Explain the role and importance of a Document Handwriting Expert.

The role of a Document Handwriting Expert is the studying and investigating of Documents to determine the facts about them, their preparation and subsequent treatment. The Document Handwriting Expert must be able to identify handwriting, typewriting and printed matter. The expert must also be able to distinguish between forgery and genuineness, to analyse inks, papers and other substances that are combined into documents, to reveal additions and substitutions in a Document and to restore erased or obliterated writing. Alterations must be dealt with as well as reconstructing writing on charred or burned paper. Recovering writing from indentions on a pad of paper for example is also dealt with. The expert must also be familiar with Microscope analysis, photography and thin layered chromatography(separation of dyes). Document analysis Ink examination Paper examination Machine examination (for example: typewriters, computer Printers, fax machines and photocopiers). Apply knowledge and experience to recognize and compare the individual characteristics of questioned and known authentic writings.

Handwriting analysis -

Letters, checks, driver’s licenses, contracts, wills, voter’s registrations, passports, petitions and lottery tickets are just some examples of Documents (where an issue has been raised or are subject to investigation) that the expert has to apply his or her knowledge and skill to. A document Handwriting expert must also be familiar with various types of equipment or methods such as : Various magnification devices. For example: stereo Microscope or illuminated magnifiers. Various light sources and filters. Instrument to image impressions. Cameras, photoshop (computer software) and scanners. UV/IR spectral comparator. For example a VSC 5000 (video spectral comparator) which differentiates inks and reveals hidden materials on documents (used for obliterations and additions to documents). ESDA (Electrostatic detection apparatus) which produces an evidential record of any indentations which are present upon a page. Raman spectroscopy (differentiation of inks). 1b.) The importance of a Document Handwriting expert is that their work may reduce the number of cases entering the overloaded court system by assisting the decision makers before the case reaches the court. The facts developed by the Document Handwriting expert based on scientific investigation, not circumstantial evidence or the sometimes unreliable testimony of witnesses, may convince prosecuting or defense attorneys, a grand jury, or a judge that an issue does not merit a court hearing. -

Knowledge of various printing processes and methods ex: inkjet printer. being able to work independently and making multiple tasks their priority. light and optics). gel pen. toner and thermal etc. chemically treated and moldy). Typewriter. The expert contributes to restoring faith in judicial processes by using science and technology in the search for truth in civil. Knowledge of the physics of light (theory of colour. dot matrix printer. criminal. laser printer. Knowledge and ability to determine the authenticity of documents based . Document Examiners help attorneys prepare to present their findings in a court of law. Describe the skills required for a Forensic Document Handwriting expert ? Forensic Document Handwriting experts must have very good selfmanagement skills. following and understanding instructions. Knowledge and ability to distinguish forgery methods in handwriting.) Knowledge of limitations and procedures to examine damaged documents (e. and juries which is helpful in determining the innocence or guilt of the accused.When their case does go before a court of law.) and substrates. and often rely on that expertise to win the case. the expert may be summoned to testify as an expert witness about their findings and conclusions on the case. Knowledge of different security features ex: watermarks and optical variable inks. vellum. Knowledge and ability to distinguish physical and chemical properties of paper and other substrates. for example: Being able to handle stressful situations.g. charred. judges. fountain pen. A skilled document examiner can be professionally deposed and even assist the attorney in cross-examination of opposing experts. Attorneys benefit from a Document Examiner's specialized knowledge in the field. Ability and knowledge of how to differentiate physical characteristics of writing inks (eg: ball point pen. Knowledge of various types of fraudulent documents (how they are counterfeited and falsified). The work of the Document Handwriting expert at times proves the existence of a crime or makes connections to a crime. (eg: glossy. pencil etc. water soaked. and regulatory matters. Here are some more required skills: Ability to distinguish between authentic and fraudulent documents. In addition to assisting victims of forgery or fraud. checkwriter. attorneys.The expert also requires knowledge about the handling of laboratory equipment and instruments and correct laboratory procedures. The Handwriting Document expert provides information and expert opinion to investigators. recycled papers etc.

