Amanda Knox’s Conviction Reinstated By Italian Court

foxy-knoxy-machine-gunAmanda_Knox_8An Italian court has reversed the ruling of an earlier appellate court that found Amanda Knox not guilty in the murder of her roommate Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy. The latest court actually handed down a longer sentence against Knox who has remained in Seattle, Washington with her family. The case has drawn attention to a number of flaws in the Italian legal system and I have serious reservations over this ruling. I believe that there is evidence that Knox committed the crime but the evidence is highly circumstantial and much of the crime scene was contaminated by poor police work.

This is the fourth verdict in the sensational murder case. The earlier appeals jury overturned the convictions of Knox and Sollecito four years before that ruling. 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. 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.

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. The earlier jury proved itself dispassionate and disciplined is separating speculation from fact in overturning the convictions.

The decision this week pushed aside those problems over the 2007 murder. It seemed to punish Knox for not appearing in Italy (which is her right) and gave her 28 years and six months in prison. Her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and co-defendant was sentenced to 25 years. She was previously given 26 years.

Her lawyer Knox’s attorney, Carlo Dalla Vedova qouted Dante in response noting that Dante reserved the lower circle of hell for those who betrayed trust in reference to the police. It was a curious choice since many people in Italy view that particular circle as made for Knox.

Knox issued a statement that she was “frightened and saddened by this unjust verdict” and “expected better from the Italian justice system.” Her counsel will now appeal but her domestic counsel will not to be prepared for an extradition demand. However, while Presiding Judge Alessando Nencini ordered the 29-year-old Sollecito’s passport revoked, he made no requests for Knox’s movements to be limited, saying she was “justifiably abroad.”

As I discussed on ABC News, extradition may be hard to fight even though this could still take years before she is faced by re-incarceration. It must first go to the Italian Supreme Court, then to the Foreign Ministry for an extradition request, then to the State Department, and potentially to a court to review the basis for extradition. However, that review is limited. While this case looks like double jeopardy with four verdicts, the Italians are likely to argue that the system is simply different and that no final stage was reached in the process until it was heard by the Italian Supreme Court. The Italian system has multiple fact-based proceedings of this kind. It is a system that has been heavily criticized for its inefficiency and inconsistency. However, a court could easily conclude that this is not multiple convictions for the same offense. In the end, this will become a diplomatic issue and the U.S. (particularly when it is demanding the extradition of Edward Snowden) is unlikely to refuse a close ally. We demand more extraditions from other countries than we sent to other countries. The issue is not likely to be a close one for the Obama Administration in ordering the U.S. Attorney in Seattle to carry out an extradition demand from Italy. However, that could be years away since the Italian system moves at a glacial pace.

Two Italian judges and six jurors reached the decision after about six hours of deliberation.

big-brotherIn the bizarre world of American celebrity crimes, the store of the conviction ran with the apparently equally important story that Knox has been dropped from the CBS reality show “Big Brother.” Knox had hope to win the $500,000 grand prize by being the last person evicted on “Big Brother.” Somehow a conviction for murdering your last roommate is viewed as a bar on participation with the roommates on the reality show. A bit too real.

98 thoughts on “Amanda Knox’s Conviction Reinstated By Italian Court”

  1. The one figure courts never like to shout about is the number of successful appeals as it points to failings of the courts
    Once an appeal has been successful, then there must exist reasonable doubt
    I do not believe that Amanda conducted herself too well but I do not believe she is guilty of the murder, either way, I fail to see how anybody could conclude that she had a fair trial or that the facts were established beyond reasonable doubt

  2. Interesting that M.K. guilters crowd has not found this web site yet. And take it over.

  3. Legal Question:
    If the US can refuse to honor our extradition treaty because US laws grant her protection due to double-jeopardy can any nation equally refuse to honor a treaty if their laws differ from the other countries laws?

    If someone escapes from prison and runs to mexico can Mexico say that breaking out of jail is not against their laws so they won’t extradite the person?

    If some drug cartel dealer escapes to a country that makes certain drugs legal can that person be safe from extradition?

    What if a country allows a criminal to pay a fine to escape jail or has a shorter sentence for the crime, can that country refuse to honor their treaties?

    Seems that if this is so extradition treaties are useless as they can “legally” be denied at anytime by having different laws.

    Why would we expect Italy to grant Knox “rights” not granted to her by Italy?

