You have finally made a decision to hire a document examiner/handwriting expert. Hopefully, it is not a week before the trial, though I do understand, perhaps better than most that true emergencies can come up, like when my client and friend a former DA in Philadelphia, calls at 11PM on a Sunday night for a trial the next morning when a petition suddenly shows up that must be challenged.

When your office is at home, and attorneys get to know that, you learn to expect those things, but you have to be a pretty close friend to even think about getting away with calling me at 11pm on a Sunday night.  Otherwise, I will just tell you to take a tranquilizer and call me in the morning and I won’t even send you a bill for the advice.

 Well now as Steve Allen used to say: “All seriousness aside, let’s talk”

Generally speaking, experts do NOT like being called at the last minute. For me, last minute is anything less than two weeks prior to the time an opinion, albeit even a preliminary, is needed. Don’t even think about it if its a trial less than two weeks before the date of trial. This does NOT send a good message to your potential expert and will likely have him running in the other direction.

The reasons should be quite obvious. As I have tried to convey in my previous post, authenticating a signature or handwritten document can be quite complex depending on the case, Although I can appreciate the fact that an attorney, who on average, research shows, only uses a document examiner once every fifteen years,   may not fully understand exactly what is needed to render an opinion that can be defended in court and, in fact, may have a simplified view of what is required.  Attorneys need to give the expert sufficient time to collect said information that the scientific authority and case law require-otherwise, the whole exercise is a collosal waste of time and money and what’s the point? Nothing is solved and both the attorney and expert risk looking very bad to the judge for not being properly prepared and the judge may harbor an unconscious bias, thinking in his or her mind that the reason the attorney waited to the last minute is that he/she wanted to “slip something by”them. Maybe just maybe, the judge won’t have the time to look at things too closely if the attorney”s signature issue is really crap and his last minute ploy is merely a ploy to delay things, hoping it may somehow favor the client’s case by stonewalling. Maybe the plaintiff is right, the client’s  signature really IS a forgery. Why would an attorney want to pay an expert to tell them something they already suspect might be true–at least not pay them a lot of money anyway-hence the recent proliferation of cheap experts willing to say anything for a buck just so that your opposing counsel can cause further delay and expense to your client and who knows maybe even make them throw in the towel and go away. Litigatin IS getting VERY  expensive these days and the truth can sometimes suffer for that. Standing on principle it seems is getting to be a lost art.

 This is why I take great pains to not allow myself to get involved in any of these dubious situations. Like I said, there sometimes ARE true emergencies, but like the sign I saw on a fellow expert’s desk says: “Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part”. I will take an emergency for someone I know or have worked for before, but let’s face it, it is NOT a good sign for an expert when he or she gets those last minute frantic phone calls. It usually indicates to me that the attorney doesn’t want to pay unless they absolutely have to and even then, not pay too much or on the alternative are not well prepared. To an expert, either scenario is not good. It is hard to immagine someone being so poorly prepared that they didn’t know they had a trial in a week But hey, what do I now do with the cases I am working on for attorneys who did NOT wait until the last minute?  Is it fair to them?

So the bottom line is that generally experts should avoid what my wife calls “Last Minute Louies” unless of course you like headaches and stress and chasing after lawyers for money-good luck on that.

So now back to “working with your document examin/handwriting expert” FINALLY.

Again, it is not my purpose to train anyone in document examination but instead what to do to get the most out of the attorney/expert relationship. Nor is it my job to quote the pertinent laws that relate to questioned documents in general and to this case in particular. It is a partnership, but not an equal partnership. At all  times, it must be remembered, the attorney is the manager of his or her case and the expert must comply, as long as it does not violate any legal or ethical tenet whether it be the experts Code of Ethics or the attorney’s, notwithstanding “last minute Louie” The attorney should also have SOME rudimentary knowledge of the field such as one might find in my soon to be published book to give them SOME parameters of what the expert might need.

 The expert must rely on counsel’s advice about the relavent law pertaining to the case and must comply. Likewise the attorney must comply with the scientific principles of the field that the expert must rely on and will be impeached for if not compliant.

In one sense, it is really quite simple for the expert. If the scientific authority says you do X then you do X. and you request that counsel do everything in his or her power to assist you  comply with the scientific authorites and not try to manipulate things to save time or money. For example, the issue of exemplars often comes up Ie the known samples the expert must rely on to determine the writing habbits of the person who signature or writing is in dispute  DURING THE   TIME PERIOD of the disputed document. The authorities on this subject are quite clear as to what is reqired-how many, when, what type, etc. Ignorance or laziness to obtain proper samples on the part of counsel when the expert can not obtain them on their own(such as when a subpoena is required) is no excuse. The information is there in publics records, if necessary, which, thanks to the net are now much easier to obtain. Being told: “This is all I have” will only get you a preliminary opinion from me which will be useless in court. This is also true for any other information that may impact the analysis which your expert will be glad to provide in numbing detail. If the authority and thus the expert require it, it MUST be obtained. Experts who do not insist that their client/counsel provide the required material or information set themselves up for possible impeachment and even malpractice, an ever increasing tort in litigation now.  And they only have themselves to blame. If counsel does not or can not comply with proper scientific authority, the answer is simple and clear-NO FINAL REPORT WILL BE ISSUED BY THE EXPERT -PERIOD!!!! I provide a detailed list of what is required and it must be signed and returned with the required information. In my cases, it is not possible to proceed unless all the required information is provided, but it seems there are some experts and attorneys who are willing to play “Russion Roulette” as one attorney/client told me, by not doing what is required for the sake of experdiency and hoping things work out OK.

As experts, we are not in the business of taking short cuts to please counsel and thus put ourselves at risk. And counsel should not be in the business of taking short cuts lest they lose the case and incurr the rath of a client or possibly worse. It used to be that it was hard to find a lawyer who would sue another lawyer-not anymore. The relationship between the expert and his or her client/attorney should be one of mutual respect and cooporation to reach a common goal–justice for the client. It will not work otherwise.  The expert must allow counsel to do his job and not interfere and counsel must allow his expert to do his job and not impede. The right thing must ALWAYS be done to insure the best result. And let’s not forget, you don’t want to antagonize your expert by not paying their bill or resisting their advice or you will quickly lose them then have to start all over with another expert-if you can find one willing to take over.

