Posted On: March 17, 2007 by Karen Olson

Handwriting Expert Testifies Regarding "Disguised Writing"

The New York Press Republican reported that expert witness testimony was allowed from a handwriting expert regarding disguised writing samples:

A prosecution expert witness testified Thursday that accused murderer Edward Dashnaw tried to disguise his handwriting in samples given to police. Dashnaw is charged with the December 2005 stabbing deaths of David and Lorraine Donivan of Schuyler Falls.
Forensic Document Examiner Dennis Ryan returned to the stand before Judge Patrick McGill Thursday morning and began to describe what he perceived as "disguised" writing samples from Dashnaw, which Ryan said hindered his analysis of three checks that were drawn from the Donivans' accounts in the days following their murders.

Disguised writing is where the writer makes a deliberate attempt to mask the characteristics of their handwriting. Handwriting expert Dennis Ryan had testified that writings was "slow and deliberate. The pen pressure was heavy. The writing speed was slow. The writing had poor line quality."

He added that the shaky writing appeared to have continuous breaks between characters and often contained two to three strokes in individual letters, which is not the case in natural and fluid writing styles and was not consistent with past documents containing Dashnaw's known writing.