King, 1993 (Quoted in “Suspect Identities - A History of Fingerprinting and Criminal Identification” by Simon A. Cole, Harvard University press, 2001, Page 303)

DROWNING

  1. Odysseus bent his knees and sturdy arms, exhausted by his struggle with the sea. All his flesh was swollen and streams of brine gushed from his mouth and nostrils. Winded and speechless he lay there too weak to stir, overwhelmed by his terrible fatigue.

    -The Odyessey, Calypso (Book V), Homer (Quoted in the Preface in “Forensic Diatomology and drowning” by Michael S. Pollanen)

  2. Lord, Lord! methought what pain it was to drown,
    What dreadful noise of water in mine ears!
    What sights of ugly death within mine eyes.

    -Shakespeare, Richard III (1 iv), (Quoted in “Medicine, Science and the Law” (1980), Vol 20, No. 4, page 254; and also in "The Pathology of Trauma" 2nd Edition, Edited by J.K.Mason, page 214)

  3. If the man go to the water and drown himself, it is, will he, nill he, he goes.

    -Hamlet, Act V, Scene I (Cited in "Recent Advances in Forensic Pathology" edited by Francis E. Camps, J.& A. Churchill Ltd., 1969, on page 70, in Chapter 4 entitled “Respiration”. This quote appears at the top of a sub-chapter entitled “Immersion in fluids”)

  4. The ability to swim is not an important correlate of drowning since most victims of drowning are able to swim.

    -Michael S. Pollanen in his book “Forensic Diatomology and drowning”, Elsevier, 1998 at page 8

  5. Cutis anserina or gooseflesh (is) due to postmortem rigidity of short muscle fibers in the skin.

    -Caption to figure II-2, on page 15 in “Medicolegal Investigation of Death”, by W.U. Spitz and Russell S. Fisher, 2nd Edition, 1980, Charles C. Thomas, Springfiled, Illinois, USA

  6. Cutis anserina - or ‘goose flesh’ - is a common finding in immersed bodies.. ..It is often stated that rigor mortis can produce this goose-flesh appearance, but this is doubtful, as rigor does not shorten muscles appreciably.

    -Bernard Knight in his “Forensic Pathology” 2nd Edition 1996, page 391

    (N.B. Last two quotes are antethetical in nature - and both are from contemporary books - meaning thereby that this controversy is far from over)

DYADIC DEATHS

  1. “I kissed thee ere I killed thee.
    No way but this,
    Killing myself to die upon a kiss.”
    (He falls over her and dies)

    -Othello exclaiming after killing Desdemona and stabbing himself. Othello, Act 5, Scene 2, William Shakespeare (Quoted in “Combined Homicide-Suicide in Galveston County” by Alan R. Felthouse et.al. J. Forens. Sci. 2001, 46(3) 586-592”. This quote appears on page 586)