Helpful Information for a Document Examiner’s Client

The sub-pages within this section contain information that assists clients to learn how they can best partner with the document examiner. A forensic document examiner is a scientific researcher. The objective is to collect a sufficient amount of evidence in order to determine a defensible opinion.

The sub-sections are:

The original questioned document – The questioned document is the document that is being authenticated. Often the focus of questioned document examination is whether a person did or did not execute the document. Other questions may be answered such as the age of the document, whether it was printed on a certain printer, etc.

Examples of a person’s known writing – Most evidence is collected from writings that were executed by the subject of the research in common settings. These settings may include writing a letter, signing a contract or other situations. Occasionally, a forensic document examiner needs to ask for “request exemplars.” These are writings that are obtained from the subject of the analysis by having the person write in the presence of the examiner. This section provides guidance to the client where to look for writings.

Learn the age of the documents – The closer in time that documents were written, the better the comparison. This is because people’s writing can change over time.

Learn the source of the documents – The known writings must be authenticated in order to ensure that document examination is comparing the questioned document to authenticated exemplars.

Work with your document examiner – Your document examiner is an expert as a handwriting examiner and document examiner. It is important to follow generally accepted methods in order to ensure that the best results are obtained. A document examiner can only report that which the evidence shows. Correct results require good and sufficient data.