Friday, February 21, 2014
The US Lacks Legal Authority To Decline To Deliver A Guilty Knox To Italian Authorities
Posted by TomM
Recent reporting on whether the US would extradite Amanda Knox continues that tradition, ranging from assertions that “sources” within the State Department say they would never extradite her, to claims that the risk of extradition is real, but that the Secretary of State has the discretion to refuse to extradite.
If the Secretary of State actually has this discretion, it must be grounded in the law.
That means it must be found in the Constitution, or in an act of Congress, or in a treaty—all of which constitute the “law of the land”. Beyond authorizing the President to make treaties, with the consent of two thirds of the Senate, the Constitution sheds no further light.
The only act of Congress dealing with extradition of US citizens is Title 18, United States Code, section 3196; a bit of background first.
There is no uniform US extradition treaty. Each treaty is separately negotiated with the other sovereign nation. Historically, many of the treaties entered into by the US contained clauses providing that neither country was obligated to extradite its own citizens.
Notwithstanding this, the US had extradited US nationals on the basis of discretion to extradite even though extradition was not required by the language of the treaty. But in 1936 the US Supreme Court held that if the treaty does not “obligate” the requested party to extradite its own citizens, the Secretary of State does not have the discretion to deliver the person sought to the requesting country. [Valentine v. United States ex rel. Neidecker 299 U.S. 8]
In 1990, Congress passed 18 U.S.C § 3196, captioned “Extradition of United States citizens:”
“If the applicable treaty or convention does not obligate the United States to extradite its citizens to a foreign country, the Secretary of State may, nevertheless, order the surrender to that country of a United States citizen whose extradition has been requested by that country if the other requirements of that treaty or convention are met.”
That is the full extent of Congressional action on extradition of US citizens; there is no Congressional grant of discretion to the Secretary of State to decline extradition in the face of a treaty obligation.
Some US extradition treaties contain clauses that give the requested country the discretion not to extradite its own citizens; perhaps that is where the idea that the Secretary of State has discretion not to extradite Knox comes from.
Here, for example, is a clause from the US-Sweden treaty:
“There is no obligation upon the requested State to grant extradition of a person who is a national of the requested State, but the executive authority of the requested State shall, subject to the appropriate laws of that State, have the power to surrender a national of that State if, in its discretion, it be deemed proper to do so.”
The treaty with Italy is short (ten pages) and written in plain language. The treaty has commences with Article I, captioned “Obligation to Extradite”:
“The Contracting Parties agree to extradite to each other, pursuant to the provisions of this Treaty, persons whom the authorities of the Requesting Party have charged with or found guilty of an extraditable offense.”
The cover letter of the Secretary of State to then-President Reagan explains: “Article I obligates each State to extradite to the other, in accordance with the terms of the Treaty, any persons charged with or convicted…”. (emphasis added)
There are mandatory grounds for refusal, such as political or military acts, double jeopardy (if the person sought has already been tried by the requested State for the same offense), or if the prosecution or penalty is time-barred in the requesting State.
There is just one discretionary ground: if the country requested is also prosecuting the person sought for the same act.
Article 4 provides:
“A Requested Party shall not decline to extradite a person because such a person is a national of the Requested Party.”
Thus, any discretion to deny extradition implied by 18 USC 3196 has no application to requests made under this treaty. Further, although some appellate cases have treated some issues regarding extradition of nationals differently, they fairly firmly hold to the difference in the meaning of mandatory words like “shall” and “obligate” on the one hand, and discretionary or permissive words like “may”.
Comments to the effect that the US has declined extradition to Italy in the past are superficial and uninformed.
The first illustration such commentators cite is that of the Air Force pilot who severed a ski lift cable, causing multiple deaths. That was not an extraditable offense under the treaty because of double jeopardy; the pilot had been court martialed. Although his acquittal enraged Italians, the pilot had already been tried by the US, and thus his case fell under the mandatory ground to denial of extradition specified in the treaty.
The other example mentioned is that of the CIA operatives who were prosecuted in absentia for the abduction of Abu Omar in Milan. The Italian Minister of Justice refused, during both the Berlusconi and Prodi administrations, requests of the Milan court to commence extradition proceedings. In Italy, the courts and the government are independent, and the courts lack power to compel government to make a request for extradition.
Even if the Italian government had made an extradition request, there is at least a colorable argument to be made that this was in the nature of a military act in the US war on terror, thus constituting a mandatory ground of refusal.
Thus, if Italy requests the extradition of Amanda Knox, the US lacks legal authority to decline to deliver her to Italian authorities. If the US government wants to avoid extraditing her, it will have to rely on diplomacy rather than law. In other words, it will need to convince the Italian government not to make an extradition request in the first place.
Archived in Italian system v others, The three defendants, Amanda Knox, The appeals, Extraditions, The wider contexts, American context
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Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Our First Reviews Of The Painstaking BBC-3 Report First Aired In The UK On 17 February
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
Review by SomeAlibi
Watching “Is Amanda Knox Guilty” was a funny thing. I suspect for people following the case closely, on either side, it was a sobering experience. Not because it changed perspectives, but simply to see how quickly one hour passed and the necessary trade offs that had to be made to fit within that schedule. The opportunity cost was a level of detail to which in-depth followers have become accustomed.
Just one example: Sollecito and Knox’s partial alibi that they were checking their emails on the night of November 1st was explained as being challenged by two broken computers. Perhaps, (although unlikely to be the material issue) but where was the much more salient fact that their ISP records showed that was conclusively untrue? Where was the challenge: if you say you’re checking emails to establish part of your alibi against a murder and it is shown to be absolutely untrue, what does that suggest…?
There were many other “clinchers” that had to be let go in the name of brevity. But it wasn’t that sort of documentary - it was neither a case for the prosecution or a case for the defence: it put the main suggestions at the level of detail that was possible and it allowed both sides to speak to the points at that level of detail.
I find it interesting that there has been such a howl of bias from those supporting Knox and Sollecito. Objectively there’s no good ground for it: the documentary allowed both sides forward in equal measure and no pro-justice watcher would celebrate it as a pro-conviction piece.
The arguments were balanced, the video, audio and picture quality eye-opening. For those on the other side, their markedly different reaction appears to be that the documentary has broken the taboo that The Evidence Shall Not be Told. The idea that there is an easy-to-consume piece that puts forth the case and defence equally is seen as a disaster.
The campaign for Knox continues to be obsessed, beyond all things, with trying but now failing to make sure the public doesn’t know the basis of the case. For a long time they hoped to drown out the multitude of terribly inconvenient truths within it by screaming “no evidence”. ‘Is Amanda Knox Guilty’ put the lie to that conclusively, but fairly, and now many hundreds of thousands, perhaps soon to be millions will ask themselves why those supporting Knox and Sollecito have had to adopt this tactic at all.
If they really are innocent, why has the case against them been so comprehensively white-washed in the US?
The conclusion, is rather simple and I saw it encapsulated on a large television screen last night with the repeated clips of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito outside the cottage kissing and “comforting” each other: there for a fraction of a second, shown several times, is Amanda Knox, unable to stop herself glancing at the camera filming her and stealing her gaze away again very quickly pretending she hasn’t.
It’s a look that says everything: furtive, pretending it didn’t happen, immediately covering up in a way that poses a stark proposition: why on earth would you do that if you had nothing to hide? And like so much of the multiple collapsing alibis and non-working answers and the desperately dishonest fingers-in-the-ear “no-evidence” pretence of those supporting her, is a proposition that can withstand no scrutiny.
Review by SeekingUnderstanding
What a relief to watch a very clear and unbiased narrative. The quality of the visual information was top rate - seeing so much original footage, and presented as it was in a logical time sequence.
Even though I was already familiar with the evidence, including the photographic material, I found it very helpful to see it all presented in this way. I appreciated, too, hearing and seeing the excerpts in original Italian (along with English translations). It added even more authenticity.
I hope that, at long last, this will have helped some - or hopefully many- people to see that the two ‘camps’ in this case do not divide into AK supporters and AK ‘haters’. There are the FoA and their followers ...and there are the others who seek the objective truth and justice.
If hate has been generated in some quarters, then the Knox (and Sollecito) camps need to look to themselves and their own behaviour. This programme was important in the tone it set.
I actually found it to be quite lenient towards the defence on a number of counts.
There were several instances where the defence point of view could have been strongly countered by known and established facts, but, bending over in fairness, these were left unanswered.
Here are just four instances :
1) In the discussion around the blood and DNA left in the bathroom - Dr. Gino’s assertion that ‘the blood/DNA ‘could have come from anywhere’ might have been countered with AK’s own declaration that the bathroom was previously clean. Dr. Gino also suggested a very improbable scenario of ‘it could be saliva’ (on the bidet?). Cassation emphatically said that it must be shown HOW any suggested contamination could have occurred.
2) There was a missed opportunity in discussing the knife presumed to be the murder weapon to mention Sollecito’s lame, unreal excuse of ‘Meredith pricked her hand’ etc.
3) Anne Bremner stated ‘Amanda could not have turned overnight…into a murderer’. Attention could have been drawn to many things, both physical events (her predilection for cruel pranks, including a staged burglary in the US, and wild parties, etc), and also many psychological indicators that would have clearly shown how her behaviour has, in fact, demonstrated consistency.
4) In the discussion re the bra clasp, the delay partially being caused by the defence themselves was not mentioned. Also, detailed discussion re the one bare footprint on the bathmat was omitted.
Since there is, in fact, so much evidence, it must have been difficult to chose and balance what did go into the hour long programme. All in all, I feel Andrea Vogt and her team worked hard, and did very well to let the facts speak for themselves.
I hope it will lay a few fictions and myths to rest.
Review by Earthling
What is the “Amanda Knox trial” (really the Meredith Kercher murder trial) really about? Is it about an innocent 20-year-old pretty white girl being railroaded by the medieval Italian justice system?
Or is this actually a murder trial, about the fact that a beautiful, intelligent, ambitious young woman, innocently trying to improve her life by study abroad, was brutally murdered?
I believe it’s the latter, and the BBC3 production gives us one of the first truly balanced reports on this trial.
The filmmaker starts from the beginning, and takes us through the murder, investigation, and various trials and appeals up to the present day. Instead of the breathless “Perils of Penelope” tone (toward Amanda Knox) that most such previous “documentaries” have taken, this one takes a sober look at the actual evidence.
Did you realize that there are luminol-revealed bare footprints in Knox’s size in the apartment? Luminol reveals blood and a few other substances; but those substances can be ruled out because the test was done six weeks after the murder, by which time those substances would have dissipated.
Blood doesn’t dissipate. This documentary shows you those bloody footprints in all their creepy glory, something never shown on American TV before.
“Is Amanda Knox Guilty” also speaks of the actual DNA evidence in the cottage linking Knox to the murder, including five mixed-DNA spots (Knox and Kercher) that tested positive for blood. Both prosecution- and defense-oriented experts are allowed to comment on this evidence, and the viewer is allowed to make up his or her own mind.
My one criticism is that a lot of the evidence against Knox (witness statements, cell phone data, fake break-in) is skimmed over or not even mentioned. Also, because the documentary quotes Rudy Guede’s position at length without any contradictory narrative, it is confusing as to whether the filmmaker might have believed him.
In the end, the filmmaker says, he was convicted of participating in the group murder. However, a stronger statement against his “I’m entirely innocent” defense would have been good.
Other than these quibbles, this is the best documentary on the Meredith Kercher murder case that I have ever seen.
Review by ZiaK
I watched the BBC programme on the Meredith Kercher case hoping for a more balanced view of the case than has been presented in the English-speaking media to date.
