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1. 18- Criminalistics, 10e Richard Saferstein © 2011, 2007, 2004, 2001, 1998, 1995 Pearson Higher Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All Rights.

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Presentation on theme: "1. 18- Criminalistics, 10e Richard Saferstein © 2011, 2007, 2004, 2001, 1998, 1995 Pearson Higher Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All Rights."— Presentation transcript:

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2 18- Criminalistics, 10e Richard Saferstein © 2011, 2007, 2004, 2001, 1998, 1995 Pearson Higher Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ All Rights Reserved. Introduction  Any object with handwriting or print whose source or authenticity is in doubt may be referred to as a questioned document.  Document examiners apply knowledge gathered through years of training and experience to recognize and compare the individual characteristics of questioned and known authentic writings.  For this purpose, the gathering of documents of known authorship or origin is critical to the outcome of the examination.  The uniqueness of handwriting makes this type of physical evidence one of the few definitive individual characteristics available. 2

3 18- Criminalistics, 10e Richard Saferstein © 2011, 2007, 2004, 2001, 1998, 1995 Pearson Higher Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ All Rights Reserved. Character of Handwriting  Document experts continually testify to the fact that no two individuals write exactly alike.  Many factors comprise the total character of a person’s writing.  The early stages of learning handwriting are characterized by a conscious effort to copy standard letter forms.  However, as writing skills improve, nerve and motor responses associated with the act of writing become subconscious.  The unconscious handwriting of two different individuals can never be identical. 3

4 18- Criminalistics, 10e Richard Saferstein © 2011, 2007, 2004, 2001, 1998, 1995 Pearson Higher Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ All Rights Reserved. Character of Handwriting  Variations are expected in angularity, slope, speed, pressure, letter and word spacing, relative dimensions of letters, connections, pen movement, writing skill, and finger dexterity.  Other factors to consider include the arrangement of the writing on the paper, such as margins, spacing, crowding, insertions, and alignment.  Spelling, punctuation, phraseology, and grammar can be personal and help to individualize the writer.  Furthermore, the writing style of one individual may be altered beyond recognition by the influence of drugs or alcohol. 4

5 18- Criminalistics, 10e Richard Saferstein © 2011, 2007, 2004, 2001, 1998, 1995 Pearson Higher Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ All Rights Reserved. Character of Handwriting  No single handwriting characteristic can in itself be taken as the basis for a positive comparison.  The final conclusion must be based on a sufficient number of common characteristics between the known and questioned writing samples.  There are no hard and fast rules for a sufficient number of personal characteristics; it is a judgment call made by the expert examiner in the context of each case. 5

6 18- Criminalistics, 10e Richard Saferstein © 2011, 2007, 2004, 2001, 1998, 1995 Pearson Higher Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ All Rights Reserved. Handwriting Exemplars  The collection of an adequate number of known writings (exemplars) is most critical for determining the outcome of a handwriting comparison.  Known writing should contain some of the words and combination of letters present in the questioned document and be adequate in number to show the range of natural variations in a suspect’s writing.  The writing implement and paper should also be alike.  The writing of dictation and several pages may serve to minimize attempts at deception. 6

7 18- Criminalistics, 10e Richard Saferstein © 2011, 2007, 2004, 2001, 1998, 1995 Pearson Higher Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ All Rights Reserved. Typewriters and Printing Devices  The two requests most often made of the examiner in connection with the examination of typewriters and printing devices are: Whether the make and model of the typewriter and printing devices used to prepare the questioned document can be identified Whether a particular suspect typewriter or printing device can be identified as having prepared the questioned document.  In order to do this, the individual type character’s style, shape, and size are compared to a complete reference collection of past and present typefaces. 7

8 18- Criminalistics, 10e Richard Saferstein © 2011, 2007, 2004, 2001, 1998, 1995 Pearson Higher Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ All Rights Reserved. Characteristics From Use  As is true for any mechanical device, use of a printing device will result in wear and damage to the machine’s moving parts.  These changes will occur in a fashion that is both random and irregular, thereby imparting individual characteristics to the printing device.  The document examiner has to deal with problems involving business and personal computers, which often produce typed copies that have only subtle defects.  Another area of investigation relates to the typewriter ribbon, which may contain type impressions. 8

9 18- Criminalistics, 10e Richard Saferstein © 2011, 2007, 2004, 2001, 1998, 1995 Pearson Higher Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ All Rights Reserved. Digital Technology  In the cases of photocopiers, fax machines, and computer printers an examiner may be called on to identify the make and model of a machine or to compare a questioned document with test samples from a suspect machine.  A side-by-side comparison is made between the questioned document and the printed exemplars to compare markings produced by the machine.  Examiners compare transitory defect marks, fax machine headers, toner, toner application methods, and mechanical and printing characteristics. 9

10 18- Criminalistics, 10e Richard Saferstein © 2011, 2007, 2004, 2001, 1998, 1995 Pearson Higher Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ All Rights Reserved. Alterations  Document examiners must deal with evidence that has been changed in several ways, such as through alterations, erasures, and obliterations.  Erasures by rubber erasers, sandpaper, razor blade, or knife to remove writing or typing disturb the fibers of the paper and are readily apparent when examined with a microscope.  If an alteration is made to a document with ink differing from the original, it can sometimes be detected due to differences in the luminescence properties of the inks. 10

