The O'Reilly Factor - Monday, May 10, 1999

1 . "MORE!"
Posted by NewYorkLawyer on Jun-14-00 at 06:43 PM (EST)


O'REILLY: In the Unresolved Problems Segment tonight, more delays in the murder investigation of JonBenet Ramsey. Because the Columbine High situation was so horrific, the Ramsey investigation receded into the background. The good folks in Colorado needed a break, if just to catch their breath, but the Ramsey case is still in motion, and here with the latest is attorney Darnay Hoffman, our go-to guy on this story. So out in Colorado, the grand jury now has just slowed down? Is that what's happening?

DARNAY HOFFMAN, VICTIM'S RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Yeah. Apparently, there' s been a major development in the case. It seems like the grand jury' s beginning to look like a runaway grand jury, but it's a run-away- from-the-Ramseys grand jury. Apparently, last week, just at a time when everybody thought the grand jury was about to present an indictment, the grand jury came back and said, "No, we want more DNA evidence. We want you to go out there and continue doing investigations." Apparently, the prosecutors in the case miscalculated with respect to the strength of the evidence that they were presenting to the grand jury.

O'REILLY: All right. So about three weeks ago when you were on - - last on THE FACTOR, you said you believed Patsy Ramsey was going to be indicted.

HOFFMAN: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: So the grand jury now wants more scientific evidence linking Patsy Ramsey to the murder case, is what you're saying.

HOFFMAN: No. They want to eliminate potential other suspects, apparently. They actually listened to the testimony of Lou Smit, who is a prosecution chief homicide investigator, who believes the Ramseys are innocent. He was allowed to go before the grand jury and tell the grand jury that he thinks the Ramseys are innocent and that there is a killer on the loose and that they'd better look at other evidence, and they took that to heart, apparently. So this was a miscalculation on the part of the district attorney who apparently is now beginning to lose control of the grand jury.

O'REILLY: So, in your case, the -- in your opinion, I should say, there may not be an indictment of Patsy Ramsey now.

HOFFMAN: I think there eventually will be an indictment, but what' s going to happen is that it's going to happen maybe in two months rather than today. O'REILLY: It's just an amazing situation that this case has been so complicated. Now you're entering in the Columbine situation. You have emotion flowing out in Colorado, another horrific example. How does that impact?

HOFFMAN: Well, there's no question that Colorado is beginning to look like a state that's very confused about its law enforcement. In fact, one of the district attorneys dealing with the Columbine situation is also an adviser to Alex Hunter in Boulder, and what you have in Columbine is similar to what you have in Boulder in the sense that law enforcement, such as the police, are not on the same page as the district attorney. You remember the sheriff would make some statements which were then contradicted the next day or corrected by the district attorney with respect to who was a suspect, who wasn' t a suspect in Columbine. Same thing going on in Boulder.

O'REILLY: Is there a why to this? I -- I understand what you're saying, that the district attorney and the prosecution may not trust the police or the police may not be as well trained or -- what's going on?

HOFFMAN: Well, it seems that, for whatever reason, they're actually being put to the test in instances where they really don't have experience. I think what you've got are areas of the state which basically have very little crime that matters, and the prosecutors are more social workers with law degrees than they actually are trial attorneys, and so, consequently, they don't really know how to prepare a case for trial. So the minute a defense attorney walks in and begins to apply pressure, they begin to balk. They don't really know what to do.

O'REILLY: All right. So it's lack of experience in these big capital cases, but, you know, the murder of a little girl in her own home -- it's not -- that's not a big Sherlock Holmes deal. You know what I mean? That happens, unfortunately, a lot of times, and 95 percent of those cases are solved within a week, but this case seems to just go on and on and on with the craziness, and I'm -- I just don't understand it.

HOFFMAN: Well, the FBI agrees with you. They don't understand it either. I've had occasion actually to talk to some sources very close to the FBI in Quantico, and they have said unequivocally that they believe Patsy is absolutely involved in the case, and they don't understand why Alex Hunter has been slow in making the arrest. They feel there' s loads of evidence. They don't understand, for instance, why Alex Hunter won't use some of the FBI experts, bring them in and let them go before the grand jury.

O'REILLY: Well, apparently, the grand jury doesn't have a lot of faith in Alex Hunter either at this point, from what you're telling me. I mean, they -- they're not -- you know, they say, "Oh, the grand jury will indict a ham sandwich. They'll do what the prosecutor" -- it doesn't look like this grand jury's that way, does it?

HOFFMAN: Well, the prosecutors don't really understand how to handle grand juries. Remember only 4 percent of all criminal cases are brought by grand juries in Colorado. In fact, at the turn of the century, Colorado tried to abolish the whole grand jury system. They've never been comfortable with it. They've never really tried to rely on it. So there are very few times they do anything with it. They don't really know what to do. It's almost like a right-handed person trying to write lefthanded. It's clearly not their strong arm.

O'REILLY: The governor of Colorado has stayed out of this, the Ramsey case, up until now. Is that going to change?

HOFFMAN: Oh, absolutely. In fact, Bill Owens is the first Republican in 28 years in Colorado and, right now, he's between a rock and a hard place. First of all, he has to basically explain the situation in Littleton, the -- and what's going on there, and then on top of it all, he's really got to explain what he's going to do if the grand jury decides to do nothing in the JonBenet Ramsey case because he' s already made the pronouncement that he intends to replace Alex Hunter with a special prosecutor if it turns out the grand jury just sits idle.

O'REILLY: Now that should have been done a long time ago, in my opinion, but Roy Romer, the former governor, the head of the DNC, wouldn't get involved in this case at all because they were all Democratic players in it. That's what was told to me anyways. Is that true?

HOFFMAN: Absolutely. In fact, Hal Haddon who was the defense attorney for John Ramsey...

O'REILLY: Big Democratic guy.

HOFFMAN: ... is Bill Clinton's personal income tax attorney and also the former campaign manager of Gary Hart and probably the most politically powerful attorney in the state.

O'REILLY: And so Romer -- I mean, he wouldn't even take questions on the thing. He wouldn't even do it because you can, if you're a governor of a state, take it out of the locals and give it to professionals, you know, although I really -- that might be too harsh. All right, Counselor. I want you to keep us posted on this thing...

HOFFMAN: Certainly.

O'REILLY: ... because it is probably the most bizarre criminal case I have ever seen...

HOFFMAN: I agree.

O'REILLY: ... in the United States of America. Thank you.