The Handwriting Scale

Since: Mar 08

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#203 Sep 1, 2016
Sheriff Wydell wrote:
That's just straight-up common sense, Fr. Brown. But I'll go just a bit further: we don't know how many hours the expert you mention spent in examination or how much material (exemplars and the like) he worked with.

Well, whether or not the psalm in question has anything to do with it, the rest of what you say is spot-on. Like I say, the odds that someone else would have all of these characteristics in common with her defies belief.
Yeah, "inconclusive" implies that the examiner might be able to come to a conclusion with more information. Steve Thomas said that Patsy had more handwriting styles than a class of fifth graders. I don't know how that would affect an analysis.
Sheriff Wydell

Rutland, VT

#204 Sep 1, 2016
Fr_Brown wrote:
<quoted text>

Yeah, "inconclusive" implies that the examiner might be able to come to a conclusion with more information. Steve Thomas said that Patsy had more handwriting styles than a class of fifth graders. I don't know how that would affect an analysis.
Possibly quite a bit, Fr. Brown. Add to that: this note was written with a felt-tip pen, which is not ideal for comparison. This pen had likely flattened out due to usage and would distort the writing even more. And I'm pretty certain Patsy was not given the same pen to write her exemplars, so that's another strike. Plus, it was block-printed, which is harder to analyze. Much as they hate to admit it, disguised writing is a problem for every analyst, to varying degrees. BrittenyAnne's earlier post was very instructive for those who want to know.

Since: Mar 08

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#205 Mar 13, 2017
Below is Smit testifying about Chet Ubowki's official opinion regarding Patsy being the author of the ransom note.

"A [Smit]. Yes. I am referring to the slide. 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....

And here is Smit characterizing the handwriting experts' opinions a group. "Inconclusive" is right in the middle of the handwriing scale:

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

KCinNYC

New York, NY

#206 Mar 13, 2017
Don't forget about the variable that the ransom writer was most likely wearing gloves. Who would be stupid enough to write it with their bare hands.? Depending on what type of gloves used to distort, like thick winter gloves, oven mittens, gloves used to dye hair with, etc, play into the distortion of the capital letters, small leters,numbers.

Since: Mar 08

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#207 Mar 13, 2017
I want to make another point about the impossibility of Lou Smit's and jameson's assertion that the 6 handwriting experts scored Patsy "4.5 out of 5" ("5" being elimination.) I don't care that Smit said it in a deposition; I don't care if Hunter said it. I'm just going to use a little arithmetic here.

Assume that the five scale looks like this:

1 identification
2 indications did write
3 inconclusive
4 indications didn't write
5 elimination

From Ubowski's report, quoted by Lou Smit in my earlier post, we know that Ubowski thought there were indications that Patsy wrote the note. That would put Ubowski's opinion north of "inconclusive." Let's be conservative and say that he rated Patsy 2.5.

Let's also assume (erroneously) that the other five experts put Patsy at a 4.5 and figure out the average for all six. Is it going to be 4.5?(The mathletes out there already know that the answer is "no.")

5 x 4.5 = 22.5
22.5 +2.5 = 25
25 divided by 6 = 4.17

The average isn't 4.5 even when we assume that five experts put Patsy very close to elimination.(I would say that only one of them would actually rate Patsy a 4.5. And Ubowski's opinion is probably closer to a 2 than 2.5.) Even putting all the weight on the side of getting to 4.5, we can't get there. Therefore Lou Smit's statement must be false in some part: Either the experts taken collectively didn't rate Patsy 4.5 or it wasn't out of 5.(The possibility also exists that Smit was wrong about both parts.)
KCinNYC

New York, NY

#208 Mar 13, 2017
Fr_Brown wrote:
I want to make another point about the impossibility of Lou Smit's and jameson's assertion that the 6 handwriting experts scored Patsy "4.5 out of 5" ("5" being elimination.) I don't care that Smit said it in a deposition; I don't care if Hunter said it. I'm just going to use a little arithmetic here.

