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Evidence Patsy Ramsey is the RN Writer

Page history last edited by Miss Marple 2 years ago


Back to Patsy Ramsey as RN Author

 

Summary Findings Unfavorable to Patsy Ramsey

  • At Least 10 Professionals Concluded Patsy Was Author. All told, 10 professional experts of varying qualifications hired by various parties in this case and 6 authors/Internet posters (also of varying qualifications) have formally analyzed the RN and concluded Patsy is the author.
  • Caveat: None Used Original RN or Exemplars. However, it is worth noting that none of these experts/individuals relied on either original versions of the RN or exemplars.
    • Importance of Originals. In her opinion in the Chris Wolf case, Judge Carnes observed: "Although it is widely considered "very important" to consult the original versions of writings when engaging in handwriting analysis, plaintiff Chris Wolf asserts it was impossible for his experts to consult such materials because defendants failed to provide him with original exemplars. (PSMF PP 259-260.) (Carnes 2003:27).
    • No Effort to Obtain Originals. But Carnes also noted: "The Court is unaware that plaintiff ever sought to compel Mrs. Ramsey to produce original exemplars. Presumably, the original Ransom Note is in the custody of the police." (Carnes 2003:28).
  • Patsy Only One of 73 Who Could Not Be Ruled Out. On Larry King Live (4/14/2000), Steve Thomas asserted: "And when we finished an investigation after 18 months and presented our case to the district attorney's office, presumably for them to move it forward, one statistic that was cited in that presentation was that out of 73 people whose handwriting was examined in this case, there was only one whose handwriting showed evidence to suggest authorship, who was in the home that night, who couldn't be eliminated as the author, and that was Patsy Ramsey."
  • Patsy May Have Disguised Handwriting. To rebut the contention of other experts of "numerous significant dissimilarities" (see above), "Plaintiff's experts responds that this variation may be due to a conscious effort by Mrs. Ramsey to change her handwriting or to her heightened stress level. (PSMF P 248.)
  • Patsy a Journalism Major. In support of their conclusion that Mrs. Ramsey authored the Ransom Note, plaintiff's experts assert that there are similarities between letters found in the Ransom Note and exemplars and that the note contains proof-reader marks of the kind often used by newspaper reporters and journalists. (PSDMF P 41.) Plaintiff also notes that Mrs. Ramsey was a journalism major in college. (PSDMF P 42.)" (Carnes:27-28). Carnes noted that "The "proof reader marks" to which plaintiff refer is actually a lone "carrot symbol" used in one sentence where the word "not" had been left out and was later added. (Ransom Note at 2.)" (Carnes 2003:29).

 

Individual Expert Opinions Unfavorable to Patsy Ramsey

Consultants Hired by BPD/BDA (2 experts)

Seraph

  • Seraph Findings. BPD hired Seraph to do an analysis of the RN; Dale Yeager, executive director of Seraph, has stated Patsy Ramsey was the RN writer.

 

Donald Foster

Foster Findings

DA Alex Hunter hired Vassar linguist Donald Foster, who later was given to BPD and ultimately wrote a report concluding that Patsy Ramsey authored the note.

  • Foster Asserts Patsy Unequivocally Innocent. However, prior to writing his report for BPD, Foster earlier had written a letter to Patsy Ramsey (June 18, 1997) in which he stated "I know you are innocent—know it absolutely and unequivocally. I will stake my professional reputation on it, indeed my faith in humanity." Foster said his analysis of the ransom letter "leads me to believe you did not write it and the police are wasting their time by trying to prove that you did." The full of this letter has been posted at acandyrose.com and colemanhoax.com (see bottom of page).
  • Letter Written by Young Adult. Foster also said in his letter to Patsy Ramsey that the RN "appears to have been written by a young adult with an adolescent imagination overheated by true crime literature and Hollywood thrillers."
  • Discussion. See Jameson's interview on 48 Hours discussing Foster posted at acandyrose.com

 

