Thursday, May 26, 2011

Now The Grandstanding Junior Politician Girlanda Attempts Political Interference In Judicial Process

Posted by Peter Quennell

1. The Context

Rocco Girlanda is an Umbrian politician and father of five with a long and suspect history of inserting himself in this case.

He first rose to prominence when he dragged a parliamentary team into Capanne Prison right after the trial to make sure that Amanda Knox was quite comfortable. He emerged to make grinning self-congratulatory statements in front of every camera in sight.

Then he extended this privilege of politicians being allowed to inspect prisoner conditions into many more visits to Knox in Capanne, and a distinctly kinky book of Knox’s thoughts and his reflections emerged. That time-consuming process took him extensively away from the duties which Italy actually pays him for.

He also presided over two ill-attended panels for the Italy-USA Foundation of which he is the president (see here and here) and although he seemed to try very hard to insert emotional bias into the proceedings,  both the panels equivocated and he emerged essentially empty-handed.

Girlanda is notorious for seeming to be unable to grasp even the simplest details of the evidence and repeatedly mischaracterizing it. Six months ago we posted an open letter addressed to him with an extremely comprehensive series of questions to try to finally make him think straight.
Apparently no such luck.

2. Girlanda’s Political Strongarming

Here is Girlanda yet again raising grave but essentially spurious questions about Italian justice in this case, which in fact has been very well handled and which Italy can show to the world with real pride. 

The letter is addressed to the president of the Italian republic and a similar letter went to the minister of justice signed by a dozen Berlusconi-party MPs. Translation is kindly provided by our main poster Clander who also attended and reported on the second panel.

Girlanda’s nasty charges play strongly into the overtones of xenophobia toward Italy which have repeatedly dogged the case. Nice move, Girlanda. Mission achieved?!

The President of Italy-USA Foundation, Hon. Rocco Girlanda, sent the following letter to the President of Italian Republic, Hon. Giorgio Napolitano, regarding the case of Amanda Knox.

Illustrious President,

I address you as President of the Italy-USA Foundation - that as you know is an international bipartisan institution to which dozens of parliamentarians belong, together with Italian scientists, journalists, diplomats, politicians - and as a parliamentary member of the Judiciary Committee in the Chamber of Deputies.

The event of the American student Amanda Knox’s detainment has provoked many discussions and debates, above all in the United States where even members of Congress and other influential institutional personalities are involved. I have been working personally for over a year to try to alleviate the tensions, both in Italy and in the United States, that this case has generated.

Also, in full respect of the trial process and of the role of the judicial magistrates, we must make note that the appellate trial has objectively opened more wide and resounding doubts on what was considered clear evidence in the first phase, in which further expertise and examination of testimony were not admitted, limiting the debate in fact to the only reasons of accusation.

After all, the same president of the Court of Appeals has opened the second level of trial with an eloquent clarification: “The respect of article 533 of the Penal Procedure Code (pronunciation of sentence only if the accused is guilty of the offense contested beyond any reasonable doubt) does not consent to share totally the decision of the Criminal Court from the first level”.

The question that I ask myself is who will compensate two young twenty-year olds, in the hoped for case that the appellate trial recognizes their innocence, of the four years of life and freedom that they have been unjustly depraved and for which no economic compensation could ever reimburse.

The use of preventative incarceration will unfortunately with time characterize our country. Even in the United States such measures are difficult to comprehend in so far as the varying rules from state to state. In the U.S. one can be detained from 48 to 72 hours, after which they are officially charged or are released.

Trials like that of Perugia could be celebrated with the charged in conditions of freedom, eventually with the restrictive measures about the ex-patriot regarding a foreign citizen. Still, the magistrate has adopted the possible reiteration of the offense as a reason for the detention in jail, a motivation that I limit myself to define as surreal for those like me whom for over a year in these parts have had the chance to get to know Amanda Knox.

I have in fact felt the obligation to write a book on Amanda Knox filled with many talks that I had with her in prison, in order to bring her justice and to explain to the world’s public opinion that the true Amanda is a girl completely different from the image that, with the contributions of the media, has emerged from the trials.

