There is no need for a handwriting expert to testify about handwriting samples.
If a witness can testify that he or she can identify a person’s handwriting to a reasonable standard of reliability, it is admissible as evidence even without an expert.
In United States v Harris, 786 F3d 443 (6th Cir. May 13, 2015), the court issued an opinion on an issue it never decided before. The issue was is a lay person’s opinion about the defendant’s handwriting admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence. Mr. Harris was convicted of mailing a threatening letter to Congressperson Candice Miller. At his trial an FBI agent who investigated the crime, a former neighbor that had received letters from Mr. Harris and a postal worker who had delivered letters sent by Mr. Harris all testified that they recognized Harris’ handwriting. The court indicated that none of those people were handwriting experts, but because they demonstrated sufficient familiarity with Mr. Harris’ handwriting and had not gotten the familiarity for litigation reasons the testimony would be allowed.
Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys who are passionate, creative and cutting edge in representation of their clients.
It seems strange that after so many years, the issue of handwriting samples being identified by a non-expert has not come up before in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. But it has not. It was a crafty prosecutor that came up with this idea and the judges agreed with it. This is why when you are facing criminal charges you have someone equally crafty in your corner. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are the people you want on your side. Prosecutor’s do not like to see our attorneys walk into a courtroom because they know they are there to win. Prosecutor’s are used to dealing with attorneys who are in court simply to enter guilty pleas and move on to the next case. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. does not believe in guilty pleas just for the sake of a guilty plea. Our attorneys make sure that no stone is left unturned and the best most effective, passionate and creative defense is made on the client’s behalf. If you are facing criminal trouble, do not let a cocky prosecutor run circles around you and your attorney. Instead, let the attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. do the running. Please call us at (248) 263-6800 with your questions or complete a Request for Assistance Form and one of our highly experienced attorneys will call you.