  4. All police forces, all judiciaries and all prosecutorial offices are more or less incompetent and more or less corrupt, for any particular one of them the only questions are whether that one is more or less on each attribute.

    The world in respect to the Meredith Kercher case seems to be polarized, their are guilters who believe that the Italian Justice system has correctly convicted a wicked murderess and there are innocenters who believe that the corrupt and/or incompetent Italian justice system has managed to convict two innocents who had nothing to do with the crime.

    I come down on the side of the innocenters,

    The Perugia police are obviously incompetent as shown by the recordings of their bungled evidence collection without using tweezers or changing gloves. The question is to what extent corruption played a part. One instance is Amanda Knox’s coerced false confession. To harass a person until he/she says what one wants him/her to say is corrupt. To fail to record the interrogation when recording is legally required is corrupt, to refuse to admit to the techniques used to obtain the confession is corrupt. I strongly suggest that people who believe that wicked Amanda incriminated an innocent man read something about false confessions such as the article linked above. For the guilters on this thread I warn that Injustice In Perugia is an innocenter site, but its description of extracting a false confession is as good as you will find anywhere similar information can be found elsewhere by googling “false confessions”. The Perugia Police had found hairs from an African in Meredith Kerchers room, Amanda Knox had exchanged text messages with her boss Patrick Lumumba who is African who had texted her that she was not needed that night, Amanda had replied “See you later, good night”. The Perugia police read this text message and fixated on the “see you later” which to to an English speaker means goodbye and interpreted it as an agreement to meet later that night for a bit of murder completely ignoring the “good night” that followed it. Note See you is goodbye in many languages for example French “au revoir”(till I see you again), Mandarin Chinese “Zai Jian” (Again See). The Perugia Police pole jumped to the conclusion that the African hairs in Meredith Kercher’s room belonged to Patrick Lumumba and pressed Amanda for a “confession” implicating him. Note what police harassed Amanda into doing was to imagine a scene where she was in the house while Meredith screamed as Patrick murdered her, it was not a confession but an imagined scenario specified by the police. Note, had Amanda actually participated in the murder she would have known about Rudy Guede and given a real confession implicating him so the fact that she implicated an innocent man is evidence that she had nothing to do with it.

    One of the disastrous mistakes that Amanda’s and Raffaele’s legal teams made was to treat the calumny against Patrick Lumumba as a minor problem which they failed to confront. They allowed her to be convicted and this leads many people to argue that she is very wicked as she implicated an innocent man, therefore she is of bad character and must be guilty. One suspects that the Court of Cassation and the Florence court gave considerable weight to this. It is obvious that coerced false confessions are standard operating procedure for the Perugia police and possibly all police forces in Italy, some of the detectives involved in the tag team brain washing of Amanda had come up from Rome especially. It is significant that the Perugia appeal court endorsed the calumny conviction likely because to do otherwise would have been to admit that the “confession” was coerced and making such admissions is taboo as it threatens one of the police tools necessary for when police know that someone is guilty but cannot find real evidence. Acceptance of calumny conviction as being valid is two millstones around Amanda’s and Raffaele’s necks.

    One question is the balance between incompetence and corruption in other aspects of the police work. Did the police really believe that Amanda was guilty or was it a case of needing a suitable scape goat swiftly to “resolve” the case lest fear of a murderer at large damage Perugia’s tourism and University industries. It may be that some police knew she had nothing to do with it but considered her suitable scapegoat because she was of bad character, a promiscuous sl*t who did not show emotions appropriate after the brutal murder of a housemate. In my view rational police finding out about Rudy Guede’s role in the murder, would have released Amanda and Raffaele and apologized. It is not necessary to assume corruption, incompetence leading to leaping to unjustified conclusions and inability to question assumptions made earlier when new evidence arrives are common factors in miscarriages of justice or it may have been the neccessity to protect the standard operating procedure of coercing confessions, had they released Amanda & Raffaele that would imply that the confession was invalid and therefore coerced. It may be that this same imperative is behind the decisions of the Court of Cassation and the Florance appeal court.later

  5. BarkinDog

    You are barkin up the wrong tree. Mussolini was bad but so was Jim Crow. I don’t hear about scores of persons convicted by Italian courts serving long prison sentences before being exonerated via DNA; nor do I hear about Italian courts imposing the death penalty; not do I hear about an Italian gulag; nor do I hear about Italian courts ordering a defendant beaten with a cane for chewing gum.

