“They Were Held For A Year Without Even Being Charged!!” How Italian Justice REALLY Works

Posted by Nicki



[Above: Cassazione, the Italian Supreme Court Of Appeals}

A misleading mantra

This frequently quoted claim above is maybe the most mindless and misinformed of all the mantras on the case.

Much of the US media and some of the UK media - sometimes enthusiastically, sometimes with reserve - has parroted the claim that Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox were “held without charges” for nearly a year.

Perhaps bringing to mind the notion of two innocent bystanders to the crime being arbitrarily arrested? Locked up in cockroach-infested jails by abusive police? Led on by an evil prosecutor with endless powers up his sleeve, and nothing at all to slow him down? Lost and forgotten by any judges in the case?

Well, good luck with that one, if it’s designed to sway the process.

It irritates just about everybody here in Italy, the judiciary and the media included. And it is doing the defendants no good at all.

Negative stereotypes like these really should not be applied to a country that is one of the founding members of the EU, of NATO, and of the European Council, and of the G-7, G-8, OECD, and United Nations (the non-permanent member of the Security Council in 2007-2008).

So for media reporters and commentators, please let us get the facts straight. Once and for all?!

Origin of Italian jurisprudence

Italian jurisprudence developed from Roman Law. It was shaped in the course of history to become a modern and very fair system. Judicial powers are subjected to a very complex and extremely pervasive set of checks and balances, which really assure maximum protection of every citizen’s rights.

Comparing the US and UK common law system - a model founded on non-written laws and developed through judicial proceedings - with this system which arose from the Roman Law model - based on a written civil code - is really like comparing apples to oranges.

They were both conceived to protect individual’s rights at a maximum level, while seeking justice for the victims. But with entirely different processes.

One is not necessarily better or worse. But there are legal experts who think the Italian system is distinctly fairer - much more weighted toward the defendants. In the US and the UK the prosecutor usually has to make it through only one pre-trial hoop. In Italy the prosecutor has to make it through a whole row of pre-trial hoops.

Legal status of a witness and a suspect

Let’s see what happens in Italy to the legal status of a person who, while considered a “persona informata dei fatti” which means “a person who could yield useful information” in relation to a brutal murder, suddenly becomes a suspect in the eyes of the police.

If while interviewing the “person who could yield useful information” the suspicion arises that such person could have played an active role in the crime, their status then turns into that of a suspect. The police can then detain that suspect up to 48 hours.

Those 48 hours are the period within which a prosecutor - if he believes that the evidence of guilt is meaningful - can request a validation of the arrest by the Judge of Preliminary Investigation (the GIP).

If the judge agrees with the prosecutor that a serious indication of guilt exists, a warrant for the arrest is issued by the judge, and the person’s detention is thus validated.

Immediately, as soon as the status of “person who could yield useful information” status changes into the status of a suspect, the suspect person has a right to legal counsel. This legal counsel normally immediately appeals for the release of the suspect.

Subsequent hearings by different judges

Thus setting in motion what can be a LONG sequel of hearings - for which in US and UK common law there is no such equivalent. Each hearing is headed by a different judge. This judge examines prosecution and defence arguments, and decides if the suspect may be released on any of these bases:

  • Seriousness of the clues presented by prosecution

  • Likelihood of repeating a similar crime

  • Likelihood of fleeing the country during the ongoing investigation

  • Danger of tampering with, or fabricating evidence

If every one of the defence appeals fails, in front of a number of different judges, in a number of different hearings, and the investigation is officially closed, the suspect then goes on to a pre-trial hearing.

Once again here, yet another judge rules either to clear and release the suspect by rejecting the submitted evidence, or to send the suspect to trial on the basis of that evidence, thus making the charges official.

Judicial decisions on bail, house arrest, or jail

Now that the charges are official, the judge can decide if the defendant must await trial under house arrest, or in freedom, of if the defendant must remain in jail.

If the judge, based on their knowledge of the crime and the defendants, estimates that the chances of re-offending or fleeing the country are high, the suspect must remain in jail.

So nobody in Italy can be detained without a reasonable suspicion, a long series of judicial hearings (any one of which could set them free) or eventual official charges.

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have not in fact been incarcerated for over one year due to zealous police or a bizarre prosecutor or the complicity of a number of judges throughout the process.

They have been incarcerated because an articulate and balanced process of law has officially and very fairly established there are strong indications that they willingly participated in the vicious murder of Meredith Kercher.

Failure of defenses to persuade judges

Their own lawyers have put up a tough fight for Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox throughout the judicial process.  But they have simply failed to convince the judges throughout that process.

One that actually seems strongly weighted in their favor.


Italian Taxpayers To Alleviate Some Pain Of False Accusation Of Murder

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the details.

Apparently Patrick was hoping for more. We’re happy that he got something, poor guy. His suit against Knox is the real one to come.

Collateral damage of the night in question just ripples on and on.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/17/09 at 02:00 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in • Comments here (0)

Impressive Public Push In Italy, Anti Crime, Pro Stronger Justice System

Posted by Peter Quennell


Four months ago now, Nicki presented us with this very enlightening picture of Italian justice.

Two of the important conclusions of Nicki’s piece relevant to the case in Perugia:

  • The Italian system of justice is not only fair and cautious, it is painstakingly so, almost to the n’th degree.
  • Prosecutors do not have an easy time of it, and they have to clear hurdle after hurdle to make their case.

The system may not be ripe for any great changes, but the Italian public certainly seems to be favoring law and order.

Now there’s been a huge anti-Mafia turnout in Naples. Click above for the BBC’s report.

 


The Tough Financial Hurdles Students Abroad Must Overcome

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for a good take on what students face financially these days if they want to study abroad, and how so many of them never quite make it.

Neither Meredith nor Amanda Knox came from particularly wealthy families, but they were both clearly driven to make it to Italy, and both worked hard to be able to do so.

In the case of Meredith, she got onto the EC’s excellent Erasmus program, which would have covered most of her bills. She may have been in line for a waitress job at Le Chic.

Amanda Knox seems to have been fully self-funded. She worked long hours in World Cup, a coffee shop near the University of Washington, and she also needed to keep working in Perugia.

Money worries and job worries might have been a contributing factor in the case. This from the Fairfield article might be one of the learning experiences of this sad affair.

Fairfield University is actually a very supportive school in terms of study abroad. It is one of the few schools that allow financial aid to transfer overseas.  “I am going to Italy so (Fairfield) is adjusting my scholarship accordingly,” said Loral DeSalvio ‘

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/29/09 at 06:11 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The wider contextsComments here (2)

A Well-Informed New Voice On The Relevant Italian Law

Posted by Peter Quennell



Above: the street up from the station - probably the first road in Perugia Meredith ever traveled, just a few short weeks before her death.

System & Case Properly Described

Informed foreign commentary on the Italian legal system has been very thin on the ground in this case and we have posted what still remains one of the best.

Now in the the Comments section of a post on The Daily Beast that in passing compares the Italian system negatively with the American system, a new commenter, MacK MacK (not registered on TJMK in that name) has posted a number of informed comments worth reading before they scroll away.

Here is the first of MacK MacK’s comments - right under another which reads “I really do hate this perception that America has the highest legal system in the world” - and several of the responses, including his or her own.

MacK-MacK

This is not a very well though out article, poorly written by an author who assumes that a civil law system (i.e., Italy) should be like a common system, i.e., the US.

First, the presumption of innocence does apply since Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights, to which Italy is a signatory, and which is enforced by the European Court in Strasbourg provides detailed rights (1) to a fair trial, including the right to a public hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal within reasonable time, (2) the presumption of innocence, and (3) other minimum rights for those charged with a criminal offence (adequate time and facilities to prepare their defence, (4) access to legal representation, (5) right to examine witnesses against them or have them examined, and (6) right to the free assistance of an interpreter) - which makes Italy better than say Texas with appeal to the US Supreme Court.

Second, in a civil law country trial is a two step process. There is a preliminary proceeding conducted by an investigating magistrate (in some civil law countries called a juge d’instruction) who is like a grand-jury in the US system, but with added powers, since he/she can cross examine the police and prosecutor and will only allow a case to go to trial if there is prima facie evidence that the defendant has a case to answer - and which point the defendant gets a trial with the presumption of innocence.

The confusion among bad reporters that leads to the idea that when on trial one is “guilty until proven innocent” is because the investigating magistrate only lets a case go to trial if he/she thinks the defendant is guilty, but the trial is a fresh one - that is what is going on now.

The Knox family, who are fairly well off in fact, are being badly advised by Washington based criminal lawyers to use publicity in her case, and the publicists they have hired have decided to put the Italian justice system on trial. They have spread potentially libelous stories about the prosecutor and tried to muddy the waters in public. The problem for Knox is that this may well antagonize the court - it is a stupid tactic, being used by people who are trying Seattle court tactics in Italy.

The civil trial system is heavily run by the judges, who have to make the decisions. What this means in practice is that they ask a lot of the questions and will when there are problems with evidence keep recalling people to get to the bottom of the issue. This is in contrast to the US system where a witness is heard, examined and cross-examined, and the defense and prosecution tries to score some points during that testimony. In the Italian system, if a question mark is raised, the judges will often call a few witnesses back to ask for explanations.

Knox and Sollecito to me, and I have read most of what has come out in this case, have very serious problems. The trouble Knox has is that ab initio she told the police a pack of lies, implicating an innocent black man (and demonstrably so) as the killer (by the way her choice of Mr. Lumumba is particularly telling since in a country with a smallish black population she chose someone of the same race as Guede - why?) Her alibi is to put it mildly piss-poor and in both her and Sollecito’s case they don’t match facts that can be established (e.g., cell phone records, computer use.) Sollecito has avoided supporting her alibi in court.

The only reasonable conclusion that can be reached is that she and Sollecito were in some way present or involved in at least part of the events on the fatal night - the nature of that involvement is not clear, but the confessions seem to be a starting point for working out what it might be.

It is this inescapable involvement that presents the huge problem - Knox is not telling the truth and Sollecito has stopped really talking at all - however, what Knox now says and Sollecito’s lawyers argue are inconsistent with some known facts—why? What you see the court heading towards is that Knox is trying to tell a false story because the truth must be worse.

I do notice by the way that the fact that Knox fingered Lumumba as the murderer, and that he had a solid alibi is simply not mentioned in this or other press accounts in the US.

citivas

Best post I have read here on this subject.

AmericanPravda

MacK-MacK:

A fine post, indeed! It’s not often on TDB that a post is actually more informative than the original article.

You seem to know what you’re talking about. So, correct me if I’m wrong, but does civil law not focus more on answering the three questions: what happened? Why did it happen? And how did it happen? as opposed to our common law where prosecuting lawyers and defence lawyers rely more on precedent.

I absolutely buy into your point that the Knox family are being badly advised by Washington- based criminal lawyers to use American-style negative publicity in her case and this potentially will backfire on them. It is a stupid tactic, as you say!

Sample of one here, but I think she is very guilty and should pay the price.

mblips

This is an excellent post - in fact much better than the original article.

I have followed this case from the beginning, and I am certain that they are guilty. Here are some details that came out early in the story, but now seem to have been forgotten:

1. In the early hours of the morning after the murder, Knox and Sollecito made two separate trips to the store to buy a bottle of bleach. Why would they be consuming so much bleach if they weren’t trying to scrub forensic evidence?

2. Knox originally said that she was at the crime scene and covered her ears to block out the sound of the victim’s screams. Then she changed her story and said that she wasn’t there at all. How is it possible to be mistaken about this?

3. Their behavior immediately after the discovery of the body was bizarre. Firstly police found both of them at the crime scene when they turned up to investigate the victim’s found mobile phone, but the accused hadn’t contacted police. Surely, upon discovery of a body, it is something you would do immediately. Secondly, at the crime scene, the accused made-out in front of police - surely a misguided attempt to act innocent. Immediately after this, they went lingerie shopping, and then at the police station, Knox passed the time, but doing the splits.

They are guilty, and I think they will not escape this.

The most interesting thing to wait for is Guede’s appeal, which will be heard after the Knox/Sollecito trial is over. I think some fine dirt will be dished at that one.

AmericanPravda

mblips:

No…I remember these details, which you itemize in your post. Regarding your second point, I believe that she’s (Knox) claiming that she gave the statement ‘under duress’. I don’t believe that she, or her legal team, mentioned what caused the duress; perhaps she was in a state of duress, because she had just murdered somebody!

Regarding your third point, her bizarre behaviour on her shopping trip directly after the initial police investigation, was caught on tape, so it’s around for perpetuity.

I suspect that we haven’t been hearing about these issues on this side of the Atlantic because her father’s attempts, via professional media relations firms that he has hired, to obfuscate the key issues has indeed been working, at least with the US public. (The strategy here is to create a over swell of public opinion in the US in favour of her innocence so that the Italian justice system will be somehow intimidated into either letting her go, or allowing her to be tried in the US, where she would, presumably, get a more lenient trial.)

I hope that the Italians stick to their principals and give her the deserved punishment.

MacK-MacK

There is also in a lot of the reporting a misunderstanding about rules of evidence in the common law system versus the civil law system.

To explain, rules of evidence in common law cases, generally heard for the most part before lay-jurors, that is to say ordinary non-legally-trained people, are very very strict, with principles such as the hearsay rule, high requirements for scientific evidence before it will be considered, etc. This is because of a concern that lay-jurors may be unable to place proper weight on evidence - that they will regard things as unduly prejudicial. Thus in a US case “motions in limine” have a big role - these are motions before trial to exclude evidence - and the usual argument is that evidence is more prejudicial than probative. To explain in a US case the argument would be that this individual piece of DNA evidence should be excluded because there might be something wrong with it, or this statement to the police should be excluded because it makes the defendant look bad and proves less than the prejudice it might create.

The evidence about Knox’s sex life, sex toys and vibrators, etc., relevant to explain her problems with her roommates (who were uncomfortable with an apparent parade of men at the breakfast table) would have been excluded in the US, because even though they had at least some relevance to the circumstances of the murder and Knox’s risky behavior, also make her look bad. In an Italian court they take the view that they can exclude the issue of her morality as a matter of sexual behavior (i.e., do they not like her) from the question of her guilt or innocence.

In a civil law system the jurors are in effect professionals. They are expected to know things like eyewitness identifications are inherently unreliable and the system trusts them to weigh the evidence and its reliability in toto, so for example hearsay is usually allowed. Thus if there is an issue about say this bloodstain - yes they take account of that, but they do not exclude the bloodstain, they simply regard it as less reliable - but they consider it in context. So the defendants are disputing multiple examples of DNA evidence - the judges will consider each separately, but also collectively - as in how likely is that that all of these separate bloodstains would exist, each supporting Knox and Sollecito’s presence. Knox made a statement - she says it was under duress; OK, maybe it was, maybe that makes it unreliable - but some of this physical evidence found after the statement supports the story in the statement - maybe it is reliable. A US court might simply exclude Knox’s confession absolutely, and then not consider it in the context of the other evidence.

If you are used to the common law system where evidence is attacked and excluded in isolation you write this sort of [Daily Beast] article, where you talk about the Sollecito’s hammertoe, but not how that matched in with other things. If you understand the civil system you consider it in the context of Knox’s challenged confession and you wonder does each corroborate the other.

In effect everything is relevant and most things admissible, they are just given different weights as evidence. Things like including Knox’s weird behavior in court may have an impact - this continued until someone told her she was not doing herself any favors. Now this [Daily Beast] article has a demure photo of Knox (presumably from the Knox family publicists)—other articles, often in the British press (who want to present her as guilty) show her with weird grins on her face and wearing flippant slogans on T-shirts.

You are in effect talking about a fundamentally different system. The most important thing to know is that if a case is brought against you in a civil system, although you have still the presumption of innocence, you have in effect already been tried by the investigating magistrate, who after seeing all the evidence has already concluded that you are guilty. That does not mean that you do not have the presumption of innocence at trial, just that if you do go to trial you have lost once already before an impartial pro (the investigating magistrate) - by contrast in the US New York state Chief Judge Sol Wachtler famously observed that district attorneys have so much influence over grand juries that “by and large” they could get one to “indict a ham sandwich.”

By the way, does it occur to anyone that given all the publicity, Sollecito’s well connected family, a US citizen, etc., the path of least resistance for the Italians would have been to do what Knox’s lawyers want them to do, and simply to have accepted that Guede acted alone—that is what most criminal justice systems might have done, avoiding the headache of trying these two as well. They had their “goat” why go for more unless they did think Knox was guilty?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/22/09 at 11:24 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineNews media & moviesExcellent reportingComments here (2)

How This Cable Car In The Dolomites Hangs Over The Trial In Perugia

Posted by Peter Quennell


The Dolomites (image below) are a spectacular range of mountains east of the Alps in north-east Italy.

In 1998 a squadron of American Prowlers (image at bottom) based in Italy as part of the US NATO presence was roaring up and down those valleys, when one cut the cable of the cable car shown above. Twenty people in a gondola died when it crashed to the ground 350 feet below.

The US military has a huge presence in Italy (scroll down to “Conditions in Italy”) and good US-Italian relations are extremely important as a result. But in this case, the airmen were yanked back to the US, under NATO rules, tried by other military officers - and found not guilty of anything except destroying a videotape.

Outrage in Italy and across Europe and even in the US was intense. There have since been very, very few US interventions in any judicial process in Italy.

Now suddenly there is a new US intervention and Italian emotions are getting stoked.

If the FOA campaign ever thought the US government would spring Amanda using political pressure, they could not have picked a worse country in Europe to ridicule and try to strong-arm.




Why The Prosecutors In Italy Are Relatively Popular

Posted by Peter Quennell


Italy’s a tough country with, albeit dwindling now, a legacy of violent crime, and many brave prosecutors over the years have been assassinated.

And the Italian legal system is not particularly weighted in their direction, with a large number of hurdles they have to climb over before a case ever gets to trial.

And the Italian prison system is relatively lenient, heavily pro-prisoner-remediation and early release, and proportionally only 1/10 the size of the US’s.

So the endemic attempts to undermine Prosecutor Mignini have invariably won only MORE popular support for him and his case in Perugia and Italy in general.

And the only “criminal charge” against him (it isn’t) seems to flow from his guessing right in the Monster of Florence case - and apparently no charge of this kind has ever won a “conviction”.

Above is Milan Prosecutor Armando Spataro.

He is in the news now because he has demanded prison sentences for TWENTY-SIX Americans.

Between them they seem to have colluded in grabbing Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, an Egyptian in Italy, back in President Bush’s day, and taking him off to be tortured.

Not to the United States where torture is not legal, but to Egypt where it more-or-less is.

Human rights advocates charge that renditions were the CIA’s way to outsource the torture of prisoners to countries where it was practiced.

The CIA has declined to comment on the Italian case, and all the Americans are being tried in absentia and are considered fugitives.

As we remarked in this post it is pretty hard for a foreign government and especially now the American government to throw sand in the Italian wheels of justice. 

The American government is really just sitting this one out. And it may be covertly delighted when Amanda Knox and her clan fade to silence.


Why The Italian Judiciary Is Probably Less Prone to Pressure Than Any Other In The World

Posted by Commissario Montalbano



Image above: The Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura in session

Some of the very best lawyers in the UK and USA and around the world are learning a lot about the Italian system by way of the Perugia trial - and are in many, many ways impressed.

Italian magistrates enjoy an extraordinary level of autonomy from the other powers of government (executive and legislative) and the point of this post is to explain why. This autonomy is above all due to the Italian constitutional framework.

That framework is intended to guarantee such an exceptional level of independence so as to avoid the abuses that occurred during Mussolini’s fascist regime, when Italian magistrates were forced by the executive to prosecute (and persecute) political opponents to the fascist dictator.

The source of such independence is set forth in Title IV of the Italian Constitution which in particular provides for an independent body [image at top here] which is called the “Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura” or C.S.M. (Superior Council of Magistrates). This is the self-governing body for Italy’s judiciary, and it comprises ordinary (civil and criminal) judges and prosecutors.

Its competence is based upon Articles 104 and 105 of the Italian Constitution, as well as several ordinary laws. Article 105 says that the C.S.M. is responsible for the hiring, training, assignments, transfers, promotions, appointments to the Supreme Court of Cassation, disciplinary actions and terminations of all Italian judges and prosecutors.

Article 104 opens with the statement: “Magistrates constitute an order autonomous and independent from any other power”. The article then proceeds to provide norms relating to the composition of such a self-governing body.

In order to guarantee the independence of magistrates and in accordance with the general principle of the balance of powers, the constitution establishes a mixed composition of the members of the CSM.

According to the constitution, two thirds of its components are in fact judges elected by all magistrates (judges and prosecutors) in special nationwide elections of the CSM (these are called “membri togati”, i.e. judicial members).

And one third is chosen by Parliament among law professors and attorneys with at least 15 years of experience (these are called “membri laici”, i.e. lay members). And in addition, there are three so called “˜De Jure’ members:

  • the President of the Republic, who is the President of the CSM
  • the President of the Supreme Court of Cassation
  • the General Prosecutor before the Supreme Court of Cassation

The CSM then elects the Vice President of the Council choosing among its lay members appointed by Parliament. The Vice President is the real acting President of the CSM, since the role of the President of the Republic is primarily symbolic. The current Vice President of the CSM is Nicola Mancino [image below} who is a former Speaker of the Italian Senate.



Image above: Nicola Mancino, Vice President of the C.S.M., addressing the Council

The constitution establishes the above mentioned proportions, but not the number of members. However a law passed in 2002 sets the number of elected members at 24. Therefore at present there are 16 members (all judges) elected by magistrates and 8 members appointed by Parliament. With the three “De Jure” members the total is therefore 27 members.

The position of member of the CSM is incompatible with that of legislators, therefore CSM members cannot be members of Parliament or members of the Regional Assemblies.

Art. 107 reiterates the extraordinary independence of magistrates (judges and prosecutors) by stating: “Magistrates are not removable. They may not be dismissed or suspended or transferred to other locations or functions if not after a decision of the CSM, adopted either for reasons and with the guarantees established by law or with the magistrate’s consent.”

Ordinary laws also confer other powers to the C.S.M. including the power of giving opinions to the Government and to Parliament on proposed laws affecting the order of magistrates and the judiciary in general.



Image above: Palazzo dei Marescialli in Rome. The Seat of the C.S.M.

The extraordinary independence of Italian magistrates, especially considering that Italy is probably the only country in the world where not even State prosecutors report to the executive power, has created a lot of tensions between magistrates and politicians.

The Italian Prime Minister, Mr Silvio Berlusconi, who is indicted and undergoing prosecution in over twenty separate cases, some of which already concluded (for bribing of judges, illegal campaign financing, tax evasion, fraudulent accounting) dating back to the time before he entered politics in 1994, has often accused magistrates of having proceeded against him for politically motivated reasons.

His pressures on the CSM to discipline those magistrates whom he alleges are politically motivated in their prosecutions against him, have not succeeded, and the CSM has always defended the actions of magistrates against the frequent attacks from the executive power and from the many politicians who are under investigation for corruption and other crimes.

Recently Mr Berlusconi’s coalition passed a law to guarantee immunity from prosecution to the four highest offices of the Republic, including that of the Prime Minister, but the Supreme Constitutional Court struck it down as unconstitutional.

Currently out of 945 Members of Parliament in the two houses, there are about two dozen convicted felons and over 70 more under investigation by Italian magistrates. They’re all holding to their seats very tightly, since all members of the Italian parliament are immune from arrest, if not from prosecution.

Pressure on this extremely powerful and immune judiciary has not worked where real heavy-handed political and media persuasion was attempted. Be assured, the judiciary in Perugia will take no notice of it at all.


Explaining How The Italian Appeals Process Works

Posted by Commissario Montalbano


Above is Vincenzo Carbone, Prime President of the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation, addressing the Italian Supreme Court.

The appeal process in the Italian judicial system is disciplined by art. 593 et seq. of the Italian Code of Penal Procedure (CPP).

Both the defendant and the prosecution have the right to appeal a sentence, according to the principle of parity of the two parties in a judicial process. In 2006 a law passed by the Berlusconi government (known as “Pecorella Law”, from the name of his sponsor), intended to prohibit the right of appeal of the prosecutor, similarly to what happens in the US, however the Italian Constitutional Court struck down that law as unconstitutional since it is in violation of the parity of the two parties in the process, as explained above. As a result the CPP has been modified to reflect its original version.

It is to be noted however, that if only the defendant requests an appeal (and not the prosecution), then the appeal court can only confirm or decrease the sentence of the first trial, but not increase it.

Since Mignini has already said that they won’t appeal the case, Amanda and Raffaele are likely to see their jail sentence decreased by a few years, or at most confirmed, but not increased. Art. 575 of the Italian Penal Code however prescribes a minimum of 21 years for voluntary homicide.

The principle of “double jeopardy”, which is also guaranteed by Italian law and by the law of all members of the European Union as condition of membership, does not apply to the appeal trial, as such trial is interpreted as being a mere continuation of the same first trial. The double jeopardy principle will therefore apply only after the sentence is definitive, i.e. after the Supreme Court of Cassation decision. In other words if Amanda and Raffaele are found not guilty after all the appeals are exhausted, the Italian state will not be able to try them again in the future.

This characteristic is not unique to Italy, most European countries, in fact, apply the double jeopardy only after all appeals have exhausted, among these Germany and France, which also permit the appeal by the prosecution.

The competence of the appeal process is disciplined by art 594 of the CPP. Such article establishes that the Appeal Court of Assizes has jurisdiction over the sentences rendered by the Court of Assizes. The Court of Assizes is the court in Italy which tries serious crimes, that is those crimes for which the penal code provides a maximum punishment of at least 24 years.

In this case the Corte d’Assise d’Appello of Perugia will have jurisdiction over the case. However the defense may request a change of venue, if they can demonstrate just cause.

The terms of the request for appeal are disciplined by art. 595 of the CPP. Such article specifies, among other things, that the party requesting the appeal can do so within 15 days from the day the Sentence is communicated. If such sentence is particularly complex (as this case is) the judge can request that the “Motivazione della Sentenza”, often referred to in TJMK as the Judge’s Report, or be filed with the court within 90 days from the end of the trial. In this circumstance the terms to file an appeal is 45 days, instead of 15.

The Italian constitution requires that all sentences be accompanied by this Report, including appeal sentences. As we’ve seen with Judge Micheli’s Report on Rudy Guede’s trial, the Sentence Motivation Report must explain the entire rationale that the judges utilized to reach the decision. The lack of such report would invalidate the sentence.

Once one or more parties to the trial requests an appeal, within 15 days from the day such Motivation report is communicated, the competent court will then acquire all the documentation regarding the case. The court will then notifies all parties of the beginning of the hearing at least 20 days before the commencement day.

As mentioned above, the appeal process in Italy is a brand new trial where all evidence and testimony is analyzed in the same terms as the first trial. The standards are however higher. The president of the Appeal Court of Assizes is in fact a judge from the Supreme Court of Cassation (the members of the Supreme Court are actually called “Consiglieri”). The requisites for being one of the 6 jurors are also higher. They must be all holding a high school degree (in the first trial the minimum required is only a middle school education).



[Image Above: The Seat of the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation, in the Hall of Justice in Rome, also known as “Il Palazzaccio” or the Ugly Palace].

The extraordinary broad appeal rights awarded by the Italian system are all part of the 1989 reform, which intended to add even more guarantees to the right of the accused. This has resulted in an incredible increase in pending cases in the overburdened Italian justice system. According to the latest report to Parliament by Justice Minister Angelo Alfano the pending cases in the Italian justice system at the end of 2006 amounted to nearly 9 million cases.

Over 5.4 million were civil cases, and over 3.3million criminal cases. Of these 3.3 million penal cases, over 1/3 were first trials, the rest were appeals. Compared to the rest of Europe Italy’s pending workload amounted to 3 times the one from France, over 6 times the one of Germany, and 5 times the one from Spain. The criminal cases pending in the first trial alone are 1.2 million, a figure twice as large as the one of Germany, Spain and England combined!

This situation, coupled with the fact that the number of Italian magistrates is about the same as other similar European countries, has resulted in an incredibly slow process. On average a criminal trial lasts 426 days in the first trial, and 730 days at the appeal trial, a duration much longer than any other EU country. The Perugia case was therefore faster than average, having lasted less than a year.

This situation is exacerbated by the broad appeal rights guaranteed also on the 2nd level of appeal, at the Supreme Court of Cassation. Like other supreme courts around the world, such court does not re-examine the entire body of evidence, but only “˜errores in iudicando’ and “˜errores in procedendo’ (errors in procedure or application of the law).

However, unlike its American or English counterparts, the Italian Supreme Court cannot refuse to review a case, and defendants have unlimited appeal rights to the Supreme Court of Cassation. They don’t even have to wait for the Appeal Court. You can in fact appeal to the Supreme Court directly after the first trial.

To give an idea of what this creates I’ll cite some figures. The US Supreme Court renders annually about 120 decisions. The Supreme Court in England about 75. The Italian Supreme Court of Cassation issues over 30,000 sentences every year!! No surprise then about the huge backlog, in spite of the fact that the Italian Supreme court consists of over 400 judges (called Consiglieri), divided into various sections (each of 5 consiglieri), all nominated by the Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura (CSM), the Italian Magistrates’ self governing body explained in a previous post.

Besides the broad appeal rights granted by the Italian law, an ulterior incentive to appeal is given by the fact that Italy has a very high amendment rate during the appeal process. Approximately half of all sentences rendered in the first trial are amended during the appeal process, a percentage which is 3 times higher than France for example. The ones that are not amended often see a decrease in punishment.

No surprise therefore that Italians always appeal their sentences. And some analysts have even ventured to say that Italian appeal courts like to modify the sentences of the first trial just for the purpose of justifying their own existence.

Given these facts, coupled with the chronic lack of prison space, it shouldn’t be a surprise that in spite of the Cosa Nostra, the Camorra and N’drangheta (as the mafia is called in the various regions), Italy has maybe the absolute lowest prison population in the world in relationship to the total population.

Italy in fact has 66 inmates for every 1 million population, a figure matched only by Denmark, a country certainly not famous for their organized crime. By comparison, the US boasts a prison population of more than 750 inmates over 1 million inhabitants, a figure 12 times the one in Italy.

If Amanda and Raffaele really wanted to experience the thrill of committing a murder, Italy is definitely the place to do it, and get away with it!
 


[Image Above: Italian “Guardasigilli” (Justice Minister) Angelo Alfano]

Posted by Commissario Montalbano on 12/09/09 at 06:27 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in • Comments here (6)

Italian Judge Ruling Is Tough But Fair In Another Case Involving Americans

Posted by Peter Quennell


We’ve seen no trace of anti-Americanism in the Perugia case, other than restrained reactions by prominent commentators to some strident anti-Italianism from the US.

Typically the two populations get along and like one another, they eagerly buy one another’s products, they visit one another’s countries in droves, and at the political level Italy and the US are very close allies.

So. Does the Italian judiciary perhaps have a covert beef against Americans?

We don’t see that one either. The main Americans that Italian judges see appearing in front of them are students, who seem to have quite a knack there for dropping themselves in it. We don’t post on all those cut-short escapades, but there are several a year reported, and we did post on two that happened in Florence.

All of the student cases are treated humanely, and the American Embassy in Rome is not kept particularly busy lecturing Italians on how to handle each case. Actually because of this case the Embassy keeps a very low profile. 

Judge Oscar Magi (image above) has now issued a 200-page explanation of his mainly-guilty ruling in the CIA kidnapping case. (This document is the equivalent of what we will see within a month on Meredith’s case.) 

Fearless, tough, and seemingly fair. The New York Times impartially reports.

The Italian secret service was most likely aware of, “and perhaps complicit in,” the abduction of an Egyptian cleric from the streets of Milan in 2003, a judge in Milan said Monday. But, he added, state secrecy prevented the court from proving this.

The statement by the judge, Oscar Magi, was part of a 200-page document explaining his reasoning behind the landmark November ruling that convicted 23 Americans, most of them Central Intelligence Agency operatives, of kidnapping the cleric. It was the first case to yield convictions in the practice of “extraordinary rendition,” in which terrorism suspects are captured in one country and taken to another, where they may be subjected to coercive interrogation techniques.

Judge Magi convicted a former C.I.A. base chief and 22 other Americans of kidnapping in the abduction of an Egyptian cleric, Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, on Feb. 17, 2003. Prosecutors said the cleric was taken from Milan in broad daylight and flown from an American air base in Italy to a base in Germany and then on to Egypt, where Mr. Nasr asserts he was tortured….

Judge Magi acquitted three Americans, citing diplomatic immunity, and two Italians, citing state secrecy. Tried in absentia, the other 23 Americans are considered fugitives and are sought under a European Union arrest warrant. Through their lawyers, they pleaded not guilty….

The Italian government is not expected to request extradition of the Americans, who are not expected to serve jail time. Still, the case marked the first time a judge in an allied country had placed C.I.A. agents on trial.

Judge Magi wrote that in 30 years as a penal judge, he had “very rarely” heard testimony “so precise, attentive and correct regarding such difficult and serious investigations,” adding that he had never seen a penal trial in which events had been reconstructed with such “certainty” and “such a degree of authority.”


From Shortly Before Last December’s Verdict: Our Poster Hopeful’s Moving Tribute To Italian Justice

Posted by Our Main Posters




We have dozens of posts on TJMk illustrating how the Italian justice system is among the best in the world. Careful, humane, and in fact hardly ever wrong.

In part because police and prosecutors are very painstaking - read here of all the hurdles they have to get through.

In part because judges have to put their careers on the line with each judgment, as with Judge Massei now, and not simply hide behind an unexplained jury decision from 12 amateurs of random education levels.

Six weeks before the December 2009 verdict, Hopeful paid them this kind tribute.

Moved By Italian Justice: Doing The Very Best It Can For Meredith And Her Poor Family

Crestfallen and broken, Amanda and Raffaele react in visible distress in the latest courtroom photos.

Amanda looks sad, smitten, perplexed, astounded, with anger not far under the veneer, yet overall truly sorrowful for the first time in 2 years. Raffaele is weeping as the court denies more evidence do-overs. He feels the weight of this blow.

These two are probably guilty, but it still makes me sad to see what prison can do to human beings. Why, oh why, couldn’t they have let Meredith live and simply enjoy her sweet life? Mercy to her would have been multiplied back to them so very many times over.

I believe Prosecutor Mignini and his assistant, Mrs. Comodi, and all the Perugia homicide cops want to see JUSTICE done above all.

Surely they take no pleasure in the misery that native-son Sollecito is undergoing. They had to arrest him to redress a huge evil. I’m sure they regret the repercussions this has meant to his father, a fine medical doctor, an upstanding citizen of Italy. Despite this, and America’s loud outcries, they have proceeded.

I think the Italian police and prosecutors have acted with more intense caution and discretion in handling the evidence against Amanda because of her U.S. citizenship. I don’t think this is a case of two innocents being railroaded.

If the Italian police had wanted to score points politically, they could have closed the case after the arrest and conviction of Rudy Guede. The police saw undeniable proof to their practiced eyes that Amanda and Raffaele were very guilty.

And I don’t think forensic scientist Patrizia Stefanoni of the Polizia Scientifica in Rome is in the prosecution’s back pocket. I believe she acted in good faith. Patient and careful analysis of forensic lab samples requires real intelligence and excludes quick passion.

“To be or not to be??”. From Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. Methinks Amanda does look a little Danish.

It wasn’t fish blood or cat’s blood or pierced ear blood on their hands, it was the blood of honor. Meredith was defenseless in a foreign land. She was a great asset to her own family, to the Erasmus program, to Italy, and eventually to the world. She deserves the best efforts of her host country, and she’s receiving them here.

It now feels like justice is not only happening here - it’s convincingly SEEN to be happening. We all owed you this one, sweet Meredith. May you forever rest in peace.

Posted by Our Main Posters on 08/28/10 at 05:43 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineComments here (8)

Harvard Political Review Writer Alex Koenig Reproaches The Sliming of Italy’s Justice System

Posted by Peter Quennell


With the Pepperdine University and Washington University student newspapers consistently mis-reporting Meredith’s case, it is nice to see a Harvard publication getting it seriously right.

Alex Koenig writes a column for the Harvard Political Review. He is not commenting on the evidence of Meredith’s case as reflected for example on TJMK and in Massei. But he takes several deadly cracks at the arguments of the conspiracy theorists, which he doesn’t see reflecting the real world.

In 2008, 16,277 people were murdered in the United States. 1,176 of these murders were committed by women, of which about a third were confirmed to be white.

That means that in one year there were around 400 white female murderers on US soil”” the majority of whom were convicted to no public outcry. What America needs to ask itself is: does the fact that Amanda Knox is a white sorority sister exonerate her from the murder she is alleged to have committed on foreign soil?

Knox is currently serving a 26-year sentence in Italian prison, in Perugia, for the murder of her then-roommate Meredith Kercher. Seemingly lost among the outrage towards the Italian justice system, the demands of US government intervention in her defense, and the constant assertions of Knox’s innocence is the possibility that, maybe this once, the trained professionals who investigated, tried, and convicted the 23 year old Knox got it right.

Without getting into the facts of the case, and conceding that people are wrongly convicted on a regular basis both in the United States and abroad, we must consider just how America’s treatment of this case reflects upon our society.

The fact of the matter is, those that immediately claim that Knox was wrongly accused and jailed by a corrupt justice system make two extremely arrogant assumptions that reveal perverse American exceptionalism. 

1) It is assumed that, as an American ““ an American woman no less ““ Knox is incapable of murder. This case differs, of course, from the 1,176 domestic murders committed by women because, well, who knows?

2) It is assumed that not only is the Italian justice system incapable of fulfilling its legal duties, but that the intentions of the court were swayed by anti-Americanism.

This is not merely an abstract sentiment, but was actually articulated by Senator Maria Cantwell (D) of my home state of Washington. Cantwell, whom I generally agree with ideologically, released a statement saying that she “had serious questions about the Italian justice system and whether anti-Americanism tainted the trial.” She went on to say that she would seek assistance from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Regarding the first problem, I take Knox’s assumed innocence in the public eye to be a representation of national pride. I am as proud to be American as the next guy; I understand all the benefits being American has afforded me and appreciate the sacrifices men and women make each day to ensure that these benefits remain for me and my countrymen.

But assume the superiority of the same countrymen when compared to other citizens of the world I do not. It is as if Knox’s co-citizenship has absolved all her sins in the American court of public opinion. This, by itself, is difficult to grasp but can be forgiven.

What’s harder to forgive is the assumption that Knox has been wronged by a corrupt system because she is American.

Having lived in Italy for a year, I would never accuse the Italian justice system of being exceedingly efficient or flawless. However, I wouldn’t accuse the US justice system of this either.

Anti-Americanism does exist in parts of the world, but the chances of it being present in this trial are low. Are the judges supposed to see the conviction of an innocent American college student as a way to deter American tourists from coming to Italy?

“Putting this girl away for 26 years seems to be an easy way to get rid of those annoying tourists with their stupid hotel rooms, airplane tickets and restaurant bills. Good riddance!”

It’s not as if Knox is accused of murdering an Italian either. Kercher was a Brit. Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede, Knox’s alleged accomplices who are both serving similar sentences for the same charges, are both Italian, although Guede emigrated from the Ivory Coast when he was five.

No, I doubt that anti-Americanism was involved in this conviction. It seems, instead, to be nationalism on the side of Knox’s supporters. Amanda couldn’t have possibly been the one at fault, she’s one of us.

And maybe they’re right. I really don’t know. What I do know is that the anger and offense that the American public has taken in response to this trial obscures the real tragedy at hand, the violent death of a young woman.

It’s possible that Knox has wrongly had her future taken from her. It’s a fact that Kercher has. As the appeal process continues and the story gradually slips out of the consciousness of the average American, with the protest left to the truly passionate among us,

I want to remind us all of one thing: Italy’s murder rate is 1/3 that of America. Perhaps, without the actions of one American there’d be one less death in Italy’s tally. I’ll leave that judgment up to the only court that really matters in such a case, the court of law.

One small correction to what Alex Koenig wrote. Italy’s murder rate is actually 1/6th that of the United States. It is a very law-abiding country with a very low crime rate and a very small prison population - less than 1/20th that of the United States.

But Alex is certainly right in his conclusions.Neither the Micheli not Massei Sentencing Reports show ANY sign of extreme nationalism.


In The US Political Commutations Of Judicial Sentences Are Rarely Greeted With Public Approval

Posted by Peter Quennell

The idea that PM Berlusconi could insert himself into Meredith’s case - or for that matter Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton - has frankly always seemed rather ludicrous. .

In Italy there is not even any clear route for politicians to meddle with the legal processes. The Italian judiciary is one of the world’s most independent, as many politicians (not least Mr Berlusconi) have found out to their cost.

In the United States the president and many state governors have the power to award prisoners clemency and to reduce or fully commute their sentences. Rarely is this very popular, and sometimes it turns into a third rail.

We now have a good example in California. Arnold Schwarznegger left office as governor of California late in January, already under something of a cloud for a lackluster performance while in office.

Just before departing he approved various commutations including a reduction by half of the sentence of the son of a political colleague who had already pleaded guilty to a knife murder and had been awarded a not-very-tough sentence.

Now the outraged family of the murdered boy are running both a legal campaign and a political campaign to have this commutation reversed, and those campaigns are both gathering wide public traction.

Mr Schwarznegger is seeing no obvious gain out of this, and his legacy could be permanently tarnished. Shades of Senator Cantwell? She also has gone very very quiet.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/02/11 at 04:03 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineThe wider contextsN America contextComments here (2)

Another US-Italian Case Shows The Utter Futility Of Trying To Strongarm The Italian Justice System

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Father Michael McCarty and baby Liam McCarty. Below: Mother Manuela Antonelli.]

Italy and the US get along exceptionally well on the political, economic, military and cultural fronts.

They get along on the justice front too, if neither side tries to pull the rug out from under the other. This case and this case are festering instances of where the Italians did not think the Americans played quite fair.

Typically therefore the US State Department likes to take any mutual justice matter below the radar. Way, way below the radar.

Despite what Knox conspiracists like Steve Moore and Candace Dempsey and “Bruce Fisher” may think, their rabid campaign is only making any effective intervention by the State Department that much more unlikely.

Knox family advisor Ted Simon and US Senator for Washington State Maria Cantwell seem to have been told that or figured it out. The Knox-Mellas family seems to have cooled it on the surface in recent month, even if Chris Mellas appears to sustain support for his hardline internet faction just below that surface.

Michael McCarty is a New York photographer who publishes fine art prints, and Manuela Antonelli was a producer and reporter for Italian TV. They were married in New York’s Central Park in 1992, eight year later their son Liam was born, and some time after that they divorced.

In 2007 in the midst of a nasty custody battle in New York between Manuela and Michael over Liam, Manuela suddenly took off with Liam, then aged six, and headed back to her home country of Italy. Once the custody of Liam was awarded by a New York judge to the father, a governmental legal campaign began to try to get Liam and his mother back.

From the Examiner.

Antonelli had made numerous allegations of abuse against McCarty but investigations by the NYPD, New York District Attorney’s Office, Children’s Services, and numerous court-appointed mental health professionals all found the accusations to be “unfounded,” “baseless,” and “false.”

