Questioned Documents – May 2016

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the articles contained in the Academy News are those of the identified authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Academy.

Source: Jan Seaman Kelly, BA, Section Secretary

The Questioned Documents (QD) Section is one of the original multidisciplinary sections established in 1948 by the AAFS. The establishment of our section occurred as a result of Ordway Hilton’s passion and dedication to questioned documents. It is his legacy and our inheritance. For more than 68 years, this inheritance has provided opportunities to obtain QD-specific training and to collaborate with other AAFS sections. The value of our inheritance was evident at the Las Vegas meeting where Forensic Document Examiners (FDEs) in attendance represented a range of experience from trainee level to 30+ years. The seasoned examiners mentored and encouraged the younger examiners. Mentoring younger examiners has always been a tradition of the QD Section.

Document examiners maximize their Hilton inheritance through membership in the Questioned Documents Section of the AAFS. Members are encouraged to continue Mr. Hilton’s legacy through direct involvement in our Section by seizing opportunities that include promotion in membership from Trainee to Fellow, publishing in the Journal of Forensic Sciences, and serving on committees, including the Academy Standards Board (ASB). Members are also encouraged to serve as program or workshop chairs and to serve as officers of the QD Section.

The 2017 AAFS meeting in New Orleans is an excellent opportunity for new members to join the QD Section. The program will include outstanding workshops and oral and poster presentations. Plans are under way to add an activity during the section’s reception that will be of interest to both new and seasoned members. For those of you wishing to make a presentation, please contact Section Program Chair Samiah Ibrahim at If you would like to conduct a workshop, please contact Section Workshop Chair Linda Mitchell at Ms. Ibrahim and Ms. Mitchell are more than happy to furnish you with the information you need.

Mr. Hilton’s legacy provides an inheritance that differs from a financial one in that increasing the membership has a positive impact on the QD Section and does not dilute our inheritance. Every member of the QD Section is an ambassador of this wonderful organization. Be proud and reach out to fellow FDEs who meet the membership standards and encourage them to submit their application for membership to the QD Section. Membership criteria and the requirements for each level of membership can be found on the AAFS website. If there are any questions regarding membership to the QD Section, feel free to contact Linton Mohammed, Section Chair ( or me, Jan Kelly, Section Secretary (