from Steve Thomas depo
#1
"Thomas depo 17 - handwriting experts"
 
  
Q. (by Lin Wood) Have you ever had an opportunity to review any of Darnay Hoffman's handwriting
experts' reports, that would be a report from David Liedman, Cina Wong and another individual named
Tom Miller?

A. No.
Q. Do you know whether they were ever tendered to the prosecution or to the police department
and rejected as not credible?
A. It's my understanding and this may have been even after I left the police department, that Mr.
Hoffman made his experts available to the prosecution.
Q. And they declined saying that they were not credible or do you know?
A. I don't know.
Q. You don't know that. You do know that there were other experts that reviewed Patsy Ramsey's
handwriting and did not find evidence of authorship, true?
A. Who were those?
Q. Do you think there were not three other people that looked at this and did not find that there was
evidence to find that she wrote the note?
A. I don't know who you're referring to.
Q. Well, there was a Secret Service examiner, Mr. Dusak?
A. Right.
Q. Speckin Laboratories?
A. Mr. Speckin, yes.
Q. Right. And there is one other, help me. I can pull it if you want me to?
A. Alfred, Alford, Edwin Alford.
Q. Did you look at their conclusions and remember them?
A. I did.
Q. What was Mr. Dusak's conclusion?
A. Mr. Dusak, I believe, his official conclusion on his report for courtroom purposes was no
evidence to indicate.
Q. No evidence to indicate that Patsy Ramsey executed any of the questioned material appearing on
the ransom note, was that Mr. Dusak's conclusion?
A. Among other things.
Q. And he was a document analyst for the United States Secret Service, right?
A. Right.
Q. Then we have Mr. Edwin F. Alford, Jr., police expert, examination of the questioned
handwriting, comparison of the handwriting specimen submitted has failed to provide a basis for
identifying Patsy Ramsey as the writer of the letter. Is that his conclusion?
A. I remember Mr. Dusak. If you have a document that would help --
Q. This is Mr. Alford.
A. I know. I remember Mr. Dusak. If you have a document that would help me refresh my
memory on Mr. Alford, I don't recall --
Q. Not beyond what I have just told you, but if that helps you refresh you one way or the other what
I've just told you is I believe Mr. Alford concluded?
A. Will you repeat his --
Q. Sure.
A. -- what he concluded.
Q. The examination of the questioned handwriting comparison with the handwriting specimen
submitted has failed to provide a basis for identifying Patricia Ramsey as the writer of the letter?
A. If that's what the report says. I certainly don't disagree with --
MR. DIAMOND: He's asking you whether that refreshes your recollection.
Q. (BY MR. WOOD) Do you recall Mr. Alford coming to that conclusion?
A. To a -- yeah, I think that's the conclusion.
Q. And then Leonard A. Speckin, he said that he found no evidence that Patsy Ramsey disguised
her handwriting exemplars. Did you -- were you aware of that conclusion by Mr. Speckin, a police
expert?
A. Among other conclusions, yes.
Q. You understood enough about the handwriting analysis that a legitimate handwriting questioned
document examiner analyzes not just similarities, but also has to analyze and account for dissimilarities,
right?
A. If you say so, Mr. Wood, I'm not --
Q. I'm asking you, sir.
A. No, I'm not a handwriting expert and don't purport to be.
Q. So you can't --
A. If you're asking me about my layman's knowledge about handwriting science I would be happy to
answer your question.
Q. I'm asking you about your understanding of the science when you were the, quote, one of the lead
detectives. Did you not listen to what the experts were saying and what their bases were and did you
not grasp the fundamental idea when you were listening that they were saying we've got to analyze
both similarities and dissimilarities?
MR. DIAMOND: Objection. Compound. You may answer.
Q. (BY MR. WOOD) Did you understand that to be the case or not?
A. That was among many things that I understood them to look at.
Reply
#2
more:

