International Handwriting / Signature Identification and Forensic Document Examination Services
FROM SUSPICION TO THE COURTROOM
While each case is unique, there are standard operation procedures (SOPs) in place for the types of cases that Anne Smith accepts. These SOPs ensure that each case receives a comprehensive examination, using industry-accepted forensic science applications, equipment, and procedures specific to the particular type of forensic document examination and/or handwriting / signature authentication you need. Throughout the analysis, comparison, and evaluation process, Anne Smith is in direct communication with you.
When you first talk, Anne Smith does not charge for this free 30-minute initial consultation to discuss the specifics of your case. Then via email, Anne Smith sends you an Information Kit. It contains a Statement of Qualifications, which outlines her educational background, that she has been court-qualified as a forensic document examiner and handwriting expert, and that Anne is a proficiency-tested, professional, efficient, ethical, thorough, and an experienced expert witness.
The Kit has her current Fee Schedule, which is straight forward and flexible as she offers you a choice of flat rate fees or hourly billing.
Other useful information and some guidelines for document submission are also included in the Kit. Please consult with her to discuss how to properly package particularly sensitive materials, for example items that may be of monetary or historic value or documents that contain latent fingerprints or biological material.
Via this Website, there are phone numbers and email contact links for you to contact Anne Smith. If you would prefer to meet in person for your free 30-minute consultation, call in advance to make an appointment.
When you decide to retain Anne Smith as your Forensic Document Examiner, she will then consult with you in greater detail on how to properly prepare and send the questioned and comparison material to the examination facility to ensure the most effective examination.
At this point…well, even before this point…Anne reminds you not to bend, fold, staple, mark or write on questioned or comparison materials.
EXAMINATION AND ANALYSIS
During the analyses, comparisons and evaluations procedures, Anne lets you know if you need to submit other comparison materials, in order for her to complete a comprehensive analysis. An example of this is the Questioned will signature is dated November 12, 2000. There are few/no comparison signatures from around that date or year. You and she will discuss if, how and when more comparison (exemplar) documents may be submitted to her.
Depending on the nature of your case one or more of the following document examinations may need to be performed:
- Handwriting and Signature Comparisons
- UV and Infrared Ink Examinations
- Detecting alterations or obliterations
- Determining what was erased or what the faded image shows
- Printing Process Identification
- Document Dating
- Microscopic Analysis
- Paper Analysis*
- Chemical Ink Analysis*
- Ink Dating*
- DNA Examination*
- Fingerprint Examination*
*After all of the other examinations are completed as needed, the questioned documents can be submitted to third-party laboratories for paper and/or ink analysis, DNA, and fingerprint examinations. Anne has a list of reputable experts and companies to whom she can refer you or she can serve as your liaison with them.
Sometimes original (wet-ink) questioned or comparison documents cannot be released into Anne's custody (ex. a questioned will that has been filed for probate). Using portable scanning equipment or photography and digital microscopy, Anne provides the necessary "on-location" services to collect the questioned documents and signatures evidence. Later, in her secure examination facility, this evidence is analyzed, compared and evaluated with other comparison evidence you've submitted.
Anne's examination of original questioned documents is crucial in helping provide her the best evidence available. For example, one technique used to forge signatures is to use tracing paper or carbon paper. Neither good nor bad photocopies reproduce the guidelines used to trace a signature.
Having ORIGINAL documents provides the best evidence for unqualified opinions; however, examination can be made of photocopies, even though photocopies cannot reproduce all the details of original questioned ad/or exemplar (comparison) documents.
REPORTING FINDINGS AND EXPERT TESTIMONY
After all applicable and necessary analyses, comparison and evaluations are complete, Anne provides you with a verbal opinion and gives you specifics about her findings.
Various written reports of findings are also available, depending on your preference. An effective addition to reports is the use of full-color graphics and charts to supplement the written reports. These illustrated reports of findings often create the opportunity for attorneys to begin or further negotiations and settle out of court, which saves everyone time and money.
Should Anne's appearance to present evidentiary testimony be needed, she provides full-color illustrations of her findings as power point presentations, if agreed, and in booklets for the judge and/or jurors. Her presentation skills and these illustrations help prove the adage, "A picture is worth a thousand words."
LECTURES AND SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
Anne enjoys speaking to civic and peer professional groups to educate them about what is involved in being a Handwriting Expert and Forensic Document Examiner. Her presentations usually include PowerPoint Presentations and interactive activities with the audience. When clients have given permission, she tells about particular cases; however no real names are ever given, as this information is forever confidential. Topics include:
- Educating the Public and Attorneys, Too-Why Having Original Documents is Important
- Case File Management
- Overt and Covert Features of Paper/Ending the 'Paper Weight' Confusion
- To Stamp or Not to Stamp: How Notary Public Law Changes May Affect Document Examination
- Death Certificate Fraud
- Statistics and the Document Examiner
- Tools of our Trade
- Brain Teasers, a.k.a. Handwriting Verification, Skill, and Proficiency Testing
- Best Practices for Documenting Image Enhancement
Anne Smith, Forensic Document Examiner
Examination Facility & Main Office Mailing Address:
PO Box 185 - Virgilina, VA 24598
Richmond Office: by appointment only
Two Paragon Place, 6802 Paragon Place, Suite 410 - Richmond, VA 23230
434.917.1367 Examination Facility & Main Office, Southside VA
804.441.6283 Richmond VA