From the Denver Rocky Mountain News:
Edward Gelb, a respected California-based polygrapher, said he administered two tests to John Ramsey and three to Patsy Ramsey earlier this month. Both were asked whether they killed JonBenet or knew the killer. Patsy Ramsey also was asked whether she wrote the ransom note found in their home. "What are the chances that two separate individuals would take a series of five polygraph examinations and pass them all — and yet be lying?" Gelb said. "You're going to find it's somewhere between four in 1,000 and one in a trillion."
What are the chances indeed? But first, before considering that momentous question, let's ask another: what are the chances that two suspects in a murder case, who both claim to have been fast asleep all night, both knowing nothing about who attacked their daughter, are given a total of five (count 'em, FIVE) polygraphs? Why the odd number if both were asked the same questions? More on that presently.
Shortly before their exams, on April 28, the Ramseys were interviewed on Burden of Proof and asked the following pointed question:
COSSACK: Patsy, let me ask you a question. When I was a lawyer and before I would let my clients take a lie detector test, I used to made sure that they could pass their lie detector tests. I know you have very excellent lawyers, I know some of your lawyers. Have you privately taken a lie detector test? either of you? or both of you? and have you passed it already?Patsy is asked whether or not they took a private polygraph and invokes lawyer-client privilege. John then changes the subject. Obviously they had already been given polygraph exams. If not they would simply have denied it. And if both had passed, they'd have been eager to report it. Obviously, one or both failed.
J. RAMSEY: You were asked the question, go ahead.
P. RAMSEY: I think that is kind of an inappropriate question, if you're so up on -- i think that's lawyer-client privilege and I don't wish to ruin that but...
J. RAMSEY: Being a lawyer, also recognize that any lawyer would tell their clients: Do not, under any circumstances, take a police polygraph test. They are subjective. We've gotten a number of letters from former polygraphers, we got one the other day from a retired FBI polygrapher, who said I could make the pope look deceptive, if I chose to do so. We got a letter from a state attorney general who said: You are absolutely correct, it must be fair and independent if you are going to do this. Don't give up on the point.
Returning to Gelb's exam, it's important to understand that a prior drug test is an essential part of any polygraph, since certain drugs can mask deceptive responses. However: "The results cannot be skewed by drugs, so no screening was done, Gelb said." Gee, I guess in situations like this, when you buy your own test you can make up your own rules.
The tests are 97-98 percent accurate, said Robert Lee, director of operations for Axciton Systems, which makes the computerized polygraph instrument used by Gelb. The first test asked the following: Did you inflict any of the injuries that caused the death of JonBenet? Regarding JonBenet, did you inflict any of the injuries that caused her death? Were those injuries that resulted in JonBenet's death inflicted by you?
In the second test, Gelb asked: Do you know for sure who killed JonBenet? Regarding JonBenet, do you know for sure who killed her? Are you concealing the identity of the person who killed JonBenet?
Patsy Ramsey was given an additional test about the ransom note: Did you write the ransom note that was found in your house? Regarding the ransom note, did you write it? Is that your handwriting on the ransom note found in your house?So ingrained in the minds of both the public and media is the "fact" that John was "ruled out" as writer of the note, that the reporter simply accepts at face value the decision not to ask John that last question. I'm sorry, but even if we knew for sure John didn't write the note (which of course we don't), it's nevertheless just as important to ask him about it as to ask Patsy. If both were asked whether they were concealing the identity of the person who killed their daughter, then why not ask both if they're concealing the identity of the note writer?
So. Now we know why they were so reluctant to acknowledge that surreptitiously administered polygraph. When asked about the note, whether he'd written it or knew who did, John must have failed. At that point, it would have been best for them not to go public with another. But they had previously been outmaneuvered on national television and literally shamed into agreeing to take one.
Fortunately for them, the test would be totally under the control of the Ramseys and their lawyers, with the hands of the examiner completely tied. Hired by the Ramseys' attorneys, his results would be protected by lawyer-client privilege, so anything that might make either John or Patsy look guilty would have to be suppressed. Reading between the lines of Gelb's report, it's not difficult to see that a compromise was arrived at. Since John had already failed when asked about the ransom note, that question would no longer be on his agenda. And since everyone had swallowed, hook line and sinker, the absurd decision to rule him out, that became the perfect excuse for sparing John Ramsey, the Teflon suspect, from being asked anything at all about the note.