Let’s face it, I, as an experienced and knowledgable expert do not want to be associated with experts who do not share my standards. Of course, we are not talking about students and trainees here. We are talking about experienced experts who KNOW or are supposed to know what their job is and how to do it. It often amazes me how highly little highly credentialed experts know about their field. I once had a case where an experienced government expert answered “I don’t know” twelve times in a row to basic skill questions about handwriting, prompting the judge to turn and ask: “Well, sir, just what do you know?”  There went any credability he had, highly credentialed or not. And please as an expert, DO NOT advocate for your attorney or client or there goes your credibility. You can defend your opinion when it comes under attack, as it most certainly will on cross, as Albert Osborn, one of the accepted authorities in the field says you must. But there is a BIG difference between advocating for you attorney/client and defending what you believe to be the correct conclusion.

Lawyers are no different than experts.. A good and honest lawyer does not want to be associated with anyone whose standards are less than his or hers. That not only includes integrity, but work ethic as well. What would be the point? If you win a case dishonestly, what have you won except “bad karma” as they say? You have to look yourself in the mirror. You have to look in the eyes of your kids and tell them to be honest and hard working if they are to acheive in life. There is NO exception here. We all KNOW that, so why argue the point. Why shade the truth thinking no one will know. YOU  will know. God will know. There will ALWAYS be a pay back for anyone who does not to follow what their heart tells them IS the right thing to do even if the pay back is feeling guilty and ashamed, which has been shown to have a bad effect on your health. As one young lawyer once told me: “I try not to piss off highly qualified and experienced experts. You never know when you might need them again”. By the same token, the attorney must always remember that it is really the client who has the ultimate say and who must be pleased with the effort in the end by both the attorney and the expert.  Clients should not be left in the dark about anything and should be informed each step of the way.

Like President Truman said when the politicians were telling him what they thought he should do as he pounded his fist on the table: “DAMN IT,  WHY DON’T WE JUST TELL THEM THE TRUTH!!!”  That did not win him many friends in Washington, but he covered that to: “If you want a friend in Washington”, he said, “get a dog.

I have one, my Golden Retriever Gracie(who is on YouTube by the way)

A truer friend you would never want. She never complains as long as the biscuits are nearby and finds the greatest joy in the simplest things in life, like a walk in the park. There is a powerful lesson there somewhere.



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Unfortunately many lawyers today view their jobs as a way to make large amounts  of money–QUICKLY, primarily for themselves. If the client gets some of that money so much the better, but let’s make this crystal clear-most  lawyers are NOT in  the profession to ease a client’s suffering that resulted from the cause of action before them because money alone can not solve many of the consequences foisted on the plaintiff by the misdeeds of the defendant. Unfortunately, today, the attorney does not see it as his job to find physical  mental and emotional treatment for their clients which were the cause of their suffering brought about by the actions of the defendant. It is up to the plaintiff to provide their own treatment AND TO PAY FOR IT!!!

The plaintiff has to provide an “air tight” case to the lawyer, including paying for ALL experts to be used in the case.

Unfortunately, the facts are usually not readily apparent and often require extnsive investigation to uncover facts that the defendant is trying very hard to conceal. There are very few cases such as “up and coming brain surgeon get’s rear ened by an oil truch and is a cripple for life, but the “ambulance chasers’ don’t stop trying.


Let’s face it, the cost of litigation being what it is today a plaintiff’s lawyer will simply NOT take a case unless it is pretty much open and shut, yet as I said, determining that often requires LOT of work the plaintiff”s counsel is unwilling to do KNOWING the alleged defenses raised by the defendant’s counsel are manipulations of the truth if not outright lies KNOWING there will NEVER be consequences for those lies which the plaintiff’s own lawyer will give credibility to to make some quick easy moeny.

This is how the “game” is played, unless the plaintiff is wealthy and can actually pay for the investigators, experts and lawyers to ferret through the garbage raised by the defences.

Everybody KNOWS the system is a FARCE  and the poor and middle class suffer the most and the people with the power to change things have NO interest inb doing so.

So what is the answer?


Please tell me




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With the election of Donald Trump as President, we have been hearing a lot of talk from him about bad judges,  especially the ones who disagree with him. Justice is blind so they say, but is it really? Why is there so much controversy over the recent pick for the Supreme Court. President Obama, who had the right to pick a new judge before he left office was met with cries that he should wait for the new REPUBLICAN President to make the pick. Should it really matter? Are not judges supposed fair, objective, honest, impartial with superior knowledge and experience of the law and a sincere desire to ferret out the truth from litigants not always willing to give it. I am reminded of the words of Supreme Court Justice William Jennings Bryant when he would pound his gavel at the beginning of a court case and announce” Let the perjury begin” Are judges  REALLY interested in the truth if it doesn’t jibe with the view of the President or whomever picked them or the party they belong to. Do people REALLY believe judges are honest and fair and are looking for the truth? I doubt it. We all know that most lawyers are not. This is why most people don’t trust lawyers. Honest lawyers usually starve.

In my over 40 years as an expert with over 500 court appearances (www.documentexaminer.org), I have experienced many instances of blatant incompetence from judges if not outright dishonesty(Abscam) I write about one on my blog about the case of Hadassa Azizi v. Robert Phillips(me)Here was a woman who conspired with her business partner to cheat the tax payers of NY out of the sales tax on $1Million dollars from her liquor store. I did not know this of course so I concluded the  records were forgeries, having been signed unbeknownst by me  by the partner, but Azizi never paid my fee to come to court and she lost the case. Lo and behold I get a law suit in the mail where she blames me for losing her case for not coming to court and in an unfortunate twist of fate, in heading to court on the day, pulled out my file only to realize that I had another case w/the same name and brought the wrong file to court. After explaining the problem to Laskin, I requested a continuance n the case to retrieve the correct file NINE times on the record. He refused and a judgement was entered against me. Now if that were not bad enough, I appealed the case myself to the Appellate Court and after hearing the facts, they refused to overturn the judgement of Laskin. So was the court interested in justice, fairness, honesty-obviously not. How could they be that stupid. Well obviously they are not stupid. Dishonest in protecting a stupid and dishonest judge–by all means. I gve them solid proof Azizi lied.

