News and Events
Statement Regarding Suspension of Questioned Documents Unit Services
04/19/2012
Oregon State Police Forensic Services Division has suspended analysis work by its Questioned Document Unit after management became aware of potential quality control issues in a pending criminal case for which analysts performed forensic work. Suspension of the Unit’s work will remain in effect during an external audit and independent OSP investigation to review known and potential issues.
 
“Our intent is to fully audit, investigate and review the Questioned Documents Unit issues. This is a precautionary measure to determine if there are any significant issues beyond quality control,” said Major Joel Lujan, Public Safety Services Bureau.
 
In March 2012, Forensic Services Division management identified a handwriting analysis case in which it appears the procedures used did not conform to our Quality Assurance Program policies and procedures. The District Attorney in charge of the case was notified and an external quality audit began as Questioned Documents Unit services were suspended. The Unit’s two examiners were placed on paid administrative leave. Both examiners have been employed with the Department since 1999 and the vast majority of their work is handwriting analysis.
 
Oregon State Police notified all Oregon public safety agencies and District Attorney offices that the Unit’s casework was suspended. During the external audit and investigation, the Forensic Services Division will assist public safety agencies with identifying available services for required questioned documents forensic analysis work.
 
Notification was also made to the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors Laboratory Accreditation Board – International, which offers voluntary accreditation to public and private crime laboratories in the United States and around the world.
 
The Questioned Documents Unit conducts examination of printed, typed or written material for the purpose of identifying the source, determining alterations or other means of gaining information about an item or circumstances surrounding its production. The Unit is located at the Portland Metro Lab where two examiners only perform analysis on forensic questioned documents for all 36 Oregon counties. Over the last three years, the Unit has averaged 80 cases per year.