Education & Training

Reliability of Trained Document Examiners

Articles | Cases


Paul Giannelli & Carin Cozza, Forensic Science: Daubert Challenges to Handwriting Comparisons, 42 Criminal Law Bulletin, May/June 2006, at 6.

Lynn C. Hartfield, Daubert/Kumho Challenges to Handwriting Analysis, Champion, Nov. 2002, at 24.

Jodi Sita, Bryan Found & Douglas K. Rogers, Forensic Handwriting Examiners' Expertise for Signature Comparison, 47 Journal of Forensic Sciences 1117 (2002).

Moshe Kam, Kishore Gummadidala, Gabriel Fielding & Robert Conn, Signature Authentication by Forensic Document Examiners, 46 Journal of Forensic Sciences 884 (2001).

Scientific Working Group for Forensic Document Examination (SWGDOC), Guidelines for Forensic Document Examination, Forensic Science Communications, April 2000.

D. Michael Risinger, Mark P. Denbeaux & Michael J. Saks, Exorcism of Ignorance as a Proxy for Rational Knowledge: The Lessons of Handwriting Identification 'Expertise,' 137 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 731 (Jan. 1999).

Moshe Kam, Gabriel Fielding & Robert Conn, Effects of Monetary Incentives on Performance of Nonprofessionals in Document-Examination Proficiency Tests, 43 Journal of Forensic Sciences 1000 (1998).

Andre Moenssens, Handwriting Identification Evidence in the Post-Daubert World, 66 UMKC Law Review 251 (1998).

D. Michael Risinger, Mark P. Denbeaux & Michael J. Saks, Brave New Post-Daubert World—A Reply to Professor Moenssens, 29 Seton Hall Law Review 405 (1998).

Moshe Kam, Gabriel Fielding & Robert Conn, Writer Identification by Professional Document Examiners, 42 Journal of Forensic Sciences 778 (1997).

Oliver Galbraith, Craig S. Galbraith & Nanette G. Galbraith, The Principle of the 'Drunkard's Search' as a Proxy for Scientific Analysis: The Misuse of Handwriting Test Data in a Law Journal Article, 1 International Journal of Forensic Document Examiners 7 (1995).

Moshe Kam, Joseph Wetstein & Robert Conn, Proficiency of Professional Document Examiners in Writer Identification, 39 Journal of Forensic Sciences 5 (1994).

Mark A. Rothstein, Wrongful Refusal to Hire: Attaching the Other Half of the Employment-At-Will Rule, 24 Connecticut Law Review 97 (1991).


United States v. Hidalgo, 229 F. Supp. 2d 961 (D. Ariz. 2002). The court questioned the reliability of handwriting analysis and would not allow a handwriting expert to testify that the handwriting in question belonged to the defendant, but the document examiner could testify to the mechanics and characteristics of handwriting, and his comparisons of similarities and differences.

United States v. Saelee, 162 F. Supp. 2d 1097 (D. Alaska 2001). The court made mention in a footnote that there is little known about the error rates of forensic document examiners. The little testing that existed questioned the reliability of the methods that were being used. The court stated that in some tasks the forensic document examiners may not be better at analyzing handwriting than laypeople.

United States v. Fujii, 152 F. Supp. 2d 939 (N.D. Ill. 2000). The court found that expert testimony regarding Japanese handprinting was inadmissible. It also ruled that handwriting analysis does not meet the Daubert standards and that there are few studies to support its reliability.

United States v. Hines, 55 F. Supp. 2d 62 (D. Mass. 1999). Opinion cited to Starzecpyzel and Denbeaux's testimony about the unreliability of document examiners.

United States v. Starzecpyzel, 880 F. Supp. 1027 (S.D.N.Y. 1995).