The documentary does present some of the evidence against Knox and Sollecito - including the bloody footprints, the mixed blood/DNA traces in the bathroom and corridor, the bra clasp, the knife DNA evidence, the strange timings of phone calls to police, the unlikelihood of the “break-in” being anything other than staged - but omits to point out that none of the other flatmates’ DNA was found in the blood traces, so saying that “it’s because Meredith and Amanda shared a flat” is misleading.
Nor does it point out that, although the murder knife was found in Sollecito’s flat, none of HIS DNA was found on it: it had only Amanda’s and Meredith’s DNA.
The programme didn’t cover the cell-phone evidence, showing that neither Knox nor Sollecito were where they said they were, at the times that they claimed. The programme also repeated the “Friends of Amanda” PR soundbites, such as “there was no evidence of Amanda in the murder room” - whereas the fact that her footsteps tracked blood OUT of the room are actually evidence of her having been present IN the room before it was locked (i.e. at the time of the murder).
Furthermore, in my opinion, the narrator’s voice seemed to evince sympathy towards Amanda, rather than describing events with a passive or objective tone of voice.
As one of the translators who has participated in translating case documents (such as the judges’ reports describing why they came to their decisions), I am only too aware of the extent of evidence against Knox and Sollecito, and I would like to see knowledge of this evidence become more widespread throughout the English-speaking world.
The BBC programme is a step towards this, but in my mind, only a very small step. I hope the pace will pick up soon, and more objective and extensive knowledge of the true facts of this case will be made available to everyone so they can form a rational opinion of the case based on true understanding.
Review by Cynthia
I’ve just watched this, and it’s very good - with a huge amount of footage hitherto unseen (directed by Andrea Vogt).
For what it’s worth, I note the following points:
1) There’s no mention of Meredith’s friends who heard Amanda say ‘she fucking bled to death’ before the fact was known to anyone else. Perhaps they didn’t testify, being too distressed? If so, it’s a great pity, because it seems a veritable clincher that hasn’t been used at all.
2) The bra DNA arguments are quite extraordinary. If we can determine that we all have Neanderthal DNA (tho’ I know a lot of American fundamentalists don’t believe that mankind goes back more than 6,000 years!) I can’t for the life of me see why DNA would be unusable after a poxy delay of 12 days ...
3) The argument that the Luminol traces may indicate not barefoot treading in blood but in bleach seems absolutely unbelievable to anyone who does housework (like me!) Bleach is horrible stuff, and you really, really don’t want to be getting it on your bare skin. Even Amanda, with her vestigial domestic skills, would have noticed if she’d trodden in it.
4) Bremner says Amanda was an honor student. She wasn’t; she had funded herself (not that that’s discreditable). (Also, are honor students unable to write cursive script? The shots of her handwriting show that she can’t do joined-up writing. [Or thinking.] I don’t know whether the phrase exists in American English, but not doing joined-up writing is a term of great intellectual contempt in English.)
5) We saw Amanda’s ‘mask’ speech. This is really interesting - who would even think that masks were being put on them if they weren’t using them themselves?
6) The programme mentions the little-reported fact that another, smaller knife found at Sollecito’s also had Meredith’s DNA on it.
7) The film omits to mention Hellman’s lack of any experience in criminal trials.
8) Every shot of Amanda in the film has her talking about ‘me’ and ‘I’. She never, ever mentions Meredith - it’s all about HER suffering. She never even says ‘the murderer is out there - I wish you’d stop persecuting me and get them’.
Presumably this is because Guede is supposed to be the sole murderer - and nobody seems in the slightest bit worried that there’s no murder weapon with HIS DNA on it! (Yes, there are his turds - but that wasn’t what killed Meredith.)
9) FOA has used the fact that the recent jury took 12 hours to deliberate over the verdict as an indication that they couldn’t agree. But why not just that they were being extremely careful and re-examining everything?
10) Finally, just an observation: Maresca speaks the most beautiful Italian - you can hear every word calmly flowing past.
Review by Miriam
Much appreciated. Outside of the Porta a Porta transmissions on the case, the best I’ve seen.
I understand they had to give both sides, but I felt that the defense came out on the losing side. I thought it funny that it was implied that since they only tested for blood it could of been saliva.
I don’t believe even her supporters would argue that Knox was so quirky as to brush her teeth in the bidet! Or maybe she spit in the bidet, in which case Meredith would have had every reason to complain about her bathroom habits!
Now if only this or something like this would air in the U.S.
Review by Sara
This is actually one of the most objective and well-researched reports I have seen on the case and I am very happy that BBC has managed to be so unbiased.
It presents both sides of the story equally well and does an excellent job of countering the extremely silly “no evidence” argument that the FOAkers like to repeat at equal intervals.
Regardless of what one believes, I think the documentary will at least succeed in convincing most people that there is indeed sufficient evidence against the two of them, and Italy’s judicial system is not crazy to convict people without any evidence.
My favourite part was when the defense DNA expert (can’t recall her name) tried to explain away the mixed blood evidence by saying that one of them could have had a nose bleed, and the other could have cut her hand in the same place leading to mixed blood.
Come on already, what are we? Kindergartens making excuses for not handing in homework? What is the possibility that both of them would bleed in exactly the same places not once or twice but multiple times? I think anyone with a bit of sense can see that they are clutching at straws.
However, I was a bit disappointed that few things were missed out. For instance, the fact that Guede’s footprints led straight out of the house, the fact that Amanda’s lamp was found without any obvious reason in Meredith’s room, Amanda’s extremely odd midnight call to her mom that she conveniently “forgot”, her million showers despite her concern towards “water conservation” etc.
Sollecito’s multiple changing stories were not really elaborated upon (the story in which he went to a party, the one in which he checked emails, the one in which he pricked Meredith etc etc).
Also, inconsistencies between their accounts of various events could have been pointed out (Was Filomena’s door open or close? Did AK call Filomena from the cottage or from Sollecito’s house? etc).
Witness accounts were not given any screen space either. I think touching upon these would have made the documentary even more impressive.
That said, I understand that the team has done the best they would within the limited time they had, and everything just cannot be accommodated within one hour.
So, all in all, kudos to the team and BBC for a job well done.
Review by Odysseus
I though it was a very competent overview of the case. After so much pro-defendant spin in the MSM (no doubt engineered by the American defendant’s PR outfit), it was refreshing to have a sane, measured and rational presentation. The victim deserves no less.
Congratulations to BBC3 and to the programme makers. It’s good to know that the BBC of blessed memory hasn’t been entirely dumbed-down nor intimidated by “partial outside interests”, the latter being director Andrea Vogt’s own description of the forces intent on muddying the waters in this case.
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Congratulations To The BBC For A Report Emphasizing The Sheer Extensiveness Of The Evidence
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
[From the BBC report: Meredith the night before the cruel, deadly attack with her Halloween friends]
This is the painstaking and obviously expensive report by Andrea Vogt and Paul Russell with interviews in London, Seattle and Perugia.
It was aired by the BBC on 17 February. Considerable time is allocated to defense lawyers and experts and the Knox family and Ann Bremner of the FOA taking their best shots at explaining how Knox could maybe have not been involved.
Still, the sheer mass of the evidence remains as the 80,000 pound elephant in the room, lacking any hint of a realistic alternative explanation. Three people committed the horrific attack, including Rudy Guede and two others.
Only Knox and Sollecito remain pointed to by dozens of evidence points as those two others. Not one single evidence point indicates anyone else was involved. The Masssei trial court got it right as the Nencini appeal court just confirmed.
We will enquire if we can embed the hour-long video. But as it may be picked up by US and other foreign media outlets, we will start by simply summarizing it soon. Assessents by those who have already seen it are welcomed.
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Thursday, February 13, 2014
Why Italians Are Under Zero Illusions That Knox & Sollecito Are Prone To Telling The Truth
Posted by Peter Quennell
[Above: Giuseppe Castellini of Giornale dell Umbria has long exposed the Knox/Sollecito lies]
The fast-growing satires of Knox and Sollecito in Italy described in our previous post are not just emerging in a vacuum.
The many tough crime-show comperes and crime reporters in Italy have rarely let Knox or Sollecito get away with any of their lies. One example was when Bruno Vespa, the host of Porta a Porta, Italy’s most popular crime show, forced Francesco Sollecito to admit to Italy that his son lied extensively in Honor Bound. Another example is when Oggi published some of Knox’s lies and they were rapidly exposed. For seemingly endorsing Knox’s lies Oggi will face trial for obstruction of justice.
There are countless other examples where Sollecito and Knox have been exposed as liars. The super-sharp editor of the Giornale dell Umbria, Giuseppe Castellini, has just published this challenge to Sollecito who had absurdly had claimed that nobody ever wanted to ask him any questions in court.
The translation is by Miriam.
Murder of Meredith: a few questions for Raffaele Sollecito
Raffaele Sollecito, found guilty and condemned to 25 years by the Appeals Court of Florence, for the murder of the English student Meredith Kercher (for the same crime Amanda Knox was also found guilty and Rudy Guede is already serving a definite sentence of 16 years) has stated that he was never questioned in court, because no one ever asked him.
For the record and in order to have a complete picture at, it should be remembered that during the investigation, Sollecito twice took advantage of his right to not respond to the questions of the PM Mignini.
So if it’s true that the prosecutors, in all the trials never asked to question him in court, neither did he ask to be, limiting himself to giving several times making spontaneous statements, without being cross examined.
However, this is not the real point. The fact is that Raffaele could not or did not want to respond to the questions of the investigators.
His version was always brought forth in detail by his lawyers, obviously, but that is not the same thing.
Important questions remain to which Raffaele did not answer directly during cross examination by the Prosecutors. Let’s try to summarize some crucial unanswered ones. Who knows if Raffaele will ever decide to respond in detail right here on these pages even though – at the moment – it seems improbable. We address him directly, sure that he reads these pages.
1. The first time that you were questioned in Questura you said that the first of November 2007 (Meredith was murdered the night between the first and the second of November) after a walk through downtown Perugia (before that you and Amanda have been in the house in via della Pergola). You came home around 08.00pm while Amanda come back much later around 01.00am, you then changed your version saying that you had always been together. Your first statement seem like a distancing from Amanda, in those hours nobody knows what she did, while the second one has a complete different flavor. Why did you radically changed your version?
2. It’s proved by the findings (even if your lawyers contested it) that the computer in your house was activated for about half an hour from 05.32am till little after 06.00am of the second of November. For the experts of the Police it was certainly a human interaction. You, instead declare that you and Amanda were sleeping. So who was it then that was using your PC at that hour?
3. Your and Amanda’s cell phones were turned off at the same time around 08.40pm of the first of November and they were turned on, practically at the same time, a little after 06.00am of the second of November (at that time you received the “good night” sms sent from your father the night before). How do you explain all this?
4. You stated that you were not in the house in via della Pergola. How it is possible that your DNA is on the bra clasp (17 loci that shows your genetic profile, and for the father of Italian genetics, Prof. Vescovi, that with the current processes are not only enough, but more than enough to match your DNA). And why did luminol revealed a bare right foot print compatible with yours, in addition to the one on the bathmat in the small bathroom? (the size of the big toe, just to point out one thing, is just like yours, while Rudy’s is a lot smaller).
5. Why, if Rudy was the only assassin, in the corridor would he cancel only the bare foot prints, leaving in plain sight always his, but left with the shoe print of his left foot? Doesn’t it come to mind that whoever cleaned up the prints thought to cancel theirs (specifically the ones ascribed to you and Amanda) leaving behind those recognizable as Rudy’s?
6. You and Amanda were seen by the homeless Antonio Curatolo late the night of the murder and Amanda was seen by the shopkeeper – that knew you well and already saw you with Amanda – enter in the shop at about 07.45am to buy something and go back toward piazza Grimana. You and Amanda say that at that hour you were sleeping in your house. Is there something that can demonstrate this, that up to now has slipped away and that would give you the missing alibi?