Foster Qualifications

  • Elizabethan Scholar. Foster is an Elizabethan scholar was the Jean Webster Professor of Dramatic Literature at Vassar College in 1997 (photo).
  • Identified Unabomber? According to a Vassar Website, "Regularly consulted by the FBI, Foster has assisted in several high-profile cases, most notably the Unabomber case. Foster's analysis helped to identify and convict Theodore Kaczynski."
  • Identified Eric Rudolph in Atlanta Olympics Bombing? Foster also reportedly identified Eric Rudolph as a suspect in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing.
  • Identified Joe Klein as Author of Anonymous? According to ABC News 20/20 Foster is "best known for proving Anonymous was really Newsweek's Joe Klein."
  • Publicity Hound? Links to some of the glowing press about Foster prior to his error in the Ramsey case are at acandyrose.com, one of the most extensive being a Smithsonian profile that appeared in September 2001. Foster himself wrote a book, Author Unknown: On the Trail of Anonymous. But some have questioned whether Foster has exaggerated his role in the Unabomber and Anonymous cases, suggested that his desire for publicity explains his "flip-flopping" behavior in the Ramsey case; the Patsy Ramsey letter and similar events in Foster's career have raised serious questions both about Foster's methods and his credibility (jameson245.com and colemanhoax.com are among Foster's most vitriolic critics; indeed Internet poster and Webbsleuths owner jameson maintains an entire forum devoting to a discussion of Foster. See Professor Donald Foster at Webbsleuths forum chat.
  • Rebuttal to Criticisms of Foster. Internet poster "V" has posted a lengthy rebuttal: Part 1Part 2. It should also be noted that in an Foster did for the FBI in connection with the bombing of Judi Barr, Foster reportedly concluded "that investigators of the bombing should focus far greater scrutiny on Bari's former husband, Mike Sweeney." Mike Sweeney is said to be the author of the Foster page at colemanhoax.com (Wikipedia; see External Links section).

 

Foster Methodology

  1. Linguistic Analysis. Foster has developed a computer-aided system for textual analysis for scholarly purposes, but has also used it as a forensic tool. His techniques for identifying authorship include studies of vocabulary, grammar, syntax and style. Apart from the Ramsey case, there have been several high-profile instances in which Foster's method produced erroneous conclusions.
  2. Funeral Elegy Error. Foster used this linguistic analysis technique used to identify William Shakespeare as the author of a poem "Funeral Elegy." He was extensively criticized by Shakespeare scholars who challenged the accuracy of this claim, which he defended for 13 years until finally conceding in 2002 that he had been wrong.
  3. Donald Hatfill Error. According to Wikipedia, "in an October 2003 article for Vanity Fair, Foster tried to match up Hatfill's travels with the postmarks on the anthrax letters, and analyzed old interviews and an unpublished novel by Hatfill about a bioterror attack on the United States. Hatfill was identified as a possible culprit." MSNBC reported "After months of Internet research and collaboration with molecular biologist Barbara Hatch Rosenberg, Foster says he became interested in virologist Steven Hatfill: “Steven Hatfill was now looking to me like a suspect, or at least — as the FBI would denote him eight months later — ‘a person of interest.’ When I lined up Hatfill’s known movements with the postmark locations of reported biothreats, those hoax anthrax attacks appeared to trail him like a vapor cloud,” Foster writes in Vanity Fair." MSNBC further asserted "Foster concludes that Hatfill is not being unfairly targeted like Richard Jewell, an early FBI suspect in the 1996 Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta. The FBI is on the right track with Hatfill, Foster writes, referring to the unemployed scientist as 'my suspect.'" [Emphasis added]. Hatfill subsequently sued Foster, Condé Nast Publications, Vassar College, and The Reader's Digest Association; reportedly, "the lawsuit seeks $10 million in damages and, along the way, makes folly of a novel investigative tool called 'literary forensics.'" The suit was settled in February 2007 when the magazines and Foster agreed to retract any implication that the bioweapons specialist was behind the deadly anthrax mailings. "The quasi-retractions issued by the two publishing companies and Mr. Foster suggested that readers were mistaken if they took the articles as accusing Dr. Hatfill of the anthrax mailings. "Neither Condé Nast Publications nor the article's author intended to imply that they had concluded that Steven J. Hatfill, M.D., perpetrated the anthrax attacks that occurred in the United States in the fall of 2001. To the extent any statements contained in the article might be read to convey that Condé Nast and Prof. Foster were accusing Dr. Hatfill of perpetrating these attacks, Condé Nast and Prof. Foster retract any such implication," the statement said.

