Monday, May 12, 2008

Did Cheng use the wrong starting point?

In our previous analysis of Dr. Ralph Cheng's Progressive Vector Diagram, we pointed out the following flaws:
  • He used a scientific method that could not produce consistent results
  • He failed to familiarize himself with the recovery sites and the particular location of the bodies
  • He mischaracterized the lower low tide as a negative MLLW
  • He grossly exaggerated the wind conditions for April 12
  • He falsely stated that the lower low tide coincided with winds averaging 20 knots
  • He had Conner coming ashore at a water level far too low to wash him over the rock breakwater
People's 101: Misinformation
Recently, in our discussion of People's 101 on the SII Yahoo Group, we noted that Soler represents the exact location where Conner was found to be 73 feet inland from the west breakwater. In his testimony, he gave the same information.
HARRIS: When you, in the diagram the 101, the location of where Conner is at, did you do a triangulation, or take two measurements that come together to where the location of his remains were found?
SOLER: Yes, we did.
HARRIS: And that would be, from that the shorter of the two boulder breakers, it was 73 feet from that location further, and then from the bottom or longer boulder breaker area, 24 feet?
SOLER: That's correct.

Soler also says that People's 101 matches the location he circled in People's 98A.
HARRIS: Then also on 98A, there is another circle with an, I believe it's either O-1 or G-1.
SOLER: 01.
HARRIS: The 01, is that the approximate location where Conner was found?
SOLER: Yes.
HARRIS: Does that correspond to the mark on your diagram where you placed Conner?
SOLER: Yes, it does.
JUDGE: Point it out with the pointer where Conner's body was found so the jury can see it.
SOLER: I'm pointing to the circle that's identified as 01 on this chart.HARRIS: Then also on 98A, there is another circle with an, I believe it's either O-1 or G-1.
SOLER: 01.
HARRIS: The 01, is that the approximate location where Conner was found?
SOLER: Yes.
HARRIS: Does that correspond to the mark on your diagram where you placed Conner?
SOLER: Yes, it does.
JUDGE: Point it out with the pointer where Conner's body was found so the jury can see it.
SOLER: I'm pointing to the circle that's identified as 01 on this chart.

The location circled in People's 98A is NOT the location identified by People's 101. For now, we refer readers to http://scottisinnocent.com/Research&Analysis/evidence/Conner/found.htm, but soon we will have an updated and more thorough analysis of People's 101.
Cheng's Progressive Vector Diagram
The question was asked, Did Dr. Cheng use People's 101 to chart his Progressive Vector Diagram? We did not call attention to this factor in our previous analysis of Cheng's Progressive Vector Diagram, so the question must be answered.
Unfortunately, Cheng was not asked specifically if he used Solar's measurements in People's 101, so we have to read between the lines.
This first excerpt is from David Harris' argument to Judge Delucchi during the brief Kelly-Frye hearing:
David Harris: There was two phases of his work. We aren't really interested in the first phase, but we believe the defense will probably ask about that. The Modesto Police Department contacted him before the bodies were found and said, based on the currents and all the different factors in the Bay, where would a body go based on where an estimate is of where it's placed. So he did some computer simulations for them based on that. After the bodies were recovered, he then went back and plotted, based on where they were recovered, going back, based on wind conditions, tide conditions, currents, trying to predict the most likely location where it's at. With regards to that, counsel's already elicited a lot of that core information through Detective Hendee, asking about the FBI searches and saying Didn't Dr. Cheng predict this particular location.
Under direct examination, Cheng volunteered that he knew the precise location where the bodies were found. (The State had also produced a similar diagram for Laci).
Ralph Cheng: I told them following here I could try. However, it involves similar uncertainty. That is now, when the body was spotted on shore at certain time, it does not imply the body arrived there at that time. Now, we have a little bit better situation that is not -- we know precisely where the body landed. Comparing to the previous scenario, that we were guessing where the body started traveling and at what time. In this case here now, we -- our knowledge has improved. That is now -- the bodies, we know precisely where the body landed. And -- but we didn't know when the body precisely landed at that location. Therefore, in order to reconstruct where the body started moving from, certain position in The Bay, still involves some uncertainty.
And David Harris confirms that he received this information from the detectives.
David Harris: Doctor, what we were talking about is when the detectives give you the information of where Laci and Conner's bodies are recovered, that is an area in the Richmond area over there by Brooks Island. Do you -- is that on the map up there?
>>>>>
Ralph Cheng: It's a combination of the above. Basically we obtain the wind information, time series. We reconstruct, now, based on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Coastal Engineering Handbook, they give you certain formulas for certain given wind conditions. So how much actual water movement would be is not a windspeed- water movement here. And then you would reconstruct hour-by-hour here as if -- assuming the bodies started from here, you go backward rather than going forward here until certain -- to a certain time here.
Dr. Cheng's backward trail led him to specific GPS coordinates.
Mark Geragos: Thank you. And specifically when they asked you to do this, you, at that point, had the locations where the baby is found, and you got the location where Laci is found, and then you do some analysis, and you come up with this section right here with some GPS coordinates, correct?
Ralph Cheng: That is correct.

