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Categories: Forensic Analysis

Questioned Documents: Not Just Handwriting

TASA ID: 444

This presentation discussed the techniques that are routinely used in the Law Enforcement Forensic Sciences Laboratories and are directly applicable to civil casework as well as for defense work in criminal cases.

Topics such as the analysis of original versus non-original writing ink, paper optical brighteners, color toner printer dot matrix patterns, staple hole analysis and the alteration of documents with type font substitution were discussed. Finally, the use of infrared and infrared luminescence techniques to differentiate inks in a non-destructive manner were also demonstrated.

About the Presenter:

Mr. Jeffrey Luber is a Forensic Document Examiner certified by the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners, who has over 33 years of experience in a civilian governmental crime laboratory.  Mr. Luber holds a Master's degree in Forensic Science from The George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland.  He is also a member of the American Society of Questioned Document Examiners.  His typical casework involves handwriting identification, medical records examination, forgery and print process determination, as well as ink differentiation.Mr. Luber has been qualified to testify as an expert witness in the United States Federal Court, Illinois State Court and New York Supreme Court.



Brooke: Good afternoon. Welcome to our presentation today, The TASA Group Presents: "Questioned Documents: More Than Just Handwriting." This presentation will be audio broadcast into your computer speakers. So please make sure that speakers are turned on and the volume is set to a reasonable level. Today our presentation will discuss techniques that are routinely used in the Law Enforcement Forensic Sciences Laboratories and are directly applicable to civil case work, as well as for defense work in criminal cases. Topics such as the analysis of original versus non-original writing ink, paper, optical brighteners, color toner printer dot matrix patterns, staple hole analysis, and the alteration of documents with type font substitution will be discussed. Please note that the handwriting aspects of the questioned documents presentation will be offered as a separate presentation due to the in-depth and lengthy information that will be provided today.

Our presenter today is Mr. Jeffrey Luber. Jeffrey Luber is a Forensic Document Examiner, certified by the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners. He has over 33 years of experience in a civilian governmental crime laboratory. Mr. Luber holds a Master's degree in Forensic Science from the George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland. He is also a member of the American Society of Questioned Document Examiners. His typical casework involves handwriting identification, medical records examination, forgery, and print process determination, as well as ink differentiation. Mr. Luber has been qualified to testify as an expert witness in the United States Federal Court, Illinois State Court, and New York Supreme Court. Please note at the end of the presentation, there will be a survey that comes up. If you are looking for CLE credit, this presentation is eligible for various states, which we will discuss at the end of the presentation. So please make sure that you take a few moments to complete that survey. Now I will turn the presentation over to Mr. Luber, and we'll begin.

Jeffrey: Okay, thank you very much. And let me just advance this slide here. So we're gonna be talking about questioned documents. And unfortunately, I had to redact a lot of information on the casework and hopefully, it won't be too, you know, distracting as we go over the slides. So here's...

Brooke: Jeff, sorry to interrupt you. We just have a couple of people who can't hear you too well, so if you can speak up a little bit, that would be great.

Jeffrey: Okay. So here's a case scenario where a lawsuit, you know, comes into play, where the opposing side has a contract created they think recently and not as the date indicates in 2008. So, all sides will not allow any ink testing. Even though it's only very slightly disruptive, they won't allow it. So what else can be done, you know, when you have a kind of a scenario like this? And one thing that has been very quiet but came about in the middle 1990s was something called a CPS code for color toner printers and color toner copiers. And that's for counterfeit protection. And CPS stands for Counterfeit Protection Code. So if you do have a contract or something printed in color on a toner, as opposed to inkjet, we may be able to do something in terms of the analysis.

You know, here's a contract, the date of the contract is February 3rd, 2008. You can see that at the bottom area here. And so now the question is, was it really signed in at that time period? And because color toner is being used, if we actually look at the document using certain filtration properties, color filtration properties, you'll notice a kind of a dot matrix pattern that's in the background, that's actually in the yellow toner. And that will give you the serial number of the printer. And along with that, for most printers, it will give you the date that was actually printed. So it's always the serial number of the printer, and also for about 90% of the toner printers, it's gonna give you the date of the actual printing of that document. So, you know, if the document is printed in, you know, 2011, that's a pretty good clue that the item was backdated. So it's one of the subtle features. It's in currency... It's not in currency but it's used for currency counterfeit protection because a lot of the better quality counterfeits are done on a color toner copier. And this way it links, it was able to link that counterfeit documents back to the copier that produced it.