So here we are today many years later and the incompetent/dishonest judge this time is David M. Ragonese((Hawkins v. Phillips(CAN-SC-OOO-207-15)

Mr. Hawkins hired me as an expert in a petition challenge case involving allegedly forged signatures. He called on a Friday for a hearing on Monday and as an act of kindness, I waived my rush fee and charged him $2000 but he sent $1000 with the papers deciding what HE wanted to pay. Now he  obviously had SOME  intent to hire me. Lawyers don’t go around sending experts a thousand dollars out of the kindness of their heart so I did an initial review over the weekend which was inconclusive. I told Hawkins I would need to come to court to see the originals(my original hope in reviewing the copies is that sometimes in can be determined that a group of signatures was all signed at once)

Instead, what I get was a law suit requesting the return of his fee because he didn’t get anything for his money.(I spent the weekend studying hundreds of signatures) He may have thought he was buying a favorable opinion, but an inconclusive opinion is STILL an opinion. But the REAL crusher was that in his suit, he claimed I was a crook  running a criminal enterprise under RICO, a federal crime in FEDERAL court. Of course, this was a total lie and he offered no proof so I filed a counter suit for defamation. Every expert I know has a non-refundable retainer as it prevents them from being hired by anyone else.

The day of the hearing, he claimed he was busy with other matters and requested a telephone conference which Ragonese allowed even though I was just as busy and was sick with cancer. His claim was that he could not be sued for anything he said in court so my counter claim was dismissed. Apparently he and Judge Ragonese think it is OK to file false claims without any proof in court with no sanction.

As with the Azizi case, when the case was sent to arbitration, the arbitrator Donald Ryan ignored the evidence and ruled I had to return the fee, even though as a general rule, expert retainers are non-refundable and Hawkins agreed with this This was discussed with Hawkins in a recorded conversation which unfortunately I can not locate at the moment, but I did locate the notes of my conversation which were done during the normal course of business and are presumed genuine unless clear and convincing evidence can show they are false.

Unfortunately these arbitrations are a total  boondoggle. The arbitrators get paid hundreds of dollars and can rule any way they want withouut giving a reason in writing and most litigants can not afford the cost of the appeal

I now can prove that EVERYTHING Hawkins said in his pleadings and on the record was a total lie and I just got a notice the case is closed.


It is preposterous to think that a judge of Ragones alleged knowledge and experience would allow a litigant such as Hawkins make such an outllandish claims, which I now know were a total lie without ANY proof whatsoever. To me, in my opinion, it casts substantial doubt on his competence and objectivity and whether he should still be permitted to continue to sit on the bench. Bad judges need to stop protecting dishonest lawyers otherwise a litigant has no hope of receiving justice. But I doubt anyone in Camden cares


These comments are absolutely true and are being made during the course of litigation and are made under my rights of free speech under the FIRST AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES and I welcome dissenting views.




PO BOX 2125


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Eldridge Hawkins-A Liar not to be trusted

Now I know what Mr. Hawkins will claim if he reads this–I am slandering him, but being a lawyer, he knows that truth is the absolute defense against slander and libel. If you search his name on the net, you will find that many suits he has filed have been dismissed, meaning they were without merit. I suspect, but can not prove as yet that the defendants in those suits may have suffered my fate. All I can speak to are the facts in MY case

I have been an expert for over 40 years. When my phone rings, I take that to mean that God is sending me that person to help and I am eager to do so. That being said, there are those who seek to take advantage of that. Working in fraud as I do and did, one learns the cues when you are dealing with people. In addition to being able to analyze signatures for forgery I can also determine deception, in accordance w/the principles in the book by Robert Saudek Also there is something in the voice I pick up that raises a red flag. Such was the case w/Hawkins and his jive and unprofessional talk, using such words as “flippy-floppy when he called that day. Also, it was an election petition case which ALWAYS raisesa red flag as the majority of the clients I have worked for in the past have proven to be dishonest. One attorney even said when he gave me the check: “This means we own you, right?” I handed the check back to him and showed him the door.

So againt my better judgement, I took the case and asked for a retainer of $2000, due to the fact that there were 144 signatures that needed to be analyzed. He countered by saying, how about if I pay you $1000 now and the other thousand when I get more signatures: Translation: If your initial signature is favorable I will pay you the other thousand. He was buying a favorable opinion in my opinion. I have seen this over and over in the past in my practice.

So I worked over the weekend on the case. As an expert, even without looking at known samples, if a group of signatures or entries were made at once sitting, this can be determined by measuring the speed of the signatures. See the case on my web site I did for Saul Krenzel Esquire and the Data Store in Federal Court in Philadelphia. I looked for evidence of this in Hawkins case but found none so Monday, I told him I needed the known samples from the Voter Registration files

They were never provided. Instead I got a law suit. Clever attorney that he is, he saw his chance to sue w/o a written agreement, but verbal agreements are binding, especially when they are recorded. I record ALL of my conversations.

The law suit was a pack of lies, even going so far as to suggest I was running a criminal under RICO. Of course, he provided no evidence of that because it was a flagrant LIE. However, he will soon have to produce that “evidence” to the Ethics Board. He even went so far as to repeat those assertions in court TWICE again providing no proof.

One of my reasons for writing this blog is to see if there are others who have been also victimized by Hawkins.

You can write to me at DocumentExaminers @comcast.net.

My next step is to give Hawkins a chance to produce his evidence that I am part of a criminal enterprise under RICO and if he does not, which he can’t because it is NOT true a formal complaint with be filed w/the Disciplinary Board and a suit filed.

When one looks at this in  a more compassionate vain, after all, its hard to imagine the time and effort Mr. Hawkins went to to cheat an expert out of $1000.00 once he realized there was a legal loophole he could exploit. His file was pretty thick and he came down from Orange New Jersey in the middle of a Nor’easter. Its very sad when you think about it, yet when you “google” him you might understand why. There is seething anger that certainly has nothing to do with me. He is to be pittied for his behavior, but what I find more troublingis the ruling of the arbitor. Perhaps he was just saw this simply as a way to make a few bucks to pad his pension since he did such a poor job and did not realize the absurdity of being expected to review 144 signatures for $1000 or maybe he wasn’t upset that an attorney could make up such an absurd and outlandish claim that I was operating a criminal enterprise under RICO-a claim he repeated THREE TIME  under oath.

