Monday, December 01, 2008

Why Prominent Knox Supporter Judge Heavey Faces An Uphill Task

Posted by Peter Quennell

Judge Michael Heavey is a Superior Court judge in King County, Washington State, whose daughter was at school with Amanda Knox.

He is said to be popular and fair and someone you might want to have on your side in a fight. We wonder, however, if he is receiving the best possible advice on the case.

Last week Judge Heavey was quoted by the Seattle PI’s Levi Pulkkinen as saying:

“It borders on the diabolical… To me, it just shows [prosecutors] don’t care whether she’s guilty or innocent. They just believe Amanda needs to be convicted…”

Heavey [contends] Guede killed Kercher while Knox was staying the night at Sollecito’s home. [He views] Knox’s contradictory statements to police—claims that she “heard Meredith screaming” as she was killed—as the products of a rough overnight interrogation by Italian police…”

“When you have a heinous crime and a demonized defendant, with very little evidence, you can get a bad conviction. I haven’t been sure of too much in my life, but I’m totally convinced that she’s innocent.”

Here are just some of the problems that are now undercutting an adversarial stance against the Italian investigators, prosecutors and judges.

  • Most of the 10,000 pages of evidence (now being added-to by new witnesses) have not yet been publicly revealed. They will finally emerge during the trial which will start in Perugia on 16 January. Much of the forensic and other evidence has been independently verified by experts unconnected to the investigation
  • .
  • No single piece of the evidence already in the public domain has ever conclusively been found to be falsified. Several US experts have a rather hapless record in their attempts to demonstrate that the police and prosecutors got it all wrong. None seem to have made any recent statements on cable news or in the newspapers that they still stand by their original claims.

  • The defense lawyers who have actually been through the evidence seem to have become a lot more taciturn, and none of them - not one - has subsequently claimed that this is a railroading, or a frame-up, or the fabrication of a prosecutor desperate for a conviction.  (As a precaution against precisely this, there are actually two prosecutors)

  • Only a small part of the evidence - the autopsy, the bedroom evidence, and the neighbor who heard a scream in the night and then people running - was sufficient to result in a 30-year sentence for Rudy Guede. The judge in his case, in explaining the judgment, remarked that it was impossible for Guede to have acted alone in the murder of Meredith, in part due to the huge number of wounds on the body.

  • The additional evidence that did not even need to be taken into account in Guede’s case apparently includes computer and mobile phone activities, statements of a large number of other witness, a knife that may be the murder weapon found in Sollecito’s kitchen, post-crime defendant statements and behaviors, and the statements of those close to the defendants at the time.

  • And there might have been even more evidence. It appears that the crime scene may have been manipulated after the murder to make it look like a sole-perpetrator crime. Finger-prints, footprints, other marks, and blood evidence seem to have been removed - although much still shows up under luminol. It seems to indicate three perpetrators at the crime scene.

  • Amanda Knox actually placed herself under suspicion in her very first encounter with the police. She changed her alibi several times subsequently, apparently attempting to coincide it with Sollecito’s. The notion that she was forced into a confession after hours and hours of questioning is now generally discredited, and her own lawyers have not claimed this or lodged any complaint.

  • Amanda Knox indicated not only in an interview statement, later disqualified, but also in a written statement, still in evidence, that Patrick Lumumba was the murderer. Lumumba, her kindly employer, was in fact at the bar he owned that night, and in view of the harm done by this apparent frame-up attempt, the prosecution has charged Amanda Knox with slander.

The biggest problem of all for those claiming a frame-up or an over-zealous rush to prosecution is the extreme caution of the Italian system. The Italian judicial review process prior to trial seems to be at least three or four times more elaborate, careful, cautious, and fair to a suspect than, for example, normal U.S. processes.

The evidence in the case has already made it through a number of hoops. And repeatedly the various judges in what is a very extensive process, after days of reading and careful consideration, have verified that the evidence against the defendants is, in fact, very strong.

It is still possible that everybody has got it terribly wrong. But so far, nobody seems to be coming anywhere close to that scenario.




Comments

When explained like that, the case against the accused looks stronger and stronger.  Again, you’ve written a great piece which clearly shows there has been no stitch up by the Italian police outside of the fantasies of the Knox/Mellas clan.  Either Amanda is lying or half of Italy & Britain is.  On balance of probabilities, Amanda has to know more than she is telling.  The sooner she is introduced to the truth, the sooner this can all be over and the Kerchers can try and rebuild what is left of their lives.  If Knox & Sollecito are convicted, I hope they get additional time for the torture they are causing to the victim’s families because that is almost as bad as the intial crime.

Posted by DS on 12/02/08 at 07:06 AM | #

The combination of Fast Pete’s and Nicki’s posts goes to show that any claims about Knox & Sollecito being held without good reason is simply bogus. All media efforts to undermine the Italian Prosecution & Judicial systems is simply, I hope, not going to work. This attempt is, of course, one which is aimed at putting pressure on the court so as to sway its decision. I’ve recently heard that the request which Meredith’s family made to have a ‘Closed Court’ was declined. Let’s hope that the Italians know better than to allow this to turn into another O. J. Simpson case.

