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Forensic Science Document Analysis Mr. Glatt 2013-2014.

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1 Forensic Science Document Analysis Mr. Glatt 2013-2014

2 Document Analysis Document Analysis is the examination and comparison of questioned documents with known material. – Questioned Documents- any signature, handwriting, typewriting, or other written mark whose source or authenticity is in dispute or uncertain Experts establish the authenticity of documents and detect any changes, erasures, or obliterations that may have occurred – Obliteration- writing over top to smear or make orginal writing unreadable

3 Common Questioned Documents Checks Certificates Wills Passports Licenses Money Letters Contracts Suicide Notes Receipts Even Lottery Tickets

4 Handwriting Analysis Like Fingerprints, every person’s handwriting is unique and personalized Handwriting is difficult to disguise or forge – Good tool for including or excluding persons when determining a match with an exemplar Questioned documents are compared to exemplars to determine matches – Exemplars- prewritten handwriting samples from a suspect(s)

5 History of Handwriting Analysis 1930s—handwriting analysis played a role in the famous Lindbergh case. 1999—the US Court of Appeals determined that handwriting analysis qualifies as a form of expert testimony To be admissible in court, scientifically accepted guidelines must be followed Scotland Yard, the FBI, and the Secret Service use handwriting analysis

6 Introduction to Handwriting Everyone’s handwriting exhibits natural variation – Writing instruments- pen, pencil, marker ect… – Mood, age, hurried Brain does writing- methods of writing become subconscious – Adults show little variation

7 12 Characteristics of Handwriting Line Quality Do the letters flow or are they erratic and shaky?

8 12 Characteristics of Handwriting Spacing Are letters equally spaced or crowded? Are margins evenly spaced?

9 12 Characteristics of Handwriting Size Consistency Is the ratio of height to width consistent?

10 12 Characteristics of Handwriting Continuous Is the writing continuous or does the writer lift the pen/pencil?

11 12 Characteristics of Handwriting Connecting Letters Are the capital and lowercase letters connected and continuous?

12 12 Characteristics of Handwriting Letters Complete Are letters completely formed? Or, is part of a letter missing?

13 12 Characteristics of Handwriting Cursive and Printed Letters Are there printed letters, cursive letters, or both?

14 12 Characteristics of Handwriting Pen Pressure Is pressure equal when applied to upward and downward strokes?

15 12 Characteristics of Handwriting Slant Left, right, or variable?

16 12 Characteristics of Handwriting Line Habits Is the text on the line, above the line, or below the line?

17 12 Characteristics of Handwriting Fancy Curls or Loops Are there fancy loops? Any other distinguishing features?

18 12 Characteristics of Handwriting Places of Crosses on t’s & Dots on i’s Are t’s crossed? – t’s crossed in middle, toward top, or toward bottom Are i’s dotted? – Dotted toward left, toward right, or centered

19 Handwriting Examination 1. Two writings came from one person if: – their similarities are unique and – no unexplainable difference(s) are found 2. Examine the questionable document for detectable traits and record them 3. Obtain a known sample of the suspect’s writing (an exemplar) 4. Compare and draw conclusions about the authorship of the questionable document

20 Technology Used in Handwriting Analysis o Biometric Signature Pads “Learns” to recognize how a person signs Evaluates speed, pressure, and rhythm of the signature Recognizes forgeries by the detection of even slight differences o Computerized Analysis Compares handwriting samples objectively Compared with samples stored in databases

21 Handwriting Analysis o Evidence in the Courtroom Expert explains how comparisons were made Cross-examination by defense attorney may follow Must be able to justify and defense usually has their own expert witness to try to refute o Shortcomings in Analysis Are the base documents real or fake? Did mood, age, fatigue impact the handwriting? Did experts miss details any details?

22 Forgery and Fraudulence (Fraud) Forgery- making, altering, or falsifying a person’s signature or any other aspect of a document with the intent to deceive another – Forged documents include: checks employment records legal agreements licenses wills Fraudulence—forgery for material gain

23 Check Forgery Check forgery can include: – ordering another’s checks from a deposit slip – altering a check – intercepting another’s check, altering, and cashing it – creating a check from scratch

24 Preventing Check Forgery Chemically sensitive paper Large font size requires more ink and makes alterations more difficult High resolution borders that are difficult to copy Multiple color patterns on paper Embed fibers that glow under different light Use chemical wash detection systems that change color when a check is altered

25 Counterfeiting o Counterfeiting- When false documents or other items are copied for the purpose of deception o A criminal activity existing since antiquity o Items commonly forged today include: Currency Traveler’s checks Food stamps Certain bonds Postage stamps

26 Currency Security features are added to paper currency that scanning cannot reproduce Regular printer paper contains starch. Paper currency contains rag fiber instead of starch. People usually first suspect money as fake because its texture does not feel right

27 Verifying Authentic Currency 1. Portrait stands out and appears raised off the paper 2. Contains clear red and blue fibers woven throughout the bill 3. Has clear, distinct border edges 4. Treasury seal is shown with clear, sharp saw-tooth points 5. Watermark appears on the right side of the bill in the light 6. The security thread is evident—a thin embedded vertical strip with the denomination of the bill printed in it 7. There is minute printing on the security threads, as well as around the portrait 8. When the bill is tilted, the number in the lower right-hand corner makes a color shift from copper to green New security features:


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