Amanda Knox Conviction Overturned

An appeals jury in Italy this afternoon overturned the convictions of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Knox’s roommate Meredith Kircher four years ago. While it has shocked many, it was a victory for the rule of law given the lack of evidence and serious mistakes of police in the course of the investigation. What was interesting, however, was the fact that slander convictions against Knox and Sollecito were upheld.

We have previously discussed the problems in the physical evidence and false statements made in the case against the couple. We also discussed the ludicrous slander charges made against the parents.

The defamation claim stems from her accusing her former boss in a bar where she worked, Patrick Lumumba, in testimony. Later she said that the police pressured her into accusing Lumumba. The use of defamation to charge people for such testimony (considered privileged in the U.S.) is a terrible practice. Since the sentence for such defamation is three years, however, Knox is free to go.

What is clear after this case is that the police investigators are virtually “libel proof” in light of their numerous and mind boggling mistakes. I fear great sympathy for the parents of Kircher. There was a foundation to suspect both Knox and Sollecito, whose testimony changed in fundamental ways and retained serious gaps. However, the police so bungled this case, the threads of evidence left ample doubt. The prosecutors relied on open speculation based on highly questionable forensic evidence such as Sollecito’s DNA on the bra strap. The evidence against Knox was even weaker. None of this dispels suspicions of the couple or their contemptful conduct before and after the murder. Knox now stands to make millions. However, the jury proved itself dispassionate and disciplined is separating speculation from fact in overturning the convictions.

Source: MSNBC

40 thoughts on “Amanda Knox Conviction Overturned”

  1. This woman is very strongly opinionated….I have some other choice nouns, adjectives and verbs to describe her….I chose not to say them today…

  2. “Rudy Guede, … confessing that he alone filled and raped…”

    Obviously, that’s “killed”. :-}

  3. @Otteray Scribe: “She still had that charge of “defamation” upheld. … By having that charge pending,…”

    The Italians need to justify the fact that they kept Knox in jail for 4 years. Knox was charged of defamation against Patrick Lumumba, an early suspect in the case; that charge carries a 3 year sentence. Having been acquitted of the murder charge, Knox should not have served any jail time. Perhaps continuing the defamation charge might also protect the Italians from prosecution/claims for monetary damages that they imprisoned an innocent person.

    Knox’s parents were also charged with defamation for saying Italian police abused their daughter before arresting her.

    @rafflaw: “The authorities need to prove who did the heinous killing. Only then will the victim’s family get justice.”

    Rudy Guede, “the Ivory Coast-born drifter”, was convicted and sentenced for Meredith Kercher’s murder. He received a 30-year sentence, confessing that he alone filled and raped Meredith. On appeal, his sentence was reduced to 16 years, when he agreed with Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini that Knox & her boyfriend, Sollecito, were also “there at the time.”

    Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini has been sentenced last year to 16 months for abuse of office after he ordered unauthorised wiretaps during another murder investigation. He is still waiting to find out when he will be jailed for that abuse of office conviction.

    Mignini, Perugia-born father of four, was in control of the investigation into the murder of Meredith Kercher from the moment he arrived at the murder scene on 2 November 2007. The police and forensic investigators answered to him and were at all times under his direction.
    He tried to insist that Knox and Sollecito’s slaying of Kercher was inspired by the occult. This is the same “theory” he claimed in the previous serial murder case: “the murders were the work of a satanic sect, dating back to the Middle Ages, that needed female body parts for their black masses, to serve as the blasphemous wafer.”

    This is just one of many articles which explain Mignini’s history of prosecutorial misconduct:

  4. She still had that charge of “defamation” upheld. Whatever that is. I gather she badmouthed the authorities, which is forbidden in some countries. By having that charge pending, I am wondering if the Italians are playing a game of making her afraid to travel outside the US for fear she will be arrested on an outstanding warrant.

    The ones fearful of traveling should be members of the Bush & Cheney cabal who have been accused of war crimes.

  5. Off Topic:

    Cory Maples Appeal: Alabama Death Row Inmate Takes Appeal Over Law Firm Error To Supreme Court

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is hearing the case of an Alabama death row inmate who missed a court deadline because two lawyers at a venerable New York firm handling his appeal moved on to other jobs and a court notice was returned to sender, address unknown.

    State and federal courts upheld Cory Maples’ death sentence and relied on the missed deadline to refuse to consider his claims that he received inadequate representation, dating back to his trial on charges he gunned down two friends in 1995.

  6. I think you are all missing a simple solution to all prosecution issues. Courts are complex and juries unreliable, The only solution is to appoint Nancy Grace as supreme judge; since she knows who is guilty and who is not and is never ever wrong she could easily rule on every case and we could all sleep well in the knowledge that justice was done.

  7. MSNBC: “Prosecutor to appeal Amanda Knox’s acquittal in murder case.”

    Would the US extradite in event of reversal?

