For most matters of questioned handwriting, it is very helpful to have as much "course of business" writing to compare to the writing in question. If the writing is a signature, for example, find as many of the named signatures as possible on documents in your possession. If you have trouble finding signatures, many times they can be found on public records such as trust deeds, liens, marriage licenses, UCC filings or corporate records. AND...
WE CAN SEARCH PUBLIC RECORDS TO LOCATE AND RETRIEVE DOCUMENTS VIRTUALLY ANYWHERE NATIONWIDE
In addition to due course of business documents, requested writing is also useful for handwriting analysis. If asked to take "requested" or "dictated" writing, the following will assist in gathering handwriting.
GUIDE TO OBTAINING KNOWN HANDWRITING SAMPLES
TO A GREAT EXTENT, HANDWRITING IDENTIFICATION DEPENDS ON THE QUALITY OF THE KNOWN OR SPECIMEN HANDWRITING. If you have been asked to gather evidence for a case involving handwriting examination, we offer you the following guidelines:
Study the questioned materials beforehand.
Be prepared before the interview. Handwriting examinations begin with the investigator who collects the samples and results depend on how well the investigator does his or her job in obtaining known handwriting from individuals for comparison with disputed writings.
ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS ARE ALWAYS PREFERABLE TO COPIES. If you only have copies, provide the examiner with the earliest generation copies (the clearest copies) for analysis.
QUESTIONED & KNOWN SPECIMENS MUST BE COMPARABLE
"A's" cannot be compared with "G's," "John Jones" cannot be compared with "Samuel Hansen." The "J's" must be compared with "J's" and "ohn's" must be compared with "ohn's." Handwriting CANNOT be compared with hand printing and lower case hand printing cannot be compared with upper case hand printing, etc.
APPROXIMATE THE QUESTIONED WRITING CONDITIONS
If the disputed document is handwritten - get handwritten specimens. If in upper case hand printing - get upper case hand printing. If in pencil - get known writings in pencil with the point of the pencil in approximate condition of the point of the pencil when the questioned writings were produced. If questioned writings were made with ballpoint pen – get known writings with ballpoint pen. If the questioned writings are on checks – get known writings on sample check forms. If the questioned writing is on ruled paper – get writings on ruled paper. Duplicate the wording, the writing instrument and the space of the questioned document.
REMOVE EACH SPECIMEN FROM THE WRITER'S VIEW AFTER EACH SPECIMEN IS WRITTEN.
HANDWRITING SPECIMENS MUST BE ADEQUATE
In obtaining known writings, get a sufficient quantity for the document examiner to study the normal variations in the person’s writings. Get several specimens for each questioned document. As a general rule, 15 to 20 specimens should be obtained.
DO NOT LET THE WRITER COPY THE QUESTIONED WRITING OR ALLOW THE WRITER TO LOOK AT THE QUESTIONED DOCUMENT PRIOR TO OBTAINING THE KNOWN WRITING. If the writer wants to view the questioned document, you may display it but only after obtaining known specimens. Dictate the wording to the writer. NEVER demonstrate how the writer should write, but you may describe the type of writing you want (for instance, “printing” or “cursive”).
Obtain some specimens with the weak or unaccustomed hand (for most people, the left hand). Number the specimen in the order it was obtained and date, initial each specimen and ensure that the writer signs his/her name on each specimen.
SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS TO THE WRITER OF THE KNOWNS
If the investigator or the person obtaining the handwriting samples
gives the writer special instructions like, “write slower, change the
slant or spelling,” the investigator must inform the document examiner
of such instructions or may write them on the specimen after it is provided to the investigator.
OBTAINING NON-DICTATED WRITINGS ("DUE COURSE")
Get business papers, letters, checks, applications, etc. containing the same words, letters, and letter combinations as contained in the questioned writings. Due course writings of the SAME CLASS of document as the questioned document may be the best due course exemplars. For example, if the questioned document is a will or contract, due course writings should include a will or contract if possible. They should also be of the same approximate time period as the documents in question. As always, an original due course document is preferable to a copy.
ADVANTAGES OF DICTATED/REQUESTED WRITINGS
* Eliminates Problems of Authenticating Them in Court * Comparable Wording of the Questioned Wording
DISADVANTAGES OF DICTATED/REQUESTED WRITINGS
* Subject to Disguise * May Not Contain Natural Writing Habits Due to Nervousness
ADVANTAGES OF NON-REQUESTED/DUE COURSE WRITINGS
* Usually Embody Natural Writing Habits and Therefore Devoid of Disguise
DISADVANTAGES OF NON-REQUESTED/DUE COURSE WRITINGS
* May Not Include Comparable Wording to Questioned Wording * May Not Be Able to Authenticate Them in Court
ALLIANCE FORENSIC SCIENCES, LLC Affiliated with Applied Research & Forensic Services (PI5060)
& National Academy of Forensic Services Forensic Document Analyst
Certified Voice Stress Analyst
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