Every ASQDE meeting is worth attending. They are great fun with lots of useful and interesting content. Unfortunately, I could not make it to the 2016 ASQDE conference held in Pensacola, Florida.  Nonetheless I managed to participate, albeit via Skype.

2016 ASQDE panel discussion - ASQDE logoOne of the activities at the conference was a panel discussion discussing “Approaches to Evaluation and Reporting of Expert Evidence” and I was invited to participant with three other people. It was a very interesting session…

The overall abstract for the session read as follows:

This panel discussion will present a brief overview of the frequency of occurrence and likelihood ratio approaches to evaluating (handwriting) evidence, and their respective advantages and limitations. Reporting of evidence using these approaches will also be discussed, as well as potential future conclusion terminology. Time will be set aside for questions, comments and views from the audience.

Questions for panel participants to address

  • Briefly describe the evidence evaluation/reporting approach you are speaking on
  • What scientific literature/research is there to support this approach
  • What are its advantages/strengths
  • What are its disadvantages/limitations
  • Who currently uses this approach
  • What barriers do you see to its implementation

Our moderator was Carolyne Bird (Senior Forensic Scientist, Forensic Science SA, Australia) who selected participants capable of providing perspectives from around the world. The panel was still a bit ‘North America’-centric but I think it achieved the desired outcome.

The participants (with affiliations) were Thomas W. Vastrick (private Forensic Document Examiner), Jonathan Morris (Forensic Scientist, Scottish Police Agency Forensic Services; Chair, European Network of Forensic Handwriting Experts), Rigo Vargas (Vargas Handwriting and Document Analysis, LLC; Chair, OSAC Forensic Document Examination Subcommittee) and myself (CBSA, CSFS).

The usual disclaimer applied: the views presented and discussed were those of the individual presenter, and did not necessarily represent the official position of their employer or anyone else.

Each participant provided a written paper corresponding, to some degree, to their accompanying oral presentation. My contribution discussed “The logical approach to evidence evaluation and reporting”. While I cannot provide all of the presentations at this time, I can give you mine in PDF format:

Also, since I have it in PDF format here is the PPT presentation from that session:

Overall, the panel session went very well despite some technical issues at my end of things (Skype isn’t perfect).

The audience received some useful and timely information about the various approaches being taken and some idea about the (likely) direction where things are headed. Of course, there is a great deal of uncertainty in that regard both in terms of exactly what the outcome will be and when any changes may occur.

The audience provided some excellent follow-up comments and questions reflecting a true engagement with this topic. As time permits I hope to discuss some of the topics and issues that came up during the discussion and the Q&A session in other blog posts

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