We have advanced plenty of questions for the evasive Sollecito of our own. Here are seven examples.
- Questions For Sollecito Do You Stand By Your Smear Of Reasonable Doubt In Italian Law?
- Questions For Sollecito Why Claim Guede Did It Alone When Vast Evidence Contradicts That?
- Questions For Sollecito Why So Many Contradictory Explanations Of How DNA Got On The Knife?
- Questions For Sollecito Did Your Father & Lawyers Pre-Approve This Crazed Rant?
- Questions For Sollecito Can You Realistically Account For The Hard Evidence On The Bathroom Mat?
- Questions For Sollecito Katie Couric, Push Back Against Sollecito’s Bluster And False Facts #2
- Questions For Sollecito Katie Couric, Push Back Against Sollecito’s Bluster And False Facts #1
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Wednesday, February 12, 2014
In Italy The Faux Self Pity Of Knox And Sollecito Is Increasingly Becoming A National Joke
Posted by Peter Quennell
Meet Amanda Knox the Perugian Chipmunk version.
Knox’s Facebook page is also being satirised and ridiculed (one message there reads “Perugia Hates You”.) Some may actually believe the rumor that Knox is shopping herself around for salacious movies.
Sollecito being nabbed at the Austrian border because of a quick tip to the police also inspired sarcastic humor in Italy, and several journalists have come up with questions to challenge Sollecito when he gets on the stand, as he so desperately wants or says he does.
We expect some more Italian satire (and maybe not only Italian) and will report on that as well, as this long-needed and much-deserved hit-back against dishonest pandering to media audiences could prove an important trend.
If satire proves the way to stop RS and AK babbling lies daily about the case and Italian justice via every craven media outlet, then well done Italy!! Nothing else seems to work to shut the two up, although their false claims and smears could constitute obstruction of justice.
If Knox and Sollecito want to avoid being spoofed, they have two very easy ways to do so: (1) shut up and avoid the media, or (2) stick to telling the truth.
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014
The Much-Demonized Rudy Guede Is Back In The News And Increasingly Threatening
Posted by Peter Quennell
This description of Guede’s early days in the Ivory Coast and Perugia in the excellent Darkness Descending by Paul Russell and Graham Johnson remains the ONLY one that fully checks out. Certainly not that by the dishonest PR shill Nina Burleigh.
Guede wasn’t especially an angel, and some in Perugia were iffy about him. But he had real friends, and up north he held a real job with a real career future, until that prospect imploded and sent him haplessly back to Perugia.
Late in October 2008 Judge Micheli discounted all that Guede ever said about his role in the attack on Meredith in various conversations and statements, and sentenced Guede to 30 years.
But Judge Micheli also concluded that there was no firm evidence either that Guede acted alone or that Guede was a drifter, drug dealer, knife wielder or burglar (Micheli was very sharp with one witness who claimed Guede may - may - have broken into his house).
In 2009 through his lawyers Guede enquired of the prosecution whether he might testify at the Knox-Sollecito trial.
But the prosecutions’ hands were already tied by the indictments and they (rightly) believed they had a really strong case regardless of anything Guede could add.
At the 2009 trial the defenses pussyfooted around and never settled for a firm position on Guede. They floundered in their subdued attempts to prove that Guede or somebody else unknown was the so-called Lone Wolf.
The Lone Wolf theory is really a zombie theory with so many stakes through its heart that no court will ever take it seriously.
Guede’s steadfast fallback position before and since was that he was only in the house on the night of the attack because Meredith invited him to come in and they began love-making.
At his late-2009 first appeal and also at Sollecito’s and Knox’s 2011 appeal before Judge Hellmann, he increasingly firmly pointed the finger at Knox and Sollecito as the murderers.
Guede had been initially inclined to let sleeping dogs lie after he was mysteriously beaten up in the sex offenders wing of Viterbo prison, where prisoners are meant to be kept very safe.
But Judge Massei’s scenario of the attack on Meredith in his March 2010 Sentencing Report, with Rudy Guede as the lead instigator, really bothered him.
And in mid 2010 he became even more bothered when claims were made by a fellow prisoner the baby killer Mario Alessi that Guede confided that he really had committed the murder, along with two others. Not with Knox and Sollecito.
A very angry Rudy Guede in turn wrote a letter denying this which very rapidly went public.
In 2011 there was a tense confrontation in the Hellmann court (which several times descended into chaos) when this letter, in which by now Guede firmly accuses Knox and Sollecito, was read out for him.
Guede stuck to this position on the stand, and he was not required to face full cross-examination by the shrill, frustrated defenses because he was already convicted and no longer the one on trial.
Seemingly fed up with all the dirty tricks against him and the now-incessant Knox and Sollecito mantras in the media that Guede had acted alone, he has come out with another letter.
Italy’s AGI News Service has posted this letter to an unidentified recipient, along with this report.
(AGI) Perugia, February 11 “Against me are being repeated false imaginated reconstructions of the crime for the sole purpose of wanting to denigrate my figure and person, systematically and in a negative way, in the public eye and not just in Italy.”
He apparently also posted what he wrote in his own hand on the Facebook page “Legal processes and their surroundings”...
The letter is on a sheet of notebook paper handwritten and signed by Guede.
“To my regret I am again forced to take a pen and paper and write for the sake of the truth.. to all those thousands of people who still believe in justice.”
“They can not access all the pleadings and components of this sad and extremely complex legal case which was dramatically painful for those who lived it . My sentence and judicial reasoning have been for too long subject to a continuous and willful manipulation and alteration of the data of the proceedings.”
“Against me are made continuous false and imaginary reconstructions for the sole purpose of wanting to denigrate my figure and person, systematically and in a negative way in the public eye and not just the Italian.”
“In the final judgment, as far as I’m concerned about these false and imaginative reconstructions, is that I was acquitted of theft and simulation of crime, a fact that I never hear mentioned in the various journalistic reconstructions.”
“I also want to point out I do not accept in any way to be passed off and continually held up as a drifter, a thief, a homeless man, seeing my person and my dignity offended continually, denigrated and stereotyped by facts and things that do not realte to me… when I had a beautiful family and precious squeaky clean and friendly relations in Perugia.”
Fast-forward to today, where reports say that Guede is getting close to day-release for study purposes and may only be months away from making more evidence against Sollecito and Knox public.
Our posting lawyer TomM has looked at the issue of Guede being allowed out to study, and finds it regular and humane in this assessment.
I respect the Italian system of criminal justice. Just as I recognize that the Italian courts have much better information than anyone posting on the internet relating to the culpability of the defendants in this case, I also think that the people who oversee Guede’s stay in prison are better informed as to his fitness to be reintegrated into society. That he would be allowed out during work days to become better educated, returning to his prison cell at the end of the day seems to me a more enlightened approach than what we do here.
We used to have training programs in prisons. I don’t know that they were “cushy”, but they did work, so that when these convicts were released they were equipped with a marketable skill and rarely re-offended. But, the public thinks these were too cushy, so more Draconian circumstances and longer sentences are now the norm. It used to be people were sent to prison as punishment, now they are sent for punishment.
Sometimes when a prisoner who has spent his or her entire adult life in prison completes the sentence imposed, they have to be physically dragged from their cells, so ill-prepared are they for anything other than doing time. With no skills, social or job-related, they re-offend—surprise, surprise. Sometimes re-offense is for the purpose of being returned a world that, for all its dangers is, to them, relative safety.
While it is certainly true that prison doesn’t have much impact on sociopaths, the one thing they are attached to is money. Taking away their money does impact their behavior, so there is an alternative to killing them.
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Thursday, February 06, 2014
The Hubristic, Meanspirited Campaign: What Sort Of Life Has It Left Knox And Sollecito Now?
Posted by lauowolf
Had Knox and Sollecito simply told the truth to begin with, this case would have been only a nasty local story in Italy, with a bit of light coverage in Seattle and London. They would have had to accept some narrative that explained their involvement and their guilt, and they would have been sentenced accordingly.
They would then have served their time and gotten out. Eventually they would have gone on, perhaps, to live relatively normal lives.
After all, by the time they left prison virtually no one outside the families involved would remember, or much care, what they had done. Their criminal records would follow them forever, of course, but certainly there would have been no public repercussions for an obscure murder in Italy, years in the past.
People live with such pasts: they live their lives and create a future despite their pasts.
Instead, Knox and Sollecito have rendered themselves toxic for the rest of their lives. Everywhere they go, as long as they live, they will be recognized, whispered about, and pointed out by supporters, opponents, and even the relatively uniformed public.
Already, Sollecito’s Austrian side-trip was busted by someone who, predictably, recognized him. The intense paparazzi effect will eventually wear off, but years from now, whenever either of them does something simple, its effects will live on.
Apply for a library card – instant name recognition, walk through the airport - and someone will realize why that face is familiar. They’d better get used to it because some stranger will always recognize them. At their every life event, there will be a news alert, and someone potentially selling the story or a photo.
They and their families deliberately established an intensive PR effort for selfish reasons: in order to avoid the repercussions of a terrible act.
But this press creation is a terrible beast. Now that it is here it will need to be fed. Always. Get drunk in public - someone will have a cell phone handy; a marriage breaks up - the ex-spouse will tell all. (And, really, neither of them has the kind of money needed to live forever insulated from the vulgar public.)
For the rest of their lives, in everything they want to do, the whole did-they-or-didn’t-they narrative will be weighed in other people’s reaction: Would you hire either of them for anything? Would you rent them an apartment? Elect them to the school board?
All other things being equal, there will always be someone else available, someone equally good who has no awkward history. And everyone will know about that history; they worked hard to make it so.
And I’m not talking about the prejudice against ex-cons. That’s a real thing, and it will have its impact too. All convicted felons have real problems, after all, but few of them have achieved such notoriety, let alone embraced it. What I’m talking about is the impact of even old-news celebrity, of always now, and for the rest of their lives, being tabloid fodder.
Sure, there will always be people (Mad Pax?) drawn to the faux glitter of it all, but a life accompanied only by those wanting to share in your “fame” seems pretty ugly to me. What normal person wants the hassle of becoming involved with something like this?
Furthermore, they will never know when someone they think of as a friend might suddenly start thinking of a way to cash in. There might be a book in it, or at least a juicy article for a tabloid.
This isn’t meant as expressing any kind of sympathy for them at all, by the way. They have blood on their hands and horrors in their heads.
Eventually they may come to some kind of terms with their actions. Frankly, though, I hardly care, for it is not merely their crime that requires expiation. I have been sickened to see the unfolding ruthlessness and the sheer ugliness of their publicity campaign.
At its center their PR beast reveals an utter selfishness that is willing to appeal to the worst in their supporter through appeals to American xenophobia, to racism, and in smears against Meredith, Rudy, and Patrick, as well as the entire system of Italian justice.
The PR beast they created denigrates every other element in the case, while portraying the pair of them as young, innocent, and only guilty of a visible passion for each other and a naïve belief in the police.
This tactic required a media product for sale: the attractive young lovers. Their campaign has forced their names, and images and story in all our faces for years now. They and their families did this entirely voluntarily, and they have seemed to relish the attention it brought them.
They’ve been interviewed extensively, treated sympathetically by those who should know better, and altogether have had much more than their fifteen minutes of fame. But celebrity is a beast that turns on its own.
And, importantly, unlike other famous people – actors, politicians, authors and the like - there is no proper use for their fame. They have nothing real to share with us, only their story. It is, literally, all about them. And that is how it will remain.
They have become a narrative whose next chapter will always be told. The PR beast, for all its reach, will not be enough to keep them out of prison. But the cameras will be there the day they finally leave prison, in case we have forgotten their faces.
And there will be photos when they drive drunk. Or marry. Or divorce.
