Questioned document examiner credentials

Are your forensic document examiner’s credentials valid?

Does your prospective document examiner have false information on their CV or web site? Is their school a legitimate school for training forensic document examiners? These are important questions to answer before retaining a document examiner.

Although most questioned document examiners are honest and reputable, it is important to learn whether the document examiner you plan to retain is one of the few whose credibility will be called into question in a courtroom. The opposing counsel will research your expert.

Examples of problem credentials

  • In a deposition a forensic document examiner was asked about the case in another state. The deponent replied, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” The examiner listed work from other states on the CV and website, yet had never performed work there.
  • A forensic document examiner listed an advanced degree from a university. When the name of the university was searched in Google, there were no results.
  • A forensic document examiner claims to be certified by a legitimate forensic document examination organization. Review of the membership list on the organization’s website shows the document examiner is not a member of the organization. Nor is the person certified by the organization.
  • Another forensic document examiner has been convicted of multiple felonies.


A recommendation is to perform due diligence on the prospective forensic document examiner. Use search engines and social media to your advantage.

Using Google, Yahoo, or your favorite search engine, search for your document examiner.  A suggestion is to add the words “document examiner” after the person’s name in order to filter potentially duplicate names. Next, find the name of the school where the person obtained training for forensic document examination.Type the name of the school into your search engine to discover the results.

Do the same for organizations of which the person claims offered a credential such as certification. Does the organization have a document examiner section? Is the credential available by being a member of the organization and sending money for the credential?

Ask the prospective document examiner if there is anything negative that may be discovered by the opposing counsel for impeachment on cross-examination.

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