• Our Supreme Court has observed that “fingerprint evidence . . . has repeatedly been shown to be undeniably accurate in the identification of individuals,” Cornett v. State, 450 N.E.2d 498, 500 (Ind.1983), and that it is “universally recognized” that a fingerprint found in place where a crime was committed may be sufficient proof of identity. Shuemak v. State, 258 N.E.2d 158, 159 (Ind. 1970).
• For information about the inferences that can be drawn from fingerprints used as circumstantial evidence, please review Fingerprints.
• The admissibility of fingerprint evidence is based on the assumption, universally accepted, that the pattern of each individual's fingerprint can be produced only by contact of that individual's finger with another object.
• Evidence of fingerprints is capable of eyewitness identification. It is a sufficient foundation for the introduction of such evidence that a witness identifies it and it has relevance to the issues of the case.
Fingerprinting and its relationship to searches and seizures
• Fingerprinting “involves none of the probing into an individual's private life and thoughts that marks an interrogation or search.”
• Fingerprinting is not the type of intrusion, regardless of its use as evidence or for identification purposes, protected by the Constitution. Rather, fingerprints are an identifying factor readily available to the world at large.
• “[B]y requiring a person properly under arrest to submit to fingerprinting procedures, the state” does “not engage in a seizure within the proscription of the Fourth Amendment or of Article I, Section II of the Constitution of the State of Indiana.”
See Garcia-Torres v. State, 949 N.E.2d 1229, 1233 (Ind. 2011)(citing Palmer v. State, 679 N.E.2d 887, 891 (Ind. 1997))(“Fingerprinting a person lawfully arrested, for example, is not a search implicating the Fourth Amendment.”)
Fingerprinting and its relationship to the privilege against self-incrimination
• The [defendant] argues that the taking of his fingerprints violated his right against self-incrimination. This position is contrary to Indiana and federal authority. Hollars v. State, 286 N.E.2d 166, 168 (Ind. 1972), squarely holds that the right against self-incrimination protects the accused only against testimonial compulsion. It does not protect against compulsory submission to purely physical tests such as fingerprinting, body measurements, handwriting and voice exemplars.
See Wade v. State, 490 N.E.2d 1097, 1101 (Ind. 1986)(citation omitted)(“It is well settled that although self-incrimination protects a defendant from testimonial compulsion, it does not protect against compulsory submission to purely physical tests such as fingerprinting, body measurements, handwriting and voice exemplars. The latter acts are distinguishable from acts constituting testimonial compulsion in that they do not require an incriminating communicative act by a defendant.”)
See also Boarman v. State, 509 N.E.2d 177, 181 (Ind. 1987)(citing Frances v. State, 316 N.E.2d 364, 366 (Ind. 1974))(“[W]e have held that the right against self-incrimination does not protect a suspect from compulsory submission to purely physical tests such as fingerprinting.”)
Fingerprinting and its relationship to Miranda warnings
• Since the right against self-incrimination does not protect one from compulsory submission to physical tests such as fingerprinting, Miranda warnings do not need to be given before such tests are administered.