The Program Committee for the 2016 Continuing Education Symposium of the Association of Forensic Document Examiners (AFDE), has invited me to speak to their international delegation of forensic experts in October in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. My topic will be:
A New Look at Post Litem Motam Rulings for Signature and Handwriting Exemplars
If you’re a lawyer, what does this mean for your clients? On the occasion that someone is denying having written his or her signature on a document, it may seem easy enough to simply sit your client down and have them write 10 or 15 signatures to show how he or she would normally sign their name. However, if a lawsuit has already been filed, that makes these exemplars post litem motam: a Latin phrase meaning “after the dispute has arisen.” Post litem motam exemplars are considered self-serving evidence because in such cases, evidence has to be pre-existing for use in forming a reliable opinion by a handwriting expert.
I will be discussing the parameters of obtaining signature exemplars after the lawsuit has been filed. Actual case stories will illustrate cautionary tales wherein limited exemplars were available.
The learning objective for my presentation is for forensic document examiners to become acquainted, or reacquainted, with the scope of post litem motam rulings for handwriting exemplars as a way to better serve their clients.