 

Consultants Hired by Darnay Hoffman (8 experts total)

Gideon Epstein

Epstein Findings

  • 100 Percent Certain. "Gideon Epstein, a forensic document examiner hired by Darnay Hoffman, asserted in his deposition in Wolf v. Ramsey that he was "absolutely certain" (which he clarified in follow-up questioning to mean "100 percent certain") Patsy Ramsey wrote the RN (p. 126:23-24 and p. 127:1).
  • Strong Indications. In his February 25, 2001 report (which preceded the Article 26 report required for the deposition), Epstein stated: "Based on the presently available documents, there are strong indications that Patsy Ramsey is the author of the ransom note" (Epstein Deposition p. 116:1-4). In his deposition in Wolf v. Ramsey, Epstein further explained: "Strong indications is not a definitive conclusion, it's only indications. There were characteristics within the known writing that I had at that time that were comparable, and that were -- that if additional known writing could be obtained of a sufficient amount that there were indications that the findings could be strengthened, but at this point in time, it was strictly indications" (p. 116:6-14).
  • Writing Disguised. "The handwriting on the ransom note is a classic example of an attempt to disguise the true handwriting habits of the writer." (Epstein Deposition (pp. 97:25 through p. 98:1-2). Under further questioning, Epstein added: "The poor line quality of the writing can be attributed to stress, it could be attributed to disguise, it could be attributed to an unconscious return to an earlier form of writing. But in my evaluation of the writing I felt that it was most likely that it was -- the poor line quality was due to disguise, rather than to other reasons." (p. 98:20-25 through p. 99:1-2).

 

Epstein Qualifications

  • Leadership. "Mr. Epstein is a forensic document examiner who served as the past president of the American Society of Questioned Document Examiners, is a registered member of the ABFDE, and has authored several authoritative texts in the field. (PSDMF {88} P 1; Epstein Aff. PP 12-15.)"
  • Education. "He has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of Nebraska, a Masters of Forensic Science from Antioch School of Law, successfully completed a two-year resident training program in the forensic science of Questioned Document Examination at the U.S. Army Crime Laboratory in Fort Gordon, Georgia, and has trained with the Post Office Identification Laboratory. (Id. P 2.)"
  • Experience. "Plaintiff notes that Mr. Epstein has "appeared in 200 cases over a thirty year period, having examined thousands of documents ... {, has} established questioned document laboratories for not only the U.S. government, but for those of Eastern Europe and the Philippines as well, while teaching hundreds of government document examiners their professions." (Pl.'s Br. In Opp. To Defs.' Mot. In Limine {87} at 8.)"
  • Teaching. "In addition, Epstein has taught Forensic Document Examination at the George Washington Graduate School of Forensic Sciences, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, and in programs offered to the United States Army Criminal Investigators. (Epstein Aff. PP 6-7.)
  • Court Judges Epstein Qualified. "The Court concludes that Mr. Epstein's background constitutes sufficient qualifications to allow him to testify in the field of forensic documents' examination. See, e.g., United States v. Paul, 175 F.3d at 911 (finding handwriting expert with fourteen years of experience should be admissible); United States v. Velasquez, 33 V.I. 265, 64 F.3d 844, 846 (3rd Cir. 1999) (finding same) United States v. Gricco, 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7564, 2002 WL 746037, *2 (E.D. Pa. April 26, 2002)(finding forensic document analyst with similar extensive qualifications to be qualified as an expert)." (Carnes 2003:57-59)

 

Epstein's Explanation for Why His Conclusion Differs from BPD/BDA Experts

In his deposition in the Wolf v. Ramsey case, Epstein was given an opportunity to explain why the conclusions reached by the 6 experts hired by BDA/BPD (who were using original exemplars) could be wrong:

