What is a Forensic Document Examiner?

What is a Document Examiner?

Anonymous letters, signatures or writing in question, altered documents – all these and more come under a forensic document examiner’s job description

A Forensic Document Examiner is not a specific course of study in a college, but rather a disciplined study of handwriting and document examination with at least a two-year apprenticeship under the tutelage of a mentor, who is recognized as an expert in the field.

“Forensic” means “the application of science to law.” A Forensic Document Examiner – also known as Questioned Document Examiner – discovers and develops evidence from a document or handwriting that can be used as support for an opinion in a court of law.

As a Handwriting Expert, it is my job to determine whether handwriting or printing is authentic or a result of disguise, simulation, tracing or simply someone else’s writing altogether. I study and identify signatures, hand printing, handwriting, initials, and numbers.

As a questioned document examiner, I also study documents made by —

  • computer printers
  • typewriters
  • copy machines
  • fax machines
  • offset and lithograph printers

I compare papers, inks, printing, typewriting, computer-generated documents, facsimiles, photocopies, rubber stamps and holes made by a stapler, perforations or hole-punch.

Recently there has been some need for the analysis of digital signatures. If there is sufficient data, I can decipher and analyze those as well.

Since the tremendous success of television shows like CSI and Forensic Files, we are often asked about our job and the “glamorous” work we do. While most people would not find laboratory work appealing, I find the examination of handwriting and documents highly intriguing. Analyzing documents is done in methodical (sometimes tedious) systematic way so that as much of the scientific evidence as possible is considered before an opinion is formed – rather like putting together a puzzle.

If you are looking for a complete description of the services provided by Forensic Document Examiners and any other field in Forensics, I recommend that you take a look at ForensicScienceSimplified.org

For more information or help with your document examination you may wish to contact me at Forensic QDE Lab, llc

Offices in Escondido, Long Beach and Riverside, CA  —  888-760-0339