BOULDER, Colo. - Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett penned an editorial in Sunday's Daily Camera revealing that his office has reviewed the JonBenet Ramsey case and does not have enough "conclusive evidence" to charge for a crime not impacted by statute of limitations.
On Friday, four pages of a 1999 Grand Jury indictment were released. They showed the Grand Jury wanted to indict JonBenet's parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, for child abuse resulting in death and accessory to first degree murder. The district attorney at the time, Alex Hunter, never charged the Ramseys.
The charges from the indictment come with a three year statute of limitations, meaning they had to be charged by late December 1999.
In his editorial, Garnett wrote:
"My staff evaluated the Ramsey case to determine if there was any charge for which the statute of limitations had not run and for which there was conclusive evidence. Because there was none, we focused on other matters."
In Colorado, there is no statute of limitations for the crime of murder.
Garnett also took aim at the decisions of previous district attorneys.
"District attorneys are not priests; our job is not to forgive, and rarely to 'exonerate,' and straying from this role can be very confusing to the public and can create false impressions of certainty about uncertain evidence, subject to conflicting inferences, that has never been presented and tested in open court," wrote Garnett.
In 2008, then-district attorney Mary Lacy publicly announced that the Ramsey family were cleared of any suspected wrong-doing and were no longer suspects.
In response to Hunter not filing charges in 1999, Garnett wrote:
"I don't know I would have made the same decision, but I know how difficult these decisions are."
He also wrote, "There has been no public airing of all the evidence in open court, nor can there be, unless and until a case is filed, which has been an understandable frustration to the community…
"An excellent DA's office must have a cadre of top trial lawyers, capable of ethically presenting tough cases to juries, which requires practice and skill…
"…Without a verdict at a jury trial, or a plea of guilty, the justice system provides no meaningful resolution of any particular case."
7NEWS legal analyst Kris Miccio disagrees with some of Garnett's perspective.
"Unfortunately, Garnett fails to state the legal purpose of the district attorney's office and of a trial. Neither is in place to provide the public with a public spectacle or as he claims, 'so that the public can hear a full airing of the evidence.' The DA is a gate keeper and the rules are- if there is insufficient evidence to bring a case to trial, one does not. It appears that Garnett believes his role is no different than the media—the role of the DA is to bring to trial only those cases that are supported by the evidence," said Miccio.
JonBenet's body was found in the basement of her family's Boulder home the day after Christmas.