Assume that the five scale looks like this:

1 identification
2 indications did write
3 inconclusive
4 indications didn't write
5 elimination

From Ubowski's report, quoted by Lou Smit in my earlier post, we know that Ubowski thought there were indications that Patsy wrote the note. That would put Ubowski's opinion north of "inconclusive." Let's be conservative and say that he rated Patsy 2.5.

Let's also assume (erroneously) that the other five experts put Patsy at a 4.5 and figure out the average for all six. Is it going to be 4.5?(The mathletes out there already know that the answer is "no.")

5 x 4.5 = 22.5
22.5 +2.5 = 25
25 divided by 6 = 4.17

The average isn't 4.5 even when we assume that five experts put Patsy very close to elimination.(I would say that only one of them would actually rate Patsy a 4.5. And Ubowski's opinion is probably closer to a 2 than 2.5.) Even putting all the weight on the side of getting to 4.5, we can't get there. Therefore Lou Smit's statement must be false in some part: Either the experts taken collectively didn't rate Patsy 4.5 or it wasn't out of 5.(The possibility also exists that Smit was wrong about both parts.)
Unless they chose The number on a " sliding scale/curve".
If over 4: make it 4.5
If under 4 but over 3.0: make it 3.5
KCinNYC

New York, NY

#209 Mar 13, 2017
And if under 5.0 but over 4.0= make it 4.5

Since: Mar 08

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#210 Mar 14, 2017
fr brown wrote:
I think I found Hunter's scale of five comment. It's not exactly the firm endorsement that such a scale was used in any of the analyses:

"VAN SUSTEREN: Let me turn to the other, what I find particularly significant piece of evidence: the ransom note. In the Ramsey book, Patsy and John Ramsey write that John has been excluded from being the author of the note. And that Patty [sic], on a one to five scale, five meaning excluded, hit 4.5. Do you endorse those two findings? Is that...

HUNTER: Well, I think that's close, but I think that this is a mumbo jumbo area, and we saw Judge Matsch in the McVeigh case, you know, not allow this handwriting stuff in. And I think it is stuff.

Frankly, if we ever have a trial here, and ransom note were to become a key piece of evidence against anybody, I would want the jury to be able to look at that, and hopefully be able to look at historical writings, and make sort of their own judgments.

I think these handwriting guys, you know, they have tried to build reliability in order to meet Fry and/or Dolbert, and in doing what, they have created such standards that -- Well that's why Matsch, I think, looking at his ruling, wouldn't allow that. He let the jury look at the note, or the writings, and make their own judgments.

So I think an awful lot is made of that, when in fact I'm not sure we are ever going to be able to get before a jury what these various handwriting people say about where they fit on a scale."
I had forgotten about this quote that I posted years ago. Smit in his deposition cites Hunter as being the source of the "4.5 on a scale of 5" business, but the quote above suggests that it was the Ramseys.

And now it's only "hit 4.5," implying that perhaps only one handwriting examiner put her close to exclusion.(I'm going along with a five-scale for the moment.) Smit changes that to "general consensus."

Since: Mar 08

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#211 Mar 14, 2017
Smit in his deposition about the handwriting examiners' opinions:

"Generally inconclusive and below. Inconclusive and below. I have heard and was told by Alex Hunter that, if Patsy Ramsey wrote the note, the score was five that she wrote it, or that -- on a scale. That she did not write it.

Q. Five being that she did not write the note?

A. Five being that she did not write the note. She would score a 4.5. Low on the scale."

But Hunter when he's talking to Van Susteren is just casually agreeing with her.(Look at my previous post.) It's not clear that he's thinking much about what she's saying.

Since: Mar 08

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#212 Mar 14, 2017
I can't find my copy of "Death of Innocence" at the moment, but I can look at a snippet courtesy of google books. It's from pg. 147 of the hardcover (I think).

