The 73rd Annual General Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences was held February 15th to 19th, 2021. It was an online meeting and had the theme of “One Academy Pursuing Justice through Truth and Evidence”.

The program was, as usual, comprehensive and very interesting.  Content related to forensic document examination included the following:

Questioned Documents I – Moderator: Linton Mohammed, PhD

  • The Accuracy and Reliability of Forensic Handwriting Examiner Decisions, by Linda Eisenhart; R. Austin Hicklin, PhD; Brian Eckenrode, PhD; Peter J. Belcastro, Jr., MA; Ted M. Burkes, BS; Meredith DeKalb Miller, MFS; Michael A. Smith, PhD; Connie L. Parks, MA
    JoAnn Buscaglia, PhD
  • An Empirical Exploration of Handwriting Theory With Regard to Natural Variation, by Nancy Cox; Thomas Neumark, MS
  • Measuring and Communicating Opinion Strength in Forensic Handwriting Examination: Concepts, Findings, and Future Directions, by Mara L. Merlino, PhD; Tierra M. Freeman, PhD; Veronica B. Dahir, PhD; Charles Edwards, MA
  • Pen Pressure Measurement in Signatures of Women and Men Using 3D Digital Microscopes, by Dilara Oner, PhD; Ibrahim Demir, PhD; Gursel Cetin, PhD
  • Tiger King—Forensic Document Evidence Involving the Disappearance of Jack Donald Lewis, by Thomas W. Vastrick, BS
  • Anonymous Letters Examination: Where Forensic Linguistics Meets Handwriting Examination, by Andrea Ledic, MS; Lidija Tepes Golubic, PhD; Petra Bago, PhD
  • Forensic Handwriting Analysis of Judahite Biblical Period Inscriptions, by Yana Gerber
  • The Creation of a Demand Note Reference Collection, by McKenzie Weyh, BS
  • The Forensic Document Examiner’s Method of Communication in Court: The Chart, by Jan Seaman Kelly, BA

Questioned Documents II – Moderator: Timothy Campbell, BSc

  • Standards for the Examination of Documents Using a Digital Workspace, by Mark Goff, BA
  • The Use of Digitally Captured Signature (DCS) Technology in Everyday Casework, by Niko Kalantzis, MSc
  • Electronic Signatures: What Are They, What Do We Know About Them, and What Do I Do When an Electronic Signature Case Lands on My Desk?, by Kathleen Annunziata Nicolaides, BA
  • Normalization and Comparability of Digitally Captured Signatures (DCS), by Niko Kalantzis, MSc
  • In-Air Trajectories (IATs): Applications of an Emerging Handwriting Characteristic, by Niko Kalantzis, MSc; Michael Pertsinakis
  • A Best Practice Manual for Forensic Examination of Digitally Captured Signatures (DCS), by Tomasz Dziedzic, PhD*; Niko Kalantzis, MSc
  • Document Abnormalities Related to Portable Document Format (PDF) Technology, by Joseph L. Parker, Sr., MSA

Questioned Documents III  –  Moderator: James Tarver, MS

  • Remedial Paper Examinations, by Larry A. Olson, MFS
  • Digital Walkthrough of the Validation of a Method for Measuring Magnetic Flux of Toner-Printed Documents, by Carrie Polston, BA; Patrick Buzzini, PhD
  • The European Document Experts Working Group (EDEWG) Organization and Service, by Andreas J. Rippert; Jürgen Bügler, PhD; Rolf Fauser; Hakon Schjonsby; Kairi Kriiska
  • Generating and Harnessing Objective Data for Trash Mark Examinations, by Linda Eisenhart; Joseph C. Stephens, MSFS; Jocelyn V. Abonamah, MFS; Colbey Ryman; Paige Riley; Nirmeen Salah; Brian Eckenrode, PhD
  • The Effects of Heating and Laser Printing on Paper Surface Textures as Assessed by Discrete Two-Dimensional Fast Fourier Transforms and One-Dimensional Power Spectra, by Walter F. Rowe, PhD; Richik Haldar
  • Minimally Destructive Ink Analysis Using Miniaturized Ultraviolet/Visible (UV/Vis) Spectroscopy, by Lenora N. Rutten; Morgan Morrill, BS; Ling Huang, PhD
  • Force Plate and High-Speed Video Analysis of the Stamping Device Application, by Victoria MacMillan; Kimberly Nugent, MSc; Ryan Foley, MSc; Tobin A. Tanaka, BS
  • A Study Into Additive Manufacturing to Clone Stamping Device Impressions, by Muskan Vir; Kimberly Nugent, MSc; Rachael M. Carew, MSc; Liv Cadola, MSc; Cyril Muehlethaler, PhD; Mylène Falardeau, BSc; Tobin A. Tanaka, BS