  • "First of all, I'd like to say that the field of forensic document examination in the United States is a very small profession, as you may well have found out, especially within the ranks of those people who are board-certified and who are the mainstream examiners in this country. Everyone knows everyone else. There are certain document examiners who, because of their exposure in the profession, because of the work that they do, because of the workshops that they may present, are looked upon by other examiners as leaders in their field. A lot of these examiners are in private practice, and they're retained oftentimes by one side or the other. In this particular case I think the fact that Howard Rile and Lloyd Cunningham, who became involved in this case very early on, and who were retained by the Ramsey family, coupled with the fact that Lloyd -- that Howard Rile came out of the Colorado bureau and knew the people in the Colorado bureau, I believe that that connection was very instrumental in the Colorado bureau coming to the conclusion that they did, because Howard Rile had come to the conclusion that he did." (pp. 168-169)
  • "Lloyd Cunningham works very closely with Howard Rile and they were both on this case, and then it was a matter of chain of events, one document examiner after another refusing to go up against someone who they knew, someone who was large in the profession, for fear that they would be criticized for saying something that another examiner -- it's sort of like an ethics within the medical community, where one doctor protects the other doctor." (pp. 169)
  • "The fact that I think the whole scenario may have been completely different if Howard Rile had not been one of the first document examiners and who was not in private practice, and if he had not been connected so closely with the Colorado bureau; if it had been a document examiner totally separate and apart; if the document examiner had actually been a document examiner in government service who had nothing to gain by his conclusions, who was on a salary rather than on a large retainer." (pp. 169-170)
  • "All of these things influence a case, and when it came down to Dusick and it came down to Speckin and it came down to Alford, by that time a number of well-known document examiners had already rendered conclusions, and I feel personally that the other examiners were simply afraid to state what they believed to be the truth, or that they simply didn't devote the necessary time." (pp. 170)
  • "This is the kind of case that you have to devote a tremendous amount of time and effort to. I've spent a lot of my years working cases where you don't count the hours, you simply count the weeks and you count the months and you devote the time that's necessary. If a document examiner is working this kind of a case and counting the hours, he's going to get to a point where it's going to be too expensive for him to bill, and so he's either not going to do the case in the time that's required or he's going to cut the time short." (pp. 170-171)
  • "And I just don't believe that some of these people devoted the necessary amount of time to the case to come up with the correct conclusions, and I think they simply went along with what had been previously said because it was the most expedient thing to do." (pp. 171)
  • In follow-up questioning, Epstein conceded he had no idea what amount of time any of the 6 government experts had devoted to their analysis. (pp. 171-172) He also had no idea which expert rendered their opinion first (except that he believed Rile's analysis was done relatively early) or whether these opinions were known to each other, although based on his experience, he thought it likely that via e-mail or other informal communication, it was likely that each knew who had been retained by various parties in the case.

 

