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  1. #85

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    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."

    QED
    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:

    Ubowski--2
    Speckin--3
    Alford--3
    Cunningham--4
    Dusick--3
    Ryle--4.5

    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.

  2. #86

    Default Aha, I think

    I think I know where "Patsy scored 4.5 out of 5 with 5 being elimination" comes from. In Hunter's deposition he's asked by Lin Wood about a Ramsey-lawyer arranged meeting between the DA and the Ramsey handwriting experts, Cunningham and Rile/Ryle. Wood says that they used a scale of five for purposes of their discussion, though it wasn't necessarily an "agreed upon" scale. Hunter remembered Patsy coming up a 4.

    I can't tell if there were any other handwriting experts there. (I suspect not.) It would make sense that these two experts would rate Patsy as 4/4.5, judging by excerpts from their reports as divulged by Lou Smit in his deposition.
    Last edited by fr brown; March 14, 2017, 11:26 pm at Tue Mar 14 23:26:19 UTC 2017. Reason: typo

  3. #87

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    Quote Originally Posted by fr brown View Post
    I think I know where "Patsy scored 4.5 out of 5 with 5 being elimination" comes from. In Hunter's deposition he's asked by Lin Wood about a Ramsey-lawyer arranged meeting between the DA and the Ramsey handwriting experts, Cunningham and Rile/Ryle. Wood says that they used a scale of five for purposes of their discussion, though it wasn't necessarily an "agreed upon" scale. Hunter remembered Patsy coming up a 4.

    I can't tell if there were any other handwriting experts there. (I suspect not.) It would make sense that these two experts would rate Patsy as 4/4.5, judging by excerpts from their reports as divulged by Lou Smit in his deposition.
    I looked in Paula Woodward's book to see if I could find out more about this meeting. She says that in May 1997 the Ramsey handwriting experts, Rile and Cunningham, gave a presentation to the DA and the police department to explain why Patsy wasn't the author of the note. This is the meeting in which Lin Wood says a "not agreed upon" 5 scale was used for purposes of discussion instead of the standard 9 scale. I'm not sure why if everybody in the room could count to 9. I don't think the Ramsey experts used a 5 scale in their reports. Cina Wong said that she was asked recently (by ABC, I think) about Patsy's statement that she scored 4.5 out of 5. Wong replied that a 5 scale was not in use. Since Wong has both of the Ramsey experts' reports, I would expect she would know if a 5 scale was used in them.

    When we hear "4.5 out of 5" I think we can assume that only the opinions of the two Ramsey experts are being represented.

  4. #88

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    Quote Originally Posted by fr brown View Post
    I looked in Paula Woodward's book to see if I could find out more about this meeting. She says that in May 1997 the Ramsey handwriting experts, Rile and Cunningham, gave a presentation to the DA and the police department to explain why Patsy wasn't the author of the note. This is the meeting in which Lin Wood says a "not agreed upon" 5 scale was used for purposes of discussion instead of the standard 9 scale. I'm not sure why if everybody in the room could count to 9. I don't think the Ramsey experts used a 5 scale in their reports. Cina Wong said that she was asked recently (by ABC, I think) about Patsy's statement that she scored 4.5 out of 5. Wong replied that a 5 scale was not in use. Since Wong has both of the Ramsey experts' reports, I would expect she would know if a 5 scale was used in them.

    When we hear "4.5 out of 5" I think we can assume that only the opinions of the two Ramsey experts are being represented.
    In Forensics Under Fire the author says that Rile's appearance before Michael Kane and the grand jury was a "nightmare" that left Rile stunned and shaken. He asked for a do-over but was denied. The book is blatantly biased toward the Ramsey side so an anecdote that shows any of them in other than the best light has a good chance of having validity.

    In the past I've thought that Ubowski rated Patsy pretty close to identification. I've come to think, however, that he might have been more conservative than that in his report. His report is quoted by Lou Smit as saying that there are "indications" that Patsy wrote the note. The choice of language is undoubtedly important. "Indications did write" is one of the rungs of the nine scale. If 1 is identification and 9 is elimination, "indications did write" would be 4.