What puzzles me is that the rather experienced arbitrator did not see this nor consider the principle of “faith and fair dealing” Surely I did SOME  work. Hawkins sent me 144 signatures to review over the weekend.

I would be willing to testify in any case where Hawkins is involved for free to tell my story





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Litigation is becoming increasingly complex today with our ever expanding technology that the average judge or jury finds is often beyond their comprehension(except for the average 8 year old) But us older folks are often totally lost w/the computers today, much less the “smart phones”. I still use a flip phone from Walmart.

My point is that judges and juries are often VERY reluctant to rule on certain cases without the help of experts and experts can be expensive–good ones at least. The legal world is full of “cheap” experts, but you know the saying: “You get what you pay for. Now to a lot of attorneys whose goal is to delay and obfuscate when they know they are on the “wrong” side of the case, will hire the cheapest expert, especially if their opponent is the one without the money and can’t really afford extended litigation.It then becomes a war of attrition until the poor litigant drops out, even if he’s in the right. Judges are often overwhelmed with cases and it seems their only concern is to clear their dockets and will twist the arm of a weaker litigant to get the case to go away. As William Jennings Bryant, fame Supreme Court Justice once told such a litigant: “Sir, this is a court of law-not a court of justice” Laws are passed by the rich and powerful to favor the rich and powerful, not the average person. So unless your case is “open and shut”, don’t expect to win over a rich and powerful client or entity. That is why it took a Civil War to get rid the the country of slavery even though Thomas Jefferson said in the 1700’s “All Men are created equal” or why it took until 1954 for blacks to get an education equal to that of whites. The list goes on and on. And the powers that be at the time deluded themselves into thinking that what they were doing or not doing was the right thing. Were they REALLY that stupid or just plain dishonest And if you think racism is gone, you are fooling yourself. It has just gone underground like all the other discrimination we still face today such as the gay situation today. Do you REALLY think that those with the money and power are going to give it up, much less share it. What world are YOU living in? Things might be a little better, but that’s only because many, unwilling to change were forced to do so, not because they really wanted to.

And chief among the resisters to real change, are the lawyers and jujdges. This is why Shakespeare said, hundreds of years ago about regaining control of the government: “The first thing we have to do is kill all the lawyers”. Now certainly, no one today would say such a thing, but I am sure a lot of people certainly have thought about iti given the way SOME lawyers have abused their power and the courts reluctance to call them to task unless there is a “smoking gun”. But unfortunately that leaves an awful lot of room for skulduggery with very little chance of being exposed, much less something being done about it.

So let me know what YOU think

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Most lawyers are honest, hard working people who want to do what’s best for their clients, but as a friend quipped: “Its the other 49% that trouble me.”

Well, I need to immediately clarify the implications of the above title. Manay lawyers only do what they are forced to do by the defense to answer the frivolous defenses they raise. It is a paper war and everything is on “boiler plate” handled by the secretaries and in rare cases the para legals and therefore, is a war of attrition which the clients lose out unless they are wealthy. I actually had a lawyer tell me that he didn’t think I had a case, but if I paid him $30,000.00 he might be able to find a legitimate reason to justify taking the case.

Do you REALLY think a lawyer is going to take on a case, spend time and money, if there is the foggiest chance  there is a legitimate defense to the case? And the defense KNOWS that yet proceeds with their speculation, distortions and outright lies that the plaintiff lawyer legitimizes to force his client to accept so he/she can make a quick buck and move on to the next victim and do it all over again. These cases are one big farce and the rest of the law is a big game played out by the wealthy who in some cases throw millions of dollars at lawyers so their secretaries can push a button on their computers and generate  stacks of paper thousands of pages, that they merely changed the name from the previous case.

A brilliant older lawyer who hired me on a case some years ago, specializes in suing major corporations. He searches the Appellate records for a case similar to his that was upheld on appeal, boiler plates it then files them in volume, knowing it is going to take X amount of dollars to defend a case they can’t win so an offer is made. If you handle it right, you can file 20 such cases at once, get say a $20,000 offer to settle and make $400,000 hardly lifting a finger with the secretary doing all the work moving huge stacks of paper  from one building to another and you don’t even have to pay for postage anymore.

Wouldn’t you call that a scam? Yet it is perfectly legal.

Such is the case with most PI cases and other cases as well.

And experts like me are feeling the brunt of this. When one of my colleagues lamented how lazy and devious lawyers can be, I quickly interjected: ‘The majority of lawyers are honest, hard working and helpful people who want to do the best for their clients’ hIS COMMENT WAS: “Well that may be true, but its the other 49% I worry about that give the legal profession a bad name”

I suppose that when you ask the public about lawyers, the profession is rated as one of the most disliked. The question then becomes: “Why do SO many people dislike lawyers SO MUCH?” Maybe readers can give me their views, but I think it boils down to the fact that the ones who run the government are lawyers and politicians,   are mostly lawyers  and are roundly despised yet wield  most of the power and control over our lives, which may be a major reason why Donald Trump will likely win Republican nominee for President, the first non-lawyer/politician since Eisenhower, elected in 1952.  In our greatly litigious society, no business can do ANYTHING without the stamp of approval from their lawyer that will most certainly be contradicted by another lawyer looking to sue and pity the small company or poor person who can’t afford to defend a frivolous law suit.

You know what Shakespeare said about taking control of the government: “The first thing we have to do is kill all the lawyers”.

Small experts like me, see this all the time, my most notorious case being a lawyer suing me on Christmas Eve over $900 because he didn’t like my opinion because that is not what he paid for. Because I had a corporation at the time, I had to hire a lawyer-surprize-surprize. Five years and $18,000.00 in legal fees later, I succeeded in getting the lawyer fired from his high paying job at a large company because of his antics, costing him hundreds of thousands in lost earnings, according to the lawyer I hired.

