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Michael 5260
John M. Trendley, Mr. Helpful
Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:25

Trendley's artificial veneer starts falling off quickly at Hauptmann's trial.

Q. Mr. Trendley, you are an imitator of handwriting, are you not?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. And you claim that you can speedily imitate a signature, do you not?

A. Not speedily, sometimes it takes time.

Q. Well, you claim to be able to produce spurious writings, that will deceive a witness?

A. I have done so. In the Patrick v. Rice case, that is thirty years ago, I think I wrote nine signatures of old man Rice.

Q. Designed to do what?

A. To test the ability of the experts.

Q. To prove that the will was genuine?

A. Yes.

I can say this point blank that a professional, reliable, trustworthy examiner of questioned documents does not travel around court rooms imitating handwritings or signatures in order to test the ability of examiners that are testifying for the opposite side of a case.

What was Trendley up to with his little tests? This.

"The whole effect of the testimony of an expert witness may sometimes effectually be destroyed by putting the witness to some unexpected and offhand test at the trial, as to his experience, his ability and discrimination as an expert, so that in case of his failure to meet the test he can be held up to ridicule before the jury, and thus the laughter at his expense will cause the jury to forget anything of weight that he has said against you."

The art of Cross-Examination, Francis L. Wellman, 1903, p.100

I've had one of these garbage can tests pulled on me when I was on the witness-stand. It didn't work. Much to the chagrin of the adversarial attorney.

The Patrick v. Rice will case involved the murder of William Rice and a forged will. Albert T. Patrick, Rice's attorney, and Charles F. Jones, Rice's butler and valet, both conspired to murder Rice and seize control of his estate (more than 6 million in 1900 dollars). Big bucks.

John F. Tyrrell and Albert S. Osborn determined the four signatures of William Rice appearing on the disputed will were decrepit traced forgeries.

Tyrrell and Osborn received validation on this one. Charles F. Jones eventually confessed to killing William Rice with chloroform and implicated Patrick in the murder/forgery plot.

Yet, there is Trendley trying to help push a fraudulent will through probate and attempting to help prove the non-genuine will was genuine. Trendley didn't determine the Rice signatures were forgeries? It must have been another dark and gloomy day for him.

Fast forward thirty-five years to Hauptmann's trial. Trendley didn't change a bit. He was still being Mr. Helpful.

    • Re: John M. Trendley, Mr. HelpfulJoe , Tue Feb 20 10:22
      I thought Trendley actually helped the prosecution more than the defense when he attempted to demonstrate differences within Hauptmann's acknowledged writing and the ransom notes. They just weren't... more
      • Re: John M. Trendley, Mr. HelpfulMichael 5260, Tue Feb 20 12:40
        Hi Joe. There will always be similarities and differences to be found when working an anonymous letter case. An examiner had better find both if they want to avoid making an error. They both need to... more
    • See Belowj, Tue Feb 20 00:06
      Good stuff Michael!
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