  8. I am not aware of the nature of Italian law, but this seems to be as stunning as the Casey Anthony verdict.

  9. See . . . this is what I really like about this blog. A story comes along that I don’t follow for some reason and there is no doubt that if I missed something interesting, the regulars will give it a through working over.

  10. I have been considering writing a book on false confessions. I have a huge file of research on the subject and have testified on this kind of crap as an expert. It happens all the time in towns and cities small and large. The naive suspect does not stand a chance against an experienced interrogator (or team).

    If you wanted a textbook example of implanted false memories and coerced confession, this would be one of the best.

  11. Mespo.

    “She’s the most confused innocent person I’ve ever heard.”

    There is no surprise that she is confused. the brainwashing technique to which she was subjected is intended to make people confused, it is in fact the same technique as the communist in SE Asia used for brainwashing. Read former FBI agents Steve Moore’s analysis of the technique.

  12. I read it. Then I read her recapitulation of the confession in that rambling five page note. She is one uncertain soul but what she does concede is that she doesn’t know what happened and that she could have been at the house during the murder and that Patrik [sic] could have been the assailant. Even her boyfriend won’t vouch for her whereabouts on the night in question, and her utter disregard of her roomates’ safety after returning home, finding the door wide open and broken glass with a rock beneath it, all are unbelievable to me. It may well have been the crime of Rudy Guede acting alone, with two stoners who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, but she’s the most confused innocent person I’ve ever heard.

  13. Mespo.

    “and the blaming of an innocent man? “

    I have already explained the blaming of a innocent man, to understand this you have to realize that Knox was subjected to a coercive interview intended to generate a confession. It is an unfortunate fact that most people are unaware how easy it is to get a suspect to say what the interrogators want him to say if the an keep the pressure on for as long as they like and as intense as they like.

    The police had a strand of African hair from the murder scene and Patrick Lumumba was the only African they knew who was associated with Knox, so they brow beat Knox until she gave them a confession implicating both herself and Lumumba. It turned out that Patrick Lumumba had an unbreakable alibi so the police then used the fact that Knox had identified an innocent man under their coercion as alternative evidence of her guilt.

    Please read both articles on the interrogation at Injustice In Perugia to which I linked in my earlier posts. It is much easier for me than it is for me to paraphrase larger and larger sections of these articles. You cannot understand the core of the defense of Knox in the court of public opinion unless you read both these articles on coercive interrogations.

    On the matter of computer not having connected to the movie site, I am not sure where I read this, when I track it down I will post a link. The police confiscated both Knox and Kercher’s lap tops and “burned” them. I am not sure what exactly the article meant by “burned”, was it that they literally set them on fire or was it that they destroyed their contents. The result was that exculpatory information on them was lost.

  14. All true enough Carlyle, but how does one explain her alibi of watching a movie on a laptop that never connected with the movie site during the time in question, and the blaming of an innocent man? There is quite a bit more to this story and I am loathe to strike up the band on this exoneration, if that’s what it was. It’s the classic case of the constable blundering* a la’ OJ Simpson. Should we greet OJ with open arms? Any doubt as to his guilt now though I agree the verdict was entirely proper given the evidence the jury had to go on? I welcome the triumph of law not that of the guilty or those that would seem to be so.

    *As Justice Cardozo posed the question: Should the criminal go free because the constable has blundered? People v. Defore, 150 N.E. 585 (N.Y. 1926).

  15. Mespo.

    “Yours is the point made by the prosecutors and the one persuasive to me. Why blame an innocent unless you are guilty yourself?”

    This makes sense if the police interrogation of Knox was a proper interrogation and not one expressly designed to elicit a confession, true or not. In this case Knox’s description of the interrogation and that of the police do not match. obviously when a large number of police say one thing and a criminal defendant says another any decent person should believe the police as obviously a large number of police are not going to lie synchronously. What happens when this is not true? in the real world police do conduct abusive interrogations and all together lie denying that the interrogation was abusive.

    In the five days after the murder Knox was interrogated for 43 hours. the last session was of 8 hours being overnight from 10pm to 6 am and involving 12 detectives. The detectives “interviewed’ Knox in teams of 2 for an hour at a time tag team fashion. Knox had no food or water during this time and was assaulted (slapped on the back of the head) and insulted (called a stupid liar). She was told to imagine a scenario where Patrick Lumumba murdered Meredith Karcher while she listened.fro another room and eventually she did so imagine and later signed the confession that the police had prepared for her.

    The interrogation was not filmed as required, Knox did not have a lawyer as required and Knox was told she was being interviewed as a witness not a suspect. Because of this the interrogation was not admissible as evidence in the criminal case, but it was admissible in the civil case so the jury heard it anyway.

    OK, we cannot be sure that the interrogation was abusive, but the timing 10:00pm to 06:00am and the large number of detectives and the failure to allow the suspect to eat and drink is consistent with it being so. I suggest you read the articles on the interrogation at Injustice In Perugia.

    It may be that the techniques used by the police on Amanda Knox are standard operating procedure for the Perugia police alternatively perhaps they are only brought out when a seriously horrible crime threatens to disrupt tourism.

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