But it's not only, you know, for just contracts. So you could have something...here's another image done in a reverse color to kind of give you a better idea of that dot matrix pattern. It's not in alphanumeric characters. So it's not very apparent to the eye, and it's in the yellow toner. So the yellow toner on a white background is very, very hard to see normally. But it's not only applicable to, let's say, a counterfeit currency. In our laboratory, we get counterfeit ketamine bottles, we get other kind of pharmaceutical-type bottles. Just visually looking at it, this was a DEA case, and visually looking at that bottle, you know, I could tell the label was probably printed with a toner process. If we go a little further, here it is enhanced a bit. And you can see the actual dot matrix pattern present. And you have to look at the hole pattern. So you may have to look at, you know, over a wide area, but you'll get the serial number and date of production.

And then with that, you know, for the investigator, that serial number, and it's also the brand. You get the brand and serial number, the make and serial number. And with that information, the investigators can go back to the companies, find out who that serial number was sold to and kind of track it down. So it's not only applicable to, you know, regular document type cases, what you would traditionally think of as a document type case but also, you know, narcotics and things like that. In this particular case, when we told DEA that we had this type of information, the only thing they wanted to know was whether it was ketamine or not. You know, they could care less about the other information. Which was kind of sad, but I don't know, that's their end. So here's another example. This is a steroid. These were illegal steroids that were actually, did contain steroid material. This is injectable steroids. And it's the same kind of deal with the dot matrix pattern being present. And it was pretty much the same kind of deal where they really didn't care about it. They only cared that there was steroids present, and they could, you know, arrest the people or do the conviction for possession of the material.

So one other, that's something to consider, you know, another possibility, you may have a page substitution in a contract or a document. This is simply a four-page document that was put together. We kind of created this for the presentation. And if we look at the staple holes, these are kind of a high contrast shot. Maybe it's not the best. But you'll see, you know, staple holes present. And next slide. We'll see an extra set of staple holes. So that could be a problem, you know, unless there's a good... And there may be a good explanation for it. But if there's not, then that could certainly be a problem why three of the four sheets of paper have one full set of staple holes with a staple present and one doesn't. So something may have been misaligned. And just by looking at the staples, without even taking the staple out, we should be able to discern if there are multiple staple holes present.

One other thing to look at is optical brighteners. So, in this particular scenario that I created, three of the pages are reacting in, you know, one type of response, pages one, two, and four are, you know, kind of equal brightness with the optical brighteners that are incorporated in the paper. And page three, which happened to have the two holes in it is a much duller response. So it's a comparative type analysis. In other words, one item is compared to the other. I'm not actually measuring the response but visually, you can see one is certainly different. And optical brighteners are put into papers to make them more bright or whiter in generally fluorescent-type lighting or office lighting scenarios. And what they do is the convert UV light into white light, into a green wavelength actually. So it's a whiter into the visible spectrum. So in this particular examination, the papers were illuminated in the UV, long UV, which is 365 nanometers. That's the wavelength, 303 nanometers is a good wavelength also to do the illumination. And you can see these are... Visibly, they look very similar in normal lighting conditions but in the ultraviolet light condition, there's a much bigger difference.

So, that's another aspect you may not think about if you do think there's a page substitution. But along with the staple hole analysis, and you may have four or five or six sets of staple holes in maybe a three or four-page contract. So each has to be tracked back and examined. And, you know, it's kind of a long, tedious exam but it certainly can be done and it is done, especially in white-collar cases, it's done a lot. Okay? So, just to go on, again, with the stapling aspect of it, sometimes, well, let's just go into how staplers are actually created in the paper. So, on the left-hand side of this diagram, the staple is applied. And on the bottom area, the blue is kind of an anvil that accepts those two legs of the staple and pushes and bends them towards the horizontal bar. So it's pretty straightforward.

But what's interesting is that in photocopy stapler systems, it's a little bit different. They have a different appearance to them. And the anvil here, the angle is in the up position, that's how it is on our particular stapler at the lab. The anvil is in the up position, and it's not quite as a defined curvature for the anvil. So subsequently, the legs don't get curved in as much. Now, depending on the brand or stapler, it uses fifth lengths staples. Others come with a reel of wire. So, that may be helpful in trying to determine what type of machine or whether a machine could have actually produced that staple through the documents. Sometimes that's the question. You know, we have these stapled documents, they say it was produced on brand X photocopying machine that has a stapling capability. Could that have happened? Sometimes you can exclude that possibility based whether it's on a fixed-length or it's on a wire that changes length. So here's an example staple, the back end of the stapled document. And that's done on a hand stapler. It's a very defined curvature. And this is what happens in a photocopy machine where it's this is actually a quick swing stapler.