"And Patsy came out with a low similarity score, indicating little likelihood of having written it. On a scale of one to five (with one being a definite match and five being a virtual impossibility), the experts assessed the possibilities of my being the author at 5 and Patsy writing the note at 4.5...."

I don't see anything about Alex Hunter on that page. It looks like "4.5 out of 5" comes from the Ramseys.

Since: Mar 08

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#213 Mar 14, 2017
So the "4.5 out of 5" meme goes from John Ramsey to Greta Van Susteren to Alex Hunter to Lou Smit.

Since: Mar 08

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#214 Mar 14, 2017
Fr_Brown wrote:
So the "4.5 out of 5" meme goes from John Ramsey to Greta Van Susteren to Alex Hunter to Lou Smit.
And from Lou Smit to Carnes to the lawsuit against CBS.

Since: Mar 08

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#215 Mar 14, 2017
From Hunter's deposition in the Wolf case:

"Wood: Chief Beckner confirmed yesterday that the investigation had retained the services of Chet Ubowski, obviously through CBI, Leonard Speckin, Edwin Alford and Richard Dusak to at various times perform handwriting analysis on the ransom note in comparing it and analyzing other individuals' writings. You were familiar with those four individuals?

Hunter: Yes.

Wood: Are you familiar with their results as they pertain to Patsy Ramsey?

Hunter: Yes.

Wood: Those four individuals are well respected, are they not?

Hunter: Yes.

Wood: You also know Howard Ryle and Lloyd Cunningham?

Hunter: Yes.

Wood: Within the community Howard Ryle and Lloyd Cunningham are highly regarded and well respected, aren't they?

Hunter: Yes.

Wood: You were given the benefit of Howard Ryle and Lloyd Cunningham's opinions in this matter in a presentation that was done for the investigation through the Ramsey attorneys, correct?

Hunter: Yes.

Wood: I'm correct that there was not of the six individuals any examiner that identified Patsy Ramsey as the author of the note; am I right?

Hunter: That's right.

Wood: These were not people who came there to identify her or not identify. These six individuals, understanding two of them were employed by the defense, I think you fairly agreed were trying to be professional, thorough, and objective and reach the right result under their standards of handwriting analysis; am I right?

Hunter: Yes.

Wood: The sum total of the investigators and the individuals I've been over that with were hired by the Boulder Police Department along with Mr. Ubowski. With respect to Patsy Ramsey, you have -- it's been described at one point again on a scale that we don't necessarily, I don't know if it's an agreed-upon scale, but for purposes of trying to discuss the reports, there was a description of a one-to-five scale with five being elimination. And you have publicly acknowledged [on Greta Van Susteren's show?] that the sum total of the handwriting analysis done by the investigation on Patsy Ramsey that you would agree that she was somewhere about a 4.5; is that right, on that scale?

Hunter: That's roughly right.

Wood: Not eliminated but very close to it, am I right?

Hunter: Yeah, I can't remember, you know, I would be more comfortable saying four on that scale. I can't remember the 4.5.

Wood: And I think when you were asked about it [on Van Susteren's show], you said that that was close, the bottom line being that they placed the chances of her writing the note as I believe you described it as very low --

Hunter: Right."

So there was some presentation in which a five scale was used for purposes of discussion. Hunter is clearly not the guy who should be testifying about this because he obviously doesn't remember it very well. And Ubowski would not have placed Patsy close to elimination.

Since: Mar 08

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#216 Mar 14, 2017
Was this presentation arranged by the Ramseys, the only personal appearances being by Ramsey experts Howard Rile and Lloyd Cunningham? Seems like it :

"Q. Were you aware of the fact that the former Ramsey attorneys voluntarily submitted Lloyd Cunningham and Howard Ryle to a lengthy session with Boulder authorities, including members of the police department and the District Attorney's office, to fully explain and discuss with the authorities their findings concerning Patsy Ramsey's handwriting analysis?