All of the Penitentiary Police personnel of the prison of Perugia, that have come to know her in the past three years, have confirmed her exemplary behaviour done with respect and kindness towards all of the other detainees and towards the personnel. Amanda is a girl of which today I am proud to call a great friend. She is an ideal girl with which I would send my five children on vacation.

Yet from the beginning, this case has pointed out some of the forceful and disturbing rule of law. During the investigation, a television and internet interview was conducted with a State Police officer that showed the corridor of the Roman Police offices, where there are framed photographs of such figures like the leaders of organized crime, serial killers, and other criminals convicted with severe crimes.

The officer in question also showed some of the successes of the Central Operating Services, and right after the portrait of Bernardo Provenzano, head of the mafia, there was a framed portrait of Amanda Knox. This portrait was displayed in the State Police offices even before the first trial, and it was accompanied by very serious declarations to the press of that ruling (which has never been sanctioned) where he argues that a “psychological” investigation without the help of science and technology has, “allowed us to arrive very quickly to identify the culprits”.

Is it not necessary to recall here that according to the legal principles of our country a defendant can only be found guilty at the end of three sets of hearings by the judiciary and not at the end of police interviews. It seems indeed rather curious and disturbing that in a democratic and liberal state, despite what is required by the Code of Criminal Procedure about the need for absolute and unambiguous evidence, it is possible to judge a citizen convicted only on “psychological” bases after a police interrogation.

Through the light findings from the appeal process, the so-called evidence and testimonies of the prosecution have proved to be at best considered contradictory and unreliable. All of these distortions have occurred in the various phases of the investigation by the out of place statements from the police and during the first trial; they been widely reported and distributed throughout United States, even in talk shows with tens of million viewers.

These distortions, not without reason, are fueling accusations against the administration of justice in our country. As Martin Luther King wrote in a letter from the Birmingham, Alabama prison, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere… Justice too long delayed is justice denied”.

In this light and with the hope of a different ruling on the Amanda Knox trial taking place in Perugia, I’m well aware of the feelings you have towards the American nation and towards the excellent, historic friendship between the two countries. I would make an appeal, Mr. President, because your authoritative intervention will help to reconcile and mitigate the many controversies that this incident has generated on both sides of the Atlantic.

In expressing my deepest gratitude, to the many citizens of Italy and America that the Italy-USA Foundation is honoured to represent, I take this time to express my utmost respects. 

Rocco Girlanda

Pro-prosecution claims on talk shows in front of tens of millions? Really? All we have noticed 24/7/365 for over three years in the US is invented and seemingly libelous anti-police and anti-prosecution charges on the lines Girlanda is making.

No mention of course of Meredith, about whom, Girlanda doesn’t seem to give a damn.

3. New Development

New development reported by Italian poster ncountryside

MP Rocco Girlanda’s Parliamentary Question about Perugia police incompetennce or corruption can be now monitored here:

The complaint to the President as head of the justice system can be read in full in Comments below in Italian.

The other lawmakers who signed the question are:

Lucio Barani, born in Aulla (Massa-Carrara) on May 27th, 1953;
degree in medicine;
constituency: XII ““ Tuscany.

Francesco De Luca, born in Naples on May 31st, 1961;
degree in law;
constituency: VII ““ Veneto 1.

Carla Castellani, born in Rieti on January 13th, 1944;
degree in medicine;
constituency: XVII ““ Abruzzo.

Mariella Bocciardo, born in Genoa on August 21st, 1949;
high school in foreign languages;
constituency: III ““ Lombardy 1.

Gian Carlo Abelli, born in Broni (Pavia) on May, 11th, 1941;
high school;
constituency: V ““ Lombardy 3.

Gianni Mancuso, born in S. Pellegrino Terme (Bergamo) on July 24th, 1957;
degree in veterinary medicine;
constituency: II ““ Piemonte 2.

Domenico Di Virgilio, born in Montefino (Teramo) on June 23rd, 1939;
degree in medicine;
constituency: XV ““ Lazio 1.

Agostino Ghiglia, born in Turin on July 4th, 1965;
high school ““ lyceum;
constituency: I ““ Piemonte 1.

