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6/13/2001

Arndt case dismissed

The Associated Press

DENVER — A judge dismissed a lawsuit against two Boulder police chiefs that was filed by a former detective who alleged they unfairly blamed her for police errors during the JonBenet Ramsey slaying investigation.

U.S. District Judge William Downes ruled Tuesday, after hearing two weeks of testimony, that Linda Arndt failed to prove the chiefs violated her First Amendment rights by preventing her from commenting on allegations that she bungled the investigation.

He said that what Arndt had planned to say in her defense was not a matter of public concern.

Arndt’s attorney, A. Bruce Jones, was preparing an appeal.

Ted Halaby, who represents former Chief Tom Koby and current Chief Mark Beckner and the city of Boulder, had argued that Arndt failed to present enough evidence to prove her case.

“From the beginning, we believed it to be an ill-conceived lawsuit that was neither in the interest of Linda Arndt, the Boulder Police Department or the serious ongoing criminal investigation into the murder of JonBenet Ramsey ,” Halaby said.

Nevertheless, Arndt claimed a partial victory.

“My civil suit finally allowed some truths to come out that were kept from coming out in the past,” Arndt said.

In a prepared statement, Jones said the city of Boulder made a deliberate decision to trash Linda Arndt, to the benefit of JonBenet’s killer and at Arndt’s expense.

The chiefs and the city contended the highly publicized investigation would have been compromised if police spoke publicly in Arndt’s defense.

Arndt was the first detective who arrived at the Ramsey home on Dec. 26, 1996, after Patsy Ramsey called 911 and reported her 6-year-old daughter was missing and a ransom note was found. For nearly three hours, Arndt was the only detective at the home.

Arndt was criticized for allowing John Ramsey to search the home without an accompanying police officer and for placing a blanket over his daughter’s body, possibly contaminating evidence. She also was criticized for not taking statements immediately from the parents.

Arndt was removed from the case five months later, and resigned from the department in 1999.

No arrests have been made in the case. Parents John and Patsy Ramsey have not been ruled out as suspects.

Jones said the lawsuit helped publicize that Arndt did a credible job on the case, considering she was “abandoned” at the scene.

City of Boulder officials are happy to see the case come to an end.