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11:12 Notes- Questioned Documents-.odt

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Michigan State University
Criminal Justice
CJ 210

11/12 Notes: Questioned Documents: • Questioned documents can be paper or any object that contains linguistic or numerical markings that are put there by handwriting, typwriting, copying, computer printer or by other means • It is a questioned document if there is doubt as to whether the document is authentic, or who the author is • Can be doors, mirrors, walls etc... • First questioned document examiners were photographers • Didn't begin in the united states until 1913 • Training really involves an apprenticeship • No two people write exactly the same; each writer has distinct habits and traits (class v. individual) • Act of writing becomes subconscious, and you cannot understand the subconscious • Depression, drug abuse, and physical illness can effect handwriting • An exemplar is a know sample of handwriting to use to compare to the unknown • There are no standards to the minimum number of characteristics that must be present in known and unknown handwriting samples in order to reach a conclusion of individuality • Look for: ◦ Spacing between letters ◦ Spacing between words ◦ Relative proportions between letters and withing letters ◦ Individual letter formations ◦ Formations of letter combinations ◦ The overall slant of the writing ◦ Connecting strokes ◦ Pen lifts ◦ Beginning and ending strokes ◦ Unusual flourishes ◦ Pen pressure • Individual variations are: ◦ Mechanical Functions: how you hold a pen ◦ Physical Functions: dexterity ◦ Mental Functions: Your emotional state • Exemplars: a copy from original source (analysis can not proceed without exemplars) • Request samples: given voluntarily or by court order • Non-Request samples: Result from everyday transactions • Major drawback is temporal due to change in handwriting
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