the White letters
#1
The Whites' First Letter-Jan. 1998
By FLEET RUSSELL WHITE, Jr. and PRISCILLA B. WHITE
As witnesses in the JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation, we are reluctant to express our views regarding the investigation. At this time, however, we feel compelled to address matters which we feel to be of great importance.
There is a widely held perception that the investigation has been plagued by intense news media coverage and the improper conduct of the Boulder Police Department and the Boulder County District Attorney.
There can be no question that the wide circulation of facts, evidence, and opinions has had a debilitating effect on the investigation. Equally damaging, however, have been public statements made by officials which, because of their nature and discontinuity, have created confusion and anxiety not only for the public but also for law enforcement personnel and witnesses. It must be clear at this point that the extraordinary circumstances of this crime and its investigation do not lend themselves to discussion or debate in a public forum. Doing so will only serve to jeopardize the civil rights of involved parties, reduce the willingness of witnesses to cooperate, and make the task of law enforcement agencies investigating the case more difficult.
Public officials who contemplate the release of information concerning the case or who desire to publicly express their opinions must be mindful of these risks. Such statements and the release of information should only serve the goals of furthering the investigation or protecting the public. There are simply no other valid reasons for making information regarding the investigation available to the public. It is likely that few, if any, statements of fact or opinion made by public officials concerning the Ramsey investigation have met this standard. For this case to proceed in a positive manner it will be necessary to do all that is practically possible to integrate the activities of a prosecutor and police investigators and shield their investigation from public view until such time when an arrest is made.
As witnesses, we have developed confidence and trust in Boulder Police Department investigators. While we recognize that errors have been made in the investigation, we feel strongly that these officers and their leadership are committed both personally and professionally to assembling a valid case which will lead to an arrest and conviction. Furthermore, we are greatly encouraged by their addition of competent legal counsel who are aiding their investigation.
We have not, on the other hand, developed such sentiments toward the Boulder County District Attorney. On the contrary, we feel that the Boulder County District Attorney has not acted in a manner consistent with an agency which must work with police investigators and witnesses in a positive and professional manner. Our sentiments toward the Boulder County District Attorney are based on our personal experiences which have been augmented by the following considerations:
There are various relationships between the Boulder County District Attorney and members of the Boulder and Denver legal communities which may have impaired the objectivity of the Boulder County District Attorney with respect to a case brought before it by the Boulder Police Department.
The Boulder County District Attorney under the leadership of District Attorney Alex Hunter has been criticized in the past for not being an aggressive prosecutor of homicide cases.
There appears to be an atmosphere of distrust and non-cooperation between the Boulder County District Attorney and the Boulder Police Department regarding the investigation. This relationship appears to be irreparably damaged with respect to the Ramsey case.
There is a strong impression that the Boulder County District Attorney has acted improperly by sharing evidence and other information with attorneys and other parties not officially involved in the investigation.
There is a strong impression that Alex Hunter and members of his staff have acted inappropriately by giving their opinions and information regarding the investigation to various news media organizations. This impression has been strengthened recently by the statements made by District Attorney Alex Hunter appearing in the Jan. 19, 1998, issue of New Yorker magazine. His comments regarding the police investigation are mean-spirited and entirely devoid of any constructive aspect. We feel that his decision to state publicly these opinions regarding an on-going homicide investigation clearly defines his poor judgment and wanton disregard for all parties involved in this investigation and for the criminal justice system. The fact that he made some of these statements five months ago, as has been recently suggested, does nothing to make them less inexcusable. What public service did Mr. Hunter envision when he made such statements and revealed details of the investigation over a period of five months to a noted journalist who has publicly announced his intention to write a book about the investigation?
These considerations cannot be ignored in an attempt to understand the present status of the investigation or in anticipating its future course. At a minimum, these considerations have created the strong appearance of impropriety, professional incompetence and a lack of objectivity. Additionally, the suit against Alex Hunter brought by Darnay Hoffman, regardless of its merit, has reinforced this appearance in the public consciousness. In this context, the following questions must be asked:
Is the Boulder County District Attorney capable of inspiring the confidence and trust of police investigators and relevant witnesses in order that a case may be developed in such a manner as to maximize the likelihood of an arrest?
Is the Boulder County District Attorney capable of objectively and professionally evaluating the merit of a case presented to it by the Boulder Police Department?
Is the Boulder County District Attorney capable of aggressively and professionally coordinating and conducting a prosecution or other court proceedings in a manner most likely to result in an indictment and a successful prosecution?
On Dec. 18, 1997, we met with Gov. Roy Romer to urge that he intervene immediately to remove the Boulder County District Attorney from any involvement in the case and appoint an independent special prosecutor. On Jan. 7, 1998, we were notified by Governor Romer that he had decided not to intervene. In a Jan. 12, 1998, letter from Gov. Romer, we were formally notified of his decision. In this letter, he stated that he had "decided not to intervene in this matter at this time" and indicated that his decision was "based in part on the fact that the police investigation is not yet complete and the case has not been referred to the district attorney for prosecution." While he did not specify what other factors were considered in arriving at his decision, we can only hope that they derive from sound recommendations received from knowledgeable and unbiased officials involved in the investigation who are in possession of compelling facts which are not available to us.
If Gov. Romer is inclined to intervene but feels that such a decision would now be untimely, we would submit that the passage of time cannot be expected to reduce the obstacles facing the investigation and the prosecution. In their effort to follow evidence, construct a valid case, and to maintain the confidence of witnesses, the Boulder Police Department needs the immediate participation and guidance of a supportive and competent prosecutor.
The idea of waiting for the case to be "completed" and to be "referred" to the Boulder County District Attorney presupposes that the negative effect of the presence of the Boulder County District Attorney in the investigation will somehow be mitigated in the future. It ignores the practical problem that the Boulder Police Department and relevant witnesses have no confidence in the ability of the Boulder County District Attorney to prudently handle evidence and to professionally and impartially consider a case presented to it.
Furthermore, it is unreasonable for Governor Romer or for any of us to rely on civic and law enforcement officials who offer assurances that they can somehow eliminate the differences between the Boulder Police Department and the Boulder County District Attorney in an effort to move the case forward purposefully when they have so amply demonstrated their inability to do so. Nor should we or Gov. Romer rely on the Hoffman suit or similar actions that may follow. It appears that these will only result in meaningless debate over semantics and, at best, lead to protracted and contentious court proceedings and investigations. As for the concern that the removal of the Boulder County District Attorney from the Ramsey case will jeopardize the future relationship between the Boulder Police Department and the Boulder County District Attorney on other cases, it is more likely that the continued presence of the Boulder County District Attorney in the Ramsey case will only serve to lessen the prospects of a healthy future relationship.
We again respectfully request that Gov. Romer intervene in this matter and level the playing field in Boulder. The Boulder Police Department has but one goal in this matter which is to bring the person or persons who have committed crimes to justice. The police are handicapped by those who are acting to obfuscate and confuse the facts of this investigation. At this point there is little to be gained by speculating about who these people are and what reasons they may have for doing so. That can be left for another day. We request that Governor Romer immediately intervene and remove the Boulder County District Attorney and its offices from the investigation and appoint a competent and completely independent special prosecutor who is capable of establishing and maintaining the confidence and the trust of the Boulder Police Department, witnesses in the case, and the public whereby to maximize the likelihood of a successful conclusion to this case. Regardless of the nature of his decision, we request that Governor Romer announce it publicly and that he make clear his reasoning. We ask the people of Colorado and especially the people of Boulder to join us in this respect.
