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Review of Joan Mellen's new book on LBJ


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I think there is a problem when one does not even look at the person's book or his or her work, but yet writes as if one has done so.

And then states, that is what WC apologists do. Recall, Joan was given access to the original Jay Harrison files through Walt Brown. This is something we complained about before, no one had access in order to do a cross check of the original materials. So Joan, through Walt, got the access. She then got an examiner who has first rate credentials. I mean geez, is that not what one is supposed to do?

As I said Garrett wrote an 11 page report. This includes several blown up microphotographs. He then found 8 instances where he very specifically stated that there were distinct mismatches. Its all right there in the appendix to the book. You can see it for yourself.

He also said that he would never have proceeded with the quality of copies that Harrison and Darby went with.

I don't understand the whole thing about digital imaging. Especially coming from someone who is not a professional in the field. To me, with fingerprints, its digital imaging takes the element of human error OUT of the equation. Either, in black and white, something matches or it does not. Its that simple.

BTW, Garrett was in charge of the IAI certification programs! So I think he would know if Darby and Hoffmeister were renewed at the time. (p. 258) They certify all latent print examiners.

Let me quote from the book: "When I handed him Harrison's Darby file, Garrett hesitated. He observed that Darby had worked from photocopies....He required a negative or first generation photograph of the latent print." (p. 258) And, BTW, this is why Hoffmeister recanted. Because he said he and Darby were working with generations of copies, which are not reliable. (p. 256)

The technology used by Garrett did not exist when Harrison gave the copies to Darby and Hoffmeister. The field is actually called digital forensics. Now, if one is using better images in the first place, and high technology in the second place, does that not allow for better and more accurate work?

Edited by James DiEugenio
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Let me quote from the book for another problem with the Texas Wallace print. And its a problem that Hoffmeister also pointed out.

"These had been smudged because the roller used to make the inked print had not been thoroughly cleaned off after its use with the previous subject." (p. 259)

"Garrett found the fingerprints released by the Austin Police Department all but unusable." (p. 250) This is what Jay Harrison used to compare with the WC unidentified print on the boxes.

He then goes into a detailed analysis of why specifically Darby was wrong in his alleged matches. He wrote that "When these 7 features are plotted and plots compared, it is easy to see that the alignments are off."

He then said that the reproduction of the WC print he got was so good it could be inserted into the AFIS, which is the system the Justice Department uses. (p. 260)

As per the certification issue, one is supposed to do this every five years. Recertification requires continued work experience plus education credits and passage of a test. Darby had his certification lapse in late 1984. Hoffmeister's lapsed in 1996. Garrett could find no trail that either man had attempted to renew at the time of expiration. (p. 261)

Again, under those circumstances, I find it really puzzling that Harrison used either man.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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Sandy: When I first learned of this slanderous allegation a few years back I visited with Nathan's Pastor son (Steve) and wife, who live just down the street from me. Pastor Darby assured me that his dad had kept up his certification. I am awaiting receipt of that chapter and then I am going to re-visit the Darbys to see if they have any kind of proof of this. I do know that Nathan kept everything concerning this work in a box he kept under his bed, where the home security system was bypassed in August 03 and the thief took only that box, without disturbing anything else in the home. (I am told Joan re-counts this as told to her by me without bothering to even wonder WHY). Nathan called me very afraid that his life may have been in danger. So his cert. proof may also have been in that box. I just know that he was as honest a man as you could ever meet and that he NEVER would have committed perjury on an affidavit. He would have put "RETIRED CLPE" on said affidavit. I do not know that one has to do to re-certify. I do not know that his son would even know. But all this will come after I have the chapter and a copy for Nathan's family of this disturbing chapter.

More when I know it.

However what I do know for certain is that Nathan himself NEVER wrote a note to them declining to be recertified. We were very good friends and he visited our home often as well as often speaking with me on the phone. I was very close to all of this before it occurred, during and after. Til J Harrison died in 05 and Nathan had a stroke that summer as well, from which he never recovered.

Interesting that Joan Mellen would take the time to speak with the son of Mac Wallace but never bother to speak with the son of Nathan Darby. Sloppy investigation or a pre-conceived agenda? Pick your poison.

Dawn

Dawn,

Thanks for that information. The more I learn the more I smell a rat.

Somehow I got the impression that Darby was quite old when he read the Mac Wallace print, like in his seventies. Is that true? That is the reason I assumed he was retired.