You'll see I can't quite get the arrows to change direction here but you'll see there's a very, very slight curvature to that staple length, very slight. But the difference between the two is very apparent. And this is looking at the top end. You'll see a difference in the actual length. And different photocopying machines have different length of a staple base area. And this would be considered the base area here, the length from here to here. And if we look on the backside, we'll see, you know, it's a dramatic difference. So, sometimes it doesn't matter at all, big deal. But other times when you find out scenario of the case, you know, well, who actually stapled that? Oh, I got that from the copy machine, you know. Well, did you really or was that hand stapled? You know, and now you could say, you know, maybe what's the real answer here? And maybe they just forgot, you know, maybe, you know, if you're trying to track different sets of documents, this is more for the investigators or intelligence kind of agencies where they're trying to track certain documents and things like that. So it's just something to consider. You may wanna let your investigator know they may be aware of it or they may not be. Generally dealing with the DA's offices, I can tell you they're probably not aware of it. So just one more avenue to look at. I see now there's a break for questions.

Brooke: Yeah, we have a couple of questions. Our first one is regarding the beginning of the presentation. Does the same protocol apply for older copy machines with the dot matrix that apply to some of the more modern ones?

Jeffrey: Well, the CPS code came out in about 1993. So, color copiers came out... You know, toner copiers now, not inkjet printers but toner printers or toner copiers really maybe started very late 1980s or early 1990s. If you get an earlier type copy machine, you're gonna notice a difference. They don't have the resolution or the fineness of product as newer ones. But you should kind of assume that anything done in the late 1990s is gonna have this technology incorporated within it. And I doubt you would actually find an old toner copier or toner printer prior to 2000. That would be 14 years old, and would probably be broken. I don't know. [inaudible 00:21:03]. I mean, honestly, I would just assume that it would be a newer version but technically, you would think, by law all toner copiers or toner printers had to have this kind of firmware technology incorporated within it.

Brooke: Okay. Thank you. We have a question regarding the stapling. Somebody asked, "Do you have an example of a case where the mechanics of a stapler came into play?"

Jeffrey: Only in the aspect of, you know, where it was supposedly created. You know, the people were saying, you know, we got this directly from the attorney who produced it on their photocopy machine. And it turns out that it was from a photocopy staple type system. So, that correlated their story as opposed to... Hey, it actually helped them out because the other side was saying, you know, no, you created that from another copy of the documents. So, one thing I failed to mention is that staple holes usually are very apparent on photocopied documents. So, something to keep in mind. You know, you look for those staple holes on there. You can see that it was previously stapled and the staple removed. So, something that's usually overlooked, actually.

Brooke: Okay. That's all the questions that we have for the moment until our next break.

Jeffrey: Okay. So let's go on. We'll talk about watermarks. Probably most people are familiar with watermarks. I know that generally, watermarks are found in the higher cotton content of documents. That's not always the case. But it's an expensive process, you tend to not find it in, let's say, regular photocopy type paper. And it has to do with the materials in the paper, the softwood versus hardwood content, as well as any content in there. But here's a photograph of a watermark. It looks pretty good. And yet, you know, normally you'd see a watermark, it's covered over with printing, with typing, you know, with the letterhead of the company or with the signature. And this actual looks pretty darn good. So, you know, it's created for this kind of a talk. And you can read everything on there. It's pretty empowering.

And then you kind of get to something like this where you see a vertical mark and you're wondering, you know, what's that? The number one or why is that there? And it's actually a dating code. So that indicates so when that dandy roll was changed and when the design of that dandy roll was used in the paper production. In this particular case, that dating code is 2004. And there's a certain, you know, actual date associated with that. So, the paper could not have... You know, that dandy roll was used after that particular date and the introduction date in 2004. Now, so again, the contract that's dated, you know, 2001 with that watermark on there, you know, you have big problems. Because that paper wasn't in existence at that time period. And of course, all this has to be referenced in research with the paper company but they have records of all the... You know, they run samples and they have all these records. This is nothing new for them. So, dating codes are very subtle within the watermark. And, you know, researching the watermark is certainly something that's part of the job. And you could get some interesting results with that. Let's go to the next one is Gilbert bond, used to be very popular kind of paper.

And this is where the dating code is located. These are all three different dating codes. One's longer than the other between the top one and the second one down. The top one's a little longer. Second one's a little shorter, but in that same location. And then the third one has a dating code under the letter Z in bond and, you know, a completely different location. So, sometimes the dandy rolls, and of course, the dandy rolls are at the very end of the wet production of the paper process. And, you know, they wear out also. So sometimes, you may have, let's say, the second one... Well, let's say the first one and the second one may be around the same date, one wore out and had to be repaired. That would certainly have it, but it's noted that it's a repair by different mark on there. So, again, you'll have the date of when that repair was done. And that will help, you know, establish a dating of when the paper was actually produced.

