Category: Various hypotheses

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Why Numerous Psychologists Now Observe Knox Skeptically

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding


Links to both ITV interviews kindly provided by Clander of PMF:  Daybreak Seattle interview and Daybreak London interview.

Please see the key past posts here and here and also here for some context.

Amanda Knox appeared in an English TV interview on the early morning of Monday September 23rd.

She spoke from Seattle to a detached ITV reporter in Seattle and a tough Daybreak anchor in London - tough. though she badly lacked second questions in follow-up. The interview was, by all accounts, fair, and also duly respectful towards Meredith’s family, who are in England.

But the girl or woman who is Amanda Knox we observed was neither calm nor happy.

There was not one authentic smile, and not a moment when the light came into her eyes. Her hair and make-up looked good - her presentation had been considered. But her skin was not well. As most women know, the skin, especially on the face, reveals your inner health, your inner peace.

As a psychologist, one is trained to distinguish ‘signs’, if you like, or indicators that illustrate the most crucial factors about the state of mind. One is taught to look beyond presentation and image, and too, beyond the actual words delivered, to hear what is actually being said - from the inner self or true self. Some people might prefer to use the term ‘the soul’.

What I heard in this interview is a person struggling and deeply disturbed and unhappy. I saw someone genuinely very afraid with strong feelings of hopelessness. Anger, defiance, and combativeness also showed.

But, newly, there were also signs of weariness with the self-elected fight. I believe Amanda is intelligent enough to realize that the weight and strength of the factual, combined evidence is stacked against her. Knowing this, as I believe she does, can only put her in an anguished state.

At times, one could plainly observe that a pre-rehearsed ‘PR’ line was being delivered. Amanda was being ‘a good girl’, and doing what she had been told.  Examples seem to be especially where she says such things as, “I am innocent”, “my innocence has been proven”, ‘...this case is not complicated..”

Since, by applying a little elemental logic, most of these statements can be shown to be untrue, they unfortunately sounded somewhat like mantras being delivered. Rather more that these were the things AK would LIKE to believe are true. As if perhaps, if she closes her eyes often enough and wishes hard enough, they might become true…and her nightmare would now be over.

But, alas, childish unreality cannot last. We live in a world where we are required to become adults, and to act responsibly as adults.

At junctions in the interview, where some of the more penetrating questions were asked involving human relations, an ‘inner adult’ Amanda could be seen trying to emerge. One point was where she was asked about what she would do if found finally guilty.

A burgeoning sense of realism could be detected in her reply. She knows herself in this respect: she would find it unbearable to try and live as a fugitive in the free world, labeled as a murderer and a slanderer. She actually said so, with strength of feeling. It is people’s hatred of her that she can’t bear, and it is that she is protesting about so much. And indeed it must be hard to bear.

The interviewer, Lorraine, spoke at length about the Kercher family, asking AK what she would like to say to them. When Amanda replied, also at length, she said,

“... I would like them to give me a chance…”

This sounded authentic to me, I felt she meant it. However, she added to this, sounding almost like an addendum, that she wanted them to believe she could be innocent. This latter phrase, added in a different voice and intonation, didn’t ring true to my ears.

I believe that what is truly in her heart is that she longs, beyond all measure, for the Kercher family not to totally hate her. (She gives the impression that she believes they do or could hate her). She seems to truly not to be able to bear the thought of being hated, and even more unbearable, the thought that by her behaviour (as a ‘kid’) perhaps, just maybe, she might deserve that hate.

This would seem to be the source of her anguish, and also behind many other of her statements in this interview.

There would be a way through for her - a third way. This would be to start telling the truth, the whole truth, now. It is never too late to speak the truth, and it is never too early, either. The truth endures. This is a fact of history.

It would indeed take enormous courage for Amanda to take this step. It would be immensely difficult for her because of the PR campaign. But if she could begin to answer the outstanding unresolved questions, factually and honestly (unembroidered and not exaggerated),  - she would, I believe, begin to heal her life, if this is genuinely what she wants.

She might be surprised at how much forgiveness there might be if she were to find the courage within herself to take this huge step. She quoted her priest/mentor from the Italian jail, when he advised her about how, at challenging times, we can find unknown resources and strength within ourselves that maybe we didn’t know we had.

She has a choice, and she could choose to do it. Making wise choices is what adults do.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Questions For Knox: Ten Hard Questions That Knox Should Be Asked Monday On ITV’s Daybreak

Posted by The Machine





Amanda Knox will be interviewed for the first time in Britain on ITV’s Daybreak programme tomorrow.

No interviewer should unquestioningly accept everything Knox says as the gospel truth. Remember Knox served three years in prison and is labeled a convicted felon for life for malicious lying.

So let’s hope tomorrow’s interview is not yet another whiny mis-statement of the core facts, and not yet more sliming of Italian officials, of which we have just seen so many.

There are many questions on this site which Knox has never ever answered. Some arise from the evidence and some from her dishonest book.

See especially the tough questions here and here and here and here.  With luck the Daybreak hosts will ask Knox all of these tough questions below.

1. Multiple false alibis

You and Raffaele Sollecito gave completely different accounts of where you were, who you were with and what you were doing on the night of the murder. Neither of you have credible alibis despite three attempts each. Sollecito told Kate Mansey from The Sunday Mirror that you and him were at a party.

He told the police that you and him were at his apartment. He then told them that he was home alone and that you weren’t at his apartment from around 9.00pm to about 1.00am. You first told the police that you were at Sollecito’s apartment. After you were informed that he was no longer providing you with an alibi, you repeatedly claimed that you went to the cottage with Diya Lumumba.

You changed your story yet again and claimed that you were at Sollecito’s apartment, but he might have gone out. All the other people who were questioned had one credible alibi that could be verified.

Extract of Sollecito’s witness statement.

“I went home, smoked a joint, and had dinner, but I don’t remember what I ate. At around eleven my father phoned me on the house phone. I remember Amanda wasn’t back yet. I surfed on the Internet for a couple of hours after my father’s phone call and I stopped only when Amanda came back, about one in the morning I think.

Question 1. Why did you and Raffaele Sollecito repeatedly tell the police and others a pack of lies?

2. False accusation

You falsely claimed that Diya Lumumba killed Meredith in two witness statements and you repeated the false accusation in your handwritten note to the police on 6 November 2007. You served three years in prison for this felony and your appeal to the Supreme Court was denied.

Question 2. Why did you repeatedly accuse Diya Lumumba of murder when you knew full well that he was completely innocent and why didn’t you or your mother retract your accusation when he was in prison?

3. The Double DNA Knife

According to a number of independent forensic experts - Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor, Giuesppe Novelli, Professor Francesca Torricelli, Luciano Garofano, Elizabeth Johnson and Greg Hampikian - Meredith’s Kercher’s DNA was found on the blade of a knife from Raffaele Sollecito’s kitchen.

He falsely claimed in his prison diary that he had accidentally pricked Meredith’s hand whilst cooking. Dr Stefanoni analysed the traces on the knife six days after last handling Meredith’s DNA. This means that contamination couldn’t have occurred in the laboratory.

Meredith had never been to Sollecito’s apartment, so contamination away from the laboratory was impossible.

Question 3. How do you think Meredith’s DNA got onto the blade of the kitchen knife?

4. The bra clasp

An abundant amount of Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA was found on Meredith’s on the exact part of Meredith bra clasp that was bent out of shape during the attack on her.  His DNA was identified by two separate DNA tests. Of the 17 loci tested in the sample, Sollecito’s profile matched 17 out of 17. Professor Torricelli testified that it was unlikely the clasp was contaminated because there was a significant amount of Sollecito’s DNA on it.

Professor Novelli analysed the series of samples from all 255 items processed and found not a single instance of contamination, and ruled out as implausible that a contaminating agent could have been present just on one single result. David Balding, a Professor of Statistical Genetics at University College London, recently analysed the DNA evidence against Sollecito and concluded it was strong.

Question 4. How do you think Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA ended up on Meredith’s bra clasp?

5. The bloody footprint on the bathmat

According to two imprint experts - Rinaldi and Boemi - the bloody footprint on the blue bathmat in the bathroom matched the characteristics of Sollecito’s foot, but couldn’t possibly belong to Guede. Rudy Guede’s bloody footprints led straight out of Meredith’s room and out of the house which indicates that he didn’t go into the bathroom after Meredith had been stabbed.

See our past posts on this here and here.

Question 5. Who do you think left the bloody footprint on the bathmat?

6. Mixed samples of Amanda Knox’s DNA or blood and Meredith Kercher’s blood

According to the prosecution’s experts, there were five instances of your DNA or blood mixed with Meredith’s blood in three different locations in the cottage. Even your lawyers conceded that your blood had mingled with Meredith’s blood. In other words, Meredith and Amanda Knox were both bleeding at the same time.

Question 6. Why were you bleeding on the night of the murder and is it a coincidence that only your DNA was found mixed with Meredith’s blood?

7. The Luminol Enhanced Footprints

Bare bloody footprints were revealed by Luminol at the cottage. Three of them are compatible with your foot size and one of them is compatible with Raffaele Sollecito’s foot size.

Question 7. What do you think the Luminol was reacting to - Meredith’s blood or some other substance?

8. The staged break-in

There is absolutely no evidence that anyone stood outside Filomena’s window and climbed up the vertical wall on the night of the murder. There were no marks from soil, grass or rubber soles on the wall. The earth of the evening of 1 November 2007 was very wet, so if anybody had climbed the wall, they would have left some marks on it.

The glass on the window sill and on the floor show no signs of being touched after the window was broken, which would have been the case if the intruder had gained entry through the window.

There was not a single biological trace on any of the shards of glass. It would have been very likely that an intruder balancing on the window sill would have suffered some kind of injury or cut because of the shards of glass.

If the window had been broken from the outside, there would have been shards of glass outside, but there wasn’t even one.

Judge Massei and the panel of judges at the Italian Supreme Court specifically mentioned the shards of glass on top of Filomena’s clothes which had been tossed onto the floor in her room and regarded it as proof that the break-in was staged.

Question 8. Who do you think staged the break-in at the cottage?

9. Knowledge of the crime

Umbria Procurator General Galati’s pointed out in his appeal that you knew specific details of the crime that you could have only known if you had been present when Meredith was killed.

According to multiple witnesses at the police station, you said you were the one who had found Meredith’s body, that she was in the wardrobe, that she was covered by the quilt, that a foot was sticking out, that they had cut her throat and that there was blood everywhere. But you weren’t in a position to have seen anything at all when the door was kicked in.

In your witness statement you described Meredith’s scream. Other witnesses have corroborated your claim that there was a loud scream.

Question 9. How did you know so many precise details of the crime?

10. Shower and the “bathmat shuffle”

The Scientific Police found 13 traces of blood in the bathroom that Meredith and you shared. Prosecutor Mignini and Filomena have both expressed their surprise that you showered in a blood-spattered bathroom.

Filomena told Mignini during cross-examination:  “I thought it was odd that she’d had a shower when there was blood all over the place.”

You told Mignini that you used the bathmat to shuffle to your room.

Question 10. Why did you shower in a bathroom that was splattered with blood, and did you notice the visible bloody footprint on the bathmat when you used it to shuffle to your room? And why so soon after did the police notice that you were stinking?

Lorraine Kelly and Aled Jones the ITV Daybreak hosts who should confront Amanda Knox


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How The Clean-Up And The Locked Door Contribute To The Very Strong Case For Guilt

Posted by James Raper





On the 30th September the appeals of Amanda Knox and Raffele Sollecito against the convictions they received at the first instance trial will resume, this time in Florence.

This follows the annulment by the Supreme Court of the acquittal verdicts rendered by the Appeal Court presided over by Judge Pratillo Hellmann. There is one conviction not under appeal. This is Knox’s conviction for calunnia, which is now definite.

They are therefore both currently convicted of murder and sexual assault, and a number of lesser charges, amongst which there is the simulation of a burglary “to ensure impunity for themselves from the felonies of murder and sexual assault, attempting to attribute the responsibility for them to persons unknown who penetrated the apartment to this end”.

There is one activity, for which there is evidence, with which they were not charged (perhaps either because it was redundant or not a criminal offence) though this was likewise to ensure impunity for themselves.

This is the partial clean up at the cottage and it is this with which I intend to deal. I want to highlight salient observations which have been under discussion here and elsewhere and some of which may be well known to readers, but perhaps some not, or have been forgotten about. Once again, in many cases, I am merely a conduit for the observations of others, not least the first instance trial judge Giancarlo Massei.

So let”˜s consider the observations and in doing so we can also throw some more light on the lone wolf theory.

1. Take a look at the bloody footprint

This is, of course, the bloody footprint on the bathmat in the small bathroom right next to Meredith’s room. 





The heel of the right foot, if it had blood on it, is missing from where it should be on the tiled floor. It is difficult to imagine, given that the imprint of the foot on the mat is contiguous with the edge of the mat, that there was not at least some blood on the remainder of the foot such that there must have been at least some blood deposited on the floor.

Just as difficult to imagine that casual shuffling about on the bathmat would have removed the blood so as to render it “invisible” to the use of luminol.

Of equal relevance is that there were no connecting bloody footprints.  Why not?

The defences have an improbable theory -  that Guede, despite his homicidal rage, was smart enough to hop about on his left foot with a clean shoe on, and the other bare but covered in blood, and that having by this means entered the bathroom and washed his bloody right foot, disastrously leaving his (supposed) imprint there in the process, he then returned to Meredith’s bedroom inadvertently standing in blood with his left shoe and leaving with a trail of bloody left shoe prints -  in which case the exercise of washing his foot was entirely in vain, on two counts, after all that careful hopping around.

Neither is it entirely clear why his right shoe came off in the first place.

It is far more probable that the inevitable bloody prints were deliberately and carefully removed. The reason for doing this was not just to conceal who would have made them (the print on the bathmat was, after all, left in situ) but, from a visual perspective, to conceal any blood that might be noticeable and alarming to anyone approaching Meredith’s room. Guede’s bloody shoeprints in the corridor were visible but only on close inspection.

2. Take a look at the bathroom door

Specifically the internal (hinge) side of the bathroom door. Take a look at this photograph.





We see a long streak of dried blood.  Clearly the blood has flowed some distance under the influence of gravity and we can see that it looks slightly diluted, with red corpuscles gathering towards the tip of the streak. A drip of that size does not appear from nowhere.

Indeed it is difficult to imagine how the blood got there unless it was part of a larger area of blood which most likely was on the face of the door and which was swiped to the right and over the edge of the face of the door. The cloth or towel used to do this was wet accounting for the slight dilution and length of the streak.

3. Take a look at Meredith’s door

It is interesting, is it not, that there is blood on the inside but not on the outside? The outside:





And the inside:





It is difficult to see how and why Guede touched the inside handle with a bloody hand (was it shut and if so, why?) and then closed the door to lock it without leaving a trace on the outside face of the door. Possibly he might have changed hands. The answer might also be that he visited the bathroom to wash his hand as well as his foot, save that none of his DNA was recovered from the spots and streaks of diluted blood in the washbasin, whereas Knox’s DNA was. All the more surprising given that Guede shed his DNA in Meredith’s room.

We see some blood on the edge of the door which again might be the remnant of a trace on the outside face.

4.  Take a look at Amanda Knox’s lamp.

This was found inside Meredith’s room behind the door. Meredith also had a similar lamp which was resting on it’s base on the floor by her bedside table.

The presence and location of Knox’s lamp is obviously suspicious. Had Meredith borrowed Amanda’s lamp because her own was not working, then it would not have been in the position it was found but on or more likely knocked over and lying beside the bedside table since the violence appears to have been concentrated in that area of the room. 

Had Meredith’s lamp been on the bedside table then likewise it too would most likely have been knocked over in her life and death struggle with her sole assailant (there are blood streaks on the wall just above) and it would not have ended up sitting upright on it’s base.

Both lamps were probably used to check the floor of Meredith’s room after the event and Knox’s lamp was probably sitting upright until it was knocked over by the door being forced open.

This is Meredith’s lamp by the bedside table.





And this is Knox’s lamp by the foot of the bed.




5. Take a look at what luminol revealed

We can state with confidence that luminol (extremely sensitive to and typically used to identify blood that has been wiped or washed away) discovered :-

(a) three bare footprint attributable to Knox, one in her bedroom and two in the corridor, and

(b) two instances of the mixed DNA of Meredith and Knox, one in Filomena’s bedroom and one in the corridor.

(c) a footprint attributed to Sollecito in the corridor.

I have covered a number of elements strongly suggesting that there was at least a partial clean up, not of “invisible DNA” as the Groupies like to mock, but of what would have probably in some cases have been noticeable deposits of blood that would have attracted the eye of anyone entering the cottage and which would certainly have alarmed the observer as being difficult to explain.

Spots of and footprints in blood, not just in the bathroom but outside it, a locked bedroom door with blood on it, and a bathroom door with blood on it’s face.

We can include Knox as one such observer given her e-mail account of having allegedly stopped by the cottage to have a shower and collect some clothing before the discovery of the body. Such physical evidence - had it not been removed - would not have sat easy with that account, however dizzy and naïve Knox presents herself. One can envisage Knox thinking “sorted” - that her story would now work perfectly.

Even so, there were elements that were overlooked, such as Knox’s blood on the washbasin faucet and blood generally in the small bathroom, but a door can be closed and at least these were elements amenable to some form of explanation from her perspective, whether or not convincing, as occurred in the e-mail.