Critique of Epstein's Methodology

  • No Originals Used
  1. Epstein Never Saw Original RN. "In contrast to the experts relied upon by defendants and by the Boulder Police Department, however, neither of these experts [Epstein and Wong] have ever seen or examined the original Ransom Note. (SMF P 256; PSMF P 256.)" (Carnes 2003:27).
  2. Which Generation Machine Copy of RN Unknown. "In fact, Mr. Epstein and Ms. Wong do not know what "generation" copy of the Ransom Note they examined. (SMF P 257; PSMF P 257.)" (Carnes 2003:27). "It is undisputed that a number of subtle and critical handprinting features observable on examination of the original Ransom Note cannot be observed from an examination of a machine copy of the Ransom Note. (SMF P 245; PSMF P 245.)" (Carnes 2003:63).
  3. No Originals of Exemplars Used. Epstein "did not consult the original Ransom Note, original handwriting exemplars of Mrs. Ramsey, nor original course-of-business writings of Mrs. Ramsey. (Defs.' Mot. In Limine 68 at 8.)" (Carnes 2003:61).
  1. Epstein's Own Report Contradicts 100% Certainty Claim. In his report of February 25, 2001, referred to in his Wolf v. Ramsey deposition as Exhibit 6 (see p. 94:1), Epstein stated "This forensic examination was not undertaken with the belief that a definitive finding concerning the authorship of the note could be established with the type and quantity of known writing presently available." (p. 101:3-8). Earlier, Epstein conceded that "I asked Mr. Hoffman for additional writings. I asked him from the very beginning to attempt to locate the same normal course of business writings that had been previously used in the examinations when they were first done by the Boulder people and by Howard Rile and the Ramsey document examiners. That was something that I requested from the very beginning of my involvement in the case." (p. 96:9-17). He explained these were necessary "Because I didn't have enough verbatim material. I didn't have enough of the same words, the same letter combinations, repeated sufficiently to be able to establish habituality, to be able to establish handwriting patterns" (p. 97:13-17).
  2. No Unique Handwriting Characteristics Demonstrated. "Nowhere in the submissions provided by plaintiffs is there any attempt to show by what methodology Mr. Epstein reaches a conclusion of absolute certainty that a given person is, in fact, the writer of a questioned document. Defendants persuasively argue that Epstein was unable to identify any unique characteristics of Mrs. Ramsey's handwriting that were mimicked in the Ransom Note. (Def.'s Mtn. in Lim. 68 at 9).
  3. Threshold for Establishing "Certainty" Never Established. "Instead, Epstein bases his conclusion on perceived similarities between the two. Id. Yet, as noted by defendants, Epstein never indicates how many similarities or what kind of similarities are required before he can reach absolute certainty, 50% certainty, or no certainty, at all."
  4. All Dissimilarities "Explained Away" As Disguised Handwriting. "Further, as defendants also note, whenever encountering any differences between the known writing of Mrs. Ramsey and the Ransom Note, Epstein finds refuge in the explanation that Mrs. Ramsey must have been trying to disguise her handwriting. (See id.)"
  5. No Method to Differentiate "Disguised" Writing from Genuine Writing Differences. "While it is, of course, possible that differences between known writing and questioned documents are the result of a known writer's efforts to disguise her handwriting, it is just as plausible that the differences can occur because the known writer is not the author of the questioned matter. On that issue, Epstein offers no hint of the methodology that he employs to distinguish between disguised writing and writing that is simply being provided by two different people." (Carnes 2003:64-66).
  6. Peer Support for Epstein Methodology. "Mr. Epstein, however, consulted with some of his peers, who concur with his analysis." "Specifically, Mr. Epstein asserts that he consulted two former FBI forensic document examiners, Larry F. Zeigler and Richard Williams, as well as Donald L. LacyDavid Lieberman, and Thomas Miller. (PSDMF PP 3-4, 33-34, 35-36A.)"
  7. Ramsey Objections to Reliance on Peer Affidavits. "Defendants have objected to plaintiff's use of affidavits from Mr. Liebman, Mr. Lacy, Mr. Zeigler, and Mr. Williams, as well as an anonymous handwriting report, to support plaintiff's opposition to defendants' motion to exclude the testimony of Ms. Wong and Mr. Epstein. (See Notice of Objections to Pl.'s Exhibits 91 at 2.)" (Carnes 2003:29).
  8. Expert Reports Alleged to be Not Properly Disclosed. "Defendants assert that these expert reports were not disclosed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(2). (See id.)" (Carnes 2003:29). Judge Carnes concurred that "these individuals were not disclosed as experts in the case and they did not provide expert reports, as required by Rule 26. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(2)(B) (requiring that, unless otherwise agreed, the proponent of an expert must disclose the expert's name and a written report "prepared and signed by the witness" that, inter alia, includes a "complete statement of all opinions to be expressed and the basis and reasons thereof.")" (Carnes 2003:Note 26).
  9. Ramsey Attorney Lin Wood Aware of Other Expert Opinions. "Plaintiff has responded with excerpts from a letter drafted by defendants' attorney which reveal that he was aware of the fact that plaintiff had secured opinions for Mr. Liebman, Mr. Lacy and Mr. Zeigler with regard to the handwriting at issue in the instant litigation. (See Pl.'s Resp. To Defs.' Not. Of Objections to Pl.'s Exhibits 96 at 3-4.)" (Carnes 2003:29).
  10. Supporting Peer Opinions Beg the Question. "In his response to defendants' Motion In Limine, plaintiff has provided conclusory affidavits from other experts indicating that they agree with Epstein's methodology and conclusion. Yet, those opinions beg the question. One does not know by what methodology these other individuals reach their conclusion that Epstein can make a determination with "absolute certainty." When the predictive ability of a professed skill is questioned, the belief of multiple practitioners of that skill that its exercise produces a reliable result still provides no basis for determining the ultimate soundness of the determination" (Carnes 2003:Note 26).

 

Donald L. Lacy

  • Lacy Findings. Lacy is a handwriting specialist hired by Darnay Hoffman. His affidavit was ruled inadmissable by Judge Carnes (Carnes 2003:Note 26), so it is uncertain exactly what he concluded, but all other affidavits filed by Darnay Hoffman were in support of the view that Patsy Ramsey authored the RN.
  • Qualifications. A Google search conducted by Miss Marple on April 7, 2007 for information about Donald L. Lacy could locate no information regarding his credentials.
  • Critique of Lacy Methodology: No Originals Used. As noted above, none of Hoffman's experts had access to originals of the RN or exemplars.

