A 19-year-old man and seven others are accused of forcing their way into a Louis Vuitton store and stealing an estimated $77,000 in merchandise. In this case, each of the bags had trackers in them, and police were able to recover the trackers along the interstate. From the trackers, they were able to recover a palm print along with “other evidence” that placed one suspect at the scene of the crime.
In terms of retail theft, the type of charge you face is related to the value of the merchandise. The law was updated in the past few years and now it is a felony to steal any merchandise valued at $1,000 or more. Prior to that, you only had to steal $150 worth of merchandise to qualify for a felony. However, due to inflation, the law was updated to reflect the minimal amount of buying power that $150 represents.
Those charged with felony retail theft can never expunge the offense from their record. Those charged with misdemeanor retail theft can. Hence, the stakes are quite high for 19-year-olds charged with retail theft. The state will still have to prove that the value of the stolen merchandise was greater than $1,000. Additionally, the palm print evidence may not be as strong as fingerprint evidence.
Palm Prints or Palm Reading?
The FBI and our criminal justice overlords have abused science for decades to convince juries into believing that a single bullet came from a specific gun. However, decades of research has shown that the FBI was making matches based on similarities between markings left on bullets even when the markings were not exact. According to science, the markings should be exact. Nonetheless, the FBI convicted hundreds of individuals based on their theories. Even tests as simple as roadside sobriety tests are subject to scientific scrutiny and testing problems. When it comes to forensic science, you have fingerprints, DNA, and not much else.
Palm prints theoretically should be useful for forensic matching as they are unique to every individual. However, fingerprints have readily identifiable distinctive features that make them easier to match. Furthermore, fingerprints are much smaller, so you only have about 100 markers to compare. With palms, you have 10x that number. And to match one palm to another, the palm must be exact. You cannot have one pore out of place. So, palm prints increase the risk of not matching two identical palms. On the other hand, the government might ignore discrepancies in order to advance their case. This is what usually happens when forensic matching is not 100%. The government can point to the 95% of markers that are the same. But, unfortunately, it would not constitute a match. Does the jury know this? Of course not. The prosecution will place a witness on the stand saying in their expert opinion, that the two palms are from the same person.
Logistically, this case will come down to the quality of the palm print. Perfect palm prints produce accuracy rates as high as 98%. Partial palm prints tend to produce lower rates of accuracy. The evidence is best used to recover more evidence or get probable cause for a search warrant than as evidence against a defendant at trial.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today