Incidentally in addition to the mixed traces in the small bathroom, Meredith’s blood was found on the light switch and a cotton bud box.  I have a hard time imagining what Guede would have wanted with the cotton bud box, less so Amanda given her blood on the faucet, ear piercings and a scratch on her throat. Knox, when asked during her trial, could not recall having switched on the light during her alleged visit to the cottage.




6. Take a look at the items on Knox’s bed

Massei concluded that it was likely that it was Knox who carried out the clean up, which if correct might explain why it was not central to her thinking to dispose of the bathmat with Sollecito’s bloody footprint on it!

Knox was seen by Quintavalle at his store at 7.45 am on the 2nd November, thereby destroying her alibi. He described her as pale faced, exhausted looking, with pale blue eyes. He also added, and he would not have known this from photographs in the newspapers, that she was wearing blue jeans, a grey coat and a scarf, with a hat or cap of some sort.

We can see from the crime scene picture of Knox’s bedroom below, that such items (minus hat or cap) appear to be lying on her bed.





Sollecito did not accompany Knox to the store but this would be because he was known to Quintavalle whereas he was unfamiliar with her. He may however have accompanied Knox to the cottage and/or have acted as look out for her when she was there.

7. Some conclusions

I have included “The locked room” in the title because of a poster’s observation regarding Guede’s bloody left shoeprints exiting Meredith’s room. There is the simple observation that these footprints are going one way only and not towards the small bathroom.  But they do not even turn to face Meredith’s door, and again hard to imagine that this could be so if it was Guede who locked her door!

We can rule out Guede as having been involved in any aspect of the clean up precisely because of that trail of footprints and other evidence of his presence left behind.

Now that the travesty of the Hellmann acquittals has been truly exposed Knox and Sollecito face an impossible uphill task.

The clean up and the locked door are just two of many elements in this case which combine together and corroborate each other in a manner that enables us to see the truth beyond a reasonable doubt.


Friday, May 31, 2013

Knox Book - What The Newly Published Writings Reveal To Professional Eyes (2)

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding




The New Writings

It is good to have an opportunity to see the letters from Amanda to her social worker, Maurizio. The writing style is very different from her book which seems more abrasive, more ‘jazzed up’, pointed, in comparison - presumably the influence of the ghost writer.

What is immediately and conspicuously obvious is that the letters make no mention of ill-treatment - a contrario in many ways. The recipient of the letters is someone whose support she needs, as is Don Saulo.

She goes out of her way to speak to them with endearment, even flirtation, to show gratitude, to build trust, or to appear to build trust. This is a person whose need to be liked and supported is paramount. One has the feeling, therefore, that she is presenting herself in the best possible light.

This includes being ‘good’ and saying things as they are. And they are: ‘OK’, ‘fine’, ‘bene’, ‘well enough’, ‘happy to remain’ (in Perugia) etc.

There has been much speculation about the psychology of Amanda Knox. I am glad to say that this site has deferred, by and large, from assigning labels to her. It is not for nothing that the official court psychological profiles of 2008 have not been disclosed. To begin with, a full analysis is not possible without personal encounter. And then there is the question about the value of such labels at all, especially with new research advancing all the time.

However, one can talk about observable patterns of behaviour, for example narcissistic behaviour. There are a number of established, well-researched traits in narcissistic behaviour which are worth discussing here.

Observable Behaviors

I believe the following characteristics have been observable and continue to manifest in the letters just published.  These are :

    1) Immaturity, of a degree which indicates some arrested emotional development. And connected to this, an emotional neediness and dependence. This usually manifests as insecurity where it becomes important that everyone has to like, admire, and feel affection for them - most especially those who they need to ‘look out for them’, be their support system etc. A secure personality has a healthy ego which can quietly use reasonable judgement, and only needs to be assertive where occasion demands. An insecure person has a weak and fragile ego, contrary to the appearance they try and give, which can be loud, over-confident and assertive, or proud etc.

    2) An inability to deal with shame, or admit guilt. This also connects with (in Jungian terminology) an inability to ‘own the shadow’, and admit one can and does sometimes make mistakes. The cultivation of a false sense of self or identity follows; an image projected of the ‘angelic’,‘innocent’ - always sunny and light, and, ‘special’  (cf : ‘here comes the sun’ as a mantra). Of course, a PR campaign can proliferate this advertising of the false image, and this is precisely how ‘celebrities’ make use of this process.

    3) Self-esteem which in reality is rather low - together with compensatory behaviour which includes constantly needing attention, praise and to be recognised as perhaps clever, cultured, athletic, attractive…in short, ‘superior.’

    4) Manipulation. This is connected to the lack of true empowerment, and therefore the attempt (which can seem desperate) to ‘get’ power through having power and control over others. Flirtation, seduction (and obsession with erotica) can show this manipulative tendency. Control, in this case self-control, is a prerequisite for manipulating a situation. A person’s unnatural focusing around staying in control will often belie an agenda of manipulation. A secure mind and ego can afford to allow spontaneity - an insecure one cannot.

    5) Anger management can be an issue; also a ‘show of rage’ - melodramatic - can be used as a manipulative tool. (Tantrum…as in two year old). One could write a paper just on this anger aspect alone.

    6) Feeling too different, and needing badly to be accepted by others. Rejection is unbearable. And, of course, people do reject them, even if it is just in the sense of being put off by their loudness etc, as above. Thus the problems escalate inside.

    7) Lying. In severe narcissism lying is pathological. If a child is not taught why telling the truth matters - if their childish lies are humoured and not challenged by the parent, this sets up enormous trouble in the adaptation to the adult world. Again, one could write a great deal about pathological lying, - it is a topic in itself…suffice to say, here, that AK stands as a convicted felon for lying.

There is some interesting new research (Professor Raine) that has established a 22% difference in a specific brain layer, in people who are able to glibly lie. These people also have enhanced verbal faculties. Some people lie just because that’s what they do, (when they don’t actually ‘need’ to). It’s a modus operandi, - usually used as a tool to get what they want.

All of these characteristics above, added together, will give a person who is first, foremost and last, concerned with their own image, their persona - how the world sees them. Hence ‘Narcissus’, gazing at his own reflection, and mistaking it for reality.  So much mental energy is orientated towards weaving together their ideal image of themselves in everything they do: ‘What people think of me’.

Then, too, the illusion of this constructed image has to be maintained. Therefore anything that contradicts it has to be denied.  *Amanda the Innocent* - this is the image that, in this case, has been projected and maintained.

Notice that it is the perpetuating of the Image that matters - the actual point of whether she is - in fact and evidence,- innocent or guilty takes low precedence compared to the task of getting people to believe in the image of her being innocent. AK actually says so herself (in the way she often reveals herself) : “people thought I was.. ( a murderer) whether I am or not.” She couldn’t bear people to believe such an image of herself - whether she was or not, she didn’t want people to think it

It is what people think or believe about them that matters most to the image-creating narcissist. They cannot bear to be found faulty - they must be admired.

The Six Published Letters

Here are some points of interest that stood out in the published letters in the post below. (I expect others can be observed, and found also in the recent interviews, etc.) :


Letter dated April 3rd 2008.

This is the only letter of this group that contains a grumbling complaint. Firstly, she mentions the police thinking badly about her. It is striking yet again that what bothers her is how people think of her. She also repeats, as often, ‘I do understand that I have to be in control’. See point 4) above.

Then a passage that contains a couple of enigmatic statements :

“...Above all when they don’t know the truth?

It really is a torture and now I understand the motivation. I understand the motivation, but I do not agree. “Sweet” or not it is a “TORTURE”. I am being tortured and it is not right…...

Sorry. As I said I do suffer a lot in prison. Generally I am scared, alone, with no hope, sad, and tired, even if I am innocent.”

This rewards some analysis. ..“Above all when they don’t know the truth?”

No one can know the full truth, precisely because AK herself (and Sollecito) have declined, from the start, to give a full and comprehensive - let alone consistent - account of the tragic evening. So it is very illogical to then complain that the authorities are acting thus because they don’t know the truth…

“It really is a torture and now I understand the motivation”. These two clauses seem to be non sequiturs to me. I do not see what they mean. It is dark innuendo that she ‘doesn’t agree with.’ That is all we are told. Then :

“TORTURE”

If I was being gravely mistreated, with due cause for complaint, I would detail the wrong-doing as simply and clearly as possible, so it could be addressed. This does not. How is one to know whether the ‘torture’ (her inverted commas) is really frustration and annoyance at the way things have turned out? It also is expressed in a self-dramatising way.

...“even if I am innocent”. I really did read this as an ‘add-on’ - for safe measure, in case anyone significant were to read it. The word ‘even’ is out of context. It is another example of ‘distancing’, too.


Letter dated April 28th 2008 :

Don Saulo is ‘a true friend and a very good man’. At this point in time AK needs Don Saulo very much. He also, probably, offers her a role model of a positive animus (Jung again), in contrast to the other menfolk in her life, he is a man with forgiveness and without anger. Obviously, later on, she no longer needs him.

In a rare moment of veracity, AK says, “I am ignorant, unfortunately”. She also wants someone to give her explanations (for the meaning of the literature) - this indicates a passive intellect, possibly without the desire to grasp an understanding for oneself. She would rather be given the meaning, as a soundbite, almost. Then one can impress, with the knowing. Somewhat as tourists ‘get the knowledge’. I suggest, having lived in Rome, that some Americans are perhaps prone to this.


Letter November 26 2009 :

This is notable as, first, a copious expression of gratitude for being liked, and given support, and in continuation, as a definite plea for this support (and, she hopes, affection) to be ongoing.


Letter dated August 10th 2010 :

AK is first flirtatious over Maurizio’s marriage. Is she being risqué ? It seems typical of her to introduce a sexual nuance where in reality it is not appropriate.

Next, we have one of her cultural detours. She gives a (for her) fairly detailed reaction to a book by Umberto Eco, a writer of some standing. She mentions not just once, but twice that the writing is ‘meticulously built’. This obviously is something that makes the most impression upon her. Of all the stylistic and imaginative innovation, and colour, that there is in Umberto Eco’s writing, I find it most curious that this is what impresses her.


Letter April 20th 2010 :

AK is very happy to be credited as a translator : this will help her be seen in a favourable light, something high on her agenda. To be fair, credit where credit is due, (although one knows nothing of the details of the translation).

Next we have another passage of gratitude.

Then a description of how she is happy ‘playing…out in the sun’. This is immediately followed with ‘I have made a new friend’ - all important to her, and makes all the difference, - if she is liked, accepted, and preferably admired too.


Letter undated :

Here, AK says ‘I feel fine’, followed again, immediately, by a description of her new cell mate who likes her, helps her, and shares as a friend, both manicure and music. This being liked and accepted obviously gives her security, and she doesn’t want to move : ’ I am happy to remain in Perugia…’

Conclusion

These Knox letters describe a real prison situation that is at odds with the seemingly fictional Knox book. She may have been at some inner peace there. Outside, it is hard work.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Demonizations By Knox: Knox Lacks Hard Proof; Sparks Widespread Anger & Contempt

Posted by Miriam



[Header of the Giallo article; the rest off it is at bottom; click for a larger image]

1. The Fake Knox In Her Demonizing Book

Amanda Knox may have felt she was “waiting to be heard” in America but here in Italy we have heard her many times, and we feel we know her pretty well.

Her book and interviews don’t sound like her at all. They sound like nasty legal stunts and nasty PR at work. It is easy to disprove her disparagement of officials and her friends here, and an investigation by the Chief Prosecutor in Bergamo is already under way.

So the big question for us here is not angrily “Who are these appalling police, prosecutor and prison officials, and why did they do these terrible thing?” but sadly “Why was she compelled to invent all this stuff?” and “Why is she so scared to come back?”

2. The Amanda Knox That We In Italy Know

I have translated six of her letters from prison just published in the crime magazine Giallo plus the introduction and the graphologist’s analysis. This is more like the Amanda Knox we know, not the invented one in the book.

1. The Giallo magazine’s Introductory framing of Knox’s letter below

Amanda: “Here In Prison Things Are Okay”

So writes Knox to a friend while she was a prisoner in Perugia. [The true crime magazine] Giallo publishes her letters, and then has them commented on by a graphologist and a psychologist

The letters you see published on these pages are from Amanda Knox, the young American accused, along with her ex boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, of the murder of the British student Meredith Kercher, that took place in Perugia the 1st of Nov. 2007.

Knox, 26 years old, was acquitted in appeal, but now Cassazione has decided that the appeal must be redone. While waiting for this complicated judicial process to restart, Amanda lives in Seattle, and is traveling around America to launch her new book Waiting to be Heard for which she was paid several million euro by her publisher.

To the American television interviewers, the young American woman has said she is scared of coming back to Italy, because our prisons are terrible places, where she was threatened, molested sexually, and humiliated.

Well, in the letters that Giallo publishes in an exclusive, Amanda writes to a social worker, Maurizio, who helped her, and she seems neither desperate or scared, she has friends and cellmates with which to share many interests, From reading to music, up to manicures. There is a priest, Don Saulo, with which she talks, and confesses, and helps her in her moments of discouragement.

Sure, she suffers from the distance from her family, her loneliness and her imprisonment, but she can see her parents and speak with them frequently, and this notably relieves her suffering.

2. Six letters from Knox to the social worker Maurizio 2008-2010

April 3 2008

Dear Maurizio,

Thank you very much for that letter that for me is very interesting. I was thinking: “Why am I here?”, “why can’t I be with my mother?”, ” Yes the police can think badly about me, and meanwhile I do understand that I have to be in control, not run away from the situation, but why prison? I am 20 years old, never committed a crime, it is senseless. How can they say that I have to stay in prison like the people that can be a danger to others? Above all when they don’t know the truth?

It really is a torture and now I understand the motivation. I understand the motivation, but I do not agree. “Sweet” or not it is a “TORTURE”. I am being tortured and it is not right…...

Sorry. As I said I do suffer a lot in prison. Generally I am scared, alone, with no hope, sad, and tired, even if I am innocent.

Thank you for the article. It is interesting to know how people that do not undergo this torture as I and hundreds others think. To tell you the truth, I can’t understand how some judges can sleep at night, when they very well know that it can be a grave mistake. ah… mamma mia….

Come on! It is O.K. here. I am studying a lot and have started reading Italian Poetry.

Another thing that I like a lot is the song “A te” by Jovanotti. “perché tu sei…semplicemente sei….sostanza dei giorni miei…sostanza dei giorni miei…. (lyric of the song n.d.r.). Have you heard it? According to me it is a live song. It is true. Simple and strong. I like it a lot.

How are you? Do you like the change of weather? I spend more time outside reading a book and singing (I am still alone when I go outside). I am sun tanning but I’m still white white!

Hope you are OK. Love, Amanda

P.S. Let it be! Here comes the sun!  I know that I am not alone, even when I am alone

April 28 2008

Dear Maurizo,

Thanks again for your thoughts and your gifts.

I really like the T-shirts and the book of art. Beautiful! Mamma mia the talent of the artists always surprises me! Thanks. But you know, you do not have to buy me anything. I am happy just to hear from you.

Really, [Priest] Don Saulo speaks to me so much about God’s gifts, especially about the strength to overcome the difficult moments, of which there are so many. He bought me a book on philosophy entitled “Umanesimo Integrale” and we speak often of my thoughts and my questions. He is a true friend and a very good man.

It’s true, I must start to read a bit of classic Italian texts. Maybe there are some books in the library for me….......Who can explain to me about “Divina Commedia”? I know it exists and that it is famous, but more than that I am ignorant, unfortunately.

Now my father is here with me, but he has to return to the United States, next week. In his place the husband of my mother, will come. I am happy, because from him I receive a lot of strength. He is like that.

Today I go to the gym course (in a bit) and I have a home telephone call. My first telephone call was last week and I was so excited. The voices of the people I love are really a gift. I trembled a bit after those so little ten minutes.

Now, I must go to the course to sweat a bit. 😊 I hope you are very well. Thanks again for your words.You are very kind.

A hug, Amanda 😊

P.S. Let it be! Here comes the sun! I know I am not alone, even when I’m alone.

November 26 2009

Caro Maurizio,

Ciao, my friend. How are you? It’s from forever that I write you. I imagine that you must have basketball in your head, since it is the season’s sport. I send best wishes to your nephews, who play it. I am terrible at basket. I have very small hands, therefore I can’t control the ball.

I would like to thank you for meeting with my family. Chris told me nice things about your encounter, he was impressed by your generosity. I know that it is always nice and unique, every time that somebody comes toward you and they like you, just like that. Therefore, thank you, for having welcomed him, me and my dear ones.

Nearly, nearly there. O mamma mia, one has to remain strong in these days. I am always hoping so much, even if, in my stomach I feel sick, anxious. More than anything, the closer it gets, the more I have to reinforce my patience against the fatigue and frustration.  But I will make it.

A lot of my family will come tomorrow to be in court. There will be my father, my mother, my stepmother and my aunt. My three sisters will be here on Dec. 2. I hope so much to be able to go home with them, finally, this time. I see it in “my third eye” the vision of being on the plane between my mother and my sister. Maybe, I am thinking to much about it.

Anyway, I hope you are well. I must go to sleep early tonight, to be ready for tomorrow.

Thank you for your continued support.

Your friend, Amanda 😊

Here comes the sun! Let it be! I know that I am not alone even when I am alone,

Happy Thanksgiving!

April 20 2010

MAURIZIO

Hi! How are you? I’m happy that I made you happy with the full translation. For me it was a satisfying job, so I thank you too for the chance that you gave me. I don’t think it will be a bad thing put up my name as a translator. OK it is fine for me and yes if you like it, you can even put my second name Marie,

Thank you very much for the towels, to be truthful I really needed them. They are beautiful. I gave one of my pillow cases to the other inmate so we have twin pillows. She thanks you too and sends her best wishes.