11 18- Criminalistics, 10e Richard Saferstein © 2011, 2007, 2004, 2001, 1998, 1995 Pearson Higher Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ All Rights Reserved. Alterations  Obliteration of writing by overwriting or crossing out to hide the original writing can be revealed by infrared radiation, which may pass through the upper layer of writing while being absorbed by the underlying area.  Digital image processing is the method by which the visual quality of digital pictures is improved or enhanced.  Digitizing is the process by which the image is stored into memory. 11

12 18- Criminalistics, 10e Richard Saferstein © 2011, 2007, 2004, 2001, 1998, 1995 Pearson Higher Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ All Rights Reserved. Alterations  An image can be scanned by scanner or a digital camera and converting the image by computer into an array of digital intensity values called pixels.  Once the image has been digitized, an image editing program can be used to make adjustments such as lightening, darkening, color, and contrast controls.  Using a photo editor on a digitized image can reveal information that has been obscured. 12

13 18- Criminalistics, 10e Richard Saferstein © 2011, 2007, 2004, 2001, 1998, 1995 Pearson Higher Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ All Rights Reserved. Other Problems  Infrared photography and reflecting light at different angles are sometimes successfully used to reveal the contents of a document that has been accidentally or purposely charred in a fire.  In certain situations, indented writings (partially visible depressions underneath the visible writing) have proved to be valuable evidence.  It may be possible to determine what was written by the impressions left on a paper pad. 13

14 18- Criminalistics, 10e Richard Saferstein © 2011, 2007, 2004, 2001, 1998, 1995 Pearson Higher Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ All Rights Reserved. Other Problems  Applying an electrostatic charge to the surface of a polymer film placed in contact with a questioned document will visualize indented writings.  A study of the chemical composition of the ink used on documents may verify whether or not known and questioned documents were prepared by the same pen; and the paper itself may be analyzed. 14

15 18- Criminalistics, 10e Richard Saferstein © 2011, 2007, 2004, 2001, 1998, 1995 Pearson Higher Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ All Rights Reserved. Voice Examination  The human voice may prove to be valuable evidence for associating an individual with a criminal act.  The probability that any two individuals: Will have the same size vocal cavities ○ (Throat, nasal, and two oral cavities formed by positioning the tongue) Will coordinate their articulators ○ (Lips, teeth, tongue, soft palate, and jaw muscles) In a like manner is so small as to make the human voice a unique personal trait. 15

16 18- Criminalistics, 10e Richard Saferstein © 2011, 2007, 2004, 2001, 1998, 1995 Pearson Higher Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ All Rights Reserved. The Sound Spectrograph  The sound spectrograph is an instrument that converts speech into a visual graphic display, called a spectrogram or voiceprint.  Courts have been asked to accept its results as evidence of an individual’s participation in a crime.  At this time, however, there are still conflicting opinions in the courts as to whether the voiceprint has gained a sufficient degree of general acceptance within the scientific community to satisfy its admissibility as scientific evidence. 16

17 18- Criminalistics, 10e Richard Saferstein © 2011, 2007, 2004, 2001, 1998, 1995 Pearson Higher Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ All Rights Reserved. The Sound Spectrograph  The spectrum portrays three parameters of speech: time, frequency, and the relative intensity or volume.  When sufficient similarity exists between the questioned and the known voice, a positive conclusion is justified that both voices have emanated from the same person.  The recent introduction of the computerized sound spectrograph simplifies the work today. 17

18 18- Criminalistics, 10e Richard Saferstein © 2011, 2007, 2004, 2001, 1998, 1995 Pearson Higher Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ All Rights Reserved. The Sound Spectrograph  Examiners apply both aural and visual techniques when comparing two voice samples.  The examiner can than classify the recording into one of seven categories ranging from a positive identification, a probable identification, a possible identification, inconclusive, a possible elimination, a probable elimination, or a positive elimination. 18

19 18- Criminalistics, 10e Richard Saferstein © 2011, 2007, 2004, 2001, 1998, 1995 Pearson Higher Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ All Rights Reserved. Review Questions 1-6  What activity is critical to the outcome of document examination and why is it so important?  List three characteristics of handwriting, as well as three characteristics of writing not related to handwriting, that a examiner compares when studying a questioned document.  List three factors that can make it difficult for an examiner to determine the author of a questioned writing.  Why might a traced signature be more easily detected as a forgery than one that is copied freehand?  List three characteristics of exemplars that should be as alike as possible to the questioned document.  What individual characteristics are most valuable for proving the identity of a typewriter? 19

20 18- Criminalistics, 10e Richard Saferstein © 2011, 2007, 2004, 2001, 1998, 1995 Pearson Higher Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ All Rights Reserved. Review Questions 7-12  What kinds of marks can a document examiner use to identify the machine that produced a photocopy? What information is used to identify the machine that produced a fax copy?  What class characteristics can an examiner study to help identify a suspect photocopy machine?  What is infrared luminescence? Describe how it can be used to detect alterations or erasures in a document.  Describe two methods used to recover writing from charred documents.  Describe two methods used to read indented writing.  From what substances are most commercial inks made? What technique is used to compare inks? What characteristic provides points of comparison between different inks? 20


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