 

David Liebman

Liebman Findings

  • 90-95% Probability. Liebman is a certified document examiner hired by Darnay Hoffman, who concluded at the beginning of his report: "It is my conclusion, which can be stated with a probability of 90-95%, that Patsy Ramsey is the ransom note writer." His complete report (November 26, 1997) is available at acandyrose.com.
  • Astronomical Odds Against Someone Sharing Patsy's Writing Characteristics. Liebman stated at the end of the report: "In light of the number of comparisons and similarities between Patsy Ramsey and the ransom note writer (51), the chances of a third party also sharing the same characteristics is astronomical."

 

Liebman Qualifications

  • Self-Stated Qualifications. According to the report provided to Darnay Hoffman, Liebman is a Certified Document Examiner and was President of the National Association of Document Examiners (NADE) at the time he provided this opinion.
  • Gideon Epstein Opinion. However, the most qualified expert hired by Hoffman, whose testimony also was accepted as reliable by Judge Carnes, said this in his deposition in the Wolf v. Ramsey case (In this section, which begins on p. 40, line 6, the questioner is James Rawls): "Q. Do you know David Leibman? A. I know that he rendered a report early on in this case. I think I remember seeing something a couple of years ago that he wrote. Q. Is he a qualified forensic document examiner? A. He is not, no. Q. Why not? A. Again, for the same reasons. I don't believe that he ever went through any kind of recognized or accepted training program. The profession requires that for a person to be qualified to do this work, they must complete, at a minimum, a two-year resident training program in a recognized laboratory or by a recognized forensic document examiner. Many of these people are self-taught. This is not a profession that you can learn by yourself. I mean, this is an apprenticeship type of profession. You have to learn from others, people who have been doing this for years." Epstein also rendered a scathing opinion of NADE in the same deposition (summarized here.

 

Critique of Liebman Methodology

 

Tom Miller

Miller Findings

Miller is a graphological expert hired by Darnay Hoffman; he concluded in his affidavit in the Chris Wolf case that "the handwriting is probably that of Patsy Ramsey." His complete report (November 3, 1997) is available at acandyrose.com.

 

Miller Qualifications

  • Graphology Training. Tom Miller is an attorney by training who purports to be a "Court Qualified Expert Witness in Questioned Documents and Graphology" based on training reported in his CV posted at acandyrose.com.
  • Professional Associations. At the time of his opinion, Miller's CV shows he was a past member of the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation 1988 - 1991 and member of the Rocky Mountain Graphology Association (1985 - Present).
  • Experience. In his affidavit, Miller asserts "I am a Colorado Court-certified examiner with eleven years experience examining questioned documents. I have been admitted by the Colorado courts as an expert witness in connection with questioned documents and handwriting analysis. I have given testimony in courts of law as a handwriting expert, and I have been qualified to testify. "

 

Miller's Methodology

While his full report includes his conclusions, a more detailed side-by-side comparison of Miller's is contained in Exhibits B and C of an affidavit filed in the Chris Wolf civil case available at acandyrose.com and Forums for Justice. The chief criticisms of this analysis are that a) it did not rely on originals of either the RN or exemplars and the exemplars were never verified to be Patsy Ramsey's:

 

Critique of Miller's Methodology

  • No Originals Used
    • No Originals of RN or Exemplars Was Used. The beginning of Miller's report notes: "Neither the original of the "ransom" note nor original exemplars of Patsy Ramsey's handwriting were available for analysis. Thus the analysis was conducted through comparison of photomechanical reproductions. Access to exemplars was limited. No opportunity to review exemplars of Patsy Ramsey provided police officials was made available. Because of this, the categories of speed and pressure could not be fully examined. In light of these circumstances, the opinion is limited to "probable" rather than "Highly probable" or "definite". Access to further known exemplars would be needed to provide a more definite opinion."
    • Exemplars Used Available On-Line. Five of the seven of the exemplars used by Miller are still on-line at acandyrose.com (see bottom of page).
    • Exemplars Not Verified to be Patsy Ramsey's. The end of Miller's report states: "This opinion represents an analysis based upon exemplars believed to be in the hand of Patsy Ramsey. It should be noted that the taking of verified exemplars from Patsy Ramsey was not available to the examiner. It is highly recommended that additional exemplars be provided or located and that access to the original Questioned Document be provided in order to more firmly establish the conclusions of this Questioned Document Analysis."
    • Exemplars May Have Been Forged. Internet poster Henrietta McPhee(November 8 post) claims that "Tom Miller forged and altered the so-called Patsy handwriting exemplars he sent to Darnay, so that Darnay's handwriting experts would say Patsy wrote the ransom note." No support was offered for this claim.
  • Darnay Hoffman Fax to Miller. See The Hoffman/Miller Fax at Webbsleuths forum chat for further evidence calling into question Miller's analysis. According to Jameson, "Darnay didn't use Miller in his Wolf lawsuit - he told me himself that i had discredited Miller by posting that FAX.  So he got others."  
  • On-line Discussion.  Internet poster DocG has critiqued Miller's analysis at his blog Solving the JonBenet Ramsey Case:

 

Richard Williams

  • Williams Findings. Williams is a handwriting specialist hired by Darnay Hoffman. His affidavit was ruled inadmissable by Judge Carnes (Carnes 2003:Note 26), so it is uncertain exactly what he concluded, but all other affidavits filed by Darnay Hoffman were in support of the view that Patsy Ramsey authored the RN.
  • Williams Qualifications. According to USAToday, Richard Williams is a 23-year veteran of FBI document authentication who testifies frequently as an expert witness.
  • Critique of Williams Methodology: No Originals Used. As noted above, none of Hoffman's experts had access to originals of the RN or exemplars.

 

Cina Wong

Wong Findings

  • 100 Percent Certain. "Cina Wong, another forensic document examiner hired by Darnay Hoffman, asserted that she was "'100 percent certain' Mrs. Ramsey wrote the Ransom Note. (SMF P 256; PSMF P 256; PSDMF PP 1-2.)" (Carnes 2003:27).
  • Wong Report. In Wong's report to Darnay Hoffman (November 14, 1997), posted at Starting Over-JonBenet, she asserts: "It is quite rare for a Document Examiner to quantify degrees of certainty on a numerical scale. But, for the purposes of allowing a general understanding of my results, I have designated a rating of probability based on a scale of 1-10. It is my preliminary opinion, given the multitude of similarities linking the Questioned Document to the exemplars, that the probability these documents were written by the same hand is 8.5 on this scale. It is not uncommon for some people to have 2 or 4 of the similar characteristics I have listed, since they may have learned to write in the same "copybook" method in grade school. The relatively large number of distinctive similarities (32) found in both the "ransom note" and exemplars allegedly written by Patsy Ramsey, however, cannot be ignored. Statistically, it can only be concluded that it is very likely the same hand wrote all the documents involved" [Emphasis added].
  • Wong Affidavit. In a sworn affidavit (November 13, 1997) posted at Starting Over-JonBenet, Wong stated: "I have made careful examination and comparison of the "ransom" note and the exemplars of Patsy Ramsey. I have reached the conclusion that the handwritings and "ransom" note were very probably written by the same person." [Emphasis added] "...in light of the many similarities between the "ransom" note and Patsy Ramsey's exemplars, it is my professional opinion that Patsy Ramsey very likely wrote the "ransom" note." [Emphasis added]

 

Wong Qualifications

  • Self-Reported Credentials. Wong's report to Darnay Hoffman lists her as a Court Qualified Board Certified Document Examiner. She has been a board certified, court qualified forensic handwriting expert/document examiner since 1995. She received her certification through a two level testing. A proctored written exam and an oral exam. Ms. Wong authenticates documents (ie: identify a page substituted in a Will), and handwriting/numerals (ie: who wrote or signed the anonymous letter). Her deposition in the Chris Wolf case (posted at jonbenetindexguide.com) provides extensive details about her background.  In a radio interview (starting at 26:00) with Tricia Griffith, Wong has explained why she believes the criticisms about her qualifications (below) are false or misleading. 
  • No Professional Credentials. However, Judge Julie Carnes noted that "Wong has never taken a certification exam, completed an accreditation course in document examination, been an apprentice to an ABFDE certified document examiner, or worked in a crime lab. (Wong Dep. at 87-112.) She does, however, claim nearly ten years of experience in the field. (Pl.'s Br. In Opp. To Defs.' Mot. In Limine 87 at 9.)"
  • Not a Member of ABFDE. "She, however, is not a member of the ABFDE, the sole recognized organization for accreditation of qualified forensic document examiners. Although she is the former vice president of the National Association of Document Examiners ("NADE"), (PSDMF P 2), defendants note that this organization does not meet ABFDE certification requirements, has no permanent office and has no membership requirements other than the payment of a fee. (Defs.' Mot. In Limine 68 at 6.) Wong, herself, admits that NADE does not require specialized training or experience for its certification. (Wong Dep. at 87-89.)
  • Gideon Epstein Testifies Wong Not Qualified. In his deposition in the Wolf v. Ramsey case, Epstein, a handwriting expert testifying against the Ramseys said of Cina Wong that "she does not meet the standards of a forensic document examiner as accepted by the profession" (p. 167:23-25). Epstein also rendered a scathing opinion of NADE in the same deposition (summarized here.
  • Alex Hunter Claims Wong Lacks Credibility. However, "in September 1998, Ms. Wong wrote District Attorney Hunter, Assistant District Attorney Michael Kane, and Judge Roxanne Bailin, asking to testify before the Grand Jury. (SMF P 347; PSMF P 347.) "By letter dated January 20, 1999, Mr. Hunter rejected the request, informing Ms. Wong that it was his opinion that she did not use scientifically reliable methods, her testimony would be inadmissible, and that she lacked credibility. (SMF P 348; PSMF P 348.)" (Carnes 2003:41).
  • Carnes Rules Wong Not Qualified. "Accordingly, the Court concludes Ms. Wong is not qualified to provide reliable handwriting analysis in this case." [Emphasis added] (Carnes 2003:57). 