So if you were told that it were... You know, if I were to tell you the dating code, it says January 1st, you know, 2004, and you found out the document was dated, you know, December 27th, 2003, you know what? Who knows when the real date was. You know, it could go either way, I would say. You know, you research it and, you know, on your end, and you can get somebody to swear it had to be after January 1st, then okay. But, you know, there's always a little bit of slop time in there, you know, when it was actually changed versus the when it was actually recorded. I'd give it a little bit. But if it's 2004, and you have a document dated 2002, you know that's backdated. The paper wasn't around then. So, that just kind of goes over what we had talked about. So here's the case that I got... And I still have the original as a case. So what can be done with a will and this kind of goes back to watermarks in kind of a strange way, I guess.

So, this was a pre-printed will, kind of like a Blumberg form. And I don't recall the name of it. It was an Indian name from Florida, from the Florida area.That's the name of the company that produced these types of forms. So the attorney contacts me, I have the original, and they want me to look at the typing. Was the type font in existence at the time, was the coloration from the ribbon or toner, I don't recall right now if it was carbon film ribbon or actual ink ribbon on the paper, was that in existence at the time? So a lot of questions. And the will was dated some date in January 1972. So, you know, researching font and researching, you know, chemical composition of carbon film toner is very expensive, very... I mean, hours and hour, you know, you could top 50 to 100 hours easy and you still may not come up with anything definitive.

So, you know, typewriter fonts, at that time this was a typewriter, you know, it became generic after a while. You know, it used to always be IBM but that's a different story. But you could have a very hard time really coming up with something definitive. But what you had to do was go to the bottom of the page. And way over here is actually a dating code of when the paper was printed. And with this company and researching with the company, they said we produce this in August of 1984. So the will's dated 1972, you know, it was pretty much of, you know, a win-win, like a no-brainer. You know, kind of like a grounder. It was pretty good. But you could have spent hundreds of hours or, you know, at least 100 hours on it. And here within about, you know, four hours or five hours, you had the whole thing done. So that was pretty good. All right, next, we're gonna talk about infrared examinations of ink. And it's really differentiating inks, based not on looking at it visibly in the visible spectrum, but more in the infrared spectrum. And it's the near-infrared spectrum. So, visible light is this very small area in here.

And it goes from about 400 nanometers of light to the infrared starts about 700, and we extend it out to about 1,100 nanometers that I can actually do the analysis on. So, this is kind of a typical unit. This is a unit from Foster + Freeman. It's a video spectral comparator. And what it does is it allows me to examine in real-time inks in the infrared region. And it's simply a camera system with a chip, a camera sensor, and we used these films years ago. But now this is a camera and sensor that's sensitive in the infrared region. And by using the various filters, I'm able to block visible light and only pass infrared to the camera system. So it works great. And it's nondestructive. So, you know, everybody's screaming about, you know, cutting out plugs of ink and, you know, rightly so, sometimes anyway. This is strictly non-destructive.

So here's a check. Viewing it in the visible spectrum, normal lighting, which is 400 to 700 nanometers, 400 in the blues, 700 up to the red, it looks pretty consistent. And then if we look in the infrared spectrum, which is 750 nanometers, so what I'm doing is I'm blocking visible and only passing 750 nanometers through the camera chip. And see there's quite a difference there. So, those inks while visible, they all look consistent in the visible region. In infrared, they drop out. If they were the same ink, they should react the same. The only reason they wouldn't react the same would be if there's a defect to the paper or staining or contamination on that paper. And that's something, as an examiner, you always look for. There was none. So there's no reason those inks shouldn't react differently. And that's in reflected infrared. And there's also something called infrared luminescence, where the ink is illuminated, excited about 500 nanometers, which is in the blue area or blue-green. And we blocked visible light to the detector.

And well, in this case, it's 665 nanometers. So it's right at the end of the visible light to the detector. Sometimes we block all the way up to let's say 800 or 900 nanometers, or whatever. Forget about that. You see there's a difference here between that whiteness of the word Gale, and that whiteness of the /1 and the Jeff, kind of highlighting that with pointers. You see some of the ink is still absorbing the infrared, they appear black. And just look at the Gale/Jeff on this top line, it's not all reacting the same. So in this chapter actually you see the differences there. I'm missing one slide. But the last slide to that says that I had at least... Oh, it does say that at the top. At least three different inks were used. So it's very good at differentiating. And luminescence is very good at even further differentiating.

So if you only have black and white reflective, you know, you may think, "Well, I have two different inks." Well, you need... You know, what you would have to say is at least two different inks, at black and white reflective. And then with the luminescence, you're gonna say at least three different inks. And there could be more inks that further analysis may differentiate but at this point, I can't differentiate anymore. Hopefully, that makes sense. So here's the prescription. This is the quantity amount, 90, and it was actually altered because the zero was added. And so it was originally written for nine. If we did further examination, you'd see that everything appears in this black type ink, except for the zero. With infrared examination, we see that the zero is a different formulation, different physical constituents than the rest of the other ink. It's reacting different. And that was at 750 nanometers. So, any questions?