A [Smit]. Yes. I was at that meeting.

Q. And were there any holds barred, or was it absolutely a situation where Mr. Cunningham and Mr. Ryle were there to answer any question posed to them?

A. They answered any question posed to them.

Q. Now, Lloyd Cunningham, you indicated, actually certified Chet Ubowski, the examiner who looked at the handwriting for -- employed by the CBI, Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

A. That is correct.

Q. And Howard Ryle was, in fact, a former Colorado Bureau of Investigation examiner?

A. Yes.

Q. Were you familiar with these individual examiner's reputations among law enforcement authorities in Colorado?

A. Only Howard Ryle. I didn't know Mr. Cunningham.

Q. What was Mr. Ryle's reputation, as you understood it to be?

A. Extremely credible. I used him in cases of my own.

Q. Mr. Ubowski, did you become familiar with his conclusion?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you become familiar with the conclusion of Leonard Speckin?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you become familiar with the conclusion of Edwin Alford?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you become familiar with the conclusion of the United States Secret Service examiner Richard Dusick?

A. Yes.

Q. And, obviously, since you were at the meeting, you were familiar with the conclusions drawn by Lloyd Cunningham and Howard Ryle?

A. Yes"

Since: Mar 08

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#217 Mar 14, 2017
I'm going to put this here so I don't have to keep going back to page 6 of this thread. This is Lou Smit reading from Chet Ubowski's report:

"Smit: Yes. I am referring to the slide. 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."

Chet Ubowski didn't put Patsy close to elimination so he wouldn't have put her even at 4 on a five scale.

I think when Hunter is talking to Wood about the presentation, he's only talking about the Ramsey experts, Rile and Cunningham.

Since: Mar 08

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#218 Mar 14, 2017
Here are Cunningham's conclusions as presented by Smit:

"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."

Here are Rile's conclusions as presented by Smit:

"Howard Ryle, 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."

I can believe that these guys, on a five scale, rated Patsy as 4 and 4.5, respectively.

Since: Mar 08

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#219 Mar 14, 2017
Is it odd that for the purposes of the meeting between LE and the Ramsey handwriting experts, the experts used a "not agreed upon" scale of five to discuss their reports? Because Hunter and LE couldn't count to nine?

Anyway, I agree with Hunter that a jury should look at handwriting comparisons as and judge for themselves.

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#220 Mar 14, 2017
Make that "look at handwriting comparisons and judge for themselves."

Since: Mar 08

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#221 Mar 14, 2017
Cina Wong says she was called by one of the networks recently and asked about Patsy claiming that she scored 4.5 out of 5. Wong said that such a scale wasn't in use. This is important because she has the reports of both Ramsey handwriting experts (Cunningham and Rile) and if either of them had used a five scale in his report, she would know.

So it was for this Ramsey-lawyer arranged meeting with the DA, that they decided
to use a scale of five, it appears. I'm guessing they were the only two handwriting experts in attendance, but it would be nice to verify that.

Wong says that Cunningham created a "master pattern" of ransom note handwriting characteristics which when matched would identify the ransom note writer. Wong said she matched all of them to Patsy Ramsey's handwriting.

Since: Mar 08

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#222 Mar 14, 2017
I looked in Paula Woodward's book to get more information about this meeting. She says that in May 1997 the two Ramsey experts, Rile and Cunningham, gave a presentation to the DA and the police department and explained why Patsy didn't author the note.

This is the meeting where the experts used a not necessarily "agreed upon" 5 scale for the purposes of discussing their reports. So when the Ramseys say that Patsy scored 4.5 out of 5, they're talking about the opinions of their own two experts, it looks like. I don't know if they discussed the opinions of the other experts at this meeting, but one can imagine the confusion if they are discussing their own reports using a scale of 5 and the other experts' using a scale of 9.

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