The recent trial of Amanda Knox has highlighted serious flaws in the Italian legal system ranging from shoddy investigatory standards to sentence aggravators based on defense arguments (implication other parties) to criminal penalties for defaming the police or prosecution. While we often discuss the flaws in our own system, the Knox litigation has been an embarrassment of legal process. However, the system does apparently police misconduct by judges in public statements, an area of recurring concerns in this country by justices and http://jonathanturley.org/2013/05/07/judge-in-casey-anthony-case-publicly-proclaims-his-belief-in-her-guilt-and-dishes-on-case/ alike. Florence judge Alessandro Nencini made comments after the trial on the defendants and defense strategy that has triggered not only an investigation but raised new defense arguments for reversal.
Nencini was the presiding judge on a panel that upheld the guilty verdict of the original trial court for both Knox, 26, and her ex-boyfriend.
Italy’s justice minister Annamaria Cancellieri announced an investigation into the comments by Nencini about the decision of Knox’s former boyfriend not to testify as well as difficulties with the evidentiary record. Nencini is now the subject of demands for an investigation by the defense team, the Justice Minister and even members of the magistrate’s governing body over the breach of secrecy and professional ethics.
Among Nencini’s comments to the Corriere della Sera and il Messaggero newspapers was that statement that “[t]he ability not to be heard in a trial is a right, but it deprives the subject of a voice.” Nencini has apologized for what were “casual” comments.
The words still pale in comparison to such controversies as the one involving the judge in the Casey Anthony case.