Handwriting Expert Witnesses: Their Role, Value, and Admissibility

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Ink Dating

There’s more to a piece of paper than meets the eye – and paper analysis can find it. This specialized investigative process extracts historical and physical evidence from documents, photographs, art prints, books, and other paper-based objects. These tools are used, alone or in combination, to characterize the properties of paper in a number of ways. For example, a qualitative analysis shows what materials are in the paper, fiber, ink; quantitative analysis measures how much.

In this article, Forensic Document Examiner & Handwriting Expert, Mark The accuracy and precision of ink dating depends primarily on the.

Most enquires regarding signature and handwriting comparisons typically fall into these two categories:. This is not asking who wrote it but instead, was it all written by only one person? The methodology of a signature or handwriting comparison depends on the following factors which influence what documents are required to endeavour to form a definite conclusion:. It is also normally essential to compare handwriting to handwriting and NOT handwriting to a signature as many writers will depart from the normal letter designs of their handwriting to write their signatures.

A sufficient quantity of specimen is required for a reasonably conclusive result. It is not possible to precisely advise on this quantity, as it will depend on the skill of the writer and the exclusiveness and complexity of their writing. When examining specimen, it is important to have a sufficient quantity of samples that will reveal the usual parameters of natural variation that all writers display in their handwriting, i.

It is also the case that some writers will use a range of designs or will vary the style or format depending on the circumstances of writing. A strong opinion is prevented where there is a risk that the specimen handwriting supplied in an examination does not necessarily reveal the full range of variation of the writer. Signatures or handwriting that are low in complexity are problematic for two reasons: -firstly, the simple handwriting of one person is more difficult to distinguish from the simple handwriting of another writer because there are fewer individualising features to compare.

Therefore, if a signature or questioned handwriting is low in complexity, or there is very little of it to compare, it can prevent a definite conclusion irrespective of the other factors that are taken into account in an examination. In a handwriting comparison, it is not usually possible to produce a definite conclusion based on, for example, a comparison of four questioned words written in upper case even if there are many pages of specimen handwriting.

Signature & Handwriting Analysis

Discrimination of black pen inks on writing documents using visible reflectance spectroscopy and PLS-DA. Zacca II ; Bruno R. Trindade II ; and Jez W. The analysis of inks is performed to verify the occurrence of forgery in documents. Spectroscopic methods are attractive techniques for use in forensic document analysis as they, in most instances, preserve the integrity of the document. In this work, it is proposed a discrimination method of black pen inks of different types, brands and models for application in cursive handwriting.

This is the logically correct framework for the evaluation of forensic evidence To date, my colleagues and I have published two research papers describing the The International Ink Library & Digital Ink Library, maintained jointly by the U.S.

Chemical and physical analysis of inks on questioned documents provides valuable information regarding their authenticity. Comparison of these chemical and physical properties of two or more inks can determine: 1 if the inks were made by the same manufacturer; 2 in some cases, whether the inks are products of the same production batch; and 3 the first production date of the specific ink formulation involved.

When dating tags are detected, it is possible to determine the actual year or years when the ink was manufactured. Dating tags are unique chemicals that have been added to ball-point inks by some ink companies as a way to determine the year the ink was made. Relative age comparison tests performed on inks of the same formula and written on the same type of paper with the same storage conditions performed by measuring changing solubility properties of inks can estimate how long inks have been written on paper.

This is done by: 1 comparing the rates and extents of extraction of questioned and known dated inks in organic solvents by thin-layer chromatography TLC densitometry; 2 comparing changes in dye concentrations by TLC and TLC densitometry; and 3 comparing the volatile ink components by gas chro-matography-mass spectrometry GC-MS. In cases where known dated writings are not available for comparison with questioned inks, accelerated aging heating the ink to induce aging of the ink can sometimes be used to estimate the age of ink using any or all of the above described techniques.

Iron-based inks can be dated by measuring the migration of iron along the fibers of the paper by Scanning auger microscopy. This article describes state of the art procedures for the chemical and physical comparison, identification and dating of inks on questioned documents. Knowledge of the composition of inks is necessary to understand the reasons for the various methods used to analyze inks.

Also, knowledge of the first production date for each type of ink or certain ingredients in the inks is useful for dating inks. In its simplist form carbon inks consist of amorphous carbon shaped into a solid cake with glue. It is made into a liquid for writing by grinding the cake and suspending the particles in a water-glue medium.