The investigation of the murder of JonBenet Ramsey has profoundly hurt many innocent people. It has caused the Boulder community and many of its leaders and institutions to be degraded. It has engendered contempt for Boulder`s law enforcement agencies and criminal justice system. Governor Romer, with the support of the people of Boulder, must attend to these matters now.
Reply
#2
The Whites' Second Letter
   To the people of Colorado:
          On August 12, 1998, Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter announced that he would be presenting the JonBenet Ramsey murder case to a Boulder grand jury at the expense of the State of Colorado. Colorado grand jury law requires that both jurors and witnesses take an oath of secrecy regarding grand jury proceedings and testimony. In anticipation of receiving a subpoena to appear before that grand jury, we wish at this time to address matters concerning the investigation which we feel are of great importance to the people of Colorado and the Boulder community.
     After JonBenet Ramsey was killed in Boulder nearly twenty months ago, her parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, immediately hired prominent Democrat criminal defense attorneys with the law firm of Haddon, Morgan and Foreman. This firm and its partners have close professional, political and personal ties to prosecutors, the Denver and Boulder legal and judicial communities, state legislators, and high-ranking members of Colorado government, including Governor Roy Romer. The investigation of her death has since been characterized by confusion and delays. The district attorney and Ramsey defense attorneys started early in the investigation to condition the public to believe that these delays and the lack of a prosecution have resulted almost entirely from initial police bungling of the case and the non-cooperation of witnesses. This has continued to this day. Advising the district attorney since the early days of the investigation have been Denver metropolitan area district attorneys Bob Grant (Adams County), Bill Ritter (Denver County), Jim Peters (18th Judicial District), and Dave Thomas (1st Judicial District).
     Recently, Boulder police detective Steve Thomas, an investigator on the JonBenet Ramsey murder case, left the department in disgust. In his August 6 letter of resignation, he publicly accused the district attorney of obstructing the police investigation and allowing politics to "trump" justice. He asked that a special prosecutor be brought in to handle the case.
     We knew JonBenet and her parents very well and have been closely involved in the investigation as witnesses. During the past year, we have also come to know and respect Mr. Thomas and were saddened and discouraged by his departure from the investigation. We share Mr. Thomas' view regarding the district attorney and his contention that overwhelming pressure brought to bear on the district attorney and police leadership from various quarters has thwarted the investigation and delayed justice in the case. While it is unlikely that the district attorney has been corrupted by Ramsey defense attorneys, it is certain that the district attorney and his prosecutors have been greatly influenced by their metro area district attorney advisers and by defense attorneys' chummy persuasiveness and threats of reprisals for anyone daring to jeopardize the civil rights of their victim clients. Indeed, the district attorney and the Ramsey attorneys have simultaneously rebuked the police for "focusing" their investigation on the Ramseys when in fact police were simply following evidence. During the course of the investigation, the district attorney has used inexplicable methods including the recruitment of magazine writers and tabloids to leak information concerning the case and to needle witnesses, "suspects", and police detectives. He has provided evidence to Ramsey defense attorneys at their request but denied reasonable requests by witnesses for their own statements to police. He has thoroughly alienated police detectives and key witnesses whose cooperation is vital to the investigation and prosecution. His public statements regarding the investigation have been erratic, evasive, and misleading. They have also been profoundly damaging to the case. Understandably, public confidence in the district attorney's handling of the investigation was low even before Mr. Thomas' letter.
     Notwithstanding what the public has been led to believe, Boulder police leadership and detectives have been under the effective control of the district attorney and his advisers since the early days of the investigation.
     In December, 1997, we met with Governor Romer to request that the state intervene and appoint an independent special prosecutor to take over the investigation and prosecution of the case. Citing the growing conflict between police and prosecutors and the delay of any progress in the investigation, we expressed our view that Boulder authorities were incapable of seeking justice. We also pointed out specific circumstances which we felt could inhibit or restrict Governor Romer's willingness to intervene. In early January, 1998, we were advised that he had decided against intervention on the advice of Boulder Police Chief Tom Koby. Chief Koby, who has since left the department, had told Governor Romer that the investigation was incomplete and therefore had not been given to the district attorney for prosecution. In short, there had been no failure to prosecute and thus no basis for the state's intervention. Upon learning of his decision, we wrote a letter published January 16, 1998 in the Boulder Daily Camera expressing our views and requesting that Governor Romer reconsider his decision. Recently, Governor Romer publicly stated that he did not recall the letter. We hope that this letter will make a stronger impression.
     Since our meeting with Governor Romer eight months ago, the public has been shown the forced reconciliation of demoralized police detectives with the district attorney and his prosecutors and a sequence of odd and highly publicized milestones In the case. In March, 1998, police Chief Koby and lead investigator Mark Beckner (later to be appointed police chief), made an unusual public appeal to the district attorney for a grand jury investigation on the pro bono advice of three prominent Denver attorneys. In response, the district attorney requested a complete presentation by police of evidence. This presentation occurred over two days in early June, 1998, and was witnessed by prosecutors, representatives of the State Attorney General's office, prominent forensic scientists, and advisers of the district attorney and the police department. The public was then told that the investigation had been finally transferred to the district attorney from the police department and that the district attorney would now require some indeterminate length of time to review the case prior to making a decision concerning the police request for a grand jury investigation. Upon leaving the presentation, both Alex Hunter and Mark Beckner made inappropriate but tantalizing comments designed to give the public hope that the case may yet be "solved". They warned, however, that there was still a lot of work to do and that additional evidence was needed. Then, in late June, 1998, the public was once again brought in on a major development in the case. The Ramseys were interviewed by representatives of the district attorney in a carefully orchestrated demonstration of their willingness to cooperate in the investigation now that biased and incompetent police detectives were no longer involved.
     Most developments in the case brought to the public's attention throughout 1997 should be regarded as well-publicized but clumsy attempts by the district attorney and police leadership to look busy, follow long "task lists", and clean up investigative files while the district attorney killed time and spread-out responsibility for the case. On the other hand, "advances" in the case since early this year have been carefully planned to condition the public for a grand jury investigation. The district attorney's past indecision and the need for the police to ask him for a grand jury investigation were deliberate attempts to mislead the public. If based on nothing other than the district attorney's repeated public statements and leaks characterizing the case as "not prosecutable", there can be little doubt that, absent a confession, the people running the investigation had long ago decided against filing charges in the case. Instead, they manipulated public opinion to favor the use of the grand jury. There is compelling evidence, however, that their motivation for presenting the case to a grand jury has little or nothing to do with obtaining new evidence, grilling "reluctant" witnesses, or returning an indictment and everything to do with sealing away facts, circumstances and evidence gathered in the investigation in a grand jury transcript. It is our firm belief that the district attorney and others intend to use the grand jury and its secrecy in an attempt to protect their careers and also serve the conflicting interests of powerful, influential, and threatening people who have something to hide or protect or who simply don't want to be publicly linked to a dreadful murder investigation. Also weighing on the district attorney has been the matter of preserving and protecting the now "cooperative" and forthcoming Ramseys' rights as victims.