But does anyone have principle anymore like me? You know what Cervantes said: “I value my principles more than my life”.

In the old days, lawyers were known as “counselors”. Not anymore. It is all about money for most. But lost in the equation of all this is the client and THEIR best interests. When my phone rings, it is the client I have in mind not the lawyer. The way I figure it is: “God is sending me that person because He knows I can help and if for any reason, I can’t–I FIND SOMEONE WHO CAN!!!

My own recent case in an example. I was thrown off of a stretcher because I wasn’t secured on the stretcher and as a result, sustained permanent injury according to a medical expert and am unable to work to the same capacity as before and according to a leading forensic economist have potential losses in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. And what’s crazy, the medical transport company taking me to and from PT told me I was the fifth person thrown off the stretcher by the same ambulance company.

I purposely called all these guys you see on TV to see what excuses I would get and the responses I got were pathetic.

It makes you feel very bad for the poor and the powerless, or even the middle class today that their chances of getting justice are slim and none.

So the big question is, what can be done to remedy these situations. I am open to suggestions. It seems that the plaintiff has to do EVERYTHING and pay for EVERYTHING unless it is a total “slam dunk”

Many lawyers consider it a loss if the hours they spend on the case at their hourly rate exceeds the money they eventually get in a settlement, NOT the fact that they made $30,000.00, whether it took them a lot of hours to do it. Since I am so compulsive about my work, I NEVER get paid for the actual time I spend, but I am grateful for what I get.


As one lawyer once told me-the first lawyer I testified for in 1976. “Whatever you get, its better than a sharp stick in they eye”


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The court calendars are clogged today with large companies and corporations do battle in court and the poor are certainly not denied access to the court system That would most certainly spark outrage by any number of organizations.

But what about the middle class who have too much money to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to for for the increasingly staggering cost of litigation? Well “too bad” the system seems to be saying.

Well there are contingency fees, right? Good luck finding someone to take a case on a contingency if they have to do even a modicum amount of work. Remember, people or companies who engage in activities that invite law suits don’t take out ads on bulletin boards or TV advertising what they are doing.  Their elicit activities are usually well hidden, which means it often takes a lot of “discovery” to find them and that means a lot of money for investigations, interrogatories, depositions etc and if the defendant can stall enough by throwing up roadblock after roadblock, maybe the problem will just go away.

It is staggering to think how may legitimate cases  never see the light of day while others against large companies  get gigantic awards and the same thing happens at a smaller company and the award is minimal or, one of my favorites, a black man gets beaten to within an inch of his life by a city cop and gets nothing while a pretty Puerto Rican girl gets slapped by a cop at a parade and gets 1.2 Million  or an elderly man gets stuck on an escalator on a cruise ship and gets injured and gets $24 Million(you really wonder how such numbers are arrived at) and another sustains the same injury on the elevator in a small office and gets a fraction of that.

No wonder the public’s confidence in the legal system is waning

But Hey, this is the best legal system in the world right? Yeah right!!!

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Now don’t get me wrong, working as a Document Examiner for the last 40 years, I have come to know a LOT of honest, hard working lawyers and in talking to them, many of whom have become friends  colleagues, to a man/women, they can’t stand the ads. They cheapen the profession and many a decent attorneys get tarred with the same brush as the hucksters who promise the stars, but ONLY if you have a SERIOUS injury. One ad mentions the word SERIOUS many times-translation: Don’t bother me unless you are half dead and/or have a LOT of money. Who makes the determination as to what a SERIOUS injury is–hopefully a doctor and not a lawyer.What has the legal profession come to?

No one in the media will criticize-they are making MILLIONS off of the ads.Talk about trashing free speech. What is that? Does it exist anymore? Though this is blog is about legal advertising, the same can be said about drug advertising. Aren’t you sick of them?(makes you want to see Doctor Oz for an alternative treatment and make no mistake, for every drug ad you see, there is an alternative treatment that has been around, in some cases, for thousands of years. and doesn’t cost much and won’t kill you)Yet all of these drug ads have some many caveats. Ehst caveats do legal ads have? Do they tell you what is legally required to succeed in an injury case? Do they tell you under what circumstances the WILL NOT take the case?

Why don’t we see ads for alternative treatments? Why don’t we see any the articles written by LEF.ORG discussing many CURES from herbs and supplements, chief among them cancer cure(spoken as one who is cancer free after two years using alternative treatments.)

Now the problem is that the media is controlled by billionaires. Talk about an assault  on free speech.  Does any private citizen have a chance to be heard, unless they do something outlandish that captures the attention of the media. Truth is, there IS no such thing as free speech anymore.

Does any private citizen have a chance of being heard in court anymore? The process is SO complicated and expensive, the courts have become the playground of the rich who sue each-other for the stupidest of reasons and the courts say nothing. “The rich have the right to litigate” I was told by a judge and once a judge is appointed, it is virtually impossible to get rid of them lest they commit a major crime.

They view Pr Se litigants as a nuisance that clog the courts and slow everything down.

I wonder how many agree with me about some of these legal ads and are willing to get up off their butt and actually say and do something? We survived for years without them and did fine–ditto for the drug ads. I think these ads should be looked at as possible Concumer Fraud

Its time they stop and the money put to better use helping others, not making some lawyers and drug companies filthy rich.

Like Teddy Penbdergass sang: “WAKE UP EVERYBODY”. PLEASE post this on social media.


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I have been a Document Examiner/Handwriting Expert for over 40 years. In terms of the scientific authorities in the field, nothing has really changed in those 40 years. The accepted authorities remain: Robert Saudek-“Experiments with Handwriting” mentioned by the instructor in my Secret Service training class as the “best book on the subject of handwriting EVER even though it was written in 1926. Robert Saudek published 107 books and treatises in his short 55 years(when he died from a septic ulcer), many on the subject of handwriting. The next authority, Wilson Harrison-“Suspect Documents” is the best general book on the entire field of Questioned Documents(Saudek mainly focused on handwriting) followed by Ordway Hilton: “Scientific Examination of Questioned Documents” which covers more topics well than all other books. This is followed by Hanna Sulner: “Disputed Documents” which thoroughly covers many health issues in the writing. Lastly, we have Albert S. Osborn, much of his topics on typewriters and photography are outdated but his declination of procedures and logic  in the field still apply today. There are other noteworthy authors such as Hagan and Ainsworth who preceded Osborn who are noteworthy because of the knowledge of “Physiology” of handwriting, though excellent are not as widely accepted as authoritative because they preceded Osborn but should not go unread.