Brooke: We have a question. Yes, from the [inaudible 00:35:34]. Would you expect every complete page of every ream of paper to have a dating code?

Jeffrey: Well, the dating code, if I'm understanding the question, the dating code is applied by the photocopy machine. So, either the color toner photocopy machine or color toner printer. So that will have... I know some of the HP ones actually have the timestamp on there. So, if it's an HP, you'll actually get a different time. It's hour and minute, I wanna say. I don't know if they have seconds. So at least at some point, you'll get a different hour and minute. But you'll have the serial number, make, model, and serial number, and well, sometimes a date and sometimes with a date, a timestamp as well. So not every machine puts that timestamp on there. So keep in mind that that photocopying machine or a printer color toner only. And generally only if there's color involved will put that date stamp on. I hope that answers...

Brooke: We have another question in regards to the first question, do noncolor printers and copiers have these stamps?

Jeffrey: No. No. None that are, you know, kind of transparent there, you know, as a latent image. None that have a latent image. And actually, they could have inkjet printers do this also, but the companies refused to go along with it. Any information about the CPS code was supposed to be a secret. It was supposed to be not for general knowledge and not to be revealed to the public. And eventually, it got out. There was a kind of a group out there that, you know, talks about Big Brother and things like that. And they kind of exposed it, but it was not supposed to be general knowledge. And then once it was, the manufacturers of these printers and copiers got really pissed off because now they were afraid people would not buy their brand knowing that this is important, but all brands across the board have it.

Brooke: Okay. And Douglas had a follow-up question. He said, "I thought the dating code was from the manufacturer of the paper. Is this not true?"

Jeffrey: Oh, yeah. No, no. Not that I know of anyway. The manufacturing code in the paper itself, no. No.

Brooke: Okay. And we have one final question. How do you actually handle digital watermark?

Jeffrey: I really don't get involved with digital watermarks so much. We have IT people that get involved with that. So that's kind of handed over to them. I don't get involved with it at all.

Brooke: Okay. That seems to wrap up our questions for this portion. So we'll continue with the presentation.

Jeffrey: Okay. And let me just say that, generally, there are two types of watermarks in paper. And one is a physical watermark, where there's actually a thinness in the paper. And that's what I was showing earlier, where there's a transparency but due to actual lack of or different density of paper fibers in that particular area. And it's a physical watermark. The dandy roll actually pushes away the fibers. There's another type of watermark called chemical watermark, where a chemical like a wax makes the paper translucent in that area, but it's the same density of paper fibers in that area. So that's one way to tell, like, when you get involved with the high-end stuff and maybe some of the clandestine, you know, inter-governmental agencies stuff where you have created watermarks. And generally they're created by that translucency, the paper, not the thinness of the paper, that's how you differentiate it. And a digital watermark is something different. That's in the digital medium.

So alteration of a document, just talk about a case I was involved in years ago. And this is a pretty funny case because these people got checks that were made out to LILCO, which is our Long Island lighting company in Long Island, New York. And they were for big money. This check was for 808,000. And so these big companies were sending in their, you know, electric checks. Grumman, this is was from Grumman, which is a big company out here. So, not bad, 808 grand. These people had somebody in the LILCO office take the check and, you know, bring it to them. They eradicated the LILCO, you know, lighting company name on the check and made it out to this guy, John Lightsey. Like you or I try that and pass it in the bank, they'd laugh you right out of the bank. But these guys know how to do it the right way. So here's another check for 69,000. And, again, made it out John Lightsey, this guy. And he would deposit it, the checks would clear because the money was there. LILCO, you know, doesn't tell these companies for like 30 days that they never got a check. So it's a pretty great scheme. And I should have another close-up of this as well.

The way they broke the case was one of the checks, and it was this check, got back to the company. And he said, John Lightsey, and it was a small company out in the north end of Long Island, I never wrote a check to John Lightsey. Who the hell is that? And that broke the whole case open. If you look very, very carefully at that slide, what they did was they took the edge of a safety razor and just gradually picked away the toner that was on the check and then retyped in that information. And if you saw the movie, "Catch Me If You Can," with a big box of like inks and razor blades, that's exactly what they gave me with this case. Exactly. So it was pretty wild. The guys got away with $1.4 million, and they blew it all in a week. In Atlantic City, they were five guys. It was organized crime case, five guys blew it in Atlantic City on cocaine and prostitutes and gambling. So, pretty wild case.