Their names are out there, waiting for the tagline, waiting for the joke. (“How bad is your new roommate? Well, at least she’s no Amanda Knox.”) There will be no end to it, ever. They will have no privacy, ever. Karma at work is a scary thing. They invited the beast into their lives, and now it will never leave them alone.
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Wednesday, February 05, 2014
Italy’s Unpopular Politicians And Mafia Fellow Travelers Against Italy’s Popular Justice System
Posted by Peter Quennell
1. On The Pro-Justice Side…
This puts the faux Nencini “end-of-civilization-as-we-know” crisis into some sensible context.
The Italian system doesn’t exactly come out badly compared to say that of the US. Surprise, surprise: See here who agrees.
Comparatively speaking, Italy has a much lower crime rate than the US, a much lower murder rate, a highly professional un-elected police hierarchy, a much smaller court system, and a miniscule number of prison cells.
The mafias are now mostly backed into small pockets..
For reasons to do with Italian history pre-WW II the system keeps politicians very much at arms length.
Almost every other justice system in the world comes under the Prime Minister’s or equivalent’s control, and it his or her party that appoints the judges. The Italian system comes under the separately-elected and non-partisan President of the Republic.
All judges and all prosecutors follow a career path laden with checks and balances, learning exercises and tests. (At this the highly-competent and impartial Dr Mignini excels and he will soon be the attorney-general of a region.)
The number of Italians who are in prison at any one time is proportionally only about 1/5 that of the United States. Take a look.
It is not like everyone in Italy is impatiently waiting for the fatuous posse of Preston, Heavey, Fischer & Moore to turn up and save them from themselves. There is no problem there.
Our Italian poster Machiavelli (Yummi) who reported for us on the Cassation and Nencini appeals has assembled these facts on what the Italian population actually thinks.
For comparison, in 2011 the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the justice system “a lot” or “enough” was 53.3%. By comparison, the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the government “a lot” or “enough” were 14.7%, and those who trust the parliament were only 15%.
In 2012, the percentage of Italians who trust the parliament is now only 9.5%, and those who trust the Mario Monti administration are only 21.1%.
Over the eight years from 2004 to 2012 the percentage of Italians who trust the justice system was always bigger than those who trust parliament or government by at least ten points, and in some years we can see a spread of 20, 30, even 39 percentage points achieved by the judiciary over the parliament and government.
However, some cases of corruption (such as our Hellmann-Zanetti case, but also several others indicated by the Rapporto Italia 2012) do hamper trust.
The most trusted institutions in Italy above all are the Carabinieri (74% of Italians trust them) and the Polizia di Stato (71%).
Which means the most trusted institutions are precisely those law enforcement instruments which are deployed to enforce the orders of prosecutors.
(My source is “Rapporto Italia 2012” by EURISPES).
2. On the Anti-Justice Side
In the past decade both corrupt politicians and the mafias have been remorselessly rolled back.
The Perugia Prosecutor-General’s Office being close to Rome and notoriously hard to bend was given national jurisdiction over the corruption of the 2006 Winter Olympics and the 2010 rebuilding following a huge earthquake.
The Florence Prosecutor-General’s Office being close to Rome and notoriously hard to bend was given national jurisdiction over the corruption of the contracts for the high-speed rail links that pass through Florence and on.
But attempts of corrupt politicians and others to meddle in this case go on and on and on.
Knox and Sollecito may think it is for pure love of them. Think again. There are unsavory parties on the anti-justice bandwagon who if it suited them would disappear Knox and Sollecito in the blink of an eye.
Politics played a part in ex-MP Rocco Girlanda, a Berlusconi poodle, accessing Capanne Prison multiple times to slobber over Knox. As a member of the Justice Committee under former Berlusconi-party MP Giulia Borngiorno’s sway (hows THAT for a conflict of interest?) Girlanda (1) petitioned the President for Knox, (2) tried to cut the national police wiretap budget, (3) tried to get Perugia prosecutors investigated, (4) repeatedly appeared on TV and in other media to make false allegations, and (5) chaired several US/Italy “liberation” meetings.
Sollecito lawyer Giulia Bongiorno has been wearing her member-of-parliament hat to stir up the (essentially toothless) Ministry of Justice against Judge Nencini. And to try to get the Council of Magistrates to give her client a break (Good luck with that - they wont move.)
The mafia backseat drivers (known about in Italy but not reported in the US) are there in a minor but pervasive way. Their roles were summarised in several places including this post here.
It is odd, to say the least, to see such self promoting reformers of the Italian system as Preston, Heavey, Fischer and Moore happily carrying water for the mafias.
So What We May Expect
Judge Nencini is a seasoned mafia fighter, and he is also a seasoned fighter of politicians who are corrupt and try to bend the system their way. But his record is very clear. Attack him for murky end - and he does not exactly back down.
From the point of view of Sollecito’s prospects, this faux storm looks like another huge wrong move.
Archived in Vital Must-Read Posts, Italian system v others, Officially involved, Police and CSI, The prosecutors, The judiciary, Supreme Court, Defense dirty tricks, Mafia playbook, Other cases, Others Italian
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Monday, February 03, 2014
Defense Dirty Tricks: Did We Just See Yet Another One, An Attempt To Compromise Judge Nencini?
Posted by Jools
Judge Nencini offers corrections
This is my translation of a statement from Judge Necini carried by the Florence GoNews website.
“In relation to the press articles that reported my statements on the trial for the death of Meredith Kercher I intend to point out that there has been no interview organized or pre-arranged.
I ran into some journalists in the corridors of the courthouse who told me of the rumors and speculations that were being circulated on the duration of the deliberation session.
I then had a brief talk with them meant, in my intention, to clarify possible misunderstandings. In this I accept responsibility, reaffirming that I did not agree to disclose in any way the reasons for the sentence. In particular, I have not expressed any opinion on the strategy procedure followed by the defence of the accused.
In fact the only reference to that matter, reported in the article that appeared in Il Messaggero, is one in which I stated that the accused were defended in the process to a ‘very high standard.’
If my words have generated misunderstandings on this point and on the absolute legality of the choice of an accused to make spontaneous statements I regret it.
These explanations are dutybound for the respect I owe to the people who participated in the process with me and to the [Law] System of which I’m proud to be a part of; as well as for consistency in my professional history, with over thirty years of work carried out without spotlights and without interviews.”
Context for those corrections
This is in relation to the previous days articles claiming Judge Nencini supposedly gave an “inappropriate” interview to the press.
In very short order three or four lay members of the Superior Council of Magistrates (CSM) laid a complaint about non-appropriate conduct (under Art. 6 of the CMS rules) for a presiding appeal court judge to give press interviews commenting on the motivations reached by the judges on any sentence before its official publication.
Not surprisingly, the first people to complain were Bongiorno and Maori (grasping at straws, much?!!) and then to follow were these three or four lay members of the CMS, who happen to be also members of the centre-right political party “Forza Italia” (Berlusconi’s party).
As a result of the complaint made by these people, the Justice Minister, Annamaria Cancelleri, ordered an inquest on the allegations against Judge Nencini which could have led to his reprimand for disclosing details of the verdict reached to the press.
Personally, I think this all results from the desperation of Sollelcito’s defense and they have erncourgaed the others to instigate it. Making a meal out of nothing, in the hope that the whole appeal trial gets thrown out.
And let’s face it, it wouldn’t be difficult for Bongiorno to find some of Berlusconi’s people that are always looking for ways to attack members of the judiciary given Berlusconi’s hatred for the system. Just my opinion…
In any case, the allegations seem to be false, Judge Nencini actually didn’t say much, and the inquest will prove it, but in the meantime the press is concentrating on this rather than the hopeless work the defense produced. This maybe is the whole objective.
The later, longer interview
The interview by Fiorenza Sarzanini with Judge Nencini the following morning is claimed to be quite legal, because the decision of the court had been published the previous evening.
Andre Vogt kindly posted a very accurate translation on The Freelance Desk, and as it will scroll down soon and be hard to find, we can repost the full interview here.
Posted 1 February
Italy’s most influential newspaper, the Corriere Della Sera, this morning has published a fascinating long interview with Judge Alessandro Nencini about his reasons for convicting Amanda Knox. The interview was done by one of the newspaper’s most veteran crime and investigative reporters, Fiorenza Sarzanini. Click here to read the original.
HEADLINE: Amanda and Raffaele: The Judge Speaks
SUBHEAD: “I have children too; it was a huge burden.”
SUBHEAD2: “The defense had asked to separate the positions of the two accused, but Raffaele would not allow himself to be questioned.”
By Fiorenza Sarzanini
“I feel relieved because the moment of the decision is the most difficult. I have children too, and handing down convictions of 25 and 28 years for two young people is a very hard thing, emotionally.”
It is 10 am the day after the verdict and Justice Alessandro Nencini is in his office. The President of the Florentine Court of Appeals, which two days ago found Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito guilty of the murder of Meredith Kercher, knows that the decision will “open up new debate, especially in the media”, but that is exactly why he agreed to explain how the verdict was reached.
You deliberated in chambers for 12 hours. Was the judicial panel divided?
“The case files took up half of the room. There are 30 expert reports. The lay judges, who aren’t court staff, had to read all the documentation to reach a joint decision, as is expected in the appeals court. You have to review all the documents, think about them, and reason. We did that using all the time that was necessary, and taking into account the fact that the victim was also a young girl.
And then the decision was unanimous?
“I spoke of a joint decision. I can say that in all these months and in particular during the last session of deliberations, we carefully considered the gravity of a verdict that involves young people and their entire families. This is a case that has consumed many lives.”
Yours was a narrow path, the Court of Cassation had urged you to remedy the Perugia appeal decision that had acquitted the two accused.
“Not so, we had maximum flexibility. The only restriction was that in the case of acquittal, we would have to have give reasons based on logic. There was no other binding restriction.”
Not even with regard to the decision handed down in Rudy Guede’s case?
“Effectively the specifics of the case was this: there was a person already convicted via fast-track, and definitively, for concourse in the same homicide. The Court of Cassation was asking us to consider who participated and their roles. We could have said that the two accused weren’t there, and then provided convincing reasoning, but we did not believe this to be the truth.”
Why didn’t you question Guede?
“For what purpose? He has never confessed and even if we had called him, he had the right to remain silent. We didn’t think it was necessary. Rather, we felt it was important to study the other aspects more in depth. In fact we requested an expert report and heard witnesses about which there were doubts. That is the role of the appeal judges. In four months, we’ve been able to arrive at a result.”
Sollecito’s lawyers had asked you to split the defence.
“We’ll explain the point more in the reasonings, where we will explain why we rejected that request. In any case, Sollecito did not want to be questioned during the trial.”
And this influenced your choice to convict him?
“It is the defendant’s right, but certainly it removes a voice from the trial proceedings. He limited himself to making spontaneous declarations, saying only what he wanted to say, without being cross examined.”
Over the years, various motives have been speculated. What idea did you yourselves form?
“We convicted and we will explain it explicitly in our reasoning. For now, I can say that up until 20:15 of that evening, these young people all had different plans, then their commitments fell through and the occasion for this to happen was created. If Amanda had gone to work, we probably wouldn’t be here.”
Are you saying that the murder was just a coincidence?
“I’m saying this was something that unfolded between these young people. There may have been coincidences, and we’ve taken it into the reasoning. I’m aware this will be the most debatable part.”
Cassation demolished the acquittal. Will you as well?
“We are not going to mention it. We simply have to focus on the decision in the first instance (Massei) which we confirmed, on the facts.
And you don’t believe that there were errors?
“I didn’t say that. Some I believe there may have been and I’ll point them out.”
You convicted Amanda Knox, but didn’t issue any precautionary measures against her. Why?