Now I mention these authorities to make the point that they collectively set forth tested procedures that, if followed, guarantee accurate conclusions, 99.99% of the time, the key words being “if followed properly” It seems most  handwriting experts today don’t thoroughly understand the authorities (Primarily Saudek-the top) much less follow them precisely. If a Document Examiner recognizes a particular text as authoritative, they can NOT contradict them unless new research done in accordance with recently approved Daubert standards proves them wrong on the particular point in question)

What I set out to do when I started my practice was to memorize those books by outlining them on 3×5 cards and carrying them around with me everywhere I went and when I had a spare moment, reading those cards over and over and over again until by the time I was close to 30-some 35 years ago, I could quote chapter and verse on the stand, something now, the ravages of time has stolen from me, but I can still read whatever it is I have forgotten.

I say this because it is quite apparent that Document Examiners with whom I come in frequent contact in the Phila/NJ area, it seems,  have not even thoroughly read these books nor understand or follow them, much less read them and forgotten parts of them.

A recent example of this is one Bob Baier, a retired Gym teacher allegedly trained by one Kathy Koppenhaver, one of whose students, Tamara Kaiden failed to qualify as an expert based on the alleged training by her. Baier rendered an opinion recently in a case in which I was involved on  photocopies of documents using only four known samples even though an FBI Bulletin states that photocopies are not suitable for cases involving of forgery IE simulation or tracing Furthermore, no known authority allows ANY expert to render an opinion on ANY “forgery” (IE simulation or tracing, simply because copies do not always reveal hidden proof of “forgery”) based on so few exemplars-not even Koppenhaver’s book, which I find poor in my professional opinion, used to train Baier, who BTW in a prior case testified he needs at least 15 samples(WRONG) You can’t fully fault the lawyers and judges who come in contact with the likes of Baier, but I assume they all know how to read, especially authoritative text books when they have a handwriting case before them. They can certainly quote case law they should also quote authoritative texts to take the time to properly support their findings and conclusions  But there are other reasons lawyers hire experts with less than stellar qualifications and it has to do with fees. Many simply don’t want to pay highly qualified experts. I hear the complaints all the time. They are too expensive.

I don’t mean to pick on just Baier when you have experts like Janet Leonard(AKA, J. Write Leonard) whom at least six courts have found not credible, or Bill Riess, nice guy that he is, whom the court said was nothing more than “an advocate in expert’s closing” or Karolyn Kurts who admitted on the stand she had information in her file favorable to the other side and finally admitted it on the stand after taking money to appear in court for her client. And finally you have Karl Schaffenberger an exert with MANY years experience who should know better who got blasted by a judge and had his client’s case dismissed with prejudice because he failed to follow proper procedure which was cited on the record as stated to me by my attorney/client.

Another expert who has come to my attention recently through a colleague in NY is one Jeffrey Luber. On the surface his credentials seem impressive to the uninformed-certified by the ABFDE(for whatever that’s worth), member of the QD section of AAFS, Member of ACQDE, the private club started by the Osborns.

However, all I had to do is read a couple cases in which he testified to cast serious doubt, in my professional opinion about his knowledge of Questioned Documents and his integrity.  For example, in the matter of James M. Lavender, the court found:”…He did not render an opinion that shed any meaningful doubt on Mr. Lavender having executed and published the 1998 Financial Statement” In another case, Mr Luber actually took money from a client to testify based on a review of a copy of a fax, despite,  an FBI Bulletin that states: “A photocopy is generally considered unsuitable for cases involving forgery…”(IE simulation or tracing)One can only conclude from this that Mr. Luber was either ignorant or dishonest, neither conclusion putting him in a favorable light. He lists all his cases on his website and I have made a copy. Perhaps, it is time to take a more careful look at them.

The   list goes on. Many of these expert’s paid Dr. Robert O’Block thousands of dollars for what Joe Wells, former FBI Agent wrote were worthless pieces of paper when, as head of his Certification Committee for Questioned Documents, I discovered  O’Block  went behind my back and gave worthless certifications to people I rejected, without my knowledge or consent. He admitted this to Marcel Matley a document examiner and me. This was all reported on WWWTheRipoffReport.com that Dr. O’Block apparently paid an attorney to remove but was nevertheless true

Then of course, there is Bart Baggett(about whom I just got a call today, May 27, 2015 who is being sued for fraud by 54 students   for taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees for a handwriting course  the court ruled he wasn’t qualified to teach because he himself was found not qualified and his father was convicted of fraud. He filed so many frivolous law suits the court has now barred him from suing anybody.

These are many of the same students I tried to teach, years ago until Edna Robertson, head of WADE, now defunct,  published a deliberately false article about me that took a line in my resume that said 250,000 DOCUMENTS examined and deliberately changed the word “DOCUMENTS” to CASES  and told a room full of people I claimed to have worked 250,000 CASES and could not possibly have done an adequate job. I don’t know if Robertson is still alive but if she is, there is still time to admit to me she lied before she leaves this earth-and she did it to prevent me from helping her members, many of whom got cheated by Baggett and O’Block.

All of this information is readily available on the net so it makes one wonder how a client could be so stupid as to hire experts SO  unqualified MUCH LESS ATTORNEYS  And make no mistake, many attorneys are opting out of the hiring of experts because they don’t want to pay and leaving it to the client  as I said, is playing Russian Roulette with their case. It is insulting to a highly qualified expert like me to be manipulated over money and is making me reluctant to get involved with such characters. But it is the client who ultimately loses when an attorney pressures them to settle for less when a modicum of effort would yield a LOT more.

So my final word of caution here is that, as an attorney, research your expert and don’t base your hiring on who has the lowest fee or the fanciest office and choose the one who has numerous letters of praise from may attorneys and judges. Don’t risk your case and your client’s money on experts the courts have found not qualified and were not trained by reputable agencies like The FBI or Secret Service.