Tommaso Foti, born in Piacenza on April 28th, 1960;
high school ““ lyceum;
constituency: XI ““ Emilia Romagna.

Gabriella Carlucci, (”¦ yes !! her “¦) born in Alghero (Sassari) on February 28th, 1959;
degree in literatures and art hystory, journalist (... vabbe’);
constituency: XXI ““ Puglia.



E io: “Maestro, che è tanto greve
a lor che lamentar li fa sì forte?”
Rispuose: “Dicerolti molto breve.
Questi non hanno speranza di morte,
e la lor cieca vita e’ tanto bassa,
che ‘nvidïosi son d’ogne altra sorte.
Fama di loro il mondo esser non lassa;
misericordia e giustizia li sdegna:
non ragioniam di lor, ma guarda e passa.”

(Inferno, canto III, 43-51)

And I: ‘Master, what is so grievous to them
that they lament so bitterly?’
He replied: ‘I can tell you in few words.
‘They have no hope of death,
and their blind life is so abject
that they are envious of every other lot.
‘The world does not permit report of them.
Mercy and justice hold them in contempt.
Let us not speak of them—look and pass by.’

(Translation from Princeton Dante Project)

Posted by ncountryside on 05/26/11 at 11:21 PM | #

Rocco said: “Through the light findings from the appeal process, the so-called evidence and testimonies of the prosecution have proved to be at best considered contradictory and unreliable .... These distortions, not without reason, are fueling accusations against the administration of justice in our country.”

The best and most effective contribution that this guy could make to justice in the murder of Meredith Kercher is to shut up and let the legal process advance. It’s news to me that the evidence in this trial is unreliable.

There is no rift here between the USA and Italy, only between the handful of Friends of Amanda cronies and Entourage on one hand, and the rest of the world on the other.

If he wants to improve the administration of justice in his country, he could talk to his legal ally Berlusconi, and encourage him to stop acting like he’s above the law, and respond to the charges of corrupting a minor.

Posted by Kermit on 05/27/11 at 12:00 AM | #

Poor President Napolitano! It was bad enough having to read all that crap from CPJ but now he gets this rubbish. Oh well, another one for the paper basket.

Incidentally, perhaps ncountryside can help us out. What exactly are the powers of an Italian President?

Can he make an authoritative intervention.? I thought the judiciary was independent.

This all smacks of an on-the-make politician buttering up americans in the hope of obtaining money, publicity and influence for the kind of major political career breakthrough in Italy of which he, like all politicians, dreams.

Incidentally I watched an interesting programme on TV tonight which suggests that there is perhaps a psychopath in every one hundred of us. Only a few commit criminal offences. A high proportion go on to become captains of industry, heads of investment banking and the like and, of course, politicians.

Posted by James Raper on 05/27/11 at 12:14 AM | #

A commentary posted on the Seattle Weekly site - good but for the incorrect claim that “most outside observers have found major faults with the way that the Knox case has been handled.”


So what do these 11 Italian lawmakers all have in common? They are all members of embattled Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s party.

This might be unremarkable if it weren’t for the fact that Berlusconi is currently in the midst of a heated battle to try and strip power away from Italian courts. Just today, for example, he called his own country a “dictatorship of left-wing prosecutors.”

Why would he want prosecutors to have less power? Perhaps because he’s currently facing charges of bribery and having sex with an underage prostitute, then paying to have it covered up.

In fact, attacking the Italian court system has been a favorite hobby over the years for Berlusconi, who, besides the latest accusations, has faced 20 some charges of corruption and abuse of power over the years. In almost every case he (with the help of his party) has been able to pass changes to the law that have kept him out of jail.

This latest effort to attack the country’s justice system may certainly be warranted, as most outside observers have found major faults with the way that the Knox case has been handled.

But the reason for it has a much greater chance of being about saving Berlusconi’s ass from being thrown in jail than helping an American student that he and his party feels has been wrongfully convicted.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/27/11 at 01:35 AM | #

A picture’s worth 1,000 words: Rocco in full disrespect mode. I hope his letter is thrown in the trash where it belongs.