Antonelli was diagnosed with severe personality disorders and was determined to be an unfit parent. Sole legal and physical custody was awarded to McCarty, an order was issued that Liam not be taken out of the United States, and a judicial finding of parental alienation was made against the mother….

In Italy, Manuela Antonelli was also diagnosed with psychiatric problems, and Liam was placed in an orphanage, and later in the custody of an Italian uncle in Rome, where he is now. At one point early on, Manuela briefly snatched Liam back.

Italy usually takes the position of the mother getting automatic custody, or at minimum having easy access to her children. If Liam is returned to New York, his mother Manuela would get neither, so the Italian judicial approach has been very cautious on this one. More-so because she is clearly unwell.

In 2009 the American campaign to get him back suddenly became very public and quite nasty, with several US TV networks jumping on the bandwagon and contributing to an emotional campaign. Video examples of this can be seen here and here and here.

Rather suddenly, that public campaign went quiet again, and the State Department very gently got back into the act of trying to get Liam back to New York and Manuela extradited back to the US to face charges.

The latest news is that both the Italian judicial position and the mood of the Italian public have moved over to conceding that Liam really should be sent back to New York to his father. The question of the extradition of the mother remains open.

The case remains much in the Italian news and many online comments remark scathingly how very unhelpful in all this the rabid Knox campaign has been. 





Italian Parliament Is Now Moving On A Bill To Speed Up Many Trials And Appeals

Posted by Peter Quennell






Our poster Commissario Montalbano described back here how the surfeit of caution in the Italian legal system leads to protracted delays.

This proves tough on Italian police, prosecutors, judges and perps. It is especially tough on the families of victims, as Meredith’s father John Kercher explained here, here, and here.

Now Andrea Vogt reports on a promising if somewhat controversial reform bill already passed by the Italian parliament’s lower house which may speed up many trials, eliminate others, and cut down on the mandatory appeals.

The key provision of the new law is to reduce the time that trials take in Italy. Most Italians support this: they are fed up with a judicial system that is inefficient and moves at a snail’s pace.

There are millions of backlogged civil and criminal trials, which, when they finally get to court, can drag on interminably. Even the European Court of Human Rights has condemned Italy for its court delays…

Popular move on the whole, but it could also knock out a lot of seemingly deserved trials, and weaken judges by making them liable to civil actions.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/19/11 at 03:19 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineThe wider contextsItalian contextComments here (4)

Italian Justice System Efficient And Uncontroversial In Other Prominent International Cases #1

Posted by Peter Quennell


Going on right now is a trial of an alleged blackmailer’s accomplice at Pescara which is on Italy’s east coast about an hour south-east of Perugia.

In the dock is a rather strange Italian who assisted a Swiss gigolo to swindle at least six wealthy European women out of many millions. One of the women is a German divorced mother of three, Susanne Klatten (image above), who through her majority ownership of the chemical giant Altana and large stake in car manufacturer BMW is a multi-billionaire and Germany’s richest woman.

It was through her refusal to succumb to blackmail regardless of the personal embarrassment when she was shown sex shots of herself and the gigolo Helg Sgarb (image below) that the case was blown wide open. Helg Sgarb was tried in Munich in 2009 and sentenced to six years in prison.

A few days ago Susanne Klatten testified in Pescara against Ernani Barretta (image at bottom) who among other things is alleged to have done the secret filming of Ms Klatten at an exclusive spa in Germany. 

The case is going smoothly, Italian justice is looking good, and nobody connected to Barretta seems to think a hate campaign against Italian justice would do him any real good. 




Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/03/11 at 01:39 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in • Comments here (2)

Italian Justice System Efficient And Uncontroversial In Other Prominent International Cases #2

Posted by Peter Quennell





Faux experts Doug Preston and Steve Moore and other Knox cultists don’t seem to realize it. But Italian and American law enforcement are smoothly co-operating on hundreds of cases at any one time.

Here is a good example. Italy’s role was absolutely crucial. The Italian police tracked down and apprehended in a tent high in the Alps an American fugitive who had been on the run for six years.

His name is Dr Mark Weinberger and he ran a clinic in Indiana. He got in seriously over his head and assembled debts up in the millions. While on his large powerboat in Greece’s Aegean Sea with his wife Michelle, also seen here, he disappeared.

Man overboard, hopefully presumed dead?

But both American and European law enforcement kept digging. Below the image from Indiana’s North West Times is an excellent timeline of events in the next six years.


September 2004: Dr. Mark Weinberger, a Merrillville-based sinus surgeon, heads to Greece on vacation on a yacht. He never returns from his regular 6 a.m. jog, taking thousands in emergency cash with him. Michelle Weinberger, his wife, is saddled with nearly $40,000 in dock fees and no means to get home. Her friends take up a collection to help her return.

Sept. 6, 2004: Weinberger patient Phyllis Barnes dies of throat cancer.

Oct. 5, 2004: With Weinberger missing, Robert Handler is appointed by Lake Circuit Court to manage Weinberger Sinus Clinic’s business affairs and settle $7 million in outstanding loans. Records indicate the clinic has about $7,000 in its coffers, which sits in stark contrast to Weinberger’s lavish lifestyle.

Oct. 13, 2004: Barnes’ estate files a lawsuit against Weinberger. He is accused of incorrect diagnosis and unnecessary treatment that prevented Barnes from getting treatment for her throat cancer.

Oct. 20, 2004: Twenty-three other patients, ages 7 to 60, file suit, accusing medical malpractice. They say Weinberger never considered nonsurgical options after diagnosing them. Ultimately, nearly 300 lawsuits will be filed, most saying Weinberger issued identical diagnoses and treatments.

Oct. 21, 2004: Valparaiso attorney Ken Allen says a private detective he hired believes Weinberger traveled to Israel aboard his yacht. Allen said Weinberger, who is Jewish, may have picked the country because American Jews can travel there without a passport and cannot be extradited.

Oct. 28, 2004: The Indiana Medical Licensing Board votes unanimously to suspend Weinberger’s license for 90 days.

Dec. 10, 2004: Michelle Weinberger says her husband’s credit cards were used to pay large sums in the French Riviera. She heads there to find him.

January 2005: Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter seeks to extend suspension of Weinberger’s medical license for another 90 days. He says 221 malpractice complaints have been filed with the Indiana Department of Insurance.

April 28, 2005: Weinberger’s license is permanently suspended.

July 12, 2005: Weinberger’s 14,000-square-foot surgical center and 10,000-square-foot condominium office building sell for about $2.4 million.

Also sold at auction are 1,000 pieces of medical equipment for $650,000.

March 2006: Weinberger’s wife, Michelle, divorces him.

March 30, 2006: Fred Weinberger files a lawsuit against his son, seeking repayment of a $1 million loan plus $417,043 in interest and expenses he claims his son owes him.

Dec. 8, 2006: Mark Weinberger is indicted on charges of fraud and malpractice.

The investigation shifts gears from a missing person search to a manhunt.

September 2008: The TV show “America’s Most Wanted” features a segment on Weinberger’s disappearance.

March 2009: Barnes’ estate wins its malpractice lawsuit.

Dec. 15: Weinberger is apprehended. The 46-year-old was found hiding in a tent some 6,000 feet above sea level at the foot of Mont Blanc in the Italian Alps. He stabs himself in the neck with a knife he hid while authorities were approaching, but he recovers and later is extradited.

Oct. 18: Weinberger agrees to plead guilty to each of the 22 federal fraud counts against him in exchange for a four-year prison sentence. He agrees to pay $366,600 in restitution to 22 patients he admitted defrauding. A judge still must accept the plea deal.

Michelle Weinberger (now Michelle Kramer) testified against him in detail. She later graduated with a doctorate in psychology. He was sentenced to spend years in prison (exact duration depends on the amount of fraud still being uncovered) and huge fines. And for botched surgeries he faces a huge number of suits. Here is another example.

So a lot flowed from that high-altitude Italian arrest..





Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/04/11 at 05:14 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in • Comments here (11)

A Token Balance In The Italian System: The Voice In The Court For The Victim

Posted by Our Main Posters



[Above: Francesco Maresca with the Lead Appeal Prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliol and Ms Comodi]


We have often posted before on the pronounced tilt toward defendants’ rights in the Italian court system.

The Italian criminal justice system is just about the only one in Europe that has not yet adapted to the 2001 directive of the European Court that was asking for equality in criminal trials.

As we can see in this case, the system is extremely pro-defendant.

Police and prosecutors have to jump through a large number of hoops. Judge after judge combs through the evidence. Defendants can get up and talk in court at the nod of a judge without being cross-examined.

Defendants never have to take an oath to tell the truth. Judges in effect have to be part of the jury and to stake their reputation on the outcome of every case, the reasoning of which they must describe in writing.

No-one is conclusively declared guilty until two appeals have been concluded. The second appeal is to the Supreme Court of Cassation in Rome, which seems to be sitting on more appeals now than the rest of the western world put together. Just about all prison sentences of under three years are waived. 

And that is just for starters.  One outcome is a prison population proportionally less than 1/4 that of the United States.

Many Italians feel that this fairness or leniency - call it what you will - has gone way too far, and Prime Minister Berlusconi’s attempts to press the fairness or leniency even further are wildly unpopular.

We posted recently on the tireless Italian campaigner for a stronger assertion of victim’s rights Barbara Benedettelli and she has a new book out on various cases. She has also sent us some background material on the generic issue which we intend to build into a post.

Against this tsunami of systemic pro-defendant bias in Meredith’s case, we really only have the fortitude of the police and the prosecutors involved, and the systemic presence of the lawyer representing the interests of the victim and her family: Mr Francesco Maresca, who practices law in Florence.

Although his English is said to be hesitant - which means the English media don’t usually track him down for any soundbites - he seems to us to be tirelessly aggressive in the court in standing up to the many impromptu interventions of the three perps and the fireworks of their six-plus lawyers.

Here is an interview with Mr Maresca in yesterday’s Umbria Left which was kindly translated by our poster Tiziano.

The lawyer for the Kercher family: Alessi and Avielli contradicted.

“Guede confirms the presence of the accused in the house of the crime. We have heard witnesses who contradicted Mario Alessi and Luciano Aviello.” Thus said lawyer Francesco Maresca, lawyer for the family of Meredith Kercher, at the end of the hearing of the appeal trial of Raffaele Sollecitoand Amanda Knox.

“Witnesses which,” he added “we could have however done without, heard only because it was necessary from a procedural point of view.” Lawyer Maresca claimed, “Regarding Rudy Guede, this person confirmed what he wrote in the letter to his defence lawyers. And to the specific question whether it was an opinion of his, he replied ‘no, it’s what I experienced that night’.

“In my opinion Guede once again confirmed the presence of all three accused at the site of the murder that night. It seems to me the truth of a co-accused already found guilty. To me it appeared absolutely clear,” Maresca concluded.

Another one landed for Meredith by her lone ranger in the court.



Interesting Tilts Of Marcia Clark And Alan Dershowitz Toward Educated, Informed Italian-type Juries

Posted by Peter Quennell



Neither of these heavy hitters are saying to abolish the common-law system of not placing professionals in the jury room.

Or for that matter to swing over to a semi-professional and seemingly less error-prone system like Italy’s, where the judges stake their own reputations on their verdict and the written explanation that must follow.

But both found the Casey Anthony non-guilty jury verdict a bit peculiar, and Alan Dershowitz specifically suggests that semi-professional jury systems (like Italy’s) tend to be more accurate. 

Above, the former prosecutor Marcia Clark commenting a couple of weeks ago on why the media boosted the Casey Anthony trial into such a “fry her” phenomenon. And here in the Daily Beast she comments on why that media angle had no sway over the jury.

For one thing the evidence and scenario had some major gaps. And for another:

[American] jury instructions are so numerous and complex, it’s a wonder jurors ever wade through them. And so it should come as no surprise that they can sometimes get stuck along the way. The instruction on circumstantial evidence is confusing even to lawyers. And reasonable doubt? That’s the hardest, most elusive one of all. And I think it’s where even the most fair-minded jurors can get derailed.

How? By confusing reasonable doubt with a reason to doubt. Some believe that thinking was in play in the Simpson case. After the verdict was read in the Simpson case, as the jury was leaving, one of them, I was later told, said: “We think he probably did it. We just didn’t think they proved it beyond a reasonable doubt.” In every case, a defense attorney will do his or her best to give the jury a reason to doubt.

“Some other dude did it,” or “some other dude threatened him.” But those reasons don’t necessarily equate with a reasonable doubt. A reason does not equal reasonable. Sometimes, that distinction can get lost.

Former Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz went deeper into jury principles on the Piers Morgan interview show on CNN last night.

DERSHOWITZ: Well, if you want justice, don’t look to the criminal law system. That’s not its job. Its job is not to produce a just result. Its job is to produce a legally correct result.

We have a system that says better 10 guilty go free than one innocent be wrongly confined. If you have a 60 percent likelihood a person did it, you must acquit. If you think he probably did it, you must acquit. If you think he almost surely did it, you must acquit.

We acquit lots of guilty people, and that’s the right thing to do. When we convict an innocent person, that’s the wrong thing to do. That’s our system of justice. Many people don’t like it. Many people think the opposite, that we have too much popular justice, too much dependent on elected prosecutors, elected judges, elected officials.

The French, for example, don’t understand our stem with a case that’s going on now with the rape in New York. They don’t understand our system. They say it’s much too popular. In France, there’s a professional system. They have professional judges, professional prosecutors, professional jurors.

We’ve opted for a much more democratic system, and it means that in the end you’re going to be dissatisfied with a lot of verdicts. Just don’t expect too much from our legal system. Don’t expect truth. Don’t expect justice, because that’s not what it’s supposed to give you.

It’s supposed to give you a legal process that only convicts if admissible evidence proves the case beyond a reasonable doubt. If you don’t like that system, I’ve got plenty of other systems for you that are more accurate. The Chinese system, the military justice system, the Russian system. Many European systems. But the American system errs on the side of freeing the guilty instead of convicting the innocent.


Jury Sequestration Coming Under Fire From Those Who Question The Casey Anthony Verdict

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above and below: The jury’s Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando; there are more images here].

The jury was imported for the Casey Anthony trial from a Gulf of Mexico town 100 miles west.  They stayed in this hotel for nearly seven weeks.

Now they are rather defiantly starting to speak out (see the ABC News video posted below) to explain that, given big gaps in the evidence against Casey Anthony, and the dubious scenario presented (that she put the baby she loved to sleep with chloroform and duct tape in the trunk of her car while she went off to have a good time), they did what they had to do: unanimously vote no on the charges of murder and manslaughter.

There seem to be no signs that during the trial a hue-and-cry media had any pro-guilt effect on their thinking - in Tuesday’s post we suggested that if anything it seemed to do quite the opposite.

But it is now being suggested that while staying all together in this hotel the 20 jurors became just a little too chummy.

The former Los Angeles prosecutor Marcia Clark, who is critical of both the verdict and the prosecution, argues in the Daily Beast that jury members themselves are signaling that their sequestration was a very big factor.

I’m going to start by saying that, for those who thought the jury came back awfully fast””less than eleven hours spent in deliberation, you should now wonder what took them that long. Because from the very first vote, this jury was already close to a unanimous verdict of acquittal - at least as to murder: ten to two for not guilty. That’s an impressive show of solidarity for a first vote. And it shows they were almost unanimously inclined to acquit right from jump.

It’s the fact that this jury was already in sync in a case that posed so many debatable issues is what’s so noteworthy. And it has everything to do with sequestration. This jury was sequestered for more than two months. When jurors are forced to spend day and night with each other, apart from their families and friends, they become a tribe unto themselves. Because they only have each other for company, and because most people prefer harmony to discord, there’s a natural desire to cooperate, to compromise in order to reach agreement. And they have no safe retreat. If they disagree with their fellow jurors, they can’t go home to a husband, a wife, a friend, where they can regroup and marshal their energies. Make no mistake about it, sequestration is no picnic and I have sympathy and respect for the jurors who put up with that incredible hardship.

But we can’t ignore the mental and emotional impact it has on the jurors””an impact that likely thwarts the whole point of drafting twelve individuals to decide a defendant’s fate. The point of having twelve jurors is to have an array of differing points of view. The belief is that people of different backgrounds and experience will naturally bring a variety of attitudes to bear, and thus produce a more balanced view of the evidence. What one juror doesn’t get, another one does, and each of them sees different aspects to each witness and piece of evidence. The idea is for them to share differing views and reach a greater understanding””not to have them shave off their square corners so they can all roll together.

Unfortunately””and psychological studies bear this out””a group that is kept together for any length of time becomes more and more alike, more in sync, as time goes on. (By the way, this phenomenon is also in play with regard to proximity to the defendant. The longer the jury is in contact with the defendant, the less sinister he or she appears. In this way, familiarity with Casey Anthony turned her from a potential murderer to an abused, perhaps disturbed, but certainly nonthreatening, child.) Add this phenomenon to the natural desire to avoid contentiousness and seek harmony and you can see how individuality begins to erode in a sequestered jury.

Now add to that the psychology of group dynamics””a subject well known to trial lawyers and jury consultants. In every group there will be leaders and followers. Listening to Juror Jennifer Ford, who was very likely a leader, it became abundantly clear that the leaders on the Anthony jury were cheerleaders for the defense.



The Chief Enforcer Of The Constitution And The Rule Of Law is Wildly Popular Throughout Italy

Posted by Peter Quennell


President Giorgio Napolitano’s popularity rating is at 80% and rising. In sharp contrast, Prime Minister Berlusconi’s is at 30% and falling

Italians invariably take their constitution and their justice system very seriously and they have good reason to be proud of those institutions. Although the President’s daily duties are mostly ceremonial David Willey of the BBC explains his very key powers in those areas.

He is the person who has to appoint a new prime minister every time there is a government crisis. And he is the guarantor of Italy’s constitution, hammered out immediately after World War II by the founding fathers of the republic following two decades of Fascist rule.

He is said to receive dozens of petitions a day and in certain cases he does act to get things done. Significantly, two that he chose to ignore recently concerned the ongoing Sollecito-Knox appeal process.

Of two pretty blatant attempts to bias the Perugia process, one came from Joel Simon of the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists, and one came from the junior Berlusconi-party MP Rocco Girlanda.

President Giorgio Napolitano simply ignored both of them.

The Italian prime minister also seems to be sitting this one out, as the painstaking process of justice for Meredith rolls on.

 

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/12/11 at 03:52 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineTrials 2008 & 2009The wider contextsComments here (3)

The Terrible Weight On The Victim’s Family Because The Italian System Is So Pro Defendant

Posted by Peter Quennell





The Italian prison population is proportionally perhaps the smallest in the western world.

Italy has an overall population about one-fifth that of the United States, but a prison population only about one-thirtieth the size of that in the US, below 100,000 as compared to 2.7 million.

It is true that Italy has a very low murder rate, and that most towns see no murders at all year after year. Even now outside the main cities many people still tend to leave their houses unlocked. There seems to be not that many crooks.

But even in light of this, two factors have resulted in sentences often amazingly light by international standards, with prison sentences under three years almost never served, and crooks often happily walk free.

  • The first factor is all the safeguards built into the post-WWII constitution to make sure that the kangaroo courts of the fascist era would never ever again reappear.

  • The second factor, now in the news,  is the manipulation of the justice system by the occasional politician over the years to soften the situations of their locked-up buddies. 

So prosecutors now have to jump through a large number of hoops and judge after judge has to check on their reasonableness. Mr Mignini noted this in court the other day when he said that 42 judges had come to see the case against Knox and Sollecito in essentially the same way he presented it. .

Defendants get to speak in court while not under oath whenever they want to. They get two automatic appeals, and verdict and sentence are not considered final until the Supreme Court of Cassation rules that way. The overturn rate on either level of appeal is not particularly high, but there seems a tendency for appeal courts to be more lenient than trial courts, though Cassation often does favor the rulings of the original trial courts.

Now Italian crime rates are creeping up, with the influx of drugs and immigrants, and majority opinion in Italy is that the system should definitely be a bit tougher. Various pro-victim TV shows and various books have shown that because of all the pro-defendant breaks, the toll on victims’ families can be really shocking.

We have posted on the pro-victim campaign of Barbara Benedettelli who is a prominent TV show hoster. She has just come out with a book telling of the sufferings of victims families in saddening detail.

One of the families she describes saw their baby snatched by defense witness Mario Alessi, who soon after killed the baby with a spade because it would not stop crying. Alessi and his wife are locked up now, but you would rarely see in the UK and the US the kind of suffering along the way that the family of baby Tommy went through.

Victims’ families may get some legal and social help but they often end up financially decimated and quite often in poor health. This seems to be the tragic predicament of Meredith’s family which their lawyer Francesco Maresca highlighted the other day.

“You will look Meredith’s family in the eyes only once,” Maresca said. “They could not always be here in court due to the mother’s health problems and siblings’ economic problems.”

In fact, he said, the family had trouble finding airline tickets for the verdict, which the lawyer contrasted with reports that the Knox family had a private jet ready to whisk the American student out of the country in the case of a not guilty finding. Knox’s family has denied the existence of such a plan.

John and Arline Kercher’s bills are said to to be pushing now toward $200,000 at a time in life when their earning powers are no longer at their peak and neither of them are in good health. They have to pay all of their own travel costs to and from Perugia and all of their own hotel bills, and also the fees of Mr Maresca and his team.

Kind attention has just been paid to their terrible plight and to the memory of Meredith by the Italian media, and also in the US and UK by Reuters and the Associated Press and Fox News and The Examiner.

But they deserve a great deal more.


The President Of The Italian Republic Lights A Small Fire Under The Prime Minister

Posted by Peter Quennell

[This post was edited Friday to replace an image with this new video report from Rome]

As they are from separate parties, etcetera, etcetera, they are known to not see eye-to-eye.

We posted here on one role of President Giorgio Napolitano. The ultimate enforcer of the Italian constitution with special reference to the justice system.

On the whole he sides with Cassation and with victims and against political meddling. .

He is also entitled to speak out on Italian politics and the management of the economy. The prime minister seems to be moving on the lines his European partners and global markets would like - but only verrry slowly because of his sea of political and legal troubles.

The president has just drawn attention to this. See this video and report from the BBC.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has expressed his frustration at his government’s failure to cope with the country’s worsening debt crisis.

Despite pressure from Italian business and the European Central Bank, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has repeatedly delayed announcing measures to stimulate economic growth.

Speaking ahead of an EU summit, Mr Napolitano said the government had a responsibility to end the delays and take decisive action.

One of a bunch of monkeys has just been lifted off Mr Belusconi’s back. The New York Times reports that a Milan judge has decided not to indict him for tax fraud.

That leaves “only” three pending trials in Milan and his party’s battle with the legal system (which most Italians respect more than any other public institution) is not likely to cool any time soon, even if it is not the most popular or saintly of wars.

Mr Berlusconi takes quite a whack in a polemical new book The Liberty of Servants: Berlusconi’s Italy by the Italian writer Maurizio Viroli . The American monthly Foreign Affairs has an extended excerpt. 

Global stockmarkets are already awarding the pending Italian economic measures a small plus. In the stock chart below (set for one year) the red line is the American index (average), the green line is the German index, and the blue line is the Italian index.

Click for a larger image.  You can see the Italian uptick in the past several weeks. If you want to follow this chart dynamically in future, save this Yahoo Charts link. You can adjust the time period to suit you.

Italian stocks do remain down 60% from this time three years ago. That could change fast if the current measures work. On global stockmarkets Italy often outperforms Germany and Japan.


Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/20/11 at 03:10 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The officially involvedThe wider contextsItalian contextComments here (3)

The Casey Anthony And Sollecito/Knox Outcomes Spark A New Discussion Of The CSI Effect

Posted by Peter Quennell



That seems a good explanation of the so-called CSI effect in the Fox Kansas City video above.

Many crime shows such as the BBC mysteries and the Law & Order series and spinoffs show investigators solving their crimes in the old-fashioned way. Lots of witness interviews and alibi and database checking, and walking around and loose ends and lying awake at night puzzling. And often there’s a big stroke of luck. 

But if you watch the very popular CSI Las Vegas series and its spinoffs in Miami and New York, and the various clones on other networks, you will see something very different indeed.

When those shows first began airing worldwide in the late nineties, the producers explained that audiences increasingly appreciate learning something new when watching a show, and it is true, one sure can load up on the trivia.

But you will also see the US equivalent of Dr Stefanoni and her forensic team in those shows, roaming far beyond the narrow crime scene, interrogating witnesses and checking alibis and finding a lot of non-forensic evidence, and even at times drawing guns.

Most unreal is that, time and again, the forensic evidence testing is clearcut and takes just a few minutes and instantly clinches the case.

  • There are several articles like this one and this one on whether the Casey Anthony jury was affected by a shortfall in the starkness of the forensics when the behavioral evidence seemed so strong.
  • There are several articles like this one and this one on whether the appeal verdict outcome in Perugia might be affected in the same way.
  • There are many articles like this one and this one and this one and especially this one saying there is a tough added burden on investigators and juries without a commensurate improved outcome.

With conviction rates declining in the US and Europe, professionals are taking a scientific look at whether the CSI Effect is one big cause of that decline.

At the macro level in the US this writer doubted that the CSI Effect is fatally unbalancing takes on the wider evidence. The same conclusion was reached in this first major study at the micro level.

But the belief in the CSI Effect continues. Articles like this one on an Australian site talk of a backlash against too many acquittals. Some articles like this one argue that maybe lay juries are out of their depths.

The graph at bottom (which we’d like to see updated) showed how the US Feds are still winning juries over and maintaining amazingly high conviction rates.  And at state level and lower, judges and lawyers are also taking countermeasures.

In Ohio and many other states prosecutors and judges are acting against a possible CSI Effect in their selection and briefing of juries. And an NPR report came up with these findings.

Some states now allow lawyers to strike potential jurors based on their TV habits. Judges are issuing instructions that warn juries about expecting too much scientific evidence based on what they see on TV.

In the field, Shelton says death investigators sometimes run useless tests, just to show they went the extra CSI mile.

“They will perform scientific tests and present evidence of that to the jury. Even if the results don’t show guilt or innocence either way, just to show the jury that they did it.”

This is coming at a time when death investigators in America have no resources to spare. An investigation by NPR, PBS Frontline and ProPublica shows some states have already opted not to do autopsies on suicides, others don’t autopsy people who die in traffic accidents, and many don’t autopsy people who die over the age of 60.

But Murphy, the Clark County coroner, expects things to get worse.

“You know, we’re in budget cuts right now. Everybody’s in budget cuts. Las Vegas is no different than anybody else. We’re hurting. We’re going to feel that same crunch as everybody else,” he says.

One of Zuiker’s great disappointments is that, for all its popularity, his fictional Las Vegas crime lab didn’t generate more political support to fund death investigation.

“I’ve done my job. You know, we’ve launched three shows that cater to 73.8 million people a week and is a global phenomenon and the largest television franchise in history. We hoped that the show would raise awareness and get more funding into crime labs so people felt safe in their communities. And we’re still hoping that the government will catch up.”

The jury is still out on what really swayed the Perugia appeal jury. Their sentencing report is due out in the New Year. They sure didnt look at very much except for a small fraction of the DNA.

Which leaves us with a big question. How did Judge Hellman brief his jury? Did he warn against the CSI Effect? We’re told this might be his first DNA case, so Cassation will surely look closely at that.




Outcry In England At Evidence And Jury-Briefing Requirements Which Make Convictions Much Harder

Posted by Peter Quennell





In this post on the CSI Effect we touched on the disturbing declines in convictions throughout much of the world. It is possible that more and more murderers are walking free.

In many countries now the playing field is becoming noticeably tilted against prosecutors and police. One factor may be a growing suspicion of governments which seem to have been captured by the very rich. One factor may be declining budgets as those same governments get more and more into debt. One factor may be TV shows and live court coverage which allow everyone to think they know best.

Especially when narcissistic defendants (many crime-doers are exceptionally self-absorbed which helps in putting on a great defense) twiddle peoples’ heartstrings and cause them to lose their cool.

Another major factor may be legal precautions carried to extremes which go way back and almost grind prosecutors into the dust. In Italy we have described the ultra-cautious legal system at length in posts such as this one and also this. 

On Friday in western England Vincent Tabak was found guilty of the murder of Joanna Yeates and sentenced to life in prison which will see him behind bars for at least 20 years.

The defence the jury heard was that he was a shy awkward boy with girls and when he tried to kiss Joanna Yeates (who in fact did not even know his name) he held her mouth for a bit, without her struggling - and suddenly she was dead.

The verdict was something of a squeaker. Now it has come out that the jury was never told things about him that seem highly relevant to the understanding of Tabak and what he did. 

First a description of something that happened at trial in Saturday’s Bristol Evening Post.

Vincent Tabak had a secret fetish for strangulation porn that showed women being held by the throat and assaulted by men.

Films portraying blonde women being throttled during sex or tied up and bundled into car boots were found on his laptop computer and were planned as a trump card for the prosecution during his murder trial.

But Mr Justice Richard Field ruled it would have been prejudicial for jurors to hear such evidence.

Nigel Lickley QC put forward a failed application to the judge in the first week of the trial at Bristol Crown Court, before the jury was sworn in.

Mr Lickley said: “They concern the defendant’s interest in porn, but in particular porn depicting violence towards women with their tops raised.

“There are also violent images of women being held by the neck, then being sexually abused by men.

“We submit that these images have a real significance and explain why the defendant held Joanna Yeates by the neck and killed her.

“We submit that it is the case he developed a sexual pleasure from it and that is because he viewed this material.

“There is sexual activity between a man and a woman ““ often bound and gagged…. It is a fact that the women are held by the throat often when gagged ““ as a means of control.”

Another article in Saturday’s Bristol Evening Post describes other key things that the jury never got to hear.

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Jones, who led the murder inquiry, attacked Tabak for being “manipulative” and devising a “cunning” plan in a bid to cover his tracks.

He said: “It has taken ten months to bring this investigation to a positive conclusion, and to provide Joanna’s family and Greg with some closure….

Ann Reddrop, of the Crown Prosecution Service’s complex case unit, branded Tabak a “cunning, dishonest and manipulative” man.

She said: “He was cunning and dishonest towards his girlfriend with whom he maintained a normal relationship, and towards his former landlord, about whom he lied to the police and which in part led to that person’s arrest for the murder.

And get this - shades of Ted Bundy and many other psychopathic killers who played cat-and-mouse with media, police, prosecutors and jury.

“He was manipulative of the police by virtue of his own in-depth research on the internet to keep one step ahead of the investigation prior to his arrest and then made very selective admissions surrounding the circumstances of Jo’s death which sought to cast her in an unfavourable light ““ even when he was giving evidence to the jury.”

One of many similar comments in the UK media is this one in the Daily Mail..

I am glad we have juries but this trial has once again raised issues that many people find hard to comprehend.

Should this evidence have been admissible? Mr Justice Field said that although Tabak’s choice of viewing was reprehensible, it was not valuable enough to outweigh the prejudice it would cause his defence.

There are those who say this is justice at its exemplary best; that criminal trials are often based on negotiations between lawyers and judges about what evidence can be put before a court.

Then there are the rest of us who are left somewhat mystified by the methods used by the legal establishment to ensure justice.

Post-verdict statements by Joanna Yeates’s parents and her boyfriend were much more hard-line than this. And they were among the “lucky” ones who saw their harmer locked up.


Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/30/11 at 06:39 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineThe wider contextsEurope contextComments here (49)

Compared To Italy, Say, Precisely How Wicked Is The United States?

Posted by Peter Quennell





Please click above for a chart we can all read.

Okay. According to this proportional comparison of prison populations, the US is about seven times as wicked as Italy.

We have often remarked that Italy’s crime rate is low, the three mafia families (Sicily, Calabria and Naples) are mostly fading, and the justice system is one of the most cautious - conviction rates are infuriatingly low for the suffering families of victims, but in a forgiving Catholic nation rates of incarceration are unlikely to jump any time soon.

The American incarceration rate in sharp contrast has for a decade led the rest of the world, and it increased every year for nearly 30 straight years from the arrival of President Reagan to the departure of President GW Bush. Its prison rate is ahead of Russia’s, with its mafias and corruption and poverty, and ahead of China’s, with its large population of political prisoners.

Finally, however, the American incarceration rate and execution rate are both now headed downward.

Factors that had been keeping incarceration rates high included the 1980s-1990s drug wars, the estimated 12-15 million illegals, the estimated several hundred million private guns, the law-and-order hard line of many politicians and the Supreme Court, the elections of many sheriffs and judges and district attorneys based mainly on a law-and-order hard line, the part-privatised for-profit prison system, and distinct racism (see graphs below) in who goes to prison and who doesn’t. 
 
Factors that are now pushing incarceration rates down include a major drop in all crime rates, the liberalization of US society as it gets richer, the pressure on government budgets, the easing of certain drug laws, the proofs from DNA that police do not always get the right perpetrator, Obama-administration investment in re-entry programs and more effective methods of parole and probation, and the continued push of humane people to radically change things for the better.

Executions were put on hold by the Supreme Court for some years. You can see from the last graph below that after that ended there was something of a surge in executions, but the numbers are sinking down again quite sharply (now at about 30 a year) and execution might be a thing of the past by 2020.

Wow! In matters of crime and punishment the United States is now starting to converge upon…  Italy!






CIA v. State Department: A Significant Development For The Perugia Case?

Posted by Peter Quennell





As expected the Supreme Court of Cassation has upheld kidnapping convictions against 23 CIA operatives.

The landmark case dates to Feb. 17, 2003, when Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, a radical Egyptian cleric known as Abu Omar [image below}, walked out of his Milan apartment in broad daylight and vanished.

talian authorities used cellphone records made at the time and location of the abduction to determine that CIA officers snatched Abu Omar, drove him to nearby Aviano Air Base and flew him to Egypt. According to Italian court documents,

Abu Omar was beaten and subjected to electric shock in a Cairo prison. He was later freed.

The significant development for Meredith’s case is that the State Department had refused to organize diplomatic immunity with Italy for any of the 23. 

Now at least one of them, Sabrina De Sousa (image at top with her lawyer), is suing the State Department for not having stood by her in retroactively organizing that diplomatic immunity.

All 23 could now be the subject of requests for extradition to Italy to serve out their six-year sentences, and if the US Justice Department refuses to comply they could be the subjects of worldwide arrest warrants via Interpol.

That could mean the end of their operational usefulness in the CIA and conceivably prevent any of them ever traveling outside the US again in their lifetimes.

Why have the CIA and the State Department seriously parted company here? Well, their mandates are almost polar opposites.

The State Department and its Embassies and the very considerable American presence throughout the United Nations tries hard to get along with friendly nations, and Italy is probably one of its top half-dozen friends.

The CIA on the other hand is charged with using fair means and foul to fight back against terrorism worldwide, and sometimes its practices contravene the best interests of diplomacy and the local law.

Here the CIA is coming out the clear loser and State is sweetly sitting on its hands and not upsetting Italy in any way.

Cables released so far by the State Department under the Freedom of Information Act suggest that State and the Rome Embassy really didnt ever lift a finger to subvert Italian justice on behalf of Amanda Knox.

Here’s betting more of the same - no action by State - as the Cassation appeal comes alive. And no standing in the way of an extradition request for Knox if Cassation decides Judge Masssei got the trial right.




Perugia Police Chief During 2008 Investigation Rises To Head Of National Anti-Mafia Department

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Video commentary and interview in Italian]


Arturo de Felice has served more than 30 years in various police jurisdictions. Now he becomes head of the anti-mafia department in Rome.

He was in charge at the Perugia questura up to August of 2008 when the crime was being jointly investigated with experts from Rome.

Arturo de Felice made the anouncement to the media and a nervous Perugia on the day after interrogators caused Knox’s and Sollecito’s alibis to separate.  He announced to the media that Sollecito had admitted lying and Knox had admitted to being at the scene - with Patrick Lumumba, though, not with Guede.

He indicated that police were surprised at how quickly Knox crumbled, and this surprise was confirmed by interrogators themselves and an interpreter at the trial in 2009. From the 7 November Daily Telegraph.

The police said today that Knox’s confession could be the key to solving the case.

Mr De Felice said: “She crumbled. She confessed. There were holes in her alibi. Her mobile phone records were crucial.”

He said Knox’s claims that she was elsewhere had been demonstrated to be false. The police found text messages on her phone from Lumumba, fixing a meeting between them at 8.35pm on the night Miss Kercher died.

The police also said that Sollecito had cracked, and admitted he had lied. Tomorrow morning, all three will appear before a judge to have their arrests confirmed before they are formally charged with non-premeditated murder and participation in an act of sexual violence.

Of course, it was not an especially helpful crumbling by Amanda Knox. Lumumba was released after a lot of time and effort was wasted when a palm print at the scene was identified as that of Rudy Guede.

However in her two written confessions Knox was pretty nasty toward Patrick. Then she let him languish in prison for several weeks. And as Fly By Night posted on the PMF forum last year, Knox had admitted to crimes, if not to murder.

1. She provided the access for a murderer to enter the cottage.

2. She heard thuds and a scream, and imagined what was happening.

3. In her drunken stupor, she failed to come to Meredith’s aid both during and after the murder.

4. She actively covered up the murder by failing to report it or otherwise detail her actions for 4 full 24 hour days following the murder.

In December Knox was interviewed by Mr Mignini in the presence of her attorney and was asked her why she had implicated Patrick. She refused to answer.

At trial she raised no objections to any testimony from those present at the interrogation that she spontaneously fingered Patrick, and she admitted under interrogation that it was her idea.

Mr De Felice comes from Calabria in the deep south (where Dr Galati also comes from) and has headed many mafia investigations in his career. This is dangerous work and those who do it tend to be widely admired in Italy.


The Considerable Number Of Suspected Perps That Countries Extradite Daily To Other Countries

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Umarked Federal flying paddy-wagon, seen here leaving Seattle, transports 300,000 prisoners annually ]


Extradition is not without its controversies and not all extradition requests see a suspect sitting on a plane handcuffed to a federal marshal.

However, most do, and the US at federal and state level is at any one time processing hundreds of requests and transporting suspected perps hither and thither - the majority, of course, internally between U.S. states, but a large minority are incoming and outgoing. 

Complete refusals of extradition seem very rare, as that can cause rebound and ripple effects down the ages.

The US is sort of refusing to send some pilots and CIA operatives back to Italy for trial, but those cases are both in the realm of the quasi military. In the case of the Italian soldiers being held in India for the shooting from a oil tanker of Cochin fishermen they suspected were pirates, even Italy says rules for military must be different.

The US and Italy co-operate on law enforcement more than most countries and the FBI and its Italian equivalent have officers from the other service permanently embedded. We posted on this case of Italy sending an American renegade doctor back to Indiana to face charges.

In general extraditions in both directions between the U.S. and Italy seem to go smoothly and if the State Department ever gets involved (it states that this is Justice Department business) we don’t see any evidence of it in recent reports.

These cases - some of them involving countries sending their own nationals to other countries to face the music - are all live cases on the first 10 of 30 pages when “extradition” is searched on Google News.

  • The United States extradites US national David Kramer to Melbourne in Australia. He “has been charged with 10 counts of indecent assault allegedly committed in St Kilda East when he was a teacher at a Jewish orthodox school.”
  • Canada rules to send Canadian national Rapinder (Rob) Sidhu a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer to the US. “The U.S. indictment… alleges Sidhu… worked with convicted British Columbia smugglers Rob Shannon and Devron Quast to operate a cocaine transportation organization based in British Columbia.”
  • The UK sends back Joshua Edwards, a murder suspect, to the US after he fought extradition for five years. He is accused in a 2006 shooting death in Maryland.
  • The UK sends back Prine “Prince” Jones to Newark New Jersey. “The 46-year-old Birmingham, England, resident is charged in a superseding indictment with conspiracy to import and export cocaine.”
  • Mexico sends back two brothers to New York City “to join a third brother to face sex trafficking charges in New York as part of a complex collaborative effort to combat human trafficking”.
  • The UK sends back TV star Robert Hughes to Sydney, Australia. ““He is wanted in connection with allegations of gross indecency, indecent assault and sexual assault towards children in NSW, Australia, between August 1984 and August 1990.”
  • Guatamala sends Horst Walther Overdick to New York. “Overdick, known as “The Tiger,” was detained in April during an operation to arrest [very dangerous] Zetas [cartel] operatives in the Central American country.”
  • Finland sends Igor Vassiliev to the US.  “Igor Vassiliev, 38, a Russian citizen, was arrested in July in Finland, based on an Interpol Red Notice. He is only the third person ever extradited from Finland to the U.S….[in 2005] a federal grand jury handed up indictments charging him with health care fraud and conspiracy to commit health care fraud and mail fraud.”
  • The United Arab Emirates sends Kamchybek Kolbaye back to Kyrgyzstan after a two-year legal process. “Kolbayev faces charges of kidnapping, robbery, organization of a criminal group, illegal drug trafficking, and illegal weapons possession,”
  • Israel will send Israeli national Aleksandar Cvetkovic to Bosnia. He was arrested in 2011 “on an international warrant after witnesses testified that he had assisted in the shooting of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Europe’s worst atrocity since World War II.”
  • Ireland extradites Philip Baron to Liverpool in England. “Alleged crime gang boss Philip Baron faces four charges relating to money laundering and conspiracy to import a huge shipment of cocaine and cannabis to the UK from South Africa and Costa Rica between 2005 and 2009.”
  • The US may extradite David Headley to India. “CNN-IBN reported US Under Secretary Wendy Sherman as saying, “The US acknowledges Hafiz Saeed is mastermind of 26/11 [Mumbai bomb] attacks. President Barack Obama is determined the US will bring Hafiz Saeed to justice.”
  • The UK will extradite British national Lee Aldhouse to Thailand. “Mr Aldhouse successfully fled Thailand after allegedly stabbing American Deshawn Longfellow to death in August 2010. He was later arrested at Heathrow Airport on an unrelated charge when he tried to re-enter the UK.”
  • Mauritius has sent Captain Kung back to Taiwan. “Kung was suspected of shooting and killing 12 Chinese sailors [in 1999] on his… fishing vessel during a failed mutiny attempt on Feb. 1999. The vessel at the time was sailing on waters northwest of Mauritius…. Kung was later arrested by Mauritius authorities and sentenced to 20 years in prison.”
  • Italy will deport Muiz Trabulsi to Tunisia under an agreements signed by Italy Justice Minister Paola Severino. Muiz Trabulsi is “the nephew of Layla Al-Trablisi, Tunisia’s ex-first lady, to stand trial in Tunisia…. [a part of Tunisia’s eforts] efforts to bring back money stolen by members of the former regime”.
  • Bulgaria extradited Stefan Klenovski to Italy, who “had a Europol Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued against him by Italian authorities on suspicions of participating in the crime ring practicing ATM fraud [and], was arrested on January 27 in a shopping mall in downtown Sofia.”

Two more cases are now prominently in the news: Wikileaks founder Julian Assad, holed up in the Ecuador Embassy in London, who the Brits want to extradite to Sweden, and John McAfee, the formoer software magnate now back in the US, who Belize may charge with murdering his neighbor.

Almost invariably while awaiting a final decision those subject to an extradition request have to sit out their appeals in prison. If Amanda Knox is reconvicted in a new appeal trial ordered by the Supreme Court, she could face years sitting in an uncomfortable American prison if her extradition is disputed.