Q. (BY MR. WOOD) Mr. Thomas, if you would look at page 152 of your book. Next to the last
paragraph, it ends "'I believe she wrote it.'.Ubowski had recently told one detective "'I believe she
wrote it.'" Who was --
A. Yeah, may I read the paragraph?
Q. Yeah, I want to find out who that detective is.
A. I believe that's Trujillo and Wickman who made that statement, specifically Wickman, which John
Eller certainly also heard.
Q. Anybody else?
A. I think this was Tom Koby. This was that meeting I described in a vehicle at the parking lot of
the shopping mall, Koby, Eller, Wickman, Trujillo, and I don't know whether or not that's on tape.
Q. But isn't the bottom line that Chet Ubowski made it very clear that, whatever his beliefs were, he
was not in a position from his standpoint to state under oath that Patsy Ramsey was the author within
any degree of certainty; isn't that what he told you, sir?
A. No, the conduit was Wickman who said something very similar to that that he couldn't get on the
stand and testify to it.
Q. And that never changed while you were there, did it, that Ubowski would not get on the stand and
testify to it, right?
A. Yeah, as far as I know Ubowski never took the stand and testified to it.
Q. And it was always your understanding that he said that he was not in a position to do so from an
opinion standpoint; isn't that true?
A. To take the stand?
Q. He would not go under oath and testify that Patsy Ramsey within reasonable certainty was the
author of the note?
A. Well, the reasonable certainty I recall I think it was Mr. Ubowski speaking at the VIP
presentation and I would like to see a transcript of that because I thought --
Q. I thought maybe --
A. -- his answer or his remarks were fairly strong there. But no, he was obviously not in a position
to take the stand and make that identification in court.
Q. Am I right, maybe I went over this and I apologize, did Mr. Ubowski in his report say "There is
evidence which indicates that the ransom note may have been written by Patsy Ramsey but the
evidence falls short of that necessary to support a definite conclusion." That's Mr. Ubowski's opinion,
right?
A. That's his formal report opinion.
Q. Did you ever know that opinion to change before August of 1998 when you left?
A. To get stronger or weaker?
Q. Yes.
Reply
#3
Q. (BY MR. WOOD) Had you seen that article from KCNC from April 10, 2000, before I just
showed it to you today?
A. No, as I've said, I wasn't aware that Mr. Ubowski was retracting any statements prior to you're
making me aware of that today.
Q. If this is correct Mr. Ubowski is in fact stating on April 10, 2000 that he denies saying that Patsy
Ramsey wrote the note and that he, the claim that 24 of the alphabet's 26 letters looked like -- looked as
if they had been written by Patsy is denied as the lab does not quantify like that? You have never
heard those statements made by the CBI before I showed you this KCNC report today?
A. No, as I have said, no.
Reply
#4
earlier story

Ramsey ransom note crucial in investigation
As grand jury hears evidence, note's author is key

By Matt Sebastian
Camera Staff Writer





For detectives probing the murder of JonBenét Ramsey, the ransom note left in the family's Boulder home is probably the closest thing to a smoking gun they'll ever get.
If investigators have determined who wrote the rambling 2½-page note, in all likelihood they know who killed the 6-year-old girl.
But as the grand jury looking into the 22-month-old slaying apparently begins to focus on the ransom note, it's unclear whether investigators know who penned it.
While handwriting analysis has indicated that JonBenét's mother may have written the note, investigators apparently haven't reached a definitive conclusion. Testing the note for fingerprints and palm prints also proved fruitless, sources have said.