Posted by Hopeful on 05/27/11 at 01:56 AM | #

James Raper

I am not a lawyer. That said …. The post “Why The Italian Judiciary’s Probably Less Prone to Pressure Than Any Other In The World” by Commissario Montalbano of November 13, 2009 explains very well this matter.

“ …. Can he make an authoritative intervention.? ….”

The President Napolitano is the president of Judiciary (stated in Constitution) and therefore is the President of the Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura; he isn’t among the most combative presidents we have had, so don’t expect too much from him in this case. Then there is the Minister of Justice, Alfano, he might send an administrative inspection but, as you well know, this moment isn’t among the happiest for his party, so, in my opinion, other more urgent concerns for him. At the end we should eventually have the President of 2nd Committee (Justice) in Parliament ( the Lawyer Giulia Bongiorno, but now she is a political opponent of Rocco Wreath-Girlanda and, after all, her client is the only Raffaele.

In conclusion “ …. Rocco Wreath-Girlanda is an Umbrian politician and father of five with a long and suspect history of inserting himself in this case. …. “ . Correct. In Italy the spanish term “peon” is commonly used to indicate this kind of politician.

Unfortunately, in this country, there are however serious conflicts between politics and the judiciary; in my opinion this problem is real and not easy to solve; the most relevant example is an event probably not well known outside Italy, happened on 5th December,1985, President Francesco Cossiga ( who arrived in that assembly, the CSM in Rome, together a battalion of Carabinieri ready to remove all the members. Sorry I cannot find anything in English. But this shows that an authoritative intervention by the President (with the help of the Army) is not prohibited by Constitution.

Posted by ncountryside on 05/27/11 at 02:25 AM | #

I guess this answers my question in the comments section of the previous entry. You can delete it if you want peter

Posted by Barry on 05/27/11 at 02:27 AM | #

The Italian justice system has not bent one inch for Berlusconi so it is supremely unlikely to do so for Girlanda.

After all, Knox does have very competent defense, a point Girlanda “forgets” to make - and one of them is Giulia Bongiorno, chairperson of the justice committee on which he sits.

Will she be insulted or pleased? Her main wish almost certainly is to get this loser of a case behind her with absolutely minimum fuss.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/27/11 at 02:38 AM | #

Girlanda aside this group sounds like it has more than one scumbag in the eleven.

Posted by friar fudd on 05/27/11 at 11:27 PM | #

What a beautiful poem, ncountryside. However , I want to talk about something completely different .I have already mentioned that I have been hospitalized several times in a psychiatric ward and it was not without reason. The truth is I have been suffering from a borderline personality disorder for foour years now, I have attacked people with knives , scissors and threatened them , attempted suicide several times. In that respect I have not been unlike Amanda Knox. The worst thing I did in my life was kick another girl several times in the back very hard. I have been beaten up myself as well and it happened way back in my childhood. The girl`s name was Alona. I am using this webpage to apologize to Alona because I don´twant to end up like Knox who has never apologized to Meredith. I am sorrier than anything can tell , Alona.

Posted by aethelred23 on 05/28/11 at 07:43 PM | #

Here’s a word of encouragement to you, aethelred23. I believe Alona would appreciate your post. It is touching to see your humility. That and honesty are the best policy.

This is an inadequate response to your serious issues, but search out websites for BPD and you may find a lot of feedback to help you. I would recommend website for Benny Hinn or Richard Roberts where spiritual healing can occur.

It is probably good you could see Amanda’s situation, she may have BPD with violent tendencies. Anger management has become a watchword in the U.S.A. You are not alone. Stay strong and keep sowing good seed and believing for it to return to you multiplied in a way that meets your needs.

You have shared several insights about the Knox case. It shows you have a basic supply of good intelligence so don’t despair. Maybe the mind that causes you problems through moodswings or other reasons will also lead you back to yourself. Peace.

Posted by Hopeful on 05/28/11 at 09:41 PM | #

Excuse me please because I don’t wish to appear stupid or sidetrack the current discussion. but has it been ascertained as to Sollecito’s sisters whereabouts during the murder and subsequent clean up?

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 05/31/11 at 01:50 PM | #

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