All right, so now we're gonna talk about a font substitution of a document. And I never recreate a document. This is exactly applicable to a case that I had. It's not the exact case but it's bang on the money with the case that I had. And here in the original contract, there are entries for $700 in here in 7 days from date of whatever. So, just to kind of show you what happens with a photocopy... Oops, let me hit this. There we go. I'm having a problem on the computer. So, I just got disconnected. Hopefully, I can get back on. Oh, I'm back on again. Brooke, are you there?

Brooke: We're here.

Jeffrey: Okay, I just went down here, but can you see...?

Brooke: Do you want me take over and do the slides for you?

Jeffrey: We'll see. I think I have it here. Can you see the slide that says date of signature and has original and fourth-generation...?

Brooke: Yes, we can.

Jeffrey: Okay. Great. So I'm all set. Sorry about that. And so the date of signature, if you just take a look, this is from the original document and this is toner printed. And generally, it's like 600 DPI resolution for toner. It's pretty clear. And this is a fourth-generation copy, which is a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of the original. So, it should be four copies in there, put a copy of that copy and then subsequent copies. And you can tell like the clarity is not as sharp and it's not as fine. Sometimes when I deal with attorneys and they say, you know, "I need the original, I can't get the original," you know, it's so much effort on their part to get the original. And this is true with the DA's office too.

I mean, I can't tell you how many times, you know, I encounter this until you show them exactly what the difference is and how it can help their case. Sometimes the attorneys will tell you, "Well, I'll make a copy of what I have and I'll send you that copy." And what I always suggested, let me have your copy. And then you keep the subsequent photocopy for yourself. They're not too keen on that sometimes also. So here's a first-generation copy. This is just strictly one copy from the original because if there's an alteration, generally, you're not gonna see that original in there. You'll always get like a copy of it. And here are the two-line entries, $700 versus seven days from date. And the question is, were they done with the same font or a different font? You know, and then if you think one way or the other, are you positive or are you just guessing? What's the answer here? See, I went back. So let's go to the next slide.

Brooke: Did you go to the next slide? It says we're still on 54.

Jeffrey: Actually I'm on 56 now.

Brooke: Okay. Yeah, something happened. So I'm gonna have to do is transfer it... Oh, no, wait, it transferred it back to me. Okay. Give me one moment. For some reason, WebEx kicked it back to me. So now...


Can all of our participants hear me? If you can, please just let us know in the chat feature. Thank you. Great. Thank you, guys. We're just [inaudible 00:48:47] a little bit of a problem. We'll be right back. Thank you.

Jeffrey: Hello.

Brooke: Jeff, you're there?

Jeffrey: Yeah. Yeah, I got...

Brooke: Great. We had a little problem there but we're back on. So we'll continue from slide 56.

Jeffrey: Okay. Great.

Brooke: Okay.

Jeffrey: So here's, excuse me, a font comparison of the two previous lines that we just looked at. So here are just for quick comparison are the capital letter F, the Rs, lowercase Rs, and the capital D. And now, hopefully, you're looking at them and you say, "You know what? I think there are some differences there." They're subtle. They're very subtle. So let's go to the next slide here. And this kind of points out those subtle differences. Differences in the serif the S, the angles of the serifs on the S, the curvature that they call it the pump handle of the lowercase R, very subtle. Let me put my arrows here. And let's change this here. And in the inner aspect of the uppercase letter D formation, very, very subtle. That's hard enough on a first-generation copy. If you have, like, a four-generation copy, forget it. So that's why having either the original or the copy closest to the original is so important on these kind of cases. On a signature case, maybe it's not so important. But on font cases or where you think there's a line substitution, they're critical. And hopefully, you see why. That's why I wanted to create that.

I had a case that was exactly comparable with that. And hopefully, the slide's gonna load. And eventually, the... I'm sorry for my delay there. I hope that slide came up. I'm in court ready to testify on it, they settled. I can't believe the case settled. And the people I was testifying for were in the right. They were the landlords. And you know what? And it had to do with a big piece of property. The woman said, "You know what? I'd rather have a tenant in there, even though part of it was changed then not have a tenant." And I was, like, flabbergasted. I couldn't believe it but that's how it goes. So okay, let's move on to indented impressions. And that little instrument right there, that stupid little box has solved more cases than you can ever imagine. And it's called an ESDA. And that stands for Electrostatic Detection Apparatus. It's made by a company called Foster + Freeman. And it was originally developed to developing fingerprints on documents. And that turned out not to be a good way to do it. But they found that it was super, super sensitive for indented impressions.

