Monday, July 25, 2011

Tenth Appeal Court Session: Might Today’s Testimony Give Sollecito More Of An Advantage Than Knox?

Posted by Peter Quennell





As expected the Italian reporting is a lot cooler and more dispassionate than that in English. The prevailing attitude is one of let us wait and see.

There are at least three good reasons for this.

Italians sat through the trial and the talk shows on television in a way that other nationalities didn’t and saw it as a fair and open process where the prosecution did an excellent job and the defenses were often pretty bumbling. And several times in the past two weeks the nationally respected DNA expert Luciano Garofano has cautioned the nation that juries should not over-weight forensic evidence in comparison with all the rest.

Also Mr Maresca was shown on national TV after today’s hearing saying this:

In my opinion, they have not worked in a completely non-partisan way. Next Saturday we will explain to the judges who have not followed the whole discussion [in the 2009 trial] all that was presented in the first trial of experts’ findings.

In their review they have responded to only the requests of the defence and not of the prosecution, and I don’t know if an [impartial] expert should do this. In the expert’s report they have not even referred to a single request from the prosecution.

Still, after her dismal misfires over the testimony of Alessi and Aviello and Rudy Guede, Sollecito lawyer Giulia Bongiorno might tonight have some reason to be a bit pleased. At least until the end of next Saturday when she will have sat through a fierce rebuttal.

Today’s testimony clearly showed that the handling of the bra clasp has its problems - though the prosecution will point out that there is still no scenario for precisely how Sollecito’s DNA was present and pressed so hard into the clasp if he did not do it himself.

Knox’s position seems much more problematic.

She was the only one to have a reason to rearrange the crime scene, she was the one to finger Patrick Lumumba for no obvious reason if she was not guilty, she placed herself at the scene in her several so-called confessions, and her pattern of phone calls remains very incriminating. Those mixed-blood traces in the bathroom and corridor and Filomena’s room are of Knox’s blood mixed with Meredith’s, not Sollecito’s,  and those appear to be her footprints revealed with luminol on the floor.

If the bra clasp evidence is discounted after next saturday, what physical evidence would then tie Sollecito to the house at the time of Meredith’s death?

Pretty well only the footprint on the bathmat which (for reasons we have never understood) the Knox camp has spent years discrediting. And Sollecito cut Knox adrift on 5 November 2007 when he presented an alibi in which he was at the house all night whereas she wasnt. He said at the time Knox had lied.

She was the one seen at the Conad supermarket at a time when she said she was asleep. And her phone was shown at the trial to have been elsewhere on the night Meredith died.

Stefanoni probably has her best shot in rebuttal in maintaining the knife evidence as credible, because at least one defense witness observed her one-time-only testing and saw Meredith’s DNA profile appear in front of his eyes. Her methods were not out of line with low-count DNA practices elsewhere in Europe, and the American comparisons seem suspect and irrelevant.

We still agree with the Supreme Court of Cassation’s finding at Guede’s final appeal that the forensic evidence in Meredith’s room and on her body points overwhelmingly to three assailants having been present.

But the appeal court might just buy the notion that there were actually only two.

Giulia Bongiorno has often gone her own way in defense of Sollecito (for example in calling Alessi and Aviello) and she is nationally respected for presiding over the justice committee in parliament. And the Sollecitos are said to not like the Knoxes and Mellases very much.

So in light of today’s bra clasp evidence she might now be tempted to bet the bank and put Sollecito on the stand. To claim he was not present when Meredith died.




Comments

Two questions on Italian law here, Pete. Can the court find one of them guilty, but not the other? (Amanda looking guiltier, Raffaele having “reasonable doubt”)

And if the trial proceeds to Rome, can Giulia Bongiorno then unjoin the two, or are they joined together forevermore?

Barbie Nadeau did say in Angel Face Bongiorno may have made a fatal error by not calling for separate trials at the beginning. I can only guess the Americans bamboozled the Sollecitos into believing they had a vast army of media and public supporters who’d help get them off.

Posted by Ergon on 07/25/11 at 10:51 PM | #

Hi Ergon

We now see the classic Prisoner’s Dilemma. One stands a better chance of getting off than two. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/prisoner-dilemma/ The Sollecitos and their lawyers seem much brighter. Chances are they see this too.

Yes Bongiorno would love to go her own way. And the appeal outcomes can be different. They already were at the trial where Knox was sentenced to 26 years and Sollecito to only 25 years.

The Supreme Court might agree to hear separate appeals at that level. It makes some surprising decisions though more often hard-line than not. They seem to have a certain disdain for the first-level appeal courts (Judge Hellman will know that) and a certain liking for the original trial courts.

