Expert Article Library

Is This His Handwriting?

Case Name: United States v. Brown (unpublished, 152 Fed. Appx. 59, 62

Court: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Date: October 18, 2005

Expert: Handwriting. Expert not named

Issues: Daubert gate-keeping issue over whether handwriting expertise was admissible

Summary of case: Trial court convicted defendant of importing and attempting to distribute cocaine.

Role of the expert: Handwriting expert testified that in his opinion, defendant wrote certain documents.

Expert analysis: Defendant said in his cocaine distribution trial that the Court was obligated to restrict the expert’s testimony to specific comparisons of defendant’s handwriting with the documents, and that attributing authorship was impermissible.

The Court disagreed, saying similar attacks have been rejected by other circuits. Also, the Court held handwriting authorship analysis is permissible under Federal Rule of Evidence 702. The Court noted the jury comprehends handwriting analysis more easily than other fields of forensics.

Summary prepared by R. McCall, Student, University of California, Hastings College of Law