Earlier this year, investigators were banking on the content analysis of a Vassar College linguist who told police Patsy Ramsey was, in fact, the author, one source said.
That analysis, however, may have gone up in smoke with the discovery this summer that before Boulder police hired Donald Foster to examine the note, the Vassar professor had already told Patsy Ramsey that he concluded she didn't write the note.
Officials attending a two-day presentation of the case that police made to prosecutors in early June called Foster's evidence crucial to the police theory of the crime, one source close to the case said.
But six months before going to work for Boulder police, Foster wrote to Patsy Ramsey, saying he believed "absolutely and unequivocally" that she was innocent.
Police and prosecutors didn't find out about Foster's letter until several days after the June case presentation.
Now Foster's effectiveness as a witness is seriously in doubt.
"If the Ramseys didn't write the note, then it's 'game over' as far as their guilt is concerned," the source said.
Neither police nor prosecutors will say whether Foster will testify before the grand jury or be used in any eventual prosecution.
Foster, who gained notoriety by linking Theodore Kaczynski to the Unabomber Manifesto and determining that Newsweek columnist Joe Klein wrote "Primary Colors," doesn't have much to say on his contradictory analysis.
"I think that will be entirely explained in due course, and all my pronouncements on this case will be presented to the grand jury," Foster said Friday.
He said he went to work for Boulder police in January. Police Chief Mark Beckner acknowledged the linguist "has done a lot of work for us," but added, "We haven't paid him a dime yet."
On Dec. 26, 1996, JonBenét Ramsey was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her parents' 15th Street home, about eight hours after Patsy Ramsey reportedly discovered the ransom note demanding $118,000 in exchange for the girl's safe return.
The note pad the ransom note was written on and an apparent "practice" note were found in the Ramseys' home and given to police.
Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter has convened a grand jury to further investigate the slaying. Police have named no suspects, although John and Patsy Ramsey are under suspicion. They maintain their innocence.
While the results of Foster's work have only become known through leaks, some preliminary handwriting analysis was made public last year with the unsealing of an affidavit to search the Ramseys' Michigan summer home.
Colorado Bureau of Investigation handwriting expert Chet Ubowski in early 1997 determined that neither John Ramsey nor JonBenét's then-10-year-old brother, Burke, wrote the note.
There were "indications" that Patsy Ramsey was the writer, according to the affidavit. But, Ubowski concluded, "the evidence falls short of that necessary to support a definite conclusion."
In early 1997, sources told the Daily Camera that the Ramseys' own handwriting experts had also concluded that John Ramsey didn't pen the letter. As for Patsy Ramsey, the sources said, there was a slight chance she wrote the note, but that it was "highly unlikely."
Ubowski was seen Thursday leaving the courtroom used by the grand jury, and it's believed he spent most of the day testifying.
When contacted Friday, Ubowski wasn't willing to discuss his work on the Ramsey case. But he acknowledged that handwriting analysis and the linguistic work performed by someone like Foster "are correlative, especially when you have what we might term a holistic document."
A holistic work, Ubowski explained, is one created by an author — such as an original letter, as opposed to someone else's words simply recopied by hand.
What linguists do, Ubowski said, is analyze punctuation, word choice and phraseology to determine whether a document can be matched to other documents known to have been written by a person.
In analyzing the ransom note, investigators and the Ramseys have pointed to lines that resemble those from popular action movies such as "Ransom" and "Speed." Others have pointed out similarities in phrasing between the ransom note and a Christmas message posted on the Ramsey family's Web site.
Ubowski said the CBI has never itself used a linguist. Ubowski said he doesn't know Foster or his reputation.
Gregg McCrary, a former FBI profiler, said the bureau has its own experts who do content analysis by looking at grammar, syntax, punctuation and "emotionality."
"But it's still fairly new stuff," McCrary said. "We've never testified to anything like that that I know of. We use it mostly investigatively, to generate leads."
In fact, the former FBI agent said, if such evidence were introduced in trial, a judge likely would caution the jury that linguistics isn't hard science or even a technical skill like handwriting analysis.
"Yet I think there's something there," McCrary said. "It can be developed. Our own behaviors are very revealing about who we are, and I think this is just another focus area of that approach."
But McCrary said Foster's decision to work for the Boulder police is "morally indefensible."
"You just can't do that," he said. "You can't take a stand on one side and then when the other side comes calling, you flip-flop. That's one of the reasons I didn't want to go to work for the Ramseys."


October 19, 1998
Reply
#5
10. "pad and pen"
In response to message #9
 
  
Q. You've already told me there were the missing pages from the pad, right?
A. If we're talking about pages 17 through 25, if memory serves, yes, those were unaccounted for.
Q. And there was some bleed-through on what has been referred to as the practice ransom note,
right?
A. Correct.
Q. Was there any bleed through on what -- on the ransom note itself?
A. Well, 17 through 25 missing, 26 with bleed-through on it presumably from 25. And if memory
serves, 27 started the ransom note so you had some, I think, bleed-through from the practice note.
Q. The practice note consisted of Mr. -- why don't you tell me what was on the ransom note, the
practice ransom note, as has been described?
A. I believe that said Mr. And Mrs., the what looked like the down stroke of an R which could have
been mistaken for an I.
Q. Did any of the examiners compare that handwriting to the ransom note or was that simply not
sufficient to draw any conclusions about the commonality of authorship?
A. I believe that the ink was matched.
Q. The what, the ink?
A. The ink from the practice note to the ransom note was matched.
Q. In what way?
A. The same pen wrote the practice note that wrote the ransom note.
Q. There were three pens. Did they determine which of the pens wrote the practice note and the
ransom note?
A. The same pen.
Q. And that was a consistent or was that a finding by forensically of an absolute match between pen
and ink?
A. It's my understanding that the Secret Service matched the ink from practice note to the ransom
note.
Q. Pens were in plain view?
A. You're talking pens plural. I'm talking about the pen that wrote --
Q. The pen, that was in a -- it was in plain view?
A. In a cup in the kitchen is my understanding.
Q. Pad was in plain view, given voluntarily by John Ramsey to the police?
A. I don't know about plain view, I wasn't there. But it's my understanding that he produced that
from a countertop area on the first floor.
MR. WOOD: Why don't we take that break now.
VIDEO TECHNICIAN: The time is 4:47. We're going off the record.
(Recess taken from 4:47 p.m. to 4:57 p.m.)
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