In order to end with specific GPS coordinates, one has to begin with specific GPS coordinates. If, and it appears to be a very strong probability, Cheng used the measurements on Soler's Diagram, People's 101, then he started out at the wrong place -- about 100 feet too far west.
Conclusion
It's up to Dr. Cheng to identify which coordinates he used as the beginning point for the backtracking he did for Conner.
If he did in fact use the measurements in People's 101, then his Progressive Vector Diagram is even more flawed than we previously thought.

10 comments:

Wearing A Halo said...

"Unfortunately, Cheng was not asked specifically if he used Solar's measurements in People's 101, so we have to read between the lines."

There is no need "to read between the lines." Just read the transcripts--it is all there.

Wearing A Halo said...

"If he did in fact use the measurements in People's 101, then his Progressive Vector Diagram is even more flawed than we previously thought."

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Just so we are on the right track,

If (Dr. Cheng) did not in fact use the measurements in People's 101, then his Progressive Vector Diagram is less flawed than you all previously thought???

Wearing A Halo said...

"Recently, in our discussion of People's 101 on the SII Yahoo Group, we noted that Soler represents the exact location where Conner was found to be 73 feet inland from the west breakwater. In his testimony, he gave the same information."

----------------------

J. Soler was off by 100' and he was reading off of People's 101 which was not to scale.

http://scottisinnocent.com/Research&Analysis/evidence/Conner/overviewconner.PNG

has a scale of 25m; 25m = 83 ft. 53m = 173ft.; 7m = 24ft.

So, 173' is roughly accurate.

Wearing A Halo said...

http://scottisinnocent.com/Research&Analysis/evidence/Conner/96Ewconner.JPG

How far would you say Conner was from the debris line? IMO, Conner could not have been more than one foot away and very likely less than a foot. Conner was not in the middle between the foot path and the debris line. Conner was just "above" the debris line--barely.

Marlene Newell said...

Where in the transcripts does he say what he used for the starting point, other than the exact location where they were found The only exact location we have for Conner is Soler's diagram, People's 101. So you are admitting he used People's 101? If not, then prove where in the transcript he says he didn't, that he used some other measurment to determine Conner's exact location.

Marlene Newell said...

No, it is not less flawed -- it remains just as flawed, because no one has shown us why the previous flaws we have pointed out are not indeed flaws, and those flaws are more than sufficient to qualify Cheng's Progressive Vector Diagram as junk science.

Knowing that he used People's 101, however, makes the situation even more serious because now the Prosecution is directly involved in the junk science by having provided him with incorrect data.

The Prosecution has to take the blame for Soler's mistake because the Prosecution is legally responsible for every piece of information provided in Court as well as to its expert witnesses as they prepare their reports/testimony for Court.

Marlene Newell said...

Yes, 173 is most probably the accurate measurement, according to the measurements I took at the Jetty. Of course, the rocks do not present a "straight" line from which to measure, but measuring 173 from the west breakwater at 24 feet inland from the south breakwater, lands you in that grassy section shown in the pictures from the field trips on SII and also in Defense WW1-4 and People's 96E-G.

However, Soler wasn't reading off People's 101 -- he created People's 101. He gave the information, 73 feet. He says so in his testimony.

He repeats 73 feet in his testimony.

He collected the data, he created People's 101. He marked the location on People's 98A.

So, he is without excuse.

And Cheng used People's 101 to start his Progressive Vector Diagram. I don't see any way to conclude anything else, from what is in the transcripts.

Cheng will have to provide the actual data he used for the PVD in order to prove that he did not use 73 feet instead of the correct 173 feet.

If he didn't use 73 feet, that still does not overcome the other flaws--they remain independent of this factor.

If he did use 73 feet, then that adds one more serious flaw.

Marlene Newell said...

How far was Conner from the debris line? It's impossible to say exactly, without knowing exactly where that flag was put.

The problem is, and you can see it from the pictures I have on SII, the rocks in the breakwaters do not form a straight line.

So, it all depends on which rock Soler measured from. That could make a difference of half a foot or more.

On the July 15, 2006 field trip, I took measurements from two different rocks.

But, the major point of the debris line is that he was beyond it, and there is no disturbance in it to show that he landed in front of it, then was rolled back by the wind or some other unknown event.

According to the NOAA's definitions, the debris line shows the landward limits of the tide.

One thing many people forget is that he was found on a grassy area that has dry gound in front and on both sides. The grass, which is 4-6 inches high, causes the water from the rising tide to follow the dry ground around that section. I show that in one of the videos on SII, you can see the water coming onto the path behind that grassy section long before you see any substantial water in that section itself.

Anonymous said...

Wearing A Halo said:

I do not think that Dr. Cheng used J Soler's calculations. J Soler calculated on 12/18/03 per People's 101. The proposed survey began on June 23, 2003. Dr. Cheng was given the locations of where Conner and Laci washed up and the point off of Brooks Island that SP had given to MPD. It is in Det. Hendee's testimony.

Marlene Newell said...

Soler is the one who provided the information to the MPD.

But, the only way we can ever know for sure is for Dr. Cheng to disclose the data he used to compile the Progressive Vector Diagram.

That is also necessary for him to refute my claim that the wind information he gave in his testimony is not accurate.