Edda Mellas in sounding despondent the other day was hopeful that the Supreme Court would spring Knox if the appeal court does not. The Supreme Court does not act like that. If it does not like something it refers it back down to the appeal court to get it right. That can go on over several rounds.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/25/11 at 11:22 PM | #

“]In their review they have responded to only the requests of the defence and not of the prosecution, and I don’t know if an [impartial] expert should do this. In the expert’s report they have not even referred to a single request from the prosecution.”

Can someone tell me what have been the requests put forward by the prosecution? What is Maresca referring to? Thanks in advance.

Posted by Nell on 07/26/11 at 07:44 AM | #

I predict that eventually the jury will get this right and the blame will fall where it’s supposed to. That means Knox will get most of the blame and therefore the harshest sentence. When (If) this happens (fingers crossed here) I just wonder what will happen in the US. Will they sue to have Knox serve out her sentance in a US jail. I hope not because of course she will get the Casey Anthony ‘Time Served’ nonsense and be out and on the talk show circuit. This possibility is making me sick so I will stop speculating

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 07/26/11 at 08:03 AM | #

Grahame, I found this resource on prisoner transfer treaties http://www.travel.state.gov/law/legal/treaty/treaty_1989.html
The United States does NOT have a bilateral treaty with Italy. However, it is a signatory to a multilateral treaty: Council of Europe-Strasbourg Convention http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/en/Summaries/Html/112.htm
“The Convention is primarily intended to facilitate the social rehabilitation of prisoners by giving foreigners convicted of a criminal offence the possibility of serving their sentences in their own countries. It is also rooted in humanitarian considerations, since difficulties in communication by reason of language barriers and the absence of contact with relatives may have detrimental effects on a person imprisoned in a foreign country.

Transfer may be requested by either the State in which the sentence was imposed (sentencing State) or the State of which the sentenced person is a national (administering State). It is subject to the consent of those two States as well as that of the sentenced person.

The Convention also lays down the procedure for enforcement of the sentence following the transfer. Whatever the procedure chosen by the administering State, a custodial sentence may not be converted into a fine, and any period of detention already served by the sentenced person must be taken into account by the administering State. The sentence in the administering State must not be longer or harsher than that imposed in the sentencing State”

I believe that negotiations are under way to draft a bilateral treaty between Italy and the Us, but it may take several years to ratify it.

Posted by Ergon on 07/26/11 at 09:58 AM | #

Thank you Ergon
          That is good news indeed particularly considering that US prisons are far more harsh that their Italian counterpart. I just hope that should this eventually come about that pressure to free Knox will be ignored by the US justice department who seem to be a law unto themselves.

One other thing. I wrote this before but posted it in the wrong place.

Considering the American penchant for the thirty second sound bite without considering it’s implications, I predict that by this time next week all these screams of “Contaminated Evidence”
coming from the US media will be replaced by something else.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 07/26/11 at 10:12 AM | #

Hi Nell

A group of prosecution experts asked for the independent review to be sure to bone up on the state of the art in low count DNA testing in Europe.

Somehow in the report Europe got displaced. That might have been a concern way back.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/26/11 at 11:03 AM | #

http://www.lanazione.it/umbria/cronaca/2011/07/26/551254-meredith_aviello.shtml

So Aviello lied for money because he wanted a sex change??

Posted by mojo on 07/26/11 at 04:14 PM | #

Mojo.
Bongiorno is a person unable to lose and stranger to patience (and, unfortunately, a complete failure as right-wing politician, of course) so the trial could run out of her control.

Grahame Rhodes, Ergon.
After Silvia Baraldini’s case I think the italian government couldn’t eventually refuse a bilateral agreement with US, when required.

Posted by ncountryside on 07/26/11 at 04:56 PM | #

Hi Mojo and Ncountryside.

Watching this carefully. We always expected Alessi and Aviello to be investigated for perjury (so did Alessi’s lawyer) and said that several times in the posts. Sounds like Aviello got his charge in first after raising it on the stand.

I guess Bongiorno will be speaking up soon. She already threatened to sue Aviello’s cellmates for their claims on the stand of money available if they testified. Now Aviello says the offer came direct from Sollecito in Terni prison.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/26/11 at 05:09 PM | #

Does anyone know whether there have been reports in the Italian press concerning Aviello’s testimony about the supposed hidden knife and keys?  Surely the police must have investigated so that his testimony in court can be properly discredited and perjury charges bought.