Of course, I understand there are those few attorneys who will hire the cheapest and least experienced experts because they know that expert has a 50/50 chance of being right, even if they guess, and if they happen to guess right, the other side will not hire a highly qualified expert and risk paying a fee for a report that just might agree with their adversary. Instead, they will hire an equally unqualified expert and pray for a settlement, but possibly depriving their client of a much bigger award. The bottom line is that, unless it is a MAJOR case worth millions, attorneys have no interest in paying highly qualified and experienced experts when they can get a favorable opinion CHEAP and use it to force a settlement even if that settlement could have been more with a top expert.  The culture is changing in the law today-quick, easy money-very little effort. The ultimate example of this is a case in which I was recently consulted regarding one Curt Baggestt, the father of the aforementioned Bart. Curt was actually hired by an attorney to render an opinion despite the fact that he is a convicted felon and one judge said he should be in jail. One wonders what the attorney who hired him was thinking. What an insult to an honest, hard working Document Examiner, regardless of the fact that some judge actually qualified him to testify. No one is perfect.

This leads to my next topic, which should probably be another blog.


You don’t have to guess what I think of  attorneys who are looking for quick easy money with minimal effort and expense. You see them all the time on TV. They are like Carnival Barkers. They mention the word “serious” numerous times–translation-don’t bother me with a small case, I want to make a lot of money quickly with little effort. Several say they have won millions and millions for their clients-translation-they have won millions for themselves. The question I have is: “At what point do they decide they have already made enough money so they can now actually HELP middle class or poor people get justice who have valid cases that may actually require them to do SOME work to win.  Most decent lawyers I know hate these guys. They dishonor the profession. Allowing lawyers to advertise on TV was a BIG mistake in my opinion–all other media-fine, but not TV. The ads are ubiquitous and sickening, in my opinion and I am sure in the opinion of most others and I know a lot of people whose valid  cases have been rejected as not being worthy of the effort-agree but as a result don’t get justice when thorough discovery may yield a BIG winner. These lawyers HAVE to now they are being mocked w/their flailing arms and imploring you to call them. Yes, Quick easy money is the goal of the lawyers and if a client gets SOME, that’s ok too.

I am experiencing this right now with a case of my own where I was thrown off of an ambulance by the Mt. Ephraim Police department for failure to strap me in and suffering permanent injury, only to find that the medical transport company driving me to and from PT is transporting 4 other patients who had the same accident, according to one of the drivers. We are in the process of verifying the accuracy of those statements now but I can not find a lawyer who wants to put out the effort to help me, nor a Doctor willing to testify as an expert,but I will persist.

But such is the case with the legal profession today. Many attorneys view personal injury cases as the Irish Sweepstakes, but if you don’t have a major injury, don’t bother even calling though cases exist where attorneys sued just for punitive damages and got tens of thousands of dollars even though their clients were not seriously injured.Its all about quick easymoney, not helping people.

Again, in my 40 years as an expert, I can’t even count the thousands of hours of pro bono or reduced fee work I have done for people who have called me. I NEVER turn anyone down.  The way  I figure it is that God is sending me that person because He knows I will try my best to help

Of course, if you have a LOT of money, you can always “buy” justice like OJ did and companies and many other wealthy companies and individuals do. The average person can not afford a seat at the table and no one gets to hear their valid case.  This should bother those in power but apparently it doesn’t.

It is called justice for sale.The court system is really NOT available to the middle-class anymore and no one seems to care–unless you happen to be rear-ended by an oil truck and are disabled for life.

Yes indeed, our justice system is in troubled and being kidnapped by the wealthy and judges and the media show little interest in correcting the problem and why should they they are getting paid millions to run STUPID ads

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As a Document Examiner and Handwriting Expert who has hundreds of court appearances under my belt, and who has seen many a loser trudge from the court room(and thank God they were not my clients that I know of)), I have realized the losing party is most likely the loser because they did not tell the truth, but more importantly it is what they give up when they lose and it is far worse than money they paid to the lawyer, which can be substantially, though it is like putting sand into a deep wound, especially if they thought the loss was unjust as most losers do.

It is the mental and emotional impact of what was lost that can have the most devastating effect, long after the financial losses have been recouped.

How do you put a price on the loss of a home that you have lived in for many years and shared many wonderful memories, because of a downturn in the economy or a devastating injury or illness that stopped you from working? Or loss of a spouse. Or the loss of a child in a custody battle or the termination of a marriage that once held great hope.

It is hard enough for us as adults to cope with these losses but think of the effect on the lives of children entangled in these hopeless situations and powerless to do anything to protect themselves from the deep and lasting pain that may scar them for life unless intervention comes quickly.

Such is my story, when at age 13, my parents finally divorced and I had to move from our home to an apartment.  I say finally because we were forced to move not just once, but SEVEN times because my drunken and abusive father spent the money on anything but what he should have–booze, gambling, women. And not only were we forced to give up our home all those times, not to mention the mental and emotional scars that went with being uprooted under emotionally wrenching conditions.

This story is not about my father though. That is for another time-my memoirs perhaps. The long and short of it though can be summarized by words I overheard my father say to a friend of how he had to lay on the beach at Anzio during the war and had to play dead while Germans walked among the bodies sticking them with bayonets to make sure they were dead. Of being pinned on the beach for three months and not knowing whether the next rocket shell would kill everyone within 30 yards as he watched friends being blown to pieces. Or having to endure hand to hand combat until he was blown out of his fox hole and suffered a broken back and was taken to a field hospital. I remember looking at his scar as a kid. It was shaped like a crucifix. The poor man went crazy. That doesn’t excuse his behavior but it DOES explain it. Some years ago a friend gave me a book on Anzio. All I could do was cry and as the tears streamed down my face,  and say to myself: “You poor man”, speaking of my father.

In later years, I had been estranged from my father until I learned he was dying of cancer.

My wife asked what I was going to do. In the space of a week, two TV shows I liked at the time–“Hill Street Blues” and “St Elsewhere” played out the story: Son estranged from father forgives–Son estranged does not.

