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Guidelines for Forensic Document Examination, Part 5

NCJ Number
Forensic Science Communications Volume: 2 Issue: 2 Dated: April 2000 Pages: 1-3
Date Published
April 2000
3 pages
The FBI Laboratory's Scientific Working Group for Forensic Document Examination presents its Guideline for the Examination of Handwritten Items Having a Distorted Appearance.
The purpose of the guideline is to assist document examiners in determining whether or not handwritten items are suitable for comparison when one or more have a distorted appearance. The guideline requires that the document examiner have the following available: a light source of sufficient intensity to distinguish fine detail, an optical instrument capable of sufficient magnification to distinguish fine detail, and sufficient time to complete the procedures specified in the guideline. First, the apparent distortion in the writing should be evaluated. If appropriate, a comparison to other available writing may be made. Second, it should be determined whether or not it is possible to establish that the apparently distorted writing is "natural writing." If it is possible and it is natural writing, return to the referring guideline. If it is determined not to be natural writing, then it should be decided whether the apparently distorted writing is suitable for comparison. If it is, then return to the referring guideline. If it is not, then determine whether additional known writing would be of assistance. If so, additional known writing should be requested. Procedures are indicated according to the findings at various decision points.