Course DescriptionMost work performed by forensic document examiners is authentication of handwriting. The majority of this work is authentication of signatures. Advances in computer software has increased the accuracy of the results. This work often requires skill in matching patterns of writing. The underlying basis for handwriting comparison is learning the different ways a person writes across writing sessions. The forensic document examiner uses tools such as microscopes to examine the writing in question to find small details that a simulator will not discover. The document examiner learns whether the questioned writing fits within the patterns observed in the person's known writing. This seminar uses case studies to illustrate methods of authentication. Cases include the Zodiac Killer and the 2018 Zahau v. Shacknai case that resolved whether Rebecca Zahau was murdered or committed suicide at the Spreckels Mansion on Coronado Island. Topics covered are: - Handwriting identification techniques - The 21 attributes of handwriting examined by forensic document examiners - When are various tools used to examine handwritten documents? - What are generally accepted methods of examining handwritten documents? - What is the basis of handwriting comparison? - What is the difference between simulated writing and disguised writing?
Length: 1hr 7min
- Kevin C.
Meet the Lecturer(s)
Mike Wakshull is a court-qualified forensic document examiner located in Temecula, CA. He partners with attorney clients to deliver results that often lead to early settlements in favor of the counsel who retained him. When cases go to trial, he presents them in jury-speak rather than techno-geek to educate the triers of fact. He applies his technical and science training to present a science-based approach to his opinions—a court requirement.
Mike has authored two books on the topic of forensic document examination. He has presented at several international forensics conferences. A member of several industry-related associations, he serves of the board of two. Mike has had forensic document examination cases from fourteen states.
Mike was chair of the 2012 National Association of Document Examiners conference, the 2014 Scientific Association of Forensic Examiners Conference, and the 2015 Forensic Expert Witness Association conference.
He has been qualified as an expert witness in California Superior Courts and Federal District Court, testifying in cases involving will contests, contract disputes and others. Questioned documents discovered include an altered deed, cut‐and‐paste signatures, altered mortgage documents, altered handwritten documents, electronic documents, and many other types of questioned documents. Mike is one of a handful of forensic document examiners with a graduate school certificate in forensic document examination from an accredited university.
Mike is a member of the National Speakers Association. He was an invited speaker at the annual conference of the National Association of Document Examiners (NADE), Association of Forensic Document Examiners (AFDE), World Congress of Forensics in Chongqing, China, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and others.