2Questioned DocumentsAny object that contains handwritten or typewritten markings whose source or authenticity is in doubt is considered a question document.
3Questioned Documents These include: Letters Checks Driver’s license ContractsWillsPassportsLottery tickets
4Questioned DocumentsQuestioned documents may also include writings or markings found on walls, windows, doors, etc.
5Questioned DocumentsThe document examiner must ascertain the authenticity or source of a document through handwriting examination and the use of microscopy, photography, chromatography to note any change or alterations.The examiner must be able to recognize erasures and overwriting in attempt to change the original meaning of a document.The examiner must be able to reconstruct charred or burned paper.
6Handwriting Comparisons Although no two individuals write exactly alike, there may be resemblances is their general style.As a student learns and practices their handwriting, they are making a conscious effort to copy a standard letter form.The two most widely used methods taught in nearly all fifty states in the U.S. are the Palmer method (1880) and the Zaner-Blosser method (1895).
8Handwriting Comparisons Unconscious handwriting of two different individuals can never be identical.Several factors, such as, mechanical, physical, and mental functions, make reproduction of another’s handwriting unlikely.Variations of angularity, slope, speed, pressure, letter and word spacing,relative dimensions, connections,pen movement, writing skill, andfinger dexterity are distinguish.
9Handwriting Comparisons Margins, spacing,crowding, insertions,and alignment arepersonal habits.Spelling, punctuation,phraseology, andgrammar individualizeeach writer.A final conclusion of comparison betweentwo documents must be based on asufficient number of commoncharacteristics.
10Handwriting Comparisons Circumstances may prevent a positive conclusion:Insufficient number of known handwriting samples are availableQuestioned writing may contain only a few words, deliberately written in disguiseDrugs and alcohol can alter writing habits
11Collection of Handwriting Exemplars In gathering known writing samples for comparison, or exemplars:Known writing should resembled the questioned documentShould contain some of the words and combinations of letters presentGive the range of natural variationsShould be fairly recent, usually within 2-3 years
12Collection of Handwriting Exemplars When handwriting exemplars can not be obtained for comparison, a voluntary submittal from the suspect is requested.To help minimize attempts at deception, investigators can:Require several pages of writingWriting of dictationAllow the writer to sit comfortablyFurnished with pen and paper similar to the questioned documentGive no instructions on grammar or punctuation
13Typescript comparisons There are several mechanical devices and machines a document examiner encountersComputersTypewritersTypewriter ribbonPhotocopiersPrintersFax machines
14Alterations, Erasures, and Obliterations The most common way to alter a document is erasure, either using an Indian rubber erasure, or with chemicals.These changes can be seen under a microscope using direct or side lighting.
15Alterations, Erasures, and Obliterations Examiners often use Infrared Luminescence.When some inks are exposed to blue-green light, they absorb the radiation and reradiate infrared light, making any alterations visible with infrared sensitivefilm.Infrared luminescencecan also reveal writingthat has been erased.
17Alterations, Erasures, and Obliterations Obliteration is the act of blotting or smearing over a writing or printing to make the original unreadable.The contents of a charreddocument can sometimesBe revealed through infraredphotography.
18Other Document Problems Indented writings are the impressionsleft on papers positioned under apiece of paper that has been written on.Sometimes the document is readablewith oblique lighting,or angling thedocument againstthe light.
19Other Document Problems Electrostatic charge can beapplied to the surface if theindented document, thenlayered with toner powder toproduce an image.
20Other Document Problems An examiner may also compare the chemical composition of the ink present in both documents using thin-layer chromatography.Using a hypodermic blunt tip needle, ink can be extracted and analyzed.Usually 10 plugs are sufficient.Two samples of black ink from twodifferent manufacturers run usingpaper chromatography
21Other Document Problems The paper on which thedocument is written orprinted on is alsoanalyzed by the examiner.Handwriting sample ofGeorge W. Bush
22Other Document Problems Paper can vary byAppearanceColorWeightWatermarksTrue watermark Fake watermark
23Other Document Problems Paper examined under a microscope can reveal:Fibers FillersPigments AdditivesNon-coated Coated
24Handwriting Identification “ACE”Analysis of the “knowns” with a determination of the characteristics found in the knownAnalysis of the questioned or unknown writing and determination of its characteristicsComparison of the questioned writing with the known writing.Evaluation of the evidence, including the similarities and dissimilarities between the “questioned” and “known” writing.