“She is legally in the United States. At the moment of the offence she was in Italy to study and she went home after having been acquitted. She is an American citizen. The problem will arise when it is time to carry out the sentence. For now I don’t believe that such a measure wouuld have been necessary.”
So why then have you confiscated Raffaele Sollecito’s passport?
“It was the agreed minimum. In these cases such measures serve as prevention. We want to avoid that he makes himself impossible to find during the period of waiting for a definitive judgment.”
And you believe being forbidden to leave the country is enough?
“Yes, that seemed more than sufficient to us. If there are other developments later, we will consider them.”
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Guide For Smart Media #1: Note Extensive Hard Evidence In Exceptionally Fair, Careful Legal Process
Posted by Media Watcher
Vital media history in 2009
In Italy and Europe generally the guilt of the two is almost universally perceived.
One reason is that although about 1/4 of the trial in 2009 was behind closed doors (quite the opposite of the “tabloid storm” and “show trial” Americans have been told about) Italians in particular got to find out about the long (15 minutes), remorseless, highly sadistic attack on Meredith.
Late in the attack, she let out a huge scream. It may have been then that Knox forced in the final stab. At the end Meredith was left lying on her back on the floor, in immense pain, with her hands clutching her neck, trying to stop the life-blood running out.
Meredith had been undressed post-attack, her phones had been removed to stop her calling for help, and her bedroom door was locked. Cruel and barbaric in the extreme.
US reporting from trial in 2009 was actually for the most part good. Andrea Vogt and John Follain and Barbie Nadeau and Ann Wise all did exceptional jobs. Even one of Seattle’s own newspapers (Hearst’s Seattle PI) ran many unflinching reports.
Italy’s foreign media portrayed a sharp and incisive prosecution, a defendant (Knox) who was a disaster in her two days on the stand, and a floundering, half-hearted defense, which was really spinning its wheels.
Vital media history in 2010
It was only in 2010, after trial, with an automatic appeal coming up, that the defense campaigns (acting largely illegally under Italian law) took advantage of a number of quirks in the situation to try to dupe Americans into believing the conviction was flawed.
The Italian system speaks mostly through its public documents, not police or prosecutors or judges, and the 2009 trial judge (Massei) issued a superb, very long explanation of why guilt was found, in Italian, in Spring 2010.
This compelling Italian document was posted online in Italy by the Justice Ministry in Rome, and widely read and summarised in the media in Italy itself. And so the logic and legitimacy sunk in.
In the United States, in sharp contrast, not one media outlet translated that report. Not one.
The only accurate translation into English was prepared by the Italian speakers and lawyers on our sister website, PerugiaMurderFile dot Org.
With US and UK media news cutbacks around the world, and especially in Italy, the media since has largely accepted the spin straight from the defense campaign, as exceptionally propagated by the Associated Press and a couple of “tame” networks in the US.
As a consequence, the coverage has become overwhelmingly biased in favor of Amanda Knox.
Today’s US media state of play
Misleading and false information about the prosecution case and the evidence presented has been repeated so often that many people now accept as fact outright lies.
This includes the absurd claim by defense attorney Ted Simon that “there is no evidence.” (Which ironically even Ted Simon himself disputed - see post below - in an NBC Dateline report that was taped before he signed on to represent Amanda Knox.)
It didn’t have to be this way. Reporters from the NYTimes, Rolling Stone, ABC, CNN, and others have done their readers/viewers a huge disservice, by distorting the factual record, and by supporting a false narrative in which it’s simply unthinkable that an attractive young woman could ever be caught up in a crime so heinous.
Which ignores the fact that shocking crimes have often been committed by people who seem incapable of such violence, which in this case means “too white, too young, too female, and with the types of connections - including to a King County Superior Court judge - that most criminals simply don’t have.”
Fortunately, Harvard’s formidable law professor Alan Dershowitz is among the many prominent attorneys who have reviewed the facts of the case more dispassionately and has said more than enough evidence was presented to support a guilty verdict.
Now the defense, with the complicity of much of American media, seems intent on fueling anti-foreigner bias in order to circumvent an extradition request from Italian authorities, which would come after the Court of Cassation finally signs off.
Pointers for smart media
As someone who has read through all of the available court documents and much of the media, and who has more than 25 years’ experience helping national media to understand complex, technical stories, here’s my take on the issues the media should consider as they continue to write about this case:
One - Formidable Legal Experts Say the Evidence is Strong
First off, before ever repeating or suggesting that there is a lack of evidence, remember that renowned civil rights attorney and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, who has been on the winning side of 13 of 15 murder and attempted murder cases, has said that the evidence supports a guilty verdict and that none of this media frenzy would even be happening if Knox were not a young, attractive, white female. (include link here to Dershowitz on CNN).
Two - Italy’s Justice System Has Important Differences from the U.S.
As Dershowitz has explained, there is no “double jeopardy” because Italy has a three-stage process, and we are nearing the end of the second stage.
In this case, Knox was first found provisionally guilty by the trial court. An appellate court decision to reverse that decision was set aside by the Supreme Court and a second appellate court has now weighed in. Once this appellate court publishes its rationale, the decision is again subject to appeal. If appealed, the appellate decision will not become final until the Supreme Court weighs in.
Unlike in the U.S., at all levels of the three-stage judicial process (original trial, appeal, appeal to Supreme Court) in Italy, juries and judges are required to explain the rationale behind their decisions in legal documents. These documents are important and anyone who reports on this case should read the underlying source documents.
It is an enormous benefit for defendants to understand how and why a jury convicted, because it makes the chances of filing a quality appeal much higher. Italy does many things to protect the rights of defendants, and requiring juries to defend their decisions to convict are among them.
Three - Amanda is a Convicted Felon for the False Accusation
Because the Supreme Court has already affirmed the calunnia verdict for her false accusation of Patrick Lumumba, Amanda is now a convicted felon. Remember that Patrick Lumumba was a man she worked for and she stood by her accusation for several weeks, never formally withdrawing it. Lumumba was only cleared when his alibi was independently verified.
Four - The Questioning was Not Unusually Harsh
On the question of whether Amanda was treated unfairly and/or questioned harshly, in the aftermath of a murder, people are questioned fiercely here in the U.S. all the time. Amanda was not considered a suspect until she put herself at the scene of the crime and until her alibi(s) clearly conflicted with those of Raffaele Sollecito.
She was not a reluctant witness. In fact, she volunteered to answer questions on the night Sollecito was being questioned. (The prosecution asked him to come in alone.) Knox and Sollecito have each offered numerous, conflicting accounts of what they were doing on the night in question.
Five - Study the Cell Phone Evidence
The cell phone evidence is compelling. Few American media have paid any attention to the cell phone evidence, but the original jury gave it significant weight and it was discussed at length in the original sentencing report. You should read it.
Six - Look at the Photos of the Blood in the Bathroom
The DNA evidence is also compelling. There is clear evidence of Amanda’s DNA mixed in with Meredith’s blood in multiple places in the bathroom. The photos that show the amount of blood – all Meredith’s - in the bathroom Amanda and Meredith shared is compelling. Amanda has said she assumed the large amounts of blood were from someone being messy after having a period.
Once you take a look at the blood on the faucets, you realize that given the sheer amount of blood, a woman having a period would have had to stand up over the sink and drip blood from the pelvis down onto the handles to make that scenario real.
Instead, of course, given that Amanda herself said the bathroom did not have obvious blood earlier that evening, the blood had to have come from someone (and it couldn’t be Guede given that his footsteps led from the murder scene to outside) who was cleaning up after the murder and was covered in Meredith’s blood.
There is also mixed DNA of Meredith and Amanda in Filomena’s bedroom. No one has offered a plausible “innocent” explanation for how a blood spot with mixed DNA from Meredith and Amanda could have ended up in Filomena’s bedroom.
Seven - What was the Lamp Doing in Meredith’s Locked Bedroom?
A lamp from Amanda’s room was found locked in the bedroom where the murder took place. It’s difficult to imagine any scenario where a lamp would be taken from another room and locked into the scene of the crime other than that it was used to look for evidence during the cleanup and then inadvertently forgotten.
And again, keep in mind that Guede’s bloody footprints lead directly from the bedroom to the entrance of the flat. He took off just after the murder happened and never returned.
Eight - Rudy Guede Did Not Act Alone
The break-in was clearly staged and there was no credible defense argument given to refute that. Again, given that Guede’s footprints led directly from the scene of the murder to the front door, he clearly was not involved in any after-the-fact coverup/cleanup, which meant someone else was.
Nine - Consider Amanda’s Middle of the Night Call to Her Mom
Amanda called her mother in the middle of the night Seattle time before the murder was even discovered. It was the first and only time she’d done this from Italy. When asked about it, Amanda claims to not remember having made the call.
It defies credibility to suggest that it was mere happenstance that Amanda decided to call her mother after the murder, wake her up from a sound sleep, and then not remember she had done it. Instead, the far, far more likely scenario is that she realized she was in serious trouble and reached out to her mother instinctively.
And this happened before a body was even discovered.
Ten - “Contamination” Resulting in Sollecito DNA - How Again?
The defense claimed that there was contamination of the bra clasp and that’s why the DNA from Sollecito was not reliable. Contamination had to be the defense claim because there was no question that it was actually Sollecito’s DNA. Keeping an open mind, how would Sollecito’s DNA get on the bra clasp even through contamination?
There was only one other spot of Sollecito’s DNA found in the apartment and that was a mixed DNA trace (Amanda and Raffaele) on a cigarette butt. Sollecito’s DNA was never near the bra clasp or near the equipment that was used to do the testing on the bra clasp at the time the bra clasp was tested.
In fact, at the time the DNA on the bra clasp was tested, it had been more than seven days since any DNA testing from the crime had been done in that lab and everything had been thoroughly cleaned. How did any DNA from Sollecito get transferred to the bra clasp?
And if you agree with the defense claim that “when it comes to contamination, anything is possible,” then you should consider whether that same standard should also be applied to the thousands of people in U.S. prisons who have been convicted of murder or rape in part on the basis of DNA evidence.
Eleven - DNA on Knife - Study the Analysis with an Open Mind
The DNA evidence from the knife was considered questionable because the method used was relatively new and frankly, some people didn’t seem to understand the underlying math/analysis that supported the conclusion that it was Meredith’s DNA.
Sollecito himself tried to create a plausible alternative scenario by claiming that Meredith’s DNA ended up on the knife when he accidentally pricked her on a night she had dinner at his flat. Except that that dinner never happened. He’d known Amanda only a week, and of course Meredith never went near Sollecito’s flat.
Twelve - Should the U.S. Abandon Its Treaty Obligations Because of Popular Opinion?
An Italian jury convicted Amanda Knox of murder in Italy, and that conviction has now been upheld by an Italian Appellate Court that reviewed all of the evidence. The decision has now been supported by renowned legal experts here in the U.S. who have also closely examined the evidence presented.
If the U.S. is going to refuse to extradite Knox on the basis of popular opinion which has been inflamed by shoddy reporting, then we should acknowledge that the court of public opinion is the only one that matters and perhaps we should consider whether the U.S. or any country needs jury trials at all.
Perhaps we should just poll the public after highly publicized trials and let that verdict be the one that stands.
We are ready to help
There are multiple other pieces of evidence and issues linked to here to consider beyond my list above. They are all here on this site and the Wiki and the two PMFs (links in left column above).
Content on those 4 sites is for the most part presented by successful, highly qualified lawyers and experts i(including some who are Italian) in all of the relevant fields.
If you are going to write on or report about this case, please consider starting by reading the actual court documents, beginning with the document that was written by the judge and jury involved in the original trial.
Relying on the defense PR team and on previously published media reports will not help you understand the case because so much of what has been reported is completely and wildly inaccurate.
