HANDWRITING, SIGNATURE & MICROSCOPIC EXAMINATIONS
From identifying the handwriting of convicted murders, to eliminating individuals such as billionaire, Mark Zuckerberg, and famed European artist, Peter Doig, on high value contracts and paintings; handwriting and signature examination is largely the foundation of our practice and encompasses the majority of the casework we perform. The need for this type of service typically originates in cases where documents, such as: anonymous and/or threatening letters, wills (and other testamentary documents), medical records, insurance policy forms, deeds, mortgages, checks (and other banking transaction documents), contracts and/or agreements contain disputed signatures and/or writings that become key pieces of evidence in a court proceeding. Often times the identification, or elimination, of an author may be (or may become) the ultimate issue in the case.
The forensic examination and comparison of handwriting and signatures may require the aid of specialized microscopic laboratory equipment. In the field of forensic document examination, having the capabilities to conduct microscopic examinations is imperative. We not only have the capabilities to conduct a wide variety of specialized microscopic examinations, we also have the ability to capture and, produce the highest quality microscopic images for further use during our examinations and as demonstrative aides when rendering live testimony in court proceedings.
NON-DESTRUCTIVE INK ANALYSIS
Often times, forensic document examiners are faced with the task of analyzing and/or identifying different ink compositions appearing within a document to address a variety of issues including: revealing specialized security features, determining whether or not an insertion has occurred or even deciphering portions of obliterated text (either with ink overwriting or some type of correction fluid, such as White-Out). Different ink formulas will absorb and reflect infrared light at different wavelengths. With the aid of specialized video spectral equipment, an examiner can conduct a series of non-destructive spectral examinations, which then allow the examiner to view certain materials, such as inks and papers, beyond the visible light spectrum. More importantly, this type of analysis enables an examiner to visualize, and image, differences in the optical properties of the materials being examined; such as inks and paper stocks.
NON-DESTRUCTIVE INDENTATION ANALYSIS
Indented writings found on the surface of documents can provide key evidence in determining a variety of issues including the sequence of writings, sourcing documents together, dating documents and/or revealing alterations that may have occurred within a document. Indented writing can be deciphered though a variety of methods including specialized lighting techniques (i.e. oblique lighting), as well as processing the document(s) with the aid of an Electrostatic Detection Apparatus (ESDA). An ESDA analysis allows an examiner to non-destructively examine and develop writing indentations (either visible or latent) that appear on the surface of a document. The results of the ESDA examination can then be encapsulated as “ESDA lifts” for further analysis and for use as a demonstrative aide during live testimony in a court proceeding.
ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE ANAYLSIS
Electronic signature analysis is quickly becoming a routine part of the forensic document examination field. In a traditional signature examination, both the speed and the fluidity of a signature are interpreted by a document examiner in a subjective manner; however, by conducting a complete examination utilizing the raw signature data associated with an electronically captured signature, both of these features can be numerically quantified with precision. More specifically, electronic signature analysis allows for an examiner to obtain exact timing and sequence data for each of the individual strokes; as well as the exact construction of a signature itself — which can be extremely valuable when examining a complex stylized signature. In addition to a pictorial examination of the signature, the acceleration/deceleration data can also be generated and evaluated by an examiner in an electronic signature case, providing additional means of signature verification.
In addition, on November 3, 2011 in the case of American General Life Assurance Company of Columbus vs. Glenda Biles, et al., Federal Judge Tom S. Lee of the United States District Court, Southern District of Mississippi, Jackson Division ruled that the forensic analysis of electronically captured signatures does meet the Daubert requirements. Furthermore, on April 30, 2013 the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling which upheld the admission of electronic signature analysis testimony in that case.