Documents Section News — May 2017

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

Abstracts for workshops and oral and poster presentations to be presented at the 2018 AAFS meeting in Seattle, WA, are due August 1. The theme is “Science Matters.” Consider using this opportunity to present an oral or a poster presentation on a specific examination or testing procedure you use. Should you have any questions regarding presentations, Program Chair Samiah Ibrahim can be reached at Questions regarding workshop proposals can be sent to Workshop Chair Linda Mitchell at

A section’s strength lies in the number and participation activity of its members. Even though the Questioned Documents Section is one the smaller sections in the AAFS, we have two members on the AAFS Board of Directors, Vice President Carl McClary and Director Thomas Vastrick. We are also fortunate to have John Sang, who has tirelessly promoted the QD Section as our ambassador to the other scientific disciplines and as a mentor to QD Section members. These three gentlemen and every Forensic Document Examiner (FDE) who has held an elected office share two things in common:  each was promoted through the ranks of membership and chose to serve the document community and the AAFS.

Many members listed in the QD Section’s current member roster are eligible for membership advancement. Academy Bylaws Section 4 states:  “ … only Fellows shall be eligible to hold any elected Academy or Section office.” Becoming a Fellow in the AAFS not only allows you to serve the organization as an elected officer, it also demonstrates your investment in the Questioned Documents Section and the Academy. Not all who achieve Fellow desire holding an elected office; however, advancing to the highest membership category in the organization is beneficial as it is a demonstration to the courts of your continued involvement in training, research, and publication in forensic document examination.

Requirements for promotion are defined for each category and are posted on the AAFS website, The deadline to submit the application for membership promotion is October 1, 2017. Feel free to contact QD Section Chair Linton Mohammed or Secretary Jan Seaman Kelly for additional information, encouragement, or emotional support to complete the promotional process!

Department of Justice Public Comment Request

AAFS President Betty Layne DesPortes posted a letter on the AAFS website discussing the Department of Justice’s request for public comment regarding how the agency should proceed to evaluate and improve the underlying science of forensic evidence; improve the operational management systems of forensic science service providers; and improve the understanding of forensic science by legal practitioners. President DesPortes posted the response from the AAFS Board of Directors to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and she encourages you to submit your suggestions containing specific details and recommendations based upon your experience to the DOJ.

Your recommendations are important and your voice should be heard. Take this opportunity to submit your recommendations to the DOJ. Science Matters!