Last week, Judge Rakoff held that courts should generally be wary of admitting handwriting expert testimony under Federal Rule of Evidence 702. His opinion notes that handwriting analysis, unlike DNA or other forms of scientific evidence, did not arise from scientific inquiry and instead was created solely for use in the courtroom. Judge Rakoff found the expert’s opinion evidence “far too problematic” to be admissible towards determining whether a party’s signature at issue in the case was authentic.
After applying the Daubert factors, Judge Rakoff concluded that:
It remains the case that the methodology has not been subject to adequate testing or peer review, that the field sorely lacks internal controls and standards, and so forth. Accordingly, this Court is of the view that, as a general matter, a court should be cautious in admitting testimony from a forensic document examiner . . . particularly when an examiner offers an opinion on authorship – and should not do so without carefully evaluating whether the examiner has actual expertise in regard to the specific task at hand.