Seems like that the weather is finally changing. With great pleasure I was able to wear a skirt in these days. Now people are out and we play volleyball together under the sun. I made friends with a new 19 years old girl: she is an athlete too. Every day we walk or play with the ball together,

Next Friday my mother, father and stepfather will be here for a visit. Mi mother and father are here for a short time to be interviewed on TV at “Quarto Grado” and then will come here. Can’t wait to see them, I miss them with all my heart.

Well, hope that you are fine. Thank you again for everything and salute you with all my affection

Hi your friend, Amanda

I know that I am not alone even when I am alone

August, 30 2010

Dearest Maurizio

Hi dear, how are you? Do you know that yesterday I was taking with D…. about you, only because you are a very special person in this world, for all that you do for others. She told me that you got married. Congratulations! Now I have to tell to my grandmother and break her heart! 😊 Just joking!

I am well enough here. I thank you again for the shorts and shirt that you send me. They were perfect as always. Thanks and I hope that you didn’t lighten your wallet too much. I am kind of disappointed that you spend your money on me, you are too generous. I am always the same here.

Just finished reading a book by Umberto Eco book that I liked a lot. In Italian should be ” L’isola del giorno prima”, I read it in English “The island of the day before”; maybe the “island of yesterday”? Anyway, I was favorably moved by Eco’s organization in this novel in order to communicate so many ideas on science, philosophy, ethic, imagination, literature. It was a book very rich on thoughts, and colpi di scena during it’s path.

I like Umberto Eco because he meticulously builds the story that he wants to tell. Of all he writes, nothing is taken for granted and this is remarkable, he has a fantastic mind to dig deep while following a long track. I saw a Sean Connery movie based on a book of his “Il nome della Rosa?” It was fantastic. Always meticulously built, deep and fascinating.

Seems like that the newspapers know before us when the appeal proceeding will take place. We still have not been officially notified, but my lawyers told me that it should start Nov. 24th; that in the USA is Thanksgiving Day. Hope that it is a good omen even if there is a lot in my life for which I should be grateful: to be alive, having the family that I have etc…

[Undated letter]

Dearest Maurizio,

I am happy to hear from you again. I use now the paper you sent me to answer you.  Sorry to make you wait.  My mother has returned to the United States nearly a week ago, and my father returns to Italy tomorrow, to see me Tuesday.

I am happy to remain in Perugia. I do not want to restart everything in another place.  Also I? (blurred) have heard that the prisons in Rome are harsher than here. Who knows?

I only know that at least I know some of the prison officers fairly well, after all this time. I would be sorry to leave Don Saulo. I feel fine in my new cell. I changed it so I could be with a girl my own age. We joke, cook, we do manicures. Further, she does a manicure for me, because I do not know how to do one. We listen to music a lot because she has a radio.

Thank you for all you do for me. The paper, your words of confidence, your prayers. To Don Saulo I will send your greetings. Do you write often to him too?  I hope all is very well with you. I send you a big hug. Ciao! Thank you!

Amanda Knox 😊

Let it be, Let it be! Here comes the sun! (drawing of a sun)

3. Comments by educational psychologist and graphologist Evi Crotti

Looking at the Amanda Knox letters it is evident right away how organized and precise she is: she has a perfect handwriting, elegant and without smudges. We try to interpret it with the help of the graphologist and educational psychologist Evi Crotti.

She explains: Her perfect, organized handwriting, without margins and few spaces indicates that we have before us a girl that is decisive, strong, who wants to dominate, and knows she can succeed in life. She puts herself In the center and leaves no place for others. Amanda displays a way of writing that is typically northamerican, in small print, called script.

The handwriting, elegant, big and curved, reveals an extroverted personality, and with a notable sense of taste. Her language is fluid and polished, and the accuracy with which she writes, tells us that this young girl has a need to maximize and nurse her image, to the point of becoming narcissistic: after her signature she draws herself with a smiling face.

Amanda leaves no space between the lines: this signifies an element of interior loneliness, which she attempts to compensate at any cost with approaches of verbal intrusiveness. This tells us that that her strong narcissistic behavior can escape control and lead her to present unstable behaviors. The fact instead that her handwriting is always in horizontal lines, without blurs, gives testimony to her practical intelligence and her strong tenaciousness,  that allow her to reach her goals.

Also, the handwriting is rigid and this signifies that she knows how to use words with care and determination. Evi Crotti underlines that the handwriting is static: It is a sign of a behavior that is very seductive. Attention, the need to be attractive at all costs can make her lose sight of the objectivity of judgment , taking her to a subjective vision of circumstance reality.

Conclusion:  Amanda seems to be in a continuous search of approval and acceptance from those who live around her. Her egocentricity, maybe pushed unto the point of a bogus personality, demonstrates that this girl possess a highly emotional immaturity that doesn’t allows her to love in an unselfish way. The handwriting slightly slanted to the left indicates a contradiction between the need to be liked and the reactive refusal toward a feminine figure: for her, probably every woman represents a rival.





















Saturday, May 04, 2013

Knox Book - What The Newly Published Writings Reveal To Professional Eyes (1)

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding





Amateurism run amoke is what the unprecedented and unwise Knox extravaganza is starting to look like. 

Several TJMK posts below this one have already suggested that the book was rushed into print with very little fact-checking, with no restraint on damaging false accusations,  and with no strategic legal considerations.

The same thing seems to have happened with the TV appearances.

Knox had a year and a quarter under wraps to prepare herself and yet her many exaggerated and over-emotional TV claims contradict many things SHE HERSELF has said previously.

She seems to have been rehearsed by handlers with little or no grasp of the extensive fact record.

And where has all this amateurism left her? Open to slow erosion of her credibility by an increasing number of commentators while considerably upping her peril in Italy.

Because many of her claims falsely accuse officers of the court, she could be further indicted for contempt of court, and she could see the five years which was lopped off her sentence by Judge Massei for “mitigating circumstances” reinstated.

Those of us with psychology credentials may not have all been expecting the same thing from Knox when she finally surfaced. But none of us expected to be confronted so forcefully with a classic case of a personality in turmoil.

My first impression after getting through to the end of the book was that it shows such serious disturbance psychologically, so much being revealed in her own words.

It wouldn’t be possible to classify AK as clinically insane, the niceties of this being so precise - but an abnormal mind is clearly illustrated. So clear that it is actually sad - that she has been allowed and encouraged to do this.

The ghost writing, or/and her own expression is also painful to read in terms of quality of writing. These are the main points that have emerged for me, from a psychological perspective, after reading:

AK’s grip on reality (even without drugs) is tragically lacking. It seems that she doesn’t know what a ‘fact’ is. Every fact and event is seen through a lens of her own feeling or emotion - logical connection being absent - together with how she believes it is best to make it appear.

‘Her “best truth” is this over and over again. She doesn’t even understand that this is considered by normal minds to be lying. She doesn’t seem to have a concept of lying.

  • “their version of reality was taking over”... Does reality only come in versions?

  • “something didn’t feel right. it seemed made up”.  Does she not know?

AK continually refers to herself as “different”. She is, but not for the curious or trivial things she believes. She is also obsessively concerned to be seen and classified as a “good person”. This comes up over and over.

“I didnt want them to think I was a bad person”. Note, not: “I didn’t want to BE a bad person” but always “how will people think of me”. This is a continual theme. “I couldn’t believe anyone could think that of me”.

It does show a dissociative and non-integrated personality, with both deep roots and serious implications.  There are also indications that she is unable to ‘read’ people’s faces /expressions with any accuracy. (Emotion recognition).

A more sinister and disturbing facet to her personality connected to the above, which comes through in every chapter, is the automatic disparagement of anyone who displeases her (which of course happens frequently - whenever, in fact, someone has a different version to ‘her best truth’).

Someone is then ‘useless’, ‘betraying me’, ‘stupid’, etc etc. These words are all said matter-of-factly…. as if they really are facts.  Here are some more of these words, peppered within the text:

  • ‘Repellant, self-serving’, ‘hostile’, ‘insincere’, ‘abandoned (me)’, ‘uninterested’, ‘aggressive’, ‘spiteful’, ‘curt’, ‘disdainful’

  • ‘Old perv…lecherous’, ‘glared cruelly’, ‘idiotic’, ‘insidious’, ‘controlling’, ‘condescending’, ‘mean’, ‘hateful’, ‘ruthless’....

Note that it is not that AK finds these people to be these things, in her opinion- it is that they ARE these things.

The sub-text is: I am a good person, and they, having displeased or disagreed with me, are ‘bad’. Thus the mechanism for strong, unrestrained projection is at work.

Example: “The police couldn’t bear to admit they were wrong.”  Could she, though?

Her projections are so blatant, that I quake for her lack of self-awareness. I used to read literature as a window into self-awareness, insight, philosophical depths, and questions of morality.

Sadly this book is about as far from offering these as one could go. A PR machine missile is not a ‘book’ in the sense I used to know.

AK reveals a very strong inner anger, the control of which is difficult, and which it would seem she is frightened of, and frightened of revealing.

She would also seem to be based in a passive aggressive stance, which gives rise to a side seen as nice and even gentle. These two sides seem badly split.

This would be in keeping with the Envy hypothesis (I refer to Melanie Klein’s ‘Envy and Gratitude’). There are a few definite examples of the consuming anger which Amanda herself describes graphically.

She continually justifies it, also. Sometimes, of course, anger may be justified (‘just anger’) but as described here it is nearer to a rage or a tantrum when things aren’t going according to how she wants them to.

This speaks of manipulation, which would be part of the same profile, and is essentially destructive and spoiling, as well as something that wells up with a will of its own.

She often exposes her state of mind in certain phrases, without realising the implications of what she is saying. This is why I think the whole thing is so sad, as she has been used (seemingly mainly for money) in this foolish venture.

For example: “In that instant I snapped.” when the detective said “you know who killed Meredith.” It wasn’t the pressure/abuse from the police that made her snap, it was being confronted with the truth.

NOT her ‘best truth,’ but one that was simply unbearable to hear.  There are many other examples, littered throughout the book, of some of her inner chaos:

  • “This is my own fault. I caused the confusion”

  • “I wanted to disappear.  I didn’t want to be me anymore”.

  • “I didn’t know if I was allowed to keep my thoughts private…”

  • “Like a roller coaster ride….can’t get off. This is all my own fault”
  • .
  • ” I was furious for putting myself in this situation”.

  • Rafaelle - “He didn’t look at me. I wondered if he hated me”.  (Why should he?)

  • “We want justice. But against who? We all want to know, but we all don’t.”

There are many others.  Amanda Knox said she loved Italy and I believe her. With adjustment she could have been a lot happier there than she perhaps ever was in Seattle. Now she is in the position of demonizing Italy and its good people there, and in the worst possible way.

Italy was in fact very kind to Amanda Knox, and her treatment there was on the right lines to give her hope of enduring stability. What a pity that dirty PR and legal tricks and money grubbing may have pushed that out of sight forever.


Wednesday, May 01, 2013

A Welcome To New Arrivals: A Second Experienced Lawyer Recommends How To Zero In On The Truth

Posted by James Raper With Kermit




Some Questions

My legal colleague Some Alibi hammers home in the post below that the trial jury were not fools. They decided for guilt unanimously, based on many compelling evidence points.

(1) Do you know how many hard evidence points there are? Literally hundreds. This is a very evidence-heavy case. And at trial in 2009 the prosecution did an excellent job. Between February and June, in about a dozen one-day sessions, they presented an overwhelming case and tied together all the points.

(2) Do you know how many conclusive evidence points are required for a finding of guilt? Just ONE. If it is definitive enough, a single piece of evidence can decide any case. Some Alibi posted a damning footprint example the other day which BY ITSELF could have seen Sollecito convicted in any UK or US court. There are examples too for Knox.

(3) Do you know how many evidence points were discredited during the trial and the anulled appeal? In fact it was NONE. A spooked defence kept well away from the alibi evidence, the cellphone evidence, the computer evidence, the mixed-blood evidence, the obvious crime-scene re-arrangement, and most eye-witness evidence. <

Please click here for more

A Welcome To New Arrivals #1: An Experienced Trial Lawyer Recommends How To Zero In On the Truth DRAFT

Posted by Some Alibi



[Merediths window is seen on the top floor of the house in the lower foreground]

Welcome To Common Sense

This briefing was first posted with slightly different opening paras at the start of the annulled Hellmann appeal. New arrivals often tell us this helped them the most.

If you’ve come to this website because of the Amanda Knox book and interview, then welcome.  Like all of us who come to this case, you have one key question: did they do it?  The Knox book and interview seriously cherrypick the case, and perhaps haven’t helped you at all.

On the Internet, you will find people who are passionate in their defence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito; and you will find people who are passionate in their support of an exceptionally talented girl who died, of a fine justice system previously untainted by PR, and of the prosecution’s very strong case.

Please click here for more

Monday, April 08, 2013

Experienced Trial Lawyer: There’s Far More Evidence Than UK/US Courts Need For Guilt

Posted by SomeAlibi




The false claim “there is no evidence”

Some amateur supporters of Knox and Sollecito have committed thousands of hours online to try and blur and obfuscate the facts of the case in front of the general public.

Their goal is simple: to create an overwhelming meme that there is “no evidence” against the accused, and thereby try to create a groundswell of support. Curt Knox and Edda Mellas and Ted Simon have all made this “no evidence” claim many times.

At least some some of the media have eagerly swallowed it.

The amateur PR flunkies make up myriad alternate versions of what created single points of evidence, often xenophobic scare stories designed to trigger emotional reactions, which they hope will be repeated often enough to become accepted as “the truth”.

And where things get really tricky, another time honored tactic is to go on at great length about irrelevant details, essentially to filibuster, in the hope that general observers will lose patience with trying to work it all out.

But time and again we have shown there is actually a great deal of evidence.

Evidence is the raw stuff of criminal cases. Let me speak here as a lawyer. Do you know how many evidence points are required to prove Guilt? One evidence point if it is definitive.

A definitive evidence point

If you’re new to this case or undecided, what is an easy example of ONE definitive evidence item that might stand alone? Might quickly, simply, and overwhelmingly convince you to invest more time into understanding the real evidence, not that distorted by the PR campaign?

In fact we have quite a choice. See the footprint which was second on that list.

Now see the table above. I recommend the use of this table of measurement to avoid the lengthy back and forward of narrative argument which so lends itself to obscuring the truth. I would like to present you with this single table of measurements to give you pause to question whether this line that there is “no evidence” is really true or whether it might be a crafted deception.

I present here a summarized view of critical evidence which suggests with devastating clarity that Raffaele Sollecito was present the night of the murder of Meredith Kercher. No lengthy text, no alternate versions, just measurements.

This FIRMLY places Sollecito in the very room where Meredith was attacked and killed.

In the small bathroom right next to Meredith’s bedroom was a bathmat. On it was found a bloody naked right footprint of someone walking straight towards the shower in the bathroom. The blood is that of Meredith.

The footprint is not Amanda Knox’s - it is too big - but we can compare it to the prints taken of Rudy Guede and Raffaele Sollecito.

In Judge Massei’s report the multiple measurements were detailed in the narrative over many sentences and, in that form, their immediate cumulative impact is less obvious. It is only by tabulating them, that we are forcefully hit by not one but two clear impressions:

The measurements are extremely highly correlated to the right foot of Raffaele Sollecito in twelve separate individual measurements. In themselves they would be enough for a verdict of guilt in all but a few court cases.

But they also show a manifest LACK of correlation to the right foot of Rudy Guede, the only other male in that cottage on the night. Have a look for yourself.

If you were the prosecution, or indeed the jury, and you saw these measurements of Raffaele’s foot versus the print, what would you think? Answer the question for yourself based on the evidence admitted to court.

Then, if you compare further, exactly how plausible do you find it that the measurements of the bloody imprint are Rudy Guede’s instead?

Not only are some of the individual measurements of Rudy’s imprint as much as 30% too small, but the relative proportions of length and breadth measurements are entirely wrong as well, both undershooting and overshooting by a large margin (70% to 150%).

Conclusions that must follow

Presented with those numbers, would you consider those measurements of Rudy Guede’s right foot to show any credible correlation to those of the footprint on the mat?

Supporters of the two have tried frantically to create smoke screen around this - the wrong technique was used they say (ruled not so by the court) / they are the wrong measurements (all 32 of them? that Raffaele’s are matching exactly or within a millimetre but Rudy’s are out by as much as -30% to +50%...?).

The severity of the impact on the defence is such that there was even a distorted photoshopped version circulated by online supporters of Raffaele and Amanda until they were caught out early on in coverage. But it is hopeless, because these are pure measurement taken against a scale that was presented in court and the data sits before you.

Have a look at the measurements and understand this was evidence presented in court. Whose foot do you think was in that bathroom that night? Rudy Guede? Or was it Raffaele Sollecito on twelve counts of measurement?

And if you find for the latter, you must consider very seriously what that tells you both about the idea there is “no evidence” in this case and who was in the cottage that night…


Monday, February 18, 2013

Raffaele Sollecito Now Under Formal Investigation For New Crimes Apparently Unprecedented

Posted by Our Main Posters




Breaking news. The Chief Prosecutor for Tuscany Dr Quattrocchi (above and below) has taken this investigation of Sollecito behind the scenes. Dr Quattrocchi is actually under no compulsion to make any of the Perugia and Rome complaints public before his investigation is complete. He has ordered all documents removed from the public domain. This is specifically to give the defense and their PR no advantage, and to make sure those others in Perugia who are going to complain about being defamed do so without harm.