              In direct response to Mr. Thomas' recent letter, Governor Romer met on August 12, 1998 with district attorneys Grant, Ritter, Peters, and Thomas. Later that day, Governor Romer announced at a press conference that Hunter had told him that the case was "on track for a grand jury". Romer said that "it would be improper to appoint a special prosecutor now" but that to improve public confidence in the case he would make available to Hunter additional prosecutorial expertise. Shortly after the press conference, Hunter's office announced that the case would be presented to a grand jury in "order to gain additional evidence in the case". On August 13, 1998, the Rocky Mountain News offered an editorial entitled "Calling in the Calvary" (sic) in which the editor generally supported Governor's Romer's action but insightfully asked the obvious question: Why has it taken so long for Hunter's office to present the case to a grand jury? The editorial read:
     "But if the Ramsey case is 'on track for a grand jury,' as Romer insists, it seems to have been sitting on a siding for quite a long time awaiting clearance to proceed. This is all the more true given the fact that Ritter, Grant, Thomas, and Peters obviously believe that the grand jury must be used as an investigative tool in the Ramsey case, and not merely to reach a predetermined prosecutorial goal. If that is the case, why wasn't a grand jury used months ago? Indeed, why wasn't it used more than a year ago?"
     Following the Sid Wells murder in Boulder in August, 1983, a grand jury investigating the high-profile case met off-and-on for fifteen months without returning an indictment. Quoted in the January 29, 1984 Denver Post, Boulder Assistant District Attorney Bill Wise revealed that the case had been originally referred to the grand jury "because of its power to further investigate the case. The district attorney didn't have subpoena power and we needed that tool." Hunter had waited less than three months before presenting the Wells murder case to a grand jury. Three months after the death of JonBenet Ramsey, police were still trying to interview John and Patsy Ramsey and obtain other evidence critical to the case.
     There is a relatively simple but compelling answer to the question raised by the Rocky Mountain News editorial. Since very early in the case, there has been at least a tacit understanding among the district attorney, police leadership, those persons advising these agencies, and Ramsey defense attorneys that the case would be presented to a grand jury but not until the statutory Boulder grand jury was convened in April, 1998. This delay was deemed necessary by some or all of these parties in order to take advantage of a new statute (16-5-205.5, C.R.S.) concerning grand jury reporting procedures which was the result of legislation promoted by the Colorado District Attorney's Council and passed by the legislature in early March 1997. By law, however, this change in procedure would only apply to reports issued by grand juries convened after October 1, 1997. In order to take advantage of the new statute, a Boulder grand jury would have to wait until April, 1998, the next convening of the statutory Boulder grand jury subsequent to October 1, 1997. In order to accomplish this, it was necessary for these people to stall and cynically rely on the public's relative ignorance of the statute and the purpose and general nature of grand juries. The district attorney and police leadership worked hard to create the fiction that the police investigation was not "complete" and therefore not ready to be transferred to the district attorney. As long as the district attorney didn't have the case it would be difficult to fault him for not prosecuting or presenting the case to a grand jury. It was this fiction that was used by the district attorney to deflect mounting criticism including that contained in our letter in January, 1998. It also served as the basis for a Boulder court to throw out a suit brought against the district attorney by New York attorney Darnay Hoffman who had accused the district attorney of "constructively abandoning the case". The district attorney's publicly expressed indecision in late 1997 regarding a grand jury investigation gave way to his progressively greater "leaning" toward such a decision as the date for convening the Boulder grand jury drew near.
         House Bill 97-1009 was drafted by the Colorado District Attorneys Council in late 1996 and was introduced in the Colorado House of Representatives on January 8, 1997, two weeks after JonBenet was killed. HB 97-1009 was sponsored by Representative Bill Kaufman, a Republican, and Senator Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat.
     The impetus for this bill was the desire of the Council to effect legislation changing an existing statute (16-5-205 (4), C.R.S.) regarding the issuance of grand jury reports in those cases where there is not an indictment. The matter was discussed by the district attorneys and legislators at a conference in the summer of 1996. The existing statute allowed the issuance of reports but was argued to be confusing and overly restrictive. As a result, grand jury reports were nonexistent. In a January 19, 1997 editorial supporting passage of the bill, the Denver Post pointed to the inconclusive grand jury investigations concerning DIA and police conduct in the high profile Ocrant case in Arapahoe County. Also mentioned was the recent Truax officer-involved shooting case in which Denver DA Bill Ritter chose not to use a grand jury to investigate possible police officer misconduct because of his concern that the grand jury might not report its findings to the public. Citing these cases, the Post "...urged that in the balance between the public's right to information and the statutory demand for grand jury secrecy, public disclosure should carry more weight than it now does." The Post editorial went on to say:
     "The proposed law would instruct judges to determine whether the report should be released and allow for withholding any parts necessary to protect witnesses. It also would give witnesses an opportunity to see reports and file opposing motions if they object to their release.
     Such reports could go a long way toward dispelling doubts like those that still linger over the DIA and Truax investigations, and by providing all witnesses with safeguards against disclosures that might damage or embarrass them, still preserve the confidentiality that is both the armor and the engine of the grand jury process. "
     The original draft of the bill was presented to the House Judiciary Committee by Representative Kaufman at a hearing on January 21, 1997, long after the Ramsey case had exploded into a national news story amid growing suspicions of police mishandling of the case. Speaking in favor of the bill before the committee were district attorneys Ritter, Thomas, and Grant. All of these district attorneys, along with Jim Peters, would be named publicly as advisers to Alex Hunter on the Ramsey case a few weeks later on February 14, 1997. It is clear from the draft bill and from their comments at this hearing that they intended reporting by grand juries to be on matters generally limited to allegations of non criminal misconduct by public employees, officials, and agencies but only when such information regarding those allegations was in the public interest. At the hearing, Mr. Ritter stated:
     "...there are other matters where we bring...an issue into the grand jury for investigation and it grows legs and we find ourselves investigating the conduct of government officers, the conduct of public employees, the conduct of government programs where, because tax dollars are involved, the public does have a right to know something about the operation even if it they fall short of the conduct being criminal and that, I think, is the real meaning behind a bill like this."
     Also speaking in favor of the bill were John Dailey, Head of the Criminal Enforcement Unit of the Attorney General's office and Kim Morss of the Colorado Judicial Department appearing at the request of the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. Also speaking in favor of the bill was Marge Easton of the Colorado Press Association.
     On March 5, 1997, Senator Perlmutter presented the bill to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Appearing once again to speak in favor of the bill were Bill Ritter, Marge Easton, and John Dailey. Also speaking for the bill were Ray Slaughter and Stu Van Meveren of the Colorado District Attorneys Council.
     The final bill was passed on March 21, 1997. Included in the bill were specific criteria to be used by grand juries and prosecutors in determining what constitutes the "public interest" for the purpose of a grand jury report:
          (a) Allegations of the misuse or misapplication of public funds;
          (b) Allegations of abuse of authority by a public servant, as defined in Section 18-1-901(3)(o), C.R.S.,or a peace officer, as defined in section 18-901(3)(1), C.R.S.
          © Allegations of misfeasance or malfeasance with regard to a governmental function, as defined in Section 18-1-901(3)(j), C.R.S."
          (d) Allegations of commission of a class 1, class 2, or class 3 felony.
          The original intent of the Colorado District Attorney Council draft and that of Representative Kaufman was to make it easier for grand juries to issue reports in cases where there is not an indictment returned but where, in the public interest, the grand jury wishes to address allegations of misconduct by public employees falling short of criminal conduct. The final bill made it possible for a grand jury to address allegations of 1st and 2nd degree murder and the two classes of child abuse resulting in death. The new statute would enable a Boulder grand jury investigating the death of JonBenet Ramsey to publicly exonerate someone who has been alleged to have of (sic) committed one of these crimes but only in the event an indictment was not returned. The bill was signed into law by Governor Romer on April 8, 1997. We strongly urge those wishing to investigate the intentions and motives of the Colorado District Attorneys Council, legislators, and those speaking on behalf of the bill to review the Senate and House Journals and listen to tapes of the House and Senate Judiciary Hearings and floor debates on file at the Colorado State Archives, 1313 Sherman Street, Room 1B20, Denver.
