• A document is defined as anything on which a mark is made
for the purpose of transmitting a message.
• A questioned document is one where it’s origin is unknown.
• A standard/exemplar is a document of know origin.
• A standard/exemplar is used for comparison
• Forgery is the act of falsifying documents.
• A standard/exemplar vs. questioned document.
“your baby sitter” 1956 Weinberger Kidnapping:
• An FBI-conducted analysis and made a
match between the top two sign-offs
("Your baby sitter"), pulled from the
ransom notes, and the bottom two,
from the prime suspect .
Documents as Evidence
• Because no two people have the same handwriting it
is individual evidence.
• However, a person’s physical and emotional well-being
can alter an individual’s writing.
• When children first learn to write, their handwriting is similar,
with differences based on skill.
• As an individual matures, their handwriting becomes
subconscious and habitual shapes sand patterns distinguish
it from others.
• Basic patterns are set for most people by young adulthood.
• Handwriting experts may be able to make a positive identification
if there are enough samples for examination and enough exemplars
against to compare those samples.
• To determine if a signature or writing is authentic, a document
examiner will generally examine 12 characteristics.
1. Line quality: Are the line smooth, free flowing, and rhythmic or
or shaky, nervous, and wavering?
2. Spacing of words and letters: Is the spacing between the words
letters consistent between exemplar and known document?
3. Ratio of relative height, width, and size of letters: Are they
consistent between exemplar and known document?
4. Pen lifts and separations: Check to see how writer stops to
form new letters. Forgers may have pen lifts or separarions
in unusual places.
5. Connecting strokes: Compare how capital letters are connected
lower case letters and how strokes connect between letters and
6. Beginning and ending strokes: Compare how a writer begins
and ends a word. Are they straight, curved, upstroke, down stroke?
7. Unusual letter formations: Does the letter have a tail or any
8. Pen pressure: Individuals use different amounts of pressure
9. Slant: Dose the writing slant to the left or right, or is it straight
up and down?
10. Baseline habits: Does the writing tend to move upward,
downward, or continue on a straight line?
11. Embellishments: Are there many fancy letters, curls, loops,
12. Placement of diacriticals: Check the crossing of t’s and dotting
of i’s and j’s.
Handwriting Analysis “Graphology”
Graphology is the study and analysis of handwriting especially
in relation to human psychology.
Graphology is based upon the following basic assertions:
1. When we write, the ego is active but it is not always active to
the same degree. Thus influencing our handwriting.
2. When the action of writing is comparatively difficult, the writer
uses those forms of letters which are simpler or more familiar.
3. Written strokes reflect both transitory and long term changes
in the central nervous system such as Parkinson’s disease,
drug or alcohol usage.
4. The movements and corresponding levels of muscular tension
in writing are mostly outside of conscious control. Emotion,
mental state, and biomechanical factors such as muscle stiffness
and elasticity are reflected in a person's handwriting.
5. One must examine the handwriting or drawing movements by
considering them as movements organized by the central nervous
system and produced under biomechanical and dynamical
constraints. Given these considerations, graphologists proceed
to evaluate the pattern, form, movement, rhythm, quality, and
consistency of the graphic stroke in terms of psychological
interpretations. Such interpretations vary according to the
graphological theory applied by the analyst.
Approaches to “Graphology”
1. Integrative Graphology
This approach holds that specific stroke structures relate to personali
traits. Most systems within this approach use a cluster of stroke
formations, to score a specific personality trait. Systems that fall
under this umbrella are: fixed signs, trait stroke, French System
and Graphoanalysis. It has been described as starting from the
inside, and working to the outside.
2. Holistic Graphology
In this approach a profile is constructed on the basis of form,
movement and space. It has been described as starting from the
outside, and working to the inside. In this approach, individual traits,
such as legibility, are not assigned specific meanings, but can take
on different meanings depending on the overall context.
3. Symbolic Analysis
In this approach, one looks for symbols seen in the handwriting.
This can be either Major symbolism, or Minor Symbolism
Major symbolism is the meaning ascribed to the stroke, as it
related to the page.
Minor symbolism ascribes a meaning to the stroke, depending upon
the picture that the stroke draws. For example, John's Wayne’s
signature shows a blackened out portion, that represents his
Validity to “Graphology”
Recent studies testing the validity of using handwriting for predicting
personality traits have been consistently negative.
JonBenet Ramsey Case
• According to the testimony of Patsy Ramsey, on December
26, 1996, she discovered her daughter missing after finding a
two and half-page ransom note on the kitchen staircase,
demanding $118,000 for the safe return of her daughter,
which was the exact value of a bonus her husband receive
earlier that year.
Handwriting Slant Analysis
Result of Handwriting Analysis:
In handwriting analysis, it is not the similarity of the letters by themselves that is important, it is the
TOTALITY of the similar letters in addition to other factors. Anyone can have a fewsimilar traits in their
handwriting, but it is not the traits alone that define authorship. The analysis must be taken as a whole,
and other components such as spacing, rhythm, pressure, margins, primary zones, connecting strokes
and pastosity are all part of the comparison.
Patsy Ramsey has ALL of the above-mentioned traits in common with the Ransom Note writer.
I have pointed out only a few of the obvious similarities, but there are many more. Patsy Ramsey was
present in the house and had means, motive and opportunity to write the Ransom Note. The odds of
someone else with the exact same handwriting traits coming in and killing her daughter, leaving a three
page ransom note and staging a crime scene are absolutely astronomical.
In addition, it would be impossible to successfully forge a three-page ransom note in Patsy’s unique
handwriting. That type of forgery has been tried in various experiments, and has failed.
Together, the handwriting analysis and linguistic analysis give one result.
Patsy Ramsey is the author of the Ransom Note.
• Ink can be studied with Chromatography.
• Chromatography is a simple procedure
where a solvent is used to separate ink
into basic components.
• It is than possible to compare a note
with a certain pen.
• Manufacturers are “tagging” inks and
changing it every year to make dating
questioned documents easier.
• An indispensable tool for a document analysts the Spectral
• It uses different light sources to see what the eye cannot.
UV Light (ink) UV Light (paper) UV Light (watermark)