Overview

This is a contempt of court case as court officials have been impugned. This is Wikipedia’s definition of “contempt of court” under US and UK common law.

Contempt of court is a court order which in the context of a court trial or hearing, declares a person or organization to have disobeyed or been disrespectful of the court’s authority.

Often referred to simply as “contempt,” such as a person “held in contempt,” it is the judge’s strongest power to impose sanctions for acts which disrupt the court’s normal process.

A finding of contempt of court may result from a failure to obey a lawful order of a court, showing disrespect for the judge, disruption of the proceedings through poor behaviour, or publication of material deemed likely to jeopardize a fair trial.

A judge may impose sanctions such as a fine or jail for someone found guilty of contempt of court.

We may now find out much more about the equivalent under Italian law.

When Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox were released at the end of 2011, the prosecution filed a Supreme Court appeal within the allotted period. This automatically meant that Sollecito and Knox still stood accused of crimes until the Supreme Court finally signs off.

Typically Italian defendants in such a legal status get good legal advice, on the lines of “Shut up and keep your heads down. We need to be the only ones doing the talking here.” 

Here such advice may or may not have been forthcoming, but the public record strongly suggests it was not. In fact Sollecios entire legal team is credited by both himelf and his shadow writer Andrew Gumbel with helping. This is what Gumbel wrote in his Acknowledgments:

Donatella Donati in Luca Maori’s office gave up many hours to make the official documentation available and to present it all in a cogent order. She’s a largely unsung hero in this story and deserves recognition for her extraordinary efforts on Raffaele’s behalf. Giulia Bongiorno, Luca Maori, and Tiziano Tedeschi answered questions and made comments on parts of the manuscript.

In the same Acknowledgments Sollecito credits the following.

I was lucky to have a crack legal team who showed their devotion to the truth and, in some cases, did not even request payment. The team of lawyers and consultants included Adriano Tagliabracci, Francesco Vinci, Bruno Pellero, Francesco Introna, Giulia Bongiorno, Maurizio Parisi, Daniela Rocchi, Luca Maori, Donatella Donati, Marco Brusco, Aldo Poggioni, Delfo Berretti, Tiziano Tedeschi, and Antonio D’Ambrosio.

Interestingly, Luca Maori has already left Sollecio’s legal team, and all eyes are now on Giulia Bongiorno. Buy plenty of popcorn. Lawsuits could fly between lawyers and family. 

Since the end of 2011 Curt Knox’s forces seem to have have gone full steam ahead with their own vilifications of the Italian prosecutors, police, judges, and witnesses - in fact almost anyone who had any role in 2009 in finding them guilty, or came to believe that was a fair finding. Ourselves included.

In late 2012 Curt Knox apparently invited all the most fervent of these attackers to Seattle, including Frank Sforza and Bruce Fischer, as some sort of reward for their legally very ill-advised campaign. Buy plenty more popcorn. Lawsuits could fly here as well. 

Raffele Sollecito’s forces in Italy had been a lot more restrained.

But at a stroke, the shrillness of Raffaele Sollecito leapfrogged that of Amanda Knox’s forces, with the publication of his book Honor Bound by Simon and Schuster in English in the UK and US last September,

INSTANTLY the book became notorious in Italy, because excerpts were read out by an Italian reporter in New York on the national television show Porta a Porta. Raffele Sollecito’s father Francesco was on that show, and he was increasingly forced to admit a key claim in the book was invented. It simply never happened. His son made it up.

The false claim by his son that Francesco was made to repudiate - it reappears over many pages - concerned a claimed deal engineered by his family and offered by the prosecution to Sollecito.

The deal he claimed was to roll over on Amanda Knox, and if Sollecito did so, he would be home free.

Following the Porta a Porta show, the book (obtainable on UK Amazon, where many false claims are repeated in the reviews) began to make its rounds in Italy. It took some time before many official parties accused of crimes by Sollecito obtained copies and started to explore their own legal possibilities. They are apparently still far from finished.

At the end of last week, the Chief Prosecutor for Tuscany Giuseppe Quattrocchi received the first official request from Perugia, which is to investigate 12 very serious claims in the book against the prosecution and the legal institutions of Italy. The complaint nominates a number of witnesses.

The Prosecution office of Florence now has a maximum of six months to investigate whether there is a case against Sollecito and other named parties. If so, they will steer it through the hoops of the Italian process.

The potential ripple effects of this appear to us to stretch on and on. They could come to engulf both legal teams (credited in the book with helping) and all of the PR for both defendants. Sollecito’s publisher and shadow writer are specifically named in the complaint

If Amanda Knox is not let off the hook by the Italian Supreme Court late in March (the outcome we consider most likely, given the great strength of the appeal) the smart way for Knox to go in light of this could be to junk all her websites, her book, and her interviews, and throw her supporters under the bus. Plus maybe get smarter lawyers - the aggressive and inexperienced Dalla Vedova does her no favors.

Keeping Amanda Knox’s head out of this deadly new line of fire may be very late - but maybe better late than never.




Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Should The Knox Defense Point The Finger At An Angry Daddy?

Posted by Our Main Posters




1. State Of Judicial Process

Given a level playing field (a big if) it seems for now that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are almost certainly going down for the final count.

There is not the slightest sign that their defense lawyers know how to contend with the Supreme Court appeal filed by Umbria’s chief prosecutor Dr Galati. One may have already walked (Maori) and the fact that the others don’t respond publicly to the Galati filing speaks volumes to Italian lawyers.

If the first appeal (called in Italy the second level) is rerun in whole or in part, Sollecito and Knox could see Judge Massei’s “mitigating factors” annulled and find themselves each facing 30 years inside or even life.

The whole thrust of Sollecito’s ill-timed book (subtitle “how to shoot oneself in both feet”) is that he deserves to serve less time than Amanda Knox (who he “nobly saved”) and preferably to serve no time at all.

2. Sliding Scales Of Discussions

Many bright people follow the case. We have many lawyers and crime experts and even judges read here. Many took a long time to settle on a “guilt” point of view and approached it very professionally (reflected in many of the posts written by professionals here). This is contrary to the klutzy, amateurish FOA campaign and their inaccurate rants about “haters”.

There are various great sliding scales or continuums in considering all aspects of this case. A lot of what we talk about on PMF and TJMK is where, precisely, we should all come down on each of these various scales at the end of the day. Especially of course how the judges in Rome and Perugia should calibrate them.

Via Dr Galati’s appeal and especially Sollecito’s book, we now have a new one. If reconvicted, should Sollecito and Knox serve equal time? Or should one or other serve more? Let us approach this by considering first some of the most-discussed of the sliding scales.

1) Was Knox a good friend of Meredith or increasingly a pariah?

Many here incline strongly to pariah.

Knox has an obvious tin ear and sharp elbows, was doing little study in Perugia, was making life hell for all her flatmates, was bringing noisy threatening lowlife men home (the other three virtually never brought men home), was disturbing Meredith’s studies, was hitting on patrons in Patrick’s bar, and was definitely into drugs to the extent that she might already have become an addict.

2) Pre-meditated murder or a hazing or spontaneous spiral initiated by Guede?

At least some here incline to the view espoused by some psychologists that Knox and Sollecito were probably both at minimum fantasizing violence, Knox against Meredith, and Sollecito long-term generically.

Knox had become threatened by Meredith in several different ways: Meredith was prettier, was much funnier, had won the best available boy, was brighter, had a tougher study regime, was more directed and ambitious, and had left Knox in the dust on all fronts. Hints that Meredith was about to get Knox’s job at Patrick’s bar could have been the last straw.

To most here, Knox has always seemed the initiator and the leader in the rage against Meredith, and the other two were possibly drawn in by group dynamics.

Judge Micheli certainly believed this. Judge Massei might have done, and his pointing at Guede (espoused in spades by Hellmann and Zanetti) and Massei’s “mitigating factors” both seemed “humane” stretches to give them a few years off - stretches which Chief Prosecutor Galati in his appeal and the Supreme Court in their finding on Guede have already both rejected.

3) Isolated crime/unique family or does American society incline this way?

Statistics show that society here in the US is separated out between super-rich and the other 99% more than at any time in the past 80 years and although productivity has been going up amazingly, all fruits of growth have gone to those super-rich. Many of them have a mindset that basically tells them they made it on their own, and government roles in their success and that of their creative hard-working employees dont matter a damn.

The situation and the anger in the US has been worsening, and absence of true growth for most people also have European and Japanese societies in disarray

In the US one can see heightened levels of anger in the losers of the Superbowl, in the renewed buying of guns, in conspiracy theories on the Internet, in the success of the very thought-provoking Hunger Games books and movie (small people against rich and a captured, cruel over-militarized government), in politics (of course!), and in the vitriolic flames on the IMDB movie forums now against the front-runner movies and actors for the Oscars.

We may not see this at major play here in the crime against Meredith, though, except in the over-competition sense, and the sense that Knox grew up in slight poverty (see below) and was burning through her savings with all the cocaine use (Perugia cops think it was cocaine)

4) Mental ill health in the perps and/or families or original evil?

Sollecito’s dad has long admitted that Raffaele is not normal, and he has struggled to keep him off drugs and focussed hard on his studies. His dad also admitted to all Italy that Sollecito included defamatory lies in his book.

An open and shut case? Seems so. Raffaele now looks “uncomplicatedly” psychopathic and the myriad wrong and nasty claims in his chest-beating book really hammer this take on him home.

That book seems to be his equivalent of Knox’s abrasive, uncaring two days on the stand in 2009 which so damaged her with the Massei jury.

Knox’s mental health seems more complicated. She was widely known to be “quirky” as a kid and then she became pretty wild in Seattle after she moved to live near the university. That certainly wouldn’t have helped.

Most recently, Knox seems to be sliding away into a bubble world without any possibility of admitting she needs treatment, which seems to explain her being kept well out of sight for a year now and not working or studying.

Generally the PROSECUTION in Perugia has been the side to suggest she is not mentally fully well (after the psychological tests in Capanne Prison in 2008) and the DEFENSE and FAMILY has been the side that shrugs this off and hasn’t made it any part of her defence.

Knox seems to have given off plenty of signs in the days after Meredith died that she was alternating between glee and horror. So she seemingly did know what she was doing on the night, and our guess is that it was she who pushed the knife in. In these circumstances the original verdict and sentence seem appropriate.

However!

5) Knox made herself what she was or did her family contribute?

Curt Knox’s seeming blind rage at Edda during their marriage and for years after are an open secret among some in Seattle. He apparently had one of the worst records in the entire US in not paying child support to Edda for Amanda and Deanna, and had again and again to be taken to Superior Court by Edda to be forced to make his monthly payments.

Here are two public records showing two instances of him being taken to Superior Court by Edda.

And we are told that Curt Knox was counseled by one or more judges to get himself some anger management therapy. Apparently he wasn’t formally required to take anger management therapy. He may have done so, though there seems no record that he ever did.

Okay. Not all kids growing up in such toxic family situations suffer, but some do, and a few end up with their hard wiring seriously messed up. Some even end up as drug-takers and murderers.

The classic example recently was the mass killer Anders Breivek in Norway, whose early childhood in a toxic family situation was not entirely unlike Knox’s. (In that case also, the prosecution thought maybe he was nuts, and the defense, successfully, argued otherwise.)

Italian lawyers tell us that it would be for the DEFENSE to bring this up in Perugia if it is a possible mitigating factor, and that it doesnt impinge on the prosecution’s case.

But how could they?

Curt Knox was apparently the one who shushed Amanda Knox at their first meeting in Capanne Prison, Curt Knox was apparently the one who misled her about the world-wide skepticisim against her (she didnt know about that until she came out of prison), and Curt Knox was apparently the one who drove the nasty PR bus - and most recently hosted all of the worst of the rabid PR nuts (including Sforza and Fischer) in Seattle.

Curt Knox has apparently consistently instructed the defense lawyers and PR honchos to keep the pedal to the floor, even though Chris Mellas once openly argued against that. Amanda Knox may have pushed the knife in, but Curt Knox for five years has not come clean about his own possible role in any mental condition.

Our present conclusion

Without a lot more information on Amanda Knox’s early days in her broken home in Seattle, and her current mental condition and condition back in 2007, it is pretty hard to calibrate this. It is not really possible to be precise about where she should be on any sliding scale of time deserved in prison if she is finally convicted.

It is really incumbent upon the defense counsel in Italy (their lawyers’ code of ethics requires this) to push hard for this information, and if they think it relevant to present it to court at any rerun of the appeal trial.

Amanda Knox herself should want this.


Monday, January 21, 2013

An Overview From Italy #2: Current Perceptions In Italy, Justice Perverters Fail, Mignini Vindicated

Posted by Machiavelli





My previous report on the bad news remorselessly building here for the defense was on the Procura Generale appeal to the Supreme Court.

One year ago ““ between the end of December 2011 and beginning of January 2012 ““ there were only rare idle comments in the Italian press about the Meredith Kercher case, more or less sarcastically noting the “suspicious” circumstances of the Appeal trial.  I recall how a mention of the topic was dropped into the last number of “ll Venerd씝 of 2011.

“Il Venerdì di Repubblica” is the weekly magazine issued together with the newspaper “La Repubblica” (thus probably the most read magazine in Italy).

The cover theme of that week was provincialism ““ or better “the provincials” - the adjective used to assemble a sample of seven little cities (Cuneo, Voghera, Rimini, Jesi, Perugia, Benevento, Partinico), picked from different regions, and taken as examples on the theme, that is stories of “local colour”;  what goes on in small “provincial places”.  A few characters and stories are brought in to depict the local life of each place, and the voices of local authors adds something about the places.

The article about Perugia (at pages 62-68) was by Luca Cardinalini. In that number of Il Venerdì, having stories of “local colour” as weekly theme, there were shades of ironic tones for each city, often through the voice of local intellectuals. As Perugia is described, the Meredith trial is quickly recalled among its local stories; the reader can’t miss how this is viewed as in connection with another most remarkable feature of the city, that is Masonry.

According to Luca Cardinalini and Enrico Vaime, Masonry is called a “Specialty” of Perugia, like chocolate. Local author Enrico Vaime intends to convey the people’s perception about shady powers existing in the city, about a local environment saturated by plots and informal powers, as something behind recent strange judicial decisions such as the Hellmann verdict and the apparent dropping of the Narducci case.  The widespread belief of Perugians that the Public Minister (prosecutor) is the righteous one shines through the words of Enrico Vaime.

Also notice how racism appears to be another key perception about the verdict. Quality media press in Italy has a typical style of understatement.  This comment hints that it seems obvious that the Appeal was a racist verdict - and it was “expected” that they would find a way to blame the black one and the outcast. 

Some of Perugian “provincialism” seems to include a very narrow localism of Perugian identity: a person from Orvieto is reported to be called “a foreigner” ; but this is because the cultural viewpoint is based on the assumption of a personal knowledge of all people.  In among this, there is Vaime’s knowledge about how rooted Masonic tradition and power is in the city, in a scenario of “brotherhoods” and “tribes” (the article includes a photo of the most known “Masonic” monument in Perugia: the gryphon or griffen ““ the emblem of Perugia ““ grabbing a toppled Pope’s Tiara in a sign of rebellion). 

The report by Vaime is objectively correct : the concentration of members of Masonic lodges in Perugia is the highest in the world, about 5 times the national average of Italy (which is anyway very high). 

In Vaime’s wording decent people in Perugia are ‘Christians’ or ‘Communists’ ““ these are the names he uses to address the main categories he sees as “good” people, two transparent moral systems.  He devolves skepticism toward the less transparent allegiances, the murky and informal connections to powers. 

I believe these perceptions from one year ago, in this colorful article about Perugia, should be most interesting to the readers of this site.

The first part of the article on Perugia is not that interesting - it speaks mostly about a local character named Ivano Massetti, nicknamed “Savonarola of Umbrian football”,  the director (“boss”) of a local TV network and leading showman of his own soccer talk show. I skipped this first part with depictions of local folks, and get to the point at p.66 where the Kercher case is first mentioned. 

This is my translation of the article from this point:

[”¦](p.66 line 17):

As Enrico Vaime ““ a 100% Perugian, a writer, and among many other things fiercly provincial ““ already knows: “Only in Perugia do you hear people saying “actually Tizio [random guy] was not a native from Colombella, but from Piccione”, which is three times further”. And when his grandfathers (farther of his father) bearing the same name Enrico Vaime, moved his formal place of residence [to Perugia] from Spello, on the official documents they wrote “emigrated to Perugia and married to a foreigner from Orvieto”.

The roots are extremely deep. “Still today” Vaime says “when I say to my family “we go back home”, I mean here, in Perugia, where I have not owned a house for decades. And I still call the roads and shops with the names they had when I was a child, even if now the owners are foreigners, from Shangai or, as I say, from Terni”.

Vaime is cross with the bad reporters who described Perugia, in the Meredith murder case, as a capital of corruption and vice: “An invasion of charlatan journalists who, as they believed they were visiting a remote and lost province, they painted it as a sort of Chicago on the Trasimeno Lake”.

[The fact] that no Perugian was involved in that sad story, to them that was an irrelevant detail. And the trial ended just the way many Perugians expected: a black guy first wrongly put in jail, another black one convicted, the two white, good-looking, wealthy and well defended young people, free.

So it was that the Public Minister Giuliano Mignini became a target. He’s a Perugian whom the Perugians know as the dominus of the other judicial case ““ this also is, yes, entirely local ““ about which everybody talks and knows, but always in a low voice: the death of doctor Francesco Narducci,  the one suspected of having ties to the crimes of the Monster of Florence. From the judicial point of view that was - by half ““ just another hole-in-the-water [a failure] for which some critics have hastily put the blame on some alleged lunacy of the public minister.