I decided to see him. Everyone said he kept looking at the door. He was waiting for ME.He had taken me to my first Phillies game at age 8(38 years a season ticket holder and my 50th consecutive opening day last year)Bought me my first camera at age 12(photography is a passion)

I said to him: “Dad you took away my childhood, but you gave me a precious gift-the gift of life. I would not be here if not for you. I love you. I forgive you” He died peacefully in his sleep that night.

But no, this story is not about my father, but about “Champ The Beagle” and ME.

When I was a very young boy, my mom got a puppy we name Champ, mostly as a companion for me because my sister was too young and my brother had left home and my mother was afraid of dogs, having been bitten as a child. Champ was MY DOG. and constant companion who comforted me when I was taunted and teased for my coke bottle glasses and very large head from being born with hydrocephalus. Champ was ALWAYS there to give me unconditional love when no one else would or could-my mother fending off blows from my father who was mean to the dog.

But then came the day, when my parents divorced and we had to move yet again and get an apartment. We had to give up Champ the Beagle. I was crushed and cried endlessly for days and days. My mother assured me that they would bring champ to a farm some miles away and he would spend his time happily chasing rabbits. Somehow that failed to assuage my sadness as the weeks went by  before our move. I withdrew into a fantasy world.

Then one night as we came home from doing errands, right before the move.  To our utter shock who comes prancing down the driveway, ferociously wagging his tail and licking me all over the face, but none other than Champ the Beagle.  He had somehow gotten free from the farm, many miles away and found his way “home”. to ME  And, make no mistake, it was ME he returned for. The power of love can not be matched.

But soon after those unbridled moments of joy, I soon realized that I would have to give up Champ yet again. It plunged me into even deeper sadness. I wish I could tell you that we gave Champ to someone nearby so we could visit but I never saw Champ again. I lost my precious companion, not once but twice. Can you imagine the grief and loss I had as a helpless child?. I asked my mom if Champ would be OK and she lied to me. I later overheard her talking to my aunt and telling her Champ would “pine” away, which I later learned meant that he would die of a broken heart which is what I felt like doing when I heard that.  I now understand why the song “Helpless” by Crosby Stills and Nash was a favorite song in college. For years, I was distressed at the thought of what the poor dog must have felt at at being abandoned. All he did was love me unconditionally. I still feel sad to this day even though it has been over 50 years. The tears still come to my eyes as I relay this to you.

But to honor the memory of Champ, I recently wrote a poem for him.


“When I was young, I had a friend, as dear as friends could be

He was always there at my side and took good care of me

He gave me comfort in times of stress like no tranquilizer could

He was full of love and kindness and all things that were good

But then there came the awful day when we were forced to part

The pain that I was forced to bear was like a dagger through my heart

The loneliness and grief I felt could not be put in words

The sounds he made that thrilled my heart would nevermore be heard

But such is life when the love you feel is for your precious dog

Their passing is so overwhelming it leaves you in a fog

But solace comes when you know their spirit is now free

and there’s comfort in the knowing he’s still in love with me



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The economy is supposedly improving. So why are SO many attorneys hiring experts based on fee and not qualifications and experience and waiting until the last minute to do it. Don’t they understand that they are playing Russian Roulette not only with the client’s money but with the case?

Most attorneys are pretty smart. It is not easy getting through law school and with the information so readily available on the internet, why would anyone hire, for example, an exert who has had at least six cases I know about(and there are probably more) where the court found them not credible? Were they taken in by the fancy office in the heart of town or the low fees. Would YOU trust your case to such an expert and if you lose, risk having your client sue you for malpractice. Or how about the expert where the court ruled: they were “an advocate in experts clothing” Or another expert who took money to testify for their client then admitted on the stand they had information in their file that showed they were wrong about their opinion and never told anyone until they were cross examined. How does such a person have any credibility or even get hired on a case?

A judge does not have to give a reason if they reject your testimony-just say they did not find you credible. We have all had such rulings over the years–but SIX TIMES!!!!(at least) and the cases are easily available on the internet and showed over and over again how they did not follow accepted authority or case law, not just once but over and over.  I have not had an adverse ruling regarding my testimony in a handwriting case in FIFTEEN YEARS  and certainly no negative comments. Quite the contrary. All one has to do is look at my web site. Judge Olivieri said: “Mr Phillips was the ONLY witness in this whole case that I believed…” An attorney MUST ask for these types of comments from judges(or research them on the net) as well as ask for letters of praise, of which I have countless ones.

Many attorneys wait until their adversary hires an expert, oftentimes very close to the close of discovery in hopes their adversary won’t be able to find a qualified expert. Such attorneys are either cheap or poorly prepared,hoping the case will settle, but the results can be catastrophic. It is often hard to find a highly qualified expert close to the trial date as good experts are busy and are reluctant to take such cases because of the problems they pose-most importantly assembling the information the prevailing science and case law require them to have, lest they be impeached. But I get called in as a consultant often on these cases where the expert, nevertheless proceeds to give an opinion without the proper information hoping they won’t be confronted on the stand by someone like me or a smart attorney who takes the time to read the scientific authorities and review the case law as it relates to the issues in the case but unfortunately  there are many who don’t. They are looking for quick easy money. Minimum effort, maximum gain. You see them on the air ways all the time.

They always say that the primary rule in Real Estate is “Location, location, location”

Well in court cases with experts its: “Preparation, Preparation, Preparation”

Two recent alleged forgery case I had, illustrate the point. In one case, the attorney hired me right in the beginning before the depositions. I was able to suggest to the attorney to take a request exemplar of the suspected forger of the will. He disguised his handwriting giving the sample showing “consciousness of guilt”. Why would he disguise his writing if he didn’t forge the will?  In the other case I was hired AFTER the depositions were taken, right before the end of discovery. My hands were tied. I could not do all that I might have had I been hired in a timely manner. Good, experienced run from all the aggravation these attorneys cause by waiting until the last minute. I keep records of all calls. It often amazes me  how I will get a call on a case and nothing happens, only to get another call up to two years later right before the close of discovery.

Don’t forget,  good experts are busy and don’t need the hassle.

A young attorney once said to me: “I try not to piss off highly qualified and experienced experts. You never know when you might need them”

Now THAT is one smart lawyer

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