OK, the official Burke Ramsey Complaint against CBS et al. is out there -- all mind numbing 108 pages. Let's take a look:
The defendants are:
CBS CORPORATION, CRITICAL CONTENT, LLC, JIM CLEMENTE, LAURA RICHARDS, A. JAMES KOLAR, JAMES R. FITZGERALD, STANLEY B. BURKE, WERNER U. SPITZ, and HENRY C. LEE
As evident from the prefatory remarks, an important part of Lin Wood's case is that the program was presented as a documentary, based on the premise that new evidence had been uncovered and that this new team of investigators was going to conduct a “complete reinvestigation starting right from scratch.” However, according to the Complaint,
CBS perpetrated a fraud upon the public—instead of being a documentary based on a new investigation by a so-called team of experts, The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey was a fictional crime show based primarily on a preconceived storyline scripted in a self-published and commercially unsuccessful book, Foreign Faction, written by Defendant James Kolar (“Kolar”) and published in 2012.
Defendants’ accusation that Burke Ramsey killed his sister was not based on truthful facts, new witnesses, new evidence, or new theories.As I see it, since Burke, like everyone else in that house, lacks an ironclad alibi, it's not possible to prove he could not have committed this crime (and here I part company with Wood -- see below), and that the defendants lied on that score -- but he can prove that the case they put before the public was based on a series of lies and "reckless disregard for the truth." If in fact the investigators presented nothing new, and almost everything in the program was based on evidence and ideas drawn from a book published five years ago, then, in itself, the claim of "a fresh reinvestigation from scratch" was a lie, perpetrated on the American public. It looks to me as though, with only a few exceptions, Wood does manage to prove that point -- the promise of a thorough re-examination of the case from scratch, based on new, never before released evidence, does, as I see it, turn out to have been false. As Wood insists, the "pseudo-experts," as he calls them, had Burke in mind from the start, and the whole point of the show was to distort the evidence, based on James Kolar's book, to make it look as though Burke was the one who killed his sister.
Wood goes on to broaden his indictment, claiming that the "Defendants supported their Burke-did-it accusation with a web of statements, re-creations, and images, of which some were true but most of which were knowingly false, misrepresentative, and/or omitted and ignored accurate information." As I see it, while it's impossible to demonstrate beyond doubt that the defendants lied in accusing Burke, it is possible to demonstrate that much of the material they brought to bear in their accusations was based on untruths, half-truths and misrepresentations. In this I believe Wood to be on solid ground.
Of course, as far as Wood is concerned, he does believe he can prove Burke could not have committed this crime, despite his lack of an alibi. To that end he employs two strategies: 1. he offers a long list of statements from a long list of investigators, including DA Alex Hunter himself, that Burke was never considered a suspect in any aspect of this crime; and 2. he goes over the entire case in some detail, in an effort to prove that the crime could only have been committed by an intruder, capping his argument with DA Lacy's "exoneration" of the entire Ramsey family, back in 2008. As I see it, this might turn out to have been a mistake. Much of the intruder "evidence" Wood presents is based on theories promulgated by "master detective" Lou Smit, theories that have been proven over and over again to be weak at best, and deceptive at worst. If the CBS lawyers take the trouble to familiarize themselves with the case, they could easily create serious problems for Wood by thoroughly debunking any and all intruder theories, on the basis of both the evidence and the logic of the case. Wood would thus be forced to fight his battle on two fronts: the defense of Burke, and the promotion of the intruder theory. Even if he is able to make a case in favor of Burke, any serious re-examination of the intruder theory would place his other client, John Ramsey, under the microscope. And if the CBS lawyers are smart, that's where they will focus their attention.
More next time . . .
OK, it is now next time, so let's continue. I'll be sifting through some of the highlights of this "Complaint" and commenting accordingly.
Section A begins with the heading: "The Undisputed Historical Record Established Years Ago that No Evidence Has Ever Existed to Support an Accusation that Burke Killed His Sister." This is most certainly true. But it does not mean the defendants lied in that respect, first because they claim to have uncovered new evidence and second, because, even if no such evidence exists, that does not mean Burke could not have committed this crime.