Or, of course, she could willingly move straight to an Italian prison, which as she knows offer in-cell TV, private bathrooms, good career skill-building, and concerts.


[Below: Paola Severino, Italy’s relentless no—nonsense justice minister]


Italy’s Advanced, Effective, Humane Law & Order System Also Adopted By City Of New York

Posted by Peter Quennell





New York City.

The main characteristics of the Italian system are (1) a large and visible national and local police presence, (2) a low crime rate even by European standards, and even more-so by American standards, and (3) a very low rate of incarceration that is only 1/6 that of the US.

Pretty well the exact opposite of what you’d suppose if you read only Frank Sforza and Raffaele Sollecito and Bruce Fischer and Saul Kassin and Steve Moore and of course Mario Spezi. Read only them, and one might be excused for thinking Italy’s is a huge, horrible system the Italian population desperately needs them to save it from.

Get a life!

An extremely misconceived campaign if the real purpose (we do wonder) is to do anything helpful for in particular Amanda Knox. The average Italian in the street likes and respects and is proud of their system. Polls repeatedly show that the institutions of that system are the most trusted and respected in Italy.

The general mood is probably toward a bit less concern about all perps and a lot more concern about all victims.  But essentially the system is liked for what it is. Conspiracy theories don’t fly.

New York is now the safest big city in America. It is following a route that is not only almost identical to Italy’s - it is being watched and emulated elsewhere across the US. All of John Tierney’s important report in last Friday’s New York Times is worth a read, for this could represent a huge sea-change.

These are the openings paras. 

Now that the United States has the world’s highest reported rate of incarceration, many criminologists are contemplating another strategy. What if America reverted to the penal policies of the 1980s? What if the prison population shrank drastically? What if money now spent guarding cellblocks was instead used for policing the streets?

In short, what would happen if the rest of the country followed New York City’s example?

As the American prison population has doubled in the past two decades, the city has been a remarkable exception to the trend: the number of its residents in prison has shrunk. Its incarceration rate, once high by national standards, has plunged well below the United States average and has hit another new low, as Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced recently. And crime in the city has fallen by more than 75 percent, almost twice as much as in the rest of the country.

Whatever has made New York the safest big city in America, that feat has certainly not been accomplished by locking up more criminals.

“The precise causes of New York’s crime decline will be debated by social scientists until the Sun hits the Earth,” said Michael Jacobson, a criminologist who ran the city’s Correction and Probation Departments during the 1990s and is now the president of the Vera Institute of Justice, a criminal justice research group. “But the 50,000-foot story from New York is that you can drive down crime while decreasing your jail and prison population “” and save a huge amount of money in the process.”

New York’s singular success has attracted attention across the country from public officials whose budgets have been strained by the prison boom. The 2.3 million people behind bars in America, a fifth of the world’s prisoners, cost taxpayers more than $75 billion a year. The strict penal policies were intended to reduce crime, but they have led to a historic, if largely unrecognized, shift in priorities away from policing.

“The United States today is the only country I know of that spends more on prisons than police,” said Lawrence W. Sherman, an American criminologist on the faculties of the University of Maryland and Cambridge University in Britain. “In England and Wales, the spending on police is twice as high as on corrections. In Australia it’s more than three times higher. In Japan it’s seven times higher. Only in the United States is it lower, and only in our recent history.”

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/29/13 at 06:11 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineThe wider contextsItalian contextN America contextComments here (14)

Law And Precedent Indicate Knox Extradition Likely To Be Granted

Posted by James Raper



[[Above: a plane landing at Florence airport; most under arrest arrive via Rome airport]


This is the latest in our many posts nailing the myths perpetrated by the pro-Knox campaign,

We can already see that there is an attempt to generate a new myth in the media and on the internet.  This is that it is unlikely that Amanda Knox would be extradited to Italy. Talking heads appear by the dozen on US TV channel networks to say so. A plethora of internet articles add up to the same. They are all wrong, take it from me.

However the fact that the subject is even under discussion is an indication that the implications of the Italian Supreme Court’s annulment of the Appeal verdict are sinking in, in some quarters at any rate. I am sure that what Ted Simon says for public consumption is very different from the advice which (assuming he has been asked) is rendered privately to Amanda and her family. If not then the family is being seriously misled as to Amanda’s prospects of avoiding extradition.

There is, of course, an extradition treaty between the United States and Italy and it seems that the main issue as to whether extradition could take place would be Double Jeopardy.

Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Professor of Law, has written a good piece.  Sensible articles like this have been a long time in coming but even he gets some of it wrong and cannot resist creating a little air of uncertainty.

“Ms Knox would likely challenge any extradition request on the ground that she was already acquitted by the lower appellate court, so any subsequent conviction would constitute double jeopardy.

That is when the real legal complexities would kick in, because Italian and American law are quite different and both will be applicable in this trans-national case involving a citizen of one country charged with killing a citizen of another country, in yet a third country.

America’s extradition treaty with Italy prohibits the US from extraditing someone who has been “acquitted”, which under American law generally means acquitted by a jury at trial. But Ms Knox was acquitted by an appeals court after having been found guilty at trial.  So would her circumstances constitute double jeopardy under American law?

That is uncertain because appellate courts in the US don’t re-try cases and render acquittals (they judge whether lower courts made mistakes of law, not fact). Ms Knox’s own Italian lawyer has acknowledged that her appellate “acquittal” wouldn’t constitute double jeopardy under Italian law since it wasn’t a final judgement - it was subject to further appeal, which has resulted in a reversal of the acquittal.

This argument will probably carry considerable weight with US authorities, likely yielding the conclusion that her extradition wouldn’t violate the treaty. Still, a sympathetic US State Department or judge might find that her appellate acquittal was final enough to preclude her extradition on the ground of double jeopardy.”

“Final enough”?”¦.hmmmmm. That doesn’t seem very legal language to me. And given the Italian three tier system how does one determine when an acquittal is final enough, other than at the end of it? Of course, if in doubt, the State Department or judge could read all the published court judgements in the case. That would help.

On the other hand, perhaps Dershowitz should read the 1984 Extradition Treaty between the USA and Italy more carefully.

Article VI states -

Extradition shall not be granted when the person sought has been convicted, acquitted or pardoned, or has served the sentence imposed, by the Requested Party for the same acts for which extradition is requested.

The Requested Party, in the case of a request for extradition from Italy, will of course be the United Sates.  Clearly this is no bar to extradition in the case of Amanda Knox as there has been no judicial process against her in the USA regarding the murder of Meredith Kercher .

And for the avoidance of doubt jeopardy Article I states - “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.” So an offense shall be an extraditable offense only if it is punishable under the laws of both Contracting Parties by deprivation of liberty for a period of more than one year.

(There are other circumstances under the treaty when extradition will not be granted, but these do not apply to Knox. They concern political and military offences.)

Furthermore the 1984 Extradition Treaty recognizes (as do all such treaties) the validity and fairness of the contracting parties’ respective judicial systems. Such treaties would not be possible otherwise. The USA has already extradited its citizens (when it had to) to countries where, as here, an appeal acquittal has been overturned on further appeal, the original conviction has been re-instated, and the process then continues to another appeal. This is in recognition of the fact that in some systems the State has a right of appeal as well as the accused. What’s wrong with that?

Is all of this likely to change on account of Amanda Knox?

Imagine, for a moment, that Knox fights the request for extradition through the US courts and secures a landmark decision from the Supreme Court that the request is a violation of double jeopardy. At a stroke the US government will be forced to negotiate a raft of new unequal treaty rights and obligations with a number of foreign states that will feel insulted, nonplussed and humiliated by the slight to the reputation of their judicial systems. Some may refuse to do so, and this will more likely disadvantage the USA than the other way around. It would create an enormous mess in US relations with such states.

I don’t think the Supreme Court would be that daft. It’s just not, given the circumstances, a runner.

Neither would the State Department, for the same reasons, be that daft. It is under a treaty obligation, the extradition papers being in order, to (a) grant the request or (b) if the request is challenged in the courts, to hand the matter over to the Justice Department for it to be pursued there on behalf of the Requesting Party.

The reality is that if Knox’s fresh appeal were to fail and the conviction were to be upheld finally by the Italian Supreme Court, then her opposing an extradition request from Italy through the US courts would be an exercise in futility, and an extravagant waste of legal costs that would cut deep into the alleged $4 million for her book.

There would be nothing left for her after that, and after paying off Marriott and numerous other creditors waiting in the wings.

Posted by James Raper on 04/07/13 at 02:18 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in • Comments here (21)

The Prospects In Favor Of A Possible Fugitive Amanda Knox Take Yet Another Hit

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above and at bottom: Panama, where the fugitive Robert Lady was setting himself up to be untouchable]


The former CIA operative Robert Seldon Lady is on the lam from Italian law.

He is now a worldwide fugitive - with fewer governments stepping forward with offers for him than for the other famous fugitive Edward Snowden. We posted briefly on the case here and here and two weeks ago Barbie Nadeau posted a good update here.

Robert Lady was the leader of the team that kidnapped the supposed Egyptian radical Abu Omar in Milan in 2003. Then he escorted Abu Omar to Egypt and he was apparently present for some months while Abu Omar was tortured.

The Milan court put online in English this 210-page summary of the case against Robert Lady and another 18 Americans who were involved. Amazing reading. What absolute buffoons. In total 25 Americans and 9 Italians were accused, though not all were put on trial, and as Barbie Nadeau explains, all of the others received Italian leniency.

Robert Lady didnt, though, and after he was convicted in absentia in Milan he took off out of the United States for central America. The CIA might have continued to help him there, though there were signs that the State Department and Rome Embassy, who have many other important dealings with Italy, were pretty ticked.

One CIA operative even sued State for diplomatic immunity (none of them were granted it).

When it became known that Robert Lady was living in Panama (a country without an extradition treaty with Italy) and close to citizenship, Italy through Interpol issued a worldwide arrest warrant, and requested that Panama round him up.

A few days ago, Robert Lady sought to move to the next country, Costa Rica, and was briefly detained.

What happened next is very murky. But it seems that Robert Lady was headed for the US by air, with possible help from some arm of the federal government - and then he just suddenly disappeared.

Last week, the Panamanians picked him up. It was the real world equivalent of a magician’s trick. He was nowhere, then suddenly in custody and in the news, and then””poof again!””he wasn’t. Just 24 hours after the retired CIA official found himself under lock and key, he was flown out of Panama, evidently under the protection of Washington, and in mid-air, heading back to the United States, vanished a second time.

State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters on July 19th, “It’s my understanding that he is in fact either en route or back in the United States.” So there he was, possibly in mid-air heading for the homeland and, as far as we know, as far as reporting goes, nothing more. Consider it the CIA version of a miracle. Instead of landing, he just evaporated….

Having vanished in mid-air, he has managed so far not to reappear anywhere in the US press. What followed was no further news, editorial silence, and utter indifference to an act of protection that might otherwise have seemed to define illegality on an international level.

There was no talk in the media, in Congress, or anywhere else about the US handing over a convicted criminal to Italy, just about how the Russians must return a man [Snowden] Washington considers a criminal to justice.

Nevertheless, a thorn in the flesh of American-Italian relations has been disappeared, suggesting that the pro-friends-with-Italy State Department line is dominant. Having lost everything , the former US officlal Robert Lady is now a world-wide fugitive and further US help if any is likely to be very furtive.

Confessed druggie and convicted felon Amanda Knox, a private citizen, can hardly expect any more official deference.



Involvement Of The Formidable Carabinieri Shows How Italian Justice Will Not Be Leaned Upon

Posted by Peter Quennell





Judge Nencini may have invoked the help of the Carabinieri for reasons going beyond simply very good science.

Italy has among the world’s lowest crime-rates, murder-rates and incarceration-rates. Unusually low criminal and anti-social tendencies among native-born Italians, and strong family pride, explains a large part of this.

But another main reason is the high-profile and exceptionally smart police presence. Deliberately a cool presence rather than a hot and intimidating presence, and in fact a very popular one.

This has allowed for an extremely small court and prison system relative to the size of the population. These principles are now being adopted by of all places New York city.

At its apex is the very well-trained well-funded well-equipped national force, the Carabinieri, about which, in response to a claim that was stupid even by Sollecito’s standards, our main poster Yummi remarked:

The most trusted institutions in Italy above all are the Carabinieri (74% of Italians trust them) and the Polizia di Stato (71%).

Quite possibly the police force with the highest popularity rating in the world. In a recent email about the Carabinieri, Yummi also added the following:

The Carabinieri are a very peculiar police corps. They are indeed a police corps, yet also are formally military; in fact, they have military battalions (elsewhere) and under all points of view they are an extreme elite-corps. As militariy they don’t answer directly to the government but to the President; and from their facilities, you may infer they are a pretty well-trained police force.

They have the popular respect that the US’s FBI would probably like to have. (The two forces do co-operate very closely, and in fact they permanently exchange officers to work on their numerous common cases.)

The only relationship prior to these lab tests of the Carabinieri to Meredith’s case was that Raffaele Sollecito’s sister Vanessa once worked there.

She lost her job for some seriously foolish moves and her appeal to get back in to the Carabinieri was a failure.

So. The Carabinieri. Of possible real significance now in Meredith’s case?

The Carabinieri report directly to the President of the Republic. The President is also the ultimate head of the justice system, deliberately so as set out in the constitution to keep murky politics at bay. He also is wildely popular.

Judge Nencini may be signaling that he wants Italy’s most respected institutions on the side of his verdict. And no more murky politics.











The Considerable Number Of Suspected Perps That Countries Extradite Daily To Other Countries #2

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Interpol HQ is now in Central France, a new HQ is planned for outside Paris soon.

Extradition: a hardball game.

This is the latest of many posts which include this legal take explaining the gloomy prospects for Sollecito and Knox if their final conviction comes down. 

Complete refusals of extradition by any countries other than Russia and China seem increasingly rare, as that can cause a rebound effect and economic retaliation in response. The United States very rarely refuses to extradite.

If anything, the US is stepping up the pace of its extradition cases - both ways. The US at federal and state level is at any one time processing hundreds of requests, and transporting suspected perps back and forth.

These are some of the high-profile extradition cases in today’s news:

The US/Italy Robert Lady case

The twists and turns in the story of the fugitive from Italian justice and former CIA chief in Milan Robert Lady were last posted on here. He scampered out of Central America back to the United States mid-2013.

But now official Washington seems to be giving Mr Lady a very hard time which may have him voluntarily headed to Italy to seek a break.

When the anniversary of 9/11 came around this year, Robert Seldon Lady was moving between low-end hotels around Miami. An international arrest warrant keeps him from returning to his home in Panama. He says he’s flirting with personal bankruptcy, fears for his life, and is “getting pretty desperate.” His marriage is broken. He blames this hard luck on his former employer, the Central Intelligence Agency

Mr. Lady helped CIA contractors and agents snatch an Egyptian Islamist off the streets of Milan and deliver him to an interrogation cell in Cairo. This so-called extraordinary rendition””one of 130 or so carried out by the Bush administration””set in train events that soured America’s relations with Italy and upended the life and career of Mr. Lady and other CIA agents.

Saying “I’m fed up with all this,” Mr. Lady has some extraordinary steps in mind to change his fate. His actions and outspokenness are going to add to the discomfiture of his former bosses at Langley over this messy episode from the early days after 9/11.

If the muddle-headed Knox and Sollecito enablers can find any solace in that, good luck. Mr Lady was a top government employee, who claims he was doing only what he was told. 

The Brazil/Italy Henrique Pizzolato case

Believe it or not the former director of the Bank of Brazil has fled to Italy to ensure a fair trial.

Sentenced to 12 years and seven months in prison for bribery, embezzlement and money laundering, Pizzolato announced in a letter that he fled to have, according to him, a new trial in Italy “removed from politics and electoral motives” and in “a court not subject to the impositions of the media”.

Brazil might ask Interpol for a “red notice” which is the highest form of international arrest warrant and often has the same wanted result as formal extradition.

A red notice chills renegades’ possibilities worldwide.

In fact so tough is life on the lam under a red notice that perps often simply cave before too long, and head back to defend themselves or pay their dues without any court moves or official transport required.

The US/Italy Raoul Weil case

Finfacts reported on this case last month.

Raoul Weil, a former UBS wealth management chief, was arrested last weekend in Italy and faces extradition to the United States to answer charges of aiding and abetting tax evaders.

Weil left Switzerland’s biggest bank in 2009 after he was declared a fugitive from US justice by ignoring a criminal indictment issued in 2008. UBS was forced to pay a $780m fine in 2009 after admitting to actively assisting US tax evaders to break US law.

Several Swiss bankers and lawyers have since been indicted in the US for their alleged role in helping wealthy US citizens hide their assets from the tax authorities.

Weil is one of the most high-profile of the accused as a then head of UBS’s wealth management and he is now a temporary resident of an Italian prison, likely fearing a longer spell in a US one.

A Florida court indictment charged Weil with having a prominent role in aiding UBS’s US clients to hide around $20bn in undeclared assets between 2002 and 2007.

He however has strongly denied the allegation but would not risk defending himself in a US court.

Italy is giving Mr Weil a pretty hard time and accedes to all American extradition requests except where the death sentence might be involved.

The US/Russia gangsters case

The US is trying hard to get some Russian gangsters (okay, alleged gangsters) extradited from countries around the world  and Russia is resisting this “extraterritorial application of America law”.

U.S. organized crime experts say Russian criminals working overseas often have connections within the Russian government, and that the Russian government’s defense of them is designed to keep those links from emerging in public light….

In the past six months, Russians have been a frequent target of arrest warrants executed at the request of U.S. prosecutors.

On Aug. 1, the Dominican Republic extradited 24-year-old Aleksandr Panin to stand trial in federal court in Atlanta on charges related to cyberscams using SpyEye malware, which enables the theft of online banking information. Panin is accused of stealing $5 million from U.S. banks.

In mid-August, Lithuania extradited an alleged arms dealer, Dmitry Ustinov, to stand trial in the United States for allegedly negotiating to sell restricted night-vision goggles. He faces a 20-year sentence.

Another Russian, Dmitry Belorossov, was arrested at the Barcelona airport Aug. 17 upon triggering an Interpol fraud alert. Belorossov’s extradition to stand trial in the United States is pending.

When U.S. prosecutors seized Liberty Reserve in late May, they said the company had laundered “more than $6 billion in criminal proceeds.” Liberty Reserve allowed clients anonymity and offered them a digital currency, known as an LR, to facilitate payments for criminal activity.


The US/Spain Javier Martin-Artajo case

Banker Javier Martin-Artajo now in Spain is refusing to be extradited to the United states - because the crime he is accused of took place in England. Good luck with that one. JP Morgan Chase Bank has just paid a huge fine in the US so THEY accept the crime took place there.


How Many Extraditions Do The US And Italy Refuse? Approximately Zero, When It’s To Each Other

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Ex-fugitive Florian Homm above and below in front of his palatial Mallorca Spain home]


The State Department and FBI collaborate more closely with their Italian counterparts than with almost any others in the world.

Italy is a very loyal political ally to the US and has helped out a lot diplomatically and militarily around the world. The FBI and their Italian counterparts in Rome have officers permanently embedded from one another and there are dozens of transactions going on all the time..

Extraditions both ways take place without fuss at the rate of a few a year, which the State Department and Justice Department are not inclined to fight. A couple of weeks ago, the Supreme Court in Rome declined the final appeal of fugitive swindler Florian Homm and sent him on his way to the US.

Homm had many millions to pay top lawyers to fight his extradition case. But he still lost.

The only extradition requests from Italy the US doesnt fulfill are the CIA kidnaping in Milan and Air Force Dolomites case.

It is the CIA and Pentagon overtly or clandestinely exercising special military privileges that is the cause of the two standoffs. NOT the Department of State, which has made clear it is not too thrilled.

Contrary to broad confusion in the US (fed by biased stories from Colleen Barry of the Associated Press) the Florence appeal is not a second or third trial of Knox.

It is a FIRST appeal, actually filed by Sollecito and Knox, on the same lines as any American first appeal, after the previous Hellmann appeal was furtively bent, and then scathingly annulled.  Knox has been in provisionally guilty status since late in 2009.

So double jeopardy absolutely does not apply.

The one REAL difference between this appeal and any American appeal, which seems over Colleen Barry’s head, is that this appeal request was automatically allowed. Any American appeal judge (except Heavey, who serially gets the hard facts wrong) would have thrown the flimsy appeal grounds out.

It may take up to a year, if Amanda Knox chooses to waste more big bucks on lawyer fees -  their batting record for that is pretty dismal so far, though, and a confirmed-guilty verdict in Florence next week might be only the start of more legal strife. False claims in her book will soon see her back in court.

But it seems 100% likely that Italy will “get their man”. To a rapidly increasing number of Americans, Italy’s gain would also be the US’s gain.



Italy’s Unpopular Politicians And Mafia Fellow Travelers Versus Its Popular Law Enforcement

Posted by Our Main Posters


[Above and below: several of over 100 car bombings Italian police and prosecutors were killed in]

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 system is extremely pro-defendant - probably the most pro-defendant in the whole world. See this article and this article for proof.

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).

More evidence of this popularity.  And even more.

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.


The US Lacks Legal Authority To Decline To Deliver A Guilty Knox To Italian Authorities

Posted by TomM



[Rome airport; exceedingly rare for those convicted of Italian crimes not to be sent back via here]


The reporting on this case has, with few exceptions, been poor.

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.



US Measures Available To Italy To Secure Wrongdoers Without Argument

Posted by Peter Quennell



The US Federal Department of Justice


The post just below described in part how the twin justice systems are stacking up against the perps.

For Amanda Knox there are not one but three more ways in which the legal landscape is more tilted against her.

First, Bongiorno and Sollecito are clearly going for a “get-out-of-jail-early” tactic coupled with a “I-never-bought-into-a-murder” tactic. They dont seem to be maliciously dropping Amanda Knox in it, but they are sure signaling that it’s every perp for themselves now, and that fighting a legitimate system and process is going nowhere.

Second, even before filing a request for extradition, Italy can request Interpol to issue a worldwide Red Notice for her capture. A Red Notice instigated by Italy is what got the CIA operative Robert Lady scampering out of Panama and experiencing a miserable life on the run thereafter - so much so that he has actually talked about suing the United States government (unlike Knox he had a contract).

Third, working through the United Nations body in Vienna that advances and harmonizes national justice systems, Italy and the United States and other closely aligned countries have arrived at these supportive legal arrangements for the enforcement of verdicts in one another’s countries.

See page 61 onward for the help the US offers. In effect, upon Italy’s Ministry of Justice filing the application, the American Department of Justice (with the FBI, just across Pennsylvania Avenue, and the Federal Marshals as its enforcement arms) would pick up the responsibility for tracking down the millions Knox would seem to owe

[Page 66] Enforcing Order to Seize Criminal Proceeds:

Under U.S. law (Title 28 United States Code Section 2467), the United States has the ability to enforce foreign restraining and forfeiture orders pursuant to an MLAT request or pursuant to requests made under certain multilateral conventions, including the 1988 Vienna Convention, the U.N. Convention against Corruption, and the U.N. Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. The crime for which the property is to be restrained and ultimately forfeited must be one that would subject the property to forfeiture under U.S. law, had the underlying acts been committed in the United States. To restrain the assets, the requesting country must provide in the MLAT/convention request a copy of the restraining order from the requesting country’s court that specifically identifies the assets in the United States to be restrained, or in the alternative, an order which restrains all of the assets belonging to the accused…

The relevant US body is this one: Office of International Affairs, Criminal Division, United States Department of Justice, 1301 New York Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005 (not in the DOJ main building below).

Freezing all of Knox’s assets till her dues are paid would mean no credit cards, no cash, no way to pay lawyers, no way to buy food or clothes or pay rent, no way to pay for internet use and a cellphone and trips, and no way to present a clean credit record to any prospective employer so no income coming in. 

If it doesn’t come to that, it will be because those who can guide Knox step in now to break it gently and get her to do the right thing.

Below: The Italian Ministry of Justice

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/12/14 at 04:32 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in • Comments here (20)

Italian Prime Minister Renzi Will Push Measures To Speed Up Justice

Posted by Our Main Posters





In a move popular not least among those who are part of it Mr Renzi announces moves to speed up Italian justice.

Italian justice and those who work in it are widely trusted and respected in Italy. But a very humane system designed post WWII to give those accused a level of rights unique in the world has been even further tilted over the years by politicians passing laws to aid political and business colleagues in legal trouble.

Because there are now strong economic pressures, reforms may have a slim chance of parliamentary approval. In particular convicted perps’ automatic right to two levels of appeal for most crimes could be pared back more in line with the US and UK where a judge must decide if there are any real appeal grounds.

Italian and US and UK lawyers among others have posted here on Italian justice about 40 times in the past six years. If you don’t have time for the full 40 these posts with some American comparisons provide good coverage of the key basics.

1. Click here “They Were Held For A Year Without Even Being Charged!!” How Italian Justice REALLY Works

2. Click here Why The Italian Judiciary’s Probably Less Prone to Pressure Than Any Other In The World

3. Click here Why The Prosecutors In Italy Are Relatively Popular

4. Click here Explaining How The Italian Appeals Process Works And Why It Consumes So Much Time

5. Click here Italian Parliament Is Now Moving On A Bill To Speed Up Many Trials And Appeals

6. Click here A Token Balance In The Italian System: The Voice In The Court For The Victim

7. Click here Compared To Italy, Say, Precisely How Wicked Is The United States?

8. Click here Interesting Tilts Of Marcia Clark And Alan Dershowitz Against US’s Non-Professional Jury System

9. Click here The Terrible Weight On The Victim’s Family Because The Italian System Is So Very, Very Pro Defendant

10. Click here Italy’s Advanced, Effective, Humane Law & Order System Also Adopted By City Of New York

11. Click here Italy’s Unpopular Politicians And Mafia Fellow Travelers Against Italy’s Popular Justice System

12. Click here The US Lacks Legal Authority To Decline To Deliver A Guilty Knox To Italian Authorities

Posted by Our Main Posters on 09/09/14 at 01:05 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineThe wider contextsItalian contextComments here (4)

Why Numerous American JUDGES Favor The Supremely Neutral Italian Kind Of System

Posted by Peter Quennell



See that above at the bottom of the YouTube screen? Some $280 million has been spent since the year 2000.

Can you guess what the $280 million was for?

In fact the $280 million is funds raised and spent for judges’ election campaigns in the roughly 3/4 of all American states where such judges’ elections are held - the original intention of which was good: to get judicial choices out of smoke-filled rooms.

Sitting judges and prospective judges themselves usually dont like this fundraising, because they have to take time off to raise these funds,  and pressures from donors - including bad-boy donors and in some cases defense lawyers seeking a break - can become extreme.

We have posted previously on enlightened American lawyers favoring main aspects of the Italian kind of system and on American cities now doing the same. Now we see many American judges and public-interest groups inclining the same way.

Why all judges in Italy are impartial and well-trained in the extreme (like all prosecutors) and dont have to keep their paws outstretched is that they are in a merit-based system where only their performance and not their politics counts.

We described how Italian justice system officials have to jump hurdle after hurdle in getting their cases advanced. A very demanding process in which only the best succeed.

It’s the same with their careers. They have to jump hurdle after hurdle in exams and peer assessment to advance from level to level - to make it as high for example as this revered prosecutor here.

Do such serial defamers of the Italian system as Doug Preston and Steve Moore and ex-judge Michael Heavey bother to tell you this about the Italian system? Probably not. They have never been truthful about it before.


Prime Minister Renzi’s Justice Reforms: One System-Change Need Strongly Suggested By Meredith’s Case

Posted by Peter Quennell





Prime Minister Renzi might be able to push some justice reforms through the Rome parliament.

After all, it was not his pals that were being plagued with investigations and charges, it was ex-PM Berlusconi’s, and business is leaning on him.

Those reforms being talked about (of a system which most Italians rightly feel proud of) seem to mostly involve economic efficiency. But it would be popular if a more-pro-victim tilt is also promoted.

The only slight pro-victim tilt at present is the presence of a lawyer representing the victim at trial. Dr Maresca in fact is representing Meredith not her family, but this small tilt toward fairness drives the Knox crazies like Bruce Fischer even crazier. It also promotes the (illegal under the laws of all countries) stalking and harassment of Meredith’s family.

A more-pro-victim tilt polls well in Italy. A clear majority of the population would like to see it. This post was about one of the fearless campaigners, a popular TV presenter who has written to us with thanks for siding with her.

Surely introducing a hurdle to all those automatic appeals (unique to Italy) that so clog the court agendas and eat up judges’ time would be a good idea.

Surely a really good idea, one which all of those tied up by the case in Italy and also many elsewhere would side with, is: No fast-track trial and automatically reduced sentence like Guede’s without a REAL confession and repentance.

Our poster Popper explained (again) in comments here on 21 October what the law on fast-track trials is for the moment, and why Guede got no special breaks from anyone except the Italian system itself for not talking.

[A deal with Guede? All such deals are illegal.] Not only illegal, impossible I would say, as not envisaged by the code for serious crimes, ie not practically possible, there are no exceptions ... in addition 1. a prosecutor cannot promise or decide anything in that system (even if it was a small crime for which plea bargain is possible, judge or court decides and can say no)  2. Mignini was not the PM responsible of the Guede appeal as the groupies should know if they had read the primary documents they publish on their, for the rest, useless website 3. Mignini got a life sentence for RG (decreased to 30 years for fast track discount) I do not believe he appealed this verdict, obviously.

So as we said many times (I repeat for newcomers and for the benefit of people in good faith, FoA in bad faith know already) Guede got this reduction as the life sentence (with fast track discount 30 years, this is an automatic formula) became 24 years given the judges of appeal gave generic mitigations equivalent to aggravations, exactly as in the first instance and appeal trials of Amanda and Raffaele.  Once this factor is introduced, the base penalty for murder becomes 24 years (like Amanda and Raffaele) but there is, for Guede, the automatic reduction of 1/3 for the choice of the abbreviated trial.  Result is 16 years of prison.

Amanda and Raffaele got from 24 to 28.5 and 25 for their other crimes in continuation, theft phones, simulation, transportation of a weapon, calumny to Lumumba (only Knox).

Many might live more easily with the idea of Guede getting his sentence pared down to only 16 years in prison, if only he had been made to fess up properly about what happened and make a real bid to express sorrow and remorse to Meredith’s family.

But his sticking point even now which the current law allows is that Meredith INVITED him in for sex and he was only a bystander to her murder.

Wail at his callous obtuseness all you like, but he has only gone where the system itself points him. 

Judge Massei had tried to punish him additionally by reversing Judge Micheli on primary blame and placing primary blame for the fatal attack on Guede.

But that weird stretch didnt hurt him, his eventual sentence was unaffected, and it caused enormous problems down the road when Judge Hellmann was enabled to go even further and roll back the guilt of RS and AK entirely.

This is a problem Judge Nencini then had to set about correcting, which never would have even existed had Guede been forced in 2008 to fully confess and repent, in exchange for his fast-track trial and reduced sentence.

If the Italian system had forced Guede’s confession in 2008 as his part of the deal, how radically different would have been the history of this protracted process. And how radically different would have been the lives and peace of mind of Meredith’s family, left suffering now both financially and in health terms.

It wasn’t meant to be, but in this respect Italy’s is a cruel system. Please, Prime Minister Renzi, correct it. Call it the Meredith Amendment.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/31/14 at 11:24 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineThe wider contextsItalian contextComments here (5)

The Dangers Of Not Extraditing Convicted Felons Labeled An Explosive Threat To Other People

Posted by Peter Quennell



Above: Sydney moslems leaving wreaths- for the non-moslems killed

1. Lessons From Australia

It looks like several Australian judges may have wrecked their careers for allowing Man Haron Monis to be at large even though police said he should be denied bail.

Man Haron Monis was the former Iranian who took 17 hostages in downtown Sydney and caused the death of two others and himself. Coming to light is how many times previously the Australian justice system had treated him with kid gloves for major crimes.

Reporting from NBC:

Iran tried to extradite the gunman behind Sydney’s deadly hostage crisis years ago, Tehran’s top cop said, amid questions over how the self-styled cleric had found his way to Australia but not onto a watch list…

Monis grew up in Iran as Mohammad Hassan Manteghi. In 1996, he established a travel agency, but took his clients’ money and fled, Iran’s police chief, Gen. Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam, told the country’s official IRNA news agency Tuesday.

Australia accepted him as a refugee around that time. The police chief said Iran tried to have Monis extradited from Australia in 2000, but that it didn’t happen because Iran and Australia don’t have an extradition agreement.

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he wanted to know how Monis had been granted permanent residency and why he had been receiving welfare benefits for years, despite being able-bodied “if not necessarily of sound mind.”

Monis had a gun licence, a rarity in Australia - and he walked free after being charged for writing letters of hate to families of dead Australian soldiers, and for having a hand in the killing of his wife.


2. The Relevance Of This To Knox

Regardless of extradition treaty situations, countries almost universally extradite convicted murderers. They dont want dangerous people to have another chance to cause deadly havoc in their own midst.

Knox is already a felon for life. If Knox is confirmed guilty of murder next March she will be a DANGEROUS felon for life.

The Italian-US extradition treaty gives a US judge no wiggle room other than to check if the paperwork is in order and then send her on her way.

But another bent judge could again throw a spanner in the works.

How dangerous is Knox?  Our psychologists generally think that, untreated,  she is not good news. Not a latent serial killer, or one who sits around and plots, but one who could again explosively hit back when she imagines or exaggerates slights.

More than anyone in Perugia, Meredith tried to get along with Knox. But Knox showed no sign of a learning curve. The very heavy drug use went on, the sleeping with a drug dealer went on, the dirtiness and laziness around the house went on, and the noisy sex episodes with strangers through paper-thin walls went on.

She really was the housemate from hell.

For a month or two after Meredith died, Knox was highly erratic about her role in that death, and showed an extreme eagerness to talk with the prosecution which resulted in the long session with Dr Mignini on 17 Dec.

In a move serially misinterpreted by the dimwits of the Knox brigade, the prosecution, suspecting she was both mixed up and high on hard drugs, in effect offered Knox and her team a way to a lesser count, when they said that the murder could have been a taunting attack which spun out of control.

In her book, Knox describes how the family and lawyers worked hard on Knox to destroy all elements of trust. By the summer of 2008 she was in a mood of full-blown paranoid mistrust, and all chances of a lesser charge were gone.

At trial in 2009 Knox was daffy and uncomprehending, making irrelevant interventions and really shooting herself in the foot when she took the stand. Raffaele Sollecito and Patrick Lumumba, almost the last two in Perugia to still give her the time of day, both said she was very odd.

Knox was mentally tested in Capanne Prison and apparently scored high on the psychopathic chart. The four courts hardest on Knox all knew this - the Matteini court, the Ricciarelli court, Cassation, and the Nencini court - which was a major reason why Cassation did not allow bail in April 2008.

Assuming she killed once, in what was an exceptionally barbaric attack, Knox may or may not kill again. She is certainly inciting or condoning a massive amount of dangerous hate toward Meredith’s family and toward the Italian officials of the court.

One unhinged attack has already occured - that of the disturbed Michele Moore against Dr Mignini in the Perugia court - and the British resident David Anderson has screamed at meetings and runs an incessant campaign to stir up hate. Court officials have received messages of hate, and there is a small mountain of false and dangerous accusations against them on the web.

Left untreated and unpunished, a convicted but not extradited Knox would be a killer walking loose on American streets and could continue to condone or incite violence for the rest of her life.

If Knox killed and remains loose, could she kill again or cause others to kill? Any extradition judge needs to ask as the Australian judges did not:

Do we REALLY want to find out?















The Unsavory Company Knox Would Be Foolish To Aspire To: 160 Americans On The Run From Interpol

Posted by Peter Quennell





Meet eight American women on the run from arrest worldwide.

They are all the subjects of Interpol Red Notices. Right now Interpol has 322 active Red Notices, some 160 of them for Americans, of which 51 are women.

If they have not yet been to trial, they are considered innocent unless and until they are proven guilty. At the same time many have cash rewards on their heads and private citizens are warned not to apprehend them.

None of those eight women above are charged with murder or already found guilty of murder - their alleged crimes include kidnapping, drug-smuggling, fraud and insider trading.

Red Notices are sometimes issued for killers, but they very rarely prove necessary. Regardless of the status of mutual extradition treaties, countries who find they are harboring killers tend to regard them as hot potatoes, and most usually simply arrest them.

Some on the list of 322 may be dead, and many will be living close to poverty. We posted here previously on Interpol and here previously on how the ex CIA chief in Italy Robert Lady was forced out of Panama by an impending arrest for a Red Notice.

Robert Lady has lost everything. Seems better to face the music, and end the doubletalk.


Justice System Comparisons #1: If Meredith’s Murder Had Taken Place In Common-Law Countries

Posted by Chimera



Supreme Court Of Canada in the capital Ottawa

Overview Of This Post

Much has been made about the differences between the American and Italian criminal justice systems.

This post offers some different perspectives, from the Canadian system, the one I know most about as I reside in Canada, as do many readers here. While I am not a lawyer, I do know a fair amount about the system here.  Enjoy this multi-part submission.

I explain first the Canadian system, and then what would have happened to those accused of Meredith’s death under this system.  I am making no judgements as to which system is the best, as all have their pros and cons.  Please take this article as a source for broadening perspectives.

Some History Of Our System

a. Canada is part of the British Commonwealth.  Although the Queen of England is still our official head of state, and her representative, the governor general, the head of Canada’s military, the roles are largely figurative.

b. Although most of Canada is governed by Common Law, from the British model, the province of Quebec uses its own regulations, based largely on the Civil Code from Napoleonic times. 

c. Because of the differences in the Common Law and Civil Codes, by law, the Supreme Court of Canada MUST contain both judges from Quebec and from the other provinces.

d. Although in the past cases settled in the Supreme Court of Canada could still be appealed to the UK, that is no longer the case.

Is Criminal Law a Federal, Provincial, or Municipal matter?

Criminal Law is made up, and amended exclusively by the federal government, however, administrating the courts, and trying cases is a provincial matter.  The rules spell out clearly what is a federal v.s. provincial responsibility.  Stepping outside these boundaries often leads to tension, and having the new rules struck down.

Are prisons and probation/parole offices federal or provincial?

It depends on the sentence.  A jail term of 2 years or more is a federal sentence, in which case federal corrections is put in charge of the person.  Naturally, these are for much more serious or repeat crimes.  A jail term (or conditional sentence) of under 2 years is a provincial sentence, and the respective province deals with the person.

Probation and parole rules and regulations are set out differently, and it depends on what the person has received in terms of prison time.  If no prison time is given, then probation is the responsibility of the province.

How Are Offences Classified?

Offences in Canada are classified as such in the criminal code

  • 1. Summary Offences: Minor in nature, in America called a ‘‘misdemeanor’’
  • 2. Indictable Offences: Much more serious, in America called a ‘‘felony’‘
  • 3. Hybrid Offences: The prosecutor has discretion in how to proceed
Who hears criminal appeals in Canada?

The appeal will likely be heard in the province’s court of appeals, the provincal ‘‘top court’‘.  Please do not mistake ‘‘provincial supreme court’’ as being the top court, as it is not the same thing. 

A trial court hears witnesses, while an appeals court is called a ‘paper court’.  It works from transcripts.

1. Generally, there are 2 main trial courts, the lower court, and the higher (Superior or Supreme) court.  As the names imply, the lower courts generally take on less serious cases, while the higher courts take more serious cases, such as murder.

2. If a case is tried summarily (a less designated case) and in the lower court, the case may be appealed to either the Provincial Court of Appeals, or to the High Court (Superior or Supreme)

3. If a case is tried by indictment (felony), or in Superior/Supreme Court, then appeals MUST go to the Provincial Court of Appeals.

    (a) For example, a major case in Ontario will be tried in Ontario Superior Court, and if appealed, it will go to the Ontario Court of Appeals. 
    (b) For example, a major case in British Columbia will be tried in the BC Supreme Court, and if appealed, will go to the BC Court of Appeals.
    (c) Other provinces also have trial courts, then a court of appeals

4 In any case, it may be further appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada

    For some perspective: Imagine Amanda Knox lived in Toronto, Ontario. 

    Her rock throwing riot in Seattle, if here would likely have landed her in the Ontario Court of Justice, and the prosecutors would likely have gone summarily against her, although a more serious charge (assault) would be a hybrid offence.  If she chose to appeal, the Superior Court (which is also a trial court), would likely hear her appeal.

    Her sexual assault and murder charges, if in Ontario, would automatically have been tried as indictable offences and she would be in Superior Court.  Her first appeal would be with the Ontario Court of Appeals

5. A defendant has the right to appeal a criminal conviction to the provincial appeals court.  However, this is more like the U.S. than Italy, in that these appeals are not automatically granted.  The Court first has to determine that there is some merit to the appeal.  If it is baseless, it will be dismissed.  In the case of Knox and Sollecito, it would likely not be allowed to proceed.

6. A defendant has the right to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada after a Provincial Court of Appeals rules.  However, the S.C.C. usually declines to intervene, unless the facts are extremely controversial, or of significance.  This is especially true if it is just a rehash of the Provincial appeal.

What are your rights if arrested in Canada?

Section 10 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms says that you have the right to be informed of the reason, the right to retain a lawyer without delay, and have the validity of the detention challenged by way of habeas corpus.

Are people’s name shielded from press?

In some circumstances

  • The person was a minor at the time of the offence (though an adult sentence annuls that protection)
  • In sexual assault cases, the victim(s) name(s) CANNOT be released publicly
  • In highly sensitive cases (like treason or terrorism)
  • If it would put someone in danger or compromise a witness
Can you give press conferences or talk to the media if accused of a crime?

While possible, this is not recommended.  For example, and appeals about adverse publicity or not being able to get a fair trial will not be taken seriously.  Also, contempt charges will be quite likely. 

While the media does cover serious cases, the coverage has generally been pretty neutral in Canada.

Can you write a book or get a movie deal?

No these deals would be considered profit or proceeds from crime.

Can you be forced to take the stand in Canada?

As a defendant, no.  11(c) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects against forced self incrimination (in America, it is called ‘‘taking the 5th’‘).

Interestingly enough, there are no real protections for witnesses who just don’t want to testify.

Does Canada grant bail to accused criminals?

Usually. 11(e) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that reasonable bail should not be denied without just cause.  In practice, this means unless the person is a flight risk, a threat to the public, or the offence is extremely shocking to the public, they can get bail.

However, if a person has a prior criminal record, it becomes harder to get bail each time.

Note: Bail hearings are usually done by J.P.s (Justices of the Peace).  They are not judges, but can make some legal decisions.  Bail decisions can usually be appealed to a judge,

Does Canada have the ‘Double Jeopardy’ law?

Yes and no.  Refer to 11(h) in the Charter or Rights and Freedoms.  It says that if a person is finally acquitted of the offence, or finally found guilty and punished, not to be tried again for the same offence.

The key word here is finally, as in, all appeals have been exhausted.

The appeal will likely be heard in the province’s court of appeals, the provincal ‘‘top court’‘.  Please do not mistake ‘‘provincial supreme court’’ as being the top court.  That is an American naming.  For example, a major case in Ontario will be tried in Ontario Superior Court, and if appealed, it will go to the Ontario Court of Appeals.

