Forensic Handwriting Analysis Expert Article

 

In this article, the forensic document examiners at Robson Forensic introduce the science of forensic handwriting analysis. They discuss the steps that a forensic document examiner follows, including analysis, comparison, and evaluation, and verification.

Included is a brief example comparing two handwriting samples, drawing attention to some of the key differences that a handwriting analyst may utilize in their analysis.

The Science of Handwriting Analysis

The science of handwriting analysis is based on the premise that no two individuals can produce exactly the same writing and that an individual cannot exactly reproduce his/her own handwriting due to writing variation. Variations are natural deviations that occur in a person’s handwriting.

Forensic Handwriting Analysis Expert Witness

The Process: Handwriting analysis involves a comprehensive comparative analysis between a questioned body of writing with a known body of writing. Specific habits, characteristics, and individualities in both the questioned known writings are examined for similarities and differences.

  1. Analysis - The first step is to analyze the known writing sample and the unknown writing sample for distinctive characteristics. The examiner looks for unique qualities such as letters and word spacing, letter and word slant, size and proportionality of letters, unusual formations of letters, flourishes, and other individual attributes.
  2. Comparison - The next step is to differentiate elements from the known sample to those of the unknown sample. The examiner considers spelling, grammar, punctuation, and phraseology as well.
  3. Evaluation - The third stage is the formulation of a conclusion based on the significance and combination of the characteristics observed during the comparison and any limitations present.
  4. Verification - The final stage of the examination process is verification. At this stage, another qualified document examiner reviews the results of the initial examiner using the same methodology described above.   This process is performed to ensure the following:
    •   That appropriate examinations of the questioned documents have been conducted.
    •   The examiner’s conclusions are accurate and consistent with the assigned scope of work.
    •   The examiner’s conclusions are accurate and consistent within the limits and standards of the discipline.
    •   There is supporting data to support the examiner’s findings.

Forensic Handwriting Analysis Example

The handwriting examples below are from two different writers.

Structural differences (1) can be seen from the letter formations by each writer. Connecting strokes to letters (2) and slant (3) are visible and differ from each writer’s distinctive style. In addition, baseline alignment (4) is considerably unique whereas one writer consistently writes on the baseline and the other repeatedly deviates below the baseline.

Forensic Handwriting Analysis Expert Example

1) Structural Difference 2) Connecting Strokes 3) Slant 4) Baseline Alignment

Relevant Standards

Standards are published by the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), Organization of Scientific Area (OSAC) Sub-Committee in Forensic Document Examinations.

Questioned Document Examinations

Questioned document examination is a discipline within forensic science that pertains to documents with disputed authenticity or origin. A questioned document investigation is used to ascertain the authenticity (or lack thereof) of a document or other item when it comes into question. The examination of known to questioned documents provides analytical results regarding the similarities or differences between the samples using a variety of scientific principles and methods.

To discuss your case with an expert, call us at 800.813.6736 or submit an inquiry.

Featured Experts

Mark Songer, Forensic Document Examiner

Mark Songer, M.S.F.S.

Forensic Document Examiner
Mark Songer is a court qualified expert in Forensic Document Examinations. He is a former FBI Special Agent (GS-1811) and FBI Document Analyst (GS-1397) with over 30 years of law enforcement and… read more.
Gregory Dalzell, Forensic Document Examiner

Gregory Dalzell, MA, ABFDE

Forensic Document Examiner
Gregory Dalzell is a Forensic Document Examiner with 27 years of professional experience in government agency work, with the last 13 years spent serving in the U.S. Secret Service as a Supervisory… read more.

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