(Received 22 February 1977; accepted 8 March 1977)
Published Online: 1977
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It is probably wise to define at the outset exactly what material this paper intends to discuss and, perhaps more importantly, what it will not discuss. At the very least, this practice should save the time of readers who already know (or don't care about) what is offered, and of those who search for information which is absent here. This paper does cover the origins, development, and present status of handwriting evidence in courts of the United States. What is not discussed includes the historical English precedents (except insofar as the English common law doctrines were adopted and explicated in U.S. court decisions), nor is there any discussion of developments in courts of the various states, nor is there any specific discussion of questioned document problems other than handwriting. These are all deserving topics, and let us hope they will be subjects of future research, but for now the topic will be limited strictly to the law of handwriting evidence applicable in the federal court system. Historical discussions, collections of citations, and surveys can be found in Refs 1 through 5.
Assistant director, Crime Laboratory, U.S. Postal Service, San Bruno, Calif.
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