AFDE Symposium: October 13-16, 2017 - Reno, NV
The AFDE motto: Professionals who share knowledge increase their own skills.
with Payment Instructions

Only 2 blocks from the Reno Riverwalk

The Whitney Peak hotel is one of Reno's newer hotels. It is  downtown Reno's only luxury non-smoking, non-gambling hotel. There are plenty of hotels in the neighborhood that offer gambling for those interested.
* Group Rate: Single or Double $109 + tax  (breakfast not included)
* Concierge Level: Single or Double $159 + tax (includes breakfast in *Concierge Lounge and “happy hour” from 4-7 pm daily)
* ALL rooms include Internet access and complimentary self-parking in the hotel garage
* Rates apply 3 days before or after meeting dates. 
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Whitney Peak Hotel
255 N. Virginia Street
Reno, NV 89501
Toll Free: (888) 776-9551

Symposium Fee Reductions for International/Distant Attendees:

This year AFDE is offering a fee reduction for international and long distance attendees. The purpose of this fee reduction is to demonstrate our appreciation of the effort and expense for international and long distance attendees. Download the attached 2017 Registration form for details.
Important Deadlines: Early Bird Registration ($100 prize drawing) ends September 8. The cut off date for AFDE room rate at the Whitney Peak is September 11, 2017. Rooms may still be available, but not at the AFDE rates after this date.
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The Program: Contact Program Chairman, Richard McEvoy to submit abstracts for presentations or to suggest topics or presenters
Control of the hand and arm: Distributed, but serial rather than parallel processing
Prof. Mark H. Schieber
Head of the Neural Control of Hand and Finger Movements Laboratory
School of Medicine and Dentistry
University of Rochester Medical Center
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Alzheimer’s disease and Handwriting - What do we know so far?
Carina Fernandes - Winner of the 2017 AFDE Bryan Found Memorial Research Prize
Forensic Handwriting & Document Examiner and Laboratory
Manager at
NCForenses-Ciências Forenses Lda.
Abstract: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive and irreversible neurodegenerative disease, involving the impairment of several cognitive functions To determine how AD affects the handwriting of signatures, samples from three groups were analyzed AD1 (17 individuals with probable AD; MMSE 20.12 ± 2.00); DA2 (17 individuals with probable AD; MMSE 11.06 ± 3.93) and a control group (30 healthy matched individuals; MMSE 28.07 ± 1.60).
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General features (Chi-Square Tests Linear-by-Linear Association, p <0.050) were analyzed. In general features, differences were found in legibility, tremor and line quality, spacing between words, shape and direction of the baseline.

Motor features, such as velocity, level of connection and pressure didn't reveal significant differences. In constructional features, repetitions (e.g. letters M, d, e, n and t), omissions (e.g. letters M, i, n, r and t) and substitutions (e.g. letters M, S, and d) were observed.

The presence of additional writing, unrelated to the signatures, was also detected. These results reflect the overall cognitive deterioration associated with Alzheimer's disease, particularly of the temporal (memory functions) and parietal (visual spatial capabilities) lobes.
The effect of visual feedback in signatures, block and cursive handwriting 
FDE at Chartoularios P.C., Laboratory of Questioned Document Studies.
Abstract: Ηandwriting is a motor skill defined in a two-dimensional spatial domain, consisted of three major levels through which the motor units that contain the letter trajectories are retrieved from their motor memory storage and translated into a process of muscle commands via muscle adjustments. As soon as individuals start learning how to write they are introduced to a writing system common to a group of writers connected by geographic, academic, temporal, national or occupational links.
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As the writing ability evolves, writers distance themselves from the class system, that they were taught, develop peculiarities in handwriting and acquire personal writing characteristics, the so called individual characteristics of handwriting, which are considered the backbone of forensic handwriting identification.

Handwriting is influenced by a number of genetic, physiological and biomechanical factors. Some factors can change the individual's writing so drastically that it may be impossible to make an accurate comparison of the person's normal writing with the person's abnormal writing causing serious problems for forensic document examiners. However the research regarding the visual feedback is partially contradictory regarding the degree of its influence on the individual characteristics.

A two-pronged approach was designed in order to investigate the degree of this influence: Samples of signatures, cursive and block handwriting written with and without visual feedback were collected from 40 volunteers and were imported in a PC via an opaque pen tablet using an electronic inking pen. The data was stored and analyzed in a handwriting movement analysis software module specially designed for this research, that was attached in the software MovAlyzeR by Neuroscript LLC. Peer reviewed forensic comparison by a forensic document examined (FDE) between the two groups (that is the group of samples executed with normal visual feedback versus the group of samples executed without visual feedback) shows total lack of significant differences between samples of the two different conditions and the existence of a large corpus of similarities in the design and the pictorial aspect, regardless of the complexity of the samples.

Focusing on the cursive and block handwriting, six traits linked to the absence of visual feedback where found: change of overall size, non uniformity of left margins, change of slant, avoidance of pen lifts, inclusion of extra trajectories and decrease of line quality. Furthermore, it was established that the absence of visual feedback by itself cannot lead a trained FDE to an erroneous conclusion. The statistical analysis shows that visual feedback significant influences the duration and average absolute velocity of the signature execution, since the signature is executed more slowly under no visual feedback.