    All judicial systems are imperfect because the people who handle the cases are imperfect. Theirs is no more or less perfect than ours. It is just different. There is nothing inherently unjust in the Italian judicial system.

    Most of the time, at least in democracies, justice is attained. Most likely justice is being reached in Amanda Knox’s case too – I can’t be sure, I wasn’t there.
    In any event, Amanda needs to take her punishment like a man (even though she is not) and return to Italy. Would not we all be angry if Italy refused to extradict a convicted murderer to the United States? Actually, they do, but only in death penalty eligible cases and, yes, that does make me angry.

  6. She’s a pretty, upper middle class, white girl. She’ll NEVER be extradited.

  7. Anyone who has read The Monster of Florence by Preston and Spezi will understand that some of the same players in the Knox case were playing to and playing the media throughout the case. In addition, the book describes the interrogation tactics which easily lead to false confession. The book also does a credible job of pointing out how one of the officials in the Monster case (also involved in the Knox case) lifted his theory of the Monster crimes almost verbatim from a whack-job blogger. And…the Italian justice system tried and convicted four different men for the Monster crimes….pretty much demonstrably unrelated to each other and all convictions occurring at four different times. Hardly a credible bunch. So, you’ll excuse me if I’m very skeptical of the case they threw at Knox and her bf. Like many of you, I think there’s just not a case there. (Yes, I’d like to see actual documents Zipser keeps mentioning.)

  8. It is obvious the Italian system of justice in inferior to the American and that Ms Knox is as “clean as a hound’s tooth.” Examples of the Italian system that suggest inchoate justice are Guantanamo, the Zimmerman-Martin case, the application of the death penalty and most egregiously the outlawery of the Supreme Court from Dred, to Plessy to Shelby County. Oops I may have the wrong country. Well back to U.C.L.A. 2L for torts. Zipster should be credited for piercing through the illogic and nativism of the American psyche. His knowledge of the Italian system suggests considerable intimacy with the case; I wonder who it really is?

  9. Now for what I consider a very significant part of the extradition process if it comes to this point with Amanda’s case.

    I invite you to read a synopsis of the US / Italy extradition treaty

    There is a clause concerning double jeopardy. There is some concern if the double-jeopardy is considered by the US standard, which I opin is subject to the US constitution.

    Article 5 provides that extradition shall be denied when the offense for which extradition is requested is a political or military offense. Article 6 provides that extradition shall be denied when the person sought has been in jeopardy in the requested State for the same offense. Article 8 provides that extradition shall be denied where the requesting State’s statute of limitation bars prosecution or enforcement of the penalty.

  10. Justagirl is correct about confessions obtained by forced methods. It essentially is this method. The police bring in the person and see if there will be an honest straight up confession. If that is not readily obtained the police apply more pressure. The defendant denies guilt repeatedly. The police then go on, and on, and on. The defendant does not control the time or the method, the defendant is subjected to the will of the police. Applying numerous techniques, depravation of sleep, bathroom breaks, food, fear, threats, yelling, intimidating etc. Defendant begins to break down. It is only a matter of time. There is also a feedback loop that can take place. The defendant continues to deny, which angers the police who become rougher, some defendants will become more steadfast which causes the police to apply more pressure out of either anger or frustration, or the defendant begins to buckle which the police interpret the defendant is on the virge of convessing so the police then rush in and quickly up the heat. Either out of fear that some worse fate is upon them or they just want the terrible situation to end, they make some form of confession. Either it is minor or major. In either case, and this is very significant, the defendant can deny the story 1000 times but the police only want one moment of confession. Once obtained, they over emphasize the confession and minimize the techniques used. i.e. We brought the defendant in for interrogation and she confessed to the murder. Case closed. The abusive methods used, swept under the rug.

    That is why a good judge, when he / she learns of a police investigator slapping a defendant during an interrogation or spending 18 hours of solid interrogation is going to toss out all evidence derived from the interrogation. Unlike a lot of police shows where NYC cops slap around and hose down defendants in the interrogation room, that doesn’t fly in a real court of justice.

  11. Vince, while I don’t disagree with you on those points,
    Fact is, just as in the USA, there are crazy prosecutors who will bring wild
    charges against innocent people that are NOT grounded in any reality, this is also true of the Italian system. This is true of MANY systems.

