1. What is a questioned document? Describe at least one example of something that might be a questioned document. A questioned document is any written or typed document that’s authenticity has been brought into question. A question document could be a will, drivers license, check, or painting that is suspected of being forged.
2. What is an exemplar? What are the best types of exemplars? An exemplar is an sample of typed or written documents that have been authenticated. Exemplars are used to compare to the questioned document. The best types of exemplars are those that are as close to the questioned document as possible. For example, if the questioned document is written on notebook paper, examiners would prefer if the exemplar is also written on notebook paper.
3. What are natural variations? Describe how these may happen. Natural variations are small differences in a persons handwriting that appear in any repetitious samples of writing. We all have these natural variations in our hand writing, and these may happen becase as people unconscious write their writing will not stay the exact same and take on natural variations.
4. How are stamped signatures different from written signatures? Stamped signatures generally have thick lines that lack things written signatures have, like varying width of the lines and darker spots with greater indentation where 2 lines intersect. (Such the cross of a “t” or “x.”)
5. What are some of the typescript machines that document examiners may have to investigate? Choose one of these machines and describe what document examiners may look for when comparing the machine to a questioned document. Some of the typescript machines that document examiners may have to investigate are printed documents from type writers, printers, or photocopiers. When examining a document created by a type writers examiners may compare exemplars from possible type writers the questioned document may have came from, or if they have the type writer itself they may examine the ribbon that saves impressions of anything the device had typed.
Critical Thinking Questions
1. Why are questioned documents important in forensic science? What is one example of a situation where a questioned document might be an important part of a criminal case? Question documents are important in forensic science because they can hold evidence to prove someone guilt or innocence. A question document could be an important part of a criminal case if it links a suspect to a crime. Using receipts you can prove someone was somewhere at a specific time, or examiners can prove who wrote the label on package that contained a bomb.
2. What are some of the ways that a document examiner might try to match a questioned document to a specific typewriter? What aspects might they look at? One aspect a document examiner might look at when trying to match a questioned document to a type writer is unique variations the type writer create after use, wear, and tear. They also may examine the ribbon that contains imprints of what is typed, or create exemplars to compare to the questioned document.
3. Imagine that you have been asked to determine whether a signature on a check is authentic or a forgery. What steps would you take in doing this? What aspects would you examine? I would first examine the check before comparing it to exemplars of signatures from the owner of the check. I would examine how much pressure the writer applies, the unique aspects of the style of writing, and then compare it to that of the exemplar. 4. Imagine that you have been asked to determine whether a will written fifty years ago is authentic or a modern-day forgery. How would you go about doing this? What aspects would you examine to help you make your determination? I would examine the ink and paper to see how old the document is, possibly using light to examine the ink or administering tests to examine the chemical compounds of the ink and paper. This could prove that the will is a forgery if the ink or paper is too modern. I would also examine the style of writing, because writing styles change throughout time.
5. A law enforcement agent is in charge of getting a writing sample from an uncooperative suspect. The agent puts the suspect in a comfortable room and has the person choose from a bunch of pencils and ink pens. The agent takes the questioned document and dictates the information to the suspect, having the suspect write down what she says as she reads from the questioned document. After several paragraphs, the agent stops and has the suspect rewrite the material two more times. What did the agent do wrong in this situation? What did the agent do right? I think the agent did everything correct. They made the suspect write things from the questioned document which will make it easier to compare, and by making them rewrite the material they ensure that the suspect is not disguising their hand writing.