Police handwriting analysis

This is mainly because as a group predominantly made up of educationalists and therapists we tend to be more focused on young people's handwriting and how we can support and improve this, rather than possible interpretations of what their handwriting could reveal about their personality. Put simply, Frits Cohen's work as a freelance Forensic Handwriting Analyst involves examining samples of handwriting in order to provide information for his clients who include the police, lawyers and banks.

Police handwriting analysis

Handwriting analysts had no problem determining that all of the ransom notes were written by the same person. But pre-existing exemplars from the main suspect, Richard Bruno Hauptmann, were scarce, so the police had to get samples from Hauptmann in the police station by way of dictation.

From those requested exemplars, handwriting analysts determined a match. He was also told how to write, and he was shown a ransom note and told to copy the handwriting as best he could, to name just a few of the major no-nos.

There are now strict rules in place about how police should obtain a requested exemplar.

The Science of Handwriting Analysis

Good, untainted, numerous exemplars make handwriting analysis far more reliable than a simple one-to-one comparison. The process of professional, forensic handwriting analysis is all about thoroughness. An analyst will use a magnifying glass and sometimes even a microscope in the comparison process.

An analyst is looking for a wide array of individual traits: Letter form - This includes curves, slants, the proportional size of letters relationship between size of short and tall letters and between the height and width of a single letterthe slope of writing and the use and appearance of connecting lines links between letters.

So an analyst will try to find examples of each letter in each placement. Line form - This includes how smooth and dark the lines are, which indicates how much pressure the writer applies while writing and the speed of the writing.

Formatting - This includes the spacing between letters, the spacing between words, the placement of words on a line and the margins a writer leaves empty on a page. It also considers spacing between lines -- in other words, do strokes from words on one line intersect with strokes in words on the line below and above it?

Questioned document Exemplar provided by "suspect" At first glance, the two samples do not appear to be different enough to automatically declare that they were written by two different people.

police handwriting analysis

And on closer examination, they actually appear to be quite similar. If we get to an "a" that looks exactly like an "a" we already have in our table, we skip it.

We simply want each different formation of "a" in the document in our table, taking into consideration letter formation, linking strokes, spacing and other traits. They would also make separate tables for uppercase and lowercase letters.

For simplification purposes, our third table is going to consist of a side-by-side comparison of our two initial tables, although an expert analyst would probably create a third table showing the exact words in each document that make up each letter-form match.

Questioned left and exemplar tables While this analysis would definitely not hold up in court due to its extremely limited scope and sadly inaccurate letter copyingit nonetheless seems we have found a match in the exemplar for each letter in the questioned document. The same person probably wrote both sentences.

But what if the writer of the exemplar was trying to copy the handwriting in the questioned document? The problem of simulation is a difficult one in handwriting analysis. While simulation makes an accurate analysis far more difficult and sometimes impossiblethere are certain traits that professional analysts look for to determine whether a handwriting sample is the result of simulation.

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These include shaky lines, dark and thick starts and finishes for words and a lot of pen lifts, all which come from carefully, slowly forming letters instead of writing quickly and naturally. Note the shaky line quality and variations in the starting and ending strokes.

Simulation is just one of the factors that can foil an accurate handwriting analysis.Put simply, Frits Cohen's work as a freelance Forensic Handwriting Analyst involves examining samples of handwriting in order to provide information for his clients who include the police, lawyers and banks.

How Handwriting Analysis Works. by Julia Layton Analyzing a Sample. Prev NEXT. Partial results of handwriting analysis in Lindbergh kidnapping case same author!" In the case of the Lindbergh kidnapping in , the police had a slew of questioned documents- in all, the kidnapper sent 14 notes to Lindbergh with ransom instructions.

Forensic handwriting analysis in the UK This paper was originally delivered at the Criminalistic Institute in Prague, in , by invitation.

It is a great honour to come to this famous and beautiful city and to talk to an audience of forensic scientists. Handwriting analysis involves a comprehensive comparative analysis between a questioned document and known handwriting of a suspected writer.

Specific habits, characteristics, and individualities of both the questioned document and the known specimen are examined for similarities and differences.

High-Profile Cases Cracked with Handwriting Analysis. Posted June 30, by sdrexler-admin & filed under handwriting analisys..

police handwriting analysis

Expert forensic analysts closely examine individual characteristics on a microscopic level to identify criminals and verify document authenticity. Expert Handwriting Analysis Center, Disclaimer: The contents of this website represent my years of work and research in handwriting analysis and document examination.

The entire website represents my thoughts and interpretations alone.

Analyzing a Sample | HowStuffWorks