31 J. Marshall L. Rev. 803 (1997-1998)
Requiring a Thumbprint for Notarized Transactions: The Battle against Document Fraud

handle is hein.journals/jmlr31 and id is 813 raw text is: REQUIRING A THUMBPRINT FOR
NOTARIZED TRANSACTIONS: THE BATTLE
AGAINST DOCUMENT FRAUD
VINCENT J. GNOFFO*
In statesmanship get the formalities right, never mind about the mo-
ralities. - Mark Twain 1895.'
INTRODUCTION
The murder of Nellie Quinn in her room in New York City in
early 1908 presented a baffling case until investigators found a
whiskey bottle containing fingerprints.' Fingerprinting was among
the newest technology in criminology in the early 1900s. Shortly
after the crime, authorities arrested George W. Kramer and
matched his fingerprints to those on the bottle.' Kramer confessed
when the authorities confronted him with the fingerprint evi-
dence.! Also in 1908, on February 24, the residence of Dr. Harry
Pritchard at 22 East 91st Street was burglarized.5 Unfortunately
for the burglar, he had handled a soup ladle upon which he had
left behind various impressions of his fingers.6 The authorities,
suspecting him of having committed the crime, arrested Herman
* J.D., January 1998, The John Marshall Law School; B.S.E.E., Univer-
sity of Illinois at Chicago; Notary Public, State of Illinois; Associate Attorney
at Greer, Burns, & Crain, Chicago, Illinois. The Author would like to thank
Professor Michael Closen of The John Marshall Law School, Mint Bruno, Lisa
Carroll, Rebecca Varan, Anthoula Pomenring and Irene Reinineger for their
assistance.
1. JOHN BARTLETT, BARTLETT'S FAMILIAR QUOTATIONS 527 (16th ed.
1992).
2. EVANS NAT'L MFG. AND SUPPLY Co., FINGER PRINT INSTRUCTION BOOK
84 [hereinafter EVANS]. Evans discusses the bottle test which is a method
that one can utilize to acquire fingerprints surreptitiously. Id. at 80. It sug-
gests cleaning an ordinary whiskey bottle and then handing the bottle under
some pretext or other to the person whose prints you desire. Id. The person
will likely grasp the bottle because people usually take what one hands to
them. Id. After you retrieve the bottle, you will have impressions of that per-
son's fingerprints. Id.
3. Id. at 84.
4. Id.
5. Id.
6. Id.

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