Posted by Socrates42 on 12/02/08 at 09:11 AM | #

DS and Socrates42 both speak to the profound and ongoing pain of the Kerchers that so many of us wish we could do something to alleviate. I think all we can really offer is the comfort of a lot of people very strongly now in their corner.

The Perugia Murder File Forum moderated by Skeptical Bystander and Michael has seen many, many months of contemplation of the case deeply sympathetic to the Kerchers. Also it exudes a sense of real loss over Meredith, who just seemed to have had so much going for her over all those future decades now whipped away.

Socrates42: “I’ve recently heard that the request which Meredith’s family made to have a ‘Closed Court’ was declined.”

This might speak to three things: (1) judicial confidence in the strength of the evidence; (2) the system not only wanting justice done but seen to be done; pretty understandable in this case; and (3) the case primarily not being seen as a sex crime, apparently the main grounds in Italy for a closed long-form trial.

If the defendants were mixed up in the crime, an open trial would put a lot of pressure on each of them to split and finger the other. There may not be very many mysteries left in this case when it’s all over.

Posted by Fast Pete on 12/02/08 at 09:38 AM | #

This was found on a trawl of internet myspace sites.  Whatever conclusions you draw from reading it are your own and nothing to do with the trawlerman.

About me:
About me: hmmm…well…I cook better than anyone ( I like the way I cook and I am able to meet the needs of my taste buds better than anyone else…most of the time) I like fishing… I like my boat… I like my beer… I live life by one saying…If you want it, get it, or never speak about it again because it is your responsibility to make it happen and you have NO ONE else to blame but yourself if you dont. It’s truely that simple. About my life: I am married, happily, and I have two kids by marriage, Amanda and Deanna. They are both shitheads and I love them anyways. Deanna is a senior now in HS and Amanda is on her second year in college. They are both cool. They, as we all do, have their fair share of quirks… but we would all be white bread boring as hell if we didn’t. My wife, Edda, is a…well, some sort of teacher, teaching teachers how to teach reading….yeah, I know. She is a total book worm nerd…poster girl for book worms. (aspires to be a librarian…no shit!) She is cute, annoying, sexy, and also a shithead. She also hates fishing but will, on rare occasions, go fishing with me…if it includes a FULL day at the spa immediately following the outting. She bites her nails too much too…we cant all be perfect. hehehe We are polar opposites (I am slow and methodical, she is a “multitasker” that will start three different sentences at the same time and not finish any of them but still expect you to get the message) Anyways…thats my life and what I am all about.
Who I’d like to meet:
* Ingo Schwichtenberg the drummer from Helloween * Stephen Hawkings (http://www.hawking.org.uk/) * Tim Roth * Gary Oldman In general, people that have been around for a long time. They have a wealth of knowledge that will otherwise be lost if they dont share it. (try it some time, ask someone about the day they first saw TV or a car)

Posted by refrain on 12/03/08 at 01:09 PM | #

I have as an acquaintance a certain military man by the name of Sgt Larry Dyerson.  Based on what he relates to me and the content of your posting I sure as hell think we Yanks and the foreigners are better left treading separate and widely divergent paths.  Of course you are right, those Italians only want to hang a foreigner for this murder and what kind of developed and civilised country would not be content with having convicted a feeble African?

Why do they maniacally insist on smearing in their gutter press and trying to gain the conviction of our ill-treated sister from our free United States?  These Italians are inferior in every way and really do not grasp those fundamentals that we proud Americans hold so highly.

They have the degenerate that did it convicted already they should lay off American citizens if they know what is good for them!  You are either for us or against us, everybody hates us but we do not care because we are RIGHT!

Posted by green beret is the color OK?! on 12/03/08 at 06:07 PM | #

green beret is the color OK - Nice attempt at trolling but FAIL!  Try harder next time m’kay?

Posted by DS on 12/04/08 at 08:03 AM | #

Thanks for laying it all out for us Pete, a great piece as always. DS, I shouldn’t worry about green beret’s post…I think he/she was being ironic wink

Posted by Michael on 12/04/08 at 10:59 AM | #

That’s a brilliant article Pete and it certainly brings home just how overwhelming the evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito is. Judge Michael Heavey faces more than an uphill task, he has taken on Mission Impossible.

I’ve been very unimpressed with Judge Michael Heavey for a number of reasons. I’d like to be put him in the dock - hypothetically speaking - and examine some of the comments he made in his letter to L’On Nicolo Mancini and his involvement with the Friends of Amanda group.

The first and most pertinent question is: has Judge Heavey actually seen the prosecutor’s 10,000 page report? Judging from his letter to L’On Nicola Mancini, it’s quite clear that he hasn’t.

In this letter, Judge Heavey makes the deeply offensive and untrue claim that the following is false information:

4.) Sexual violence was perpetrated against the victim

In the light of Rudy Guede’s conviction for the murder and sexual assault of Meredith Kercher, Judge Heavey should apologise publicly to Meredith’s family for making a comment that is offensive to Meredith and her long-suffering family.