I visited Joan Mellen's website when this thread started and I thought that I read that there was a note in Darby's IAI file that stated that his certification was not to be renewed. Was that there because Darby supposedly declined to be recertified? The wording on Mellen's website sure didn't sound like he refused recertification. It sounded like they were to refuse him recertification. Maybe I read it the wrong way because it wouldn't make sense for anybody to refuse recertification. If someone doesn't want to be recertified all he has to do is not apply for it.

I glanced through the IAI website to see what was required for recertification. An examiner needs to accumulate a certain number of points to be eligible. He will get points for being active in the trade, and for attending workshops, and for various other things. Fill out the application form, pay a fee, and he gets recertified.

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I think there is a problem when one does not even look at the person's book or his or her work, but yet writes as if one has done so.

What I wrote wasn't aimed at Joan Mellen. It was aimed at Nathan Darby's critics. I don't need to read Mellen's book to defend Darby.

The second part I wrote was to show that human experts are better than expert computer systems.

And then states, that is what WC apologists do.

I said, "Darby had been a certified print examiner for most his adult life. Anybody who tries to take that away from him is clearly attempting to smear his reputation. This is a tactic of WC apologists that should have no place in the CT community."

I didn't say Joan Mellen is one of these people. (But if the shoe fits, she should wear it.)

Recall, Joan was given access to the original Jay Harrison files through Walt Brown. This is something we complained about before, no one had access in order to do a cross check of the original materials. So Joan, through Walt, got the access. She then got an examiner who has first rate credentials. I mean geez, is that not what one is supposed to do?

I have no problem with Joan hiring Garrett.

As I said Garrett wrote an 11 page report. This includes several blown up microphotographs. He then found 8 instances where he very specifically stated that there were distinct mismatches. Its all right there in the appendix to the book. You can see it for yourself.

He also said that he would never have proceeded with the quality of copies that Harrison and Darby went with.

I don't understand the whole thing about digital imaging. Especially coming from someone who is not a professional in the field. To me, with fingerprints, its digital imaging takes the element of human error OUT of the equation. Either, in black and white, something matches or it does not. Its that simple.

Expert systems are not very good. If they were they would be widely used.

BTW, Garrett was in charge of the IAI certification programs! So I think he would know if Darby and Hoffmeister were renewed at the time. (p. 258) They certify all latent print examiners.

Let me quote from the book: "When I handed him Harrison's Darby file, Garrett hesitated. He observed that Darby had worked from photocopies....He required a negative or first generation photograph of the latent print." (p. 258) And, BTW, this is why Hoffmeister recanted. Because he said he and Darby were working with generations of copies, which are not reliable. (p. 256)

Will we get to see what Darby had to work with?

The technology used by Garrett did not exist when Harrison gave the copies to Darby and Hoffmeister. The field is actually called digital forensics. Now, if one is using better images in the first place, and high technology in the second place, does that not allow for better and more accurate work?

Edited by Sandy Larsen
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Let me quote from the book for another problem with the Texas Wallace print. And its a problem that Hoffmeister also pointed out.

"These had been smudged because the roller used to make the inked print had not been thoroughly cleaned off after its use with the previous subject." (p. 259)

"Garrett found the fingerprints released by the Austin Police Department all but unusable." (p. 250) This is what Jay Harrison used to compare with the WC unidentified print on the boxes.

He then goes into a detailed analysis of why specifically Darby was wrong in his alleged matches. He wrote that "When these 7 features are plotted and plots compared, it is easy to see that the alignments are off."

He then said that the reproduction of the WC print he got was so good it could be inserted into the AFIS, which is the system the Justice Department uses. (p. 260)

As per the certification issue, one is supposed to do this every five years. Recertification requires continued work experience plus education credits and passage of a test. Darby had his certification lapse in late 1984. Hoffmeister's lapsed in 1996. Garrett could find no trail that either man had attempted to renew at the time of expiration. (p. 261)

Again, under those circumstances, I find it really puzzling that Harrison used either man.

Jim,

Did Garrett say anything positive about Darby's work? Anything at all?

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He made no explicit negative comments about either man's work.

He said that the reason they were wrong was because of the materials they had to work with, and the fact that they did not have the technology that he has.

I don't know where the rat is.

I mean you can ask Walt Brown for the same materials and then go find your own expert. But you then must do what Garrett did and get much better duplicates and have him test those also. Garrett seems like an approachable guy.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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No we can't see what Darby had to work with as it was stolen. Everyone just conveniently ignores this. J had friends in the police department including a relative of Kinser (who I will not name here as he has not been involved in any of this since Jay's death and is a private person that I met a few times with J. really nice guy. ) so he was able to get a first generation copy of the known prints. He had to wait the requisite 25 years from the date of Wallace's "death". (A date very much is question too as Joan well knows- does she even mention all the problems on the death certificate?).

