Re: [infoguys-list] Court Ruliing On What Handwriting Analysis Doesn't Do
- Dear Arnold -
It appears that you are standing on belief of pure, nonsensical hearsay. I
would strongly suggest in the future that you do not go quoting hearsay
snippets that you read on the Internet before a forum of seasoned investigators
without first having read the case being cited.
You stated that in the Hazelwood S.D. matter handwriting analysis was found
to meet the EEOC, (Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act) requirements as
nondiscriminatory." Such does not appear to be the case. Yes, the District
Court did find in favor of the school district but the Court of Appeal reversed.
Then, in 1977, the reversal was reversed when the United States Supreme Court
granted certiorari. However, "handwriting" was not an issue in the matter
whatsoever and the word as well as anything remotely similar was never, ever
mentioned. What was at issue and the ONLY THING at issue was the formula used
for the ratios and what formulas, if any, constituted an act of discriminatory
hiring. The Supremes reversed based on the ground that the trial court's
analysis of statistical data rested on an irrelevant comparison of black teachers
to black pupils in Hazelwood, instead of a comparison of black teachers in
Hazelwood to black teachers in the relevant labor market area.
Now, let's get back to the root of this thread. I believe the original
discussion was about "admissibility". With that said, I believe that any
discussion about handwriting analysis (graphology) admissibility as well as the experts
who would testify in the court case must start with Rule 702 of the FRE,
which states that:
If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the
trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a
witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or
education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the
testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the
product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the
principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.
Graphology for purposes of "personality trait" issues does not appear to pass
muster. Not only that, in the case of Cameron v Knapp, 137 Misc. 2d 373, 520
N.Y.S.2d 917 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co. 1987) the court specifically ruled that a
handwriting expert may testify as to the authenticity of a writing in a
questioned document examination (QDE) but NOT as to an individual's physical or mental
condition based on a handwriting sample and this stands as current U.S. case
law for the rejection of graphology as admissible evidence. QDE on the other
hand has been used in the courts since 1792. The first reported known case was
Goodtitle Drevett v Braham 100 Eng Rep 1139 (1792).
Now, after much research on this matter, I have come to determine that there
is NO published research indicating the accuracy of any of the specific traits
used by any of the systems of handwriting analysis used in graphology.
Although there are some studies which imply that the approach as a whole has merit
but nothing more, there is a major shortage of supporting empirical evidence.
Therefore, it appears that graphology is about as admissible in a court of
law as all forms of voodoo and tarot card reading.
Sarkis Detective Agency
1346 Ethel Street
Glendale, CA 91207-1826
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