Linda Spencer, MS, CGA
Forensic handwriting expert and document examiner Warren Spencer welcomes your questions.
The following are a few questions that are often asked.
What should I look for when hiring a forensic handwriting examiner?
Important considerations when choosing a handwriting expert:
The stakes are high and the outcomes are serious in court cases. This is not a profession for handwriting amateurs. It is important to investigate a forensic document examiners experience and credentials including court testimony. As most cases settle out of court it takes years to develop a significant number of expert witness court testimonies. This is not a field for hype, experts who refer to themselves as the 'Nations Best 'or 'Worlds Top' expert may use the same exaggeration in the courtroom. This is a field for facts only. The forensic document examiner or forensic handwriting expert with only two or three years of experience is unlikely to have had more than a few opportunities to be called as an expert witness and to have experienced testifying in a variety of court types. Ask questions in these areas early on to avoid having your handwriting expert witness impeached.
How much handwriting do you need to do a forensic document examination?
As many samples as reasonably possible and preferably the handwriting will be close to the same time period. It is important to note that printing is compared to printing and cursive writing is compared to cursive. It is also helpful to the questioned document expert for the writing to contain as many of the same words as in the questioned handwriting sample. Original handwriting samples are best to work with but they may be lost or inaccessible Although this is the ideal, it is not always possible to meet these criteria and so we often work with the best quality copies possible.
Is it important to know the date of the handwriting?
Whenever possible the handwriting being questioned should be accompanied by handwriting exemplars (known handwriting) close to the same time .period. Within a few years is best. A signature written 20 years ago should be accompanied by known signatures from that same time period. Illness, injuries, aging, and medications can sometimes alter a persons signature. These circumstances need to be revealed to the handwriting examiner. Another reason dates are important is because now and then a signature is purported to have been written at a time when the the person is known to have been deceased or in a coma.
What are some examples of cases where a handwriting expert is retained?
Some examples of handwriting analysis case scenarios that clients have brought to us over the years:
- Someone is claiming that you wrote something that you know you did not write.
- A malicious note has been written on a bathroom wall and you have samples of handwriting of several suspects and want to know if any of these suspects wrote it.
- The client is not certain if they wrote their signature on a check.
- The individual authorized to sign a legal document is suspected of having asked someone else to sign their signature.
Need A Speaker?
Choose from several of our topics:
- How to protect yourself from signature fraud.
- How to prepare your case evidence when using a questioned document examiner,
- How a forensic handwriting expert can help if you receive a malicious note.
If you have an idea for a topic using handwriting please call and suggest it and we will be pleased to discuss your topic with you and examine ways to present it to your group.
Western suburbs of Chicago and Northern Illinois
St. Charles, IL 60174