Questioned Documents Section – March 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: Linton A. Mohammed, PhD, Section Chair

The 2016 AAFS Annual Meeting was held in Las Vegas, NV. The Questioned Documents Section had one workshop which was conducted by Tom Vastrick and Ellen Schuetzner. The workshop received widespread praise from all who attended. Congratulations to Tom and Ellen for their hard work on the workshop and for the research that generated its content. Linda Mitchell did a fine job as Workshop Chair.

Jan Seaman Kelly served as the QD Program Chair for the meeting. There were some very interesting presentations by members and guests. The international guests gave enlightening presentations on research being conducted in their countries. Jan gave an overview of QD since Daubert, which reminded everyone of not only how far QD has come, but the work and effort it took to get here–and there is still a very long way to go. Kevin Kulbacki was the A/V coordinator for the program, which went without a hitch.

At the Questioned Documents Section’s Business Meeting, Linton Mohammed was elected as Chair and Jan Seaman Kelly as Secretary. Tom Vastrick stepped down after serving for four terms as Section Chair.  During his term, Tom was a strong advocate for the QD Section and QD in general. He has made a sterling contribution to the Academy. Carl McClary is continuing in his three-year term on the Academy’s Board of Directors. John Sang continues to work tirelessly behind the scenes for the section.  He is truly one of the biggest contributors to the QD Section and is owed a great deal of gratitude.

At the section’s business meeting, Jane A. Lewis was honored with the Ordway Hilton Award for her contributions to the section, the Academy, and Document Examination. Jane received the award as only she can–with a song.

One of the major news items at the meeting was the Academy’s establishment of a Standards Development Organization–the Academy Standards Board (ASB). Jane Lewis was elected by the Board of Directors to serve on the ASB. It is anticipated that much of the work product from the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) will go through the ASB for publication. Please check the AAFS ASB website for information on how you can and should sign up to be a member of the consensus body.

The 2017 annual meeting will be held in New Orleans, LA. The theme of the meeting is “Our Future Reflects Our Past: The Evolution of Forensic Science.” The location alone should generate tremendous interest. Abstracts for presentations, posters, and workshops are due by August 1; however, I encourage you to submit your abstracts and workshop proposals by July 1. The time between now and then goes by very quickly. We hope to have at least two workshops next year. The Academy is very strict on deadlines for good reasons. Samiah Ibrahim will be the 2017 Section Program Chair with Brenda Lanners as Co-Chair. Linda Mitchell has graciously agreed to serve again as Section Workshop Chair and Mark Goff will be the Co-Chair.

Look carefully at the requirements for membership promotion, especially if you are in line for promotion to Fellow. To serve as an officer of the Academy, being a Fellow is a requirement. It is important to carefully denote your membership section and level when referencing Academy membership. For example, you are a (Fellow/Member, etc.) of the Questioned Documents Section of AAFS. The deadline for membership and promotion applications is November 1, but it is highly recommended that you submit your applications as soon as possible.

Please contact Linton Mohammed ( or Jan Kelly ( if you have any questions about promotion or next year’s meeting. We look forward to seeing you in New Orleans.