A lot of people have asked me many questions about the JonBenet Ramsey case perhaps because I’m the only person to have been tried and acquitted in the political circus in the aftermath of the bungled investigation.
Who did it? How did it happen? Will there ever be justice? Good questions with answers more obvious than most will admit. After all, JonBenet sold more newspapers then did the O.J. Simpson case without a trial.
As to who did it, Patsy Ramsey wrote the ransom note. Fanatical defenders of the Ramseys deny the importance of the practice note, tablet, and pen found at the home. The press, seekers of advertising sales in support of manufactured “truth,” engineered an industry of denial. But, as John Adams once said, facts are stubborn things. Patsy wrote the ransom note. She may not have struck the child with a flashlight, twisted a garrote an inch deep into the child’s neck, and then sexually assaulted the corpse, but her handwriting on the note establishes her involvement in the staging of the crime and the impractical subterfuge of a kidnapping.
How did it happen? Someone inside the home lost their temper and did something crazy. Crazy is hard to imagine for a sane person, but rage helps to clarify it. Recently, CBS television came to the conclusion that Burke did it because of jealousy or overwhelming anger for some childish action by his sister. That appears more likely than John or Patsy administering a death blow. But, then there’s the note, the sick strangulation and staged sexual assault stretches far beyond a nine year old’s ability or imagination. The parents’ faithfulness to each other and the fantastic story of an intruder places the culpability at their doorstep.
Will there ever be justice? No.
Here’s the ugly truth. A botched police investigation didn’t matter. The grand jury, which Boulder D.A. Alex Hunter hoped to keep silent, voted to indict John and Patsy Ramsey for child abuse resulting in death. Those two candidates for prison didn’t have public defenders or low budget lawyers. The law firm of Haddon, Morgan & Foreman had the political connections, experience with grand jury fixes, and especially the money, to free their clients. No law firm anywhere ever did a more masterful job defending the wealthy or the guilty.
So, the “mystery” continues. As Alex Hunter said, the decision to prosecute, or not, was one of politics. His replacement D.A., Mary Lacy, continued the charade by declaring the Ramseys’ innocent without a trial and despite her knowledge of the grand jury vote. Politics have been compared to blood sport, and never bloodier than the murder of Jon Benet Ramsey. Justice is an ideal. Politics are as real as mankind’s flawed nature
Once charges are filed, the prosecuting attorney relies on police reports. Those reports should contain the “facts” of the case. Too often the work busy cops perform doesn’t report the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Cops don’t wake in the morning to put innocent persons in prison. They do go to work to find the likely suspects. Too often the defending lawyer doesn’t have the knowhow or experience to find the real culprit.
Law schools do not offer extensive courses in criminal or civil investigations. They do not receive training in locating witnesses or interviewing techniques to dig up the information that makes a reasonable person hesitate, then find you not guilty. As white collar professionals, lawyers sit removed from the nitty gritty facts that separate the accused from the innocent. They work in offices, not the streets.
Your lawyer will receive a copy of the police reports. Will your lawyer believe what’s written, try to twist a non-truth into a weak excuse, or investigate your facts, your truth, to show the evidence of your innocence?
It’s the private eyes working with skilled defense lawyers who lead prosecutors to question their case or cause the jury to proclaim you not guilty. Don’t take a chance with your life. If charged with a crime and the police report didn’t find the whole truth, make absolutely certain your lawyer has the experience, knowledge, and guts to challenge the police reports and bring your truth to the courtroom.
You and your spouse get into an argument. Neighbors hear “angry” voices. Someone calls 911. The cops arrive. You’re charged with domestic violence. Your hunting rifle, shotgun, and handgun join the “assault” rifle as taboo for family or personal self-defense.
On June 27, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States extended firearm confiscations from citizens convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence under 18 USC 922(g)(9) to include reckless conduct. Twenty years ago, a felony conviction resulted in the denial of second amendment rights. Intentional and knowing misdemeanor conduct in domestic violence cases had earlier provided grounds for confiscation. Adding “reckless” misdemeanor conduct mirrors the direction of the national second amendment debate.