Further analysis of the cursive handwriting shows that without visual feedback there is a significant increase in absolute and horizontal size as well as average pen pressure and a decrease in slant and vertical size while in block handwriting there is a significant increase in absolute and horizontal size, average pen pressure as well as duration and a decrease in slant, average absolute velocity and vertical size. The comparative analysis suggests that the factors of gender, educational level and handedness creates an insignificant influence during the comparison of the two conditions of the researched individual characteristics, with the only notable exception of the relationship between signature duration and educational level due to automation and its results in the memory retrieval program of the allographs.

The combination of the above findings suggests that all types of writing (signature, cursive and block handwriting) are governed by a single major open loop motor program, which is not significantly influenced by visual feedback -no evidence was found that visual feedback intervenes significantly in the procedure of allograph execution, but is mainly linked with the auxiliary order of macro-managing, inspection and possibly correction of the overall outcome of the combination of the above allographs.
Case Reviews 
M. Patricia Fisher, M.J., D-BFDE
Fisher Forensic Document Laboratory, Inc.
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True Tremor vs False Tremor in Handwriting
Robin D. Williams, MFS, MS, D-BFDE, Diplomate-Board of Forensic Document Examiners and Tamara Keller-Kaiden, Apprentice
Abstract:  Forensic Document Examiners will learn more about how false tremor will present itself when people attempt to imitate the handwriting or the signature of a person that contains true tremor.

By 2020, for the first time in history, people aged 65 and over will outnumber children under 5 years of age and as of today, there are more people aged 65 and older than the COMBINED total populations of Russia, Japan, France, Germany and Australia. As the over age 65 group gets larger every year and increasingly infirm, so does the opportunity for fraud to occur. The rise in conditions that may affect handwriting increases as the population ages and grows exponentially. This presentation will provide samples of handwriting regarding false tremor that may aid the Forensic Document Examiner on future cases where false tremor is suspected in a signature or handwriting.
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WORKSHOP: When Does a Signature Contain Enough Detail to Render an Opinion?
Robin D. Williams, MFS, MS, D-BFDE, Diplomate-Board of Forensic Document Examiners and Tamara Keller-Kaiden, Apprentice
Abstract:  Forensic Document Examiners will discuss what they would do in a case that does not provide much detail and clarity in the signature and what qualifies a questioned signature as being acceptable.

Abstract: Several factors play into giving an opinion regarding genuineness or non-genuineness of a signature. In this workshop, each attendee will be given the questioned signature to compare to known signatures and either render an opinion or not render an opinion and give reasons for their decision.
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Dupuytren’s contracture - A medical disease of the hand
Lynda D. Hartwick, BA, D-BFDE
Documents in DisputeAssociates, Inc.
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THE EXPERT–ATTORNEY PRE TRIAL CONFERENCE: A checklist for cases involving handwriting evidence
Jacqueline Joseph, D-BFDE
J. Joseph & Associates
Abstract: During a recent pre trial conference, the presenter's client-attorney confessed that he had never before proffered an expert in court. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the pre trial conference became a teaching platform on how to effectively manage the presentation of evidence to the court. As a result, a step-by-step checklist was created and will be discussed.
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Modern Cut and Paste Recognition
Charla Janney, FDE
Charla Janney & Associates, Inc.
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Can we Rely on PDFs?
Richard McEvoy, Forensic Photographer
Forensic Imaging, Inc.
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Distinguishing Inks
Kurt E. Kuhn, FDE
Forensic Consulting Service
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Will Bias Cost You Your Next Case?
Mike Wakshull, FDE
Q9 Consulting Incorporated
Abstract: Bias in the courtroom is a prevalent problem. Bias exists in all people. The ability to recognize your biases and the biases of your opponent can save or lose your retaining attorney’s case. Black’s Law Dictionary Ninth Edition identifies 4 types of bias in the courtroom. Not on the list of biases is “Expert Witness Bias.”
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As an expert witness there is a responsibility to recognize whether you are succumbing to unconscious biases that will be exposed in deposition or trial. We all have biases, learn to overcome yours and deliver a foolproof testimony.

This presentation introduces the four forms of courtroom biases plus expert witness bias. You learn how to recognize these biases in yourself, the opposing expert witness, and the attorneys.

After this seminar you will:
Effectively recognize and reduce your biases
Know how to counter the biases of the opposition
Determine whether your forensic examiner’s report is biased
Recognize the eects of bias on a forensic examiners’ opinions
Make implicit biases work in your favor
Learn how biases impact the jury’s perspective

Variants of this presentation have been delivered to bar associations, legal conferences, and forensic expert meetings and seminars.
From Complexity to Transparency in Forensic Science: A Review of the work and Legacy of Dr. Bryan Found
Heidi H. Harralson, D-BFDE
Emily J. Will, D-BFDE
Abstract: Dr. Bryan Found (1962-2016) made a substantial and profound impact on the application of scientific methods and theory in forensic disciplines. A review of his contributions to forensic handwriting examination is summarized including his published work on modular methodology, complexity in handwriting, application of motor control theories to forensic handwriting examination, proficiency testing and examiner expertise, cognitive forensics, and transparency in reporting.
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