Courtroom bias is a large problem in the legal system. Attorneys are paid to be advocates for their clients. As forensic document examiners, we are hired to be advocates for the evidence. Care must be taken not to provide information about the case to the case that can subconsciously bias the questioned document examination. Statements such as “we have an altered document”, “We contest a will due to a forged signature”, “Someone is falsifying medical records” or other seemingly harmless statements may accidentally bias the document examination.
Although scientific examination of questioned documents in a pure sense requires a blind analysis where the forensic document examiner is given the evidence without being told the wishes of the hiring party, this rarely occurs. Ideally, the document examiner is told, “We want to determine whether this person signed this document” without learning the hopes of the attorney.