 

Critique of Wong Methodology

 

Larry F. Ziegler

  • Ziegler Findings. Ziegler is a Forensic Document Examiner hired by Darnay Hoffman. According to Internet poster Cherokee "It was determined and is still determined by myself that Patsy Ramsey is the writer of the ransom note." No source was given for this statement.
  • Ziegler Qualifications. Ziegler is a member of the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners, the only professional certifying organization in the profession.
  • Critique of Ziegler Methodology: No Originals Used. As noted above, none of Hoffman's experts had access to originals of the RN or exemplars.

 

Robert K. Ressler

Ressler Findings

  • Summary. "JonBenet's mom fits the profile of the person who wrote the phony ransom note found in the Ramsey home, reveals former FBI expert. Robert K. Ressler, who helped establish criminal profiling for the feds, says that the style and language and information contained in the note point to an approximately 40-year-old white woman from the South as the author (The Globe, December 25, 2006; quotation and source provided by Internet poster The Punisher).
  • Note Fake. Ressler also was reported to state: 'It's absolutely phony. Usually a ransom note just gives the basics. This one was full of colorful language and mixed messages. Then there's the matter of why any kidnapper would demand money when the victim's body was left behind. It didn't make sense' (The Globe, December 25, 2006; quotation and source provided by Internet poster The Punisher).
  • Language Feminine. "Ressler points out that the language is feminine. 'There's almost a maternal quality to comments like, I advise you to be rested. A hardened criminal would never use those terms.' (The Globe, December 25, 2006; quotation and source provided by Internet poster The Punisher).
  • 1960's-Era Terms. "60's-era expressions like 'fat cat,' French-influenced vocabulary such as 'attache' and the demand for $118,000 might also point to someone like Patsy, who grew up in the 60's, studied French and was familiar with her husband's finances. Someone else with that knowledge probably would have demanded more." (The Globe, December 25, 2006; quotation and source provided by Internet poster The Punisher).

 

Others Who Determined Patsy Wrote RN (7 Individuals)

 

Other Evidence Patsy Wrote RN

  • Patsy AmbidextrousMike Walker, Senior Editor of the National Enquirer, has stated: "We talked to people from her school days, teachers, etc, and we found a witness, a high school teacher who taught Patsy in the 1970's, who said very simply and matter-of-factly she is ambidextrous. She was as a child. She is now. We went to Linda Hoffmann-Pugh, the housekeeper, and when we asked her this she said, oh yeah, she said, Patsy told me she was ambidextrous. I've seen her brush her hair with her left hand. I've seen her paint with her left hand. I once saw her work on a science project with Burke, JonBenet's brother, where she wrote numbers and letters with her left hand. She is absolutely ambidextrous."  
  • Polly Paugh Comment. Steve Thomas's book includes the following claim and Polly Paugh, sister of Patsy Ramsey: "..the other woman who rushed to Patsy's side that morning, Priscilla White, was also suspicious, said Polly. Priscilla had been seen copying Patsy's Daytimer calendar, and Polly said that might explain how someone's handwriting might be duplicated, perhaps on a ransom note." (Thomas 2000:137-138). Internet poster WatchingYou suggests "Polly seems to have recognized that it looked like Patsy's handwriting, because she was trying to come up with a way it could have been duplicated."

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