     During the Senate Judiciary Hearing on March 5, 1997, and after the bill had been amended to include the criteria defining the public interest, Senator Perlmutter stated that he had "...contacted several defense attorneys I know in Denver and they were all supportive of it (the bill). They thought it was a good idea." According to records at the Secretary of State's Office, Sen. Perlmutter received a 1994 campaign contribution from Hal Haddon, defense attorney for John Ramsey. The Haddon firm is well known for its expertise in grand jury practice. Norman Mueller, a partner of the firm, once wrote in the April, 1988 issue of The Colorado Lawyer"...defense counsel must creatively and vigorously scrutinize the grand jury process at the earliest possible stage of the case."
     The May 6, 1998 issue of the Colorado Journal, a publication for the legal community, presented an article flattering to Alex Hunter entitled "D.A. Winks At This One With or Without a Grand Jury Indictment Boulder's Prosecutor Will Still Shine". The article is written around comments received from Senator Perlmutter and district attorney Bill Ritter. It reads:
     "If Hunter does take the matter to the grand jury and that panel manages to wrestle the evidence it needs to hand down an actual indictment, Hunter will appear the hero for going that route.
     But if they fail to do so, Hunter could still come out smelling like a rose with the help of a little-known state law that went into effect last fall: That grand jury reports may be released to the public if no indictment results from its probe.
     That way, a prosecutor facing pressure to file charges can say, 'See even the grand jury couldn't find anything.' said Sen. Ed Perlmutter, D-Golden, who co-sponsored the law in the 1997 Colorado Legislature.
     The law, which only applies to Class 1, 2, and 3 felony cases, was intended to help ease the public's mind in certain investigations where a prosecutor fails to file charges, despite pressure from the police to do so as in the JonBenet case, he said." (italics added).
          In the article Sen. Perlmutter indicated that he sponsored the bill because he "didn't want the grand juries to be abused, especially in high-profile cases as this one (the Ramsey case)."
     For his part, Mr. Ritter said:
     " I don't think Alex Hunter would go to the grand jury for political cover, that's just not how Alex Hunter operates,' said Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter.
     'The reason you go to a grand jury is because, as DA, you do not have the ability in the state of Colorado to compel testimony or compel the production of documents."'
       But then the article speculates:
     "But no matter what the grand jury decides, its probe could help vindicate the impugned reputations of many members of the Boulder police and district attorneys office."
     The article was misleading in that it stated that the new grand jury statute designed by Mr. Ritter and Senator Perlmutter to protect and exonerate people and "vindicate" the reputations of public servants was "effective" and therefore available for use by a Boulder grand jury on October 1, 1997. It also inaccurately described what allegations the statute deemed of public interest.
     For the purpose of assisting them in the Ramsey investigation, the Boulder Police Department in July 1997 accepted the pro bono legal services of Daniel S. Hoffman with the firm of McKenna & Cuneo, Robert N. Miller with the firm of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Green, and MacRae, and Richard N. Baer with the firm of Sherman & Howard. All are prominent Denver attorneys. Responding to our public information request, the Boulder city attorney's office supplied us with copies of the final agreement between the city and these attorneys dated July 30, 1997 and an earlier draft of that agreement dated July 28, 1997. In the draft, these attorneys jointly made the following disclosures to the city:
         "As we indicated to you, our respective firms have or had certain relationships that we feel obligated to disclose to you. Specifically: 1. Sherman & Howard L.L.C. ("S. & H.") represents Lockheed Martin in various matters. Lockheed Martin currently owns Access Graphics, the company that employs the father of the deceased. In addition, in 1994, S. & H. represented Access Graphics in a lawsuit brought by a terminated employee...
     2. Mr. Hoffman is outside counsel for Lockheed Martin in a number of litigations, one of which is currently pending. It is reasonable to assume that during our representation of you, Mr. Hoffman may be retained by Lockheed Martin. Additionally, Mr. Haddon represents Mr. Hoffman personally, in a case against Mr. Hoffman, his former law firm, and a number of Mr. Hoffman's former partners at the firm.
     3. Robert Miller is currently co-counsel with Mr. Haddon on a litigation in which they obtained a significant verdict for their client and which will proceed on appeal."
     John Ramsey was the president and chief executive officer of Access Graphics, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation. In the fall of 1997 Access Graphics was sold by Lockheed Martin to GE Capital in a complicated transaction reported in the news media to be valued at $2.8 billion. The value attributed to Access Graphics was likely in excess of $200 million. Prior to the sale, John Ramsey left Access Graphics under adverse circumstances after attempting to purchase Access Graphics from Lockheed Martin. Mr. Hoffman was identified in the April 18, 1997 issue of Colorado Journal to be the "lead attorneys for Lockheed Martin in an age discrimination case which days before had resulted in a $7.6 million settlement. The "Mr. Haddon" referred to in the disclosures is Harold Haddon, the criminal defense attorney currently representing John Ramsey. The final agreement that was executed by the city and these three attorneys did not contain these disclosures. According to Mr. Baer, they were deleted at the request of the city attorney. The city attorney has recently indicated to us that he has no knowledge of the role these attorneys have played in the investigation.
     On March 10, 1998, the Boulder Daily Camera reported that "DA hints Ramsey case headed for grand jury". Two days later, the Boulder police made their request for a grand jury on the advice of these attorneys and transferred the case to the district attorney. On April 22, 1998, the Boulder grand jury was convened.
     It is certain that Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter; the metro area district attorneys advising Mr. Hunter; the current leadership of the Boulder Police Department, the three attorneys advising the Boulder Police Department, and Ramsey defense attorneys have known since HB97-1009 was signed by Governor Romer on April 8, 1997, that to take advantage of the new statute, it would be necessary to delay a grand jury investigation of the Ramsey case until April, 1998. In retrospect, it is clear that the case was delayed for that purpose. It is hard to imagine that Governor Romer and members of the office of the Attorney General and the Colorado Judiciary Department have not also long known this.
     The Boulder County District Attorney and members of his office have delayed the investigation of the death of JonBenet Ramsey in order to take advantage of a statute which will, if an indictment is not returned, enable him to persuade a grand jury to issue a report telling the public that the case was delayed and that an indictment was not returned as a result of police misconduct and the non-cooperation of witnesses. It will also enable him to publicly exonerate anyone alleged to have murdered JonBenet Ramsey. If he wishes such a report to be made, and of course he does since it would contain precisely what he has been saying throughout the investigation, he must first cause the grand jury not to return an indictment.
     This, then, is how politics will have been allowed, finally, to trump justice.
     Delaying the case in this manner simply to serve the selfish interests of a relatively small number of public servants and wealthy and powerful people has destroyed the case's infrastructure which consists of the confidence and trust of witnesses and the public in the criminal justice system and the hard work done in good faith by police detectives. That he has allowed this destruction is compelling evidence that Alex Hunter and those advising him have no intention of seeking an indictment from a grand jury. By their actions, these people have demonstrated cynical and callous disregard for the people of Colorado, the criminal justice system, and the well being and safety of the Boulder community and its citizens.
     What distinguishes the investigation of JonBenet's death from all others, and what has so seriously handicapped the investigation, is the extraordinary number of people that it has affected and influenced. The people of Colorado wish to see justice for JonBenet. They must not accept the "conclusion" to the case now being offered by the Boulder County District Attorney and Governor Romer. We will not.
     After further assessing public opinion and reviewing the contents of this letter and that of Mr. Thomas, we hope it will occur to Governor Romer that evidence in this case must be reviewed by those who have no interest in seeking anything other than justice for JonBenet.     
Fleet and Priscilla White, August, 1998.
Reply
#3
Letter from Fleet and Priscilla White