Posted by Lola on 07/26/11 at 08:04 PM | #

Giulia Bongiorno was born in Palermo in western Sicily (in 1966) and graduated in law and practiced law there.  The local arm of her party has now invited her to run for mayor of Palermo.

If she accepts, then she would need to be off soon.  This and the Aviello development and (as ncountryside points out) her very strong desire to always win suggest that there might be some strong move soon to allow Sollecito to walk free.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/26/11 at 09:13 PM | #

What I have found fascinating about Amanda Knox and others is how they think. I have tried to figure out how their minds work. VanderSloot for example is easy, His modus operandi, (just like Drew Perterson/Scott Peterson et al) and like all true sociopaths is namely control, greed and/or revenge over others.

Knox is something else again. I have posted elsewhere that ‘White Supremacy’ is alive and well and living in Seattle and this is how Knox grew up. It molded her outlook upon life. This is born out by using Guede as the ‘fall guy’ and/or trying to shift blame to Patrick Lamumba for her crime. After all who would believe a black guy over a white girl anyway?

Then it occurred to me that in Knox’s eyes Meredith Kercher was not only far better in every way possible than Knox but of mixed race as well. This suggests to me another element of motive. Knox was not pissed off with any of the other girls who lived there so why Meredith and what was the element that singled her out instead of the others?

The defence is going to present the idea of lack of motive somewhere along the way but this, I suggest, is part and parcel of the motive. The fact of competitiveness coupled with every other aspect must have burned a hole in Knox and contributed in no small way to the jealousy she felt, that and lack of control just like Vandersloot and the Petersons. Don’t overlook the point that Knox at one point gave (backhanded) permission for Meredith to go out with one of the boys who lived below them.

Knox’s upbringing and her jealousy towards Meredith dictated her motive, consider her lack of emotion and her demeanor at the police station plus her callous reaction and converstion towards the other girls who were devastated by the news.

No! This is how Knox’s mind works and this is indeed part her motive. 

(“After all how dare a beautiful vivacious intelligent ‘Black’ girl be better than me when everyone knows that black people are inferior to white people?”)

Not just that. There is a youtube clip of Knox with a group of boys where Knox maintains she had only one drink. Fine, but at one point one of the boys calls Knox a ‘Dirty Jew’ Note the lack of reaction to this racist slur.

I would suggest that racisism plays no small part in the rape, strangulation torture and eventual murder of Meredith Kercher and my fervent hope is that justice for Meredith will prevail and Knox and Sollecito will spend the majority of their lives paying for it.

Sincerely Grahame Rhodes

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 07/27/11 at 10:15 AM | #

Peter’s suggestion seems almost like a hunch on his part but as he’s au courant with every aspect of this case, who knows?

Myself, I would be astounded if Sollecito turned against Amanda like this in open court. Which is not to forget how both of them hinted of mutual betrayals from the start as, classically, in Amanda’s suggestion that Raffaele may have put the knife in her hand while she was asleep just to get her fingerprints on it. (We note in passing her acceptance of the knife as evidence which in comments elsewhere she makes explicit.)

But I would still be astounded if only because of the magnitude of the shock.
It would be a veritable bomb, a detonation, & it would certainly convulse the Knox group. How could it not?

Given Peter’s take on this, might the Italians hope to get Sollecito out early in recognition of his lesser role & lack of independent motive?

Or could this even be a reason for the recent effort to discredit the murder weapon? If that should go, who would make a case for a mere bra clasp, given its handling & deterioration?

Posted by Ernest Werner on 07/27/11 at 12:45 PM | #

I saw an HBO documentary yesterday “There’s Something Wrong With Aunt Diane” which had some perspectives relevant to this topic.

http://conchordswiki.hbo.com/documentaries/theres-something-wrong-with-aunt-diane/index.html
The doc is about a Westchester County mom who drove 60 miles at high speed the wrong way down the Taconic highway and crashed into an oncoming car, killing herself, her three nieces, and three men in the other car. Her son was thrown out and survived, but with brain damage.

The Medical Examiner determined she had a blood alcohol level of 0.19 and that she had smoked marijuana an hour before her death. An empty bottle of vodka was found in the car. There were no other physical conditions that might have contributed to the accident, which was blamed on the high levels of alcohol and marijuana found in her system (she still had 6 oz of undigested vodka in her stomach)

All accounts portray her as a loving mother. She had taken the chidren with her on a camping trip. She stopped at a gas station on her way back (possibly to get some pain killers for an abcessed tooth) but left without buying anything according to the video cameras.