Ink Analysis

All rights reserved. Basic concepts. Closed and open systems. Relative and absolute age. Mass invariance.

In fact, the dating of documents is a key area in the field of forensic of the method using spontaneously written documents whose exact age.

Ronald N. Morris Certified Forensic Document Examiner. When most people think of ink analysis they, think that it is a destructive examination which means my document is going to be severely damaged or destroyed. That is not completely accurate. There is a way of examining ink entries without damaging the document, and it is usually the only test necessary to resolve the issue of ink differentiation. The examination process, known as infrared fluorescence, or luminescence, was developed by Mr.

Gibson for use in the study of tissue samples. Forensic document examiners have used the same technique for nondestructive ink differentiation examinations for many years. At the same web site there are links to other articles about the theory and equipment necessary to perform nondestructive ink examinations.

How Handwriting Analysis Works

Yes, with certain limitations. We can determine the first date of commercial availability of the ink used to prepare any handwritten or handprinted material. The type of ink does not preclude this examination.

Along with it, the chemical constitution of the material can also be estimated by the Ink Dating Method. There are 2 forms of Ink Dating i.e 1).

But this technique is also able to overcome other stumbling blocks relating to the amount of ink deposited when writing and the type of paper used, as these variables hamper the dating of a document by means of traditional methods. What is more, the new technique reduces the number of punctures needed to analyse the writing on a document to just one.

Determining the age of a document to find out whether it is authentic is a task influenced by the type of paper on which it has been written, the pressure of the stroke -the amount of ink deposited when the writing was done- or even the technique used. Until now, document dating methods have been able to indicate whether the writing was relatively new less than 90 days or older over two years , yet this chronological accuracy is insufficient in certain cases, above all in judicial ones.

Each document was produced at different moments using a different ink stroke pressure, factors that may alter the results and lead to dating errors. During the natural ageing process of each sample, which had a known age, the research team analysed the evolution in the various volatile components. When analysing the kinetics involved in its disappearance, the research group established a pattern that links the state of the ink with the time that has elapsed.

After observing this natural evolution and once the base guideline had been established, the next challenge to be overcome was to check the viability of the method using spontaneously written documents whose exact age was known, such as diaries, laboratory logs and judicial evidence from judicial processes that had been closed. So the team used the same procedure as that used to analyse the samples produced for the research. And Datink also passed the test. In other words, when applying this analysis procedure, the team can indicate whether the document was written 1, days previously just over four years with a margin of days either way.

Until now, the passing of time was detected only in a very general way, in other words, it was possible to determine whether the document was young whether it was less than 90 days old or old more than 2 years. So Datink has overcome some of the drawbacks graphology examination comes up against when ascertaining the age of a document by means of other methods. Likewise, the team that has developed this new method has managed to obtain results using minimal amounts taken from the document.

Ink Dating

There are four major approaches each approach is a group of methods used for dating inks on documents:. Other ink entries are not necessary for comparison. Aginsky has developed the SET as a result of many years of research of the ink aging methodology developed and published by Dr. Antonio A. Cantu in the s. The second ink dating approach analyzes the chemical composition of inks on a contested document with the aim to determine whether these inks as well as other materials used to produce the document — paper, inkjet printing ink, toner, stamp pad ink, etc.

Also, knowledge of the first production date for each type of ink or certain not adequately separate the dyes in the ink for accurate densitometer readings, repeat forensic scientists, document examiners and attorneys throughout the world.

There are typically two different forensic methods for ink dating. With this method the forensic analysis determines the components in the ink, compares them against a library of standards and then allows an opinion regarding the first date that particular ink was manufactured commercially available. The dynamic approach is very useful in determining if a pen ink was placed on a document on its purported date, i. There are only a handful of forensic scientists capable of performing these tests and laboratories equipped with the proper tools.

The proposed tests are minimally invasive, the latter two involving the placement of pinhole perforations in the text, paper and signatures on the Original Document. The pinholes themselves are not typically easily visible unless the document is held up to light, and the testing has no negative effect on handwriting analysis.

Document Analysis: A Summary of Possibilities – Expert Article

Questioned material may consist of identification cards, contracts, wills, titles and deeds, seals, stamps, bank checks, handwritten correspondence, machine-generated documents such as those from photocopiers, fax machines, and printers , currency and electronic documents. In some circumstances, graffiti and digital signatures may be examined; however, the client should be aware that the examination of these types of evidence can be problematic.

