Are Forensic Document
Examiners Handwriting Experts?
document examiners are handwriting experts, but forensic
document examiners do not usually use the term handwriting
expert to refer to themselves. The courts and
attorneys commonly use the term handwriting expert; however,
most forensic document examiners believe the term handwriting
expert is too limiting. Forensic document examiners
perform a much wider range examinations than handwriting
examination, comparison, and identification.
It is true that
handwriting examination is the bulk of the work performed by
most forensic document examiners. Forensic document
examiners examine handwriting and signatures to identify and
eliminate potential writers and detect forgery. They also
testify about handwriting examinations as an expert witness in
court, but qualified forensic document examiners are also
experts in the examination of typewritten and computer-generated
documents, counterfeit documents, alterations and obliterations
on documents, and to detect and decipher indented handwriting
impressions. Forensic document examiners also conduct
examinations of documents created by photocopiers and fax
machines, examine ink and paper, as well as the examinations of
documents to determine if handwriting or other entries on
documents were made contemporaneously.
By the way,
forensic document examiners might also be called questioned document
examiners, forensic handwriting analysts, and forensic
document analysts. Some may use the terms document
experts, handwriting authentication specialists, signature
experts, handwriting identification experts, and forgery
experts. The most correct terms are forensic document
examiner or questioned document examiner, and in some
laboratories, forensic document analyst.
Shiver & Nelson
Shiver & Nelson
Document Investigation Laboratory is a forensic document examination
located near Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Shiver has more than
twenty years experience in the field of Forensic Document
Examination. He as testified as an expert witness in court
on more than 100 occasions.
Typical cases examined by Mr.
Shiver involve the
comparison of handwriting and signatures on questioned documents
such as contracts, receipts, checks, wills, and deeds, as well
as the forensic examination of medical records, contracts, and
other documents for possible alteration, differences in ink,
dating the document, indented writing, and the detection of non-contemporaneous
also examined to decipher obliterated entries, to identify the
typewriter, photocopier, or other device that produced the
documents, to determine their source, their authenticity, or to discover other information about the
document's history. When called upon, Mr. Shiver is available to
testify regarding his findings as an expert witness in court.
Shiver & Nelson's clients include
attorneys, insurance companies, law enforcement agencies,
medical practices, educational institutions, businesses,
government agencies, loss prevention specialists, private
investigators, media services, and private individuals. Shiver & Nelson
routinely provides forensic document
examination services to clients from Georgia, Alabama,
Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and other
southeastern states. In addition, Shiver & Nelson has many clients
nationally and internationally.