Knowledge and ability to classify the style of type and recognize typeface defects present on typewritten information (e. Knowledge and ability to distinguish different writing instruments and writing inks. Ability to provide assistance and educate legal counsel concerning the field of questioned documents. Ability to observe handwriting detail (pattern recognition). Ability to demonstrate and communicate questioned document concepts in a detailed manner. etc. Knowledge of procedures and protocols related to the judicial process. compare. obliterations.g. Ability to compare individual characteristics in questioned handwriting with known handwriting specimens and properly evaluate concordances and discordances. mental illness etc). Knowledge and ability to determine all types of alterations (e. non-print areas.g. trustworthy. alignment and typeface defects). observant. persistent.erasures). Ability to collect known/reference handwriting exemplars suitable for comparison. Awareness of the influence of environmental factors on document characteristics (ex: sunlight. package and store materials for submission to further phases (ex: not writing on an envelope with a document inside). Knowledge and ability to determine all types of indented writing. organized and patient. physical condition. stamps. humidity. Knowledge and ability to use available advanced instrumentation and equipment. handle.) Knowledge and ability to properly collect. Personality traits: Honest. Awareness of the various factors that can interfere with handwriting (ex: position of the writer. It is a fact that no two signatures are ever exactly identical. An attempt is made to reproduce exactly the same features of an . writing surface and writing instrument.g. preserve. Traced Signature – Signatures which have the same appearance show the fact that tracing was used and tracing a signature is a type of forgery crime. Excellent eyesight is obviously extremely important. List and explain in brief various types of Document / Handwriting fraud crimes. seals). and evaluate handwriting characteristics of letters and words. Ability to analyse. influence of alcohol.on mechanical impressions (e.

receipt. a paper is put over authentic model signature and a pencil is used to trace model signature with light pressure. Glass plate and torch tracing: This method is the same method b. . His employer used the blank paper which contains the signature of his employee and with his / her typewriter the employer typed the written agreement on the document. What Traced forgery shows is: 1. this attempt is known as traced signature forgery. Mathematical similarities. The forger has the genuine signature model or writing in front of him / her and attempts to copy or imitate the obvious features and style to the best of his / her power of skill. The employer presents a document signed by his employee agreeing that the decision to terminate his employment is correct. mainly in the general letter forms.) Carbon paper tracing: The carbon paper is placed on the to be forged document and then the model of the authentic signature is put over the carbon paper. 3c. observation and ability with the writing selected writing instrument.) Forgery over a genuine signature – This type of forgery is when someone signs on a blank sheet of paper and give it for example to their trusted attorney. A paper is simply put over authentic model signature and traced using an ink pen. will or for employment contracts / agreements. Torch and pointed pen tracing: Light source (torch) is put under glass plate (glass table for example). 2. Exact copy. Poor Line quality with defects (erratic and tremulous). 3. Traces of carbon paper are left on the document on which this forgery has been done. 3b. Then the final paper is put over paper which was used for tracing and the forger then uses an ink pen to apply the final forged signature. Close similarity with original signature. 4.authentic model signature by using a tracing process. For example: An employer wants to terminate the employment of one of his employees. a cut model of authentic signature is placed upon glass plate. The employee though never signed this document. Moving the pointed pencil or object on top of the authentic signature leaves the authentic signature traced on the document underneath. employer or clerk who in some instances have used the signature for dishonest unlawful purposes for making for example an agreement.) Freehand or simulated forgery – an imitation or copy of a genuine signature or writing. This type of carried out forgery has a close similarity to the original.) mentioned above except the paper and pencil which is used to trace the model of the authentic signature is not used. Tracing methods are as follows – 1.

The document has been tampered with for various reasons. sandpaper or razor blade) is named Mechanical or physical erasure.)Tampered document alteration fraud – Alteration fraud is when the forger alters a digit.00 for the sole purpose of extra personal financial gain.00. Removing anything from a document with the use of any erasure instrument like an Indian rubber eraser or sharp instrument (knife. These reasons are that the individual usually tries to gain respectability. wealth. The security print of checks get disturbed if erasure is used in checks.00 on the money order to $15.000. writing or printing from a document. Sometimes in special cases it is even possible to decipher original writings. Sometimes the physical erasure also leaves the paper more thin or with holes which depends on the intensity of the erasing. Erasure crime example: A electrician has just finished work at a client’s house and gives this client his companies invoice which charges a total of $2500. 3e. . word or figure in a document without using any unnecessary retouching or overwriting. Scratching or abrasion is caused by physical erasure which causes disturbed paper fibres and leaves parts of original writing which means there are traces which can be easily identified.3d. feathering will be visible when anything is written on the erased part of the check because of the disturbed paper fibres.00. personal possessions or respectability.) Tampered document physical erasure fraud – removal of typewriting. property. Later this person changes the digit amount of $5000. For example a person receives a money order for something that he / she had sold to someone else. The client later erases one zero and only pays $250.

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