If a person is convicted, and chooses to appeal, that case will likely be heard by the provincial court of appeals.

Note: Notice of an appeal must generally be filed within 30 days of the verdict.  If no notice is filed, then the acquittal/conviction is considered final.

Note: It is possible, but very rare for a prosecution to appeal an acquittal, or to appeal a Provincial Appeal Court ruling.  Basically, the prosecution must prove that the trial court (or first appeal court) made fundamental and very serious legal errors.  It cannot just be a another shot at a conviction.  The Appeal Court can then do many things, including sending it back for a retrial, amending the sentence, or throwing out a conviction.  Or it can confirm the acquittal.

Does Canada have a plea bargaining system?

Yes, Crown Prosecutors and defence attorneys can sign what is called a ‘‘joint submission’‘, and give it to the judge.  This is an agreement of the facts and sentence.  While judges usually accept these submissions, they are not obligated to, and can reject them if far too lenient or harsh.

Can defendants testify or make spontaneous declarations?

They can testify (and must be sworn in), but they cannot make the kind of challenge free remarks like in Italy.

Does the short form trial exist in Canada?

As in the 1/3 deduction… No.  However, judges routinely give breaks for guilty pleas, or for some kind of remorse or contrition.

There is a diversion program, which is an alternative to going through the trial process (essentially getting treatment), but reserved for minor offences.  Sexual offences, or serious violent ones are not eligible.

Do defendants awaiting trial get psychologically assessed?

Sometimes, and it can happen for a few reasons

    (1) The defendant is pleading not criminally responsible (insanity)
    (2) The defence has applied for bail, but the judge has reservations about granting it
    (3) The defence wants to use it as a mitigating factor, or in sentencing
    (4) Prosecutors can request it, but this is rare
Can an Appeals Court increase a jail sentence?

This is extremely rare, but yes they can, if the opinion is that the trial judge simply went too soft.  A couple cases in Canada are these:

    Paul Coffin who pleaded guilty to 15 counts of fraud, related to the previous Liberal government.  He originally got house arrest, but it was overturned on appeal, and substituted for 18 months of real jail time.

    Graham James a notorious pedophile and infamous hockey coach who sexually abused his players.  He got 2 years at one trial, which the prosecution appealed, and had increased to 5 years (still very light though)

Much more common though, is that an appeal will either be dismissed, of the judges will knock some time off the sentence.  Full reversals are not the norm.

Do judges have to justify a conviction/acquittal and a sentence?

Yes, in a bench trial (trial by judge), the judge does have to explain how he/she came to these conclusions.

Yes, there are fairly rigid sentencing guidelines to follow, and (cc 718), follow these:

    (a) to denounce unlawful conduct
    (b) to deter the offender and others from committing similar conduct
    (c) to separate offenders from society, where necessary
    (d) to assist in rehabilitating offenders
    (e) to provide reparations for harm done to the victims and the community
    (f) to promote a sense of responsibility in offenders, and acknowledgement of the harm done to victims and the community

Note: Many serious offences have mandatory minimum jail sentences, which limit the discretion available to the judge.

What is the punishment for killing someone in Canada?

1. First degree murder:

This is a premeditated murder, or happens during a sexual assault, or when the victim is restrained.

Punishment: A life sentence, with no parole for 25 years (or 15 years under the ‘‘faint hope clause’‘)

2. Second degree murder

This is when the act is intentional, but not planned out

Punishment: A life sentence, but the parole eligibility baseline ranges from 10 to 25 years.

3. Manslaughter

This is not an intentional killing, but happens while committing an illegal act

Punishment: No mandatory minimum, but can get prison up to and including life.

Note: There are other things, such as impaired driving causing death, dangerous driving causing death, criminal negligence causing death, and the punishments are severe, but they do not apply here.

(Quoted directly from the Canadian Criminal Code)


Classification of murder

231. (1) Murder is first degree murder or second degree murder.
Marginal note:Planned and deliberate murder

(2) Murder is first degree murder when it is planned and deliberate.
Marginal note:Contracted murder

(3) Without limiting the generality of subsection (2), murder is planned and deliberate when it is committed pursuant to an arrangement under which money or anything of value passes or is intended to pass from one person to another, or is promised by one person to another, as consideration for that other’s causing or assisting in causing the death of anyone or counselling another person to do any act causing or assisting in causing that death.
Marginal note:Murder of peace officer, etc.

(4) Irrespective of whether a murder is planned and deliberate on the part of any person, murder is first degree murder when the victim is
(a) a police officer, police constable, constable, sheriff, deputy sheriff, sheriff’s officer or other person employed for the preservation and maintenance of the public peace, acting in the course of his duties;
(b) a warden, deputy warden, instructor, keeper, jailer, guard or other officer or a permanent employee of a prison, acting in the course of his duties; or
(c) a person working in a prison with the permission of the prison authorities and acting in the course of his work therein.
Marginal note:Hijacking, sexual assault or kidnapping

(5) Irrespective of whether a murder is planned and deliberate on the part of any person, murder is first degree murder in respect of a person when the death is caused by that person while committing or attempting to commit an offence under one of the following sections:
(a) section 76 (hijacking an aircraft);
(b) section 271 (sexual assault);
(c) section 272 (sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm);
(d) section 273 (aggravated sexual assault);
(e) section 279 (kidnapping and forcible confinement); or
(f) section 279.1 (hostage taking).

    So, without even proving intent to commit murder, Knox, Sollecito and Guede would have been guilty of first degree murder.  Meredith’s death happened under cc 231(5)(c), which is sexual assault with a weapon, cc 231(5)(d), which is aggravated sexual assault, and cc 231(5)(e), which is forcible confinement.

    Note: While in the case of AK/RS/RG, the sexual assault charge was combined with the murder charge, in Canada, aggravated sexual assault, cc 273, is an indictable offence, punishable by up to life in prison, and those convicted are registered sex offenders for life upon release.

    Other Punishments

    While Canada no longer has the death penalty, we do have something called a dangerous offender designation.  The prosecution applies for it, after a conviction, and a judge may or may not grant it.  Essentially, it is a special title, saying that the person presents a high risk to the public and should be locked up indefinitely.

    Many killers have gone received life sentences without the dangerous offender title, but many (violent) criminals have gotten the dangerous offender title without killing anyone.

    We also have ‘‘long term offender’’ designations, which are meant to keep someone on probation for a long time (up to 10 years).  These are usually reserved for sex offenders.

    So To The Probable Scenario In Canada

    If Knox, Sollecito and Guede had committed this crime in Canada, all of the following conditions would probably apply:

    • They would be arrested, would have to be informed why, and could contact an attorney as soon as they reached the police station

    • Because the murder happened during a sexual assault, while Meredith was restrained, it would be 1st degree murder

    • Because of the sexual assault and restraint, premeditation would not be necessary to prove 1st degree murder

    • They could apply for bail (before a J.P.), but under the circumstances, would likely be denied

    • They could appeal to a judge for a review of the bail, but again, would likely be denied

    • Because of the serious nature, the trial would be in the provinces Supreme/Superior Court

    • There is no fixed time before a trial would start.  Murder trials have been known to start 2-5 years after arrest

    • Defendants could testify against each other, and prosecutors could make deals with them

    • The kind of antics that went on in the 2009 trial would not be tolerated

    • The defendants could testify under oath, and be cross examined, but free statements are not allowed

    • If found guilty, all 3 would receive life sentences, and MUST serve 25 years before parole eligibilty.

    • There is ‘‘faint hope’’ which is parole after 15 years, but a murder like this would definitely not qualify

    • Because of the sexual assault component, they would be registered sex offenders for life

    • They would be prohibited from owning weapons for life

    • If any chose to appeal, it would go to the province’s Court of Appeals

    • They could apply for ‘‘Appeal Bail’‘, but it would likely be denied

    • If the Hellmann Appeal is any indicator, the appeal grounds are so weak the appeal would be dismissed

    • They could try the Supreme Court of Canada, and likely get declined


    In Conclusion

    This a brief overview of how criminal law works in Canada and how it could have worked in Meredith’s case. Quite smilar to the U.S., but then both systems are based on English Common Law.


    Complete Listings

    1st post appears here:  An Overview.

    2nd post appears here:  Public Mischief and Perjury

    3rd post appears here:  Bail, Extradition & Other Crimes

    4th post appears here:  Canada v.s. the U.S.A. (Part 1)

    5th post coming soon: Canada v.s. the U.S.A. (Part 2)

    6th post coming soon:  Canada and our Family

    7th post coming soon:  Loose Ends, and Reader Request

    Posted by Chimera on 01/14/15 at 01:21 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineComments here (9)

    Justice System Comparisons #2: Tough Penalties In Common Law For Slander, False Accusations, Perjury

    Posted by Chimera



    Supreme Court Of Canada in the capital Ottawa

    1. Overview Of My Multi-Part Series

    My first piece on the ‘‘Canadian Perspective’’ of criminal law appears here.

    That first article focused on an overview of Canadian law, and the punishments that would have been forthcoming coming for murder.  In the case of Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, and Rudy Guede, they would have been tried for first degree murder, as it happened during a sexual assault, and while the victim was restrained. 

    Here are some key differences between Canada and Italy for such a murder case. In Canada:

    • First degree murder would be the charge, in this case no need to prove intent
    • The sentence for 1st degree is life, with the possibility of parole (which is for life), after 25 years
    • Unlike Italy, plea bargaining is possible, and happens frequently
    • During the trial, accused could only make statements under oath (and face cross examination)
    • An appeal to the Provincial Court of Appeals could be filed, but if baseless, would not be heard
    • A Supreme Court of Canada appeal would certainly not be heard if the first appeal was so weak
    • Skipping out on your trials (or appeals), would likely get your bail revoked
    • Leaving the country to go sunbathing, would likely get bail revoked on ‘‘risk of flight’’ grounds

    And Canada would have been similar to Italy on these measures:

    • Bail, or ‘‘house-arrest’’ prior to trial would have been extremely unlikely
    • Giving interviews or media appearances while the case is open is VERY unwise
    • If convicted, they could make open statements at sentencing
    • Writing books or getting movie deals (cashing in), would not be permitted

    This second post addresses all the other crimes and alleged crimes of Sollecito and Knox mostly to inflame public opinion to lean on the court.

    I list first all of the crimes, then the relevant Canadian law, and finally the penalties Sollecito could have faced under that fairminded but firm law.

    2. Slander, and False Accusations, and Perjury by AK and RS

    1) Much has been made of the false accusation Amanda Knox made against Patrick Lumumba November 5th/6th, 2007.  The American media reported it as a false confession.  In one context they are correct, it was a confession in that it placed her at the scene, at the time of the murder.  However, since she claimed to witness someone else murdering Meredith Kercher, it was in fact a false accusation.  She knew all along Lumumba was innocent. That calunnia got Knox an additional year in prison from Judge Massei.

    2) Not content with accusing a man decent enough to give her a job (despite her lack of a European work permit), Knox went further, and claimed she only said that she signed those statements because some officer (whom Knox much later names as Rita Ficarra), smacked her around.

    3) In her December 2013 email to the Florence Appeal Court Judge Nencini, Knox goes so far as to refer to her mild questioning as ‘‘torture’‘.  This woman really doesn’t learn.

    4) Knox still faces separate charges for the accusations against the police, operative when Judge Hellmann stunningly let AK and RS out.  Although, in a totally inexplicable move (one of many), Hellmann said the accusation was made under duress, not to mislead police—and then increased her calunnia sentence from 1 year to 3.

    5) Knox and Solleito each published ‘‘memoirs’‘, Sollecito in September 2012 by Simon and Schuster, and Knox by HarperCollins in April 2013. The books made many claims of corruption, verbal and physical assault, incompetence, judicial fraud, and abuse of due process.  Too numerous to detail here, but TJMK has posted may times on them.  Again, Knox really doesn’t learn from her mistakes.

    6) And her ‘‘Knife-Boy’’ drug/fuck-buddy doesn’t seem to learn either.  Both are facing new charges, and at the time of writing, Sollecito and his co-author (now mere ghost-writer??), Andrew Gumbel are facing hearings. Sollecito’s Dad Francesco admits the ‘‘deal’’ with prosecutors to turn on Knox never happened.

    7) Knox appeals to the European Court of Human Rights, which will prove amusing as her own lawyers have publicly denied she was assaulted by police.  Again, does she ever learn?

    8) Knox made numerous false accusations in her book, some of the worst of which were published in the Italian magazine ‘Oggi’

    9) Knox made false accusations of an illegal interrogation which have zero grounding in facts.

    10) Knox and Sollecito make many accusations on television interviews too.  To repeat myself: these two really don’t learn.

    Although to be complete, Edda Mellas (Amanda’s Mother) doesn’t seem to learn either.

    3. Canadian Law For These Kinds Of Crimes

    If you level accusations against police officers, officers of the court, or prison officials, by law they must be investigated.  These types of accusations can destroy careers, but even for the ‘‘lucky’’ ones, they are never the same.  This extends to people such as teachers, who have been forced out of teaching due to malicious students.

    It really doesn’t matter if you file a formal complaint, post it on the internet, write about it in a book or magazine article, or on television.  Complaints, such as the ones listed above, have to be investigated, in fact it is the same in Italy, the U.S., U.K., or Canada.

    Falsely accusing someone of a crime in Italy in a court or to the police is referred to as ‘‘CALUNNIA’‘, which is not quite the same thing as slander, it is worse, with prison terms.

    Falsely accusing someone as a crime in the United States is ‘‘OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE’‘.  Different name, same crime.

    Guess what, Folks?  You can’t do that in Canada either.  It is called ‘‘PUBLIC MISCHIEF’‘.  Different name, same crime.

    If you level accusations against police officers, officers of the court, or prison officials, by law they must be looked into.

    Quoted directly from the Canadian Criminal Code:

    140 Public mischief

    (1) Every one commits public mischief who, with intent to mislead, causes a peace officer to enter on or continue an investigation by

      (a) making a false statement that accuses some other person of having committed an offence;
      (b) doing anything intended to cause some other person to be suspected of having committed an offence that the other person has not committed, or to divert suspicion from himself;
      (c) reporting that an offence has been committed when it has not been committed; or
      (d) reporting or in any other way making it known or causing it to be made known that he or some other person has died when he or that other person has not died.

    (2) [Punishment] Every one who commits public mischief

      (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or
      (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

      Had Amanda Knox been in Canada when she levelled her false accusation against Lumumba, she would be guilty of cc. 140.  This is something that Judge Massei (2009), Judge Hellmann (2011), and Cassation (2013), all agreed that she did.

      But look at 140.(1)(b)  ‘’ ... Doing anything to cause some other person to be suspected of having committed an offence that the other person had not commited .... ‘’‘.  Yes, all the Courts agreed that happened.  However, consider those last 6 words….

        ’‘.... OR TO DIVERT SUSPICION FROM HIMSELF….’‘

      This was a key difference between Hellmann (2011), and Cassation (2013).  Hellman said that Knox levelled the accusation against Lumumba out of duress, while Cassation said, no, it was ‘‘to divert suspicion from herself.’’  This difference is what resulted in having the aggravating factors attached to Knox’s (now final) calunnia conviction.

      While the fallout from falsely accusing police officers is not over, Knox will likely still have to face those same aggravating factors ahead.  The Courts will reasonably believe that she made up those lies (such as about Migini and Ficarra), to divert suspicion from herself, or to obstruct the process for her murder charge of Meredith Kercher.  After all, Cassation has already ruled that Knox framed Patrick Lumumba to divert suspicion.

      Regarding punishment, public mischief is a ‘‘hybrid offence’‘, meaning the Crown Prosecutors could proceed summarily (lesser) or by indictment (felony).  Since it was to cover up her involvement in a murder, the Prosecutors would certainly have gone by indictment, and Knox would be facing up to 5 years.

      Facing 5 years in Canada, or 6 years in Italy…?  Hardly a significant difference.

      And, if you don’t think that people go to jail in Canada for levelling false accusations, think again.  See the examples here:

      CanLII Website

      Bonnie Ann-Ambrose (of Alberta), 1998, received a 2 year sentence for falsely accusing a police officer of sexual assault.  On appeal, however, the sentence was reduced, she got time served plus 1 additional year in the form of a ‘‘conditional sentence.’‘

      CanLII Website

      Stacy Little (of British Columbia) in 2001, received a 9 month jail sentence for making false accusations of being sexually assaulted while in custody.  She actually got her boyfriend to call and get the investigation launched.  However, it was reduced to 3 months on appeal.

      CanLII Website

      Tina Brun (of New Brunswick), in 2004, reported that she was the victim of a robbery, and it led to 4 youths being arrested.  Brun later admitted it was all a lie.  She received a 3 month jail sentence for the false accusation, and the New Brunswick Court of Appeals confirmed the sentence.

      CanLII Website

      Steven Mankala-Proulx (of Quebec), in 2013, received a 90 day intermittent (weekend) jail sentence, for getting his mother to make a false complaint against a police officer attempting to make a routine stop.  The allegations were for following him, dangerous driving, and fleeing the scene.  The mother did not know the accusations were false, and Steven had not wanted his mother to be angry with him.  The accusations triggered a mandatory investigation, and resulted in the officer being transferred.

      CanLII Website

      Martin John Zeek (in British Columbia) was found guilty of public mischief (cc 140), and fraud (cc 380(1)).  He received 1 year in prison for reporting his refrigeration trailer stolen.  The sentence was confirmed on appeal.”>

      While these sentences are lighter than what Amanda Knox had received, none of the above falsely accused anyone of murder.

      The ‘‘Friends of Amanda’’ frequently criticise Italy’s ‘‘Stone-Age slander laws’‘, but Commonwealth countries like the U.S. and Canada do not allow people to make false criminal accusation either.  Nor does the U.K.

      Canada will not protect such people for the simple reason that we Canadians don’t tolerate such acts either. And while this article covers criminal penalties—a conviction can form the basis of a VERY expensive civil lawsuit.

      Just something to think about—it is NOT free speech.  Nor is a related action: PERJURY.

      Quoted directly from the Canadian Criminal Code:

      Misleading Justice

      [Marginal Note Perjury]

      131. (1) Subject to subsection (3), every one commits perjury who, with intent to mislead, makes before a person who is authorized by law to permit it to be made before him a false statement under oath or solemn affirmation, by affidavit, solemn declaration or deposition or orally, knowing that the statement is false.

      [Marginal Note Video links, etc.]

      (1.1) Subject to subsection (3), every person who gives evidence under subsection 46(2) of the Canada Evidence Act, or gives evidence or a statement pursuant to an order made under section 22.2 of the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, commits perjury who, with intent to mislead, makes a false statement knowing that it is false, whether or not the false statement was made under oath or solemn affirmation in accordance with subsection (1), so long as the false statement was made in accordance with any formalities required by the law of the place outside Canada in which the person is virtually present or heard.

      [Marginal Note Idem]

      (2) Subsection (1) applies, whether or not a statement referred to in that subsection is made in a judicial proceeding.

      [Marginal Note Application]

      (3) Subsections (1) and (1.1) do not apply to a statement referred to in either of those subsections that is made by a person who is not specially permitted, authorized or required by law to make that statement.

      [R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 131;  R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 17; 1999, c. 18, s. 92.]

      [Marginal note:Punishment]

      132. Every one who commits perjury is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

      R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 132; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 17; 1998, c. 35, s. 119.

      [Marginal note:Corroboration]

      133. No person shall be convicted of an offence under section 132 on the evidence of only one witness unless the evidence of that witness is corroborated in a material particular by evidence that implicates the accused.

      R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 133; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 17.

      [Marginal note:Idem]

      134. (1) Subject to subsection (2), every one who, not being specially permitted, authorized or required by law to make a statement under oath or solemn affirmation, makes such a statement, by affidavit, solemn declaration or deposition or orally before a person who is authorized by law to permit it to be made before him, knowing that the statement is false, is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

      [Marginal note:Application]

      (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a statement referred to in that subsection that is made in the course of a criminal investigation.

      Those free statements Knox, Sollecito and Guede could stand up and make in court…. they would have to be sworn in.  Under oath.

      And if they said anything provably false, they could face a perjury charge as well.

      As these defendants would likely be lying to clear themselves of murder, it would be an indictable offence, and they could get 14 years each just for that.

      And ... Canada puts perjurers in prison as well. See the examples here:

      CanLII Website

      James John Jack (of British Columbia) in 2008 was arrested on drug charges, and convinced a female friend to lie, to get him off the hook.  When it was proven, he received a 2 year jail sentence for perjury.  The original drug charges were dealt with separately.

      CanLII Website

      Victor Akinyemi (of Ontario), in 2011, falsely reported his vehicle stolen in order to fraudulently obtain insurance money.  He signed sworn statements.  He received 3 months.  The Judge noted that the principles of denunciation would not be met with house arrest.”>

      CanLII Website

      Grant Henry Johnson (of British Columbia) received a 3 year jail sentence for falsely testifying that he had done an armed robbery in order to protect another person from being convicted.  He tried to claim Charter of Rights Protections within the Canada Evidence Act, but that defence failed.  Sentence was upheld on appeal.

      CanLII Website

      Waverly Kendall (of Newfoundland), in 2007, received a 3 month jail sentence after she signed a false statement claiming that she sold a car for $1000 (when it was actually for $6000), to lower the tax bill of the person who bought it.  She lied under oath at a judicial proceeding.



      4. Possible Penalties Under Canadian Law

      These are what Sollecito and Knox could have incurred.

      • Knox would have been charged with public mischief (cc 140) for falsely accusing Patrick of attacking Meredith.  Jail time for certain.
      • Knox would have been charged with public mischief (cc 140) for falsely accusing police of assaulting her.  Jail time very likely.
      • Given how contradictory Knox’s June 2009 testimony was, Mignini could probably have gone for perjury (cc 131). Jail time very likely.
      • Edda Mellas, if it could be proven she lied about Amanda’s phone call, could face perjury charges (cc 131). Jail time possible.
      • Sollecito, in 2011 appeal, said Amanda was at his apartment, but gave conflicting statements to police.  Perjury and jail time quite likely.
      • Rudy Guede, as his testimony changed, could have been charged with perjury (cc 131). Jail time very likely.
      • All of the claims of AK, RS and their supporters, if they sparked official investigations, could lead to additional charges of public mischief (cc 140).  Jail sentences possible for some.  Too numerous to list, but you get the idea

      Again, it really isn’t free speech ....

       

      Complete Listings

      1st post appears here:  An Overview.

      2nd post appears here:  Public Mischief and Perjury

      3rd post appears here:  Bail, Extradition & Other Crimes

      4th post appears here:  Canada v.s. the U.S.A. (Part 1)

      5th post coming soon: Canada v.s. the U.S.A. (Part 2)

      6th post coming soon:  Canada and our Family

      7th post coming soon:  Loose Ends, and Reader Request

      Posted by Chimera on 02/05/15 at 02:59 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineComments here (9)

      No-Extradition Hoax - In Fact Perps Usually Learn Of Requests Only After Their Arrests

      Posted by Peter Quennell



      Mafia boss Domenico Rancadore who Italy has long wanted back now in London under arrest

      1. The Probable Suddenness Of Arrest

      Knox’s final conviction with no further appeal is likely by end-March. She can certainly expect that.

      Knox has talked about a fight. But what fight? Not a single lawyer familiar with the extradition treaty, the hard evidence, or the precise decisions of the courts has sustained the hoax that Knox has a real shot.   

      As to why, you may like to check our past posts down below, which explain the precedents and the law. The latest posts are at the top.

      The other thing Knox may expect - or not expect - is that the US Marshals will arrive at her current whereabouts within minutes of the verdict to lock her up. Search the Internet on extraditions and associated arrests, and there are two things you are unlikely to find:

      • Examples of countries refusing to extradite to Italy once the complete legal process is done. Italy’s system is known to be fair and precise and to give defendants breaks no other system does. For example, Knox had six opportunities to convince judges and prosecutors she was innocent even before she ever went to trial. You wont find a foreign parallel to that.

      • Examples of countries signaling an extradition request in the public domain. Usually the first that most people in most countries - and the perps themselves - learn about extradition requests is when the perp is already sitting in a cell. For obvious reasons the US and the UK and Italy all have policies in place to avoid signalling an arrest in advance.

      The perp may choose then to fight but it will be from inside a cell. We can find no cases where any country ever turned down an Italian government request after the full legal process had been and gone. Not one.

      The UK seemed to be making an unfortunate exception (much ridiculed withing the UK itself) in the case of Mafia boss Domenico Rancadore who Italy long wanted back.  But his trial is still ahead of him, and now he too is under arrest and in a cell.

      His 18-month extradition fight has cost him a huge amount and (see below) the voracious UK media chased him every time he stepped outside (already shades of the UK media and Knox).

      In Knox’s case there seem neither the lawyers nor the money needed to do better than Mr Rancadore. Lawyer Ted Simon, who seemed to function more as a spin doctor, jumped or was dropped when Knox’s team became 100% ineffective amateurs desperate for a payday themselves. 

      2. Main Past Posts on This Hoax

        Click here: The US Lacks Legal Authority To Decline To Deliver A Guilty Knox To Italian Authorities.

        Click here: Tips For The Media: In Fact Knox Extradition Is Likely To Be Readily Granted.

        Click here:  US Measures Available To Italy To Secure Wrongdoers Without Argument

        Click here:  Human Rights Group “Human Rights Watch” Gives An Approving Nod To Italy.

        Click here:  Appeal Session #10: After Defense Remarks Panel Of Judges Reaches Its Decision: BOTH GUILTY.

        Click here:  Rejected Yet Again By Knox, Sollecito Seems Frantic To Avoid What Might Be A Final Return To Italy.

        Click here:  The Prospects In Favor Of A Possible Fugitive Amanda Knox Take Yet Another Hit.

        Click here:  Some Homework For Curt Knox/Marriott/FOA: How Leaning On Italian Judiciary Can Seriously Misfire.

        Click here:  Another US-Italian Case Shows The Utter Futility Of Trying To Strongarm The Italian Justice System.

        Click here:  Italian Judge Ruling Is Tough But Fair In Another Case Involving Americans.

        Click here: The Considerable Number Of Suspected Perps That Countries Extradite Daily To Other Countries #2.

        Click here:  The Considerable Number Of Suspected Perps That Countries Extradite Daily To Other Countries.

        Click here:  CIA v. State Department: A Significant Development For The Perugia Case?

      Before arrest Rancadore and wife trying to keep their faces off UK TV

      Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/22/15 at 07:44 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Defendants in courtAmanda KnoxThe legal followupsUS etc relatedComments here (31)

      Rare Case Where Extradition To Italy Was Refused Has Been Reversed By Brazil

      Posted by Peter Quennell



      The World Court in the Hague in the Netherlands which Italy used as a threat


      This case shows how a remorseless Italy perseveres, and how it may involve the World Court.

      This is the Cesare Battisti case (see his image below) which goes back to the early Berlusconi governments and beyond. It is not clear whether the Renzi government has been pressing Brazil hard but Battisti is very likely one day to be back in the land of his birth. And meanwhile he will remain locked up.

      This is from a CNN report describing the status as of mid June 2009.

      Battisti was a member of the Armed Proletarians for Communism, or PAC, guerrilla group in Italy.

      He is alleged to have participated in a number of crimes, which led to his incarceration. He escaped from an Italian prison in 1981 and was granted asylum in France during the presidency of Francois Mitterrand…

      In 1998, Battisti was tried and convicted in absentia of the four killings. For several years, France and Italy were embroiled in diplomatic spats over extradition requests.

      Battisti later fled to Mexico, where he continued his work as a writer of thriller novels, and subsequently to Brazil. In Brazil, his fate was oftentimes unclear.

      In January 2009, the Brazilian Supreme Tribunal granted refugee status to Battisti. But later it reversed course and supported extradition, giving then-President Lula the final say.

      “Italy may not like it, but will have to respect it,” Lula said at the time. “This person is being accused of a crime which took place in 1978, and his accuser no longer exists to prove the veracity of the facts.”

      Lula sided with the Italian’s claims that the conviction against him was politically motivated, and in the last days of his administration rejected the extradition. Italy protested.

      Brazil gave Battisti a status just one step short of citizenship. The Berlusconi government then threatened to take the case to the International Court of Justice in The Hague (the World Court). Quite a threat.

      That is something the Italian government could theoretically also do if there is a protracted wrangle over Knox. It may or may not have been one factor in what Brazil did next.

      The Associated Press reports. This is from last week.

      Brazil’s federal police on Thursday arrested former Italian communist militant Cesare Battisti on a judge’s deportation order.

      The arrest comes despite former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in 2010 rejecting Italy’s extradition request for Battisti, who is a fugitive from Italian murder convictions. Silva granted him asylum and had the Supreme Court approve that decision three years later.

      However, also in 2013, the top federal appeals court rejected Battisti’s request to overturn a Brazilian conviction for using fake immigration stamps in his passport when he entered Brazil in 2004.

      Federal prosecutors used that decision to seek Battisti’s deportation, arguing he had violated Brazil’s Foreigner’s Law, which prohibits foreigners convicted of a felony in another country from receiving residency.

      Earlier this month, a federal judge ruled in favor of the prosecutor’s motion, which led to his arrest Thursday. He was being held in Sao Paulo….

      There are several layers of appeals that Battisti can make, and it’s expected to take years before his case again reaches the Supreme Court for a new ruling….

      We’ve noted before that if countries want dangerous perps back, there are certain ways to apply pressure direct. For example, Interpol Red, notices and also this.


      Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/19/15 at 05:58 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Appeals 2009-2015The legal followupsUS etc relatedComments here (7)

      Did The State Department Offer Assurances To Knox She Never Would Be Extradited?

      Posted by Ergon



      US Sec of State Kerry (discussing Snowden) really needs extraditions to work

      1. Overview

      This is the first of two posts on the real source of an increasing flow of anonymous but seemingly official State Department claims that Knox’s extradition is not in the cards

      2. The Current Italy/US Extradition Treaty

      As repeatedly explained here by posting lawyers the Italy/US treaty is deliberately written to exclude any politics.

      If either nation has arrived at a guilty verdict of someone currently in the other nation by following its own laws, then the other nation deliberately has no legal option but to extradite them to serve their term.

      So far neither nation has ever refused to do what the treaty says and so far politics has never intervened. That helps both nations in pursuing other extradition cases around the world.

      3. Claims By An Anonymous Source

      “Will Amanda Knox Be Dragged Back to Italy in Murder Case?” This was by Nina Burleigh in a cover story in Newsweek on March 19, 2015 quoting an anonymous source.

      A State Department source tells Newsweek that diplomats in both Italy and the U.S. expect an extradition request to be denied: “I don’t think either Italy or the U.S. wants a major burr under our saddle in terms of relationships between our countries, and this would be that, if the Italians pushed it.” If they do, the source adds, there “is not any way” the U.S. will arrest Knox, nor will it have her declared a fugitive.

      The elected Italian government in Rome is separate from the judiciary, and traditionally the two branches do not have warm relations. “I know the Italian government was rolling its eyes” over the prospect of the case reaching this phase, the State Department source says, adding that Rome faces “a real political problem” if the judiciary requests extradition. The American diplomat predicts the Italian court won’t ask to extradite.

      It seems that ever since Amanda Knox was wrongfully acquitted by the Hellmann appeals court of Perugia in 2011 we have been inundated with unsourced reports that “the United States would never extradite Amanda Knox.

      Going back several years to the Daily Mail, Guardian, The Express and various American media, they all seemed to be reading from the same script:

      • She hadn’t received a fair trial.

      • American public opinion would “˜never allow her to be sent back”.

      • The Secretary of State would quietly prevail upon his counterpart in Italy to not request extradition.

      And, as the final appeal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito came up to the last stretch it seemed that these same hacks were repeating the same talking points, even though much has changed since 2011.

      These were the basic points, reported over and over in the main stream media till it almost seemed like a guarantee. So I have been looking for the last three years to verify the truth of that. And, who made that promise, if any were made? These were the basic parameters of my search, and I had to tune out the background noise of “˜double jeopardy” and “˜dueling extradition experts”.

      Then I had to look for the “˜unnamed source” quoted in all the news reports.

      These possibilities came up: 

      • WA US Senator Maria Cantwell spoke to her colleague Sen. John Kerry of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who spoke to his brother in law David Thorne, the former US Ambassador to Rome, who passed on a quiet message to the Italian Foreign minister. But would they ever speak on or off the record to reporters or like it very much if it was going to be bruited about?

      • Mid-level Friends Of Amanda Knox like Anne Bremner and Judge Heavey had received vague assurances from Senator Cantwell; somehow extrapolated as iron clad guarantee that Knox would never be extradited, never mind there has not been any precedent I can find that would apply to a similar case like this.

      • Someone in the Department of Justice and/ or State is feeding them shite.

      • The FOA are making it all up. That last was my favourite, given that they are led around by people like Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, and J. Michael Scadron.


      4. My Search For The Truth

      This has been an interesting journey, and as always, things seem to just come together at the last moment. It has helped that I have been watching diplomatic activity up-close all my life.

      My father was in the Pakistani Foreign Service stationed in London, so, shortly after I was born, lived in the UK from age 0-3, then with the Pakistan Embassy in Tokyo from age 3-8. We were a cosmopolitan group of embassy brats going to St. Mary’s International School.

      My friends were American, Iranian, Turk, Indian, East German, Canadian, New Zealand, points all over. Their parents were all diplomats and I made lifelong friends. My father could have received a posting as assistant to the ambassador to Washington D.C. after that but fate prevailed as he’d been stationed out 8 years and had to be rotated back to Pakistan.

      Since that time I kept in touch with my friends and also developed this passion for International Relations and Geopolitics. Traveling to the US and other countries but also meeting over the internet, made many more friends at various levels of the State Department. Saw the changes there as respected career diplomats got replaced by interest groups and major donors to political parties. Such only went to choice postings, of course, but not second or third world countries, so I had many interesting discussions with them over the years.

      The Wikileaks cables were a revelation as Embassy intercepts showed the thousand different ways diplomacy led to but also tried to prevent, war. I’d been reading them ever since they first came out so started searching for links to secret discussions with Amb. Thorne. Couldn’t find anything except what already was reported, so reporter Andrea Vogt’s FOI request find was a goldmine:

      NEWLY RELEASED EMBASSY CABLES SHED LIGHT ON STATE DEPT HANDLING OF AMANDA KNOX CASE

      By Andrea Vogt

      FEBRUARY 13 “Newly released state department documents show the U.S. Embassy in Rome declared the Amanda Knox matter “Case Closed” in a cable to Washington just days after the American’s clamorous 2011 acquittal.  The memo reveals wishful thinking on the part of some U.S. diplomats, who were only too eager to see the thorny case come to a clean close.”

      In Update March 23, 2015 posted today, Andrea Vogt says this:

      In a 2011 Italian embassy cable released as part of several Freedom of Information Act requests I’ve filed on this case (first published Oct 11, 2011) [US] diplomats in Italy mistakenly thought Knox’s acquittal in 2011 would bring to a close this complex and divisive international case. Italy’s Court of Cassation would prove them wrong, overturning her Perugia acquittal and ordering a second appeal in a different venue (Florence) which ended last year with a guilty verdict.

      So is a political fix being attempted or already in? See my Part Two Conclusion to be posted next.


      Justice System Comparisons #3: Bail, Extradition, and More Crimes Under Common Law

      Posted by Chimera



      First trial with camers in the court was back in 2000

      1. Overview Of My Multi-Part Series

      Italian justice has become very slanted toward the defendant, often at the considerable cost of the victim.

      Canadian justice does not do that as much. It tries harder than most systems, including the Italian, to be equally fair to both, to balance their interests to the maximum that is possible. So it makes for a good comparison.  Although, to be fair, it is still frequently criticised as ‘‘soft on crime’‘. 

      Part #1 can be read here and Part #2 can be read here. In a nutshell, what they said:

      -First degree murder falls under a number of categories.  In many cases, the police and prosecutors do not even have to prove intent.  Section 231 defines first and second degree murder, and under cc 231(5)(b) (sexual assault), cc 231(5)(c) (sexual assault with a weapon), 231(5)(d) (aggravated sexual assault), and cc 231(5)(e) (kidnapping and forcible confinement), the trio would face 1st degree for either one of those circumstances.  The penalty is an automatic life sentence, with no chance of parole for 25 years.  No spontaneous declarations for defendants, lying on the witness stand is not allowed, no automatic appeals.

      -There are a number of laws, including those enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to ensure fair criminal proceedings.

      -Public Mischief (cc 140), is usually an indictable (felony) offence, and it is when someone falsely accuses another of committing a crime, does does something to divert attention from their own crime, or falsely reports someone has died.  Punishment can be up to 5 years.  In Italy, it is called ‘‘calunnia’‘.  It is something Knox has been convicted of, and others, including Sollecito, remain accused of.

      -Perjury (cc 131), is lying under oath, or in judicial proceedings, or falsely making sworn statements.  It is an indictable (felony) offence.  Punishment can be up 14 years in prison.  Unlike in Italy, defendants CANNOT do it at their own trials.  Knox, Edda Mellas, Sollecito, and Guede, could all have been charged.

      2. Some Background On The Case

      Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, and (at the time Lumumba), were arrest November 6th, 2007, for the sexual assault and murder of Meredith Kercher.  They went before Judge Claudia Matteini, who saw enough probable cause to detain the 3 of them.  Lumumba was cleared and released a few weeks later, and Rudy Guede implicated instead.  See this post.  Judge Matteini, even without complete information was able to see enough cause for concern to keep them detained.

      Knox and Sollecito tried to have the Italian Supreme Court (Cassation), overturn those decisions, but Italy’s High Court found that the decisions to keep AK and RS in prison, and away from house arrest.  Psychologically tested earlier, the results were disturbing enough to keep the paired detained until trial.  See here.  Also see here.

      In 2008, Judge Paolo Micheli presided over Rudy Guede’s ‘‘short form’’ trial.  Guede was found guilty, and given 30 years, the maximum allowed under the ‘‘short-form trial’’ rules Judge Micheli also ruled there was enough evidence to send Knox and Sollecito to trial, as Guede’s accomplices.  Guede was denied house arrest prior to trial, and has been in custody ever since his arrest in late November 2007, and was denied day release recently.

      The 2009 trial of Knox and Sollecito took almost the entire year of 2009, and was presided over by Judge Giancarlo Massei.  In December, the Massei Court found AK and RS guilty.  The pair received 24 years for murder with sexual violence, an additional year for staging a crime scene and transporting a knife, and Knox one more year for her false accusation of Patrick. The sentence was originally 30 years for murder, transport and staging, but 5 years were cut off for ‘‘mitigating factors’‘.  While AK and RS lawyers planned to appeal, the Court found no reason to let them out prior to the appeal.

      The unintended consequence of the 24 years for the murder (with sexual violence), is that Guede, who took the short form trial, ended up receiving 1/3 less than AK and RS, effectively cutting his sentence in half, from 30 years to 16.

      The appeal of AK and RS in 2011, before Judge Claudio Hellmann stunned Italy.  Hellmann acquitted the pair on appeal, despite the following:

      -He said in his ruling, the truth may very well be otherwise
      -His report only added confusion, it did not help clarify anything
      -Knox still had outstanding charges for falsely accusing police officers of assault
      -The appeal effectively was a new trial, but only with the defence presenting
      -He said Knox’s false accusation was due to duress, not malicious intent—and then INCREASED her calunnia sentence
      -The defence had cherry-picked a few pieces of evidence, but left huge amounts unchallenged
      -Rudy Guede was apparently a total liar, EXCEPT for the time of death

      Knox and Sollecito were released, and AK immediately returned to the U.S.  Sollecito stayed in Italy.  However, the Supreme Court annulled Hellmann’s ruling in March 2013. See here.

      A new appeal was to be held in Florence, the fall of 2013. 

      Knox refused to attend. 

      AK did, however, send an email to Appeal Court Judge Nencini, which repeats many of the false accusations. See here.

      She claimed, among other things, financial hardship, despite receiveing a $3.8 million book deal with HarperCollins. See here.

      Although refusing to return to Italy, AK has repeated tried to contact the Kercher family, and creepily demanded to visit Meredith’s grave.  RS has also admitted to trying to contact the Kerchers, and claimed he has visited the grave. 

      And Knox lets this bombshell out See here.

      Sollecito also received a book deal, from Simon and Schuster, and it also stunk of blood money, just like Knox’s. See here.

      Sollecito attended sporadically, visiting the Dominican Republic in between court dates, and apparently shopping for an American bride to help him get around extradition. See here.

      January 30th, 2014, the date Nencini confirmed the Massei conviction, RS was caught near the Austrian border.  He denies he was trying to flee, but still had his passport confiscated, and was barred from leaving Italy.  Judge Nencini was also not the least bit amused by the goings on of the FOA See here.

      And of course, the defence, in the spirit of fairness and sportsmanship, pulls this stunt:  See here.

      AK, on the other hand, hit the talk shows, fake-crying about how scared she is, and how she’ll remain a fugitive if necessary.


      3. Canadian Law on Bail

      Section 11 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms deals with criminal matters and procedures

      11. Any person charged with an offence has the right

        (a) to be informed without unreasonable delay of the specific offence;

        (b) to be tried within a reasonable time;

        (c) not to be compelled to be a witness in proceedings against that person in respect of the offence;

        (d) to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal;

        (e) not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause;

        (f) except in the case of an offence under military law tried before a military tribunal, to the benefit of trial by jury where the maximum punishment for the offence is imprisonment for five years or a more severe punishment;

        (g) not to be found guilty on account of any act or omission unless, at the time of the act or omission, it constituted an offence under Canadian or international law or was criminal according to the general principles of law recognized by the community of nations;

        (h) if finally acquitted of the offence, not to be tried for it again and, if finally found guilty and punished for the offence, not to be tried or punished for it again; and

        (i) if found guilty of the offence and if the punishment for the offence has been varied between the time of commission and the time of sentencing, to the benefit of the lesser punishment.

      Marginal note:Treatment or punishment

      12. Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

      Marginal note:Self-crimination

      13. A witness who testifies in any proceedings has the right not to have any incriminating evidence so given used to incriminate that witness in any other proceedings, except in a prosecution for perjury or for the giving of contradictory evidence.

      Marginal note:Interpreter

      14. A party or witness in any proceedings who does not understand or speak the language in which the proceedings are conducted or who is deaf has the right to the assistance of an interpreter.

      Section 11(e) refers to the topic of bail, and states that reasonable bail should not be denied without just cause

      Actually getting to trial can take a long time. Depending on the nature of the offence(s) charged, it may or may not be in the public interest.  Canada actually has pretty strict requirements about how soon an accused must be brought for a bail review.

      In fact, the police don’t have to take the person into custody.  There is discretion to charge the person, and then release him/her on a promise to appear.  Here is a direct quote from cc 503(2), dealing with conditional release.

      Conditional release

      (2) If a peace officer or an officer in charge is satisfied that a person described in subsection (1) should be released from custody conditionally, the officer may, unless the person is detained in custody for an offence mentioned in section 522, release that person on the person’s giving a promise to appear or entering into a recognizance in accordance with paragraphs 498(1)(b) to (d) and subsection (2.1).

      Here is a quote from a practicing Toronto lawyer on why you would be denied bail.  See here.

      Why would I be denied bail?

