Handwriting Authentication Services
Sheila Lowe began her study of handwriting in 1967 and later expanded her education to include document examination. She first qualified as a handwriting expert in 1985 and has since been court-appointed in criminal cases in many California counties, as well as being retained by offices of the Public Defender and private attorneys. She has provided expert opinions in a broad spectrum of cases throughout the country and overseas. Her articles on handwriting examination have been published in O.C. Lawyer, Citations, and numerous other bar association magazines. She makes presentations for MCLE at bar association meetings and teaches Introduction to Handwriting Examination (a 20-hour program for credit) in the University of California’s CSI program in the Riverside Campus Extension. Sheila is appointed to the Los Angeles County Panel of Experts.
If you have a suspected forgery, here is
some information you’ll need to know:
In cases of suspected forgery, it is best to have original samples. With anything less than originals, only a qualified opinion may be offered (i.e., the opinion is tentative pending examination of the original questioned document). If originals are unavailable, the next best thing is a high-resolution scan, a high quality digital photograph, or lastly, a first-generation color copy. Faxed copies are the least desirable.
A handwriting examiner needs good exemplars in order to make a competent comparison. The best exemplars will be similar in nature to the questioned document. Thus, if the writing in question is a signature, the comparison exemplars should also be signatures. If printed writing is to be examined, as is often the case in anonymous notes, printed exemplars should be submitted. The exemplars should be course of business writing that has already been produced, not just for the sake of the examination. It is best to have as many exemplars as possible that were written around the same time as the questioned writing, and it is also helpful to have writing from a range of dates.
If you aren't sure where to find exemplars of signatures, here’s a link to 101 places to look.
The handwriting examiner will need some personal information about the person whose signature or handwriting is being questioned, such as their age, gender, writing hand and state of health. The following link contains a checklist of information. You may not have all the answers, but whatever you can provide will make the examiner’s job easier.
Like other professionals in the legal field, handwriting experts require a retainer for the first few hours (usually 3-5 hours) of work, and you will be required to sign a retainer agreement before any work is begun. Fees of handwriting experts in Southern California range from around $200-$450/hour.
Email Sheila Lowe for a copy of her curriculum vitae: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: (805) 658-0109.
Note: On August 2, 2006, an article titled "The write way" by reporter Sharon DeMarko-Gordon was published in the Niagara Gazette and other print and on-line newspapers. The article was about entertainment graphology and quoted several graphologists, including one purportedly by Sheila Lowe. Please note that Sheila was never contacted for an interview for this story, and never made the comments attributed to her. When she asked Ms. DeMarko-Gordon about the quote, a strange story began to unravel. Although a weak retraction was printed in the Gazette, the final chapter has yet to be written. According to DeMarko-Gordon, someone posing as Sheila Lowe gave this interview. For the record, Sheila does not do entertainment graphology. Ever.