    When this kind of crime happens in a smaller town in ANY country,
    it is stands to reason that because they do not have the resources and
    the experience with something like this, it gets royally messed up….

    There are videos of the Crime Scene Investigators making ALL kinds of
    rookie errors while collecting the evidence.

    Also, just as in the USA, Interrogations are sometimes carried out by OVERZEALOUS people who don’t want the truth…. They just want somebody
    to pin the crime on. and many times, logic and reason depart the scene rather quickly…….

    Now, I am NOT an American Apologist by any stretch….
    My passport may be USA, but I live in the EU…
    I am not one who in general will believe an American over a European….
    I may love my country… BUT, I think we have a LONG way to go
    and we make many mistakes, many you mention in your list Vince….

    And yes, there are white women who will point the finger at
    the black guy… it has happened in a few HIGH profile cases…..
    However, from reading many… MANY articles on the interrogation
    and the many expert opinions from FBI Specialists,
    I am going to trust that what Lumumba said first about being beaten
    and coerced…. and if he says this happened to him, it is NOT a stretch that
    this is also what happened to Knox and this is how his name was
    brought into this whole mess…..

    It sounds exactly like what has happened OVER and OVER in the USA….
    There are many cases where people were pushed and pushed and
    finally pointed the finger at one of their friends.

    Just read about the Norfolk Four, This is exactly that kind of crazy case…

  12. Great discussion guys. I have to admit that I would expect that the police should have been able to find some blood on someone in this kind of grisly stabbing. I agree with Mespo and others that there is not enough evidence for a conviction.

  13. It seems that Lumumba was also treated in the same fashion as Amanda Knox was.
    Brutal interrogations with MORE than 5 different interrogators
    over an extended amount of time…..

    This coincides with what Knox said happened to her….
    Being hit in the head… Threatened… etc….

    Under those conditions it is COMMON knowledge that people will falsely confess to anything, just to make it STOP…..

    So, the people stuck on Knox pointing her finger at this guy,
    this would NOT have been an unreasonable scenario……

  14. At some point after his release, Lumumba decided to change his story about his ordeal with the police. It seems that money certainly played a major role in his decision making. Lumumba sued the police for his wrongful imprisonment seeking 516,000 Euros (approx. $700,000) in damages, but in the end he was only awarded $8,000.

    If Lumumba wanted a higher payday he would have to pursue a case against Amanda Knox. He obviously could not stick with his story that he was horribly mistreated by the police if he expected to win a lawsuit against Amanda because his claims would further support Amanda’s defense argument that her statements were coerced. So, without explanation, Lumumba changed his story. Now Lumumba would claim that he was not beaten by his interrogators and called a stupid black. In fact he decided to buddy up with the same police officers that he had once accused of mistreatment, acting as if they were exemplary officers just doing their jobs.

  15. “They hit me over the head and yelled ‘dirty black’. Then they put handcuffs on me and shoved me out of the door, as Aleksandra pulled Davide away, screaming.”

    The police were well prepared when they came for Lumumba, bringing a fleet of seven squad cars to his home in order to give him a safe escort him back to the police station. When Lumumba arrived at the station, much like Amanda, he was subjected to a long grueling interrogation.

    Lumumba revealed this information in an interview with the Daily Mail. I certainly do not view the Daily Mail as a reliable source but Lumumba later confirmed everything with Katie Crouch from

    “I was questioned by five men and women, some of whom punched and kicked me. They forced me on my knees against the wall and said I should be in America where I would be given the electric chair for my crime. All they kept saying was, ‘You did it, you did it.’”

  16. Early on, Lumumba had told the press that he was mistreated by the police and endured a brutal interrogation. You would think that his experience with the police would give him an understanding as to why Amanda described a “vision” during her interrogation that imagined Lumumba attacking Meredith while Amanda listened from another room (I discuss Amanda’s interrogation extensively in “Injustice in Perugia” and again in the Preface of this book). As we know, Amanda endured an all night interrogation where she was repeatedly told that Lumumba committed the crime and she was told to imagine that it occurred. Shortly after the interrogation ended, Amanda recanted her statements stating that she was under the pressures of stress, shock and extreme exhaustion. Amanda’s retraction had no influence on the police; they needed their trio of suspects to fulfill Mignini’s fantasy so they rushed out to arrest Lumumba anyway.

Comments are closed.