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Forensic Science

Questioned Documents

Photo of Documents Case in Progress

Documents Case in Progress

Photo of Indented Writing

Indented Writing

Photo of Handwriting

Handwriting

The Questioned Documents Unit of the Laboratory deals primarily with the examination of handwriting in suspected forgeries; however, they also work with other types of forensic issues including:

  • Examination of indented writing using oblique lighting or electrostatic detection apparatus.
  • Typewriting comparison and reconstruction may establish that a particular typewriter was used to type a particular document, or suggest a particular brand of typewriter was used.
  • Determination of text from used ribbons.
  • Examination of altered documents including the detection of additions, erasures, obliterations, and changes.
  • Determination of fake documents including checks, wills, and bonds.

The most critical element in collecting document evidence is to minimize handling to prevent alterations. In handwriting comparison cases, the collection of writing standards is also important. The content and format of the standards must be the same as the questioned text. For specific guidelines in a particular case, call the Documents Unit for advice.