Angel Santiesteban and the Handwriting Expert / Regina Coyula

Angel and Regina

Angel and Regina

In Minority Report, the precogs were used in the pre-crime unit to predict possible murders. Already the presupposition is morally questionable while at the same time familiar as we have seen in our own Penal Code the “crime” of “pre-criminal dangerousness.” But can graphology emulate the precog, or at least can prove with scientific accuracy that traits of a criminal personality, or criminal, can be detected through handwriting? The answer is categorical and is negative.

I speak advisedly. Certified as an expert in documents at the Central Laboratory of Criminal Science, my specialty was handwriting. Many books have been written on the subject that “prove” that the handwriting reveals personality traits still hidden or that one tries to hide. Always using familiar characters, whose life history is closed and whose biographies have been widely documented to “prove” what their handwriting reveals in this or that characteristic. But nothing can be found in the wide literature on this subject with respect to a single systematic study of the relationship between handwriting-personality, and if there is, it is greatly subjective.

It is possible to establish the authorship of a document, because handwriting is a somewhat scatterbrained sister of the fingerprint in its individuality; by the same principle it is possible to detect a forgery, although there are fakes with a high degree of complexity and elaboration that shed a false positive. By the handwriting may know the approximate age and sex. Writing reveals, among other things, personality traits, cultural level, if a person is writing with their other hand, if they try to disguise their writing (for which there must be a comparison between two or more documents).

I find it irresponsible and manipulative to present at a trial an “expert” to certify by the handwriting of a paragraph, that a defendant has such and such a tendency in his personality. With a mere glance at a piece of paper copied reluctantly and under pressure, an expert certifies in court with his statement that the accused has the characteristics necessary to convict.

Graphology is a pseudoscience. No crime lab expert could offer an unproven statement by a photo-tableau illustrating their expert conclusions. To do so borders on the ridiculous: the case of my friend Angel Santiesteban, was judged in advance.

March 4 2013

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