      Detention is justified only if deemed necessary on one or more of the following grounds:

        to ensure that you attend court; e.g., if you have a history of failing to attend court or abide by other court orders

        to protect the public; e.g., you could be detained if you have a criminal record for similar offences; in the case of an assault or threatening charge, a history of violence against the same complainant works in favor of detention

        to maintain confidence in the administration of justice; the court will consider the apparent strength of the prosecution’s case, the gravity of the offence, the circumstances surrounding its commission and the potential for a lengthy jail term

      Normally, police or prosecutors have to justify why a person should remain locked up.  There are however, circumstances in which the accused has the ‘’‘reverse onus’‘.  In other words, circumstances which the person has to justify why he or she should be released.  These include circumstances like being released (while accused) of a similar offence, and certain gun, drug and gang offences.

      4. Contacting Victims or Their Families

      This is a quote directly from section cc 515(2) of the Canadian Criminal Code:

      Undertaking

        (2.1) In addition to the conditions referred to in subsection (2), the peace officer or officer in charge may, in order to release the person, require the person to enter into an undertaking in Form 11.1 in which the person undertakes to do one or more of the following things:

            (a) to remain within a territorial jurisdiction specified in the undertaking;

            (b) to notify the peace officer or another person mentioned in the undertaking of any change in his or her address, employment or occupation;

            (c) to abstain from communicating, directly or indirectly, with any victim, witness or other person identified in the undertaking, or from going to a place specified in the undertaking, except in accordance with the conditions specified in the undertaking;

            (d) to deposit the person’s passport with the peace officer or other person mentioned in the undertaking;

            (e) to abstain from possessing a firearm and to surrender any firearm in the possession of the person and any authorization, licence or registration certificate or other document enabling that person to acquire or possess a firearm;

            (f) to report at the times specified in the undertaking to a peace officer or other person designated in the undertaking;

            (g) to abstain from

            (i) the consumption of alcohol or other intoxicating substances, or

            (ii) the consumption of drugs except in accordance with a medical prescription; or

            (h) to comply with any other condition specified in the undertaking that the peace officer or officer in charge considers necessary to ensure the safety and security of any victim of or witness to the offence.

       
      Clause (c) specifically states to avoid communicating directly or indirectly with any victim or witness in the case.  This would obviously extend to avoid any contact with the Kercher family.  Also, it would include having friends and family attempt to contact a witness or victim.  This prohibition extends to telephone calls or emails, everything from asking for a private meeting, to asking to visit your alleged victim’s grave.  This would also seem to violate clause (h), which is to ensure the safety and security of any victim or witness.  There are reasons for this.

      1) To avoid any possible threats or intimidation, which would cause the integrity of the system to be questioned

      2) To avoid any type of underhanded tactic, such as appealing for mercy, underneath the court

      3) To promote fairness in the trial process.

      5. Harassing and Stalking of Victims

      This is a quote directly from section cc 264 of the Canadian Criminal Code:

      Criminal harassment

        264. (1) No person shall, without lawful authority and knowing that another person is harassed or recklessly as to whether the other person is harassed, engage in conduct referred to in subsection (2) that causes that other person reasonably, in all the circumstances, to fear for their safety or the safety of anyone known to them.

        Marginal note:Prohibited conduct

        (2) The conduct mentioned in subsection (1) consists of

            (a) repeatedly following from place to place the other person or anyone known to them;

            (b) repeatedly communicating with, either directly or indirectly, the other person or anyone known to them;

            (c) besetting or watching the dwelling-house, or place where the other person, or anyone known to them, resides, works, carries on business or happens to be; or

            (d) engaging in threatening conduct directed at the other person or any member of their family.

        Marginal note:Punishment

        (3) Every person who contravenes this section is guilty of

            (a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or

            (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

        Marginal note:Factors to be considered

        (4) Where a person is convicted of an offence under this section, the court imposing the sentence on the person shall consider as an aggravating factor that, at the time the offence was committed, the person contravened

            (a) the terms or conditions of an order made pursuant to section 161 or a recognizance entered into pursuant to section 810, 810.1 or 810.2; or

      Not only would it be a cc 215(2)2.1(c) of the criminal code, which refers to conduct while released on an undertaking, harassment and stalking themselves are serious crimes.  Note that cc 264(4) considers it to be an aggravating factor if this harassing occurred while the subject was under a court order not to contact the person anyway.  In any Canadian proceedings, defendants would be barred from contacting family members of the victim, as well as the actual victim.

      It is reasonable to assume that the Kerchers want nothing to do with Knox.  After all, this woman allegedly sexually assaulted and stabbed to death their daughter/sister, and then made a mockery of the court process, all while pretending to be the victim.  Yet Knox has repeatedly tried to make contact with them.


      A court sketch, common in media back in pre-camera days

      6. Contempt of Court

      This is a quote directly from section cc 708 of the Canadian Criminal Code:

      Contempt

        708. (1) A person who, being required by law to attend or remain in attendance for the purpose of giving evidence, fails, without lawful excuse, to attend or remain in attendance accordingly is guilty of contempt of court.

      Marginal note:Punishment

        (2) A court, judge, justice or provincial court judge may deal summarily with a person who is guilty of contempt of court under this section and that person is liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ninety days or to both, and may be ordered to pay the costs that are incident to the service of any process under this Part and to his detention, if any.

      Marginal note:Form

        (3) A conviction under this section may be in Form 38 and a warrant of committal in respect of a conviction under this section may be in Form 25.

      Knox refused to attend her 2013/2014 appeal in Florence, the one she keeps referring to as a ‘‘new trial’‘.  This would not be tolerated under Canadian law.  Her bail would have been forfeited, and she would have been arrested. 

      She would have remained in custody for the duration of the appeal.  And should the appeal have confirmed her guilt, she would most likely have remained in custody while it was being appealed further.

      Skipping out on your criminal proceedings without valid grounds is contempt.  Sollecito did it as well when he took a vacation in the Dominican Republic.  Not only is it disrespectful, but it shows a lack of maturity.

      Also note, from c.c. 515(2)2.1 of the Criminal Code—see section on harassing—these actions certainly would have violated clause (a), which is to remain in the jurisdiction while the proceedings are ongoing.

      7. Cashing in on the Notoriety of a Crime (Son of Sam laws)

      In September 2012, Simon & Schuster released Sollecito’s book, ‘‘Honor Bound: My Journey to Hell and Back With Amanda Knox’‘.  In May 2013, HarperCollins released Knox’s book ‘‘Waiting to be Heard’‘. 

      What was particularly disturbing was that both Knox and Sollecito were still accused of murder when these books came out.  Knox was in the worse situation, as it came after the March 2013 Cassation ruling, which confirmed her calunnia against Patrick Lumumba, and annulled Judge Hellmann’s appeal acquittal.  However, since Cassation left the Massei trial verdict intact, their legal status was ‘‘guilty, pending further appeals’‘.

      Setting aside the sheer idiocy of releasing a book while still accused, it is still illegal to do.  Right now, Canadian provinces seem to be writing their own laws.  Here are 4 of them.

      This is from the website, Victimsofviolence.on.ca See here.

      The Province of Alberta: See here.

      The Province of Saskatchewan: See here.

      The Province of Ontario: See here.

      The Province of Nova Scotia:  See here.

      The provinces do have some small differences in the laws, but the point to be taken here is that you can’t cash in on the notoriety of your crime.  In America, this is referred to the ‘‘Son of Sam Laws’’ after serial killer David Berkowitz, who called himself the Son-of-Sam.

      8. Laundering the Proceeds of Crime

      This is a quote directly from section cc 462.31 of the Canadian Criminal Code:

      Laundering proceeds of crime

        462.31 (1) Every one commits an offence who uses, transfers the possession of, sends or delivers to any person or place, transports, transmits, alters, disposes of or otherwise deals with, in any manner and by any means, any property or any proceeds of any property with intent to conceal or convert that property or those proceeds, knowing or believing that all or a part of that property or of those proceeds was obtained or derived directly or indirectly as a result of

            (a) the commission in Canada of a designated offence; or

            (b) an act or omission anywhere that, if it had occurred in Canada, would have constituted a designated offence.

      Marginal note:Punishment

        (2) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1)

            (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or

            (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

      Marginal note:Exception

        (3) A peace officer or a person acting under the direction of a peace officer is not guilty of an offence under subsection (1) if the peace officer or person does any of the things mentioned in that subsection for the purposes of an investigation or otherwise in the execution of the peace officer’s duties.

      Raffaele Sollecito and Andrew Gumbel wrote ‘‘Honor Bound’’ (although they now blame each other).  Amanda Knox wrote ‘‘Waiting to be Heard’‘, which was ghostwritten by Linda Kuhlman.  Knox claims that she used her $3.8 million advance (less the taxes), to pay her lawyers, and her family.

      The problem is that the books themselves are bloodmoney, cashing in on a crime they committed.  That is illegal to do.  The million dollar advances were (if Knox is truthful here), essentially converted into legal payments for her lawyers, and to her family.

      Unless Knox’s family really did spend a million or more to visit her, the money Amanda claims went to them could be seen as ‘‘gifts’’ or ways to hold onto such funds.  Even if the Knoxes/Mellas did spend that much money, Amanda is paying those debts off with illegally obtained money.

      Sollecito has not been nearly as open about where his book advance went (rumoured to be $950,000).  However, he would have the same legal issues facing him as Knox.


      9. Prostitution and Soliciting of Prostitution

      This is a quote directly from section cc 213 of the Canadian Criminal Code:

      Offences in Relation to Offering, Providing or Obtaining Sexual Services for Consideration

      Marginal note:Stopping or impeding traffic

      213. (1) Everyone is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction who, in a public place or in any place open to public view, for the purpose of offering, providing or obtaining sexual services for consideration,
      (a) stops or attempts to stop any motor vehicle; or
      (b) impedes the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic or ingress to or egress from premises adjacent to that place.
      (c) [Repealed, 2014, c. 25, s. 15]
      Marginal note:Communicating to provide sexual services for consideration

      (1.1) Everyone is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction who communicates with any person “” for the purpose of offering or providing sexual services for consideration”‰ “” “‰in a public place, or in any place open to public view, that is or is next to a school ground, playground or daycare centre.
      Definition of “public place”

      (2) In this section, “public place” includes any place to which the public have access as of right or by invitation, express or implied, and any motor vehicle located in a public place or in any place open to public view.
      R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 213; R.S., 1985, c. 51 (1st Supp.), s. 1; 2014, c. 25, s. 15.

      In Canada, the prostitution laws are constantly being challenged.  Due to lobbying efforts, the punishments are actually becoming much harsher for soliciting than for providing.

      Knox met Federico Martini (the man she calls ‘‘Cristiano’’ in her book), on a train in Italy.  She had been providing sex, and getting drugs, and it kept happening up to the night she was arrested.  It had been known for years in Italy, but only released to the American media in the summer of 2014.

      The thing is: this would actually be considered prostitution.  It doesn’t matter if he offered cash, or a bag of coke.  Martini, the client (a.k.a the John), was providing material goods in return for sex.  In Canada, legally speaking , Amanda Knox was prostituting herself (a.k.a. hooking).


      10. Fraud Over $5,000

      This is a quote directly from section cc 380 of the Canadian Criminal Code:

      Fraud

      380. (1) Every one who, by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means, whether or not it is a false pretence within the meaning of this Act, defrauds the public or any person, whether ascertained or not, of any property, money or valuable security or any service,
      (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding fourteen years, where the subject-matter of the offence is a testamentary instrument or the value of the subject-matter of the offence exceeds five thousand dollars; or
      (b) is guilty
      (i) of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or
      (ii) of an offence punishable on summary conviction,
      where the value of the subject-matter of the offence does not exceed five thousand dollars.

      Marginal note:Minimum punishment

      (1.1) When a person is prosecuted on indictment and convicted of one or more offences referred to in subsection (1), the court that imposes the sentence shall impose a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of two years if the total value of the subject-matter of the offences exceeds one million dollars.

      Knox wrote her book ‘‘Waiting to be Heard’’ for a reported $3.8 million.  Sollecito (or was it Gumbel?) wrote ‘‘Honor Bound’’ for a reported nearly $1 million.  Problem here, is that both of these book deals were obtained under false pretences.

      Due to the spike in publicity of white-collar crime, the Canadian government imposed a 2 year minimum jail term for fraud that exceeds one million dollars.  Considering that the books are fake, the payoff (at least for Knox), exceeds that amount, she would be facing at least 2 years for that.

      Also, I have no idea how much money Knox or Sollecito have raised via their websites, or Twitter accounts, or via PayPal.  But they could face additional charges of either fraud over $5,000, or fraud UNDER $5,000, which carries lower maximum.


      11. Carrying a Concealed Weapon

      This is a quote directly from section cc 88 of the Canadian Criminal Code:

      Possession of weapon for dangerous purpose

      88. (1) Every person commits an offence who carries or possesses a weapon, an imitation of a weapon, a prohibited device or any ammunition or prohibited ammunition for a purpose dangerous to the public peace or for the purpose of committing an offence.
      Marginal note:Punishment

      (2) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1)
      (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or
      (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

      It was one of the charges Knox and Sollecito faced.  Guess what?  Can’t do it here either

      12. Fabricating Evidence

      This is a quote directly from section cc 137 of the Canadian Criminal Code:

      Fabricating evidence

      137. Every one who, with intent to mislead, fabricates anything with intent that it shall be used as evidence in a judicial proceeding, existing or proposed, by any means other than perjury or incitement to perjury is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

        R.S., c. C-34, s. 125.

      Knox and Sollecito were alleged to have staged the crime scene at the house to make to look like someone had broken in through Filomena’s window, ransacked the place, killed Meredith during a bungled robbery, then fled.  The Courts (Micheli, Massei, Nencini, 2 Cassation panels), also believed that Knox and Sollecito had attempted—albeit unsuccessfully—to selectively clean the house, making it look like Rudy Guede was the sole killer. 

      Knox was a resident in the upstairs part of the house, and therefore had a reason to make it look like an outsider did it.  If there were no obvious signs of a burglar, the police would immediately zero in on the other 3 women who lived in the house.

      13. Jurors Speaking out During (or After) Criminal Proceedings

      Quoted directly from the Canadian Criminal Code:

      Disclosure of jury proceedings

      649. Every member of a jury, and every person providing technical, personal, interpretative or other support services to a juror with a physical disability, who, except for the purposes of

      (a) an investigation of an alleged offence under subsection 139(2) in relation to a juror, or
      (b) giving evidence in criminal proceedings in relation to such an offence,
      discloses any information relating to the proceedings of the jury when it was absent from the courtroom that was not subsequently disclosed in open court is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

      The secrecy that jurors are sworn to survives even after the trial.  In the case of Ms. Ballerini talking to the media about the 2013/2014 Florence appeal just before the March 2015 Cassation ruling, it would not be allowed here either.  Financial need would not be considered an acceptable defence.

      While summary offences carry a maximum of 2 years in prison, in reality, jurors would not see the inside of a cell.  A fine and/or probation would be much more likely.

      14. Canadian Law on Extradition

      Amanda Knox has made it known publicly (and idiotically) that she will never return to Italy, even if it means remaining a fugitive.  She claimed that she skipped her last appeal out of fear of a wrongful conviction, even though she claimed she had faith in the Italian Courts.  Yes, she’s a hypocrite.  Well, Italy does request extradition of convicted criminals, which is what Knox is (pending confirmation by Cassation). 

      Amusingly, she claims again to have faith in the Supreme Court, while remaining in the U.S. out of fear.

      However, many countries extradite both suspected and convicted criminals.  Knox’s situation is even weaker, as she will not only be ‘‘convicted’‘, but will be ‘‘convicted, with all appeals exhausted.’’  Considering she has not attended court once since Hellmann released her (she missed Cassation 1, Nencini, Cassation 2), she is not likely to garner much sympathy.

      Canada both requests and complies with requests for extradition.

      There are a few exceptions however:

      (a) Canada generally refuses to extradite if they death penalty is sought

      (b) Canada generally refuses to extradite if the person faces inhumane treatment at home.

      Note: This article was originally submitted just prior to the Cassation hearing.  We will see what happens now.

      Note: Almost all options to block extradition are not available if the person has received a sentence of at least 6 months.  (This was 2 years, but recently lowered).  Knox’s 28.5 years is definitely above that threshold.  See section 3 of the Extradition Act, and note 3(3) in particular.

      Extraditable Conduct

      Marginal note:General principle

        3. (1) A person may be extradited from Canada in accordance with this Act and a relevant extradition agreement on the request of an extradition partner for the purpose of prosecuting the person or imposing a sentence on “” or enforcing a sentence imposed on “” the person if

            (a) subject to a relevant extradition agreement, the offence in respect of which the extradition is requested is punishable by the extradition partner, by imprisoning or otherwise depriving the person of their liberty for a maximum term of two years or more, or by a more severe punishment; and

            (b) the conduct of the person, had it occurred in Canada, would have constituted an offence that is punishable in Canada,

              (i) in the case of a request based on a specific agreement, by imprisonment for a maximum term of five years or more, or by a more severe punishment, and

              (ii) in any other case, by imprisonment for a maximum term of two years or more, or by a more severe punishment, subject to a relevant extradition agreement.

      Marginal note:Conduct determinative

        (2) For greater certainty, it is not relevant whether the conduct referred to in subsection (1) is named, defined or characterized by the extradition partner in the same way as it is in Canada.

      Marginal note:Extradition of a person who has been sentenced

        (3) Subject to a relevant extradition agreement, the extradition of a person who has been sentenced to imprisonment or another deprivation of liberty may only be granted if the portion of the term remaining is at least six months long or a more severe punishment remains to be carried out.

      15. What Was Allowed In Italy But Would Not Be In Canada?

      Here is a section copied directly from the Law Society of Upper Canada’s website.  This is the regulatory body with licences and is able to remove lawyers in the province of Ontario.  It covers the relationship between lawyers and the administration of justice.

      [Amended ““ October 2014]

      5.1-2 When acting as an advocate, a lawyer shall not

      (a) abuse the process of the tribunal by instituting or prosecuting proceedings which, although legal in themselves, are clearly motivated by malice on the part of the client and are brought solely for the purpose of injuring the other party,

      (b) knowingly assist or permit the client to do anything that the lawyer considers to be dishonest or dishonourable,

      (c) appear before a judicial officer when the lawyer, the lawyer’s associates or the client have business or personal relationships with the officer that give rise to or might reasonably appear to give rise to pressure, influence, or inducement affecting the impartiality of the officer, unless all parties consent and it is in the interests of justice,

      (d) endeavour or allow anyone else to endeavour, directly or indirectly, to influence the decision or action of a tribunal or any of its officials in any case or matter by any means other than open persuasion as an advocate,

      (e) knowingly attempt to deceive a tribunal or influence the course of justice by offering false evidence, misstating facts or law, presenting or relying upon a false or deceptive affidavit, suppressing what ought to be disclosed, or otherwise assisting in any fraud, crime, or illegal conduct,

      (f) knowingly misstate the contents of a document, the testimony of a witness, the substance of an argument, or the provisions of a statute or like authority,

      (g) knowingly assert as true a fact when its truth cannot reasonably be supported by the evidence or as a matter of which notice may be taken by the tribunal,

      (h) make suggestions to a witness recklessly or knowing them to be false;

      (i) deliberately refrain from informing the tribunal of any binding authority that the lawyer considers to be directly on point and that has not been mentioned by an opponent,

      (j) improperly dissuade a witness from giving evidence or advise a witness to be absent,

      (k) knowingly permit a witness or party to be presented in a false or misleading way or to impersonate another,

      (l) knowingly misrepresent the client’s position in the litigation or the issues to be determined in the litigation;

      (m) needlessly abuse, hector, or harass a witness,

      (n) when representing a complainant or potential complainant, attempt to gain a benefit for the complainant by threatening the laying of a criminal charge or by offering to seek or to procure the withdrawal of a criminal charge,

      (o) needlessly inconvenience a witness; or

      (p) appear before a court or tribunal while under the influence of alcohol or a drug. [Amended ““ October 2014]


      The problem here, is although there are rules of conduct, the rules of conduct also state that lawyers must take every avenue available to help out their clients.  So, it seems that the line between zealous advocacy and professional misconduct gets rather blurry.  While not necessarily criminal offences, these things would throw the law into disrespute, and could cause problems for lawyers.  Cases in point:

      i) After the Florence Appeals Court ruled against Knox and Sollecito in January 2014, defense lawyer Guilia Bongiorno tried to have Judge Nencini disciplined for making some rather innocuous remarks to reporters.  This was baseless and vindictive.  If you lose an appeal, you don’t maliciously try to take down the lead judge.  It is a clear violation of clause (a).

      ii) Judge Hellmann was installed as lead judge for Knox and Sollecito’s original first appeal.  Hellmann was a business judge, and the much more qualified Judge Chairi was forced off the case.  There was no legitimate reason for doing this—Hellmann was there as the result of ‘‘judge-shopping’‘.  He then proceeded to make a complete mess of that appeal, so much so that Cassation completely annulled it in March 2013.  Putting him on the bench in this case is a conflict of interest and violation of clause (c)

      iii) Judge Hellmann also went out of his way to twist and distort much of what the prosectors had presented in the 2009 trial, including witness testimony and evidence.  Few believe this was accidental.  If intentional, it would be violations of clause (d),allowing influence other than as an advocate; and clause (f), distorting evidence and testimony.

      iv) Judge Hellmann dragged out the appeal by holding it only a few times each month, which caused enormous burdens on both prosecutors, and the Kercher family.  Not only is this rude, it could be seen as a violation of clause (o).

      v) Knox’s lawyers, Luciano Ghirga and Carlos Dalla Vedova allowed Knox to make many accusations on the witness stand in June 2009. Among the most serious is Knox’s claim she was physically assualted November 5th/6th.  Ghirga himself had said publicly Knox wasn’t hit.  These lawyers also passed along Knox’s false email to Judge Nencini, and Vedova filed a bogus claim to the European Court of Human Rights.  This is knowingly letting Knox do dishonest things, and repeated violations of clause (b).

      vi) Knox and Sollecito’s defence has been shown to be relying many times on false facts and pretences.  Although lawyers are obligated to defend their clients, deep down they have to know that the defences they are making is true.  These are violations of clause (e), but are prime examples of duty to the court directly conflicting with duty to the clients.

      vii) Ted Simon, Knox’s now (absent) U.S. lawyer, has changed his tune.  He spoke out publicly in 2008 saying that there actually was a strong case against Knox (motive notwithstanding).  However, when he came on board, he ‘‘adjusted’’ his views, and now claims that there is no evidence, never was, and never will be.  Although not present at the trial or appeals, Simon has made claims that he himself knows to be false, violating clause (g).

      viii) Bob Barnett helped Knox land her book deal with HarperCollins, even though proceedings were still underway, knowing that Knox made false claims, knowing that Knox had been convicted of making false accusations, and knowing that Son-of-Sam laws prohibited such actions.  He helped Knox do something dishonourable, violating clause (b).  Or, if Mr. Barnett didn’t know, then he is far too incompetent to be a lawyer.

      While lawyers are obligated to advocate on behalf of their client, the line seems rather fuzzy as to what actually constitutes ‘‘advocacy’’ and what constitutes ‘‘misconduct’‘.  I believe the examples above are all professional misconduct.  They were done with the intention of helping AK/RS, but step far, FAR over the line.  While this is quoted from the Ontario site, other Provincial and Territorial Law Societies have very similar rules.

      16. Where This Series Is Headed Next:

      This concludes the part of Canadian laws that would have applied to Knox, Sollecito and Guede, had they committed the crime here.  #9, which Knox bragged about to her friends, wrote about in her book, and told to police, would be considered prostitution, when you realize she got drugs for it.  And #13 was added after the juror from the Florence appeal, Genny Ballerini, decided to talk to the media.  All of the crimes listed in the first 3 parts are all crimes under Italian law, even if they are called something different.  These 3 parts were kind of a Canada v.s. Italy perspective.

      The next pieces will cover other common law nations, and contrast their varying decisions.  Peter suggested giving an even wider context for crime and punishment across the globe.  The final piece will be some loose ends, and requests for content are encouraged.  If there is a topic I missed, or something that needs more depth, ask.

      Complete Listings

      1st post appears here:  An Overview.

      2nd post appears here:  Public Mischief and Perjury

      3rd post appears here:  Bail, Extradition & Other Crimes

      4th post appears here:  Canada v.s. the U.S.A. (Part 1)

      5th post coming soon: Canada v.s. the U.S.A. (Part 2)

      6th post coming soon:  Canada and our Family

      7th post coming soon:  Loose Ends, and Reader Request

      Posted by Chimera on 04/28/15 at 02:13 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineComments here (4)

      Why Italy Doesnt Look For Guidance On Justice System From Foreign Smartasses

      Posted by Peter Quennell





      Italy is following closely the sad disarray currently obvious in the American system

      Read our numerous posts setting right for example the false claims of Michael Heavey and Steve Moore.  And then read this post and this post and this post and these new stories on US justice. And then answer the question below.

      Michael Schwanke: Koch behind push to overhaul criminal justice system

      Each year it’s estimated the United States spends almost a $100 billion on prisons. According to Mark Holden, Senior VP at Koch Industries, that’s three to four times what the country spends on education.

      Holden and Charles Koch authored a letter titled “The Overcriminalization of America” and now are behind a nationwide push to overhaul the criminal justice system.

      The letter points to the many federal laws created over the years. “Congress creates, on average, more than 50 new criminal laws each year. Over time, this has translated into more than 4,500 federal criminal laws spread across 27,000 pages of the United States federal code.”

      “We all agree that our system isn’t working. Whether you’re a conservative, evangelical, social liberal, progressive, or libertarian there’s something for you. I don’t think there will be a lot of negative reaction to it,” says Holden speaking to Eyewitness News after addressing the downtown Rotary.

      Holden says the U.S. accounts for about five percent of the world’s population, but holds 20 percent of the prison population. Most are non-violent offenders. Holden says one in three people in the U.S. has a criminal record which leads to poverty and joblessness.

      Cara Tabachnick: Poll: Young Americans have “little confidence” in justice system

      Nearly half of American young adults lack confidence in the nation’s justice system or don’t trust their local police to do the right thing, though that perception is deeply divided by race, according to a national poll of 18- to 29-year-olds released by Harvard’s Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

      African-American youth had the deepest distrust of the nation’s criminal justice institutions, with 79 percent of those polled expressing little to no trust in their local police department to do the “right” thing.

      Hispanic youth weren’t far behind, with 62 percent of those polled expressing little or no trust in their local police force. In stark contrast, just 31 percent of the white youth polled expressed little or no trust.

      More than 3,000 people were polled by the Harvard Institute of Politics between March 18-April 1, on questions of criminal justice and other issues, including politics, climate change and terrorism.

      Over all, there was an even split on the U.S. judicial system’s ability to “fairly judge people without bias for race and ethnicity.” About 49 percent of those polled said they have little to no confidence that the justice system can operate without bias.

      Jason Fyk: Baltimore’s Criminal Justice System Is Corrupt, I Know Because I Was Imprisoned there

      n 2011, I was arrested by Baltimore City Police on charges of conspiracy to commit first degree attempted murder.

      You might be asking yourself, “Why? What did he do?” I took a cell phone video of a small drunken scuffle in a downtown Baltimore parking garage. I was not a participant in the fight, nor was I an instigator. Despite what the facts of the situation presented, a personal family relationship with one of the so-called “victims” took precedence over the law. What started as a typical two-sided misdemeanor became a one-sided fight for freedom. I spent 50 days in the Baltimore City Detention Center facing two life sentences, and a host of other charges mounting to well over 200 years in prison, all for simply taking a video.

      I’ve seen the corruption firsthand. I’ve seen how a law enforcement agent’s personal agenda can destroy a life. I’ve seen how charges are ramped up in order to make a lesser charge stick. I’ve seen detainees entering jail with worse injuries than the participants in the fight I captured on video, all at the hands of police. I’ve also seen the corruption that resides in BCDC on my 50-day tour of the jail.

      The conditions at this facility were sub-human, in some cases. Ignoring the mice, cockroaches and decaying conditions, basic necessities of life were severely lacking. The food was nearly inedible and, in some cases, hazardous. For example, the drink flavoring had a poisonous emblem on it, eggs were often brown and rotten when served, and during my stay we even lost water for four days, which meant toilets and sinks did not work. All we had was a cooler jug that was brought in to drink from. Showers were so hot (not adjustable) you could not stand in the water. I saw a detainee drop on the floor, having a seizure from withdrawal, because drugs are not administered for close to a week after arrival. My experience in jail was that of an educated observant, and what I saw was appalling. The list goes on and on.

      So Italy or the USA - which country would you pick to do a crime in? Do Heavey or Moore tell you this? How many times have Heavey and Moore found justice lacking in the US? Apparently no times at all. One-note bashing of Italian justice is all that they do.


      Justice System Reform Is Suddenly Everywhere On The Front Burner

      Posted by Peter Quennell


      1. The Justice System In The US

       


      2. The Justice System In Mexico

       


      3. The Justice System In China

       


      4. The Justice System In Turkey

       


      5. The Justice System In Britain

       

      Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/29/15 at 02:31 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineComments here (9)

      Relevance Of The Ship Which Has Sunk In The Yangtze To National Justice System Upgrades?

      Posted by Our Main Posters


      1 International role in sea safety

      Regarding the ship which just sank in the Yangtze River with a probable 400-plus deaths, and its relevance to justice systems everywhere?

      Well, small inland ships (which are those most prone to a high death-rate) and their rules and regulations are outside the scope of the international body which sets rules and upgrades systems for seagoing vessels.

      That is the United Nations agency in London called the International Maritime Organization or IMO. Small inland ships are unregulated unless the relevant government has unilaterally acted.

      The IMO sets safety rules including design elements and it advances better rules and systems through conferences and training. It runs a big school in Sweden.

      The IMO is NOT part of a world government, or a top down organization; like all of the UN development agencies it is a horizontal network, in its case of all the national maritime agencies in the world.

      Their administrators and experts are incessantly heading to London to advance maritime matters in working groups. (The US is a big and enthusiastic player in all of the UN agencies via the relevant Federal departments - agriculture, health, transport, and so on.)

      So in China, watch out for a bunch of systems changes with regard to those small vessels.  But watch out also for a bunch of systems changes via the IMO at the global level, to try to head off more such catastrophes and to get the best possible rescue efforts going much faster.

      2 The relevancy here?

      In justice systems also, many lives are in the balance.

      But as mentioned in previous posts, the UN doesnt have a freestanding agency for justice systems upgrades, or for a static thumbnail view of each one.

      Currently it has a public administration development division within the “United Nations proper” in New York and a global network of training and reserach bodies.

      Not nothing, but also not everything, if the world is not to be overwhelmed by lawlessness..

      There is no way that that unit is appropriate to resolving the huge and complex problems in the videos in the post below.

      A lesson learned maybe above all others in the UN is that major system change should never be attempted in national or local isolation. It is simply too costly, too remote from global expertise and opinion, and way too inefficient, and participants soon tire themselves out or loose interest.

      Ideally a few or many countries all set about systems upgrades in parallel processes and they watch and share with one another.

      The justice-systems problems in the videos below have many things in common. They seem very ripe for a global effort on the lines of maritime systems. Maybe Italy and the US could each contribute greatly to getting that alive.

      Its not beyond us to explain this and to try to push for it.  This would kinda trump calling top justice officials of this or that national system corrupt or bungling or criminal.

      That is the Amanda Knox thugs’ supposed contribution to a better world - apparently their only one.


      Below: the International Maritime Organization headquarters in London





      Posted by Our Main Posters on 06/03/15 at 02:38 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineComments here (28)

      Justice System Comparisons #4: How Canada And The US Shape Up Against Italy

      Posted by Chimera



      A joint press conference of Italian and American crimefighters in Rome

      Framing This Post

      A major argument of conspiracy theorists like the one dissected in James Raper’s post below is that the Italian justice system is not very good, and often cruel.

      In English only (of course) Sollecito and Gumbel tried that in Sollecito’s book and maliciously and self-servingly misled Americans a lot. Doug Preston has done the same. Here we nailed some of Sollecito’s and Gumbel’s malicious claims. 

      We have propagated an accurate take on Italian justice in numerous posts here. Between them they show that Italian justice IS very good, apart from occasional meddling which almost always goes nowhere. By comparison the US (which co-operates closely with both Italy and Canada) has more headaches with law enforcement and justice system (or systems) than quite a few other countries now.

      My own contribution has been to show how in many ways Canadian justice resembles Italian justice and it is hard to say which is better or worse. See my past posts on this here and here and here.

      This post and the next post in my series focuses on the US and Canada and some basic differences in those laws relevant to our case here.

      Plus the highlighting of some notorious killers in both Canada and the United States of a kind which in fact in Italy are quite rare.

      Who Makes the Laws?

      One important distinction to make here:  In Canada, criminal law is the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government.  That means Ottawa makes the criminal laws, and is responsible to setting the sentences for each offence.  In a similar vein, Ottawa also can remove laws that are outdated, and amend the sentencing ranges for offences.  In the United States, murder and sexual assault are considered ‘‘state crimes’‘, and the respective states determine the laws.  This is why some states have the death penalty, and others do not.

      While the American model, being state made, does in theory make the laws more closely reflect the will of the people, it makes for a very uneven set of penalties for crimes.  The Canadian model, by comparison, is uniform across all provinces and territories.

      When is it First Degree Murder?

      It is first degree murder when a killing is planned out.  However, many circumstances arise which are so aggravated that the government will consider them 1st degree, regardless of being intentional.  Also, depending on who the victim is, just the murder alone may result in s 1st degree charge.  This is a commonality between both Canada and the U.S.

      In Canada

      According to the Criminal Code of Canada Section 231(5) Irrespective of whether a murder is planned and deliberate on the part of any person, murder is first degree murder in respect of a person when the death is caused by that person while committing or attempting to commit an offence under one of the following sections:

      (a) section 76 (hijacking an aircraft);
      (b) section 271 (sexual assault);
      (c) section 272 (sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm);
      (d) section 273 (aggravated sexual assault);
      (e) section 279 (kidnapping and forcible confinement); or
      (f) section 279.1 (hostage taking).[12]

      In The US

      The individual states have differences in their laws, but they are common in that planned or premeditated killings are particularly heinous and call for severe punishment.  Most states also have what is called ‘‘felony murder’‘, which is when someone is killed during the commission of a crime, such as rape, robbery, arson or kidnapping.

      Generally speaking, killing of police officers, jail guards, and court officials is also first degree murder, regardless of whether those were planned.  I am not posting the statutes for 50 states, but you get the idea.

      Take the Jodi Arias case for example.  Arias, in trying to fight off premeditation allegations, claimed that she did not bring the gun (a .25 automatic) to Travis Alexander’s house to kill him.  Prosecutors allege that Arias staged a burglary in her Grandparents’ home a week before to to provide cover.

      Arias claimed that the gun was actually Travis’.  However, no gun was ever recovered from the home.  So, then if it was Travis’ gun, Arias must have stolen it from his house, making it a robbery.

      Prosecutor Juan Martinez argued either Arias: (a) Brought the gun to Arizona, meaning it was premeditated, and hence 1st degree, or; (b) She robbed Mr. Alexander of his gun after killing him, which makes it felony murder, hence 1st degree. 

      Note: in the 2013 trial verdict, all 12 jurors thought it was premeditated, while 7 of them thought it qualified as ‘‘felony murder’’ as well.

      Federal v.s. State/Provincial Prison

      Under Canadian law, whether a person goes to a Provincial or Federal prison is determined by the length of the sentence.  2 years is the cutoff mark.  2 years and above, the person goes to federal prison, whereas 2 years less a day and below results in going to a provincial jail.

      For federal prisoners, in Canada, they are transported to Kingston, Ontario for ‘‘classification’‘. This can take months.  Then they are usually shipped off to other prisons around the country.  For provincial prisoners serving very short sentences (3 months or less), they may just stay in the local jails, while those serving longer terms are usually sent to other provincial jails.

      Under American law, the difference between state and federal prison depends on the offence.  Sexual assault, assault, and murder are state charges, while the federal system is more drug trafficking and white collar crime.  This is likely why federal prison is seen as ‘‘easier time’‘.

      Death Penalty Laws

      Canada currently does not have the death penalty.

      Several U.S. states still do, such as California, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Virginia.  This is determined at the state level.

      However, do not think that all Americans are bloodthirsty, and all Canadians too forgiving or soft.  Depending on the research poll, about 35-45% of Canadians do support capital punishment in some circumstances.  This is a significant minority.  And many Americans find the death penalty distasteful, as there is the chance to kill innocent people.

      Sex Offender Registry

      Both Canada and the U.S. have sex offender registries.  Concerning what happened to Meredith: Knox, Sollecito and Guede would all have to register if they were ever set free.  They would be registered for life, regardless if the crime happened locally or internationally.  The reasons are the same for both countries—namely to monitor sexual predators.

      One key difference: in Canada, the S.O.R is limited to police use, while in some U.S. states, the public in general can look it up.  Without getting into a debate, I imagine the difference is which concern is more pressing: (a) Letting the public have the right to know and act; (b) Concerns about becoming a pariah, and potential acts of vigilantism.

      Deportation of Foreigners

      If someone came to Canada or the U.S. and committed these acts, they would be deported after serving their sentence.

      There have been attempts to fight deportation, claiming the home country engages in human rights abuses, but hopefully, these will become harder to pull off.

      ’‘Cashing in’’ on the Notoriety, or Son-of-Sam Laws

      Canadian provinces have their own laws, as do U.S. states and the federal government, but in content they are almost identical.  Notorious criminals (usually killers, but not always), cannot cash in on their ‘‘fame’’ in the form of paid interview, articles, book deals or movie deals.

      Any such deal would very likely be forfeited either by a government challenge, or by a lawsuit from the victims or their families.  The proceeds from ‘‘Waiting to be Heard’’ or from ‘‘Honor Bound’’ would be seized.

      Classifications of Crimes

      In Canada:

      Minor crimes are tried ‘‘summarily’‘
      Major crimes are tried ‘‘by indictment’‘
      Crimes which the prosecutor has discretion are called ‘‘hybrid offences’‘

      In the U.S.

      Minor crimes are called ‘‘misdemeanors’‘
      Major crimes are called ‘‘felonies’’

      Judge Alone v.s. Jury Trial

      In Canada, a defendant has the option of choosing between a judge only trial (called a bench trial), or a jury trial if facing any offence that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years or more.  If the maximum penalty is 5 years or less, then it will be the judge only.  This cuts down on the amount of times jury notice is sent out.

      In the U.S. (I don’t know all the cases), but there is usually more options to have the case heard by a jury.

      Jury Deliberations

      In Canada, jurors are sworn not to talk about their deliberations with their families, or with the press.  This ‘‘legal omerta’’ survives even after a decision and a sentence has been handed down.  In fact, it never expires.  Jurors who deliberated over cases 50 years ago cannot talk about it.  This works the same as with Italy.

      This differs from the U.S., where (unless a specific publication ban is in place), jurors are free to talk and give interviews after the fact.  In fact, many jurors do give interviews after high profile cases are resolved.  If Genny Ballerini (who talked about the Florence appeal in 2013/2014), had been an American juror, it would have been okay to do.

      Threshold to Getting an Appeal Heard

      In all 3 countries: Canada, the U.S., and Italy, all defendants who are convicted have the right to pursue an appeal.  However, an important difference is made.

      Canadian and American appeals are screened before the full appeal is heard.  They are checked for merit, and to review if their is any real likelihood of success.  This applies to both defendants seeking to have convictions overturned, and those merely seeking sentence reductions.  If the appeal appears to be baseless, it will be rejected, and the full panel of judges will not hear it.  If the appeal filed before Judge Chairi (later moved to Judge Hellmann), had been in a Canadian or U.S. court, the grounds would be so weak it would have been thrown out on review.

      Italy, by comparison, automatically grants not 1, but 2 appeals to all defendants.  All they have to do is file for one.  Yes, a much lower burden, but it means that the appeals courts (and Cassation), are clogged by appeals, slowing everything down.

      Makeup of Appellate Courts

      Appeal courts in both Canada and the U.S. are comprised of a panel of judges.  This will usually be between 3 and 9 judges.  In Italy, the typical first level appeal is decided by 2 judges and 6 jurors (or lay judges).

      Canadian, American and Italian Supreme Courts are decided by judges alone.

      Agenda of Appellate Courts

      Canadian and American courts are similar in that they are ‘‘paper courts’‘, not ‘‘evidence courts’‘.  They work from transcripts, not evidence or witnesses.  However, in Italy, at the lower appellate level, witnesses are heard, defendants can talk, and evidence can be presented.  It is more like another trial than a Common Law ‘‘appeal’‘.  But to be fair, an appeal to the Italian Supreme Court (a.k.a. Corti di Cassazione), is a brief hearing on the procedures, logic, and findings of the lower court, and is quite similar to a Common Law appeal.

      Canadian and American appeals courts are not there to ‘‘retry a case’‘.  Rather, the burden falls on the appellant (the party appealing), regardless of whether it is a prosecution or a defence appeal.

      For a defendant appealing a conviction, the burden is on him/her to show that there was significant error that led to the conviction, such as:
      -Evidence admitted at trial that should not have been
      -New evidence emerges that shows innocence, or impeaches a prosecution witness
      -Wrong legal procedures were applied at trial
      -There was bias or prejudice from the court

      For a defendant appealing a sentence, the burden is to show that:
      -The sentence was unduly harsh
      -It is inconsistent with similar crimes and circumstances

      Size of the Nation’s Highest Court

      The Supreme Court of Canada has 9 judges.

      The Supreme Court of the United States has 9 judges.

      The Supreme Court of Italy has about 300 judges.

      Consecutive v.s. Concurrent Sentences

      Until very recently, the law in Canada was that all convictions a person received for acts, (or a series of acts), ran together, or concurrently.  This changed to exclude multiple murderers, and the so called ‘‘bulk discount’’ they were getting.  In the past, even serial killers would be eligible for parole after 25 years.  No guarantees of parole of course, but the possibility angers victims rights groups.

      The U.S. judges have much more lattitude in handing out consecutive sentences.

      Mandatory Sentencing

      Canada has mandatory sentences for many offences, including: 1st and 2nd degree murder, crimes committed using firearms, child sex offences, trafficking in drugs, and fraud (if the value is over $1 million).  The trend in the last several years has been to push for harsher penalties.

        -For murder, multiple murder sentences now run consecutively.
        -The minimum for crimes using guns was 4 years, it is now 5, 7 or 10 depending on number of previous offences
        -Child sex offences was 90 days (if by indictment), now it is 1 year
        -Discretion has been removed in sentencing drug dealers to prison for the most part
        -Major fraud has a 2 year minimum.  It never used to.

      America also has mandatory jail sentences, including for minor drug offences,  Too numerous to list here, but there has been pressure to reduce these sentences to curb the swelling prison population.  Except for the Walter Whites (Breaking Bad) out there, dealing shouldn’t carry a longer minimum sentence than manslaughter.

      Knox’s drug dealer, Federico Martini, should be especially grateful to have been in Italy.  Rather than the 28 months he got for dealing, had he been in the U.S., it would likely be closer to 28 years.

