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The LAPDonline.org® website has made reasonable efforts to provide an accurate translation. However, no automated or computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace human or traditional translation methods. The official text is the English version of the LAPDonline.org® website. If any questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information presented by the translated version of the website, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.

 
Forensic Analysis Unit: Questioned Documents Comparison
 
 

The Questioned Documents unit is responsible for determining the authenticity and/or authorship of documents. The examination can be a handwriting comparison; detection of alterations, obliterations, or indented writing; or discovery of the typewriter, printer, or fax machine that generated a document.

The most common examination is comparison of handwriting or handprinting. Authorship of any type of document may come into question during an investigation:



Everyone has similarities in their handwriting; otherwise we wouldn't be able to read what each other writes. Although the following documents have a great deal of pictorial similarity, they were written by different people:




The forensic document examiner trains for 2 to 4 years in the study of handwriting and other document-related problems. It is the expert's responsibility to examine every element of a writing, including the minute details, and to look for both similarities and differences between known and questioned writing. Notice the similarities between the 2 documents below:


Given enough writing evidence, both known and questioned, the forensic document examiner may be able to identify or eliminate a suspected writer of having prepared a questioned document. The examiner is often called to testify in court and present exhibits to demonstrate the opinion.

 

 
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