The following is the full text of the letter written by Fleet and Priscilla White, former friends of John and Patsy Ramsey, regarding the murder investigation of JonBenet Ramsey.

To the people of Colorado:

On August 12, 1998, Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter announced that he would be presenting the JonBenet Ramsey murder case to a Boulder grand jury at the expense of the State of Colorado. Colorado grand jury law requires that both jurors and witnesses take an oath of secrecy regarding grand jury proceedings and testimony. In anticipation of receiving a subpoena to appear before that grand jury, we wish at this time to address matters concerning the investigation which we feel are of great importance to the people of Colorado and the Boulder community.

After JonBenet Ramsey was killed in Boulder nearly twenty months ago, her parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, immediately hired prominent Democrat criminal defense attorneys with the law firm of Haddon, Morgan and Foreman. This firm and its partners have close professional, political and personal ties to prosecutors, the Denver and Boulder legal and judicial communities, state legislators, and high-ranking members of Colorado government, including Governor Roy Romer. The investigation of her death has since been characterized by confusion and delays. The district attorney and Ramsey defense attorneys started early in the investigation to condition the public to believe that these delays and the lack of a prosecution have resulted almost entirely from initial police bungling of the case and the non-cooperation of witnesses. This has continued to this day. Advising the district attorney since the early days of the investigation have been Denver metropolitan area district attorneys Bob Grant (Adams County), Bill Ritter (Denver County), Jim Peters (18th Judicial District), and Dave Thomas (1st Judicial District).

Recently, Boulder police detective Steve Thomas, an investigator on the JonBenet Ramsey murder case, left the department in disgust. In his August 6 letter of resignation, he publicly accused the district attorney of obstructing the police investigation and allowing politics to "trump'' justice. He asked that a special prosecutor be brought in to handle the case.

We knew JonBenet and her parents very well and have been closely involved in the investigation as witnesses. During the past year, we have also come to know and respect Mr. Thomas and were saddened and discouraged by his departure from the investigation. We share Mr. Thomas' view regarding the district attorney and his contention that overwhelming pressure brought to bear on the district attorney and police leadership from various quarters has thwarted the investigation and delayed justice in the case. While it is unlikely that the district attorney has been corrupted by Ramsey defense attorneys, it is certain that the district attorney and his prosecutors have been greatly influenced by their metro area district attorney advisers and by defense attorneys' chummy persuasiveness and threats of reprisals for anyone daring to jeopardize the civil rights of their victim clients. Indeed, the district attorney and the Ramsey attorneys have simultaneously rebuked the police for "focusing'' their investigation on the Ramseys when in fact police were simply following evidence. During the course of the investigation, the district attorney has used inexplicable methods including the recruitment of magazine writers and tabloids to leak information concerning the case and to needle witnesses, "suspects'', and police detectives. He has provided evidence to Ramsey defense attorneys at their request but denied reasonable requests by witnesses for their own statements to police. He has thoroughly alienated police detectives and key witnesses whose cooperation is vital to the investigation and prosecution. His public statements regarding the investigation have been erratic, evasive, and misleading. They have also been profoundly damaging to the case. Understandably, public confidence in the district attorney's handling of the investigation was low even before Mr. Thomas' letter.

Notwithstanding what the public has been led to believe, Boulder police leadership and detectives have been under the effective control of the district attorney and his advisers since the early days of the investigation. In December, 1997, we met with Governor Romer to request that the state intervene and appoint an independent special prosecutor to take over the investigation and prosecution of the case. Citing the growing conflict between police and prosecutors and the delay of any progress in the investigation, we expressed our view that Boulder authorities were incapable of seeking justice. We also pointed out specific circumstances which we felt could inhibit or restrict Governor Romer's willingness to intervene. In early January, 1998, we were advised that he had decided against intervention on the advice of Boulder Police Chief Tom Koby. Chief Koby, who has since left the department, had told Governor Romer that the investigation was incomplete and therefore had not been given to the district attorney for prosecution. In short; there had been no failure to prosecute and thus no basis for the state's intervention. Upon learning of his decision, we wrote a letter published January 16, 1998, in the Boulder Daily Camera expressing our views and requesting that Governor Romer reconsider his decision. Recently, Governor Romer publicly stated that he did not recall the letter. We hope that this letter will make a stronger impression.

Since our meeting with Governor Romer eight months ago, the public has been shown the forced reconciliation of demoralized police detectives with the district attorney and his prosecutors and a sequence of odd and highly publicized milestones in the case. In March, 1998, police Chief Koby and lead investigator Mark Beckner (later to be appointed police chief), made an unusual public appeal to the district attorney for a grand jury investigation on the pro bono advice of three prominent Denver attorneys. In response, the district attorney requested a complete presentation by police of evidence. This presentation occurred over two days in early June, 1998, and was witnessed by prosecutors, representatives of the State Attorney General's office, prominent forensic scientists, and advisers of the district attorney and the police department. The public was then told that the investigation had been finally transferred to the district attorney from the police department and that the district attorney would now require some indeterminate length of time to review the case prior to making a decision concerning the police request for a grand jury investigation. Upon leaving the presentation, both Alex Hunter and Mark Beckner made inappropriate but tantalizing comments designed to give the public hope that the case may yet be "solved''. They warned, however, that there was still a lot of work to do and that additional evidence was needed. Then, in late June,1998, the public was once again brought in on a major development in the case. The Ramseys were interviewed by representatives of the district attorney in a carefully orchestrated demonstration of their willingness to cooperate in the investigation now that biased and incompetent police detectives were no longer involved.

Most developments in the case brought to the public's attention throughout 1997 should be regarded as well-publicized but clumsy attempts by the district attorney and police leadership to look busy, follow long "task lists,'' and clean up investigative files while the district attorney killed time and spread-out responsibility for the case. On the other hand, "advances'' in the case since early this year have been carefully planned to condition the public for a grand jury investigation. The district attorney's past indecision and the need for the police to ask him for a grand jury investigation were deliberate attempts to mislead the public. If based on nothing other than the district attorney's repeated public statements and leaks characterizing the case as "not prosecutable,'' there can be little doubt that, absent a confession, the people running the investigation had long ago decided against filing charges in the case. Instead, they manipulated public opinion to favor the use of the grand jury. There is compelling evidence, however, that their motivation for presenting the case to a grand jury has little or nothing to do with obtaining new evidence, grilling "reluctant'' witnesses, or returning an indictment and everything to do with sealing away facts, circumstances and evidence gathered in the investigation in a grand jury transcript. It is our firm belief that the district attorney and others intend to use the grand jury and its secrecy in an attempt to protect their careers and also serve the conflicting interests of powerful, influential, and threatening people who have something to hide or protect or who simply don't want to be publicly linked to a dreadful murder investigation. Also weighing on the district attorney has been the matter of preserving and protecting the now "cooperative'' and forthcoming Ramseys' rights as victims.

* * *

In direct response to Mr. Thomas' recent letter, Governor Romer met on August 12, 1998, with district attorneys Grant, Ritter, Peters, and Thomas. Later that day, Governor Romer announced at a press conference that Hunter had told him that the case was "on track for a grand jury.'' Romer said that "it would be improper to appoint a special prosecutor now'' but that to improve public confidence in the case he would make available to Hunter additional prosecutorial expertise. Shortly after the press conference, Hunter's offfice announced that the case would be presented to a grand jury in "order to gain additional evidence in the case.'' On August 13, 1998, the Rocky Mountain News offered an editorial entitled "Calling in the Calvary'' in which the editor generally supported Governor's Romer's action but insightfully asked the obvious question: Why has it taken so long for Hunter's office to present the case to a grand jury? The editorial read:

"But if the Ramsey case is on track for a grand jury,'' as Romer insists, it seems to have been sitting on a siding for quite a long time awaiting clearance to proceed. This is all the more true given the fact that Ritter, Grant, Thomas, and Peters obviously believe that the grand jury must be used as an investigative tool in the Ramsey case, and not merely to reach a predetermined prosecutorial goal. If that is the case, why wasn't a grand jury used months ago? Indeed, why wasn't it used more than a year ago?"