But”¦  however”¦ meanwhile, this [Naducci] corpse-swap was indeed found to have been for sure, a kind of unique case in the criminal history of the country. And, for what concerns the recent acquittals of those characters involved in this death, well, after almost a year and a half we are still waiting for the verdict motivations. All of the suspects were esteemed high-class professionals. That’s a perfect mix of strange deaths, sex, lead-astray investigations, and Masonry; this is in the city with the highest number of Masonic lodges in Italy.

Vaime sighs: “Masonry is something alien from me, but I have many friends who are in it. In Perugia it works as a compensation chamber for various powers, but also as an effort for the surge of the spirit to many decent people. Masters, masons and “33”, but all of them decent Perugians”.  Masonry is considered a local specialty, just like the bruschetta or the Etruscan arch.

“One day you find out that that mediocre employee of your acquaintance, or the one who performed an incredible career in the public administration or in politics, is a “˜son of Horus’. Then you either laugh, or you slap yourself on the forehead just like saying to yourself “Wow! [how could I ] think about it!”. “That travet* [*a generic mediocre opportunist employee], too” 

Vaime says “to me it is a strange Perugian, with little interest for the Egyptian god compared to his covet for entering inner circles of a certain world. Their internal motivation is “I want to see how the lords sit at the table”. But in there [Masonry], you see, there are also good Christians and good Communists; as has always happened in this province, which has the art of living together in its genes”.

[”¦. ]



This month ““ Jan 2013 ““ the Italian press returned to the topic of the case again in a few brief articles. This time it was because of Sollecito’s book.

After Maurizio Molinari’s report from New York on the book in September, and the busting by Bruno Vespa on Porta a Porta of Francesco Sollecito, who ended up openly contradicting his own son’s statements, another hint appeared in the local press about what is cooking up backstage. 






This article in Perugia Today has a neutral take, but the same understatement and kind of vagueness as it anticipates that something very likely will happen.

What I find most delightful is the quotation marks in the title around the word “author” ““ journalist Nicola Bossi doesn’t believe for a moment that Sollecito actually wrote the book: 

Meredith Case: “author” Sollecito at risk of criminal lawsuit

The recounts about an alleged negotiation in order to pin the main charges on Amanda Knox, and unproven violence by the Perugia Police are under target. Mignini is considering criminal lawsuit.

Written by Nicola Bossi ““ Jan 4. 2013  

The Meredith case is not closed, and this despite books and movies almost tend to drop it after the acquittal in second instance of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito - who were convicted in first degree for the murder of the English girl that took place in Via della Pergola.

On upcoming March the 25th the Court of Cassation of Rome will have to decide on the request for a re-opening the trial, submitted by the Procura with the authorization of Public Minister Giuliano Mignini.

In the environment of the magistrates there is confidence about a [guilty] verdict that many ““ in Italy and in the USA - have heavily attempted to discredit. But from the same environments around them, they talk about a greatly serene Mignini making assessments about the next strategic moves, following the attacks directed against him ““ and against those in Law Enforcement who cooperated with him ““ contained in the book by Raffaele Sollecito.

An upcoming criminal defamation lawsuit is becoming more and more likely every day, especially about some particular paragraphs. The material published by Sollecito has already resulted in discussions and clamor above all about claimed negotiations [with the prosecution]  aiming to shift the blame onto Amanda alone, to be rewarded with his immediate release.

But there are also accusations against the Police about violence during his interrogations. “If you dare get up and walk, I beat you up in a bloody pulp and I kill you. I leave you in a pool of blood”. This is what you read in the book “˜Honour Bound’ issued in the US, as what Sollecito attributes to the Perugian officers.

“They wanted me to lie so they could frame Amanda”: this is the premise of the claimed negotiations claimed to indirectly involve Mignini too, which he always denied. Allegedly this would have been enough to get [Sollecito] out from prison soon, leaving the American woman in trouble.

So, these are grave accusations which Mignini apparently does not intend to let go unpunished. The criminal lawsuit is likely to be filed earlier than the date of Cassazione [25 March].

 

Another small piece of news is this article below published in Leonardo and written by Valentina Cervelli: 

It seems basically a “commented” version of the Perugia Today article. Cervelli adds a few polite lines on her own thoughts in this piece, published on the Bbooks page of Leonardo,it; this is my translation:

Is Raffaele Sollecito going be sued soon for “Honor Bound”?

By Valentina Cervelli -  6. Jan 2013

Are there troubles in sight for Raffaele Sollecito? His “Honour Bound” book is going well in the United States in terms of sales, but here in Italy it might be soon result for him in a lawsuit for defamation by the Law Enforcement forces and by the Public Minister Giuliano Mignini.

As we know already, in Honor Bound ““ My journey to hell with Amanda Knox and return Raffaele Sollecito has reconstructed the whole judiciary story from his point of view, telling in his autobiography what [he says] is his own truth.

On March 25 Cassation in Rome will decide on the [prosecution] request for the re-opening of the trial submitted by the Procura authorized by Giuliano Mignini, after the acquittal in the second instance of the two main accused, Sollecito and Amanda Knox.

The young woman has returned back to her country and we bet it’s going to be difficult, if not impossible, to get her back in our country even in case of retrial after Cassation and a possible conviction. But lets leave aside this possible dispute and lets focus on the book. In Raffaele’s book Mignini is iimplicated because he reportedly comes out discredited. In the material published by Sollecito in his book he even talks about alleged negotiations in order to blame Knox alone, obtaining in reward a quick release.

And what about the allegations of Police violence during interrogations? Of course we don’t get into the merits, but it seems obvious that parties that may be considered offended would tend to launch a counter-attack to defend their dignity and their work. At the moment no lawsuit has been submitted. But with much probability that will be done before the decision of Cassazione.

By now we can only wait for the publishing of the book in our country, in order to assess with our minds what Raffaele Sollcito has written and the “hot” material published in his made-in-the-US autobiography.

By the way; one thing Valentina Cervelli might get wrong is the purported good sales of Sollecito-Gumbel’s book.

The Amazon.com site is reliable as quick indicator of a product’s success;  the price of a new copy of “Honor Bond” on Amazon.com is now $ 3.51 (last week it was 3.76; the cover price is $ 24). It suggests sales are not quite as expected.  The drop speed is significant if you consider that the book has been out for only four months.



[Above: the Florence Palace of Justice]


While many honest magistrates seem to be working in Florence, there is still some strange behavior by one or two people in the Florence prosecution office.

Iin particular by the chief prosecutor there were some unexplainable decisions.  As people reading this site know, Giuliano Mignini and Michele Giuttari were convicted (of some of the charges) in the first degree trial in Florence. 

The motivations document was disconcerting because: besides the proof of their innocence on the main charge, what was described as the evidence on the remaining charge constituted extremely weak and vague arguments for what was claimed about Giuttari, while they were totally non-existent about Mignini. 

In the second instance appeal as we know the court completely crushed the trial case.

The case against them collapsed not because of a technicality, as the FOAs falsely claimed. In the figment of their imagination the Knox supporters erroneously thought that the Florence court had an “option” to overturn the case, to find Mignini and Giuttari innocent, but that they instead decided to pass the judgment on to some other tribunal.

The pro-Knox believers are probably also ready to believe blindfolded that there was some kind of evidence against Mignini.

The Knox believers are wrong. What in fact happened in Florence is something almost unique in a judge’s career. The first remarkable event was the decision by the Florence court of nullifying the first degree verdict. They did not simply overturn the verdict (neither change, or “reform” it as we say) since an overturning would imply acceptance that a previous verdict actually existed and was legitimate.

The cancellation was in fact an in limine act about the validity , which does not require an assessment about it correctness. The court went way beyond. In fact they nullified the whole trial, not only the previous one in terms of judgment, but also the preliminary hearing, and the indictment; and even the request of indictment. 

It is a legal outcome not comparable to a simple change or overturning because it is a ruling that the whole proceeding was illegitimate from the very roots. The investigation itself of Mignini and Giuttari was declared illegitimate. 

If elements were found for the opening of an investigation, the prosecutor would be entitled to carry on their duties, though the investigators should be from another territory.  This is important because the Florence court found evidence that people from the same office were involved in cases against Giuttari and Mignini, both as offended parties and as prosecutors. 

Because of a basic conflict of interest, the local prosecutors were incompatible and the Procura of Florence had no jurisdiction. Not even Genoa would be compatible.

Florentine prosecutors therefore had no right to bring cases against Mignini and Giuttari. The investigation files now must now be sent to the competent jurisdiction ““ where they should have been sent from the beginning ““ which is Turin; there other legitimate prosecutors will decide if and how there is anything to investigate about, and if there are any charges to bring against anyone.  The Florentine trials should have never taken place. The court ordered that the legitimate investigators are the Procura of Turin. 

In addition, they also ruled that the court of Florence would be an incompetent jurisdiction in any further possible case that stems from that investigation: since the competent prosecution is Turin, in case elements for the indictment of anyone for any charge are found, in the future, everything should go to a court in Turin ““ this, only if there will be any charge to bring to court . 

This decision in Florence was a total debacle for the Florence prosecutors.  It is in fact “politically” much worse than an overturning of a verdict. It is not just a like a different conclusion on the merit, it is the decision to take away even the investigation from them, a kind of implicit censure of their work as highly illegitimate.

But at this point in the procedings, something even worse and even more strange happened.  The Procura of Florence did something even more unusual, in fact unprecedented as far as I know. 

Apparently the Florence prosecutors are not happy at all to pass the investigation file on to Turin. For some reason they seem instead to want to do unnecessary and irrelevant hard work instead.  The Florentine prosecutors impugned the decision and revisited this at the Supreme Court against the Florentine judges.

This step is almost unheard of because the decision of the Florence appeal court is of a type that manifestly cannot be impugned at the Supreme Court. The recourse is obviously going to be declared inadmissible. If that submission was done by a private citizen, they would get a heavy fine for that.

Here it is a power in the Florence judiciary branch making this inadmissible move; for unknown reasons. 

I’d like to know the real motive behind the latest Florence move, the only effect of which can be a waste of time (and money), a delay, of at least one or maybe two more years, which only makes the failure of the whole proceeding against Mignini and Giuttari more likely due to lapse on an expiration terms.

I say “I’d like to know” but in fact one motivation stands out as obvious:  the whole proceeding against Giuttari and Mignini, from the first bringing of the charges at the lower courts, appeared as having a wasting of time among its purposes. 

One practical effect - maybe a practical purpose - of pushing the charges against Mignini, was taking the file about the Monster of Florence case links with the Narducci case away from Perugia. By this move, the Florentine prosecutors managed to factually put their hands on the Narducci-MoF file and remove it from the investigating powers in Perugia.

Another effect of this was delay. Now this latest move looks as if its purpose were to delay, as much as possible, the transfer of the legal documents to Turin.   

What is the ultimate event that, by all this, they seem to be seeking to delay?  I can’t know for sure, I can only guess; in fact, I have only one answer, which also stands out as something obvious for those who know a bit of the backstage: 

Giuliano Mignini is not an ordinary magistrate, he belongs to the Anti-Mafia Territorial Division of Umbria, and recently was selected for a further promotion by the Supreme Council of Magistrates.

In fact what is delayed is the advancing of Mignini’s career:  in fact he has been already promoted to a directive function; but, by the rules, his taking the post was frozen while awaiting the outcome and conclusion of the Florentine prosecution. 

Prosecutor Mignini is de facto already functioning as a prominent Magistrate in Perugia and considered as such; but formally he has not been given the directive power.  Several people ““ among them Spezi and a number of his journalist friends, but possibly also other much more important people too ““ are likely not at all eager to see Mignini awarded further power.

About the latest endeavor by Raffaele Sollecito, who became liable for criminal defamation by writing false allegations about Mignini and others in his book, I expect - as logically unavoidable ““ that several powers and subjects will basically have no option but taking legal against him.

There will be a strategic necessity to doing this in order to prevent extradition issues in the future, but also, above all, on principle, because Sollecito made false claims about public institutions that needt to have their names cleared.  Considering the kind of allegations against the judiciary as an institution, and considering that Mignini is a judge of the Anti-Mafia Division, this is the kind of lawsuit that I see as likely to be submitted on a national level, in Rome. 

If that is the case, it would not be the only strange thing that the courts of Rome will deal with.

It seems like there is a kind of “curse”  on proceedings related to the Narducci case. All sections of the Supreme Court which have been asked seem to have attempted to declare themselves “˜incompetent’ about re-opening the cases related to the Perugian doctor. The Cassazione is a huge office with a hundred judges working there, but maybe not so many of them are eager to deal with this case.

This could be only a coincidence. It only brings up to my mind, through a free association of thoughts, a more generic question ““ a personal question of mine ““ that is whether the words “Masonry” and “Politics” have an echo in Roman corridors too.

*****

Finally I want to add another significant piece of Italian news. 

The news a week ago was that the Procura of Florence is investigating a possible corruption/mafia plot involving construction enterprises and politicians that revolves around the building of a new high speed railway in Florence.

Some 31 people are being investigated and among them is the former governor of Umbria. A huge drilling machine ““ nicknamed the “Mona Lisa” ““ used to dig subway tunnels in Florence was sequestrated by the Procura. 

In the last couple of years Perugia’s prosecution office had a main role in fighting political corruption, but it seems that the Florence Anti-Mafia division is also active, just as it was in the times when the prosecutor Vigna worked with them.

Vigna was the one who first evolved the “secret sect” scenario in the Monster of Florence case, raising unexpected problems among the Procura staff.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

How Much To Place Blame On Guede? IMMENSE Headache For RS & AK Teams

Posted by Cardiol MD



[Photo by Andrea Vogt as in December 2010 Supreme Court decides that Rudy Guede didnt act alone]

Zero To 100% Guede Was Claimed Sole Attacker

On a scale of 0% to 100% how much of the blame for the crime against Meredith has been heaped on Rudy Guede?

Well, it certainly varies. In trial court and first-appeal court it was never ever 100%.

Seemingly very scared of the harm Guede could do to their clients, if they provoked him into telling all, defense lawyers have acted consistently since 2008 and more-so since December 2010 as if they walk on eggshells around him.

In fact among the defendants and their teams only ONCE was Guede ever blamed 100%. 

Sollecito’s bizarrely-titled Honor Bound 2012 book, the factually unchecked one, which now is causing him and his defense team so much trouble, was the first instance ever among those accused to try to blame Guede for the crime 100%.

Our next post will look at the categoric claims against Guede by whoever wrote that book. Meanwhile, here and now, let’s start at the beginning.

Commencing from when they were arrested, Amanda Knox pointed decisively at a black man, but of course she pointed at the wrong one: Patrick Lumumba. Make that 0% . Not long after they were arrested, Knox and Sollecito were strongly questioning the role of one another. So 100% against each other, but still a zero against Mr Guede.

In his messages from Germany Guede blamed two hasty intruders though he had no choice but to say he was there. Perhaps 33% at this point.  After Guede was captured, Sollecito implied that they were at the crime scene together because he was worried that Guede would implicate him. Make that 50%.

At Guede’s short-form trial In October 2008, Judge Micheli blamed Guede 33% too. In sending Knox and Sollecito to full trial he dismissed the lone wolf theory (never really to be revived in court again) and he tentatively believed the evidence pointed to their being equally guilty.

In fact Judge Micheli tentatively blamed Knox for instigating both the attack on Meredith and the rearrangement of the crime scene.  In effect he allocated 50% of the blame to Amanda Knox and 25% each to Guede and Sollecito. 

Throughout trial in 2009 the Knox and Sollecito defense teams seemed to take great care not ever to blame Guede 100%, perhaps because (for murky reasons not made public) Rudy Guede had refused to testify against their clients.

Judge Massei assigned Guede 33% of the blame as he concluded that Guede had initiated the attack but that Knox and Sollecito had wielded the knives and that one of them had struck the final blow. 

During trial and thereafter, the defense lawyers for the three were often on Italian TV and as our main poster the Italian lawyer Cesare Beccaria exhaustively charted in a four-part series, each “gently” blamed the other two.

We can assume that is either 33% or 50% but never more than that.

On February 24. 2011, in the Supreme Court report, on its rejection of Guede’s final appeal of his sentence for involvement in killing Meredith, blamed Rudy Guede and two others equally. Some 33% of the blame each.

The Supreme Court relied upon three facts: the physical evidence of Guede’s presence at the flat, Guede’s actual admission of his presence, and Guede’s implicit admission of shared-guilt in his documented Skype InstaMessage to Giacomo Benedetti on Nov. 19, 2007 (“I was scared that they would say I was the only guilty person”).

In a nutshell, the situation at the start of the Sollecito and Knox appeal before Judges Hellmann and Zanetti in 2011 was this:

  • The Supreme Court had decided that Rudy Guede acting ALONE could not have attacked Meredith with several knives over an estimated 15 minutes, left so little physical evidence upon her, staged the break-in via the absurd route of Filomena’s window while leaving zero DNA in her room, placed Sollecito’s DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp, engineered several traces of Knox’s and Sollecito’s footprints outside the room, and placed the mixed DNA of Meredith and Knox in several different locations outside Meredith’s locked door.
  • But there remains zero evidence that perps two and three which the physical evidence strongly pointed to were anyone other than Knox and Sollecito. There’s really not one speck of hard evidence to the contrary. Defenses somewhat desperately tried to engineer some at first appeal from the seemingly perjured testimony of jailbirds Alessi and Aviello and some smoke-blowing over the DNA testing, but in terms of HARD evidence came up empty-handed. Alessi did a meltdown on the stand, while Aviello turned completely cuckoo, and Judges Hellmann and Zanetti had to invent arguments frantically to dig Knox and Sollecito out of that hole.