Then she called her brother two hours before the accident saying she was feeling sick but drove off with the children before he could get to her. Her niece called him from the car saying her Aunt was acting very strangely (hence the title)and they were scared.

The doc shows her husband and sister in law in denial, disputing the M.E. report, appearing on Larry King and Oprah, trying to prove she “wasn’t a drunk, couldn’t have done this” etc.

Other things that struck me: her mom had left her dad when she was 9; a psychologist saying trauma at an early age can lead to addiction and emotional issues later in life, her friends saying how driven she became, a pathologist saying how alcohol can increase THC absorption, leading to loss of judgement and the disorientation.

And this is what makes the psychology of Amanda Knox such a relevant factor. The loss of her father, competition with her mother, the need for validation, drug and alcohol abuse.

And yeah, I believe she was in a drug and alcohol fueled frenzy that night.

Posted by Ergon on 07/27/11 at 01:03 PM | #

Hi Ernest
      “Handling & deterioration?” I would hope that that is a very large question mark on your part since it would seem to buy into the Knox Innocent bunch

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 07/27/11 at 01:06 PM | #

Hi Ergon
      While this is fascinating it does not take into account the time frame covering the actual murder itself then the cleanup the staged breakin and the events that followed over the next few days and weeks.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 07/27/11 at 01:29 PM | #

Here is a passage from the post above this one on Aviello’s testimony, in which again Sollecito is putting space between himself and Knox, and which could help to pave the way for a complete separation:

*************

Aviello: Raffaele told me that it was Amanda and that he was also there Around the middle of the interrogation, Aviello said – referring to something that Raffaele apparently told him – that «the murderer, in fact, was not him: it was Amanda, during an erotic game». Raffaele apparently also declared «I actually know that it’s true that Amanda did it, but I didn’t do it: it wasn’t me that did the murder; I didn’t do it». This is what [Aviello] declared between one allegation and another, and he also declared that he was prepared to repeat everything before the judges. Before those very judges to whom, on 18 June last, he so shamelessly lied.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/27/11 at 05:56 PM | #

Hi Grahame,

Those events you describe are indeed what convinced me, but there’s only so many times one can say that. So until we go back to court, we can check out Amanda’s psychological makeup and speculate on what drove her, something not fully explored, imo.

And, since many still argue that they themselves experienced pot and alcohol, that could not have been a factor in the crime, something that many stoner hippies tried to argue with me about in Huffington Post.

Posted by Ergon on 07/27/11 at 06:56 PM | #

Hi Ergon
      Sure that’s fine and I agree completely with you. However that does not stop my mind from working and neither does it yours. The speculation as to mental state of Knox will continue of course, and certainly drugs played a part here. If the level of rational thought is diminished by any means whatsoever then I would speculate some other primeval reaction will take place. Please forgive me for perhaps thinking out loud but to get to understand the drives of the human psyche, not just here but in general, in a fascinating exercise.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 07/27/11 at 08:50 PM | #

I understand completely, Grahame, no apology necessary. We’re only having a respectful dialogue, which I appreciate very much.

But, the nuts, bolts, and eventual outcome of the case aside, what first drew me to the case when Huffington Post devoted around 30-40 threads to the case since 2009 was, the psychology of the Amandii involved, and the role of the media in perpetuating the Amanda as victim scenario.

Referencing the documentary as I did was to highlight the other similarities I noted, such as the complete state of denial expressed by the family, and the quest for redemption (for what? some feelings of guilt, I do not know)

Posted by Ergon on 07/27/11 at 09:32 PM | #

Hi Ergon
I havn’t contributed anything for the last while since I wanted to wait to see the outcome of the latest developments.
And you’re right of course. The psychology here is fascinating. I can understand the denial of the families, although there is a picture which was posted by Peter on thid wedsite last year of Knox being confronted by her mother in court. The image is interesting because all I can see is a mother who knows deep down that her daughter is guilty. There is revulsion in the look. Check it out and see if you agree.
The thing I find really reprehensible is the human parasites who have attached themselves to this case for personal gain. I don’t have to list their names here because everyone knows them. It is a sorry commentary upon the human condition that such people exist at all.
As to the trial and eventual guilty on all counts verdict, I am very optimistic concerning the future.
Cheers Grahame

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 08/01/11 at 09:10 AM | #

Last word here
The picture of which I speak is from

Monday February 28th 2011
Andrea Vogt: Supreme Court Report Highlights Amanda Knox Mention To Mom she Was There

You can find it three quarters down page five.
Cheers G

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 08/01/11 at 09:27 AM | #


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