On Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013, the legal experts in Colorado began putting forth their opinions on why JonBenet Ramsey’s parents got a pass from then-District Attorney Alex Hunter in the jury’s indictment of the couple.
Denver criminal defense lawyer Dan Recht believes that the grand jury compromised on the case, according to Colorado Daily.com.
Recht believes that a case could be made that the beauty queen child was killed intentionally, but the jury found that the death resulted due to recklessness on the parents’ part.
The grand jury in the case has long since left the bench, however. And at the time the case was heard back then, the grand jury members were within their rights to address the prosecutors’ unwillingness to move on their indictment. They could have brought the matter before the court themselves after his refusal to do so according to University of Colorado law professor Mimi Wesson. But they didn’t do that.
At the heart of the issue is two key points: First, the Colorado grand jury’s position back then was that JonBenet Ramsey died as a result of some type of child abuse resulting in death according to KWGN.com.
Secondly, it is being called into question whether Alex Hunter, the leading prosecutor for Colorado at the time, performed his duties as required, with some alleging he neglected to do so.
And now a defense lawyer named Dan Recht says the public should be made aware of those issues in 2013, because, as he says, it will help them understand how the justice system works.
First, it is important to note that grand juries are not criminal trial juries. They cannot render a decision of guilt or innocence for suspects in a murder case, and it result in sentencing.
Instead, the legal definition for grand juries shows that their purpose is to determine if the evidence the prosecutor presents to them actually justifies the arrest of a certain person or persons in the case. In other words, it is their job to make sure someone is not prosecuted when they feel the evidence does not warrant it.
Grand juries have no trial expertise, however. So even if they agree that a prosecutor’s evidence against a suspect makes it reasonable to follow through with that person’s arrest, that does not mean the case will be won in a court of law.
And that leads to this key point: Alex Hunter says he didn’t have enough evidence to prosecute the case against the Ramseys according to KOAA.com.
Hunter had the criminal trial expertise needed to make that call; not the grand jury. And, more importantly, by convening a grand jury, and putting the evidence in the case before them, he got a practice run of what it would have been like before a real jury. The questions and problems the grand jury brought up about the Ramseys in that behind-the-doors experience helped him determine how unlikely it would be for him to win in court. So he didn’t waste taxpayer money trying to bring them to justice back then when he didn’t think he could.
National Criminal Profiles Examiner Radell Smith has a degree in behavioral forensics and successful experience in profiling unsolved homicide crimes. For more articles on the JonBenet Ramsey case by her and others click on the subscribe link at the top of this page or follow her on Twitter at CrimeProfiler1.