      Plea Bargaining

      In both Canada and the U.S., plea bargaining is available, (something not available in Italy).  Not only does a defendant usually have the option of pleading for lesser time, but but a lesser charge.  This can cause a quick settlement, especially if one is accused of an offence which carries a high minimum sentence.

      While prosecutors and defence counsel can make a deal, the judge ultimately accepts or refuses it.

      Plea bargaining in a single defendant case is one thing, but it is much more controversial to make a deal to testify against someone else.  The reasoning is that the person’s story can’t help but be shaped in an effort to please the prosecutors, and that it is in essence ‘‘buying testimony’‘.  Though state standards differ, corroboration is required, as a person cannot be convicted solely on the testimony of an accomplice.  There is also the risk of a conviction being thrown out if lies are discovered.

      Guede offered to testify against Knox and Sollecito, but Mignini/Comodi refused to let him.  They didn’t need him, and even if they let him, there was the chance it would blow up in their faces.

      Incarceration Rate

      Canada: 118 per 100,000
      United States: 707 per 100,000

      ****Incidentally, Italy’s rate is 100 per 100,000

      Note: Those topics: (a) consecutive sentences; (b) mandatory minimums; (c) plea bargaining; and (d) incarceration rate; are closely related.

      Recording of Police Interrogations

      It is not required in Canada to record suspect interrogations, nor (although I don’t know each state) in the U.S.  There is no law in either Canada or the U.S. that witness interviews must be videotaped, often they end merely in statements being written up.

      However, most police agencies have a policy of recording suspect questionings.  There are several reasons for doing it: (a) To protect against any claim of being ‘‘roughed up’’ by authorities; (b) To protect against potential claims of being misinterpreted; (c) To provide a full record of what happened; (d) To review later, as a video may be mined for further information.

      Knox claimed she was ‘‘interrogated’’ by Perugian Police, and that she was targeted.  Odd, how Rita Ficarra had no idea she would even be coming to the police station.  (Sollecito had been called—alone—to clear up his alibi).  Knox started to work on a list of ‘‘potential suspects’‘.  When Sollecito backed off on being her alibi, Knox was asked to explain.  She then falsely accused Lumumba, and placed herself at the scene.  At this point her legal status changed from potential witness to suspect, and the questioning stopped.  Knox waived her warnings, and signed those statements anyway.

      In the media it is misrepresented as being a ‘‘long, brutal interrogation’’ or a ‘‘series of interrogations’‘, and Knox complains of it lasting over 50 hours in her December 2013 email.  She also accuses Rita Ficarra of assault (part of her current calunnia trial), and Prosecutor Mignini of illegally questioning her without counsel. 

      Again, how could the Perugia Police be setting an elaborate trap for Knox?  She showed up that night completely unexpectedly.  See the 18 part ‘‘Knox Interrogation Hoax’’ series.

      Double Jeopardy Law

      Under the Canadian Charter of Right and Freedoms, section 11(h) says that a person who has served a sentence for an offence shall not be tried again, or a person finally acquitted shall not be tried again.  The key is ‘‘finally’‘, as in the parties don’t intend to appeal further

      The 5th amendment of the U.S. Constitution says that a person shall not be put in jeopardy twice for the same offence.

      The only real difference is that acquittals at trial in Canada may be appealed under very limited circumstances, such as wrong instructions at trial.  It CANNOT be a redo, but there must be a very serious legal error to redress.  Canadian prosecutors have a very high burden to meet.  Under U.S. law, a trial acquittal is the end, barring killing a witness or bribing a judge.

      This does not apply to appeal courts.  In both Canada and the U.S. appellate court rulings may be appealed further.  Had Hellmann been a U.S./Canadian appeal judge, it would not be double jeopardy to challenge his ruling.

      Canadian Charter v. U.S. Constitution

      Italy goes out of its way to give defendants, but here is a quick comparison with the Western Hemisphere.  Sadly, as victim’s rights groups point out, criminals seem to have more rights than their victims.

      The Canadian Charter, sections 7 to 14, and the U.S. Constitution, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th and 14th amendments guarantee many of the same rights to criminal defendants

      Canada: illegal searches would violate section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 
      America: illegal searches would violate the 4th Amendment of the Constitution

      Canada: one has the right to instruct counsel without delay, and be informed of the right under Section 10(b)
      America: one has the right to a lawyer under the 6 Amendment.

      Canada: cruel and unusual punishment is prohibited under Section 12
      America: cruel and unusual punishment is prohibited under the 14th Amendment.

      Canada: one can’t be forced to be a witness against themselves under Section 11(c)
      America: one can’t be forced to be a witness against themselves under the 5th Amendment (taking the 5th)

      Canada: retrying for the same offence violates Section 11(h)
      America: retrying for the same offence violates the 5th Amendment.

      Canada: demanding unreasonable bail violates Section 11(e)
      America: demanding unreasonable bail violates the 8th Amendment.

      Notes:
      -The police obtained warrants before getting internet records, phone records, etc ...
      -AK’s first 2 statements were inadmissible because she had no lawyer (even though she refused one).
      -AK/RS complain about ‘‘hellish’’ conditions now, but not when the U.S. State Department checked in.
      -AK only testified regarding the ‘‘calunnia’‘, but AK/RS used their ‘‘right to not respond’‘.
      -AK/RS claim their ‘‘acquittals’’ should be the end, but 11(h)/5th doesn’t apply to appeals court that get further appealed
      -AK/RS got multiple attempts to apply for bail

      Notorious Killers In Canada

      1. Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka

      Scarborough, Ontario—This case still leaves a bad taste for Canadians.  The couple murdered 3 teens, Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy, as well as Karla’s younger sister, Tammy.  Bernardo was already a prolific rapist before meeting Homolka, but no one died until they got together.

      Bernardo is serving life in prison and has been classified as a ‘‘dangerous offender’‘.  Homolka served only 12 years after testifying against him, in what was called the ‘‘deal with the devil.’’  Homolka claimed that she was forced to go along to help with Bernardo’s crimes, using the ‘‘battered woman’s syndrome’‘, although it has since been shown that she was a willing and enthusiastic participant.  Police speculate that there were other victims but no more additional charges were filed.

      Though claiming her innocence, Knox has tried using the ‘‘I was browbeaten’’ line against Italian authorities.

      2. David Bagshaw and Melissa Todorovic

      Toronto,Ontario—A 15 year old girl convinces her 17 year old (almost 18) boyfriend to murder a rival, a 14 year old girl Todorovic had never met, Stefanie Rengel.  Todorovic threatened to withhold sex from Bagshaw unless he complied, and these threats went on for months.  When Bagshaw finally did kill Stefanie, he got his reward, sex.  While Todorovic never met Stefanie, Stefanie and Bagshaw had briefly dated.

      Bagshaw, 4 days short of 18 at the time, lost his bid for a youth sentence, and received a life sentence.  In custody, he helped an inmate try to kill another.  Todorovic tried to claim she never meant for this to happen.  She received an adult sentence, life with a 7 year minimum in custody.  Both lost their appeals.

      Todorovic was reportedly jealous Bagshaw had once dated Stefanie.  Knox was reportedly jealous Meredith started dating Giacomo.

      3. Jeremy Steinke and ‘‘Jane Doe’‘

      Medicine Hat, Alberta—Steinke was the 23 year old boyfriend of ‘‘Jane Doe’‘, the 12 year old who arranged to have her brother and parents murdered.  The girl cannot be named, as an adult sentence could not be imposed (she was under 14 at the time).  Given that 23 and 12 is considered pedophilia in Canada, there were concerns that the parents would have called the police.

      The parents wanting to end the relationship was the apparent motive for the murders, although it is not clear why the brother, then 8, was killed as well.  The woman is currently serving the rest of her 10 year sentence in the community, while Steinke is serving 3 concurrent terms of 25 years to life.

      The parents obviously disapproved of the huge age gap.  But to be fair—Raffaele Sollecito was a ‘‘kid’’ when he was 23.

      4. Russell Williams

      Tweed, Ontario—Williams was a colonel in the Canadian Air-Force and Commander of the Trenton Air Base.  He has since been given a service misconduct and kicked out.  In his early 40’s, he began breaking into neighbours’ homes and stealing underwear.  He later committed 2 sexual assault, but let those victims go, but committed 2 more but killed those victims: Marie-Frances Comeau (a military officer under his command); and Jessica Lloyd.

      Williams plead guilty to 2 murders, 4 sexual assaults, and 88 break-ins, but will still be eligible for parole after 25 years.

      A few gruesome facts: Williams suffocated Ms. Comeau by wrapping her head with duct tape, and made a video of it. 

      Also, he told Jessica’s boyfriend (at the time worked under William’s command), that he didn’t have to talk to police without a lawyer.  He also dumped Jessica’s body where he knew her boyfriend hunted.  It seems likely that Williams was trying to frame him.  Perhaps Williams wanted Jessica’s boyfriend to be the one to find her, a bit like Knox wanted Filomena or Laura to find Meredith.

      5. Cody Legebokoff

      Prince George, British Columbia—Termed ‘‘Canada’s Youngest Serial Killer’‘, he killed 3 women: Jill Stuchenko, Natasha Montgomery, Cynthia Maas, and a 15 year old girl Loren Leslie, all by age 20.

      When originally stopped, Legebokoff claimed the blood was from a deer he was poaching and had clubbed to death.  At trial, he tried to claim that a drug dealer X, and his two associates: Y, and Z did it, and that he was an unwilling participant.  That excuse failed, and he was convicted on 4 counts of first degree murder.

      An appeal is pending based on the claim that the trial should have been moved elsewhere due to the publicity.  He complains it is impossible to be judged fairly.  But to be fair, he hasn’t sought out the limelight, given TV interviews, or signed any book deals.

      Author’s note: I was in Prince George while the trial went on.  Yes, the town knew about it, but people still went about their lives.

      Notorious Killers In The US

      1. Gerald and Charlene Gallego

      This couple committed a series of murders in California and Nevada.  They kidnapped women to become sex slaves.  Their victims included: Rhonda Schleffer, Kippi Vaught, Brenda Judd, Sandra Colley, Stacey Redican, Karen Twiggs, and at least 4 others.  When caught, Charlene turned against Gerald, claiming he was abuse, controlling, and had initiated everything.

      In return for testifying against Gerald, Charlene was not charged in California, and only received 16 years, 8 months in Nevada.  She has since been released.  Gerald received death sentences in both states, but died before either could be carried out.  While Charlene received much more lenient treatment, there has been speculation that the sex slavery was her idea.

      Since plea bargaining is illegal in Italy, neither Knox nor Sollecito could turn on each other for a deal.  They probably would have, if it was possible.

      2. Douglas Thomas and Jessica Wiseman

      Virginia—14 year old Jessica Wiseman arranged to have her 17 year old boyfriend Douglas Thomas murder Wiseman’s parents.  They were shot dead in their sleep.  Thomas apparently was so desparite for love that he was willing to go along with a girl who wanted away from her controlling parents.  While pledging to be with him at first, Wiseman abandoned him once he ‘‘served his purpose’‘.

      Wiseman was tried as a juvenile, and released after 7 years, since she could not be held past her 21st birthday.  Thomas was executed 2 years later, after spending 9 years on death row.  This happened even as information emerged that Jessica shot her Mom, though it was never verified.  Though she was younger, it was widely viewed as unjust.

      Knox, though not living with her parents, had problems in her home with the women upstairs.  Other options were available, such as moving in with Sollecito, or ‘‘re-negotiating’’ with Federico Martini, but Knox tried to solve her problem by getting rid of it.

      3. Alvin and Judith Neelley

      Georgia—this couple abducted a 13 year old girl, repeatedly sexually assaulted her, and injected her with Drano, hoping to poison her.  When that didn’t work, Judith shot her in the head.  Afterwards, they abducted a couple, Janice Chatman and John Hancock, brought them to a hotel to be tortured and murdered.  John was shot and left for dead, but survived, and was able to identify the Neelleys afterwards.

      Judith was sentenced to death, but it was commuted to life without parole.  Alvin is serving a similar sentence.

      A sick game they played, as if they were living out a fantasy.  Who else fantasizes violence?

      4. Jodi Arias

      Arizona—A California resident had a long distance relationship with an Arizona resident, until he rejected her.  Arias staged a break in at her grandparents’ place to get a gun,  went out of town to rent a car, got 3 5-gallon gas cans (so she wouldn’t have to stop), and turned off her cell phone (so it couldn’t be traced).  She went to Travis Alexander’s home, had ‘‘good-bye sex’’ with him, then stabbed him 29 times, slit his throat, and shot him in the head.  She then cleaned up, and went to her new boyfriend, in Utah, as if nothing happened.

      Initially Arias said she wasn’t there.  Then she said 2 masked burglars did it, but she was afraid to identify them.  Next she said she didn’t know who they were.  At trial she claimed self defence, while invoking ‘‘battered woman’s syndrome.’’  The judge and jury didn’t believe her, and while she was spared the death penalty, Arias received life without parole.

      Arias didn’t take rejection by Travis well at all, and neither did Knox take being stood up on Hallowe’en by Meredith.

      5. Casey Anthony

      Florida—Her daughter Caylee goes missing, so Casey goes partying (a bit like Guede did after Meredith’s death).  Prosecutors claim Anthony just wanted out of the responsibilities that came with being a parent.  Casey countered that Caylee accidently drowned.  Unfortunately, coroners were never able to positively determine the cause of death.

      Although eventually acquitted of Caylee’s death, Casey was convicted on 4 counts of providing false information to law enforcement.  Among other things, Anthony made up a story about ‘‘Zanny the Nanny’’ possibly being involved to divert attention.  On appeal, 2 of those counts were overturned.  She is free, but keeping out of the public eye.  Anthony still has a record for lying, as does Knox.

      6 Thomasdinh Bowman

      Washington State—He shot another driver, Yancy Noll, in the head several times.  Bowman tried to clean up the crimescene—his car, and had his cellphone turned off.  When arrested, he denied involvement, but later changed his story to ‘‘self-defence’‘, claiming Noll attacked him in a fit of road rage.  Prosecutors claimed that this was planned, and that he had studied on how to get away with murder.

      At trial, he was observed smirking and seeming to enjoy himself.  Knox likewise enjoyed the attention of her 2009 trial.  This attitude would come back to haunt him.  He was convicted of murder, and sentenced to nearly 30 years in prison.  He never expressed remorse to the family, just that he was ‘‘sorry they [the jury] didn’t believe me.’‘

      Some Further Observations

      Canadian and American laws are very similar in dealing with serious crime, with the focus being on punishment and deterrence.  Both countries have a bill of rights to ensure basic defendant’s rights are met, quite similar to what Italy has, but something many nations don’t offer.  Some main differences: (1) Canadian criminal law is made federally, while the U.S. states make their own laws for murder; (2) Canada has a much lower incarceration rate; (3) Canada’s sentencing laws are getting tougher, while U.S. laws are going the other way; (4) some states have the death penalty while Canada does not.

      Both countries have their fair share of wackos, (pardon the non-technical term).  This is not an American problem, or a cultural problem, but a problem of having people who should not be walking freely among us.  While both countries do have ‘‘rehabilitation’’ as part of their sentencing guidelines, murder is a crime that must be punished, both to condemn the act, and to protect the public.

      When faced with the prospect of a long mandatory sentence, or multiple, consecutive sentences, there is the reaction to plead out for lesser offences.  However, pleading guilty can have major implications, especially if giving someone else up for a lighter sentence.

      Falsely accusing innocent people, or at least fictional people, seems fairly common by killers.  They do not ‘‘falsely confess’’ that other people did the crime, rather they ‘‘falsely accuse’‘.

      Male-female killer couples occur in both countries, but almost universally, the female killer gets a much lighter sentence.  This is likely in part due to society willing to believe that the man is primarily responsible.  Also, these women have no qualms about blaming it all on the man.  The case of Knox getting a higher sentence than Sollecito or Guede seems to be an anomaly.

      *******

      Acknowledgements: A thank you to Yummi, Peter Q., and Cardiol.  Your feedback has altered the direction of this series.

      Posted by Chimera on 08/13/15 at 02:16 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineComments here (23)

      Counterterrorism: Another Way Italian Law Enforcement Is An Effective Model For Everywhere Else

      Posted by Peter Quennell





      We have often mentioned these major justice-system pluses:

      (1) That Italy has one of the industrialized world’s lowest crime rates and that US cities have been observing its model.

      (2) That it has a very prominent and much admired police presence, and a small and much admired court and penal system.

      Now Thomas Williams is reporting this third big plus from Rome in Breitbart Business News

      A leading military analyst is citing Italy as a model of counterterrorism done right, pointing out that despite many factors going against it, Islamic terrorists have failed to kill a single person on Italian soil.

      In the most recent issue of Nikkei Asian Review, Romanian born political scientist and military analyst Edward N. Luttwak lays out a persuasive theory explaining how Italy has been so successful in thwarting Islamic terror attempts. In a word: Italy is not afraid to deport those it considers to be a threat to national security.

      In his essay titled “Doing Counterterrorism Right,” Luttwak contrasts Italy with France and Belgium, noting that although Italy is much more vulnerable than they are, it has been far more effective at stopping would-be terrorists before they strike.

      So where France has been “caught by surprise again and again by terrorist attacks with many lives lost” and in Belgium “terrorists have been coming and going for years, buying military weapons with remarkable ease,” Italy has remained unscathed.

      It would seem that Italy doesn’t have much going for it. It has porous borders and a Muslim population that exceeds 2 million and has played an active role in military expeditions in Islamic territories. Moreover, the Vatican is the “most iconic target in Europe,” and tops the list of objectives of the Islamic State, Luttwak observes. And yet, “nobody has been killed by Muslim terrorists in Italy.”

      Italian counterterrorism has been on full alert since 9/11, Luttwak says, and its combined forces “have detected and interrupted hundreds of terrorist plots large and small, at every stage from mere verbal scheming to fully ready actions.”

      So where terrorists have successfully attacked in Madrid, London, Paris, Toulouse, Copenhagen, Brussels and elsewhere, in Italy they have been foiled time after time.

      Luttwak suggests that Italy’s success is all a question of method, based on the insight that the only thing that can be done to stop potential terrorists is to follow those who are suspected to be truly dangerous around the clock so that they can be arrested or killed at a moment’s notice. Since the numbers of probable suspects can be astronomical, Luttwak says, their numbers must be effectively reduced if this strategy is to bear fruit. And this is exactly what Italy has done.

      State intelligence agencies throughout Europe monitor suspects, filling out reports and keeping files, but they often fail to take the action needed. The Italians, however, immediately conduct an interrogation on credible suspects, and many are sent home or arrested, if their situation merits it. Italy currently has more than 180 radical imams in prison, Luttwak notes.

      Employing this method, Italian authorities are able to keep numbers of suspected potential terrorists within a reasonable range and thus are able to monitor them effectively.

      Earlier this month, Franco Roberti, the head of Italy’s anti-mafia and counterterrorism task force, said he intended to protect citizens from the danger of terrorism “by adopting all the preventive measures necessary,” and noted that “we must be prepared to give up some of our personal freedoms, in particular in the area of communication.”

      The fact that the Italians lump together anti-mafia operations with counterterrorism is also telling. Unlike other European states, with the exception perhaps of the UK, Italy has a long history fighting serious organized crime within its borders, coming from the different branches of the Italian mafia working in various parts of the peninsula.

      The Italian interior ministry has reportedly also increased its “targeted expulsions” of persons considered to be a risk to national security. So far this year, 55 individuals have been deported and the ministry has said the numbers will only grow.

      According to Italy’s Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, intelligence and counterterrorism units are reevaluating information gathered in recent months on some 56,000 people, scouring case files to see whether anything could have been overlooked.

      Given Italy’s impressive counterterrorism track record, it may be about time for other European nations to sit up and take note.


      National Justice Systems Learning From One Another Tho Far From “International Standards”

      Posted by Peter Quennell



      Try searching for the “international standards” for DNA testing that Hellmann/Zanetti and Marasca/Bruno claimed Italian police labs dont follow.

      In fact, not only are there no international standards or even Europe-wide standards, there are not even any central mechanisms for crime-fighting research and training and standard-setting.

      Hellmann/Zanetti and Marasca/Bruno were irresponsibly myth-propagating - all suckered by a pair of dishonest DNA consultants on the defense payroll.

      This absence of mechanisms contrasts sharply with all the other segments of national infrastructures, for which the UN agencies run conferences and team efforts for hundreds of nations to learn from. (In them the US and UK and Italy are big players.)

      One reason we give the Italian justice system so much attention is that Italy has one of the lowest crime rates and incarceration rates among high-income countries.

      There is very much to be learned bilaterally from it. Part of its core model is that it has a large and glamorous and much-liked police presence - Italian police are possibly the world’s most popular.

      In contrast, stories of bad policing are pouring out daily in the US.

      Most in the US news for bad policing is CHICAGO right in Bruce Fischer’s backyard, where he abysmally failed to comprehend that there was an epidemic of police shootings while he foolishly gunned for Italy. Numbers dead from police guns there are up in the hundreds, and there is to be a Federal investigation.

      Meanwhile the effectiveness or even comprehension of Fischer’s pretentious “network” has been at zero (perhaps one reason why the Knoxes disinvited Fischer from Knox’s talk at a Chicago law school - also he had been panhandling them). Why do we doubt the Feds will consult him?

      In the news right now in the US is an attempt by jurisdictions to learn from the highly effective Scottish police practices.

      Scotland has an extremely low rate of police shootings, and the few police who do carry guns are trained to handle fraught situations to an extent most American police see only a fraction of. See the video.

      Here is a Daily Telegraph story, and here is a New York Times story:

      Forty minutes into a Scottish police commander’s lecture on the art of firearm-free policing, American law enforcement leaders took turns talking. One after another, their questions sounded like collective head-scratching.

      “Do you have a large percentage of officers that get hurt with this policing model?” asked Theresa Shortell, an assistant chief of the New York Police Department and the commanding officer of its training academy, where several hundred officers graduate each year.

      “How many officers in Scotland have been killed in the last year or two years?” Chief Shortell added.

      Bernard Higgins, an assistant chief constable who is Scotland’s use-of-force expert, stood and answered. Yes, his officers routinely take punches, he said, but the last time one was killed on duty through criminal violence was 1994, in a stabbing.

      There is poverty, crime and a “pathological hatred of officers wearing our uniform” in pockets of Scotland, he said, but constables live where they work and embrace their role as “guardians of the community,” not warriors from a policing subculture.

      “The basic fundamental principle, even in the areas where there’s high levels of crime, high levels of social deprivation, is it’s community-based policing by unarmed officers,” Constable Higgins said. “We police from an absolute position of embracing democracy.”

      That model is pretty close to the Italian one.

      Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/23/15 at 05:50 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineComments here (3)

      How American Judges Can Be Made To Feel The Heat Over Controversial Verdicts

      Posted by Peter Quennell





      Why American judges can envy Italian judges part deux.

      As we surely all know now, most Italian judges advance along a career path. Only a few are politically appointed and none are elected.  All of the time their rulings are under minute scrutiny and (as we have seen with Judges Hellmann, Marasca and Bruno) the powerful Council of Magistrates can stop their advancement in a heartbeat if any of those rulings look suspect.

      American judges are mostly elected with little training requirements or qualifications testing. If they seem to have stepped out of line some of them can face political hearings and discipline boards (as Judge Heavey did) but not all do.

      But the worse reaction many fear more is the media and the public turning upon them, made vastly more possible because of the Internet and happening time and time again these days. 

      The American judge now much in the news - and not in a good way - is Jean Boyd of Texas.

      In March 2012 Jean Boyd, then a Juvenile Court judge, sentenced a 14-year-old black boy to 10 years for killing a smaller boy with one powerful punch.  She was criticised for being way too harsh then.

      In December 2013 she veered sharply in the other direction.

      She sentenced a now notorious teenager to mere probation and rehabilitation after he had killed four people and maimed a fifth for life when drunk-driving. The psychological defense she bought into was that his family was so rich that he grew up without the right parenting.

      This was apparently a unique defense and one that has never been attempted for poorer people. Judge Boyd was widely criticised for being way too light then.

      The two cases dropped out of the news for a while.

      But now the notorious white teenager Ethan Couch is all over the news again. A few weeks ago he was caught on video drinking - which could lead to his serving time in prison - and a couple of weeks ago he disappeared along with his mother.

      Considering that he has not yet even been charged with a transgression of his probation, the size and cost of the manhunt was extraordinary. Somehow the US Federal Marshall Service pinpointed his phone in a Mexican apartment, and the Mexican police arrested him along with his mother and locked them up.

      Today he is being held in an Mexican prison with his mother. It is just reported that they are fighting extradition.

      Good luck with that one.

      Judge Boyd actually retired a year ago in face of a petition demanding she be fired. She was given some credit by the local newspaper.

      But her verdict never convinced an angry public or the families of the four dead and one maimed victims, and both he and his irresponsible mother also now seem headed for prison.

      And it seems Ms Boyd is not returning phone calls.


      Below: Tonya Couch and Ethan Couch at the trial in 2013





      Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/30/15 at 10:02 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineThe wider contextsN America contextComments here (16)

      Worldwide In 20th Century, Maybe Half Of All Murders May Be Attributed In Part To Lead Poisoning

      Posted by Peter Quennell





      That lead damages brains has been known for many years. That it causes murders is more recently accepted. 

      The first graph below shows when the US began to move from leaded gasoline to unleaded gasoline in the mid 70s. Lead was removed altogether around 1990.

      Some but not all countries followed a similar pattern.

      The effects, though diminishing, are going to be with us for a long time. Maybe to mid-century? The pioneer researcher economist Nick Nevin wrote this about the murder-rate/lead correlation:

      Lead exposure trends affect homicide trends with a 21-year time lag, reflecting the impact of early-childhood neurodevelopmental damage when those children reach the peak ages of homicide offending.

      That suggests that anyone alive today over 25 may have had significant exposure. Roughly half the world’s population, some 3.5 billion.

      Very few of those committed murders, but of those that did the research findings reflected in the second graph below suggest that half might have been lead-affected and there remain among us millions of time-bombs. This is from a recent BBC report:

      Dr Bernard Gesch says the data now suggests that lead could account for as much as 90% of the changing crime rate during the 20th Century across all of the world.

      Numerous cases like this one now use lead poisoning as a defense.  It doesnt seem a get-out-of-jail-free card, but for some obviously mentally impaired it is proving helpful.







      Knox’s Nasty-Prisons Hoax: NY Times Describes How Italy Leads The World In Rehabilitation

      Posted by Our Main Posters



      A classy restaurant in an Italian prison which inmates in training fully run

      1. The Knox Picture Of Italian Prison Conditions

      Three years ago Amanda Knox devoted 200 pages of her book to an extended horror story about her stay in prison.

      Knox provided zero proof. Knox has never published her charges in Italian in Italy, so the rebuttals by those Knox maligned are not (yet) in.

      But almost immediately English-language corrections and rebuttals started to flow.  See also all these rebuttals here.

      Knox was contradicted by her own lawyers who had visited her often and heard no complaints. She was contradicted by the US Embassy in Rome which monitored her often and heard no complaints. She was contradicted by Rocco Girlanda, an Italian Member of Parliament, who checked her conditions over 20 times (and then wrote a loving book) and reported no complaints. Her own parents reported no complaints.

      Even so, one year ago, Knox reissued her notoriously dishonest book. It had been added-to, but not even one of the malicious claims was withdrawn.

      Our main poster Chimera highlighted the lies throughout the entire book (over 400) and Posts #3 to #9 here are devoted to Knox’s prison lies.

      2. The Real Picture Of Italian Prison Conditions

      The Italian prison system was historically always very humane - bathrooms and sometimes kitchens attached to cells; TV in all cells; walk-around rights during the day; numerous group activities such as concerts and games; hair-dressing for women and even massage; and skills training for inmates in an occupation of their choice (Guede and Sollecito both completed degrees).

      Around five years ago, largely because of immigrant crimes, the prison population (previously below 100,000 - in the US, California prisons alone hold almost twice that) began to balloon.

      New prisons were built, with no expenses spared, and in these images you can see the result.

      Stories of extreme over-crowding have gone away, and the New York Times profiles the new prisons and their programs of today.

      For years, Italy has struggled with its prison system, as well as how to balance punishment with rehabilitation. Overcrowding had become such a problem that in January 2013 the European Court of Human Rights ordered the country to fix the system. [Actually the ECHR cannot “order” anything, and anyway the building program was already well under way.]

      Italian lawmakers responded with more alternative measures for minor crimes. In 2014, Italy also repealed harsh drug sentencing laws enacted during the 1990s, similar to the “three strikes” laws in the United States. In 2014, Italy began releasing 10,000 inmates (of roughly 60,000) who had been convicted of minor offenses.

      But the issue of how best to rehabilitate offenders “” and lower the recidivism rate “” remained difficult. Italy has long allowed inmates in medium-security prisons to move around the facilities during the day.

      “The main problem has been that they do little during the day, which doesn’t help them at the present, nor for their future outside prisons,” said Alessio Scandurra, who works for Antigone, a nonprofit group focused on the rights of detainees.

      The Bollate prison was at the vanguard of experimentation even before opening the restaurant. Under the director, Massimo Parisi, the prison offers an array of programs. Companies have work programs on prison grounds. Volunteers teach theater and painting. Carpentry skills are taught in workshops equipped with power drills and saws. Inmates maintain a stable of horses in the prison yard.

      There is also an initiative involving a carefully vetted group of 200 inmates who are allowed to leave each day for jobs with an outside firm. Inmates travel without supervision on public transportation; they must check in upon arrival at work, and at other points during the day.

      Mr. Parisi said only one inmate had failed to return at the appointed time, and he showed up a few days later.

      The Times reporter follows this with what has to be a global first - a topnotch restaurant run by inmates right inside one jail.





      The Case Of Russell Williams: What a ‘‘Set-Up’’ Police Interview Really Looks Like

      Posted by Chimera

      Russell Williams’s “Compressed” Interview 2 Hours 40 Minutes Long

      1. Post Overview

      This contrast’s Knox’s claimed trick “interrogation” and “confession” with one known to be real.

      Russell Williams, unbelievably, was a Colonel in the Canadian Air Force, and the Commanding Officer at Trenton Air Force Base.

      (From Wikipedia) From July 2009 to his arrest in February 2010, he commanded CFB Trenton, a hub for air transport operations in Canada and abroad and the country’s largest and busiest military airbase. Williams was also a decorated military pilot who had flown Canadian Forces VIP aircraft for dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, and the Governor General and Prime Minister of Canada.


      2. Williams First Association With Crimes

      It is early February 2010. Ontario Provincial Police are investigating 4 incidents in a region of Southern Ontario, believing they are connected.  They are, 2 unsolved sexual assaults, the sexual assault and murder a military flight commander, Marie-France Comeau, and the January 28 disappearance of a woman named Jessica Lloyd.

      While Lloyd’s disappearance was still ongoing, a witness came forward and reported seeing an SUV-type vehicle nearby.  Police follow up and find tire tracks in that location.  They then go about trying to match those tracks to a particular vehicle.  Roadchecks are set up along various roads.

      Williams gets caught in the checkpoint, and the police notice that the tires on his Nissan Pathfinder are identical to those tracks near Jessica Lloyd’s home.  Williams is let go, but under 24 hour surveillance at that point.

      3. Narrative Of Williams Interview

      It is Sunday, February 7, 2010. Williams is called into police headquarters to answer questions.  He arrives at 3pm, and stunningly, he is wearing the same boots he wore to Jessica Lloyd’s house.  Either moronic, or bold.

      The interview starts off casually, though Williams is asked for evidence to prove he is not involved: DNA, fingerprints, and bootprints. 

      Watch the video above, Williams is in shock when the topic of bootprints comes up.  At 6pm Det-Sergeant Smyth drops the bombshell:

      (1) tire tracks near Jessica Lloyd’s home are from his vehicle;

      (2) those are his bootprints behind her house;

      (3) the DNA is about to be matched;

      (4) the homes are being searched, and the vehicle seized.

      Williams realizes at this point that he has been tricked, that it was a setup all along.

      Confession “To Spare His Wife”

      Williams did come clean about 5 hours into the interrogation.  The reason: to spare his wife the added trauma and humiliation of the police tearing the homes apart.

      He rationalized that if he simply told the police where to find evidence, they would take it and go.  At that point, it was about all he could do.

      (from Wikipedia) On October 21, 2010, Williams was sentenced to two life sentences for first-degree murder, two 10-year sentences for other sexual assaults, two 10-year sentences for forcible confinement, and 82 one-year sentences for breaking and entering, all to be served concurrently.

      Civil Courts Follow-up

      Williams’ wife, Mary Harriman did take control of the couple’s multiple properties in Ontario.  She sought a divorce, which has dragged on for years, and did try to get the proceedings banned from publication.

      The problem, according to the victims and the families is that this transfer from him to her amounts to FRAUDULENT CONVEYANCE.

      In plain English, the allegations are that Williams transferred everything to his wife in order to avoid having it seized by lawsuits.  Williams claimed he sold it (cheaply) to his wife since he was serving a life sentence and not likely to ever need it again.

      Ms. Harriman is now also being forced to testify about the true nature of their marriage for civil matters.  The argument being advanced is that she either knew what was going on, and could not be that oblivious—in light of the shear volume of trophies Williams kept.

      Wife of serial killer Russell Williams loses court battle

      OPP detective used ‘Reid technique’ to get Russell Williams to confess

      World’s Greatest Police Interrogator: Detective Jim Smyth

      4. The Narrative Of Knox’s Interview

      Knox showed up unexpectedly at the Questura the evening of November 5, 2007.  Sollecito had been called in—alone— to clear up inconsistencies in his stories.

      Knox went anyway, and remained even when told to leave.  She was told by Inspector Ficarra that if she really wanted to help, she could put together a list of possible suspects who may have visited the house.  She agreed.

      Sollecito, when shown proof in his phone records that contradicted his story, threw Knox under the bus.  He claimed that AK went out alone, he stayed inside and used the computer, and that Knox came back several hours later.  RS claims AK asked him to lie, and that he didn’t think of the inconsistencies at the time.

      Knox, on the other hand, thought that RS had actually accused her of murder, not just pulled her alibi.  AK is shocked, and fakes a crying fit. 

      She then responds by throwing—someone else completely—under the bus.  Not Sollecito.  Not Guede.

      Of course once it turns out that PL is completely innocent, police and prosecutors don’t believe anything she says at this point.

      The Knox Interrogation Hoax

      #1 Overview Of The Series - The Two Version of the 5-6 Nov 2007 Events

      #2 Trial Testimony From Rita Ficcara On Realities 5-6 Nov

      #3 More Defense Pussyfooting Toward Rita Ficcara, Key Witness

      #4 More Hard Realities From Rita Ficcara, More Nervousness From Defense

      #5 Key Witness Monica Napoleoni Confirms Knox Self-Imploded 5-6 Nov

      #6 Sollecito Transcript & Actions Further Damage Knox Version

      #7 Full Testimony Of Witness Lorena Zugarini To Knox Conniption 5-6 Nov

      #8 Testimony Of Interpreter Donnino And Central Police Officer Giobbi

      #9 Officer Moscatelli’s Recap/Summary Session With Sollecito 5-6 Nov

      5. Contrasts And Similarities

      1-A The Williams case above is a clear instance of police luring in a suspect under the pretense of a ‘‘background interview’‘.  The Ontario Provincial Police spent days trying to put together a profile and work up a method of questioning such a suspect.  And it took Det. Sergeant Jim Smyth just 3 hours to get Williams to crack.

      1-B Knox, on the other hand, showed up uninvited to the police station, most likely to keep RS on a short leash.  She not only wasn’t invited, but was told to leave.  She cracked when RS revoked her alibi.

      2-A Williams says his main motivation in confessing was to spare his wife extra humiliation, and destruction to the houses.

      2-B Knox, on the other hand, threw a totally innocent person, Lumumba, to the wolves.  She also has no qualms about protracting the publicity, and milking her ‘‘celebrity’‘.

      3-A Williams wore the same boots to the police station

      3-B Sollecito brought his knife to the police station, and had similar shoes to Guede

      4-A Williams was nailed by his bootprints

      4-B Knox was cast under suspicion by a shoeprint, and bare footprints nailed both AK and RS

      5-A Williams wife illegally profited by taking the property in order to stave off having it seized

      5-B AK and RS illegally profited by having other people (Kuhlman and Gumbel) write blood money books for them.

      6. Analysis Of Williams Interview

      This excellent analysis is one hour long.

       

       

      Posted by Chimera on 03/18/16 at 05:00 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in • Comments here (7)

      Justice Systems Comparisons #5: How Appeals Differ in Italy and Common Law Countries

      Posted by Chimera




      1 Series And Post Overview

      Meredith’s case generated enormous amounts of legal confusion and false statements around the world.

      This was particularly so in the United States, and some of the confusions were by American lawyers.  We have Curt Knox and the now-defunct Marriott-Gogerty PR firm in part to thank for that. But also part of the misunderstanding comes from the differences in the Italian criminal procedures v.s. the US procedures which derive from English Common Law.

      Of course, Knox/Mellas/Marriott have had a vested interested in ensuring that these differences are not made clear. Although it has antecedents in Roman law and French law, Common Law emerged distinctively in England back in 1215 when King John was made to sign the Magna Carta codifying a number of popular rights and of course reducing the king’s powers.

      Note: I write this based on my experience in Appellate Court in Ontario (I’m Canadian).  However, the process is similar throughout Canadian Provinces (with minor variations), and I imagine throughout UK and US.  If anyone in other countries has some insight or experience to share, please do so.

      Previously in this series: Part #1: An Overview. Part #2: Public Mischief and Perjury. Part #3: Bail, Extradition & Other Crimes. And Part #4: Canada and the U.S.A. (Part 1).

      2. The Appeals Process in Common Law Countries

      TERMINOLOGY:
      • Appellant—The Party that initiates the Appeal, regardless of who was who at the trial
      • Respondent—The Party that receives the Appeal, again, regardless of who was who at the trial
      • Cross Appeal—The Respondent has the right to launch their own, think of it as a counter appeal
      • Leave to Appeal—Permission to appeal, in some cases it must be granted
      • Proof of Service—Means filing an Affidavit of Service (Form 16-B), with the Appellate Court
      • Back Cover—is a back page put in all submissions (Form 4C)

      The decision is handed down by the Court.  For minor criminal matters it is a Bench Trial (trial by Judge alone); for major crimes the Defendant has a choice of a Judge alone or Jury Trial.  In criminal cases, even though the Jury may vote to convict, the Judge will impose the sentence—for every crime except 2nd degree murder, the jury votes on that.  Afterwards ....

      Option 1: If leave is needed, it must be granted in order to file.  This is usually for (a) 2nd level appeals; (b) To get Court Orders put in hold; (c) To Appeal prior to a final decision [Rule 62.01]

      Option 2: If leave is ‘‘NOT’’ required, then just file notice.

      Within the time limit—usually 30 days from the Lower Court ruling—serve a Notice of Appeal (Form 61-A), and file with the Appeal Court.  [Rule 61.04]

      If the Appellant intends to submit evidence, then the Appellant’s Certificate Respecting Evidence (Form 61-C) must be served on the other side then filed with the Court.  This is actually optional.  [Rule 61.05]

      [15 days after Notice of Appeal] If the Respondent intends to cross appeal, as in launch their own challenge, then Notice of Cross Appeal (Form 61-E) must be served then filed with the Court.  [Rule 61.07]

      [15 days after Notice of Appeal] If the Respondent has their own evidence to submit, then the Respondent’s Certificate Respecting Evidence (Form 61-D) must be served then filed with the Court.

      [30 days after Notice of Appeal] If a transcript is required, a Certificate of Ordering (proof a transcript has been ordered) must be filed with the Appellate Court [Rule 61.05(5)]

      Option 1: If no transcript is required—Appellant must file appeal books within 30 days of Notice of Appeal

      Option 2: If a transcript ‘‘is’’ required—Appellant must file appeal books within 60 days of Transcript being completed

      In either case, the Appellant must include a Certificate of Perfection

      [60 days after Certificate of Perfection Filed] Respondent must submit all books (and cross appeal if one was filed) to the Appellant and the Court

      BOOKS TO BE SUBMITTED

      [Rule 61.09] and [Rule 61.12] (by Both Sides):

      (Mandatory) Appeal Book and Compendium—a collection of various documents and decisions related to the case   [Rule 61.10(1)]

      (Mandatory) Factum—this is your ‘‘legal arguments’‘, and usually restricted in length, unless permission given   [Rule 61.11(1)]

      (Optional) Exhibit Book—If there was some evidence that the Appellate Court should consider, it gets included here   [Rule 61.10.1]

      (Optional) Transcript—If there was reversible error at trial, or in another hearing, it gets sent.  It can be stand alone, or included in the exhibit book

      (Optional) Book of Authorities—If there is an error of law, a collection of decisions, a case book, is sent

      Note: Factum and Compendium are required by both Appellant and Respondent.  The others may be included, depending on the type of appeal being argued

      Note: There is flexibility with the formatting of the Authorities book, and the timing.  It may be sent much later, and cases just downloaded from the internet.

      Note: The Appellate Courts are even strict about the colours of the book covers.  They are

      • (Buff)—Appellant’s Appeal Book and Compendium, Appellant’s Exhibit Book
      • (White)—Appellant’s Factum, Appellant’s Book of Authorities
      • (Buff)—Respondent’s Compendium, Respondent’s Exhibit Book
      • (Green)—Respondent’s Factum, Book of Authorities
      • (Red)—Transcript of Evidence
      • (Blue)—Motions filed in the matter
      BEFORE THE APPEAL IS HEARD:

      While everyone is entitled to ‘‘file’’ an appeal, there is no guarantee the appeal will actually be ‘‘heard’‘.  If the appeal is truly without merit, it will be thrown out before it is fully heard.

      One such option (at least in Ontario), is to invoke Rule 2.1.01(6) and ask that the Appeal be dismissed, or grounds it is frivolous, vexing, or an abuse of process.

      https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/900194

      AT THE ACTUAL APPEAL:

      Depending on the Court, it may be a single Judge, a Panel of 3, a Panel of 5, or a Panel of 9 Judges.  These are actual Judges, with years of experience.  In the Provincial High Courts (Ontario Court of Appeals, BC Court of Appeals, Alberta Court of Appeals ....) it is usually 3 Judges who will hear the case.  The Supreme Courts (at least of Canada and the U.S.) are composed of 9 Judges.

      The Appeal (and any Cross-Appeal) is restricted to the points raised in the Notice of Appeal/Cross Appeal.  Nothing else may be argued.

      The Appellant goes first, explaining what was wrong with the trial, with references to various books.  The Judge (or panel of Judges) may interrupt at any time.

      The Respondent goes second, countering the Appellant.  Again, the Judges may interrupt at any time.

      The Appellant gets a rebuttal, not a rehash, but to refute anything the Respondent said, or to being in new points.

      The Judge (or Panel) may immediately rule, but more likely will reserve its decision, and rule later.

      The parties themselves do not address the Court (except for those self-representing), and no witnesses are called.

      If (in criminal appeals), the Defendant does not show up, an arrest warrant would be issued, and the appeal likely dismissed out of hand.

      With rare exceptions, an appeal hearing takes only a few hours.  Not weeks or months.

