N.Y. Lawyer Plans Suit in Ramsey Case
Boulder Daily Camera, November 18, 1997
A New York victims’ rights lawyer said he’ll file a lawsuit
today against Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter,
hoping to force the prosecution of Patsy Ramsey in connection
with the nearly year-old unsolved murder of her 6-year-old
The attorney, Darnay Hoffman, says he collected evidence from
four handwriting experts that proves Patsy Ramsey wrote the
2 ½ -page, handwritten ransom note she claimed to have found
the morning of Dec. 26. JonBenet was found beaten, sexually
assaulted and strangled that afternoon in the family’s basement.
Hoffman was the defense lawyer for subway gunman Bernhard
Goetz in a New York civil trial.
Claiming the prosecutor’s office has enough evidence to prosecute
the child’s mother but won’t move forward, Hoffman plans to
use a rarely used Colorado law to sue Hunter for the “unjustified
refusal of the district attorney to prosecute any person for
the crime,” according to the complaint.
“Basically, I have to blow the whistle on Alex Hunter,” Hoffman
said Monday, adding it is the only way to hold a district
The district attorney’s office declined to comment on the
case, spokeswoman Suzanne Laurion said.
If Hoffman is successful in the lawsuit, a judge could order
charges to be filed and could appoint a special prosecutor
to take over the case, said Colorado Attorney General Gale
Norton. A judge also could dismiss the complaint outright,
refusing to order a hearing.
“It certainly would be surprising if it goes very far,” Norton
said. “The first step is to decide whether the district attorney
has refused to prosecute. What everyone has said is there
is still an ongoing investigation.
Although Colorado law allows a citizen to file suit in such
a case, Boulder legal expert David Harrison questioned whether
the law provides for a non-Colorado citizen to file suit.
In any event, it is unlikely a judge will decide whether to
throw out or hear any case until hearing a formal response
from the defendant (Hunter), which could take up to 20 days,
Hunter has said the parents are “a focus” of the investigation,
but has stressed the inquiry continues and all angles are
being pursued. There have been no arrests and no suspects
named in the 6-year-old’s death.
Hoffman said he has tried to submit the handwriting evidence
to Hunter’s office several times, but was unsuccessful.
“Quite frankly, I am sick and tired of it,” he said.
Along with the filing of the complaint, Hoffman will submit
more than 40 pages of exhibits, magazine and newspaper articles.
Hoffman frequently faxes information to the news media, including
letters he’s written to Hunter and clips from New York Post
gossip columnist Cindy Adams. He also frequently calls Denver
talk radio shows to discuss the Ramsey case.
The experts Hoffman cites are Denver lawyer Thomas Miller,
National Association of Document Examiners Director David
Liebman and court-certified documents examiner Cina Wong.
The handwriting analysis of an unnamed person contracted by
the FBI will be withheld because of its potential to damage
the investigation if released publicly, Hoffman said.
Wire services contributed to this report.