Following the Sid Wells murder in Boulder in August, 1983, a grand jury investigating the high-profile case met off-and-on for fifteen months without returning an indictment. Quoted in the January 29, 1984, Denver Post, Boulder Assistant District Attorney Bill Wise revealed that the case had been originally referred to the grand jury "because of its power to further investigate the case. The district attorney didn't have subpoena power and we needed that tool.'' Hunter had waited less than three months before presenting the Wells murder case to a grand jury. Three months after the death of JonBenet Ramsey, police were still trying to interview John and Patsy Ramsey and obtain other evidence critical to the case.

There is a relatively simple but compelling answer to the question raised by the Rocky Mountain News editorial. Since very early in the case, there has been at least a tacit understanding among the district attorney, police leadership, those persons advising these agencies, and Ramsey defense attorneys that the case would be presented to a grand jury but not until the statutory Boulder grand jury was convened in April, 1998. This delay was deemed necessary by some or all of these parties in order to take advantage of a new statute (16-5-205.5, C.R.S.) concerning grand jury reporting procedures which was the result of legislation promoted by the Colorado District Attorney's Council and passed by the legislature in early March 1997. By law, however, this change in procedure would only apply to reports issued by grand juries convened after October 1, 1997. In order to take advantage of the new statute, a Boulder grand jury would have to wait until April, 1998, the next convening of the statutory Boulder grand jury subsequent to October 1, 1997. In order to accomplish this, it was necessary for these people to stall and cynically rely on the public's relative ignorance of the statute and the purpose and general nature of grand juries. The district attorney and police leadership worked hard to create the fiction that the police investigation was not "complete'' and therefore not ready to be transferred to the district attorney. As long as the district attorney didn't have the case it would be difficult to fault him for not prosecuting or presenting the case to a grand jury. It was this fiction that was used by the district attorney to deflect mounting criticism including that contained in our letter in January, 1998. It also served as the basis for a Boulder court to throw out a suit brought against the district attorney by New York attorney Darnay Hoffman who had accused the district attorney of "constructively abandoning the case.'' The district attorney's publicly expressed indecision in late 1997 regarding a grand jury investigation gave way to his progressively greater "leaning'' toward such a decision as the date for convening the Boulder grand jury drew near.

* * *

House Bill 97-1009 was drafted by the Colorado District Attorneys Council in late 1996 and was introduced in the Colorado House of Representatives on January 8, 1997, two weeks after JonBenet was killed. HB 97-1009 was sponsored by Representative Bill Kaubman, a Republican, and Senator Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat.

The impetus for this bill was the desire of the Council to effect legislation changing an existing statute (16-5-205 (4), C.R.S.) regarding the issuance of grand jury reports in those cases where there is not an indictment. The matter was discussed by the district attorneys and legislators at a conference in the summer of 1996. The existing statute allowed the issuance of reports but was argued to be confusing and overly restrictive. As a result, grand jury reports were nonexistent. In a January 19, 1997 editorial supporting passage of the bill, The Denver Post pointed to the inconclusive grand jury investigations concerning DIA and police conduct in the high profile Ocrant case in Arapahoe County. Also mentioned was the recent Truax officer-involved shooting case in which Denver DA Bill Ritter chose not to use a grand jury to investigate possible police officer misconduct because of his concern that the grand jury might not report its findings to the public. Citing these cases, the Post "...urged that in the balance between the public's right to information and the statutory demand for grand jury secrecy, public disclosure should carry more weight than it now does.'' The Post editorial went on to say:

"The proposed law would instruct judges to determine whether the report should be released and allow for withholding any parts necessary to protect witnesses. It also would give witnesses an opportunity to see reports and file opposing motions if they object to their release.

Such reports could go a long way toward dispelling doubts like those that still linger over the DIA and Truax investigations, and by providing all witnesses with safeguards against disclosures that might damage or embarrass them, still preserve the confidentiality that is both the armor and the engine of the grand jury process.''

The original draft of the bill was presented to the House Judiciary Committee by Representative Kaufman at a hearing on January 21, 1997, long after the Ramsey case had exploded into a national news story amid growing suspicions of police mishandling of the case. Speaking in favor of the bill before the committee were district attorneys Ritter, Thomas, and Grant. All of these district attorneys, along with Jim Peters, would be named publicly as advisers to Alex Hunter on the Ramsey case a few weeks later on February 14,1997. It is clear from the draft bill and from their comments at this hearing that they intended reporting by grand juries to be on matters generally limited to allegations of non-criminal misconduct by public employees, officials, and agencies but only when such information regarding those allegations was in the public interest. At the hearing, Mr. Ritter stated.

". . . there are other matters where we bring. . . an issue into the grand jury for investigation and it grows legs and we find ourselves investigating the conduct of government officers, the conduct of public employees, the conduct of government programs where, because tax dollars are involved, the public does have a right to know something about the operation even if it they fall short of the conduct being criminal and that, I think, is the real meaning behind a bill like this.'' Also speaking in favor of the bill were John Dailey, Head of the Criminal Enforcement Unit of the Attorney General's offlce and Kim Morss of the Colorado Judicial Department appearing at the request of the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. Also speaking in favor of the bill was Marge Easton of the Colorado Press Association.

On March 5, 1997, Senator Perlmutter presented the bill to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Appearing once again to speak in favor of the bill were Bill Ritter, Marge Easton, and John Dailey. Also speaking for the bill were Ray Slaughter and Stu Van Meveren of the Colorado District Attorneys Council.

The final bill was passed on March 21, 1997. Included in the bill were specific criteria to be used by grand juries and prosecutors in determining what constitutes the "public interest'' for the purpose of a grand jury report:

"(5) Release of a grand jury report pursuant to this section may be deemed to be in the public interest only if the report addresses one or more of the following:

(a) Allegations of the misuse or misapplication of public funds;

(b) Allegations of abuse of authority by a public servant, as defined in in Section 18-1-901(3)(o), C.R.S.,or a peace officer, as defined in section 18-901(3)(1), C.R.S.

© Allegations of misfeasance or malfeasance with regard to a governmental function, as defined in Section 18-1-901(3)(j), C.R.S.

(d) Allegations of commission of a class 1, class 2, or class 3 felony.

The original intent of the Colorado District Attorney Council draft and that of Representative Kaufman was to make it easier for grand juries to issue reports in cases where there is not an indictment returned but where, in the public interest, the grand jury wishes to address allegations of misconduct by public employees falling short of criminal conduct. The final bill made it possible for a grand jury to address allegations of 1st and 2nd degree murder and the two classes of child abuse resulting in death. The new statute would enable a Boulder grand jury investigating the death of JonBenet Ramsey to publicly exonerate someone who has been alleged to have of committed one of these crimes but only in the event an indictment was not returned. The bill was signed into law by Governor Romer on April 8, 1997. We strongly urge those wishing to investigate the intentions and motives of the Colorado District Attorneys Council, legislators, and those speaking on behalf of the bill to review the Senate and House Journals and listen to tapes of the House and Senate Judiciary Hearings and floor debates on file at the Colorado State Archives, 1313 Sherman Street, Room lB20, Denver.

During the Senate Judiciary Hearing on March 5, 1997, and after the bill had been amended to include the criteria defining the public interest, Senator Perlmutter stated that he had "...contacted several defense attorneys I know in Denver and they were all supportive of it (the bill). They thought it was a good idea.'' According to records at the Secretary of State's Office, Sen. Perlmutter received a 1994 campaign contribution from Hal Haddon, defense attorney for John Ramsey. The Haddon firm is well known for its expertise in grand jury practice. Norman Mueller, a partner of the firm, once wrote in the April, 1988 issue of The Colorado Lawyer "...defense counsel must creatively and vigorously scrutinize the grand jury process at the earliest possible stage of the case.

