Handwriting Expert and Document Examiner

Forensic Document Examination Services

Ms. Barto completes an annual competency testing in the Questioned Documents and Handwriting Examination with Collaborative Testing Services, Inc. which is an accredited testing facility for most areas of the Forensic Sciences. Review the accreditation here: 2017 CTS testing results for competency 

Handwriting analysis is an empirical science that was initiated over 100 years ago. As a document examiner and handwriting expert, it is my job to determine the authenticity or the origin of any given document whether it is handwritten, type written, photocopied, computer printed, faxed or duplicated by any other means. There is an objective criteria followed by an unbiased document examiner, and that is the scientific methodology of examining, measuring, comparing, and evaluating differences or similarities found in the case at hand. Document examination can extend to identification of paper, ink, and process of duplication. However, handwriting is the most popular case taken as a forensic document examiner.

Handwriting has a given set of parameters defined by indentifying characteristics found in the handwriting of all individuals on this planet. Because no two brains think alike, no two people write exactly the same. At the same time, no one writes exactly the same way twice. Here lies where a handwriting analyst’s examination comes into play. The examination of several handwriting samples from a single author will produce what a forensic document examiner refers to as natural variation. The habituation in how these writings are executed is unique to each individual, and with careful observation, distinct characteristics become identifiable by the amount of times they are seen in a given body of writing. The more the characteristic appears, the more it becomes a habit or identifying characteristic of that person. The absence of particular characteristics, found in a known sample of writing, in a questioned writing lends to a forgery. The elements considered by a handwriting analyst are, but not limited to:

Abbreviation; alignment (relation to the baseline); arrangement; formatting and positioning; capitalization; connectedness and disconnectedness (if and how a letter is connected or not to another); cross strokes and dots, diacritics, and punctuation; direction of strokes; disguise; embellishments (beginning and ending flourishes); formation; freedom of execution (fluidity v. slow awkward pen movement); line quality; pen pressure; proportion(size of a capital letter when compared to a lower case letter); size; skill; slant or slope(which direction the writing leans); spacing; speed; system; tremor; type of writing; and range of variation.

According to the rules of the forefathers of document examination, Albert Osborn, Ordway Hilton, Wilson Harrison, and James V.P. Conway, a single significant difference in the fundamental structure of a writing compared to another is enough to preclude common authorship. (Handwriting Facts and Fundamentals, Roy Huber and A.M. Headrick, CRC Press LLC, 1999, pp 50-51)

Handwriting experts are far and few in between. So much so that I am literally called to cover all areas of Northern California which includes, but is not limited to: Citrus Heights, Sacramento, Roseville, Vacaville, Dixon, Davis, El Dorado Hills, Folsom, Lodi, Galt, Stockton, Modesto, Madera, Livermore, San Jose, Walnut Creek, Oakland, Morgan Hill, Danville, Berkeley, San Francisco, Pacifica, Half Moon Bay, Santa Clara, Vallejo, Napa, Santa Rosa, Fresno, Visalia, Bakersfield, Yuba City, Marysville, Elk Grove, South Sacramento, Rocklin, Lincoln, Eureka, Chico, Redding, Yreka, Humboldt, Bay Area, Santa Cruz, Oakley, Rodeo, Pleasanton, San Rafael, Antioch, Angwin, St. Helena, Yountville, Vallejo, Benicia, South Lake Tahoe, Paradise, Nyack, Auburn, Placerville, Pollock Pines, Shingle Springs, and all surrounding areas. States of service are California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, and other United States per agreement.

ALM Handwriting Expert Witness

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