Also you have a responsibility to get reporting on this case right because if and when Italy submits an extradition request for Amanda Knox, it’s important to not fan the flames of a potential international incident by blowing this case up into something it’s not.
It is is a murder trial where the weight of the of evidence is strong enough to convince a Harvard law professor who has worked on many murder cases that Knox’s guilt will likely be affirmed by Italy’s highest court.
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Saturday, February 01, 2014
Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz And Philly Lawyer Ted Simon Both Claim The Devil’s In The Details
Posted by Peter Quennell
Alan Dershowitz sees plenty of evidence against Knox. He really has absorbed the key details, and in this case, the devil is in the details.
Alan Dershowitz has spoken out quite accurately a number of times on the case previously, and he shows great respect for the carefulness of the Italian system.
Philadelphia lawyer and Knox advisor Ted Simon also thinks there is a devil in the details. Or rather, he did back in 2008 (below) before he got on the Knox payroll and his foolish mantra became “There is no evidence”.
Wrong. There is stacks of evidence that Knox was in that room - and it wasnt even tested for DNA.
- Why was her lamp in the room? Why cannot she explain that? Why are there zero fingerprints? Who wiped them? Who moved Meredith’s body? How did Knox’s and Meredith’s blood get co-mingled? In half a dozen different locations? Outside a locked bedroom door?
- Why are there footprints in blood outside the locked bedroom door of both Knox and Sollecito? Why do Guede’s shoeprints head straight out the front door? And if Knox didnt start to rearrange the crime scene, who staged the break-in, and why?
- And why do the various presentations in closed court in 2009 (all-day testimony by crime-scene and autopsy experts and a 15-minute video recreating the attack) which proved THREE attackers still remain unchallenged?
Those pesky details…
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Friday, January 31, 2014
Appeal Session #10 Images: The Attorney General Of Tuscany Dr Tindari Baglione Breaks The News
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
This help with translation happened right after Judge Nencini finished reading the verdict and sentences yesterday
Below: images of Lyle and Stephanie earlier in the long tense day
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Appeal Session #10 Images: The Two Judges And Six Lay Judges Deliver The Guilty Verdict
Posted by Peter Quennell
The sentences are 25 years in priosn for Raffaele Sollecito and 28.6 years in rpison for Amanda Knox including the 3.8 years for the calunnia already served. Each must also incur financial penalties.
Both may be locked in the sex offenders wings as both were confirmed convicted with a sex-crime component. Both may face further charges for false accusations of crimes in their books and in the media, as may some of their more strident “supporters”.
Few in the US and UK seem to realize, but the evidence presented at trial in the first half of 2009 was in fact overwhelming. In the US and UK it is probable no appeal would even have been allowed, as the appeal grounds were so flimsy.
Nothing was undermined at the Florence appeal. In fact the evidence became STRONGER as another trace of Knox was found on the big knife. Innuendo about DNA contamination was sharply rejected in face of zero evidence or even scenario.
Please read our case overview here which links to some vital posts and touches on several of the defense’s illegal tricks.
That includes the corrupting of the 2011 appeal, which is well understood in Italy but not registering with most US and UK media - Sndrea Vogt has begun reporting on part of it, the illegal meddling with the Hellmann DNA consultancy
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Thursday, January 30, 2014
Appeal Session #10: After Defense Remarks Panel Of Judges Reaches Its Decision: BOTH GUILTY
Posted by Peter Quennell
Verdict: Both are confirmed guilty
The Massei verdict is upheld. The sentences are 25 years for Raffaerle Sollecito and 28.6 years for Amanda Knox. Sollecito is to have his passport taken away.
For Knox they could issue a worldwide Interpol Red Notice for immediate arrest around the world, even before going for extradition, to stop her dishonest self-serving blabberings.
Take a look at our conjectures down the bottom of this post on the judges’ deliberations. Looks like we got One, Two and Four right and Knox will be named in the judges report as the prime instigator.
That will hardly help her resist extradition. And it will please Guede and Sollecito, who both always hint at that.
To CNN: yet again this is NOT double jeopardy. Read the extradition treaty. It was ONE valid trial (2009) and now ONE valid and failed appeal (2014). Not two trials.
Tweets from our main poster Machiavelli
26. All these many thanks are so warming and comforting; I’m glad my contribution was useful among the many others.
25. No measure taken for expatriation of Knox because she is a US citizen currently in her own country.
24. Passport withdrawn for Sollecito and movement restriction within the boundaries of the state of Italy. No restriction for Knox.
23. Ruled that Knox’s royalties belong to Lumumba,
22. Accessory penalties/settlements: established Knox stinks, ordered Dalla Vedova to change jobs… (!)
21. Her calunnia sentencing has been increased from 3 years (Hellmann-Zanetti) to 3 years and 6 months.
20. To be more precise: Knox has been sentenced to 28 years and 6 months. (She has already served four years).
19. Massei sentence confirmed (25y), Knox sentence increased to 28 years because of calunnia aggravation
18. Bongiorno very agitated
17. Five minutes and a half from a verdict?
16. Judge declared the verdict will be 3D and distributed goggles [?]
15. Sollecito was in the courtroom. Appeared nervous.
14. Said because of the greatness of their power they should acknowledge reasonable doubt.
13. Ghirga emphasized discretional power of the court. Said they have big power to acquit.
12. In point of law: Ghirga said evidence must be considered as a whole in compliance with SC, but assessment should find reasonable doubt
11. Said no blood on knife because of negative TMB and blood confirmatory tests.
10. Ghirga: cited the claims about picograms, said amount is not the point, the problem is test repetition and other conditions
9. Says bruise at back of head is compatible with frotal fight against single aggerssor (disagreement with Introna on this too)
8. Ghirga: Meredith’s blue sweater was removed before fatal stabbing, as for Torre’s opinion. Admitas he disagrees with Sollecito’s defence.
7. Ghirga talked about: Meredith’s blue sweater, an echimosis at back of her head, DNA laboratories and Stefanoni’s quantization
6. Ghirga recalled a small number of details of physical evidence and autopsy.
5. Dalla Vedova asked acquittal, did not specify, whereas Ghirga instead, talking later, invoked reasonable doubt.
4. D.V. says believes there are other Supreme Court rulings in his favor.
3. D.V. emphasized the single pieces of evidence should be assessed each one in parceled out, atomized way before considering the whole
2. DV focused on evidence assessment procedure, quoted SC rulings.
1. Dalla Vedova’s talking lasted a short time, and not very orderly.
Tweets from reporter Barbie Latza Nadeau
28. Court: Amanda Knox Is Guilty. See more in The Daily Beast.
27. Kercher family members being briefed by lawyers and British consulate.
26. Sollecito must surrender all documents, passports, identification,
25. Its 25 years for sollecito and 28.6 years for amanda knox
24. Amanda Knox  guilty verdict upheld, sollecito  guilty verdict upheld.
23. Judges and jury enter.22. Huge security presence ahead of verdict including riot police outside and in public area of courtroom amandaknox tense
21. meredithkercher sister stephany and brother lyle have arrived in court for verdict.
20 Prosecutor Crini has arrived in court for verdict in amandaknox appeal
19. Clerk says between 9-930 local time judges will return. Says judges want “utter silence no shouting or clapping”
18. Court clerk says verdict will be delivered between 9 and 9:30 tonight.
17. Amanda Knox ‘Afraid’ Of Today’s Court Verdict http://thebea.st/LeteHD via @thedailybeast
16. Court clerk says at 8pm she will go back to judge to find out if and when they are ready to deliver verdict.
15. Court clerk says “presumably verdict at 8:00 but everyone come back at 7:00
15. Court clerk just announced that at 6pm local they will tell us when the verdict will be announced.
14. Mario Spezi, author of Monster of Florence, has come to court to hear amandaknox verdict.
13. Lawyers for amandaknox and sollecito, journalists already in courtroom ready for verdict that come come any time from 5pm Florence time.
12. Lunch has just been brought in to judges and lay jury deliberating amandaknox case. No wine.
11. Refreshments just delivered to jury members in amandaknox new appeal, espresso, cappucino and possibly a tea…
10. Judge in amandaknox new appeal says decision will not come before 5pm.
9. amandaknox lawyer asks court to absolve his client.
8. amandaknox lawyer says the dna on the knife attributed to meredithkercher can not be verified, can not be considered.
7. amandaknox lawyer Ghirga tells court they have to look at all the evidence to reach verdict, not value pieces here and there.
6. amandaknox lawyer says you can’t put two innocent people in jail to cover up mistakes of judicial system.
5. amandaknox lawyer tells judge: you cannot convict for murder in the name of Italy when evidence is ‘probably’ attributed to a defendant.
4. amandaknox lawyer says you can’t cancel out evidence, says Amanda’s rights were violated, she was in shock when she accused Lumumba.
3. sollecito in court by his dad who said they are all nervous for verdict over drinks with journalists at hotel bar last night.
2. amandaknox lawyer CDV says they are serene going into verdict because they believe in her innocence,
1. Court in session. One of the jurors wearing a shiny spangled skirt, rest dressed soberly.
Tweets from Freelance Reporter Andrea Vogt
13. Meredith Kercher’s brother: It was the best we could have hoped for, but amanda knox verdict not cause for celebration.
12. amanda knox guilty verdict upheld. Her lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova said he has called her. She did not cry. She was “petrified.”
11. amanda knox conviction upheld. sentenced to 28 years and six months. Sollecito to 25. Ordered passports to be taken.
10. Meredith’s sister and brother are accompanied by British consulate officials. A hush has come over the courtroom.
9. The family of meredith kercher has arrived in court to hear the verdict.
8. Even most experienced Italian court reporters not predicting what long wait for amanda knox verdict means. Could go either way
7. amanda knox verdict is expected at 9 or 9:30. Clerk reminds about the decorum expected:no applause, shouting, cheering, etc
6. Standing room only in Florence court as media, legal teams, public await amandaknox verdict (timing soon to be announced).
5. Judge and jury in amandaknox case have retreated for deliberations. Verdict not before 5 pm Italy time.
4. amandaknox Judge : we will not give a verdict before 17, after that,can come any time, but will announce with lots of advance notice.
3. Ghirga: We wait anxiously and seriously for justice for Meredith. But doing justice means doing it also for amandaknox and RS.
2. amandaknox lawyers are in court. Ghirga: “siamo fiduciosi, serene, emotionati.” (Roughly: “Trusting, calm, on edge”).
1. Verdict expected late today in amandaknox appeal….
Freelance Reporter Andrea Vogt On Website
From The Freelance Desk
Amanda Knox is expected to wait out the verdict in her appeal at her mother’s Seattle home (likely with American television news networks present) while Raffaele Sollecito was in court with his father and a friend. Sollecito made no remarks upon leaving for the courthouse in a taxi, surrounded by a pack of cameras. Meredith Kercher’s sister, Stephanie, and brother, Lyle, are also expected in Florence today for the court’s decision, expected in the evening hours….
Conjectures on what the judges may be discussing
The panel of judges is in effect deciding now on positions that must be sustained in 2-3 months in a 100-400 page document that must be okayed by the Supreme Court.
This might be what the quite long (by Italian standards, they will have discussed the case intermittently) jury discussion today is focused upon. Here are four possible issues.
Possible issue one
As sharp Italian media are pointing out, Prosecutor Crini departed from the Massei scenario and suggested a different driver in one key respect.
Like Mignini and Micheli in 2008 he assigned the role of prime mover to Amanda Knox and not to Guede. (Nobody ever assigned it to Sollecito.)
Maybe hoping to give RS and AK a break the Massei jury (not neccessarily the judge himself) assigned to Guede the primary role in starting the attack, saying maybe he forced himself upon her.
Then maybe the other two came in from next door, and set about helping him to subdue Meredith.
They just happened to have two knives handy, and even Massei assigns the fatal blow to Knox.