* * *

The May 6, 1998 issue of the Colorado Journal, a publication for the legal community, presented an article flattering to Alex Hunter entitled "D.A. Winks At This One-With or Without a Grand Jury Indictment Boulder's Prosecutor Will Still Shine.'' The article is written around comments received from Senator Perlmutter and district attorney Bill Ritter. It reads:

"If Hunter does take the matter to the grand jury and that panel manages to wrestle the evidence it needs to hand down an actual indictment, Hunter will appear the hero for going that route.

But if they fail to do so, Hunter could still come out smelling like a rose with the help of a little-known state law that went into effect last fall: That grand jury reports may be released to the public if no indictment results from its probe.

That way, a prosecutor facing pressure to file charges can say, "See even the grand jury couldn't find anything,'' said Sen Ed Perlmuner, D-Golden, who co- sponsored the law in the 1997 Colorado Legislature.

The law, which only applies to Class 1, 2, and 3 felony cases, was intended to help ease the public's mind in certain investigations where a prosecutor fails to file charges, despite pressure from the police to do so as in the JonBenet case, he said.'' (italics added).

In the article Sen. Perlmutter indicated that he sponsored the bill because he "didn'twant the grand juries to be abused, especially in high-profile cases as this one (the Ramsey case).''

For his part, Mr. Ritter said:

"I don't think Alex Hunter would go to the grand jury for political cover, that's just not how Alex Hunter operates,'' said Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter.

"The reason you go to a grand jury is because, as DA you do not have the ability in the state of Colorado to compel testimony or compel the production of documents.''

But then the article speculates:

"But no matter what the grand jury decides, its probe could help vindicate the impugned reputations of many members of the Boulder police and district attorneys office.''

The article was misleading in that it stated that the new grand jury statute designed by Mr. Ritter and Senator Perlmutter to protect and exonerate people and "vindicate'' the reputations of public servants was "effective'' and therefore available for use by a Boulder grand jury on October 1, 1997. It also inaccurately described what allegations the statute deemed of public interest.

* * *

For the purpose of assisting them in the Ramsey investigation, the Boulder Police Department in July 1997 accepted the pro bono legal services of Daniel S. Hoffman with the firm of McKenna & Cuneo, Robert N. Miller with the firm of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Green, and MacRae, and Richard N. Baer with the firm of Sherman & Howard. All are prominent Denver attorneys. Responding to our public information request, the Boulder city attorney's office supplied us with copies of the final agreement between the city and these attorneys dated July 30, 1997 and an earlier draft of that agreement dated July 28, 1997. In the draft, these attorneys jointly made the following disclosures to the city: "As we indicated to you, our respective firms have or had certain relationships that we feel obligated to disclose to you. Specifically:

1. Sherman & Howard L.L.C. ("S. & H.") represents Lockheed Martin in various matters. Lockheed Martin currently owns Access Graphics, the company that employs the father of the deceased. In addition, in 1994, S. & H. represented Access Graphics in a lawsuit brought by a terminated employee...

2. Mr. Hoffman is outside counsel for Lockheed Martin in a number of litigations, one of which is currently pending. It is reasonable to assume that during our representation of you, Mr. Hoffman may be retained by Lockheed Martin. Additionally, Mr. Haddon represents Mr. Hoffman personally, in a case against Mr. Hoffman, his former law firm, and a number of Mr. Hoffman's former partners at the firm.

3. Robert Miller is currently co-counsel with Mr. Haddon on a litigation in which they obtained a significant verdict for their client and which will proceed on appeal.''

John Ramsey was the president and chief executive officer of Access Graphics, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation. In the fall of 1997 Access Graphics was sold by Lockheed Martin to GE Capital in a complicated transaction reported in the news media to be valued at $2.8 billion. The value attributed to Access Graphics was likely in excess of $200 million. Prior to the sale, John Ramsey left Access Graphics under adverse circumstances after attempting to purchase Access Graphics from Lockheed Martin. Mr. Hoffman was identified in the April 18, 1997 issue of Colorado Journal to be the "lead attorney'' for Lockheed Martin in an age discrimination case which days before had resulted in a $7.6 million settlement. The "Mr. Haddon'' referred to in the disclosures is Harold Haddon, the criminal defense attorney currently representing John Ramsey. The final agreement that was executed by the city and these three attorneys did not contain these disclosures. According to Mr. Baer, they were deleted at the request of the city attorney. The city attorney has recently indicated to us that he has no knowledge of the role these attorneys have played in the investigation.

On March 10, 1998, the Boulder Daily Camera reported that "DA hints Ramsey case headed for grand jury.'' Two days later, the Boulder police made their request for a grand jury on the advice of these attorneys and transferred the case to the district attorney.

On April 22, 1998, the Boulder grand jury was convened.

* * *

It is certain that Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter; the metro area district attorneys advising Mr. Hunter; the current leadership of the Boulder Police Department, the three attorneys advising the Boulder Police Department, and Ramsey defense attorneys have known since HB97-1009 was signed by Governor Romer on April 8, 1997, that to take advantage of the new statute, it would be necessary to delay a grand jury investigation of the Ramsey case until April, 1998. In retrospect, it is clear that the case was delayed for that purpose. It is hard to imagine that Governor Romer and members of the office of the Attorney General and the Colorado Judiciary Department have not also long known this.

* * *

The Boulder County District Attorney and members of his office have delayed the investigation of the death of JonBenet Ramsey in order to take advantage of a statute which will, if an indictment is not returned, enable him to persuade a grand jury to issue a report telling the public that the case was delayed and that an indictment was not returned as a result of police misconduct and the noncooperation of witnesses. It will also enable him to publicly exonerate anyone alleged to have murdered JonBenet Ramsey. If he wishes such a report to be made, and of course he does since it would contain precisely what he has been saying throughout the investigation, he must first cause the grand jury not to return an indictment.

This, then, is how politics will have been allowed, finally, to trump justice.

* * *

Delaying the case in this manner simply to serve the selfish interests of a relatively small number of public servants and wealthy and powerful people has destroyed the case's infrastructure which consists of the confidence and trust of witnesses and the public in the criminal justice system and the hard work done in good faith by police detectives. That he has allowed this destruction is compelling evidence that Alex Hunter and those advising him have no intention of seeking an indictment from a grand jury. By their actions, these people have demonstrated cynical and callous disregard for the people of Colorado, the criminal justice system, and the well being and safety of the Boulder community and its citizens.

What distinguishes the investigation of JonBenet's death from all others, and what has so seriously handicapped the investigation, is the extraordinary number of people that it has affected and influenced. The people of Colorado wish to see justice for JonBenet. They must not accept the "conclusion'' to the case now being offered by the Boulder County District Attorney and Governor Romer. We will not.

After further assessing public opinion and reviewing the contents of this letter and that of Mr. Thomas, we hope it will occur to Governor Romer that evidence in this case must be reviewed by those who have no interest in seeking anything other than justice for JonBenet. Any further involvement of the Boulder County District Attorney, his prosecutors, or anyone else responsible for the delay of the case is totally unacceptable. The people of Colorado must demand that Governor Romer resist the advice of interested parties, including the district attorneys advising Alex Hunter, and immediately order the Attorney General to take over the investigation and any future prosecution. He must then

excuse himself from any further involvement. He is simply too close to people whose lives and careers may hinge on what becomes of the case.

Taking this action will be difficult for both Governor Romer and Attorney General Gale Norton who are serving the last months of their terms and are term limited from seeking re-election. They must nevertheless set politics and personal considerations aside and conscientiously deal with this problem now. It is unacceptable for them to further erode public confidence by passing that responsibility to their successors.

