John J. Harris

ASQDE President - 1966-1968

  John J. Harris  
John J. "Jack" Harris circa 1960

John J. Harris was the ninth and youngest president of the American Society of Questioned Document Examiners.

Prior to beginning his career in forensic document examination, Mr. Harris, better known as Jack, spent four years in the U.S. Merchant Marines during World War II.  He has a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Los Angeles.  Beginning in 1948, Mr. Harris was trained as a document examiner by his father, John L. Harris.  He worked in private practice with his father for many years in the firm of Harris & Harris in Los Angeles.  He retired from private practice in 1997.

Mr. Harris has testified in hundreds of cases, including the Estate of Howard Hughes and the Estate of J. Paul Getty.  He was an instructor in questioned document examination at the college level for 20 years, first at the University of Southern California and later at California State University of Los Angeles.  He is the author of numerous published articles and professional papers.  His 1958 article, "How Much Do People Write Alike: A Study of Signatures," published in the Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology and Police Science, is a subject of discussion in academia and court proceedings to the present day.  So much so, that in 2002 he wrote a rebuttal to some of the academic discussion in the Journal of the American Society of Questioned Document Examiners.

Jack Harris became a probationary member of the ASQDE in 1949, a Regular Member in 1951 and is now a Life Member of the Society.  He was instrumental in organizing the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners and served as the board's first President.  Mr. Harris is a Retired Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) and served on its board of directors.  In 1983, he received the AAFS Questioned Document Section Award and in 1998 he received the AAFS Distinguished Fellow Award.  He is one of the few AAFS members, and one of only four document examiners, to be named a Distinguished Fellow.  He was also on the board of trustees of the Forensic Science Foundation. In 2004, John J. Harris received the Albert S. Osborn Award of Excellence in recognition of his distinguished career and many contributions he made to both the ASQDE and the profession as a whole.

Derived in part from "John J. Harris: The 2004 Albert S. Osborn Award of Excellence Recipient," by Howard C. Rile, Jr., appearing in the November 2004 issue of The Society News.