I have done a series of posts (to be read from the bottom upward) on the Hellmann-Zanetti outcome covering many other aspects of their strange arguments.

Back in late 2010 some of us at TJMK were impressed at the alacrity with which Judge Hellman selected Conti and Vecchiotti.

We were thinking that “he had already thought it all out” [we seem to have got that-much right], and that he was “being prudently responsive to the legal and political pressures bearing down on him, and knows the ruling also calls the defendants’ bluff.”

I had posted that the defenses of Knox and Sollecito seemed to be trying to exclude evidence that they themselves tried to destroy, essentially on the grounds that their destructive attempts failed to destroy all of it, and left behind only some of it.  Their argument had boiled down to whether the disputed DNA evidence is more unfairly prejudicial than probative.

It was my opinion that because it was the defendants’ deliberate conduct that nearly succeeded in extinguishing all their DNA, any US and UK courts would admit this highly relevant evidence, and let the participants duke out its fairness, in open court, in front of a jury.

I had thought that was what the Massei Court had already done, and was what the Hellmann/Zanetti court was then doing. The Hellmann/Zanetti court was doing that - but that was not all it was doing, as we now know and regret.

I had believed that the defendants would bitterly regret their petition for such DNA Expert-Opinion Review.  We should know in March 2013 if they regret it at all, let alone “˜bitterly’. So far they may not, but Sollecito’s current venture into special-pleading journalism in his book seems likely to accelerate their journey to a bitter and regretted destiny.

We were less impressed with how Judge Zanetti started the appeal hearings.

To his eternal discredit Judge Zenetti uttered words to the effect that “the only thing that is “˜certain’ in Meredith’s case is that Meredith is dead.” Nothing else. In effect, illegally promising a whole new trial at appeal level - very much frowned on by the Supreme Court.

Unless the word “˜thing’ is a mistranslation, that is not the only thing that was already certain in Meredith’s Case; Many Things were then certain in her case. 

For example, it is certain that the first-ever documented references to Meredith’s scream just before she was killed had already come both from the mouth of Amanda Knox herself, and from the hand of Amanda Knox, in the case of her contemporaneous personal hand-written notes.

Guede, himself, had certainly already made a documented reference to Meredith’s scream.

It was also certain that Guede had made documented references to his actual presence when Meredith screamed.

Some of these already-certain facts inconveniently undermined Hellmann’s and Zanetti’s already-assumed conclusions, so they then proceeded in-turn to undermine the “˜reliability’ of those facts, e.g. “˜it is not certain that the scream was Meredith’s scream; it could have been someone-else’s scream’; or even Amanda’s scream?

The Massei court had exhaustively presented the evidence from all sources in their conclusion that Knox and Sollecito were the ones who shared Guede’s guilt. But Hellmann/Zanetti then contradicted ALL the previous finders-of-fact with regard to Guede, essentially using five ploys in arguing:

  • That Guede was Unreliable: “for example, in the questioning before the Prosecutor, he denies being known by the nickname of Baron, “¦.so as to result in a version completely incompatible with the reality of the facts as perceived and heard…” [Is that ever giving birth to a mouse?], and
  • That the Supreme Court had “held Rudy Guede to be an Unreliable person”, and
  • That “therefore, among the evidence against the two accused, the testimony given at the hearing of June 27, 2011 by Rudy Guede cannot be included because it is Unreliable, nor can the contents of the letter written by him and sent to his lawyers”, and
  • That concerning Guede’s documented Skype InstaMessage to Giacomo Benedetti on Nov. 19, 2007 “”¦ the contents of the chat between Rudy Guede and his friend Giacomo Benedetti on the day of November 19,  2007,  also listened to by the Police,  can be considered in favour of the two accused”, because “he would not have had any reason to keep quiet about such a circumstance,”
  • And that “So, in the course of that chat with his friend….. Rudy Guede does not indicate in any way Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito as the perpetrators…..” and “.....he would not have had any reason to keep quiet about such a circumstance….. he being…. certainly the perpetrator….. of the crimes carried out in via della Pergola, that if Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito had also participated, that he would at that moment have revealed this to his friend.”

So, summarising Hellmann and Zanetti, they have absurdly argued a contradiction:

  • Because of Guedes notoriously unreliability, the public evidence in which he did accuse Knox and Sollecito cannot be considered as evidence of their guilt, but
  • In spite of Guede’s notorious unreliability, because Guede did not accuse Knox and Sollecito in a private conversation this must be considered as conclusive evidence of their innocence.

We are not the audience to which Dr Galati’s appeal against Hellmann and Zanetti to the Supreme Court is directed. Most of us probably have some difficulty with its legalese, translated into English, so bear with it.

Dr Galati’s appeal against Hellmann and Zanetti refers to Guede’s documented Skype InstaMessage to Giacomo Benedetti on Nov. 19, 2007 as follows:

The Hellmann/Zanetti court, “has”¦ made “¦. completely anomalous use of the Skype call, accepting it for the time of Kercher’s death, but not for other circumstances which are also extremely relevant for judgment purposes, but which have been totally ignored.

In fact, in the call, Guede recounts having heard Meredith complaining about her missing money and of her intention of asking Ms Knox, with whom she had quarrelled, for an explanation (p. 10 of the call [transcript]), of having seen Meredith look in vain for the missing money in her drawer (p. 18), then of having seen Meredith look, still in vain, for her missing money in Amanda’s room (pp. 18-19 of the call [transcript]), and of having heard a girl enter the house, who could have been one of the roommates, thus Amanda (p. 11 of the call [transcript]), while the Ivorian found himself in the bathroom, just before hearing Meredith’s terrible scream which would have caused him [59] to exit the bathroom, about five minutes after the girl’s ingress (p 12 of the call [transcript])”... .

The Court has, in practice, without reason thrown the responsibility onto Guede for throwing the rock and clambering in (see pp 121-122 of the appealed judgment): in the same Skype call, Guede, however, repeatedly denies having seen the broken window in Romanelli’s room during the whole time in which he was in the house at Via della Pergola on that evening (pp 8, 20, 34 of the call [transcript]). Not only that: Rudy Guede also said that he was at Knox’s many times”› (pp 88 of the call [transcript]).

If the Court held the Ivorian citizen to be sincere in the tele-conversation with his friend Benedetti, then why not also believe him when he denies having broken in, or when he recounts Meredith having it out with Amanda, or when he says that he had been at the latter’s place many times”›?

Dr Galati’s appeal to the Supreme Court argues that the Hellmann/Zanetti appeal judgment, apart from being manifestly illogical, is manifestly contradictory with respect to the contents of the case file referred to (Article 606(e) Criminal Procedure Code). Here is what it says about their tortured interpretations of Rudy Guede.

And in the Skype call with Benedetti, intercepted unbeknownst to him, there emerge circumstances that confirm Guede’s court declarations. The Court takes the Skype call with his friend Benedetti into examination, valuing it “šin favour of the two accused”› both for what it does not say and also for what it does say, and this it does building from one, not only unexplained, datum but which would have taken little to deny: since Rudy was outside of Italy, he was in some sense safe”› and thus could well have been able to tell the whole truth (p 40 of the judgment).

Not in the least does the Court depart from the presupposition that in this call Rudy would have been telling the truth and, because in this call he would not have named the current defendants, these have got nothing to do with the homicide. The Court does not explain, though, that even in this call Rudy was tending to downplay his responsibility and, if he had named his co-participants, that would have easily allowed, by means of investigations and subsequent interviews, the bringing out of his causal contribution and of his responsibility.

[91] Of the things said in this Skype call, the Court seems at one moment to want to value the chronological datum from 9:00 PM to 9:30 PM to affirm that this would therefore have been the time of death of Meredith; successively, though the appeal judges, following the principle of plausible hypothesis, in relation to the outgoing calls on the victim’s English handset, have moved it to 10:15 PM, but they have not altered the reliability of the time indicated by Guede.

In truth, during the course of the conversation, Rudy recounts having heard Meredith complain about the missing money and of her intention to ask Knox, with whom she had argued, for an explanation (p 10 of the call); of having seen Meredith look in vain for the missing money in her drawer (see p 18); of having seen her search, again in vain, for the missing money in Amanda’s room (pp 18 and 19 of the call) and of having heard a girl enter the house ““ who must have been one of the flatmates, thus Amanda (p 11 of the call), ““ while he was in the bathroom, a little before hearing Meredith’s terrible scream which would have induced him to exit the bathroom, about five minutes after the ingress of the girl (p 12 of the call).

And also, on the subject of the break-in in Romanelli’s room ““ thrown without explanation onto Guede’s back (see the judgment being appealed from, at pp 121 and 122) ““ can remarks by the Ivorian citizen be found in the transcription of the intercept. Guede repeatedly denies having seen the broken window in Romanelli’s room for the whole time in which he was in the house at Via della Pergola that evening (pp 8, 20, 34 of the call).

If the [Appeal Court] had held as reliable what Rudy narrated in the Skype call relating to the time in which Meredith was killed, it supplies no reason at all, on the other hand, for why it does not believe him as well when he denies [92] having committed the break-in or when he recounts the quarrel of Meredith with Amanda.”

None of this changes my own beliefs that there are even many more things in evidence that are “˜beyond any reasonable doubt’.  For example:

  • It is beyond any reasonable doubt that Meredith was restrained by hands other than the knife-wielding hand(s); and that Meredith was restrained by the hands of two, or three persons as she was killed.
  • It is beyond any reasonable doubt that steps were taken to clean away smears made by Meredith’s blood in the place where she was killed, and tracks of Meredith’s blood transferred by her killers to other places.
  • It is beyond any reasonable doubt that steps were also taken to simulate a break-in that never-was.

In the next post, we examine Dr Galati’s appeal further and the strident claims against Guede made in Sollecito’s own book which contradict some of the positions of HIS OWN LAWYERS. Note that Dr Galati has argued in the appeal that it was ILLEGAL for Hellmann and Zanetti not to have taken the Supreme Court’s ruling on three perps fully into account and having innored it or brushed past it. 

Verrrry tough situation for defense counsel to be in.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Translation Of Dr Mignini’s Interview After Takedown Of Sollecito Book On Porta a Porta

Posted by Ziak.





This is my translation from the original In Affaritaliani

Giuliano Mignini, the prosecutor in the Meredith case, speaks: “No bargaining with Sollecito”

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

It has been claimed that Dr Mignini had seemingly bargained with Raffaele Sollecito in order that he would accuse Amanda Knox in exchange for a lighter sentence.

But now the prosecutor in the Meredith case, Giuliano Mignini, has chosen Affaritaliani.it as the forum to break his silence: “No bargaining. It suffices to read the book attentively to understand that I have nothing to do with it. I am disconcerted by this distortion of the facts.”

And further: doubts about Amanda’s guilt? “If I had them [doubts], I would ask for absolution. I have always believed in the responsibility of both of them.”

The pressure while awaiting the sentence was enormous: “I believe that trials should take place in the halls of justice, not outside”. Both Amanda and Sollecito have written books about the murder: “These are choices that each person makes, and for which they are responsible”.

THE INTERVIEW

by Lorenzo Lamperti

In the past few days, Prosecutor Mignini, it has been written that you apparently bargained with the family of Raffaele Sollecito, offering a lighter sentence in return for testimony against Amanda Knox.

“I must say at this point that I am disconcerted [dismayed] by this distortion of the facts. It suffices to read what Sollecito has written in his book in order to understand that I have absolutely nothing to do with it.

Furthermore, Raffaele’s father has denied the existence of any bargaining.

However, I continue to see newspapers which publish these things. Let’s forget about the American newspapers, over which it would be best to draw a pitying veil, however it surprises me that even here in Italy facts are talked about which have never been checked.

Sollecito’s father denied this live on television, and yet there weren’t even any starting points to support something [claims] of this sort.

Thus there was an exploitation is Sollecito’s account?

“That seems clear to me. And yet the event of the Kercher process was preceded by that of the Monster of Florence [the Cassation Court will deliver its verdict on 22 November, editor’s note]. That was what started everything: I never said anything, but I’m fed up, sick and tired at this point. There has been too much superficiality on the Meredith story.”

Raffaele Sollecito speaks of a lawyer who apparently bargained/negotiated with his family…

“These are merely conjectures on conjectures. And yet, I don’t understand how Sollecito’s account can have been interpreted as referring to me. Looking carefully at things, it could almost be said that it is me who is the person offended by a boast.”

Are you considering legal action?

“I have 90 days. I will consider it. Certainly, I must take note of Dr Sollecito’s denial.

What his son wrote, or at least, what the newspapers report, has not been libelous with regard to me. The problem lies in the interpretation of his text that has been made. It would suffice to read [the book] correctly in order to understand that we are talking of simple impressions, not of facts.

The only concrete references are made to a few persons who are not me.”

Therefore you rule out the existence of a secret bargain?

“Indeed! in the most absolute manner possible. What for, why after the conviction and the appeal request for life sentencing, would I seemingly started to negotiate?!  What would I negotiate about?

Thus you have never had any doubts about Amanda’s guilt?

These doubts don’t exist. If I had doubts, I would have asked for absolution. I have always believed in the responsibility of both these two.”

The Cassation appeal is also based on Amanda’s conviction for calunnia.

“This is one of the fundamental aspects of the appeal [our appeal against Hellman] which is moreover based on numerous other reasons. The appeal has been made very well. We’ll see what the Cassation decides on 25th March next year.”

The fact remains that a striking situation has been created, in which Rudy Guede has been convicted for contributing to a murder, but according to the courts there are no [other] contributors, or at any rate, Amanda and Raffaele are not contributors…

“Yes, yes. Indeed. Rudy Guede is convicted as having participated. Sollecito and Knox were acquitted. Furthermore, Rudy Guede, as we have seen, was not even convicted of having carried out the simulated break-in…

These are problems that arise with the fast-track trial system, when one part of the case is separated from the other part. This case, on the contrary, is a unitary whole [a single case].

There was very considerable pressure brought to bear on the trial process. Do you believe that it might in any way have had an influence on the sentence?

“I don’t know if it influenced it. I know that the Court had that idea, that conviction, which I don’t share. Certainly the pressure brought to bear was extreme. I believe that trials should take place in the halls of justice, not outside.”

You rashly spoke of an “almost predicted” sentence.

“Those who followed the appeal process can make their own assessments. According to us, the first instance sentence was correct and complete. We’ll see what Cassation decides, but, over and above the process I cannot accept certain insinuations.

I was exclusively made the butt of attacks. I remain dismayed, for example, when reference is still made to comments I denied having made years ago, in which I reportedly linked Meredith’s murder to satanic rites. This is something I never said, but which is still continuously written.”

Is it a case of errors, superficiality, or of something more?

It is no longer possible to talk of errors, because it has been years since I disclaimed those comments. At this point, the thing confounds me.”

Many people, faced with Sollecito’s book and the one by Amanda which will come out shortly, turn up their noses and consider it wrong to profit from a tragedy such as the murder of Meredith. What do you think?

“These are choices that each person makes, and for which they are responsible. I will limit myself to saying that the process is still under way, and we must await Cassation.”


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA In Meredith’s Room Could Be Definitive Proof Of Guilt For New Appeal Jury

Posted by James Raper





Have you followed our series on the hapless independent DNA consultants Conti and Vecchiotti?  And our series on the hapless appeal judges Hellmann and Zanetti?

And our series on their formidable nemesis, Umbria’s Chief Prosecutor, Dr Galati? Who may very well convince the Supreme Court to throw out all of their work?

This post explains why their work probably deserves to be thrown out as it applies to Sollecito’s DNA in Meredith’s room, which still lacks an alternative non-damning explanation for it being there, and which could see him back serving his term in Capanne or Terni Prison before too long. 

I want to start this analysis with the following verbatim quote taken from John Follain’s Death In Perugia.

“Comodi asked Vecchiotti about the alleged contamination of the bra clasp: “Is it possible for [Raffaele’s] DNA to end up only on the bra clasp?”

“Possible”, Vecchiotti said.

Comodi insisted: “Probable?”

“Probable”, Vecchiotti retorted.

Anyone who has read the Conti-Vecchiotti Report will be amazed by Vecchiotti’s above reply under cross-examination by Prosecutor Comodi. This for the simple reason that the said report did not at all evaluate the “probability” of any contamination of the bra clasp. It merely did not rule out contamination.

The Conti-Vecchiotti report with regard to the bra clasp: “It cannot be ruled out that the results obtained derive from environmental contamination and/or contamination in some phase of the collection and/or handling of the exhibit.”

On any level of understanding, if one can not rule something out then that makes it possible. But it certainly does not make it probable.

Worse was to come, with the conclusion of Hellmann-Zanetti, that contamination was probable. This though was not so surprising in as much as Hellmann-Zanetti had already indicated in their reasoning underlying the need for an independent report that they would accept the independent experts’ conclusions.

Which they did, apparently accepting Vecchiotti’s above statement on oath as definitive and which, as we can see, they appear to subsequently improve on, since the circumstances referred to below were not mentioned in the Conti-Vecchiotti Report.  From Hellmann-Zanetti:

In the opinion of this Court contamination did not occur during the successive phases of treatment of the exhibit in the laboratory of the Scientific Police, but even before it’s collection by the Scientific Police.