In Colorado, confiscation of firearms and denial of firearm rights in matters of domestic violence began in July, 1985 with the enactment of C.R.S. 18-1-1001. That law established a mandatory protection order for any defendant from the time of the advisement of the charges until the final disposition of the action.
Protection orders in a domestic violence cases include other prohibitions. The spouse may be, and often is, ordered from the home. Alcohol or any other “controlled substances” is forbidden. Not only firearms, but ammunition owned by the defendant must be surrendered within 24 hours to a firearms dealer or a police agency for storage. The property can also be sold through a licensed gun dealer.
Of course, the defendant may request a hearing to modify the protection order. But, when it comes to guns, prosecutors and judges take few risks. Violation of the mandatory protection order is addressed under C.R.S. 18-6-801. While the violation begins as a class 2 misdemeanor, a third conviction metastases into a class 5 felony.
Few persons would doubt the importance of protecting victims of domestic violence. In fact, congress enacted its second amendment prohibitions for misdemeanor domestic violence in 1996 under the Clinton administration. Colorado then included the federal restrictions of 18 U.S.C. sec. 922(g)(8) to its own protection order prohibitions in 2013.
The hard fact for persons facing domestic violence charges is that a misdemeanor conviction is nearly as serious as a felony, and repeated violations of protection orders rise to the felony level. Although a citizen faces loss of rights from the moment of advisement, the long term loss of rights can only be prevented through a vigorous criminal defense that results in a dismissal of the domestic violence element of the charges or an acquittal. That’s the high price of freedom in a society that has evolved from self-reliance and self-defense to one of governmental control.
U.S. Supreme Court Guts 4th Amendment
The United States Supreme Court carved more flesh from every citizens’ right against unreasonable search and seizures, June 20, 2016. And, it’s a huge piece of flesh.
Before the high Court’s new decision, mere suspicion of criminal activity would not sustain a police officer’s illegal stop and arrest of a suspect. After all, taxpayers pay cops to enforce the law. With this brand new decision (Utah v. Steill, slip opinion 14-1373, June 20, 2016) any cop’s mere suspicion is good enough if anyone has an active warrant issued for their arrest regardless of the severity of the underlying offense. Yes, a parking ticket, an unpaid fine, a missed court appearance and the resulting failure to appear, provides an ALL CLEAR siren to arrest on mere suspicion.
In 2010, Edward Strieff exited a house where police suspected illegal drug sales were occuring. Exiting a house is no crime. It raises no justifiable excuse for illegally stopping, questioning, searching and arresting any citizen. Salt Lake City police officer, Douglas Fackrell, admitted that he stopped Mr. Streiff on the basis of his suspicions. Mr. Streiff, like millions of other Americans had an outstanding traffic warrant. So, the Supreme Court concluded that because of any warrant for any citizen, a police officer’s suspicion now ratchets up to grounds for search, seizure and arrest. That means, according to dissenting Justice Sonya Sotomayor:
Do not be soothed by the opinion’s technical language: This case allows the police to stop you on the street, demand your identification, and check it for outstanding traffic warrants—even if you are doing nothing wrong. If the officer discovers a warrant for a fine you forgot to pay, courts will now excuse his illegal stop and will admit into evidence anything he happens to find by searching you after arresting you on the warrant.
So, what’s there to worry about? Way back in 1961 the Supreme Court adhered to the concept that two wrongs don’t make a right. It once stated, “When ‘lawless police conduct’ uncovers evidence of lawless civilian conduct, this Court has long required later criminal trials to exclude the illegally obtained evidence.
Now, for instance, in Ferguson, Missouri, where 16,000 out of 21,000 mostly black citizens have outstanding warrants, over 75% of the citizenry just lost their constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Black lives may matter, but black rights don’t much anymore. Police manuals recommend a check for outstanding warrants on any stop. Radioing for warrants is standard operating procedure in jurisdictions nationwide.
For Americans expressing faith and joy in our free society, make sure to check every courthouse in every jurisdiction you’ve ever lived. Give onto Caesar what is Caesar’s due and pay those forgotten parking tickets. Otherwise you have no right against the State’s power to stop, search, and arrest you on mere suspicion.