For Judge Heavey to insinuate that Meredith consented to any of the horrors that were inflicted upon her on the evening she was murdered is beyond belief.

Judge Heavey also claims the following is false information:

7.) Amanda’s DNA was found on the handle of a knife and the victim’s on the blade

This claim contradicts the findings of Patrizia Stefanoni. Renato Biondo has already provided independent confirmation that the forensic tests were carried out correctly and the findings are accurate and reliable. Judge Paolo Micheli, who has actually studied the prosecution’s 10,000 page report, accepted the forensic evidence put forward by the prosecution.

It’s quite alarming that Judge Heavey doesn’t support his opinion with evidence from any forensic report or the testimony of a reputable forensic expert.

Judge Heavey goes on to claim the following is not true:

8.) The same knife, found in Raffaele’s kitchen, was the murder weapon

Yet again, he doesn’t offer any proof to support his assertion. Frankly, I expect much more from a trial judge and a student of law of 35 years.

Judge Heavey claims it’s untrue that:

9.) Raffaele and Amanda purchased bleach the morning after the crime;

How can he possibly know that they didn’t purchase bleach the morning after the crime? Incidentally, a new witness claims to have spotted Amanda Knox in the household products section of a shop at around 7.45am on the morning after the murder.

I really hope he isn’t relying on the word of Amanda Knox, who has lied deliberately and repeatedly during the investigation, and admitted that she has lied.

It would be extremely foolish for Judge Heavey to guillibly accept the word of someone with a proven track record of lying. Judge Massimo Riccarelli must have had a very good reason for describing Amanda Knox as “crafty and cunning” with a “multi-faced personality, unattached to reality…”

Judge Heavey is critical of Judge Claudia Matteini for speculating that Diya Lumumba participated in the murder of Meredith Kercher. Judge Heavey will do well to remember that it was Amanda Knox who accused Diya Lumumba of murdering Meredith.

It seems that Judge Michael Heavey has accepted what he has been told by the Friends of Amanda group without verifying what they have told him. It’s clear that he hasn’t bothered to study the prosecution’s case against Amanda Knox. I’m sure he would never preside over a trial without hearing the cases for the defence and the prosecution.

I find Judge Michael Heavey guilty of the following:

Making a deeply offensive and untrue claim about Meredith Kercher.

Making unsubstantiated claims without being in full possession of the facts and only listening to one side in a very important story.

Failing to verify the information given to him by a group who are clearly not objective.

Gullibly accepting the word Amanda Knox who has lied deliberately and repeatedly.

Posted by The Machine on 12/04/08 at 11:30 AM | #

I would add to the list of Heavey’s offenses the use of official letterhead and his position as a superior court judge in King County to make a personal appeal on behalf of a suspect being held and tried in another country for having broken the laws of that country. It almost seems like an abuse of office. Hmmm…. where have we heard that term before?

In any case, his attempt not only failed, it backfired. It is one of the reasons that Knox was denied her request for house arrest status.

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 12/04/08 at 12:47 PM | #

Another attempt to discredit evidence was a blog post by someone (I’m not sure how reliable this information is) who claims that the witness (the shop-keeper who has recently come forward saying he saw Amanda in the detergent section of his shop on the morning of 02.11.2007) is unreliable because it doesn’t fit the facts. He states:-

  “According to the reports, the witness did not state whether AK bought anything at 7:45. In fact, the times stated a year ago that the first till reciept was for 8:3O and the second 45 minutes later. I guess if the store had a cctv camera we would know about it.”


The fact that the till receipt for the shop says 8.30am for the first receipt, and 9.15am for the second receipt doesn’t in fact contradict the wittness statement. In Europe (all EU Countries) the Daylight Saving time is the last Sunday of October, which means for 2007 it wiould’ve been:

  Sunday, October 28 2007 ( -1h)

If the shop till doesn’t have an auto-update clock, and if for whatever reason the time on their till machine was not updated, then this would explain why the wittness said he saw her at 7:45 (a clock which didn’t take into account the Daylight Saving time would say 8.45).

Now let’s examine the wittness’ account + the times on the two till receipts:

If the till receipts say 8:30 & 9:15am on 02.11.2007, and let’s assume that the time on the till machine had noit been changed, this would mean that the actual time of both till receipts would’ve been 7:30 & 8.15am! This would coincide EXACTLY with the time the wittness saw her!

She bought something, first, at 7.30am (the till receipt would say 8:30 if it hadn’t been adjusted, and it didn’t take into account that the clocks had gone back one hour).

Maybe she then forgot to buy something, so she then went back a second time to have another look at the detergent section at 7:45am (at which point the wittness sees her in that particular section). By 8:15am she makes her final purchase & the second receipt is produced - erronously saying 9:15 instead.

So the till receipts being out one hour (i.e. exactly one hour AFTER the wittness says he saw AK), and given that the clocks had gone back only 5 days prior to that, it wouldn’t surprise me if the till was one hour out of time, and AK was actually there when the wittness says she was.

Posted by Socrates42 on 12/04/08 at 03:09 PM | #


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