80. On the night of December 25 or the early morning hours of December 26, 1996, while Burke was sleeping in his family’s home in Boulder, Colorado, an unknown intruder brutally tortured, sexually assaulted, and murdered his sister, JonBenét.So now, right off the bat, Wood leads with the weakest part of his argument, the "intruder theory." The above assertion is, as we know, widely disputed, and cannot in any sense be offered as a fact. By presenting the case in this manner he shifts the burden of proof onto himself, committing himself to prove what has never been proven in the 20 years since this crime was committed.
Wood then moves on to consider Burke's role, on which he is on much safer ground. The following statements make it clear that Burke was never considered a suspect by anyone involved in the investigation until Kolar came on the scene. He correctly accuses the "pseudo-experts" of willfully ignoring this important evidence, strongly suggesting that they were biased against Burke from the start.
In paragraph 98, however, Wood once again reverts to the intruder theory by referring to the decision by judge Julie Carnes, in the Chris Wolf lawsuit, that “the weight of the evidence is more consistent with a theory that an intruder murdered JonBenét[.]” It's useful to note that Carnes decision was based almost entirely on Lou Smit's dubious theory, which could easily have been shot to pieces by Wolf's lawyer, Darnay Hoffman, had he had the opportunity to argue his case. Unfortunately, Hoffman never showed up, due possibly to illness, but also, it is rumored, due to a fear of flying. Thus the allegation that this was an inside job never got a proper hearing.
Wood then goes on to cite DA Mary Lacy's notorious "exoneration" of the Ramsey family, based on then new DNA evidence that has currently come into serious question. As with so much of his presentation, one has the sense that Wood is stuck firmly in the past, with little or no realization of how much has changed since the early stages of the investigation and how much of the so-called "intruder evidence" has been explained as either misleading or inconclusive.
This becomes evident when he attempts to support the intruder theory by citing some of Lou Smit's highly questionable notions regarding the evidence at the basement window, the lack of footprints in the area surrounding the house, the tufts of grass peeking out from the window grate, the notorious "Butler" door, and even the patently ridiculous assertion that "seven windows and/or doors" in the Ramsey household were found to be unlocked on the night of the murder.
Lacy's "exoneration" of the Ramseys has recently come under serious criticism from many law enforcement sources and, as the current Boulder DA has repeatedly made clear, has no legal bearing on future consideration of the case -- meaning that everyone in the Ramsey family can still be considered a suspect. As I revealed some time ago on this blog, there are serious problems with the DNA evidence, a conclusion recently borne out by experts in this field, as quoted in a thoroughgoing analysis published in the Boulder Daily Camera.
Lou Smit's theories have been widely debunked in law enforcement eircles, including both Steve Thomas's and James Kolar's books. My own take can be found in the blog post titled "The Lou Smit Show," where I demonstrate how, in each and every case, Smit has either naively or deliberately omitted crucial pieces of evidence that undermine his findings. As for the Butler door and the related "seven windows and doors" meme, widely echoed in naive media accounts for years, those assertions are meaningless on their face. When the police arrived, John announced that he'd checked all the doors leading to the outside and all were locked. A policeman checked and confirmed that indeed all the doors were locked. That certainly included the Butler door, which was later opened by a technician, not an intruder, as both John Ramsey and Lin Wood well knew. As for the seven windows and doors, yes there were open windows and doors found, but none could have provided access to an intruder. An open window in the basement was barred; the basement window with the broken pane was thoroughly examined and there was no sign that any of the thick layer of dirt on the sill had been disturbed; another basement window also showed no signs that it had been opened; several interior doors were naturally unlocked, but none could have provided entry into the house.
Other so-called intruder evidence, such as the Hi-Tec boot print, the "pubic hair," the palm print, the lack of any source for the duct tape or cord, etc., etc., was all researched and accounted for ages ago and found to be either mistaken or inconclusive. Despite the fact that, at this late date, ALL of the so-called intruder evidence has been thus thoroughly explained and/or debunked, Wood presents it as though no time had passed at all since these dubious scraps of "evidence" were first brought to light. Once again, if the CBS lawyers bother to research this case with any degree of diligence they should have no trouble shredding Wood's feeble intruder case. And if they are really smart, they will read this blog, or better still, my book, where I've demonstrated the logical absurdity of any possible intruder theory.
More to come . . .