Computer-Assisted Handwriting Analysis: Interaction with Legal Issues in U.S. Courts

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Abstract

Advances in the development of computer-assisted handwriting analysis have led to the consideration of a computational system by courts in the United States. Computer-assisted handwriting analysis has been introduced in the context of Frye or Daubert hearings conducted to determine the admissibility of handwriting testimony by questioned document examiners, as expert witnesses, in civil and criminal proceedings. This paper provides a comparison of scientific and judicial methods, and examines concerns over reliability of handwriting analysis expressed in judicial decisions. Recently, the National Research Council assessed that “the scientific basis for handwriting comparisons needs to be strengthened”. Recent studies involving computer-assisted handwriting analysis are reviewed in light of the concerns expressed by the judiciary and National Research Council. A future potential role for computer-assisted handwriting analysis in the courts is identified.