So if we take a pen and a paper and label the sheet from the original sheet with a zero to one, two, and three, you know, third sheet down, we write an entry on that original sheet, and then we see if we can find it on the indented impressions from subsequent sheets down. Here in sheet number two, visibly, you can see some type of, you know, image there. It may be hard, even if this is with oblique lighting to develop the whole thing but maybe you can. I don't know. In the next sheet down, there are no indented impressions with oblique lighting or sidelining things. So now let's process with the ESDA. And you see the full image coming up. And the next line should be a comparison. And here it is side by side. Visibly, nothing was on that third sheet, nothing. And boom, there's the writing. And that's exactly how it works in a real case.

So here's a real case and pretty innocuous letter, you know, hello, long time, no talk. This is left on a car. But the other letters you don't see were really, really, you know, graphic sexual harassing this girl. So, you know, I wanna get all these. I wanna process them for indented writing, and boom, here it is. It's directions to a party that the guy wrote on a previous sheet of paper. Visibly, there was nothing on this piece of paper to indicate any writing was on there. Nothing at all. So I had to redact the actual address, but this is out on Long Island and, well, not on Long Island, in Bayside Queens. And the whole thing was directions to the party. This was... Right in this area was the actual apartment number and address. This case, unfortunately, some slides got left out because for whatever reason, technical reasons, this was a double homicide where the guy chopped up two bodies. And I won't spend long talking about it because we don't have the other slides but in here, it was visibly nothing there.

And the impression was what one of the witnesses says where he talked about shooting the fat one on the couch and the other one with the 22. And that's exactly what was on the indented writing. Unfortunately, I didn't talk about that case or maybe it is on here. Let's see. Let's go to the next one. We're missing the next one. But let me go back here. It was in this area right here. These other areas were like smudged out but this was the area that had the information. And just to kind of show you how I do the case work, there's always a control in with the document. So I know the ESDA is working accurately because this is the piece of paper from two sheets down where I write, you know, two sheets away and, you know, just my name and date, and then we do the exam. The prosecutor never discussed this in the opening arguments. He didn't have the information on the piece of paper until later. It was from a search warrant that nobody realized what was there. And so they couldn't use it in the trial. They convicted the guy anyway, but it was pretty neat.

So I'll kind of add a word here, but this is an altered driver's license. Let's see what the next one is. So, well, we'll just pass it. This was a driver's license that was altered, and they actually put the pigment on top of those glass beads that are reflective beads. And, you know, just using microscopy to kind of visualize. I'll go back to show you the pigment on there. But it's using, you know, a microscopic analysis of the paper or whatever that document in "really is." So, I just wanna get to this one other slide. So this should have been used beforehand. What is the question document? It could be a piece of paper, a wall, side of a box, you know, bathroom stall divider. Think of police departments and fire departments that have their internal squabbles in the field. All that kind of crap. I don't have time for those types of exams but sometimes, you get pressured to do them. Or you can have hand writing on hands. So this is the hand and this was a body that was brought in. It was a suicide case, I've covered up where the head was. There wasn't any head, no head there and the legs.

But if you remember back to the infrared luminescence of the ink, there was writing on the hands. It was very faint. And so infrared luminescence was used to bring out the writing. There's a writing on the hands. This was the scanned image of the hand just to show you what was present. You could see something but it wasn't very clear. And with the infrared, you can see with clarity what the writing was. Sometimes I'm asked to opine, whether something is written in ball pen ink or whether it's a photocopy. It's like you're kidding, right? That's pretty straightforward exam. Again, it's using microscopy but, like, wow, you gotta be kidding. And sometimes, you know, court orders are for the original documents to be presented. And especially mortgage type cases, when they submit photocopies, you know, for a forensic document or handwriting exam.

I had one case where our side won just because it was a photocopy that was submitted instead of the original. That's actually pretty funny. So here's kind of a view of what a photocopy document would look like, a toner document. So this is like a black and white printer but toner, that toner is that plasticized material that takes heat to bind it to the paper. And if we just go back, this is ballpoint pen, so it's generally you see pressure, you can actually see like a furrow. Sometimes you see striations that are present or non-inking areas that are normally found, you know, when the ball travels through the ball housing. And microscopic examination, you'll see that the ink is really kind of adhering on to the paper fibers. So we're actually coming close to the one hour and my voice is just about gone. So here's four-color toner, printing of a supposedly, you know, a ball pen ink signature. So the ink signature was scanned and then printed four-color toner and you'll actually see the color toner particles that are on there but you need microscopic capabilities to see and to see it clearly.

Brooke: Jeff, sorry to interrupt you. You're still on slide 8. You're skipping out. Okay, we just had somebody question which slide you're on because they were seeing something different than you were. But we're on 82, right?

Jeffrey: Yep, we're on 82.

Brooke: Okay. Thanks.