Note that (1)  the suggestion is that contamination occurred when there was no video recording (thus permitting free speculation), (2) the word “probably” is omitted here seemingly making it a definite occurrence, and (3) “even before” does not exclude contamination when the Scientific Police were there, but the circumstances described below make it, in the opinion of Hellmann-Zanetti, even more probable, it seems. Again from Hellmann-Zanetti:

..it is certain that between the first search by the scientific police, directly after the discovery of the crime, and the second search by the police, on the 18th December, the house at villa della Pergola was the object of several other searches directed towards seeking other possible elements useful for the investigation, during which the house was turned topsy-turvy, as is clearly documented by the photographs projected by the defence of the accused, but actually made by the Scientific Police. And, understandably these searches were made without the precautions that accompany the investigations of the Scientific Police, in the conviction that at that point the exhibits that needed to undergo scientific analysis had already been collected. In this context it is probable that the DNA hypothetically belonging to Raffaele Sollecito may have been transported by others into the room and precisely onto the bra clasp”¦”¦”¦..the fact that [this] is not an unusual occurrence is proven by studies cited by the expert team and also by the defence consultants”¦”¦..

So Hellmann-Zanetti are talking about the ordinary police investigators being primarily responsible.

As the Vecchiotti quote at the beginning of this post is not put in any context, it is impossible for me to know whether she was referring to the Scientific Police as seen in their videos or whether she was alluding to other recorded searches, say, by the ordinary police, but which were not on video.

What we know of the police searches is as follows. From the Massei trial sentencing report:

While forensic activity was still in progress (Note: it having been going on since the 2nd) “the house was accessed on November 4th 2007 involving, accompanied by staff from the Perugia Police Headquarters, the three occupants and housemates of the victim.

The days of November 6 and 7 were taken up by the search activity of personnel from the police headquarters of Perugia”¦.on November 6” (Note: the day after conclusion of the Scientific Police activity) “no-one entered Meredith’s room other than the three performing the search. On November 7 there was another entry into the house “for the problem of the washing machine, to collect the clothes; but I (Napoleoni) know that they did not go into the other rooms…..

They wore gloves and shoe covers….

Massei also records that Profazio stated that whilst he was aware from Stefanoni that the bra clasp had not been collected, nevertheless he had not seen it on the 6th and 7th.

As we know, the Scientific Police returned to the house on the 18th December specifically for the purpose of collecting the bra clasp (the first thing they did) and using luminol, and in addition to this being on video the defence lawyers were watching the live recording outside. It was observed by the defence lawyers at that stage that the mattress was in the living room and that articles had been moved around (topsy-turvy) in her bedroom.

From the above it might be reasonable to conclude that it was not only the Scientific Police who took the photographs but that it was predominantly they who had already moved items around and taking - it not having been demonstrated to the contrary (because not on video) - such precautions appropriate to their field of expertise (or at least such as may be determined from the videos).

However the point is, of course, what entitles Vecchiotti and Hellmann-Zanetti to talk about probable contamination at all?

Incidentally, pause here to notice that Hellmann-Zanetti give no credence to environmental contamination, in the sense of DNA floating around on specks of dust, by virtue of not mentioning this at all.

It would seem that the notion that a speck of dust, with Sollecito’s DNA attached, floated into the room and landed bang on a tiny hook, somehow adhering to it, is improbable to even them. It is transfer by manipulation (  tertiary transfer, about which more later) - basically that someone must have stepped on or touched the bra clasp or hook - about which they are talking and as a result of which they deem contamination to have probably occurred.

Without that probability -  that is if it remained only a possibility - then the case for direct transfer (directly from the owner of the DNA to an object), rather than tertiary transfer (where the DNA is collected after direct transfer and transferred to another object), would not be undermined as the more probable scenario. This is because, in this context, no-one can rule out possibility, ” possibility” being firmly rooted in the abstract.

What Hellmann-Zanetti think entitles them to talk about the probability of contamination are, and as it transpires only are, the precautions which they say were not followed in collecting and handling the exhibit and for which they suppose the non-scientific police were most likely responsible.

Compliance with these, they say, “guarantees” the reliability of the result. They refer to the Do’s and Do Not’s of successful crime scene management as listed by Conti-Vecchiotti and taken from guidelines from the Louisiana State Crime Police Laboratory, from the U.S Department of Justice, and more relevantly from Evidence Manuals from the New Jersey State Police, Missouri State Highway Patrol and North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.


There is a predominance of American references but they do also refer to the Good Practice Manual for Crime Scene Management promoted by ENFSI (European Network of Forensic Science Institutes). From Hellmann-Zanetti -

Regarding above all the identification of a genetic profile in an exhibit, it is important that the entire procedure be followed with complete observance of the rules dictated by the scientific community, which are not, to be sure, juridical rules (it is not a law of the State, as Dr. Stefanoni observed), but which do represent a guarantee of the reliability of the result. And since these rules also contain precautions necessary in order to avoid possible contamination, one can understand that the respect of these precautions cannot simply be assumed, but must be proven by anyone who bases his accusations on this result.

Rules and guidelines are not quite the same thing, still less are there standardised guidelines dictated by the scientific community, but let’s not be pernickety. What compliance with the guidelines does, of course, is reduce the risk (the “possibility” and yes, if there are elements supporting it, “the probability”) of contamination, not guarantee that there is not contamination. As any expert in the field will concede, contamination is always possible.

Conti-Vecchiotti listed, apparently, some 54 examples of breach of the aforesaid guidelines. Significant among these (because we know of them and the most was made of them) are the following listed by Follain in his book Death In Perugia-

1. The team failed to put on new gloves after bagging each sample ( probably, as with 2 below, accounting for the great majority of the examples, and Stefanoni admitted this did not happen every time).

2. Items were handled by more than one person without changing gloves (again, as above, admitted).

3. There was a smudge on one of the fingertips of one of the gloves which touched the clasp, so the glove was dirty.

4. The officer who picked up Meredith’s bra clasp passed it to a colleague before placing it back on the floor and then bagging it.

5. Stefanoni’s gloves were smudged with blood and split over her left index when she picked up a sample ( this need not detain us since it is an irrelevant and highly speculative and prejudicial observation, if not entirely erroneous, based on what can be seen from the video).

6. The officer filming the police video walked in and out of Meredith’s room without changing his shoe covers.

7. No security corridor was created for internal access with anti - contamination criteria between the various environments.

8. The initial position of discovery on the floor of the clasp was not the same after 46 days.

The idea of a security corridor which, given the confines of the cottage, and particularly the access to Meredith’s room, would mean, for instance, placing planks on the floor, is a good one, and obviously not followed in this instance though not actually a specific recommendation (though it can be inferred) in any of the guidelines referred to by Conti-Vecchiotti. It would have reduced the risk of carrying DNA into Meredith’s room on the soles of shoe covers.

The alleged breaches were not, of course, outlined in the Conti-Vecchiotti report. They were only mentioned in oral evidence accompanying the showing of the crime scene video in court.

Hellmann-Zanetti, in their report, mention two specific cases only, 3 and 8 above. In respect of “the smudge” they acknowledge, interestingly, that there is an unresolved issue of interpretation as to whether this is a shadow or prior staining! But why even posit a prior staining when it is obvious that the operative had to finger the fabric of the clasp (which was “dirty”) in order to pick the clasp up and show it to the camera? What was the dirt and what was the meaning of this in the context of a transfer of Sollecito’s DNA to the hook? They neither discuss not evaluate. They simply accept Conti-Vecchiotti’s observations as being pertinent and damning without question.

In contrast to Hellmann-Zanetti Massei does discuss and evaluate the probability and the logistics of contamination, with regard to the bra clasp. In fact he spends quite a bit of time on the subject. But before turning to that, let’s have a brief look at the subject of DNA transfer and then remember what Stefanoni (as quoted by Massei) says on the subject.

Primary transfer might occur between a subject (such as myself) and an object. I touch or sneeze over it. Secondary transfer could occur if the said object was moved and “placed” against yet another object so that my DNA is transferred from the first to the second object. Tertiary transfer could occur if someone touched my DNA on the first object and then touched the second object. There are three steps there but one can imagine scenarios with four or perhaps more such steps but with the inherent limitation that the quantity of DNA being transferred is going to reduce with each such step.

It is obvious that when the prosecution produce DNA evidence they are going to argue primary transfer by the accused and just as equally obvious that the defence are going to try and argue contamination, i.e that the presence of their client’s DNA is the product of secondary or tertiary transfer.

Stefafanoni said that secondary or tertiary does not happen unless (1) the DNA is in a substance which is still fresh and reasonably watery after primary transfer, not dried, and/or (2) there would have to be more than mere touch but friction, or at least pressure, as well. Whilst there could be isolated exceptions in practice this makes a lot of sense to me as a layman but in addition I also note that she was not contradicted, at the trial, by any of the defence experts, nor has she been contradicted by Conti-Vecchiotti in their report.


Returning to Massei.

Sollecito was at the cottage 3 or 4 times prior to the murder though on each occasion with Knox. It is thus possible that he left his DNA somewhere there. There is no evidence that he was ever in Meredith’s room before the murder. Thus, if he was not involved in the murder, one must hypothesize that his DNA from somewhere else in the cottage was transferred into Meredith’s room and onto the bra clasp by someone other than him.

Apart from the clasp there was only one other place where his DNA was to be found, mixed with Knox’s DNA, which was on a cigarette stub in an ashtray sitting on a table in the kitchen. From Massei, my numbering:

(1) Certainly, it can be observed that every single place in the house was not tested, and one might think that Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA might have been located in some other places. One can consider the possibility that his DNA from some other place that was not found was transferred onto the bra clasp, but this would have to have been done by someone manipulating the object.

(2) But simple contact between objects does not transfer DNA. Amanda’s and Raffaele’s DNA were both found on the cigarette stub, not just one of them, transferred by the other. It is also important that the bra was the one that Meredith was actually wearing, and the clasp was found under the pillow which was under Meredith”¦”¦. At this point it should also be mentioned that the piece of bra was (then)  found under a small rug in Meredith’s room [which protected it] “¦”¦”¦.

(3) It is also observed that the small rug did not show itself to be a good transmitter of DNA. Underneath it there was a sock, and analysis proved that on this sock there were only DNA traces of Meredith. Also the circumstance by which DNA was found on the (tiny) hooks - so on a more limited and rather less absorbent surface than the material attached to them - tends to exclude that Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA could have landed on the hooks, precisely on the hooks, by contamination or by transfer from some other unspecified object.

(4). “¦”¦.any transfer of DNA from the surface of the rug under which the small piece of bra was found would imply that between the two objects there was more than simple contact, touching of each other, but an actual pressure exercised on the rug under which the piece of bra lay. This hypothesis was set aside after Dr. Stefanoni reported “¦”¦.. the deformation of one of the hooks was the same. Vice versa, if some pressure had been exerted on top of it, if in one of the police activities someone had stepped on it—then that deformation would not have remained identical; but the small piece of material and the hooks and eyes had the same form, the exact same type of deformation “¦”¦.. she additionally stated that, having seen the small piece of bra in the early hours of November 3rd rather quickly, the images of it taken on that occasion allowed her a more prolonged and attentive observation, enabling her to declare that the deformation had remained unmodified and unchanged, as did the side on which it was set on the floor.

(5) Objects were moved, necessarily moved, but every object that was in a room, if it was not actually taken away, remained in the same room, without ever moving to another room, or being taken out of the room and then back in. The only parts of the house through which operators from the various places all passed were thus the living room and corridor. One might thus assume that some DNA of Raffaele Sollecito that had been left somewhere in the living room or corridor was moved, and ended up on the hooks. Such a movement of DNA and its subsequent repositioning on the hooks would have had to occur either because one of the technicians walking on the floor on which the DNA was lying hit it with his foot or stepped on it, causing it to end up on the hooks, or because by stepping on them, he impressed onto them the DNA caught underneath the shoe-cover he had on in that moment.

But these possibilities cannot be considered as concretely plausible: to believe that, moving around the house, the DNA could have been kicked or stepped on by one of the technicians, who in that case would have been moving about, and to believe that this DNA, instead of just sticking to the place it had been kicked or stepped on by (probably the shoe, or rather, the shoe-cover), having already been moved once from its original position, would then move again and end up on the hooks, seems like a totally improbable and risky hypothesis.

(6) “¦..and more importantly, none of the operators, after having touched some object which might have had Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA on it, then touched the hooks of the small piece of bra so as to make even hypothetically possible a transfer of DNA (from the object containing Sollecito’s DNA to the gloves, from the gloves to the hooks). In fact, none of the operators during the search of November 6th and 7th even took note of that little piece of bra, and thus in particular no one picked it up.” [Note that this observation is a direct contradiction of the unproven suspicion that this had in fact occurred - Massei had, of course, also watched the crime scene videos, seen the relevant clip and heard the argument.]

(7) Movement of objects, in particular of clothing, may have induced the movement of other objects, and this is what the Court considers to have occurred with respect to the piece of bra which was seen on the floor of Meredith’s room on November 2nd-3rd and left there. Deputy Commissioner Napoleoni, referring to the search of November 6th, has declared that she recalled the presence of a bluish rug; one can thus conclude that this rug was looked at during the search and entered into contact with the operators making the search, and like other objects, was moved from its original position, but always remaining on the floor of the room; during this movement it must have covered up the piece of bra (which was on the floor of the same room and yet was not noted during the search), thus determining by its own motion the accompanying motion of the small piece of bra, making it end up where it was then found during the inspection of December 18th: under the rug, together with a sock, in the same room, Meredith’s room, where it had already been seen. So it underwent a change of position that is, thus, irrelevant to the assertion of contamination.

Now, whatever one makes of Massei’s observations, he has at least considered, on a plausible level, the dynamics of secondary and tertiary transfer, generally and in this case - unlike either Hellmann-Zanetti or Conti-Vecchiotti. Furthermore, and in consequence, he concluded that contamination was simply not probable.

We should also recall the following words with regard to second and tertiary transfer, in the quote from Hellmann-Zanetti above”¦”¦”¦”¦”the fact that this is not an unusual occurrence is proven by studies cited by the expert team and also by the defence consultants”¦.”

What studies? Unfortunately Hellmann-Zanetti do not elaborate on these studies, and the proof therein allegedly contained, nor can we see them cited in the Conti-Vecchiotti report!

This leads me to the suspicion that Hellmann-Zanetti are trying to pull the wool over our eyes here. Yes, certainly secondary and tertiary transfer is not an unusual occurrence but the circumstances as to when this is likely, or not, is not discussed, let alone evaluated. It seems to me that this is not unimportant and the omission is surprising.

What Conto-Vecchiotti actually say about the subject in their report is mind-boggingly amateurish, trite and misleading. So much so that one doubts that they are really experts.

The relevant section about contamination (such as it is) in Conti-Vecchiotti is under the heading “Notes On Inspection And Collection Techniques”. Reading this I note, in the second paragraph, being in, it would seem, Conti-Vecchiotti’s own words:

The starting point is always Locard’s Principle according to which two objects which come into contact with each other exchange material in different forms. Equally the same principle scientifically supports the possibility of contamination and alteration [of the scene] on the part of anyone else, investigators included, who comes into contact with the scene.


Far from being just a starting point Locard’s Principle seems to be all that Conti and Vecchiotti know about the transfer of DNA.

For what it is worth Edmond Locard established an early crime lab in 1910 ( being a fan of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories) and wrote many articles as a result. However he never actually wrote any words approximating to “with contact there is an exchange of material” (which is not exactly a law of physics in the same manner as the laws of motion are) nor did he mention anything concerning a principle.

What he did write was “It is impossible for a criminal to act, especially given the intensity of the crime, without leaving traces of his presence.”  Sherlock Holmes would have said the same.

Incidentally it is science that supports a principle, and not the other way around. I would have expected Conti-Vecchiotti to know that.

I have surfed the internet for articles on the subject of tertiary transfer and there does seem to be “a lack of published data on the topic”, to quote one site I found.

Furthermore if they existed one might expect to find that they are referred to by the scientists in the FOA camp, but again I do not see these or that those that are referred to, eg by Halkides, add anything to what has already been discussed above.

Which leaves the “probability” element of contamination undemonstrated. Whatever the opportunities for contamination that there may have been arising from breach of guidelines (contentious in some if not all cases) these remain hypothetical whilst the probability of contamination remains undemonstrated.

But for Hellmann-Zanetti, conveniently, there is no need to demonstrate anything, because of the following:

Now, Prof. Novelli and also the Prosecutor stated that it is not sufficient to assert that the result comes from contamination; it is incumbent on one who asserts contamination to prove its origin.

However, this argument cannot be accepted, insomuch as it ends up by treating the possibility of contamination as an exception to the civil code on the juridical level. Thus, one cannot state: I proved that the genetic profile is yours, now you prove that the DNA was not left on the exhibit by direct contact, but by contamination. No, one can’t operate this way.

In the context of a trial, as is well known, it falls to the PM who represents the prosecution before the court (the terminology is used in Art. 125 of the implementing provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure), to prove the viability of all the elements on which it is based, and thus, when one of these elements is completed by a scientific element represented by the result of an analytic procedure, the task is also to prove that the result was obtained using a procedure which guarantees the purity [genuinità ] of the exhibit from the moment of collection right through the analysis.

“¦”¦.. when there is no proof that these precautions guaranteeing that the result is not the fruit of contamination were respected, it is absolutely not necessary to also prove the specific origin of the contamination.

The use of the word “absolutely” is interesting, as if this was the last word on the matter, and any evaluation is to be declined.

Now I sense the presence of a premise which is already a conclusion. This being that because there are (as Hellmann-Zanetti hold) breaches of guidelines, then the DNA result is unreliable for that reason.