Crini argued as more likely that Knox started to quarrel with Meredith over hygiene or drugs or money and the other two joined in and for 15 minutes the attack escalated.
In this Knox and not Guede is assigned the role of prime mover.
The judges may want to accept this and seek to assign Knox a harsher punishment accordingly.
(Neither court seems to have settled on a convincing reason for why the big knife was brought down from Sollecito’s house which looks to us at minimum forboding.)
Possible issue two
This relates to the scenario in the comment above. Judge Massei lopped five years off the routine sentences by conjuring up “mitigating factors”.
One such factor was the duvet placed over Meredith which Massei thought could be a sign of remorse, surely by a woman.
Many including psychologists never agreed with this. It could have been simply an aversion to all the blood, which Knox on the stand in 2009 chillingly described as “yucky”.
If so the sentences awarded could creep up beyond the durations decided on by Massei. Above 25 and 26 years.
Possible issue three
This is an alternative to One and Two above. The judges might think the crime was more like a manslaughter, an attack that ended in murder
But not intended as such and never agreed to by two of the attackers. In which case sentences could be a lot lighter.
Possible issue four
There are financial award considerations. How much to award to whom, plus maybe ways to ensure their payment in light of Knox blatantly stiffing Patrick..
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Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Continuing Enormous Strength Of The Evidence Which Defenses Seem To Have Abysmally Failed To Shake
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
What this Florence appeal is REALLY about
There is much confusion on this, sowed by various at-distance commentators who don’t read the Italian press or the excellent English-language reporters right there on the spot.
This is NOT a re-trial. This is a FIRST appeal by Sollecito and Knox against the guilty verdicts and sentences Judge Massei awarded them late in 2009. It is being repeated since their defense teams helped to bend the first (Hellmann court) iteration of the first appeal two years ago.
Since the end of 2009 they have been provisionally guilty of murder and other crimes, subject to final ratification by the Supreme Court, which has not yet occurred. Judge Hellmann decided to let them out and travel worldwide. Many think his decision on this was legally weak.
Was there prime-face justification for this appeal?
Under US and UK law many lawyers and judges think the judicial process could have stopped right there in the US and UK, because the grounds for appeal the defenses came up with in 2010 were essentially innuendo about DNA and little else.
But the pro-defendant Italian system unlike almost any other in the world allows appeals if any are filed to automatically go forward. So the bent, stretched-out and illegally wide-scope Hellmann appeal of 2011 was the first result.
Appointed apparently in illegal circumstances to replace the highly-qualified Judge Chiari (the lead-judge for criminal appeals, who then resigned) Judge Hellmann was ill-qualified at best - he was not a criminal judge and had handled only one other murder trial before, which he got wrong.
The annulment of the first first-appeal
The Supreme Court very rarely completely annuls any trial or appeal. But in this case in March 2013 it did just that, on a large number of grounds.
The 2013-2014 Nencini appeal court in Florence starts with the early-2010 Massei report plus new guidelines from the Supreme Court. Nothing else floated since early 2010 counts.
This case seems to break all records ever for (1) defamatory and dishonest PR; (2) dirty tricks, many illegal, by the defense; (3) dishonesty by those accused in two defamatory books and multiple statements to the press; and (4) greed and blood money while the process still goes on.
Contempt of court trials and investigations have commenced to push back, Amanda Knox is particularly at risk because her book contains false accusations of crimes (again) and she defies the Supreme Court in not paying Mr Lumumba his damages though she destroyed his business.
Suggested Reading: Part One
Sooner or later (no necessarily now) read all the must-read posts in this group here, all the open questions for Sollecito in this group here, and all the open questions for Amanda Knox in this group here.
1. Getting up to speed on the 2008 RS and AK charges
Our four-part summary of Judge Micheli’s report is the best thing to read (scroll down) especially Micheli’s argument that ONLY Knox had any reason to re-arrange the crime scene - she lived there and needed to point evidence away from herself.
2. Getting up to speed on the 2009 RS and AK trial
The prosecution performed brilliantly and left the defenses despondent and out-classed (paving the way for more dirty tricks in 2010-13) and we were told that two defense lawyers nearly walked off.
3. Getting up to speed on the Massei 2010 Report
The most vital read of all is the short-form version of the Massei Report by Skeptical Bystander and a team on PMF dot Org. If you have no time to read any posts, make sure to read that.
We had a large number of posts starting in 2010 checking out whether in all details the Massei Report got it right. Read this first take.
4. Getting up to speed on the crime-scene scenario
Vital to understanding the Massei court’s crime-scene scenario which Prosecutor Crini espouses, wade through this excellent reconstruction of the crime in a long Powerpoint by our lawyer James Raper with the Powerpoint whizz Kermit.
About Part Two
The next part of our most-recommended reading from 2010 to 2014 will follow after the verdict to help correct the ill-informed debate over whether Knox goes back to jail.
It hardens the case and in our view leaves no holes for RS and AK to wiggle through. We will point the post to those arguments that anyone tries to raise.
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Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Strong Proof That Raffaele Sollecito Also Stabbed Meredith Kercher Causing The Lesser Wound.
Posted by Ergon
This picks up from from my previous post just below on the large knife that overwhelming evidence shows was wielded by Amanda Knox.
Sometime around Thursday, January 30, 2014, Judge Nencini of the Florence Appeals Court will be delivering the verdict of the court in the case of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, at which time all arguments regarding the knives, staged burglary, DNA and forensics, false accusation, wonky alibis, and reliability of witnesses will be rendered moot.
There will be nothing left but an argument about the legality of the process, and not the evidence, presented by the defenses if they choose to at some point in the fall of 2014 before Cassazione, the Supreme Court in Rome.
But, until then, we are left with the indelible image of Raffaele Sollecito’s defense attorney Giulia Bongiorno a few days ago flailing with two knives in court, arguing (1) the kitchen knife doesn’t fit the major wound, and (2) there’s a missing knife, which she suggested was a pocket knife wielded by Rudy Guede.
In part I, I proved that the imprint of the knife on the mattress sheet matched the kitchen knife, in shape and dimensions. We have already seen in other articles here on TJMK, that there is a definitive match with Knox and Meredith Kercher’s DNA on the murder weapon, and now we know it was transported to the cottage, to leave its mirror image on the bed.
Here, in part II, is a recap of Massei on the knives and wounds inflicted on Meredith Kercher, and how the defense continually tried to divert us away from the knife image by saying it did not fit the dimensions of the major wound.
Also we will have Frank Sfarzo and Bruce Fischer’s amateurish attempts to prove that Rudy Guede caused the knife wounds. And it will try to address what happened to the missing knife that inflicted the lesser wound on Meredith, and who might have wielded it.
Closeup of the stabbing end of the Spiderco knife shown at the top
Deliberate false claims
One of the many myths surrounding this case was that investigators had no reason to seize the kitchen knife from Sollecito’s flat, and when I showed the photos from Conti’s lab, with the deep scratches on it, that it may have been altered in some way, and denying that was where some of Meredith’s DNA might have been trapped. IIP even posted an out of focus picture some time back to prove that point.
Here is Frank Sforza on the late and unlamented Perugia Shock.‘ANY KNIFE COULD HAVE DONE THAT WOUND’
End of a Myth
Frank Sfarzo, Sept. 19, 2009
Quote: “It was introduced in the room, it was taken out of the box with all precautions, it was shown to them like a relic. They could have a look at it from a distance, and see, or believe to have seen, the groove into which the biological material of Meredith was found.” And:
“Amanda Knox’s lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova brought him (independent expert Professor Cingolani) to say something very clear about the main one: any single-edge knife is compatible with Meredith’s larger wound.”
Here is Bruce Fischer on the error-ridden Injustice In Perugia.
Quote: “The knife was a common kitchen knife retrieved from the kitchen of Raffaele Sollecito. The knife was chosen from the drawer because it looked clean. (Editorial note: it was also, deeply scratched and nicked)
No blood was on the blade.
No DNA was on the blade.
The knife doesn’t match most of the wounds on Meredith.
The knife doesn’t match the bloody imprint left on the bed.
The photographic evidence shows that Raffaele’s kitchen knife is to (sic) large to match the bloody imprint on the bed.
At 4 cm from the tip the knife blade is 2.2 cm wide, while the injury (i.e. the small wound) is 1.5 cm wide. Raffaele’s kitchen knife could not have caused the wounds. The knife blade is also too long to have inflicted the large wound.” (Ed. note: Here they are conflating the dimensions of the lesser wound with the knife that inflicted the major wound, to cause confusion)
This is typical of the dishonesty of Bruce Fischer, who was only parroting what the defense experts had been saying in Massei’s court.
From the Massei Report
This is from the excellent PMF translation.
P. 99: The witness (investigator) recognized it when shown Exhibit 36 as that same knife (pages 176 and 177, hearing on February 28, 2009). He remembered that in the drawer there were other knives, but he collected what was later indicated as Exhibit 36. It had the following dimensions: blade 17 cm. and handle of dark colour 14 cm. He recalled that in Sollecito’s bedroom they found another knife whose total length was 18cm, with an 8cm. blade.” (This would be his Brian Tighe pocket knife, the Spyderco flick knife was seized from his person when he was arrested)
P.135: The stab wound corresponding to the injuries on the right side of the neck was indicated as being a little wound of very small dimensions with a very small path. The path of the wound is 4cm long and only 1.5cm wide. The blade used to make this wound must have had a width of 1.5cm at 4cm from the point. This blade only entered 4cm into the neck “because it encountered the angle of the jaw” (page 33 of the transcripts).
P.147: Professor Vinci testified at the hearing of August 18, 2009. He considered the subject of the “bloody stains” found on the undersheet in Meredith Kercher’s room. In relation to these stains, on the basis of graphics given in the report dated June 30, 2009, he asserted that the knifeprint found on the undersheet in Meredith’s bedroom could have been made either by an 11.3cm knife blade, or by a 9.6cm knife blade together with a mark 1.7cm long left by the handle of the same knife. In either case, the blade could not be wider than 1.3/1.4 cm. (Ahem)
P. 154: Prof Cingolani: He clarified that irregularities present on the blade, on the edge of the blade, could have created the rippling in the wounds.
P. 157: the examination of the wound on the right part of the neck, which had absolutely incompatible dimensions: 1.5cm long and 0.4cm wide with a depth of 4cm.
p.164: she was therefore struck on the right latero-cervical region with a single-edged blade which produced a wound with dimensions of 1.5cm by 0.4cm, with a penetrating depth of 4cm: an action not relevant in determining the cause of death but intended, as before, to subdue Meredith Kercher’s resistance.
p.166: the width of the (kitchen knife) proximal third [blade one third of the distance from the handle] is 3cm.
p166: Along the edge, there was evidence of irregularities in the form of thin ridges at 2.2cm and at 11.4cm from the tip.
p. 167: The experts and consultants who were examined during the course of the trial, taking into examination the various wounds present on the neck, excluded the compatibility of the knife Exhibit 36 and the wound inflicted on the right latero-cervical and having the following dimensions: 1.5cm by 0.4cm, with a depth of 4cm in an oblique upwards direction. They in fact showed that the confiscated knife, at a distance of 4cm from the tip, has a width of approximately 3cm and thus almost double the 1.5cm width of the wound, a width thus incompatible with the dimensions of the blade of this knife.
p.172-3: In relation to the above, the thesis of the incompatibility of the most serious wound and the knife Exhibit 36 is held to be unacceptable, though this knife is incompatible with the 4cm-deep wound, as we have seen. Nor does this conclusion contrast with the circumstances illustrated by Sollecito Defence consultant Professor Vinci in his report relating to the ‚analyses of the haematic stained shapes discovered on the mattress cover in Meredith Kercher’s room‛.
p.175: The reconstruction offered by Professor Vinci certainly appears suggestive. Some doubt remains in the reconstruction of the dimensions of the knife derived in relation from the marks found on the bed sheet. If these marks indeed derived from the knife placed on the bed sheet, then they should in fact have been more abundant, and should have outlined the shape of the knife with greater precision, for the following reason: the knife, if it was placed on the bed sheet, was placed there immediately after it had been used to strike Meredith; therefore, the fresh and abundant bloodstains present on the blade should have been imprinted onto the bed sheet in a more evident and copious way than is actually appreciable. It cannot in any case remain unobserved that, if one of the knives used had a blade length of 11.3cm, or else 9.6 cm – according to what was indicated by Professor Vinci in the conclusions to his report – the argumentation set forth to sustain the incompatibility of the knife Exhibit 36 would not, on this alone, have any foundation.”