Even documents that were shredded or burned may prove useful if reconstructed. In digital documents, evidence could even be culled from the metadata of electronic signature files, providing information such as who the author is and when the document was written.

Federal Forensic Associates determines the dates of questioned documents We can determine the first date of commercial availability of the ink used to.

When there’s a suspect in a crime and the evidence includes a handwritten note, investigators may call in handwriting experts to see if there’s a match. In some cases, it might be the one piece of evidence that gets a suspect charged and eventually convicted. But what if it’s a false match? How exactly do experts go about analyzing someone’s handwriting? In the world of forensic analysis, which includes crime scene investigation , DNA testing , fiber analysis, fingerprint analysis, voice identification and narcotics analysis, to name just a few of the disciplines, handwriting analysis fits into the area of questioned documents.

Handwriting analysis is a tedious and methodical process that relies on extensive knowledge of the way people form letters, which characteristics of letter formation are unique and the physiological processes behind writing – the ways in which a person’s fine-motor skills can affect his or her handwriting and leave clues about the author’s identity. The primary basis of handwriting analysis as a science is that every person in the world has a unique way of writing. When we were all kids in primary school, we learned to write based on a particular copybook – a style of writing.

Which copybook our handwriting is based on depends on when and where we grew up see Handwriting-L: Copybook Examples for good examples of copybooks from different countries and eras. So at first, we all probably wrote in a similar way to kids of our own age and location. But with the passing of time, those writing characteristics we learned in school – our style characteristics – became only the underlying method of our handwriting. We developed individual characteristics that are unique to us and distinguish our handwriting from someone else’s.

Most of us don’t write the way we did in first or second grade. And while two or more people may share a couple of individual characteristics, the chance of those people sharing 20 or 30 individual characteristics is so unlikely that many handwriting analysts would say it’s impossible.

Global Forensic Services, LLC

Ink Dating is done in two primary forms. The first ink dating method is the static approach, which determines when the ink being examined was manufactured. The second ink dating method is the dynamic approach, this method is to determine when the writing occurred, or in simple terms, how long the ink has been on the paper. The ink dating static approach is typically more useful as the difference between the date on the document and the present time increases.

Several different tests exist in this form of ink dating. These ink dating methods include the comparison of the examined ink to a known library of standards, commonly called the library approach, the detection of chemical date tags placed in the ink purposefully by the manufacturer, commonly called the date tag method, and also the determination of the type of ink writing instrument used.

The aging of ink is an important factor in the forensic examination of documents. The ability to accurately time date writings and signatures deposited on a.

Global Forensic Services can provide objective examination of evidence in active cases or on previously performed work to determine if proper procedures were followed and accurate results were given. Courtroom assistance can be provided to include expert testimony and trial preparation. Global Forensic Services provides objective examination of evidence in active cases or on previously performed work to determine if proper procedures were followed and accurate results were given.

Additional consultants are brought in as needed to provide the best overall service available. It is believed that this consultant service provides the best forensic services available to assist you in solving the mystery at hand. Larry Stewart has more than 35 years of experience conducting forensic examinations for state and federal agencies as a forensic scientist for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the United States Secret Service.

He is now in private practice and is offering his experience and knowledge to you. Stewart has worked for the U. Government as a forensic scientist for 25 years. During that time he has worked on many notable cases to include; the Unabomber, numerous accused Nazi war criminals, e. John Demanjuk, a.

Ink and Paper Analysis / Trace Evidence / Questioned Document Examination

Continue to access RSC content when you are not at your institution. Follow our step-by-step guide. Sauzier curtin. This paper presents a study into the potential of visible spectroscopy with chemometrics as an approach to dating blue ball tip inks on paper documents.

precise date. The considered scale can significantly vary depending on the measured parameters. Thus, while solvents disappear very quickly from the ink.

In this article, Forensic Document Examiner, Mark Songer provides an overview of the cases where forensic document examination can be applied, the techniques and technologies used, and standards that exist in the field. In , an intruder broke into the home of an elderly couple living in California. The couple was robbed, beaten, and forced to write checks from their personal account before being murdered. The suspect denied having anything to do with the murders. He claimed the checks were payment for landscaping work he had done for the couple two weeks earlier.

While detectives were able to link the suspect to the crime scene using DNA evidence, they still had questions about the checks the suspect attempted to cash. Could one of the victims have written the checks?

What Is Forensic Carbon 14 Dating?


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