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Analyzing Documents. According to The FEM Manual. A Few General Rules:. Obtain original documents Do not touch originals any more than necessary Maintain a good filing system Chain of Custody must be maintained for evidence to be accepted by the court (see appendix for sample form).

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Analyzing Documents


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analyzing documents

Analyzing Documents

According to The FEM Manual

a few general rules
A Few General Rules:
  • Obtain original documents
  • Do not touch originals any more than necessary
  • Maintain a good filing system
  • Chain of Custodymust be maintained for evidence to be accepted by the court (see appendix for sample form)
obtaining evidence legally
Obtaining Evidence (Legally)
  • Subpoena
    • These are ordinarily issued by the court or by a grand jury. A regular subpoena is used for witnesses
  • Subpoena Duces Tecum
    • Calls for the production of documents and records
  • Forthwith Subpoena
    • Means that records should be produced instantly
  • Obtaining documents by subpoena is not possible if the examiner is not an agent of the grand jury or the court (ex: CU investigative committee.)
search warrants
Search Warrants
  • Issued by a judge
  • Upon presentation of probable cause to believe the records have been used in a crime
  • An Affidavit is normally used to support the request for a search warrant
  • 4th Ammendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures
  • Almost never used in civil cases
search warrants cont
Search Warrants (Cont)
  • 4th Ammendment would apply to searches of employee desks, file cabinets, computers
  • Voluntary consent is the obvious preference for examiners. This consent should be in writing – see sample form in appendix
organizing your evidence
Organizing Your Evidence
  • Segregate evidence by witness or transaction. Chronological organization is the least preferred method
  • Make a “key document” file for most relevant documents
  • Establish a database for easy retrieval
handwriting analysis
Handwriting Analysis
  • Avoid using graphologists
  • Use an expert
  • Use layers of cotton for charred or partially burned documents
  • Look for common signs of fraudulent documents as follows:
signs of fraudulent documents
Signs of Fraudulent Documents
  • Signature forgeries – side by side comparisons may help, but beware of normal handwriting changes (Howard Hughes and the “Morman Will”)
  • Substituted pages
  • Ink differences (Martha Stewart)
  • Suspicious indented writings
doc expert s findings
Doc Expert’s Findings
  • Non-Identification
    • the suspect did not write the signature
  • Identification
    • the suspect did write the signature
  • Inconclusive
    • No definite determinations were possible