I just know that it was an excellent first generation copy of the known prints. Richard Bartholomew, who had worked with J for thee years just prior to the failed press conference May 29 1998 also has an excellent copy on film. He will be writing something after more information is gathered.

I love how people here are posting what Hoffmeister said. Based on what? I base what he said on what J told me he said; he made a match and backed off out of fear of who it was. Walt Brown knows this too. Why is he not jumping in here to defend HIS "dear friend" J Harrison?

I am not arguing with science. I am defending my friend Nathan against a perjury charge. By someone who took the word of people with motive to lie.

Sandy, yes Nathan was elderly. He was 91 when he died in 06.But until his stroke in 05 was as sharp as can be.

Dawn

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Dawn, could you elaborate on who stole the material Darby had to work with...did someone steal it from Jaye, did not Walt Brown get film with the rest of Jaye's material. What happened to the first generation copy

that Jaye, gave to Darby? If Richard had a copy of that film then its not really lost and he could make it available to everyone - including Joan's fingerprint person? Just not following this...

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Dawn, could you elaborate on who stole the material Darby had to work with...did someone steal it from Jaye, did not Walt Brown get film with the rest of Jaye's material. What happened to the first generation copy

that Jaye, gave to Darby? If Richard had a copy of that film then its not really lost and he could make it available to everyone - including Joan's fingerprint person? Just not following this...

Larry I don't know exactly what J kept that went to Walt regarding this. But J gave a first generation print of Wallace known prints. Nathan kept all of his work related to this in a box under his bed in the home he shared with his son and family. The home had security. In early August someone bypassed the security and entered NATHAN's home taking only the box. (All of this is in posts I made above here). He called me very upset asking if I believed his life to be in danger. That was the only time I ever encountered him in fear. I was planning a joint birthday party for both Nathan and myself in later August but my mom died suddenly on 8/20 so the party got continued til 10/25. Richard brought the film (for lack of better term) he had and printed it off. We all sat on my couch with Nathan showing us the matches.

No one was ever found who did the break in at the home. But it is clear to me that the person :

1. Had the know how to bypass an alarm system and

2. Not only knew what he or she was looking for but where to find it. Nothing else was taken but that box.

As to what all Walt got you need to ask him that.

And as to what Joan borrowed, she told me it was a large amount, I think she used a truck. J's paper files are extremely cryptic in keeping with his overall secret nature so she had a difficult time with them.

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Thanks Dawn...got it, so the exact material Darby used was stolen but it was actually a print of what Jaye had obtained. Which means that Jaye still retained the material and I suppose should have received it with Jaye's effects. Which means it existed separately and Walt might have gotten it. I'm not really in touch with Walt and it seems to me that I have not heard him weighing in on the print issue for some time... would be nice to hear from him..

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I know what Jay said about Hoffmeister.

But I am sorry, I also know what Hoffmeister said. He said they were not working with first generation materials. And this is what allowed varying estimates of how many matches there were. Which is why he withdrew. Why would there be a difference between what Jay gave Darby vs what Jay gave Hoffmeister?

Jay could say what he wanted, but why on earth would he commission fingerprint analysis from two men who were not certified by the IAI at that time? Knowing the requirements that were necessary to recertify? Did anyone ever ask him about this? Why did he not check on it himself?

The Texas Wallace print that was utilized by Jay was termed almost unusable by Garrett.

And he said he would never have proceeded with what Jay had for the WC box example.

Why would there be a difference between what Jay had in his files vs what Darby had?

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Just a question:

What exactly is the significance of "proving" that Mac Wallace either was there or was not there, aside from gaining some real satisfaction if he is shown to have been there?

Where exactly does this get anyone?

Edited by Glenn Nall
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I have always thought that the whole LBJ/Wallace connection was not what it was made out to be.

I am not done with Joan's book, but she is the first person to do a really full biography of Wallace. No one else had done it. And so far it does not look like the guy remotely was a hit man.

The significance of his being there is that it would it would fulfill the ideas of Bill Sol Estes. To my knowledge he was the first person to fully implicate Wallace in the JFK hit.

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BTW, let me add something else that her book does.

She actually explains how the John Kinser jury ended up doing what they did.

And the guy who was instrumental here, but not crucial, was Polk Shelton not Cofer.

You can read about it in my review. There is a lot of unique and, I think, valuable research in this book.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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