    If Rile and Cunningham came into their presentation talking about 4s and 4.5s on a scale of 5, it might not be clear to their listeners that they were using a different scale, that their 4 was different from the 4s of other experts.
    Last edited by fr brown; March 17, 2017, 1:43 pm at Fri Mar 17 13:43:06 UTC 2017. Reason: typo

  5. #89

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    Maybe we need to factor in when the JonBenet handwriting analyses were taking place. From Scientific Examination of Questioned Documents by Kelly and Lindblom:

    "In 1995, the ASTM E30.02 Questioned Document Subcommittee drafted and passed as standard terminology E1658,'Standard Terminology for Expressing Conclusions of Forensic Document Examiners,' based on that Journal of Forensic Science letter. Included in the original standard is a suggestion that it may also be used in examinations other than handwriting and that there is no requirement of a document examiner to use all of the levels of opinion. It is recognized that some laboratories use five or seven levels, typically omitting the 'indications' or 'probably' terms. "


    So it looks like things might not have completely settled down in the handwriting examiner world in 1997. Eliminating the "should have knowns," the fundamental problem of different scales remains. You can't simply say it's 60 degrees outside if everybody assumes you're talking Fahrenheit (if you mean Celsius). Big difference there.

    By the same token, Ubowski's "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...." and Cunningham's "Lack of Indications....there were no significant individual characteristics...between Patsy's writing and the note" shouldn't both be 4s on the same scale.

  6. #90

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    This isn't about handwriting scales, just Patsy's handwriting....

    On January 4 Patsy provided three exemplars. On February 28 she provided two. In between the two sessions, her lawyer was provided a xerox of the ransom note. It's interesting to look at an example of how her handwriting changed after she had the advantage of scrutinizing the note.

    Ransom note: Police, F.B.I., etc.,

    January 4:
    Patsy 1: police, F.B.I., etc.,
    Patsy 2: police, F.B.I., etc.,
    Patsy 3: Police, FBI, etc.,


    February 28:
    Patsy 4: police, FBI, etcetera
    Patsy 5: police, FBI, etcetera

    (There are other changes between sessions, like banishment of her manuscript a.)


  7. #91

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    Quote Originally Posted by fr brown View Post
    This isn't about handwriting scales, just Patsy's handwriting....

    On January 4 Patsy provided three exemplars. On February 28 she provided two. In between the two sessions, her lawyer was provided a xerox of the ransom note. It's interesting to look at an example of how her handwriting changed after she had the advantage of scrutinizing the note.

    Ransom note: Police, F.B.I., etc.,

    January 4:
    Patsy 1: police, F.B.I., etc.,
    Patsy 2: police, F.B.I., etc.,
    Patsy 3: Police, FBI, etc.,


    February 28:
    Patsy 4: police, FBI, etcetera
    Patsy 5: police, FBI, etcetera

    (There are other changes between sessions, like banishment of her manuscript a.)

    The whole phrase is "Speaking to anyone about your situation, such as Police, F.B.I., etc., will result in your daughter being beheaded." It suddenly occurred to me that that's some complicated punctuation scheme there in the middle of the sentence. Did Det. Arndt tell Patsy the punctuation as she was dictating it? I looked into it a bit and the person dictating isn't supposed to give coaching about spelling or punctuation so I'm betting that Arndt didn't. But Patsy got every period and comma "right" the first two times through.

    And Patsy got the three exclamation points in the note right the first time through. That's not necessarily surprising since they are at the beginning and end of the note, but on subsequent passes she starts replacing them with periods or commas.

    It's interesting to me that Patsy, like the RN writer, leaves out the comma before "John" in "Don't underestimate us John" and "It is up to you now John!" but she throws one in a couple of times in "Don't try to grow a brain John." She obviously knows there's supposed to be a comma in direct address.