Poster Session

Moderator: Janet F. Masson

Co-Moderator: Samiah Ibrahim

  • Inconspicuous Writing Features: An Illustrated Glossary
    • Jacqueline A. Joseph, BA
  • An Evaluation of Gray Value Measurements and Hyperspectral Imaging (HSI) as a Method for Differentiating Optical Characteristics of Porous-Tipped Pen Inks
    • Clarra G. Moore, BS; Patrick Buzzini, PhD
  • Quantitative Support for Forensic Document Examination in an Open Set Using Random Forests
    • Madeline Q. Johnson, BA; Danica Ommen, PhD; Alicia L. Carriquiry, PhD
  • Methods and Materials Used in Steganographic “Invisible Ink” Communications in Prison Facilities
    • Michael T. Adkins, MS; Heidi H. Harralson, MA; Larry S. Miller, PhD
  • The User’s Experience (UX) Process: Website Design for the Private Practitioner
    • Meredith DeKalb Miller, MFS
  • The Application of the Data Augmentation Technique to the Data Generation in Handwriting Classification
    • Yoko Seki, MA
  • Education and Training in Forensic Document Analysis Offered as an Elective Course to Undergraduate Forensic Science Students in Turkey
    • Zekai Genç, PhD; Sevil Atasoy, PhD
  • Writer’s Cramp and Technology: Its Influence on Intra-Writer Handwriting Variability
    • Tassi Dalton, JD; Chris Rush, PhD; Larry S. Miller, PhD; Heidi H. Harralson, MA
  • History and Recent Revisions to the Policies Regarding Testimony of Forensic Document Examiners in the State of Texas
    • Keelie Johnson, BS; Sarah Pryor; Angela Roe, MSc
  • Relationships Between Handwriting Slant and Demographic Features
    • Anyesha Ray; Alicia L. Carriquiry, PhD; Danica Ommen, PhD


W1: A Complete Introduction to Digitally Captured Signatures (DCS) and a Tutorial for Namirial’s Firma Certa Forensic Analysis Tool

Learning Overview: The goals of this workshop are to introduce attendees to the new era of DCS, present the legal aspects of the new “digital” documents in reference to traditional pen and paper products, and familiarize attendees with the intricacies of handling such products, both from the hardware and the software aspect. Attendees will acquire the basic knowledge of DCS data and its correspondence to traditional pen and paper signatures and will gain experience using a DCS forensic analysis tool.
Chair: Samiah Ibrahim, BSc
Faculty: Niko Kalantzis, MSc
Co-Chair: Timothy Campbell
Program Description: This presentation will provide attendees with a complete introduction to DCS and a tutorial of the Firma Certa Forensic analysis tool by Namirial

W16: Technology and Design of Security Documents for Counterfeiting and Alteration Resistance

Learning Overview: After attending this workshop, attendees will understand two facets of document security. First, this workshop provides an overview of common document security features, such as security fibers, watermarks, microprinting, color shifting inks, ultraviolet printing, holograms, laser engraving, and many others. The second and equally important subject is how document components can be integrated with one another, and with document artwork, in ways that allow the security value of each anti-counterfeiting technology to be maximized.

Chair: Dennis J. Ryan
Co-Chair: Joel A. Zlotnick, MSFS
Program Description: Counterfeiting and alteration are continual threats to banknotes, passports, identity cards, birth records, and other security documents. Although contemporary security feature technologies are certainly part of the solution to document counterfeiting and alteration, security design strategies that maximize the effectiveness of security feature technologies are also very important. This workshop explores the landscape of contemporary document security feature technologies and the design strategies that optimize their effectiveness. Virtual hands-on exercises will be facilitated by attendees examining their own personal United States passports, driver’s licenses, birth records, and other security documents.

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