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Guidelines for Forensic Document Examination, Part 3, by SWGDOC (Forensic Science Communications, April 2000)

Guidelines for Forensic Document Examination, Part 3, by SWGDOC (Forensic Science Communications, April 2000)

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Masthead - Forensic Science Communications
April 2000   Volume 2   Number 2

Guidelines for Forensic Document Examination

 

Part 3

 

 

Scientific Working Group for Forensic
Document Examination (SWGDOC)

 

Revised January 2000

Read about …

Introduction
Guidelines:
Examination of Handwritten Items
Examination of Exclusively
Questioned Handwritten Items
Examination of Nonoriginal
Handwritten Items
Examination of Handwritten Items
Having a Distorted Appearance
Safe Handling of Contaminated Document Evidence and the Preservation of Associated Trace Evidence
Discussion of the Guideline
for the Safe Handling of Contaminated Document Evidence and the Preservation of Associated Trace Evidence
Quality Assurance and
Proficiency Testing
Comments
Acknowledgments

Guideline for the
Examination of Exclusively
Questioned Handwritten Items

1. Purpose
To determine whether or not two or more questioned handwritten items were written by the same person(s).

2. Introduction
2.1.
This Guideline will be used as a continuation of the Guideline for the Examination of Handwritten Items.

2.2. Terms defined in the glossary are in italics when they first appear in the Guideline.

3. Requirements
That the forensic document examiner will have the following available:

3.1. A light source of sufficient intensity to distinguish fine detail.

3.2. An optical instrument capable of sufficient magnification to distinguish fine detail.

3.3. Sufficient time to complete the procedures of this Guideline.

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4. Procedures
All steps should be performed, when applicable. However, the steps need not be performed in the order given.

4.1. Determine whether or not all of the writing is original. If not, see the Guideline for the Examination of Nonoriginal Handwritten Items. If original, continue with these procedures.

4.2. Determine whether or not any of the writing appears to be distorted. If any of the writing appears to be distorted, see the Guideline for the Examination of Handwritten Items Having a Distorted Appearance. If not, continue with these procedures.

4.3. Evaluate the writing for the following:

4.3.1. Type of writing. If there is more than one type of writing within the subject bodies of writing, separate the writing into subsets of single types of writing.

4.3.2. Range of variation of the writing.

4.3.3. Presence or absence of identifying characteristics.

4.4. Conduct a side-by-side comparison of comparable portions of the writing.

4.4.1. Comparability. If the subject bodies of writings are not comparable, discontinue the comparison.

4.4.2. Determine whether or not there are dissimilarities, absent characters, and/or similarities. Evaluate their significance individually and in combination.

4.4.3. Sufficient quantity. If the writing is not sufficient in quantity for an elimination or an identification, continue the comparison to the extent possible.

4.5. Form an opinion using Reporting Conclusions in Section 5 in this Guideline.

5. Reporting Conclusions
The following criteria should be met in order to reach the appropriate conclusion:

5.1. Identification of One Writer

5.1.1. The range of variation exhibited in the bodies of writing contains substantial significant similarities;

5.1.2. There are no significant dissimilarities; and

5.1.3. No limitations associated with absent characters, dissimilarities, and/or quantity of writing are present.

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5.2. Highly Probable One Writer

5.2.1 The range of variation exhibited in the bodies of writing contains substantial significant similarities;

5.2.2. There are no significant dissimilarities; and

5.2.3. Limitations associated with absent characters, dissimilarities, and/or quantity of writing are present.

5.3. Probably One Writer

5.3.1. The range of variation exhibited in the bodies
of writing contains some significant similarities;

5.3.2. There are no significant dissimilarities; and

5.3.3. Limitations associated with absent characters, dissimilarities, identifying characteristics, and/or quantity
of writing may be present.

5.4. Indications of One Writer

5.4.1. The range of variation exhibited in the bodies
of writing contains few significant similarities;

5.4.2. There are no significant dissimilarities; and

5.4.3. Limitations associated with absent characters, dissimilarities, identifying characteristics, and/or quantity
of writing may be present.

5.5. No Conclusion

5.5.1. The range of variation exhibited in the bodies of writing contains insufficient significant similarities and insufficient significant dissimilarities; and

5.5.2. Limitations associated with absent characters, identifying characteristics, and/or quantity of writing may be present.

5.5.3. There may be similarities and/or dissimilarities.

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5.6. Indications of Two or More Writers

5.6.1. The range of variation exhibited in two or more bodies of writing contains few significant dissimilarities;

5.6.2. Limitations associated with absent characters, identifying characteristics, and/or quantity of writing may be present.

5.6.3. There may be similarities.

5.7. Probably Two or More Writers

5.7.1. The range of variation exhibited in two or more bodies of writing contains some significant dissimilarities; and

5.7.2. Limitations associated with absent characters, identifying characteristics, and/or quantity of writing may be present.

5.7.3. There may be similarities.

5.8. Highly Probable Two or More Writers

5.8.1. The range of variation exhibited in two or more bodies of writing contains substantial significant dissimilarities; and

5.8.2. Limitations associated with absent characters, identifying characteristics, and/or quantity of writing may be present.

5.8.3. There may be similarities.

5.9. Elimination of One Writer

5.9.1. The range of variation exhibited in two bodies of writing contains substantial dissimilarities; and

5.9.2. No limitations associated with absent characters, identifying characteristics, and/or quantity of writing are present.

5.9.3. There may be absent characters.

5.9.4. There may be similarities.

6. Glossary
In progress

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Comments

Comments and questions concerning the Guideline for the
Examination of Exclusively Questioned Handwritten Items
may be forwarded to Susan Morton at magnolia@worldspy.net

Readers may also respond via a document comments form.

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FORENSIC SCIENCE COMMUNICATIONS     APRIL 2000   VOLUME 2   NUMBER 2

 

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