      POSSIBLE OUTCOMES:

      (1) The Appellate Court ‘‘corrects’’ the Lower Court ruling

      (2) The Appellate Court ‘‘sends back down’’ the case to the Lower Court, with specific instructions

      (3) The Appellate Court dismisses the Appeal

      The Appellate Court has wide discretion in how long they make their ruling.  It could be a single sentence confirming the Trial Court, or up to dozens of pages explaining a decision for either side.

      USEFUL LINKS:

      https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/900194
      http://ontariocourtforms.on.ca/en/rules-of-civil-procedure-forms/
      https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/divisional/Guide_to_Appeals_in_Divisional_Court_EN.html
      http://www.ontariocourts.ca/coa/en/info/howto.htm

      3. Contrast This with Criminal Appellate Trials in Italy

      The Jury (composed of 2 Judges and 6 Lay Judges) hands down a verdict, and a sentence to go with it.  By Contrast, in Common Law, a Defendant may be convicted but not sentenced for several months.

      [90 days after sentence] The Trial Court hands down a ‘‘Motivation Report’’ explaining in great detail the decision.  In serious cases, this may be hundreds of pages.

      [45 days after Motivation Report] The ‘‘Losing Side’’ files an appeal with an Appellate Court

      Even if the appeal grounds are extremely weak, the Appeal can still go ahead.

      The Appellate Trial is then scheduled.  Like the Trial Courts, it is a panel of 2 Judges and 6 lay Judges.  Although it functions as a trial, it is not meant to be a ‘‘re-start’‘, but rather a ‘‘continuation’’ of the earlier proceedings.

      The Judges decide how much (if any) of the evidence submitted by the Prosecution and Defence will be heard.  If the Prosecution has thoroughly proven its case at trial, there may be no need to submit any new evidence.  In the case of AK/RS, Prosecutors Mignini/Comodi had overwhelmingly convinced Judge Massei (2009) of guilt.

      https://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/C443/

      The Defendants may address the Court (Spontaneous Declarations), or they may agree to actual questioning (Cross Examination).  In this case, AK/RS gave several speeches at the Hellmann Appeal (2011), but neither agreed to actually be questioned.  At the Nencini Appeal (2013/2014) RS gave speeches but again refused to be questioned.  AK didn’t show up at all.

      To be fair, the reason AK/RS may have refused questioning at the Hellmann or Nencini appeals may have been due to the trainwreck with Judge Massei

      https://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/italy_shrugs_why_the_defendants_testimony_seems_to_have_been_a_real_fl
      https://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/this_testimony_does_not_seem_to_have_gained_much_traction_here_in_ital

      Neither AK nor RS were obligated to attend the Florence Appeal in 2013/2014, but they should have.  It is rude and contemptuous to skip out of the Court deciding your future.  AK hit the media circuit claiming to be afraid, while also arguing that she couldn’t afford to go back (despite a $3.8 million book deal).  RS showed up sometimes, but it interfered with his suntanning abroad.

      https://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/questions_for_knox_how_do_you_explain
      https://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/multiple_ways_in_which_amanda_knoxs_email/
      https://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/The_Nencini_Email_Why_This_May_Be

      Although new evidence may be submitted, there are still restrictions about bringing in expert testimony, as it should properly be done at the trial level.  Cassation (2013), was highly critical the Judge Hellmann let Conti and Vecchiotti appear.  This is to say nothing of their actual reports.

      https://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/the_hellmann_zanetti_appeal_courts_dna_consultancy_looks_even_worse

      Both the Prosecution and Defence are then able to make a Summation of facts for the Appellate Court to consider.

      What needs to be said is that the goal is not to ‘‘prove all over again’‘, but to determine if there were sufficient errors, and/or sufficient new evidence to overturn the trial verdict.

      A verdict is handed down, either confirming or overturning the Trial Court ruling.  The Appellate Court of Hellmann/Zanetti (2011) overturned the Massei Trial Conviction (2009), while the Appellate Court of Nencini (2014) confirmed Massei’s original ruling, but with a small sentence increase.

      The actual Appellate Trial may take place over several months.  With Judge Hellmann (2011) it was 20 sessions that took nearly a year, and with Judge Nencini (2014) it was 10 sessions, which took 4 months.

      (90 days after verdict) The Appellate Court must submit their own Motivation Report, which will be scrutinized

      4. Other TJMK Posts Of Relevance

      https://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/first_italian_criticisms_of_the_hellmann_verdict_statement_now_startin
      https://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/dissecting_the_hellmann_report_1
      https://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/dissecting_the_hellmann_report_2_how_judges_zanetti_and_hellman_tilted_
      https://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/reasonable_doubt_in_italian_law
      https://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/weighing_the_ten_points
      https://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/Perugias_excellent_umbria24_posts_details
      https://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/appeal_session_1_more_results_
      https://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/appeal_session_3_sollecito_in_court_with_family_lawyer
      https://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/appeal_session_9_sollecito_team_concludes_prosecutor_crini_rebutts_def
      https://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/what_we_might_read_into_sollecito_lawyer_giulia_bongiornos_final_arguments
      https://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/defense_dirty_tricks_did_we_just_see
      https://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/highlights_of_the_nencini_report_1_the_attention_directed1

      5. Some Final Thoughts

      The ‘‘Appellate Trial’’ as known in Italy, does not have an equivalent in the Common Law Countries.  To be fair though, the Italian Supreme Court hearings (Corti di Cassazione) do resemble Common Law appeals in that they are fairly short hearings restricted to arguing various points of law.

      The goal of the ‘‘Appellate Trial’’ is to give the Defendants a huge amount of rights (including re-opening the case) not afforded in Common Law Countries.  Even after going through a full trial, it is an opportunity to re-examine much of the case.

      The ‘‘jury’’ of Appellate Trials not the ‘‘Panel of Judges’’ that many would think out here.

      https://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/rogue_juror_genny_ballerini_a_sure_sign_oggi_sees_its_conviction

      The option to testify (and especially to give Spontaneous Declarations) in an Appeal is unheard of in Common Law Appeals.

      However, both in Italy and in the Common Law, it is illegal to make false accusations or to sabotage the Court process.  AK doesn’t seem to have learned.

      Weak appeals in the Common Law would be thrown out at the preliminary stages, in Italy the burden seems to be much lower.

      The Trial and Appellate Trial Courts in Italy seem to go much more into detail about why they make their rulings.

      While it is normal to have a Common Law Appeal in just 1 day, the decision may be reserved for months.  Contrast this with an Italian Appellate Trial, which takes place over months, but the verdict is handed down at the end.

      This article is not meant to knock Italy in any way.  There are valid reasons for how things are done.  But without living in both regions, or having lots of exposure to both, few would know about these differences.

      *****

      Author’s Note: Pardon my lopsided detail when it comes to describing the process in Canada, as opposed to Italy.  If someone would like to come up with a more detailed version for Italian Appeals, it would go nicely.

      Posted by Chimera on 04/17/16 at 11:38 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineComments here (10)

      Another Effective Innovation By New York Police Is Being Duplicated By Others

      Posted by Peter Quennell



      Police horses, up to a dozen stroked and photographed each evening in the Times Square area


      In national US news any innovation of the New York police gets a lot of coverage.

      Those crowd-calming police horses seen nightly in the Times Square area go way back, and their presence was never reduced back when some other cities did so - often to their later regret.

      There is endemic pressure (especially after 9/11) to keep the city as safe as possible.

      From that sustained effort at systems improvement, other American police forces, some very besieged at the moment, attempt to learn something.

      New York police both themselves innovate and also adopt good ideas from elsewhere - not least from the brave, popular and effective police forces of Italy.

      We posted in January 2013 on New York’s adoption of an Italian approach to policing.

      One approach which seems a natural for Italy with all of its art is proving successful in New York now.

      Described in the NY Times today is this ongoing exercise in staring at artworks. The point being to sharpen the perceptions of investigators, and to put them all on the same page objectively.

      To teach people how to notice details they might otherwise miss, Amy E. Herman, an expert in visual perception, likes to take them to museums and get them to look at the art. Recently she escorted a group of New York City police officers to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and asked them to describe some of the things they saw.

      They did their best. “This seems to be a painting of some males with horses,” one officer said of Rosa Bonheur’s mid-19th-century work “The Horse Fair,” a scene of semi-chaos as horses are driven to market. He tried to abide by Ms. Herman’s admonishment to avoid words like “obviously.” “It appears to be daytime, and the horses appear to be traveling from left to right.”

      Another pair of officers tackled Picasso’s 1905 “At the Lapin Agile,” which depicts a wilted-looking couple sitting at a French bar after what might have been a long night out. “They appear to have had an altercation,” one observed. The other said, “The male and female look like they’re together, but the male looks like he’ll be sleeping on the couch.”

      The officers asked that their names not be used because they were not authorized to speak to reporters. They said that they did not know much about art “” their jobs allow little opportunity for recreational museumgoing “” and Ms. Herman said she preferred it that way.

      “I’ve had people say, “˜I hate art,’ and I say, “˜That’s not relevant,’” she said. “This is not a class about Pollock versus Picasso. I’m not teaching you about art today; I’m using art as a new set of data, to help you clear the slate and use the skills you use on the job. My goal when you walk out the door is that you’re thinking differently about the job.”

      A painting has many functions. It’s a cultural artifact, an aesthetic object, an insight into a time and a place, a piece of commerce. To Ms. Herman, it’s also an invaluable repository of visual detail that can help shed light on, say, how to approach a murder scene. “It’s extremely evocative and perfect for critical inquiry,” she said in an interview. “What am I seeing here? How do I attach a narrative to it?”

      One of the processes:

      Before unleashing the officers in the galleries, she talked to them in a classroom in the Met’s basement. She put up a slide of “Mrs. John Winthrop,” a 1773 portrait by John Singleton Copley. The painting, showing a woman sitting at a table holding little pieces of fruit, is considered a masterpiece of fine detail “” the intricacy of the lace trim on the lady’s gown, the rich decorations on her hat. But there’s a detail that’s so obvious, or maybe so seemingly irrelevant, that most people fail to mention it in their description.

      “Everyone sees that this is a woman with fruit, and 80 percent miss the mahogany table,” she said. (They also miss the woman’s reflection in the veneer.)

      Ms. Herman also displayed a pair of slides featuring reclining nudes: Goya’s “The Nude Maja” (1797-1800) and Lucian Freud’s 1995 “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping,” who is very fat. Ms. Herman asked the group to compare the pictures. “Most cops, when I ask this question, say it shows someone before and after marriage,” she said.

      Several officers raised their hands.

      “Uh, the woman at the bottom is more generously proportioned,” one said.

      “She is morbidly obese,” said another.

      “Right!” Ms. Herman said. “Don’t make poor word choices. Think about every word in your communication.”

      Ms. Herman, who has a new book out, “Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life,” came to her vocation in a roundabout way. She worked first as a lawyer, did not like it, took a job in the development office at the Brooklyn Museum and then moved to the Frick Collection. Earning a master’s degree in art history at night at Hunter College, she eventually became head of the Frick’s education department.

      There, inspired by a program in which Yale medical students studied works of art to better observe their patients, she helped devise a similar program for the Frick. Eventually she moved beyond medicine. She has been offering the courses full time as her own business since 2011; her clients include federal and local law enforcement agencies across the country, as well as medical students and business executives.

      Also successful elsewhere:

      Steve Dye, chief of police at the Grand Prairie Police Department in Texas, brought in Ms. Herman recently to talk to a group of officers from the region. He said her presentation was invaluable in showing the officers how to better observe and document their findings accurately and free from bias.

      “Some of the works of art she showed us, we wouldn’t notice the finer details,” he said. “And we’re supposed to be professional observers.”

      When forced to deconstruct paintings in group settings, people from different professions tend to respond differently.

      For cops it’s a natural.

      “The law enforcement community is much more forthcoming,” Ms. Herman said. “Cops will outtalk you every time. Doctors and medical students are much more inhibited. They don’t want to be wrong, and they never want to show that they are ignorant about anything.”

      The New York Police Department is one of Ms. Herman’s most important clients. She tailors her presentations to her audiences, and they are on the regular training curriculum at the detective bureau and the training bureau at the Police Academy; other divisions use her services from time to time. In general, her program is voluntary rather than mandatory.

      “Amy reminds officers to explore outside the box,” said Police Officer Heather Totoro, who added that the program helped officers in training because of its “uniqueness and power.”

      “She taps into officers’ unique sixth sense, teaching them to tell her what they see, not what they think.”

      Law enforcement officials tend to view the works through the lens of the job: Who has done what to whom? Where is the perp?

      “Sometimes they’ll say, “˜We have an E.D.P. here’ “” an emotionally disturbed person,” Ms. Herman said. Once she showed some officers El Greco’s “The Purification of the Temple,” which depicts Jesus expelling the traders and money-changers amid turmoil and mayhem.

      “One cop said, “˜I’d collar the guy in pink’” “” that would be Jesus “” “˜“because it’s clear that he’s causing all the trouble.’”

      Among the works she finds most interesting as a learning tool is Vermeer’s exquisitely ambiguous “Mistress and Maid,” a 1666-7 portrait of a lady seated at a table, handing over (or being handed) a mysterious piece of paper. “There are so many different narratives,” she said. “The analysts come away asking more questions than answers “” “˜Who’s asking the question? Who’s doing the talking? Who’s listening?’ The cops will say, “˜It’s a servant asking for the day off.’”

      She also likes “House of Fire,” a 1981 painting by James Rosenquist that has three absurdist parts: an upside-down bag of groceries, a bucket under a window shade, and a group of aggressively thrusting lipsticks. “It’s really conducive to good dialogue,” she said. “How many times do officers have to make order out of chaos? So many times in our work we come across things that don’t have a coherent narrative.”

      The officers in the class seemed impressed, both by Ms. Herman and by their grand surroundings.

      One officer said that she had learned “how to sit down with colleagues and deal with the fact that you can perceive things so differently from each other.” It was her first trip to the Met, or indeed to any art museum.

      “I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “It’s very Thomas Crown-ish, isn’t it?”

      Below: the Vermeer painting referred to, in the Frick Museum in New York


      How The Italian “Justice Tortoise” Is The Likely Winner Compared To For Example the US System

      Posted by Peter Quennell



      American prosecutor & jury - puzzle now over what system will make them share all evidence


      Look around you.

      The things you do to make a living. The running of your house and your garden. The education and general development of your children. The restaurants and metro railways and bus services. The police and military and football teams - and grand opera!

      All are purposeful systems.

      Purposeful systems have created all we have ever built on this planet - all wealth, all structures, all machines, all culture.  Typically any educated adult has within them at least 200 significant systems AKA their skill-set: cooking a meal, riding a bicycle, driving a car, using a computer, playing basketball.

      You probably dont have a manual for each of them but each time you exercise a skill you probably follow the same hard-learned steps each time you want the benefit obtained previously.

      One of the world’s great problems now - starkly seen in the British argument over its future in Europe, and in slow growth in the Arab world (the world’s slowest), and in China’s economy slowing and in anyone without a college degree likely to be worse off going forward - is that we are locked into whole huge arrays of these systems at various levels (family, corporate, city, country, region) that are archaic and mostly quite wrong for our needs going forward.

      And few are sure which of all of them add any real value. We are flying blind on a mammoth scale.

      With regard to the US as the main economic locomotive, in the 90s two very significant things happened. The East Asia economies really rocketed - because they adopted good systems pioneered by Japan, which itself had started out with many invented in America.

      And for a while at least, many Americans really began to “see” systems, and corporations started a huge push toward quality control. You can see one outcome in today’s automobile ads - cars largely sell on their reliability. Their drive systems and safety systems are what sells cars now.

      Latest thinking which we often touch on here is that tweaking of any systems anywhere has a short half-life, and after that the only way to get any better is to totally replace them.  Go down the road and start over. Jump to the next level through complete reinvention.

      After WWII Germany and Japan and Italy of necessity all did that and for most of the time since they really benefited.

      But right now, most systems in most countries are archaic and nobody - at least no political leader or candidate - seems to be able to arrive at the vision and technique vital to jumping to the next level. That in fact should really be done mostly bottom-up, with national politicians playing quite a minor role.

      “Path dependencies” like the myriad systems of the common market, many very old now, are today at least as deadly to our long-term future as any aliens from other planets.

      Italy is working to try to update its justice system right now and we will report on that shortly. At least in theory, it has one of the easiest tasks in the world, because post WWII its legal system was redesigned from the ground up. It had already junked bad aspects, some going back centuries.

      Italy already has some of the world’s smartest juries - jury service is compulsory, so smart people cannot dodge them. And the system already has some other very positive things going for it.

      Mainly what is needed is some weeding. And such reforms are made easier in Italy because (1) judges and prosecutors all follow career paths and so they are not politically competing with one another;  and (2) there is the Council of Magistrates (CSM) which can be very progressive in the reforms it pushes at its level.

      Overarching reform in the United States is way way more difficult because power is so diffused in the political system and the political system is so vast, and so split by ideologies, and there is no CSM.

      Here is an editorial in the New York Times about curbing the massive damage being done by over-zealous prosecutors - something already taken care of in the Italian system, despite the busload of idiots claiming otherwise.

      And here is a blog post calling the New York Times editorial a convoluted crackpot of a column and saying the Times should get real. At least in that way, reform aint ever going to happen.

      Hop on a plane, guys. Go to Italy, and learn something.

      Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/20/16 at 04:39 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineThe wider contextsItalian contextN America contextComments here (63)

      New Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi Might Ultimately Be The One To Push Justice Reforms Through

      Posted by Peter Quennell





      Prime Minister Renzi, previously a popular mayor of Florence, was elected on a promise to force justice and economic reforms through.

      He is now being buffeted on two fronts: by Euro-skeptics and Euro-separatists, and by an invisible coalition of MPs and bad guys who really dont want those reforms to go through.

      To fully understand why the justice reforms are bogged down this is a vital read though perhaps a bit harsh and in another post we will qualify it a bit.

      In large part the problem is within Mr Renzi’s own Democratic Party in the Parliament which Mr Renzi is not deft at handling.

      Mr Renzi’s party still leads in the polls, but the relatively new Five Star Movement is gaining fast. It stands for honesty in public life above all else.

      Virginia Raggi of the populist, Euro-skeptic Five Star Movement was a relatively unknown lawyer just a few months ago.

      In a landslide, she has just beaten Mr Renzi’s candidate for mayor of Rome. 

      Mr Renzi, who has worked hard on Angela Merkel to get all possible EC breaks,  had previously announced a referendum of Italy in October to see if he can get the Italian electorate to force his reforms through.

      He has said he would resign if the vote does not go his way.

      If he fails and he does resign, an election could put Five Star in power, and Virginia Raggi could be a top leader in Parliament. (in Italy, wearing two hats is allowed; see Giulia Bongiorno as the classic case.)

      In fact she could even end up as Prime Minister - which could result in female leadership in Germany (Merkel), England (May), the United States (Clinton) and Raggi in Italy.  Norway and Poland have female prime ministers too, and Scotland has one in effect.

      Well over half a billion people of the western world. Women often manage in an effective inclusionary style, which is maybe what we could use more of right now.

      Given the growing post-Brexit “monkeys-are-running-the-zoo” perception in other EC countries, more EC Exits soon dont seem in the cards.  Though they are very much for interactive democracy, Five Star is unlikely to stick Italy with a referendum on the EC any time soon.

      But on those reforms Ms Raggi would not be encumbered with a partially-corrupt party she would have to fight. Her effecting of the reforms could have Italy riding high morally and economically in Europe and the world.

      Dramatic stuff. A tragic pity Meredith misses all this.


      Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/30/16 at 12:10 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineThe wider contextsItalian contextComments here (19)

      Italian Justice: Describing A Fine System And How To Improve It

      Posted by Machiavelli

      [Revered prosecutor Paolo Borsellino was assassinated 1992 with probable political connivance]

      Trashing Of Justice System Gets Worse

      Does this Reuters report capture Italian justice correctly?

      We linked to it on 30 June and it seemed to have some key points missing. For example it omits, as English-language reports tend to:

        (1) that the system as originally designed strove above all to be fair,

        (2) that crime rates in Italy are low and murder rates lower and levels of incarceration and recidivism tiny by European standards.

        (3) that the police and justice system remain more popular and trusted than other institutions in Italy.

      More On The Hard Facts

      If we look at the facts, we could say that while it is true that Italian Justice System is somewhat dysfunctional as far as prosecuting white collar crimes and corruption - that is, politicians like Verdini - in fact if we read carefully, the precise reasons are:

        (1) It’s not the system itself but some of the laws, designed by politicians precisely in order to protect themselves, against the demands of the judiciaries;

        (2) The system is slow because, among other things, there are these unreasonable guarantees in favour of defence rights, which entail the right to series of appeals even on minor charges; besides making trials too long this also leads to a multiplication in the number of trials and of lawyers that embark on time-buying strategies and technicalities;

        (3) The main problems are the short statutes of limitations, which are designed in synergy with the aforementioned features. I would add another legal aspect:

        (4) The lack of an aggressive anti-corruption law; in Italy, judiciaries are basically prevented not only to effectively try corruption charges but also to even investigate them, because the law binds their hands; they are heavily restricted in their possibility to collect evidence, such as searching homes or wiretapping phone calls; they can do this only under certain limited conditions and only for just a few types of crimes.

        (5) Moreover, there are the political reasons: magistrates are under threat by the political system. The problem, here, is not the judiciary but the political system that has been trying to curb the independence of the judiciary for 25 years by various means, including laws and expedients, so that in fact there is an infiltration and an influence, as we know, and there is a chilling effect on magistrates that may have reasons to prosecute powerful people but naturally prefer to avoid problems.


      A very important thing to point out: it is not true that all of the judicial system requires some big “reform” - in fact, it requires only modest reforms, and reforms not of the judiciary but to just to the criminal law, would suffice.

      Such modifications should include reform of the statute of limitations, and better anti-corruption law that provide prosecutors with investigation tools.

      As for the procedure code, a cut to the number of charges that can be appealed. And in the penal code, a cut to the number of irrelevant charges that need to be tried by criminal courts (which could be settled elsewhere) leading to the notorious overloading of the system.

      One small, peripheral “reform” dealing with the political issue, could be simply a law that prevents judges from political activity in order to advance their career in the judiciary.

      We saw the classical example of Fifth Chambers Judge Gennaro Marasca: a politician who came back working in the justice system after spending years exchanging political favours and getting involved in financial scandals as the minister of budget in his administration, and then was legally allowed to exploit his previous political career and make it count in his resume as if it was a judicial career, so he got onto the Supreme Court. 

      But the big problem in Italy, as Judge Piercamillo Davigo has put it, is not the Judicial system. It’s society. The problem is that no system actually works if the members of the society do not intend to make it work, if there is a lack of political ethics.

      And also, there is no system or group that, in the long run, is not affected by the problems of the society it belongs to. When there is a regime, part of the judiciary always follows suit, because they don’t have real alternatives, individuals must comply with the system they are part of.

      If a society is politically corrupt, part of the judiciary will become politically corrupt as a consequence, they have no alternative and it’s unavoidable.  There is no law or reform itself that can change personal behaviours alone, we do not live under constant surveillance: an internalization of values is needed, the behaviour of citizens and people in power needs to be ethical, in order to have efficient justice.

      As for the Five Star movement: I wouldn’t call it “pro-justice-reform”, as we can see, there is not really a political debate in Italy or in the Party about the need for any big reform, it’s attention to just some laws that are needed, among them that anti-corruption law.

      The Five-Star movement has an anti-corruption stance and an anti-establishment stance. But rather than pro-reform, they are pro-justice, and generally pro-magistrates. This means they tend to side with the positions of judiciaries against the demands of the traditional political forces.

      Judge Piercamillo Davigo is Director of Criminal Chambers II and the Penalties Joint Section at the Court of Cassation . Since April 2016 he has also been president of the National Magistrates Association (CSM).  He is an idol of the Five Star movement’s voters - albeit he does not have a political position.

      On a practical level this could be seen as if the Five Star movement would like to see more criminals in jail and the prosecutors prosecuting more, while the Democrats and their allies and the other traditional parties would like the power of justice to be limited (they are the ones who designed the “inefficient” features of the system to their advantage, after all). 

      Once again, the problems of inefficiency etc, in Italy does not come from the judicial system; they come from the political system. It’s the political system that has become inefficient, stuck and unstabile. There has been a lack of dynamic democracy for decades. Once the political establishment of Italy was related to mafia in many areas and there is still a murky system of power.

      The “inefficiency” of the judicial system is only a mirror of this problem, that is the effect of the political establishment trying to take control of the system, or to block it or hinder it when control fails.

      Both the political powers and organized crime have long also employed other methods when the previous failed, such as ad personam attacks against specific magistrates.

      Former prosecutor Luigi De Magistris - the mayor of Naples - is an example of the political powers striking back against a magistrate who investigated them: they managed to ruin his career with the help of other complacent judges who waged war against him, and forced him out of the judiciary.

      But they did not blow his popularity: the people supported him and he was elected mayor, antagonizing the national political powers.

      It’s important to point out that what happened to Dr Mignini is exactly the same: he was prosecuted for alleged non-existent abuses because he disturbed powerful circles with “destabilizing” investigations into the Narducci case, then all charges were dropped, and the investigation proved illegitimate, but they managed to block the investigation on the Narducci case and hindered his career somewhat.

      Other judges were less lucky: Paolo Borsellino for example was killed with the probable help of the Italian state. Many others died also.


      So Where Would YOU Want To Go On Trial? In Italy Or In The U.S.?

      Posted by Peter Quennell





      One reason so many still follow Meredith’s case is because justice has not yet been SEEN to be done.

      Maybe 9 out of 10 Italians think this.

      Over the years the Italian justice system has become immensely tilted against prosecutors and victims at trial. Right now it is one of the toughest - or if you like, most lenient - anywhere in the world.

      Read for example Nicki and Commissario Montalbano for two among our numerous posts on this. 

      We have still not seen even ONE American lawyer claim that after the first trial in 2009 which found RS and AK guilty that there were strong grounds for an appeal.

      In the US, back in 2009, full prison terms would have been begun. And in fact virtually nothing at the 2009 trial was challenged in the appeal.

      But the defenses subversively organized to get Civil Judge Hellmann instead of Criminal Judge Chiari to preside, and in 2011 a farcical “not guilty” outcome was the result.  And so there was a repeat of AK’s and RS’s first appeal, in 2013-14.

      And finally, in 2015, due to more subversive defense machinations with a little mafia help, the final Supreme Court appeal was assigned to the FIFTH Chambers, for the first murder appeal that Chambers has ever heard.

      A second farcical “not guilty” outcome was the result.

      Say what you like about the American system, there is not remotely any parallel in its judicial history to all of that.  Quite the opposite in fact. We have had various posts pointing to an increasingly hard line in the US.

      This is one not necessarily sought or appreciated by prosecutors or judges, who usually like trials and want to see juries of peers call the final shots.

      It is actually being imposed by Federal and State politicians, many of whom were prosecutors themselves. Bizarre jury outcomes as at the OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony trials contributed somewhat to this trend.

      One result is a trend the exact opposite of Italy’s - the increasing elimination of juries and even of trials altogether. The New York Times explains.

      The criminal trial ended more than two and a half years ago, but Judge Jesse M. Furman can still vividly recall the case. It stands out, not because of the defendant or the subject matter, but because of its rarity: In his four-plus years on the bench in Federal District Court in Manhattan, it was his only criminal jury trial…

      The Southern District held only 50 criminal jury trials last year, the lowest since 2004, according to data provided by the court. The pace remains slow this year.

      In 2005, records show, there were more than double the number of trials: 106. And decades ago, legal experts said, the numbers were much higher.

      “It’s hugely disappointing,” said Judge Jed S. Rakoff, a 20-year veteran of the Manhattan federal bench. “A trial is the one place where the system really gets tested. Everything else is done behind closed doors.”

      Legal experts attribute the decline primarily to the advent of the congressional sentencing guidelines and the increased use of mandatory minimum sentences, which transferred power to prosecutors, and discouraged defendants from going to trial, where, if convicted, they might face harsher sentences.

      In 1997, according to federal courts data nationwide, 3,200 of 63,000 federal defendants were convicted in jury trials; in 2015, there were only 1,650 jury convictions, out of 81,000 defendants.

      Former Judge John Gleeson, who in March stepped down from the federal bench in Brooklyn to enter private practice, noted in a 2013 court opinion that 81 percent of federal convictions in 1980 were the product of guilty pleas; in one recent year, the figure was 97 percent.

      Judge Gleeson wrote that because most pleas are negotiated before a prosecutor prepares a case for trial, the “thin presentation” of evidence needed for indictment “is hardly ever subjected to closer scrutiny by prosecutors, defense counsel, judges or juries.”

      “The entire system loses an edge,” he added, “and I have no doubt that the quality of justice in our courthouses has suffered as a result.”

      The article lists a number of resulting ill effects. Will the Knox apologists be up in arms? Dont hold your breath.

      Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/09/16 at 12:52 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in • Comments here (32)

      A Majority May Vote “No” In Referendum 4 December, Maybe Transforming Prospects In Meredith’s Case

      Posted by Peter Quennell

       
      The justice chunk of the huge package of reforms Italy is voting on 4 December probably appeal to pretty well everybody.

      They address the awful slowness of the Italian courts and the repetitions of process steps to get it “just right” which too often result in just the opposite. They would tilt back a little toward the victim who too often gets “disappeared” just as Meredith did.

      But they are chained to the parliamentary, economic and educational reforms, which PM Renzi cooked up with ex-PM Berlusconi. Maybe not such a smart idea.

      They passed with only a bare majority in parliament, hence the referendum. Hence also Renzi’s promise to resign as Prime Minister if the electorate votes against them.

      Those reforms are seen by young people in particular as amounting to a powergrab by the center-right and a move away from free college-level education (just when the US may be about to do the opposite).

      PM Renzi may or may not have angled for the strange Fifth Chambers outcome in Meredith’s case. But he lost popularity for seeming bending to widely-suspected US arm-bending on this and some other issues even though he and President Obama seem to have not much in common.

      If Renzi does go, we are told that prospects for a turnaround in Meredith’s case could become dramatically better. The politics would become right for this case to proceed.

      Keep watching! 

      Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/02/16 at 04:59 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineThe wider contextsItalian contextEurope contextComments here (2)

      Italians Inside And Outside Italy Are voting Today On PM Renzi’s Proposed Reforms.

      Posted by Peter Quennell

      Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/04/16 at 10:00 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineThe wider contextsItalian contextComments here (15)

      Fake News Provably Propagated By The “No” Parties Making Questionable The Referendum Outcome

      Posted by Peter Quennell



      PM Renzi is reported as being in a fighting-back mood.

      A main reason is that alarmist fake news has hit Italy on the Internet big-time and he claims it may have tilted the final count and perhaps even caused the “Yes” faction to lose.

      The main purveyor of alarmist fake news on the Internet might have been the Five Star Movement which runs a number of sites. See the NY Times report here.

      Fake news on the Internet plagued the US election, and it may even have tilted the result. Russia is conclusively pointed to as a main propagator, if not the only one.

      Trump’s National Security Advisor and his son were tweeting a conspiracy theory that has just led to an unrepentant crackpot storming into a Washington restaurant and firing off a gun.

      Almost every day a new violent incident is being reported as caused by fake news. Today another Internet-infected crackpot was indicted and she may face 20 years inside.

      Did fake news actually begin with mainstream media? See the video at the top which argues that it did. Meredith’s case has been plagued by a massive volume of fake news in the main media over the past nine years. Netflix continues that trend.

      In Perugia the fake news has led to a number of threats of violence and angry verbal rants, some by the Netflix team themselves.

      In our next post, we’ll list some of the hundreds of writers of articles and books about Meredith’s case and TV talking heads who have propagated fake news.

      Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/08/16 at 10:39 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineThe wider contextsItalian contextComments here (9)

      Interim Prime Minister, Which Points to Renzi Back On Top Soon & Bad News For RS & Knox

      Posted by Peter Quennell



      Why is this maybe not the worst outcome for Meredith’s case? 

      Well Mr Renzi has had more than enough of fake news which perverted both this case and his referendum. 

      President Obama and the faction in the US State Department hornswoggled by the Knox PR will be gone by the end of January. A President Trump already ticked off by Knox’s ingratitude will be in charge.

      And Rome politics suggests neither Mr Gentiloni nor Mr Renzi would want to place any further roadblocks in front of popular legal initiatives such as this.


      Justice Systems Comparisons #6: Common Law (US Etc) V. Civil (Italian) On Double Jeopardy

      Posted by Chimera



      Palazzo Giustizia above in Reggio Calabria, below in Naples

      1. The Series Context

      You’d think there’d be lots of comparisons at national level between the two great justice systems of the world. But really there are not.

      The dishonest Knox and Sollecito PR often uses disparities between the Italian and US/UK systems to confuse, and to try to make the excellent Italian system look bad. 

      The common-law lawyers from the US and UK who post here on Italy sometimes say they have to study quite a bit to get things straight. UK lawyer James Raper’s excellent book translates some of the key concepts that can be confused as he did here.

      These are my previous five posts. I use the Canadian system as the common law example. But as the posts explain, the US and UK systems are pretty close. 

      Click here for post:  Justice System Comparisons #1: Had Meredith’s Murder Taken Place In Canada 

      Click here for post:  Justice System Comparisons #2: Canada’s Tough Penalties For Slander, False Accusations, Perjury 

      Click here for post:  Justice System Comparisons #3: Bail, Extradition, and More Crimes In Canadian Law 

      Click here for post:  Justice System Comparisons #4: How Canada And Italy Shape Up Against The USJustice System Comparisons #4: How Canada And Italy Shape Up Against The US 

      Click here for post:  Justice Systems Comparisons #5: How Appeals Differ in Italy and Common Law Countries 

      2. Double Jeopardy

      Much angry noise has been made about the October 2011 “acquittal” of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito by the Hellmann appeal court in the murder of Meredith Kercher.  The claim was been made that an acquittal at trial means that under American law, it would be “double jeopardy” and hence, illegal, under American law.

      While the “appellate trial” differs considerably from appeals in Common Law countries, it is still an appeal.  Portions of the case can be reopened, but the Trial Court’s original findings are the starting point.  It is not meant to be a “new trial”, nor to re-try the case.

      “If” an Appeals Court releases a defendant, it is not double jeopardy, as it is not a Trial Court.  They do not try the case, but rather examine it for errors.  Further if a 1st level appeal releases someone, the prosecution can still seek a higher level of appeal.

      Read Harvard Law School’s Alan Dershowitz here.

      3. Legal Outcomes 2007-09

      • November 6, 2007—AK and RS were charged for rape and murder of MK, alongside PL, whom Knox has accused as the actual killer

      • November 9, 2007—AK/RS faced Judge Claudia Matteini, to see if they could be released conditionally (their 1st Court hearing), and to get a brief assessment of the Prosecution case.  While FoAK crow about there being no bail in Italy, this hearing seems eerily similar to a bail hearing.

      • November 30, 2007—AK/RS challenged Judge Matteini’s decisions (their 2nd Court hearing), and Judge Massimo Ricciarelli presided over a 3 Judge panel which confirmed the detention, but with Rudy Guede as the 3rd person, as opposed to PL.

      • April 1, 2008—AK/RS tried to get released again (their 3rd Court hearing on the matter), and the 5 Judge Cassation panel headed by Judge Torquato Gemelli denied the request, and even the lesser request of house arrest

      • September/October 2008—Pretrial (and Guede’s short form trial) presided over by Judge Paolo Micheli.  Judge Micheli convicted RG, and sent AK/RS to trial.

      • December 2009—AK and RS were convicted at trial by the Court of Judge Giancarlo Massei.


      4. Legal Outcomes 2010-15

      In 2010 AK/RS then chose to APPEAL those convictions and filed such an appeal.

      • October 2011—AK/RS were “acquitted” of murder by the Appellate Court headed by Hellmann and Zanetti, though the Calunnia conviction was upheld.

      The Prosecution then filed a SECONDARY APPEAL to the Court of Cassation

      • March 2013—AK/RS had their “acquittal” by H/Z annulled, while the calunnia conviction was upheld, with aggravating factors added back on.

      AK/RS chose to file ANOTHER APPEAL of the 2009 Trial Conviction, this time it went to Florence.  Not a new trial, but another appeal.  Knox didn’t show up.

      • January 2014—AK/RS had their 2009 conviction “confirmed” by the Court of Judge Nencini, with a small sentence increase for AK.

      AK/RS then filed a SECONDARY APPEAL to the Court of Cassation.  The 5th Chambers took the case.

      • March 2015—AK/RS had their convictions thrown out by the panel of Bruno/Marasca.  However, the report released in September 2015 didn’t actually say they were innocent.  in fact, the report placed AK at the crime scene, and RS probably so.  The Court found both had lied repeatedly.


      5. These Damning Posts Relate

      Click here for post:  The Knox Interrogation Hoax #13: The First Two Opportunities Knox Flunked: Matteini & Ricciarelli

      Click here for post:  Tape ‘puts Knox at Meredith murder scene’

      Click here for post:  The Knox Interrogation Hoax #14: The Third Opportunity Knox Flunked: The Mignini Interview

      Click here for post:  The Knox Interrogation Hoax #15: Dr Mignini’s Account Of Formal Warning Session Ending 5:45 AM

      Click here for post:  The Knox Interrogation Hoax #16: The Fourth Opportunity Knox Flunked: The Supreme Court

      Click here for post:  The Knox Interrogation Hoax #18: The Final Pre-Trial Opportunities Which Knox Flunked

      6. Two Constitutions Compared

      (A) U.S. Constitution, 5th Amendment

      No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


      (B) Canada Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Part 11(h)

      11. Any person charged with an offence has the right…. (h) if finally acquitted of the offence, not to be tried for it again and, if finally found guilty and punished for the offence, not to be tried or punished for it again;....

      Notes: Both the U.S and Canadian Justice systems prohibit a person from being punished twice for the same offence.  The main distinction is the word “finally” in the Canadian system.  In the American system, an acquittal is the end of the matter, barring some obscene act, such as bribing a judge.  Is the Canadian system, an acquittal “may” be appealed in extremely limited cases, such as gross misconduct, or clearly inappropriate handling by the Trial Court.

      7. Standard for Review

      (A) U.S. Appeals

      Click here for post:  Definitions: legal concepts for appeal

      Matters of Fact—May be challenged if the they are reviewed in a clearly erroneous manner

      Matters of Law—Must be considered “de novo” as if there was no finding before

      Matters of Discretion—Judges are given wide discretion and it is usually accepted, unless there are clear errors, or the conclusion is illogical


      (B) Canadian Appeals

      The standard is set by Housen v. Nikolaisen

      Click here for post:  Housen v. Nikolaisen Supreme Court Judgment

      Factual Findings—These are typically “given deference”, unless the Appellant can show “overriding, palpable error”.

      Legal Findings—The Standard is whether the law was “correctly” applied.

      In layman’s terms, Appeals Courts “defer” to the Trial Court on the fact findings.  They assume that the Trial Court is in a better position to see and to examine the case.  They will not interfere unless there is a clear, and provable error that effected the outcome.  Surprisingly, it is a much higher standard than challenging the law.

      Notes: In both US and Canadian appeals, the Courts tend to accept factual findings unless there is very clearly an error.  Both also tend to view potential legal matters as needing to be consistently applied.  Both Courts also tend to accept the Trial Court’s discretionary decisions unless something is obviously off.  Although the language used varies, the standards quite similar.

      8. Cases of “Double Jeopardy”

      (A) “Double Jeopardy” U.S.A.

      Harry Aleman

      This involved a man who was “acquitted” in a murder case.  However, it was later found that the trial judge, Frank Wilson had been bribed to the tune of $10,000, and that the trial had been rigged.  Prosecutors appealed, successfully, that since the case had been pre-arranged, the defendant had never been in jeopardy, and hence there was no “double jeopardy”.  Eventually this was confirmed by the US Supreme Court.

      Click here for post:  Wikipedia: Harry Aleman

      Click here for post:  Aleman v Cook County

      Click here for post:  Man Faces 2d Trial on Murder Charge

      Click here for post:  Exception To Double Jeopardy


      (B) CANADA

      Most of the cases which involved an acquittal being appealed were cases of sexual assault where the Trial Judge grossly mishandled the manner

      Here is a particularly harsh appeal review:

      Click here for post:  Reasons for judgment:  underage sexual attacker

      Some media reports on the topic

      Click here for post:  Crown appealing sex assault acquittal of taxi driver

      Click here for post:  Judge asked complainant why she couldn’t just keep knees together

      Click here for post:  Chief judge launches review of Edmonton judge

      Click here for post:  Third Alberta judge faces review

      Click here for post:  4 Alberta judges under scrutiny

      Note: To a degree, this is comparing apples and oranges.  The US case of Harry Aleman was a case where a defendant literally “bought” a murder acquittal for a mere $10,000.  The Canadian cases listed were ones where the Trial Judge was grossly incompetent, and either unable or unwilling to handle a sexual assault case properly.  However, in both sets of circumstances, justice is not served at the trial court level, so it has to be “redone”.

      Note: Also, in the cases of mistrials, re-trials of defendants are often permitted, depending on the circumstances.

      9. How This Compares to Italy

      (Some additional input from knowledgeable people appreciated)

      1. The trial (the one and only trial), took place throughout 2009—the Massei Court—and it was to try the facts, and to hear testimony.

      2. The 1st level appeal, an appellate trial (requested by AK/RS) was to determine if any major errors had been committed that would have changed the outcome.  And, unlike in the Common Law, the Defense could reopen portions of the case.

      3. The 2nd level appeal—to the Court of Cassation—is to determine if there were any serious legal errors, or if the Lower Court rulings were based on illogical or contradictory thoughts.  It is not to retry the case, or rehear the evidence.

      4. The “Appellate Trial” doesn’t exist in the Common Law systems, rather there is a clear distinction between “trial” and “appeal”.  Italy allows this step in a benefit to Defendants which would not otherwise be available.

      5. Another benefit for Italian Defendants: those 2 appeals are available upon request.  Under the Canadian/US laws, defendants can immediately file notice of appeal on the 1st instance, though it can be dismissed before the hearing.  For 2nd level appeals, leave is required (“leave” is legalese for “permission”), which is difficult to get.

      6. Acquittals in Italian Courts can be overturned if it was based on clear errors in law, or illogical conclusions, just as Canadian cases can.  That is what happened with the Hellmann ruling.

      7. Acquittals in Italian Courts can be overturned if there was clear misconduct or illegal action which altered the outcome.

      10. Footnote

      The Italian appeal standard seems to be closer to the Canadian model.  The American system (so far) requires blatant criminal behaviour, not just incompetence.


      Posted by Chimera on 07/13/17 at 08:22 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineComments here (9)

      Justice Systems Comparisons #7: Common Law (US Etc) V. Civil (Italian) On Self-Represented Litigants

      Posted by Chimera

      One Of Many Self-Help Videos Now Springing Up Online

      1. The Series Context

      Several posts since my previous one drew attention to an estimated 200,000 or more poor Americans wrongly sitting in prison.

      They are there because trial outcomes differ widely according to how much those charged can afford to pay or can handle their defense on their own, and there are pressures (political and economic) to keep the partly privatised prisons full to capacity.

      Oh, those who have been slamming Italian justice forgot to tell you that?! 

      Italian perps remain MUCH better off, but this post explains progress elsewhere now being made.