Jeffrey: So here's a side-by-side comparison of toner, which is that melted appearance... You can kind of see like melted beads here. And 4 color toner, so they're melted beads as well, but they're tiny, tiny beads. And you really need like 100 power, 200 power to see those. The slide on the left, this photocopy toner, like 60 power is enough to really differentiate them. And for the 4-color toner, like I said, it's a much finer bead and generally needs a compound microscope to really make an accurate assessment. You really see the melted beads on there. And that's the best way to look at it. So, next line, same kind of deal where it has very flat appearance to it. So, that's a big help. I'm gonna go to the next slide.

Filter brightening, you'll see pen pressure as well, sometimes not always. But here's a comparison with felt tip. It's absorbed within the paper, sucked into that paper, and inkjet ink, which is 4-color inkjet, and you'll see the different color portions on there as well as black. So 4-color, cyan, magenta, yellow, and the fourth color is black. Sometimes you have three color inks where they make black out of cyan, magenta and yellow, but that's the older, much older varieties. So, again, for me, it's pretty much of a straightforward exam but, you know, I have to be on-site, I have to examine it, I have to bring my equipment there to examine it. But it's kind of funny. Here's gel link, and generally, you'll see a deep furrow in the gel ink line. You know, it's pretty much, you know, kind of a light inking area in the center. And pretty distinctive, and usually always, even with the lightest pen pressure, there's always distinctive pen pressure present. So, pretty characteristic look on it. Type font, I'll cover this real quick. I get involved with these cases where you have to satisfy a lot... In New York State, it's 12 point. And it's what's actually measured on the paper. It's the whole story of, you know, a printer saying I gave you 12 point. But that's kind of like the family of size as opposed to the actual size measured on the paper.

So, when you measure font, you go from the top of the ascender to the bottom of a descender. And there's a little bit of extra space in there letting. And you get actually these whole points. So, this is New York State Supreme Law that talks about 12 points. And the print was being measured by the size of the character on the printed page, as opposed to that kind of family. So, we're almost done here. But it's complicated. It's not that straightforward because part of the New York CLS, CPLR law, which deals with contracts talked about X height of the size. And the X-height is 45% of a specific point size. But they use this size to be measured as decimal 3.1 millimeter. Well, this gets into old traditional point versus... And the traditional point is 72.27 points per inch, as opposed to desktop publishing, which is 72 points per inch. So for 72, the traditional, it does come out to 351 but some laws are using the 72 points as opposed to traditional, which is 72.27. And everything's up in the air. It's crazy.

So I just testified a month ago, this is a typical chart I would use, talking about what the size actually measures versus the law states it has to be 12. And in these cases I use both the 72.27 and 72. And I have the scales side by side. On such a small distance, it doesn't matter. They're directly superimposable, less than a 10th of the hair width apart. You can't even tell the difference. Over 12 inches, you can tell the difference, but not within a half of an inch. So it's almost meaningless but I use both on there just to show whichever the judge is inclined to believe because it's not really well defined there. So I guess now's a good time to stop for any questions.

Brooke: Okay. We did have one question. They say this question is asked to you very respectfully with regard to forensic methodologies you have described this afternoon. Have you been prevented from utilizing any of these in court on the basis of they have not been shown to be scientifically reliable?

Jeffrey: No, I've never been prevented from talking about that. And to respectfully answer that question, that's their opinion that it hasn't been shown to be scientifically justified. Questioned document examination has passed Daubert hearings, and for New York state primaries. So, of course, there's some controversy with Daubert. Some allow it, some have some issues with it. But generally, there's no problem with acceptance.

Brooke: Okay. Great. We'll move along to the end of the presentation and then we'll wrap it up.

Jeffrey: Okay, so I'm gonna let you go to the slides or next here for the end.

Brooke: I can pass the rollback to us. So we just answered our last question. Here is Mr. Luber, [inaudible 01:06:46] work hard. We'll go to the end of our presentation. Once again, just a reminder, that this webinar is eligible for CLE credit in New Jersey, and is pending in Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas. To ensure that you receive your CLE credit, please complete the survey at the end of the presentation, and feel free to email us at TASA, you know, if you have any questions regarding the pending states of approval.

The TASA Group, of course, in addition to being your best source for testifying and consulting experts, we also offer e-discovery and document management solutions, our free interactive webinars, and research reports on expert witnesses. We thank Mr. Luber for his time today, and tomorrow morning, we will be sending out a link to a recording of this webinar, along with a link to the PowerPoint presentation. If you have any questions regarding the presentation, please feel free to email Carol Kowalewski. Her email address is listed below, or if you have any questions for Mr. Luber that weren't answered today, feel free to email Carol, and we'll definitely follow up with you. We thank everyone again for their time, especially you, Mr. Luber, and we look forward to seeing you in another webinar soon.

Jeffrey: Yep. You're welcome.


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