For the record, here are the paragraphs from the English translation of the Massei Report where Patricia Stefanoni describes the streaks and scratches on the double DNA knife and locations where samples were taken.
Judge Massei (on pg. 196) wrote about forensic expert Patrizia Stefanoni:
“She specified that trace B had been taken from a point on the face of the blade; she added that no biological trace was visible to the naked eye. However [she added that] “under considerable lighting, a series of streaks were visible to the naked eye. These streaks ran parallel to the upper part of the blade, therefore, more or less, they were parallel to this side [of the blade] and towards the point they went downward and, therefore, they followed the shape of the point. These streaks, anomalies in the metal, were visible to the naked eye under intense lighting” (page 95 of the transcript). Still in regard to the visibility of these streaks, she specified that they were “visible under good lighting by changing the angle at which the light hit the blade, since obviously the blade reflects light and thus creates shadows, making imperfections visible”.
The samples taken from the handle, in the points indicated with the letters A, D, F were taken in order to verify the possible presence of DNA by the person who grasped that knife. In particular, for sample “A”, a particular point had been chosen, “in which there’s the hand-guard” (page 95) and therefore, in all likelihood, the point where there was the most friction between the hand that grasped the knife and the handle. This sample yielded the result of Amanda Knox’s genetic profile.
The other samples yielded negative results, except the one taken from the blade, from the “scratches and streaks visible under good lighting, by changing the angle of the lighting with regards to the blade” that yielded the genetic profile of the victim (page 96 hearing May 22, 2009).”
And now we know: Dottora Patrizia Stefanoni got it right.
And some disagreement amongst the experts: p.291-2: Professor Cingolani had in fact noted and declared the following: “in the second lesion, the one that is 2 centimetres deep and 1.5 centimetres wide from corner to corner, the only thing that we are tempted to do, [albeit] in an absolutely amateurish/unprofessional way, because we only have photographs available, is to measure, assuming that only the tip entered, how wide the blade is [at a point] 2 centimetres from its tip: it is precisely 1.5 centimetres wide!”
My own investigation
Here is my initial close examination first posted on PMF dot Net last summer.
Ergon Post subject: INVESTIGATION OF THE KNIVES USED IN THE MURDER Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:42 am
Investigation into the death of Meredith Kercher-THE CAUSE OF DEATH AND THE MEANS BY WHICH IT WAS OCCASIONED
The murder of Meredith Kercher was particularly bloody and brutal. Reading through Massei, pages 109- SURVEY AND EVALUATION OF THE FORENSIC RESULTS through to 158-173, THE CAUSE OF DEATH AND THE MEANS BY WHICH IT WAS OCCASIONED we are reminded of the brutality with which the attack took place, the sexual assault by more than one person, the restraining, the defensive wounds on Meredith’s hands, the torture by more than one knife, restraining by a hand over the mouth when she screamed, (even while she bled to death) and two major knife wounds, one to the left of the throat, the other, to the right. Massei rightly concludes, as did the Supreme Court, that more than one attacker was involved, and, per Massei, there was more than one knife used in the attack. The defense experts tried to draw attention away from the kitchen knife, but, reading through Massei again, I saw how they dropped clues to what the dimensions of the second knife might have been.
We know that Raffaele Sollecito had a fetish for violent porn, that he had an expensive collection of knives, and his many alibis for the night in question have been thrown out by the court. From my studies of criminal psychology, from reading both Amanda and Raffaele’s books and watching videos of their court appearances and television interviews, their psychopathology seem apparent not only to my eyes, but even to the general public that must have looked at them and decided their story somehow did not ring true, and refused to buy their books. There are indeed certain neurological deficits apparent in their demeanor that renowned German neurologist Dr. Gerhard Roth postulates shows up as a ‘dark patch’ in brain scans of all those who display criminal behaviour, and even, “The second type is the mentally disturbed criminal who looks at his world as threatening. A wrong look, one false move, he can explode and become a killer,” he said.
I was shown videos of the crime scene, and able to observe the wounds in Meredith’s neck. The scenes of the room in which the murder took place and, the neck wound, were truly horrifying to me, and showed the extent of the attack. Those images still sit in the mind, but also, cause me to want to get to the bottom of this mystery, hence, my work on the case.
I believe, observing the photos I already posted in the Evidence Files that the kitchen knife was the murder weapon that struck the fatal blow that night. I also believe, reading the pathologist’s report, that the blade that was stuck in Meredith’s neck, in the right latero-cervical area to a depth of 4 cms, was Raffaele Sollecito’s Brian Tighe pocket knife, photo also in the evidence files. Yes, no DNA or blood was sampled from it, but that only indicates it was successfully cleaned that night. My reading of Sollecito’s pathology is that he would not want to dispose of the knife he used, it being very expensive and also as an extension of his fetishistic ego. One other thing I asked to look at: The high resolution photos I posted of the bed show the outline and dimensions of two knives. I believe that both images are of the kitchen knife that struck Meredith in the left latero-cervical to cause a cut of 8-9 cms in depth, and a length of 8 cms (p. 167)
There are two exhibits of the mattress cover, one marked “J” and the other, “O”, both displaying the approximate size and dimensions of the kitchen knife, which I will explain when I post the photos. The first, “J”, has more blood because I believe the knife was placed there first and wicked on to the sheet, causing the distorted splotch at the end. By the time it was moved to its final position by the purse, “O”, it retained just enough blood to leave a clearer, indelible impression.
It was a butchery.”
One last point: Rep. 33A/B/C/D were four samples taken from a black-handled folding knife. It tested negative for blood, but, in one sample, the DNA profile matched a mix of Knox and Sollecito. The other samples were negative. Stefanoni: pp. 103-104
Looking at the images produced by my illustrator, and taking the average of the two estimates of the wound depth, 2 and 4 cms, one arrives at a blade width of 1.5 cms at 3 cms length from the tip of Raphaele Sollecito’s Brian Tighe collectors knife, on which, coincidentally, both Amanda Knox and Sollecito’s DNA was found.
Raffaele Sollecito stabbed Meredith Kercher, causing the lesser wound. And my personal opinion? It was with the Brian Tighe knife, and somehow both he and Amanda Knox got their DNA on it around the same time that night.
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Monday, January 27, 2014
An Investigation Into The Large Knife Provides Further Proof That This Was THE Knife
Posted by Ergon
This is the first report of an investigation (the second part follows soon) of the kitchen knife used in the murder of Meredith Kercher, RIP.
Specifically its compatibility with the imprint of a bloody knife found by police investigators on her bed under-sheet which as you will see here seems possible to prove.
- Reference files are from very high definition crime scene photos not in general circulation.
- Grateful thanks to the volunteers of the Meredith Kercher community who assisted in this production
Florence Court of Appeals
This is our poster Machiavelli, tweeting from the Florence courtroom on November 26, 2013:
“(Prosecutor Alessandro) Crini stated that this kitchen knife was compatible with the knife print on Meredith’s bed sheet”.
And this is from the defense summing up on January 09, 2014:
Bongiorno: “It’s too big, not the murder weapon.”
“Bongiorno shows a picture with an envisioned “knife” (pocket knife belonging to Guede?) together with the print on the bed sheet.”
“Nobody brings a “small blow with a big knife” “You don’t use half of a big knife” (she says)
Genesis of an investigation:
To recap: evidence was been presented at the Massei court of the first instance, which accepted that the kitchen knife, containing both Meredith Kercher’s DNA on the blade (trace B) and Amanda Knox’s DNA on the handle (trace A) was the weapon that struck the fatal blow to Meredith Kercher’s throat.
At some point after the attack, the perpetrator, Amanda Knox, puts it down on the bed, leaving “hematic stains” (bloody imprints) on the mattress.
The court concludes the shape of the imprints are compatible with the kitchen knife. It also concludes, based on the size of a lesser wound that a second, smaller knife caused the wound on the other side of the neck, and, the impossibility of accepting that a single weapon inflicted both wounds.
This is what it boils down to now, as we come to the final arguments of this case on January 30, with a decision to be handed down by the court later in the day:
- Was the kitchen knife found in Raffaele Sollecito’s kitchen the murder weapon that killed Meredith Kercher on November 01, 2007?
- Did the killer leave behind proof in the form of bloody imprints on the under sheet covering Meredith’s bed?
- And is the defense trying to divert attention away from it, even though the image on the bed fits the dimensions of the kitchen knife?
- And pointing to a second knife, not ever found?
This article (to be followed by part II) was prepared to offer answers to these questions.
As someone with a keen interest in photography, I know we see things in photographs that are not always apparent to the naked eye.
Where before we had all been misled by low definition photographs released by the defense to obscure incriminating details, I was able to obtain and view the high definition photographs shown here that proved that indeed, the bed imprints matched the seized kitchen knife, exhibit 36.
These photographs, first posted at Perugia Murder File Evidence Files have been circulating for some time, with members trying to match the knife to the bed imprints, but not, in my opinion, being able to match it exactly.
First, note that the killer placed a knife on two separate locations on the bed, marked by reference cards “J”, and “O”. (Reference photos below.)
I discarded “J”, because there was too much blood there to form an accurate measurement. The killer lifted the knife and then placed it at “O”, which gave a better image, but even then, did not match exactly. Still, it was clear the images looked like a kitchen, and not, a pocket knife as alleged by the defense.
Looking at the reference photo, I saw a double image of a knife blade at “O”. (see where there’s a curved edge of the blade? That’s what convinced me there might be a double image there)
My opinion is the knife shifted slightly when it was placed there, hence the double image, which now made a perfect match with the kitchen knife, in both instances (see reference photos).
So I got a professional illustrator and other skilled people people to do the scale drawings and produce the video you see above which seems to provide conclusive proof the murder knife was placed on the bed.
Image 1 above (click for larger image): Bed II (Image J and O on under sheet, shot November 02, 2007)
Image 2 above (click for larger image): Knife II (Image O on under sheet, shot November 02, 2007)
Image 3 above (click for larger image): FOTO5BIS (Conti-Vecchiotti lab, Mar. 22, 2011)
Image 4 above (click for larger image): Knife-Bed-Vector-AllScales (To prove the scales used to match the images)
Image 5 above (click for larger image): Knife-pos-lower-hi (The knife’s first resting position at “O”)
Image 6 above (click for larger image): Knife-pos-upper-hi (The knife’s final resting position at “O”)
There are only four more days left till the Florence Appeals Court under Judge Nencini issues its verdict. It must of course consider ALL the evidence, of which there is a preponderance that indeed suggests the verdict will, as would be proper, be guilty as charged.
Part II will be ready ASAP. It will be a recap of Massei on the knife, and how the defense continually tried to divert us away from the knife image by saying it did not fit the dimensions of the major wound. Also will have Frank Sfarzo’s misdirection and Bruce Fischer’s amateurish attempts to prove that Rudy Guede caused the knife wounds.
Happy as always to do my share for justice for Meredith Kercher.
Archived in Public evidence, The two knives
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