    (I'm relying on charts from Forensic Linguistics by Gerald McMenamin. I don't recommend buying it because he was hired by Ramsey and is definitely dancing a tarantella with the guy that brung him--in an often ludicrous way. Also at least a couple of entries in the typewritten charts are incorrect. For instance on February 28 Patsy writes "10 A.m." the first time, but McMenamin's chart doesn't reflect that. He has her writing a manuscript "a" there, but both times on February 28, she writes "A." Where I've been able to check and have found errors, the errors are in Patsy's favor.)

  8. #92

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    The ransom note writer and Patsy share a penchant for occasional random capitalization. I don't know how common this is in the population. I don't do it myself.

    I'm referring to McMenamin's charts and using his line numbering.

    Ransom note page and line numbers after "RN." Patsy's exemplar number after "P." There are 5 exemplars in all: 3 on Jan. 4, 2 on Feb. 28.


    [RN1:11] Letter
    [P1] Letter
    [P2] Letter

    [RN 1:19] bag
    [P1] BAG

    [RN1:26] delivery
    [P1] Delivery
    [P2] Delivery
    [P3] Delivery

    [RN2:6] her
    [P1] Her

    [RN2:9] so
    [P4] So

    [RN2:12] Police
    [P3] Police

    [RN2:13] being
    [P1] Being

    [RN2:13] Law
    [P3] Law

    [RN2:16] bank
    [P2] Bank

  9. #93

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    Quote Originally Posted by fr brown View Post
    This isn't about handwriting scales, just Patsy's handwriting....

    On January 4 Patsy provided three exemplars. On February 28 she provided two. In between the two sessions, her lawyer was provided a xerox of the ransom note. It's interesting to look at an example of how her handwriting changed after she had the advantage of scrutinizing the note.

    Ransom note: Police, F.B.I., etc.,

    January 4:
    Patsy 1: police, F.B.I., etc.,
    Patsy 2: police, F.B.I., etc.,
    Patsy 3: Police, FBI, etc.,


    February 28:
    Patsy 4: police, FBI, etcetera
    Patsy 5: police, FBI, etcetera

    (There are other changes between sessions, like banishment of her manuscript a.)

    I plugged "FBI, F.B.I." into Google Ngram Viewer to see the relative frequency in printed material after 1935 when the FBI became known as such. "FBI" wins by a mile from the beginning. Would personal usage reflect this pattern? I don't know. I would be inclined to write "FBI" and I was born a few years before Patsy.

    The New York Times and Time (I believe) use "F.B.I." but this appears not to be the norm.

    Attached Images Attached Images  

  10. #94

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    Quote Originally Posted by fr brown View Post
    I looked in Paula Woodward's book to see if I could find out more about this meeting. She says that in May 1997 the Ramsey handwriting experts, Rile and Cunningham, gave a presentation to the DA and the police department to explain why Patsy wasn't the author of the note. This is the meeting in which Lin Wood says a "not agreed upon" 5 scale was used for purposes of discussion instead of the standard 9 scale. I'm not sure why if everybody in the room could count to 9. I don't think the Ramsey experts used a 5 scale in their reports. Cina Wong said that she was asked recently (by ABC, I think) about Patsy's statement that she scored 4.5 out of 5. Wong replied that a 5 scale was not in use. Since Wong has both of the Ramsey experts' reports, I would expect she would know if a 5 scale was used in them.

    When we hear "4.5 out of 5" I think we can assume that only the opinions of the two Ramsey experts are being represented.
    I notice that Wood and company persist in claiming in their lawsuits that the six handwriting experts virtually eliminated Patsy as the author of the note. It's simply not true. That's based on Lou Smit's addlepated understanding of what happened when the two Ramsey experts gave their presentation, aided and abetted by the Ramsey lawyer who expertly led Lou by the nose.
    Last edited by fr brown; October 16, 2017, 4:00 am at Mon Oct 16 4:00:28 UTC 2017.



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