Certified Forensic Document Examiner
The task of forensic document examination is to answer questions about a document using a variety of scientific processes and methods. Many examinations involve a comparison of the questioned document, or components of the document, to a set of known standards. The most common type of examination involves handwriting wherein the examiner tries to address concerns about potential authorship. A questioned, or suspect document, may be one of many types as outlined below. One task of a forensic document examiner is to determine if a questioned item originated from the same source as the known item(s), then present their opinion in court as an expert witness. Other tasks include determining what has happened to a document or deciphering information on the document that has been obscured, obliterated or erased.
A “questioned” document is any signature, handwriting, typewriting, or other mark whose source or authenticity is in dispute or doubtful. Letters, checks, driver licenses, contracts, wills, voter registrations, passports, petitions, threatening letters, suicide notes, and lottery tickets are the most common questioned documents, although marks on doors, walls, windows, or boards would also be included by definition.
Court-Qualified, Experienced Expert Witness
An expert witness is a witness, who by virtue of education, profession, publication or experience, is believed to have special knowledge of his or her subject beyond that of the average person, sufficient that others may officially (and legally) rely upon his or her opinion.