Quote Originally Posted by fr brown View Post
There was no source for the 5-scale except a common sense shoehorning from the 9-scale.

It's just a method of argument, koldkase. Instead of screaming at the poster that they didn't use a 5-scale (which had been done for years), I assumed that the 5-scale was legitimate and then showed that their conclusions were inconsistent.

Using a 5-scale, Smit's statement that the consensus was that Patsy scored a 4.5 is inconsistent with his other statement that the consensus was that she scored "inconclusive and below." On a 5-scale, 4.5 would be "highly probable did not write."

On the 9-scale, however, 4.5 comports with "inconclusive and below."

Recently I became aware of references from two apparently independent forensic sources to a 5 point handwriting scale. One was from a forensics blog and contained a mere mention of that scale co-existing with the 9 point scale. The other was from a laboratory class in forensics at the University of Keele and contained this description of the scale:

Five point scale for handwriting analysis

1. Conclusive evidence that both are written by the same person

2. Supporting (strong) evidence that they are by the same hand but the possibility of different individuals cannot be ruled out

3. Inconclusive because of equivalent similarities and differences or lack of evidence to work on

4. Supporting evidence that different individuals wrote both the specimen and the questioned writing but the possibility of both being by the same hand cannot be ruled out

5. Conclusive evidence that different individuals were responsible for the specimen and questioned documents

From Lou Smit's deposition we have this verbal description of the handwriting experts' results. Smit's quoting them so I'm going to assume he's accurate:

SMIT: "Chet Ubowski, his results -- and this is a very brief rendition of his results. There were indications that Patsy Ramsey wrote the note. 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.

Leonard Speckin, he is a police expert, private forensic document analyst. 'Lack of indications. I can find no evidence that Patsy Ramsey disguised her handwriting exemplars. When I compared the handprinting habits of Patsy Ramsey with those presented in the questioned ransom note, there exists agreement to the extent that some of her individual letter formations and letter combinations do appear in the ransom note. When this agreement is weighed against the number, type, and consistencies of the differences present, I am unable to identify Patsy Ramsey as the author of the questioned ransom note with any degree of certainty. I am, however, unable to eliminate her as the author.'

Edwin Alford, Jr. 'Lack of indications. Examination of the questioned handwriting and comparison of the handwriting specimens submitted has failed to provide a basis for identifying Patsy Ramsey as the writer of the letter.'

Lloyd Cunningham, Ramsey expert, he is the one that certified Chet Ubowski. 'Lack of indications,' that he cannot identify or eliminate Patsy Ramsey as the author of the ransom note. And he has spent 20 hours examining the samples and documents and has found that there were no significant individual characteristics but much significant difference between Patsy's writing and the note.

Richard Dusick, he is the analyst for the United States Secret Service. These are the results of his specific report. 'Lack of indications. A study and comparison of the questioned and specimen writings submitted has resulted in the conclusion that there is no evidence to indicate that Patsy Ramsey executed any of the questioned material appearing on the ransom note.'

Howard Ryle [sic], the former CBI examiner,'probably not.' His opinion in this case is between 'probably not' and 'elimination,' elimination as Patsy Ramsey as the author of the ransom note. He believes that the writer could be identified if historical writings were found.

The results, the general consensus is inconclusive and below that Patsy wrote the note."

Using the description given above, I rate the experts' opinions numerically using the 5 point scale like so:


The majority are "no conclusion," i.e., "inconclusive" as Smit himself says. Maintaining that the experts' opinions could be "collectively described" as 4.5 is simply perverse. When Hunter was asked about "4.5," he said that he remembered it more as being "4," presumably because the 3s can be bumped to 4s. But Speckin is a solid 3 while Alford and Dusick can only, in my opinion, be stretched to 3.5.