      Here are my previous six posts. I use the Canadian system as the common law example. But as the posts explain, the US and UK systems are pretty close. 

      Click here for post: Justice System Comparisons #1: Had Meredith’s Murder Taken Place In Canada 

      Click here for post: Justice System Comparisons #2: Canada’s Tough Penalties For Slander, False Accusations, Perjury 

      Click here for post: Justice System Comparisons #3: Bail, Extradition, and More Crimes In Canadian Law 

      Click here for post: Justice System Comparisons #4: How Canada And Italy Shape Up Against The US 

      Click here for post: Justice Systems Comparisons #5: How Appeals Differ in Italy and Common Law Countries 

      Click here for post: Justice Systems Comparisons #6: Common Law (US Etc) V. Civil (Italian) On Double Jeopardy

      2. Rights And Protections Of Self Represented Litigants

      In 2006, the Canadian Judicial Counsel released their STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES ON SELF REPRESENTED LITIGANTS AND ACCUSED PERSONS.  Here is a direct link to that article.

      Among some of those well intentioned principles are:

      (a) Self-represented persons should not be denied relief on the basis of a minor or easily rectified deficiency in their case.

      (b) Judges should ensure that procedural and evidentiary rules are not used to unjustly hinder the legal interests of self-represented persons.

      (c) Judges and court administrators should do whatever is possible to provide a fair and impartial process and prevent an unfair disadvantage to self-represented persons.

      (d) Judges, the courts and other participants in the justice system have a responsibility to promote access to the justice system for all persons on an equal basis, regardless of representation.

      The Alberta Court of Appeal (May 2, 2016) allowed the appeal.

      Now, the Supreme Court of Canada has endorsed the document and from this point, all Judges/Justices/JP will be obligated to follow it when one or more parties before them is self-represented.

      Pintea v. Johns, 2017 SCC 23 (CanLII)

      Pintea v. Johns

      Valentin Pintea v. Dale Johns, et al.

      In laymen’s terms, the gross imbalance between represented/unrepresented litigants will shrink.

      The Courts will now be obligated to go the extra mile to ensure that the proceedings are done fairly, and in the overall interests of justice.  The ruling goes even further than what may be expected.

      “Judges have a responsibility to inquire whether self-represented persons are aware of their procedural options, and to direct them to available information if they are not. Depending on the circumstances and nature of the case, judges may explain the relevant law in the case and its implications, before the self-represented person makes critical choices.”

      So Canada, and to a degree the United States, is trending towards self representation.

      Litigants already represent themselves in small claims court, family court, traffic, landlord/tenant disputes, and occasionally in criminal court.

      To be fair though, routine self-representation in criminal court is a long ways off.  However, the pattern seems to be moving away from using lawyers, which many people believe to be expensive and largely ineffectual.

      Also noteworthy is that in the Canadian Provinces of Ontario and British Columbia, paralegals are becoming more common as an alternative to lawyers. 

      Again, the price involved deters most people from hiring lawyers.  Why pay 10 times as much for the same service?  Why pay for a lawyer when many farm their work out to paralegals? Other Provinces have something similar, as do many U.S. States.

      Ontario: How Can a Paralegal Help?

      British Columbia Paralegal Assoc

      3. A Final Thought

      Justice should be available to everyone, not just those who can dig deep for a lawyer.  The options of lower cost legal help, and the new requirements of Judges to ensure fairness, will likely go a long way to seeing this happen.

      Posted by Chimera on 08/27/17 at 04:25 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The judical timelineComments here (3)

      Excellent Series By Doug Poppa On How Weak Systems Failed Las Vegas In Mass Shooting

      Posted by Peter Quennell





      Please click here.

      If that link works for you, you should be seeing in real time as they go online all the media reports of the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 1st.

      Scroll down and see how many (if any) analyze which Vegas police and casino security systems failed all those who died.

      Not so many, right? Much (rightly) reported on the victims and much (rightly) on the psychology of the shooter and much (rightly) on the future economy of Vegas and much (rightly) on violent deaths that have happened since elsewhere.

      But on the precise weaknesses of the systems that failed the casinos and the cops and Vegas as a whole… not so much.

      Part of the problem is that media rarely have the right expertise. Even if they do, it is deliberately made hard in these fields for outsiders to peer within.

      We have often remarked on how hard it is for different jurisdictions and whole nations to learn from one another. The apex justice academy in the US, John Jay College, hosted a global conference where the keynote speaker blatantly lied without push-back about the justice system in Italy (see here and here and here)..

      Amazingly, only a BALTIMORE newspaper (over 2,000 miles away) so far is carrying a professional’s detailed observations of which systems had gone wrong or fallen short - findings that could matter most in saving future lives.

      Doug Poppa has some national fame (see bio at the end of each report below) and has been featured on Inside Edition, A Current Affair, and CBS News’ Street Stories. He told us he offered the series to national media outlets but did not yet hear back.

      So media systems are at fault here as well - no great surprise to us.

      These are the Poppa reports in the Baltimore Post-Examiner so far. Any more appearing will be added. If you only have time to tread one right now, it was the fifth (“Three weeks after the Las Vegas massacre and what do we know?”) that first caught our eye.

      1. Las Vegas Police change timeline of shooting

      2. Former Navy Seal: Las Vegas gunman’s room was not a contained situation

      3. Las Vegas casinos are in bed with the police

      4. Las Vegas Judge orders MGM Resorts International not to destroy evidence

      5. Three weeks after the Las Vegas massacre and what do we know?

      6. Paddock not first shooter on an MGM Resorts International property

      7. Who is in charge of the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay shooting investigation?

      8. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police under FBI public corruption probe

      9. Why Las Vegas police opened fire in Paddock’s room still a mystery

      10. Why trust anything Sheriff Lombardo or MGM Resorts International say

      As many newspapers do eventually scroll reports out of sight here are the key parts of the extraordinary 22 October report.

      Three weeks after the Las Vegas massacre and what do we know?

      By Doug Poppa · October 22, 2017
      ·
      Well, not much except the fact that 58 people are dead and more than 500 injured and domestic terrorist Stephen Paddock was the lone shooter, so we are told.

      Paddock murdered 58 people, authorities claim. His act of violence upon the general population was responsible for not only their murders, but for the wounding and all other injuries caused by his actions to over 500 people, police say. As far as I am concerned he committed his crime in Clark County in the State of Nevada. Under the laws of Nevada, he is a domestic terrorist.

      I guess it’s more politically correct to call him a mass murderer than a domestic terrorist at least in Las Vegas.

      Anything else that we were told at this point is speculation, rumor and in the words of Clark County Sheriff, Joe Lombardo who runs the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, “unverified.”

      Instead of giving facts to the public the sheriff decided that he would give us unverified information just to appease the public’s demand for information. He said that himself.

      Las Vegas Police found 23 firearms in Paddock’s 32nd floor room at Mandalay Bay. (Police photo)

      That was Lombardo’s excuse when he changed the timeline of when Mandalay Bay Security Officer Jesus Campos got shot. At first, Lombardo told us that happened at 9:59 p.m., a full six minutes before he said the gunman, Stephen Paddock, opened fire on the crowd. Then a week later Lombardo changed that timeline and said that Campos got shot around the same time that Paddock opened fire at 10:05 p.m.

      That indeed may be true, but although Lombardo said that the police have evidence that can corroborate that, he provided the press with nothing to back up those assertions.

      Then we heard when the LVMPD first interviewed Campos after the shooting something was wrong. The FBI had to bring Campos back in to re-interview him because the FBI realized that the original timeline didn’t purport to what Campos told the LVMPD.

      Were the investigators that inexperienced that it took two weeks to come up with an entirely new timeline or is there another agenda here?

      It doesn’t sound like the LVMPD detectives I worked with during my 20 years in the casino industry.

      Was the FBI responsible for correcting one of the worst public relations nightmares in modern law enforcement history?

      The FBI is not without criticism here either.

      Less than 24 hours after the massacre the FBI told the media that so far there was no connection between Paddock and any group. Wow, that must be the fastest investigation in FBI history, especially when they said they recovered numerous electronic devices that were being analyzed by the FBI laboratory.

      The new timeline if true, seems to favor MGM Resorts International, the owners of the Mandalay Bay, whose major worry right now is lawsuits and their bottom line.

      They pulled off two publicity stunts by having the two employees who were on the 32nd floor and were shot at, with one being hit, speak on national television. All that did was lead to more questions.

      The initial investigation might be nothing more than poor police work, still it should never have taken two weeks to get a definitive timeline.

      The national media and local media did a horrible job covering this tragedy as far as the press conferences went.

      The media did a poor job of scrutinizing the police radio traffic from Oct. 1, the night of the massacre, or if they did they didn’t raise questions about how the radio traffic contradicted statements made by the LVMPD and MGM Resorts International.

      The media focused entirely only on the shooting at the concert venue and the shooter.

      There was much more going on that night. Las Vegas was being attacked, at least that’s the what the police initially believed. For hours the police were responding to active shooter incidents all over the Las Vegas strip. That is a story in and of itself. Who was calling all those calls in and why? What’s the status of that investigation or is there one?

      Could that have been done to see how the police would respond to active shooters at multiple properties?

      Broadcasting every tactical move the police were making that night unencrypted, for all the world to hear was a major mistake. It could have gotten police officers and civilians killed had it been a genuine terrorist attack in Las Vegas. To add insult to injury those recordings are available on the internet for any nut case or terrorist to analyze and study.

      Three weeks later we have heard nothing of why a SWAT officer discharged his weapon inside the gunman’s room when we were told that Paddock was already dead when they entered. The Baltimore Post-Examiner was the first to break that story.

      Was it an accidental discharge and if so who was injured?

      The SWAT officer told the dispatcher after they cleared the room that a SWAT officer discharged his weapon, and there were no other injuries. He also said that they had one suspect down at this point and that was the room they were firing from.  Little things like that bother me, maybe nothing there, but I want answers.

      Early on, the police told the media that Paddock was inside the room alone during his stay. There is no video surveillance in the hallway at Mandalay Bay, no video surveillance in the stairwells at Mandalay Bay. The only camera we are told is at the elevator core.

      When I was still working in the industry I knew of only five properties that had video surveillance in the halls of the guest rooming areas, MGM Grand, Tropicana, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood and the Stratosphere.

      Anyone at any time could have come up or down from the stairwells and entered his room without ever being seen.

      The lock interrogation on the door lock would only indicate that a key card was placed into the lock. It cannot tell you who put the key card in the door.

      Did forensic analysis of the interior of the room lead the police to believe he was inside alone for his entire stay? And how could that have been completed so fast?

      Fingerprints lifted from the room, DNA samples obtained from glasses, dishes, cigarettes, toilet, towels, etc. would be analyzed. But that is also a problem to because there would be fingerprints, and DNA left from prior occupants of the room and the hotel staff.

      If Paddock is indeed the only suspect, then there will no criminal case, you can’t prosecute a dead body. The LVMPD should start releasing whatever evidence they have to corroborate the timeline to include all the 911 Communications Center telephone calls and dispatch recordings. We wouldn’t want anything getting deleted or altered.

      Release Campos’ written voluntary statement to the police and his recorded interview with police investigators. That would be a good start.

      Why did the LVMPD request additional armored vehicles from a private company the night of the shooting?

      The Baltimore Post-Examiner was the first to break that story too. Does not the LVMPD have adequate armored vehicles to protect their police officers and the public and if not, why? Is it to protect the image of the city, so it doesn’t appear the police are militarized, after all that wouldn’t be politically correct?

      I guess the hell with officer safety. Again, adding insult to injury they broadcasted over the police radio that night for all the world to hear that the LVMPD is short on armored vehicles.

      Why is it that not all LVMPD police officers have AR-15 platform type rifles in their vehicles? Some do if they are assigned to special units. Others don’t, and I am told that they must purchase those rifles out of their own pocket. What’s going on here Lombardo? Are you more concerned with running a politically correct police department or one that should have available all the equipment needed?

      Purchase additional armored vehicles and store them at each area command in the county so they would be available for a rapid response, to hell with being politically correct.

      Initiate Hercules teams as they did in New York City and have them patrolling the strip every day.

      If the police need armored vehicles, give it to them. If police officers need rifles and other gear, give it to them.  A rich tourist city like Las Vegas and if the police officers don’t have the equipment they need to keep themselves and the public safe then that is a freaking disgrace.

      Why the police waited for over an hour to enter Paddock’s room when they weren’t even sure he was still inside the room, evident by the radio traffic that night, is another question?

      Let’s wait for SWAT my ass. Paddock could have been out ready to do more carnage. Nobody knew for sure until they went into the room.

      Plenty of things bother me with this case.  Why Paddock brought 23 rifles into the room seems like overkill for a one-man operation.

      Why he stopped shooting after only ten minutes and then allegedly shot himself in the head, when he had enough ammunition and armament to hold off the police for hours and or keep firing bothers me.

      The leaked crime scene photographs also raise some questions. I want to see the coroner’s report, estimated time of death, gunshot wound, etc. Also, the blood splatter patterns near the body.

      Paddock was registered under his own name. Lombardo also changed Paddock’s check-in date more than a week after the shooting. First, Lombardo told us that Paddock checked in on the 28th then revised that to the 25th of September. His girlfriend was added to the registration. Why, if she wasn’t there?

      Then the sheriff had the nerve to say that wasn’t breaking news.

      I have some breaking news of my own for the sheriff.

      Your department is investigating the worst mass shooting in United States history.

      If you can foul up something so simple as when someone checked into a hotel room in Las Vegas why should we believe anything.

      Here’s another thing that bugged me that night.

      I knew well before midnight that Paddock was the suspect who had slaughtered all those people less than two hours before.

      Not because I was involved with Paddock, but because the police told me. They even told me where he lived. Yes, they did. They didn’t only just tell me, they broadcasted it for anyone who was listening.

      “Control, copy some information. Potential name, related with the suspect.” “Go ahead.” “There was a player’s card that was out on the countertop next to the wallet of the suspect who is 419 [dead]. Break. It is an M Life platinum players card with the name of Marilou Danley. Mary-adam-robert-ida-lincoln-ocean-union. Last name is Danley, david-adam-nora-lincoln-easy-yellow.” “Copy.”

      “That radio traffic, what was that last radio traffic?” “It looks like that name I gave you shares an address with the suspect. We can give you that address if you need to send units there.” “OK, go ahead when you’re ready.” “That’s 1372 Babbling Brook Court, and that’s in Mesquite, Nevada. Babbling Brook Court. Send resident officers there.” “Copy, 1372 Babbling Brook Court in Mesquite. Units be advised.” “It’s his driver’s license address as well.”

      The police didn’t know that night if the shooter was acting alone, if this was a terrorist attack and there were others involved, specifically since they were responding to calls for active shooters at other Strip properties.

      That information should never have come over the radio.

      I hope they were at Paddock’s home before this went out over the air. They should have had the guest’s information from hotel registration way before they entered the room and hopefully the house in Mesquite was covered way before the room entry.

      Within five minutes of that radio traffic I had Paddock’s name. I went to the Clark County Assessor website, typed in that address, and I had his name, the date he purchased the house and the purchase price.

      At least since 9/11, casino owners knew that Las Vegas was a target for a terrorist attack.  We have had threats made against the city. Police and security personnel have known that.

      Security directors at all strip properties are members of the Las Vegas Security Chief’s Association, which has monthly meetings where topics concerning terrorism have been discussed.

      Security officers from many properties have attended training seminars conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other agencies in active shooter response, suicide bomber response, improvised explosives devices, etc.

      Guns, explosives and vehicles and any combination of those are used in terror attacks. You can’t have an active shooter incident without a firearm.

      Considering all this, how was it that Paddock had a small arsenal, or as one Metro officer said on 60 Minutes, “it looked like a gun shop in there,” inside room 135 on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay.

      People died, and people were wounded because there were no security measures in place that could have prevented Paddock from ever reaching a hotel rooming area with luggage that contained 23 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition and accessories.

      That fact cannot be denied.

      In 2013, Adam Walker, an intelligence analyst with the Southern Nevada Counter-Terrorism Center was quoted as saying that “”¦. it’s not a question of “˜if,’ it’s a question of “˜when’ something happens on Las Vegas Boulevard.”

      On October 1, 2017 something did happen on Las Vegas Boulevard. We are just being kept from the entire truth.

      Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/25/17 at 04:22 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in • Comments here (8)

      Yet Another American Black-Box Jury Makes People Wonder “What DID Go On Inside?”

      Posted by Peter Quennell


      1. Italian v Common-Law Juries

      We have posted previously that, as is not the case in Italy, in the US jury trials are becoming rare.

      • Unlike in Italy prosecutors can bargain and as there is usually a lot more stick than carrot and a crapshoot as the alternative a lot of innocent people simply cave.

      • Unlike in Italy, common-law juries don’t have to write it all out. Jurists can later explain if they want, but many don’t, and what went on within the “black box” may never leak out.

      • Unlike in Italy the US mostly has no education standards to end up on a jury, and there is a belief that only those too dumb to get themselves waived end up in a jury of one’s “peers”.
      •  
      • [Usually] Unlike in Italy if scientific tricks especially on DNA and psychology are played upon juries they can result in guilty clients walking free, and predatory firms saving millions in fines.

      Dummies like Heavey and Moore and Fischer sure took the wrong system to task.

      2. After The Waldroup Case

      In both the US and the UK surprise jury outcomes happen frequently. In the US the Ethan Crouch case was one. The Casey Anthony case was another. The Bradley Waldroup case was yet another.

      After 11 hours of deliberation, the jury had reached a decision: voluntary manslaughter, not murder. Others in the courtroom were astonished. “I was just flabbergasted. I did not know how to react to it,” prosecuting attorney Drew Robinson said later in an interview with NPR.

      It had looked like an open and shut case. Following a dispute, Bradley Waldroup shot his wife’s friend eight times. Then he attacked his wife with a machete. His wife survived. Her friend did not.

      Waldroup admitted responsibility for the crimes; prosecutors in Tennessee charged him with murder and attempted first-degree murder. If guilty, a death sentence looked likely.

      But then his defence team decided to ask for a scientific assessment. It turned out that Waldroup had an unusual variant of the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene ““ dubbed the “warrior gene” by some in the media because of its association with antisocial behaviour including impulsive aggression.

      A forensic scientist testified that Waldroup’s genetic makeup, combined with the abuse he had experienced as a child, left him at greater risk of violent behaviour.

      To many outside observers, it seemed that this evidence played a significant part in Waldroup’s case. This perception was compounded after some on the jury said later that the genetics influenced their decision to find Waldroup guilty of voluntary manslaughter rather than murder. “A bad gene is a bad gene,” one juror told NPR.

      A flood of research (hardly necessary in Italy) was then turned on.  But (contrary to the above) it could suggest that a lot of courtroom science may - may - leave many juries cold.

      It’s easy to get the impression that dangerous criminals are routinely escaping harsher punishments because defence attorneys are using genetics and neuroscience as a trump card.

      The reality may be a lot more mundane. Far from revolutionising the criminal justice system, Denno thinks genetics and neuroscience are simply slotting into a pre-existing arsenal of scientific tools that defence or prosecuting attorneys can use to build a case.

      The general public may be more resistant to the allure of science than many people might typically assume.

      Over their heads? Suspicion of experts? Natural smarts? Who knows?  Other than in Italy, the black-box crapshoot still rules.

      3. More Reading On Jury Issues

      1 Click for Post:  It Is The Jury That Ultimately Matters: How They May Be Seeing The DNA Here

      2 Click for Post:  A Common View In Legal Circles: Knox Campaign Often Talks Legal Nonsense

      3 Click for Post:  Interesting Tilts Of Marcia Clark And Alan Dershowitz Toward Educated, Informed Italian-type Juries

      4 Click for Post:  Casey Anthony And Sollecito/Knox Outcomes Spark Discussion Of The CSI Effect

      5 Click for Post:  Outcry In England At Evidence And Jury-Briefing Requirements Which Make Convictions Much Harder

      6 Click for Post:  In Trial For Killing Of 77, Norway Very Complexed Whether Perpetrator Is Barking Mad

      7 Click for Post:  Reasonable Doubt In Italian Law: How Sollecito, Hellmann, And Zanetti Seriously Garbled It

      8 Click for Post:  Obstruction Of Justice? How The Guardian Poisons Public Opinion Against The Italian Courts

      9 Click for Post:  Italy Pushes Back On Dirty Tricks And Frame-Ups: Examples Of What Sollecito Must Defend In Court

      10 Click for Post:  See Sollecito’s & Gumbel’s Myriad Defamatory Attacks On Italian Justice; Charges Are Expected

      11 Click for Post:  Why Numerous American JUDGES Favor The Supremely Neutral Italian Kind Of System

      12 Click for Post:  Why Italy Doesnt Look For Guidance On Its Justice System From What It Sees As Foreign Smartasses

      13 Click for Post:  How The Italian “Justice Tortoise” Is The Likely Winner Compared To For Example the US System

      14 Click for Post:  So Where Would YOU Want To Go On Trial? In Italy Or In The U.S.?

      15 Click for Post:  Netflixhoax 6: Omitted - The Almost Unique Carefulness Of Italy’s Justice System

      Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/05/18 at 05:00 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in • Comments here (5)

      Italy: The Only Country To Host THREE of the UN’s 12 Global Anti-Crime Nodes

      Posted by Our Main Posters



      International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences, Siracusa

      1. How Italy Cooperates With The US Etc Etc in Crime Fighting

      We have long observed that Italy cooperates in numerous ways with other nations, especially the US.

      The US’s FBI has a well-staffed office in Rome working with its Italian counterparts on espionage and terrrorism among other common interests and hosts the Carabinieri in the US.

      These 15 posts go to show why Italy is universally regarded in official circles as an excellent anti-crime partner to work with.

      1 Click for Post:  Harvard Political Review Writer Alex Koenig Reproaches The Sliming of Italy’s Justice System

      2 Click for Post:  Italian Justice System Efficient And Uncontroversial In Other Prominent International Cases #1

      3 Click for Post:  Italian Justice System Efficient And Uncontroversial In Other Prominent International Cases #2

      4 Click for Post:  Italy Handles Wrongful Death of An American With Usual Efficiency And Real Respect For The Victim

      5 Click for Post:  The Considerable Number Of Suspected Perps That Countries Extradite Daily To Other Countries

      6 Click for Post:  Italy’s Advanced, Effective, Humane Law & Order System Also Adopted By City Of New York

      7 Click for Post:  FBI Reporting Close Co-operation With Italy In Arresting And Soon Extraditing A Fugitive Swindler

      8 Click for Post:  Involvement Of The Formidable Carabinieri Shows How Italian Justice Will Not Be Leaned Upon

      9 Click for Post:  How Many Extraditions Do The US And Italy Refuse? Approximately Zero, When It’s To Each Other

      10 Click for Post:  Relevance Of The Ship Which Has Sunk In The Yangtze To National Justice System Upgrades?

      11 Click for Post:  Counterterrorism: Another Way Italian Law Enforcement Is An Effective Model For Everywhere Else

      12 Click for Post:  National Justice Systems Learning From One Another Tho Far From “International Standards”

      13 Click for Post:  Italian Justice & The Telling Status Of Extraditions To And From Italy

      14 Click for Post:  Knox’s Nasty-Prisons Hoax: NY Times Describes How Italy Leads The World In Rehabilitation

      15 Click for Post:  Italian Police Again Work Hard On A Murder Where Victim And Main Suspect (Her Husband) Are Foreign

      2. How Italy Is Perhaps THE Global Leader In Knowledge-Spreading

      There’s been much vague and ill-informed commentary on Italy’s crime fighting, as if it is somehow way back there (“not observing international standards” and “complaints to the ECHR are epic”) and somehow pales in comparison to the US in this.

      It is somewhat the reverse in reality.

      We have posted series on the Italian and American systems showing that Italy very much has the edge these days. Italian reforms are in the wind but they relate to speeding up the system (with a diminishment of perps’ rights) and not to more justice, or fairer justice, which are hardly lacking.

      And globally Italy matters MORE than the US to the enhancing of justice worldwide. This post describes how the gobal justice bodies are organized. A UN division in New York and 12 global development nodes around the world.

      This is a description of it all posted by the one American node, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, which is an arm of the Federal Department of Justice (as is the Federal Bureau of Investigation).

      The United Nations (UN) is the principal source of comparative crime and justice statistics. The UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP) promotes research and collaboration, studies new and emerging forms of crime, and produces documents to assist in the global fight against crime and drug abuse.

      Within the ODCCP, the Centre for International Crime Prevention (CICP) maintains the Internet-based United Nations Crime and Justice Information Network (UNCJIN), which includes crime statistics and publications. This site provides an extensive list of links to the United Nations agencies and other research organizations and universities.

      The Center also supports the work of intergovernmental bodies which set out an international strategy and measures to prevent crime and promote stable criminal justice systems. United Nations documents relating to these intergovernmental commissions and congresses are available online.

      Italy hosts and financially supports fully a quarter of all the 12 global UN nodes, with Canada’s two nodes second. Seven other countries host one node each. .

      Italy

      International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences, Siracusa (ISISC), Italy

      International Scientific and Professional Advisory Council (ISPAC), Milan, Italy

      United Nations Interregional Crime & Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), Turin, Italy

      Canada

      International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy (ICCLR), Vancouver, Canada

      International Centre for the Prevention of Crime (ICPC), Montreal, Canada

      Australia

      Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), Canberra, Australia

      Costa Rica

      Instituto Latinoamericano de las Naciones Unidas para la Prevenci?n del Delito y el Tratamiento del Delincuente (ILANUD), San Jose, Costa Rica

      Finland

      European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control (HEUNI), Helsinki, Finland

      Japan

      United Nations Asia and Far East Institute For the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFEI), Fuchu, Japan

      Sweden

      Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Lund, Sweden

      Uganda

      United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFRI), Kampala, Uganda

      United States

      National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Washington, USA

      3. In Conclusion

      If you want to know something about “global standards” and the state of the art in nations around the world in crimefighting, where would you probably want to look first?

      To professionals, it is obvious. To Italy.

      Posted by Our Main Posters on 06/11/18 at 05:00 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in • Comments here (5)

      Kidnapper Of UK Model In Italy Gets 16 Years, His Claims “It Was A Hoax” Don’t Sway Italians

      Posted by Peter Quennell

      Prosecution recording of re-enactment entered into evidence

      More hoaxes bite dust in Italy

      Kidnapper Lukasz Herba’s intent according to model Chloe Ayling was to auction her for $300,000.

      He claimed otherwise, and that she was complicit. Numerous English-language YouTubes probably not watched much in Italy (see one below) attempted to poke holes in her story and to bash Italian justice yet again.

      The Italian court and media simply brushed this aside as ill-informed attention-seeking. In Italian (surprise, surprise) they got to hear about many more holes in Herba’s story, including recordings from jail of his calling his mother to get her to destroy evidence.

      The court heard how Herba portrayed himself as a “mythomaniac adventurer” who claimed to have kidnapped and killed before in Afghanistan and Iraq. In the email he sent to Chloe’s agent he attached pictures of her lying semi naked on the floor in an unconscious state.

      The court accepted that Chloe (who is from Coulsdon, Meredith’s home town) had acted smartly, in ways most proven to see kidnappees gain freedom and come out alive. Case closed for Italians.

      In ways reminiscent of Elizabeth Smart she has repeatedly given interviews in English explaining the way out that worked for her.

      in June the Italian court sentenced Herba to 16 years and 9 months. His brother is next in line.

      With Italian and now UK opinion seemingly strongly behind her, Chloe Ayling is a popular draw on British TV.

      She may sue some of the hoaxers. Now there is an idea.

      Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/12/18 at 06:53 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in • Comments here (3)

      Another Attempt By An Outside Body To Interfere With Italian Justice While Far Short On Hard Facts

      Posted by Peter Quennell

      Finding of CIA operatives guilt nearly 9 years ago.

      1. The Abu Omar/CIA Case

      There’s a strange twist in a US/Italy case we check out now and then.

      The case was the kidnapping of a radical Abu Omar (real name Nasr) by CIA operatives in Milan in 2003. He was shuttled to Egypt where the CIA tortured him there.

      Italy’s reaction was to be commended. It was harsh. 

      Click for Post:  Italian Judge Ruling Is Tough But Fair In Another Case Involving Americans

      Click for Post:  CIA v. State Department: A Significant Development For The Perugia Case?

      Click for Post:  Some Homework For Curt Knox/Marriott/FOA: How Leaning On Italian Judiciary Can Seriously Misfire

      Click for Post:  The Prospects In Favor Of A Possible Fugitive Amanda Knox Take Yet Another Hit

      The 25-plus CIA guys all ignored Italy’s request to return for trial. One Portuguese operative was let go. Italy has never sent a request for mass extradition from the US though the team leader Robert Lady did forfeit a house.

      After it was all over Abu Omar was tried in absentia in Italy - and found guilty of organizing a major terrorist event which ironically would have happened had he not been snatched.

      He was sentenced to six years. But he remains in Egypt and may never see the inside of an Italian cell.

      So you might think pro-justice bodies would be lobbying Italy (if at all) to see in prison any of the above? But take a look.

      Click for Post:  ICJ calls on President Conte to remove obstacles to justice on Abu Omar rendition

      Instead of going after any of the above, the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva now seeks to use what power it has to pressure the new PM of Italy to put its now-retired top spy - the one quite possibly out of the loop - on trial (again). Huh?!

      2. The Joel Simon/CPJ Case

      Too many other non-UN bodies too often dont get it right.

      You might remember this which the mafia poodle Doug Preston moved along, in a dishonest and very nasty attempt to poison the Italian jury pool and inflame American public opinion - in fact global public opinion - in Meredith’s case.

      Kermit mainly reports.

      Click for Post:  Open Letter To CPJ’s Joel Simon In New York: This Is The Fact Finding YOU Really Should Have Done

      Click for Post:  Open Letter To CPJ’s Joel Simon In New York: This Is The Fact Finding YOU Really Should Have Done #2

      Click for Post:  Committee To Protect Journalists Responds, But Provides No List Of Sources Or Interview Transcripts

      Click for Post:  Open Letter #3 To Joel Simon Of CPJ: Not Even One Anti-Mignini Accusation Withstands Careful Testing

      Click for Post:  Is Joel Simon Of CPJ Now In Hiding - And Pushing The Naive Nina Ognianova Out To Take The Hits?

      Click for Post:  It Looks Like Joel Simon And Nina Ognianova May Have Been Set Up In Their New Attack On Mignini

      Click for Post:  CPJ Talks As If Franks Blog Had A Core Audience Of Millions, While It Was Really One Or Two Dozen

      Click for Post:  CPJ Accusation #1 Against Italian Justice Officials : Was The Anon Blogger Pushed And Threatened?

      Click for Post:  CPJ Accusation #2 Against Italian Justice Officials : Did Court Officials Hassle The Anon Blogger?

      Click for Post:  CPJ Accusation #3 Against Italian Justice Officials : Was Anon Blogger Arrested On MIGNINI’S Orders?

      Click for Post:  CPJ Accusation #4 Against Italian Justice Officials: Mr Mignini Sues For Defamation Without Cause?

      Really shocking, right? We will be explaining this hoax to the media soon, along with all other ways the case was bent, and mafia poodle Doug Preston’s endemic role.

      Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/16/18 at 06:39 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in • Comments here (1)

      Murder Rate In Baltimore, St Louis, New Orleans, Detroit, Etc, over FIFTY TIMES Murder Rate In Italy

      Posted by Peter Quennell


      Polar Opposites

      Murder rates have actually been trending down a bit in the US.

      But you are still around fifty times more likely to be murdered in several dozen US cities than in any city in Europe, where the average is down around 1 in 100,000 now.

      And with regard to the exceptionally safe Italy, as usual the rate remains even lower than the European average still.

      Would you hear this from the mafia poodles Doug Preston, Michael Heavey, John Douglas, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, Greg Hampikian and Co? Hardly likely….

      Here is the Italian news service ANSA’s report.

      (ANSA) Rome, November 15

      The Italian murder rated dropped to 0.7 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2017 against an EU average of one per 100,000, ISTAT said Thursday.

      Eight out of 10 victims of femicide knew their killers, the study also found.

      The killer was not identified in 43% of murders, it said.

      The south of Italy holds the record for murders of men, with a rate of 1.01 per 100,000.

      Some 21.7% of murders were committed by foreigners, the survey showed.

      Note that (1) more than 1/5 of all murders are by foreigners, and (2) 8 out of 10 women murdered knew their killer.

      So the barbaric Knox fits those sad trends.

      Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/15/18 at 08:05 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in • Comments here (12)

      Italy-India Relations Are Back To Being Very Close With The Tanker Incident Smartly Resolved.

      Posted by Peter Quennell


      Public Accord

      For obvious reasons we’ve always had and appreciated a loyal readership in India.

      Italy-India relations became fraught for several years after 2012 when marines on an Italian tanker off the southwest coast shot at and killed two Indian fishermen thinking they were pirates making moves to board.

      Now see the Buenos Aires report above. It seems that ties between the countries are closer than they ever were. Both countries have habitually been among the greatest team players in the world.

      Even despite serious anti-globalist pressures Italy still chooses to do the right thing.

      Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/03/18 at 06:47 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in • Comments here (7)

      Italy Is Once Again Justice Forerunner In Case With Poss Future Global Implications

      Posted by Our Main Posters


      From 1975 to 1980 six dictatorships in South American killed at least 23 Italian citizens.

      The Italians were political opponents of the dictatorships in Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina.

      Those dictatorships had created a joint operation, Operation Condor, to disappear or openly kill such “nuisance elements”.

      As the video hints, the CIA had a murky role.

      Despite that, some 24 surviving organizers of Operation Condor have just been sentenced to life by an Italian court.

      They include several of the former dictators.

      If extradition laws are correctly observed, and the US finds a way to not intervene, Italy will need to make ready some presidential cells.

      Posted by Our Main Posters on 07/09/19 at 09:56 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in • Comments here (5)

      Japan’s Justice System Flamed Like Italy’s - But This Time (Sort Of) From The Inside

      Posted by Peter Quennell


      1. The Flaming Of The Italian System

      The flaming of Italy’s justice system in “the Knox case” did not ever happen within Italy.

      It happened for the most part trans-Atlantic. And it was not even beamed at Italy: it was beamed at American and British TV audiences and tabloid readers.

      And of course it was wildly inaccurate. Italy rates high on public safety, fairness of the court system, and rehabilitation of those in prison. Its murder and incarceration rates are about 1/7th of the US’s.

      Meanwhile this three-part series in part explains why there are such vast numbers in prison under the American system, which maybe does merit flaming.

      To the extent that either system gravitates, it is the US system that gravitates, toward the more effective Italian system.

      2. The Flaming Of The Japanese System

      Everybody likes Japan’s cars and electronics, its culture, its scenery, its sushi and teriyaki… In most respects its national brand management really is excellent.

      Helpful when Japan is just six months from hosting the Summer Olympics.

      But periodically, as now, a spotlight is shone on the seeming over-harshness of its justice system.

      Italy and Japan were of course allies in World War Two.

      Post-war, Italy revamped its constitution and entire justice system to bend over backward to favor defendants.

      But Japan did none of that, and its 99% conviction rate and the methods used to sustain that have been repeatedly criticized.

      The sort-of-accused former CEO of Renault and Nissan, Carlos Ghosn, has just been much in the news, for dramatically fleeing Japan in a private jet, and seeking sanctuary in his country of origin, Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan.

      At Japan’s request Interpol has issued a global Red Notice (a measure we posted on when it seemed Knox might flee extradition.)

      Ghosn seems to have single-handedly saved Nissan from extinction by semi-merging it with Renault and by heavy cost-cutting rare within Japanese corporations.

      His remuneration was always peanuts by American standards.

      Ghosn’s main accuser that he feathered his own nest was actually his own successor at Nissan - who was accused of the exact-same thing a few months ago and forced to resign also!

      Here below are some of Ghosn’s accusations against Japanese justice; in Tokyo yesterday the Justice Minister promised statements to explain and defend Japanese justice and to show what Ghosn had allegedly been up to.

      Yahoo News Website

      Japan’s legal system came under the spotlight when Carlos Ghosn launched a vigorous self-defence in his first public appearance since jumping bail and fleeing to Lebanon.

      The former Renault-Nissan chief slammed everything from the country’s sky-high conviction rate to the conditions he faced during 130 days of pre-trial detention.

      Here are some of his main criticisms, and how Japanese officials respond:

      - 99 percent conviction rate -

      When it comes to convictions, Japanese prosecutors boast a success rate that their peers around the world might consider enviable.

      They win more than 99 percent of the cases they bring to trial, and Ghosn cited this astonishing rate as evidence that he would not get a fair hearing.

      “I was facing a system where the conviction rate is 99.4 percent,” he said, claiming that the rate for foreigners was likely even higher.

      Japan does not dispute that its prosecutors win almost all of the cases they bring to trial, but says this is simply evidence that they do not start legal action lightly.

      Prosecutors “only indict a suspect where there is a high likelihood of a court’s conviction based on sufficient evidence, so as to avoid an innocent person (having) to suffer,” Justice Minister Masako Mori said in response to Ghosn’s criticism.

      “It is wrong to argue that a person cannot obtain a fair judgement because of the high conviction rate in Japan.”

      - Lengthy pre-trial detention -

      Ghosn spent more than four months in detention over two periods after his shock November 2018 arrest, with the first stint lasting a full 108 days before he finally won bail.

      He and legal team referred to the extended periods of detention as “hostage justice”, arguing the prosecutors were trying to break his will and force him to confess to financial misconduct charges that he continues to deny.

      He said he felt “subject to a system whose only objective is to coerce confessions, secure guilty pleas.”

      Japan’s legal system allows for long periods of detention before a trial begins, and critics at home and abroad have argued that prosecutors hold suspects before indicting them as a tool to extract confessions.

      Prosecutors fought hard to keep Ghosn behind bars, arguing that he could flee if released because of his extensive financial means and international contacts.

      “Ghosn was deemed a high flight risk, which is obvious from the fact that he actually fled and illegally departed the country,” prosecutors said after the tycoon’s Wednesday press conference.

      - Detention conditions -

      Ghosn slammed the conditions he experienced at the Tokyo Detention House in Kosuge, saying he was interrogated around the clock without his lawyer, held in a cell where the lights never went out and only allowed to shower twice a week.

      Japanese prisons are not usually singled out for criticism by international rights groups, with violence rare and individual cells of about 6.5 square metres (70 square feet) or slightly larger.

      Officials defend the rules governing interrogations, saying questioning is videotaped and suspects can refuse to answer questions. Those in detention also have the right to meet their lawyers outside of interrogations.

      - Strict bail terms -

      When Ghosn finally won bail for a second time, his release came with strict conditions: surveillance of his home, access to the internet at his lawyer’s office only, and restrictions on his contact with his wife Carole.

      Prosecutors argued that she was party to one of the charges and the couple could tamper with evidence. Ghosn had to get court permission before contacting her via video conference, which he was able to do just twice.

      And they said the strict rules were necessary to prevent him from fleeing the country.

      Ghosn slammed the conditions as vindicative, saying prosecutors specifically blocked access to Carole to “break” him and that his decision to flee was motivated in large part by the rule.

      3. Japan’s Promised Explanations

      In fairness, we’ll post again if clarifications beyond those above are forthcoming.

      Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/09/20 at 10:07 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in • Comments here (10)

      Global Justice Systems Lurch? Bottom Up?  What Italy Has Taught Us #1

      Posted by Peter Quennell


      Our Dog In This Fight

      We long ago suggested that Meredith’s legacy could be some invaluable systems change.

      And now sweeping justice systems change is in the air in the US, and to some extent elsewhere. As we have long documented in comparing Italy favorably with the US: it is really not before time.

      Just about every TJMK post since mid 2008 has had as text or sub-text how investigators, prosecutors, courts and media have performed.

      We learned a thing or two. For example windows of opportunity are periodic, Italy saw one after 1945, and the US is seeing a big one right now.

      And though the job isn’t finished yet, Italy has refined its systems more than most and is already a global model. 

      And especially, good change wont ever be created and sustained if the systems are not addressed directly.

      The systems (which go under many other names too: playbook, protocol, procedure, process, app, skill, technique) should never simply be an afterthought of legislation or left to somebody else.

      They really need help from all of us, in myriad teams, and they really are The Heavy Lift.

      These are some of our many past posts checking out and comparing systems which have “system” or “systems” right in their headers.

      Click for Post:  Impressive Public Push In Italy, Anti Crime, Pro Stronger Justice System

      Click for Post:  Harvard Political Review Writer Alex Koenig Reproaches The Sliming of Italy’s Justice System

      Click for Post:  Another US-Italian Case Shows The Utter Futility Of Trying To Strongarm The Italian Justice System

      Click for Post:  Barbara Benedettelli: Campaigner For Victims And Families Says Italian System Denies Them Justice

      Click for Post:  Italian Justice System Efficient And Uncontroversial In Other Prominent International Cases #1

      Click for Post:  Italian Justice System Efficient And Uncontroversial In Other Prominent International Cases #2

      Click for Post:  US Kidnapping Victim Gets Justice After 8 Years Despite Defense + Perp Groupies Gaming The System

      Click for Post:  A Token Balance In The Italian System: The Voice In The Court For The Victim

      Click for Post:  The Terrible Weight On The Victim’s Family Because The Italian System Is So Pro Defendant

      Click for Post:  Italy’s Advanced, Effective, Humane Law & Order System Also Adopted By City Of New York

      Click for Post:  Italy’s Unpopular Politicians And Mafia Fellow Travelers Against Italy’s Popular Justice System

      Click for Post:  Why Numerous American JUDGES Favor The Supremely Neutral Italian Kind Of System

      Click for Post:  PM Renzi’s Justice Reforms: One System-Change Need Strongly Suggested By Meredith’s Case

      Click for Post:  Justice System Comparisons #1: If Meredith’s Murder Had Taken Place In Common-Law Countries (1 of 7 posts)

      Click for Post:  Why Italy Doesnt Look For Guidance On Justice System From Foreign Smartasses

      Click for Post:  Justice System Reform Is Suddenly Everywhere On The Front Burner

      Click for Post:  Relevance Of The Ship Which Has Sunk In The Yangtze To National Justice System Upgrades?

      Click for Post:  How The Italian “Justice Tortoise” Is The Likely Winner Compared To For Example the US System

      Click for Post:  Italian Justice: Describing A Fine System And How To Improve It

      Click for Post:  How Too Often Nobody Tunes In On A Faulty System Before It Spectacularly Goes Wrong

      Click for Post:  Most-Watched COVID YouTube Explains The Many Rickety Systems That Have Let Us Down

      Italian systems are among the global best. Crime and incarceration and recidivism are all very low. Opinion polls consistently show that the police and courts are trusted and well-liked. 

      Ironically in Meredith’s case though the unique tilt toward extreme fairness helped to allow Sollecito and Knox to walk.

      No other countries would have allowed automatic appeals on grounds so broad. The defense appeal case before the Fifth Chambers was huge and consisted very largely of innuendo and outright lies, which you can see reflected in the Fifth Chambers report.

      Italy learns fast as explained in this post and the corrupt means the Knox and Sollecito teams used have already been made impossible going forward.

      Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/22/20 at 08:25 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in • Comments here (9)