The people of Colorado are entitled to be frustrated and angry with those public officials and other persons who have brought this case to its current status. We must be mindful, however, of the first cause of the investigation's failure - the refusal of John and Patsy Ramsey to cooperate fully and genuinely with those officially charged with the responsibility of investigating the death of their daughter, JonBenet.

- Fleet Russell White, Jr. and Priscilla Brown White August 17, 1998
Boulder, CO
Reply
#4
Fleet Russell White, Jr. & Priscilla Brown White

April 6, 1998

John Buechner
President's Office
University of Colorado
Campus Box 35
Boulder, CO 80309

Dear Mr. Buechner:

My wife, Priscilla, and I were friends and neighbors of John and Patsy Ramsey. Our son and daughter were close friends of the Ramsey children. Our families celebrated Christmas dinner together on December 25, 1996. At 6:00 AM the next morning, Patsy called us to help them. JonBenet had been kidnapped. I was with John when the body of JonBenet was found in the basement of their home. Early last year the Boulder Police Department informed us that the wife of the family that the Ramseys were living with had contacted Tom Koby. She informed him that we should be considered prime suspects in the murder. Over the last fifteen months we have been involved in the police investigation as key witnesses and have, of necessity, been close observers of not only the investigation but also the news media attention to the case. Recently it has come to our attention that a University of Colorado professor named Michael Tracey is working on a television program concerning the investigation. Enclosed is copy of a column appearing in the March 29 issue of the Denver Post concerning Mr. Tracey.

On April 2 we received a call from Mr. Tracey soliciting our cooperation and an interview for his "documentary of the media coverage of the JonBenet Ramsey case" During our telephone conversation, Mr. Tracey related that he hoped to interview a wide range of people involved in the case. He indicated that as of that date he had only interviewed John and Patsy Ramsey, members of their family, and John Ramseys attorney and business partner, Mike Bynum. We declined his request as we have done uniformly to all such requests.

The most recent development in the JonBenet Ramsey case is the referral of the case by the Boulder Police Department to the Boulder County District Attorney along with a request that the District Attorney present the case to a grand Jury. There is speculation that the grand jury may begin hearing evidence in early May. It is our strong suspicion that the "documentary" to be produced by Mr. Tracey is actually the product of a collaboration with Ramsey defense strategists who intend to illustrate how the news media has unjustly treated the Ramseys and worked to deprive them of a presumption of innocence. Clearly and best vehicle for establishing the credibility of the program and the message it conveys would be to use an "objective" faculty member of the University of Colorado.

It is our strong recommendation that the University of Colorado give serious consideration of the consequences that this program may have. First, the program, it it airs, will likely receive international media attention inviting widespread criticism of the University for its role in its production and its perceived endorsement. Second, it will probably be highly critical of the Boulder Police Department, impeaching its credibility and the reputations of its officers. Third, it will criticize the police murder investigation and serve to further undermine the ability of police and prosecutors to do their job. Fourth, it will cause needless injury to our community which can now ill afford any further criticism of its government that is not genuinely constructive.

Lastly, this represents nothing less than the cynical and selfish exploitation of the University and our community. The people behind this program know that the University will be placed at risk without any possibility of an offsetting benefit.

John and Patsy Ramsey have deprived themselves from the presumption of innocence that they now claim has been taken from them. They have refused to cooperate with police. They have moved away from Boulder. Their public statements and appearances have been carefully orchestrated. Now their strategy is to impeach our law enforcement agencies and, in doing so, our community. They will be making desperate attempts to do this. The University of Colorado should have no part of it.

Priscilla and I are available at any time to meet with you or with those that you feel are appropriate. Time is of the essence in this matter.

Sincerely,
Fleet Russell White, Jr.
Reply
#5
A news story:

Victims' kin ask for special prosecutor

By Kristin Dizon
Camera Staff Writer

Several family members who lost victims to horrific crimes in cases they say justice never prevailed made a pilgrimage to the Boulder City Council on Tuesday to ask that the fate of another crime victim be different.

The council listened to a request to remove Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter from the JonBenét Ramsey homicide. Councilmembers said they will start receiving weekly briefings on the case before making any move.

A spokeswoman for Hunter said the office would have no comment on the request. Gov. Roy Romer has refused requests for a special prosecutor, instead asking Denver-area prosecutors to loan staff to Hunter's office for the case.

Tracie Watkins told the council that her husband Jim Donahue was killed 15 years ago by a juvenile and an 18-year-old adult who dragged him to his death, leaving Watkins a widow at the age of 24 with a 6-month-old son. Instead of prosecuting the case, Watkins said Hunter offered the two plea bargains for harassment and other minor charges. which netted the suspects six months in jail, rather than far more serious vehicular homicide charges.

Watkins said she cherishes her privacy, but was prompted to speak because she was moved by the letter of former Boulder police Detective Steve Thomas, whose lengthy resignation letter last month accused the district attorney of interfering with the Ramsey investigation.

Six-year-old JonBenét Ramsey was found strangled and beaten in her family's basement Dec. 26, 1996. Hunter is expected to convene a grand jury this month to continue investigating the case, which has drawn international attention.

Seeking prosecution in the Ramsey case, Watkins urged the appointment of an independent prosecutor to replace Hunter, whom she said offers plea bargains to criminal defendants far too often.

"I think we should do it for her," said Watkins, who received applause from the audience after her remarks. "We need to think of JonBenét."

June Menger also urged the council to send some sort of message that an independent prosecutor should pursue the Ramsey case rather than Hunter. Menger's son, University of Colorado student Sid Wells, was slain in his apartment by a shotgun blast in 1983. That case has recently been reopened, with detectives searching for prime suspect Thayne Alan Smika, Wells' roommate at the time.

"I had begun to feel like no one cares about crime in Boulder County," Menger told the council. "And so far it's like deja vu for me watching the Ramsey case."

The speakers came partially at the urging of Fleet and Priscilla White, friends of the Ramsey family who were present when JonBenét's body was found. Priscilla White said the couple is taking their message directly to the people of Colorado — a message of a cozy relationship between the district attorney's office and wealthy, influential citizens connected to the case who they allege are being shielded from the law.

White said the grass-roots effort includes going to street corners to hand out copies of a recent letter to the City Council asking that Hunter be replaced by an independent prosecutor on the case. The letter states that the people of Boulder should decide whether to endorse the actions so far in the Ramsey case or to request that Romer transfer the case to an independent prosecutor.

"Since none of the papers will print what we have to say, we're taking it directly to the people," she said.

The council had been considering sending a written reply to the Whites' letter informing them that the City Council "does not believe that it has a role in requesting a special prosecutor" and that the council has "no choice at this point but to stay the course until the grand jury has done its job."

Councilman Bob Greenlee disagreed with those statements and said the letter shouldn't be sent.

"It is not going to go away," Greenlee said of the Ramsey case. "It is something that we've ignored dealing with, maybe for good reasons."

Councilman Spense Havlick tried to reassure the public that their concerns have not fallen by the wayside. "We have not taken this lightly since Dec. 26," he said. "Your communication is not being put on the shelf."

September 2, 1998
Reply
#6
"It is not going to go away," Greenlee said of the Ramsey case. "It is something that we've ignored dealing with, maybe for good reasons."




I would love to have an honest explanation of what he meant by that.
Reply
#7
A Greenlee quote from 12/271997 news article

The fact that police, after one year, are still conducting research and interviewing neighbors indicates evidence collected in the beginning wasn't sufficient for an arrest. The case file has now reached about 15,000 pages.
"Unfortunately, it appears as though there were some mistakes made early on in the investigation to which the police chief has at least owned up to," Boulder Mayor Bob Greenlee said. "To the extent that those matters will in some way impact the final outcome is something none of us really know at this point."
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