As it happens, this is exactly what Conti-Vecchiotti say. But as it stands this is an unargued proposition. For this to be a valid deduction “for that reason” should be explained by the inclusion of another premise which we can at least accept as true - “A breach entails that the possibility of contamination cannot be excluded”. Then we can formulate a simple deduction, though it would be unsound until we can answer the question “Does the possibility of contamination render the result unreliable?”

A scientist may explain what “unreliable” means to him. But I want to answer the question in juridical terms, and this can be done quite simply.

Any element of evidence in juridical proceedings is weighed only by the probability that it represents the truth. The possibility that it does, or it does not, is simply to be discarded as having no weight either way. Accordingly, for the purpose of the argument, and for any proceedings in court, it cannot be accepted that the possibility of contamination renders the result unreliable. Whether it is unreliable or not has to be looked at in a different way, according to the balance of probabilities.

Getting back to the quote, I would say that both Hellmann-Zanetti and Novelli are right, and they are also both wrong.

Hellmann-Zanetti are of course right in that the burden of proof remains with the prosecution with regard to all elements.

And the way Prof. Novelli puts it is somewhat incorrect, but only because he is a scientist and not a lawyer.

That the burden of proof remains with the prosecution does not alleviate the defence of any burden with regard to an issue such as contamination.

There is also an issue to be discussed as to whether the burden on the prosecution is to demonstrate non-contamination beyond a reasonable doubt or merely that contamination is not probable.

Let’s start with whether there is any burden on the defence.

There is a general principle to which even criminal proceedings are subject. “Onus probandi incumbit ei qui dicit, non ei qui negat.”  My Latin is not great but roughly translated “the onus of proof is on he who says it, not he who denies it.”

Dr Galati, in his Supreme Court Appeal Submissions, puts it this way (more forcibly than I would) -

In other words, if a piece of circumstantial evidence must be certain in itself, and if therefore even scientific proof must be immune to any alternative-explanation hypothesis, this does not alter the fact that this hypothesis ought to be based on reasonable elements and not merely abstract hypothetical ones. And if the refutation of a scientific piece of evidence passes via the affirmation of a circumstance of fact (being the contamination of an exhibit), that circumstance must be specifically proved, not being deducible from generic (and otherwise unshareable) considerations about the operative methodology followed by the Scientific Police, absent demonstration that the methods used would have produced, in the concrete, the assumed contamination.

I do not myself think it is realistic for the defence to have to prove a specific contamination path from point A to point B. That would be unrealistic. But certainly if the issue of contamination is to be raised the defence must go beyond an abstract hypothetical explanation that in the event, as is the case here, is devoid of known origins for the contamination. (Save for the trace on the cigarette stub, so that if that was the source there would be Knox’s DNA mixed in with Sollecito’s on the clasp). Otherwise how is the prosecution to respond? With what level of proof?

Should it be beyond reasonable doubt? How Hellmann-Zanetti would wish! “Beyond reasonable doubt” is the standard to be applied to the prosecution’s case in its entirety, to any attribution of culpability for the crime to the accused. It is not parcelled out to each and every element.

The correct standard to apply to an element such as contamination (as it is for any piece of circumstantial evidence) is “the balance of probability having regard to other elements”. The alleged breaches of crime management guidelines are in themselves only circumstantial, requiring, for any weight to be attached to them, corroborative or supporting elements as to which, as I see it, there are none. So the correct question is: Is contamination probable or not? (This is not to exclude that there may sometimes, somewhat rarely, be circumstances where it can be proved beyond reasonable doubt)

So we are back to probability again. It is a battle (if at all)  of probabilities and we must not confuse what is possible with what is probable, however much our eyes are opened to what is possible.

That it is such, is tacitly acknowledged by Hellmann-Zanetti when they argue that Sollecito’s DNA being on the bra hook but not on the fabric of the clasp is improbable. My response to that would be to say that it is far more probable than that there was contamination of the hook.

The absence of any argument as to probability may have been a thought that popped into Vecchiotti’s head when she retorted “probable” (feeling a bit sick about the answer afterwards I hope). However that she could make that assertion does not fill one with much confidence when considering that she also maintains that there were errors in Stefanoni’s interpretation of the electropherogram result, even whilst accepting that Sollecito”˜s profile was there, not least because his Y chromosome was as well.

Don’t expect Conti and Vecchiotti to be re-invited if there is any replay of the appeal trial.


Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The Hands Of Time Video With Screenplay By Amanda Knox - A Confessional Obsession?

Posted by Fly By Night & Thundering





Amanda Knox rarely, if ever, mentions her “˜close friend’, murder victim Meredith Kercher. Perhaps out of her self-proclaimed desire to “˜move on with her life’.

So the recent Hands of Time (H.O.T.) music video The Mistral Blows which was posted on YouTube with a screenplay attributed to the Seattle native is nothing if not astonishing.


Whilst there is some discussion as to whether Amanda Knox wrote the entire screenplay, or a section of it, or whether the screenplay was created through a merging of several versions, the screenplay is clearly attributed to her in the credits that appear on the video.

Crediting Amanda Knox with the screenplay is repeatedly emphasized by H.O.T. themselves who posted multiple Twitter entries:


And this screenplay does Amanda Knox and her claims of innocence in the brutal murder of Meredith Kercher no favours at all. 

Although provisionally “˜acquitted’ at the trial of second instance, Amanda Knox still stands accused of a capital crime, aspects of which she seems compelled to continue to portray in her various writings. 

The hapless band H.O.T. might be well-advised to disassociate themselves from this endeavour and drop the video like a hot potato.  The more-so as they have already burnt their fingers, tampering with the so-far elusive Brand Knox, finding themselves “˜forced to remove [clips of Knox dancing in Capanne] from the file, after a sudden, unexpected and “very strange” last-minute opposition from Amanda’s entourage.’

They state with a hint of bitterness:


The result?  A compromise.  The image of Knox dancing with carefree abandon in Capanne Prison (easily retrieved from other internet sites) remains, but is obliterated by a large “˜censored’ notice.


The reasons to attempt to disappear this video or, at the very least, any identifiable links with Knox, are abundantly clear to anyone having followed this dreadful case over the last four and a half years.

1) The video is riddled with allusions to the crime itself and features an easily-identifiable Amanda Knox as “˜heroine’ or “˜victim’ as she may now prefer to be seen and depending on how you look at it.

2) Any pre-book-release publicity will potentially devalue the carefully branded and preserved Amanda Knox product.

A cursory look at the video demonstrates the depraved audacity of the writer, a person who simultaneously insists she was found innocent of the crime of murder and of which she still stands accused.

The video features a Knox look-alike ““ recognizable by her clothing - in a prison-cum-house of horrors.


 

It opens with the heroine sitting down, colouring pictures in a prison cell.  Amanda Knox was reported to spend time colouring pictures of her hands whilst in prison.


 

From there she leaves the cell and embarks on a journey through a range of horrifying experiences, until she finally flees the house but not the prison to which she is eternally condemned.

As she runs through the house of horrors she encounters:

1) Ghost-like figures lurching out at her hinting at the night of Halloween before the murder and the ghouls and demons of the house of horrors both in which the crime took place and in which she is forever imprisoned.

2) A tall, faceless black-haired figure dressed in black carrying an umbrella resembling Meredith Kercher dressed as a vampire on her last night alive, the red belt reminiscent of the fake costume blood and the actual blood spilled the night of the murder.


 

3) A faceless butcher figure dressed in a blood-stained apron holding a knife, who hands her a maggot-infested apple, reminiscent of the photograph of co-accused Raffaele Sollecito as posted on his Facebook page.  The apple is suggestive of the poisoned apple offered by the witch to the innocent Snow White ““


 

4) Or a subliminal suggestion of Raffaele’s guilt in handing her the infested and poisonous apple “¦.. Remember: she claimed Raffaele may have pressed the murder knife with Meredith’s DNA into her hand whilst she was sleeping.


 

5) A figure tied to a chair covered in a red cloth hinting of the pools of blood and of Meredith unable to move to defend herself.  As she reaches out to lift the red cloth the bound figure screams, sending her running out down staircases and steps and out of the house.

In the same way, witness Nora Cappezzali heard Meredith’s desperate, blood-curdling scream, followed shortly afterwards by running footsteps out of the house of horrors and onto the steel staircase near her home.


 

The video ends with the Knox look-alike remaining in prison.  Both real and imagined.


 

H.O.T. suggest that the video and screenplay are a means of documenting the tale of the events in Perugia and, of course, Amanda Knox hopes to chronicle the nightmare in which she “˜innocently’ found herself.  In so doing, she inadvertently describes the crime and the images, sounds and memories that will seemingly not leave her alone.

Not only are there many references to the crime, but there seems as well a clear jealous obsession with Meredith, given the numerous references and comparisons to Kristian Leontiou’s video Some Say in which Meredith hauntingly starred.

The Knox look-alike emulates Meredith from the Some Say video both in her dress and appearance as well as in her actions.  She descends an old staircase, appears in doorways and through arches reminding us of the shots of Meredith and the church of the “˜Some Say’ video. 


   


 


 

Emulation is a form of envy.  Guilty or innocent, it seems Knox cannot exorcise her memories of the crime, and remains compelled to depict it in screenplays and short stories.  Knox is seemingly still jealous of Meredith which had proved her original undoing.  Here, in a bizarre reversal of reality, Meredith becomes the foreboding, frightening presence, whereas Knox is the shocked and terrified victim. 

At a time when a tough Galati appeal to the Supreme Court and a $4 million book deal are on the table, the memory of Meredith and the crime seem to haunt and obsess Amanda Knox who may reveal a deep-seated need to confess.  But while still accused, Amanda Knox cannot afford to engage in such obsessive, confessional activity.

Could this prove to be her final undoing?


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Letter To Claire Wachtell of HarperCollins Protesting How Distasteful Knox’s Book Promises To Be

Posted by mimi





Ms Claire Wachtell
HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street
New York NY 10022

Dear Ms. Wachtel,

I am guessing, and in fact hoping, that you are receiving many letters similar in content to the one I am about to write. I hope, also, that you have been inspired by these letters to look further into the matter of Meredith Kercher’s cruel and untimely death, and at the bizarre and disrespectful behaviour of her flatmate and purported friend, in the hours subsequent to Ms. Kercher’s murder.

None of us witnessed the attack - had we been there, we would surely have intervened on her behalf - and, therefore, we cannot absolutely finger Ms. Knox and/or her “boyfriend” as the attackers, in spite of a curious amount of suggestive and incriminating circumstantial and physical evidence.

We can, however, express our considerable distaste at the idea of Ms. Knox benefitting financially from exploiting the sordid tale of a misadventure that resulted purely from her own irresponsible and reckless behaviour. Please consider:

  • She arrived in Europe and proceeded to revel in her newfound sexual identity, indiscriminately associating with men unfamiliar to her flatmates. She behaved without consideration for her own safety, let alone theirs. She laughed off their concern as prudishness.
  • With her “boyfriend” (the term could only be taken in the loosest sense, as she had met him barely a week before the murder), she proceeded to experiment with narcotics, to the extent that she apparently believed that to tell the police investigating a vicious murder which took place in the bedroom adjacent to her own, that she was “too stoned too remember” her whereabouts or actions, was a wise course to take.
  • While Meredith’s tortured body lay upon a cold slab in the coroner’s, Ms. Knox saw it as fitting conduct to galavant about a lingerie shop with her “boyfriend”, holding up g-strings and giggling about wild sex. She absented herself from a candlelight memorial held for Meredith, attended, respectfully, by close friends as well as people who certainly had less of a personal connection to the slain woman than did her own flatmate. She concocted ridiculous and contradictory accounts, both for the increasingly frustrated police and for friends, family and acquaintances back home (in a 4 page email, which I highly recommend you read), which not only illustrated her callous disregard for Meredith and of the seriousness of her own situation, but pointed to clues as to her involvement.
  • She had no one but herself to blame for her repeated questioning and subsequent arrest. Had she behaved like any normal person (and one need only look to the plentiful examples of Meredith’s other friends and neighbours in Perugia for inspiration: Filomena Romanelli, Laura Mezzetti, Giacomo Silenzi, Robyn Butterworth, Sophie Purton, Amy Frost, Samantha Roddenhurst, all of whom were aghast at Knox’s coldness) she had ample opportunity to say,“Please, I am upset, I’m in shock; someone was stabbed and left to die in the room right next to mine! I don’t know who it was, but, dear god, it was not me!” Instead, she made up stories about mops and doors that were normally locked or unlocked, about being terrified of her employer whom she had described only days earlier as being a kind and good person. She sat in the police station with her lover of the week, and in whispers tried to incriminate other acquaintances - anyone they could throw to the wolves to save their own hides.
  • The DNA evidence may not have been abundant, but it was ample and most certainly was not absent. Their lies were indeed abundant, contradicting not only one another’s alibi accounts but their own. The circumstantial evidence against them is most disturbing.
  • Despicable only in second place to the behaviour of Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito was the conduct of their immediate families, subsequent to their understandable arrest.

I live in West Seattle and have witnessed firsthand the distasteful circus that was the Gogerty-Marriott PR circus designed to recreate Amanda Knox as the Ivory Snow Girl, while grinding Meredith Kercher, who deserved nothing she suffered on 1 November 2007, into utter obscurity.

The Sollecitos went even lower than paying a set of spin doctors, when they released forensic video footage of the crime scene, including unmistakable images of the victim’s nude and battered body, to the Bari television network, Telenorba, which proceeded to air the footage several times. Imagine how you would feel, as the parent, sibling, or friend of a young stabbed, strangled and sexually violated individual, to learn that this is her only value to the world after her death. Shock entertainment to a television viewing audience?

So, having read this, I ask you, honestly, what is the value to the world of a ghostwritten (as she lacks the ability to compose a coherent sentence, unaided) memoir by Amanda Knox?

  • She can’t tell us what we want to know about Meredith’s final hours (unless she wishes to revert to the alibi version in which she WAS at the cottage, blocking out the screams).
  • She wouldn’t have the nerve, four years on, to suddenly gush on again over how horrible it must have been for Meredith, how terrifying and agonising to be mutilated in such a manner, and left to die without hope of attracting attention or alerting aid from outside her bedroom walls.
  • She wouldn’t have the gall to offer her condolences to the Kerchers within the same covers of a volume whose main thrust is to whine to the world about how miserable it was to spend 4 years in prison because her brain was so addled by narcotics she was unable, throughout her police and courtroom questioning, to come up with a scenario that made one iota of sense.

I don’t know your opinion on her conviction, which, until the Supreme Court has rendered a decision, still stands, but I sincerely hope that you are not viewing this book project as an enjoyable opportunity to work with an ebullient and bright Amanda Knox, or, worse, to put the “real truth” before the public.

In either case, I fear you will be gravely disappointed and sorrowfully mistaken.

Yours, Mimi (full name in the original)

[Below: the seemingly hornswoggled Jonathan Burnham and Claire Wachtell of the HarperCollins house]


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Excellent Sunday Times Report On The Many Killer Questions The Second Appeal Next Year Might Answer

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Rome: St Peter’s and Vatican in foreground; Supreme Court large white building in right background by River Tiber]


It really ain’t over until it’s over, and knowing the hyper-cautious Italian justice system, maybe not even then.

Now the drama moves to Rome.

Before any verdict and sentence in the case can become final, under Italian law and the constitution the verdict and sentence must be endorsed by the Supreme Court of Cassation.

If either the prosecution or defenses demand that issues be looked at by Cassation (as we know, the prosecution will) Cassation will do so, and it may punt the case back down to the first appeal court to re-examine questions or even run a complete re-trial at first appeal level.

At Cassation level the prosecution is likely to have at least five advantages.

    1) A confusing Hellman sentence report seems likely which won’t be able to dispose of the Massei and Micheli reports because the Hellman court did not re-examine all issues

    2) Cassation’s ruling on the final appeal of Rudy Guede which points to three perps, and Cassation’s general tendency to side with trial courts against first-appeal courts.

    3) The likelihood that only the prosecution will file issues for consideration by Cassation and not the defenses and so the prosecution will dominate all proceedings.

    4) Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and entourages seem unlikely to be there in person for the Cassation hearings or a retrial, and emotive factors would be less in play.

    5) The Italian media and Italian public opinion and increasingly UK and US opinion seem to be taking the position that the Hellman appeal decision was unsatisfactory.

Two days ago, the Sunday Times ran this fine analysis below by their reporter on the case, John Follain, of the open issues that will be facing Cassation and possibly again facing the lower appeal court. 

With a dozen books out John Follain has by far the largest and most impressive book publishing record of any reporter on the case.

Publishers Hodder and Stoughton have announced that his book Death in Perugia: The Definitive Account of the Meredith Kercher Case will be released first in the UK later this month - on 25 October.

KILLER QUESTIONS; The acquittal last week of Amanda Knox only deepens the confusion surrounding the murder of the British student Meredith Kercher. John Follain, who has investigated the case for four years, unpicks the evidence How could one man pin Meredith down and inflict those injuries?

By John Follain in Perugia.

They may have been coached to hide their true feelings, but the expressions of the judges and jurors were an open book. Surprise and shock registered on the faces of the appeal tribunal in Perugia as they watched a video taken by the forensic police who searched the whitewashed cottage where Meredith Kercher was murdered.

That summer’s day in the medieval, vaulted Hall of Frescoes was the pivotal scene of the 10-month appeal trial of Amanda Knox, 24, and Raffaele Sollecito, 26 “” the moment that freedom suddenly became possible, if not probable, for the former lovers.

The rotund, bespectacled Stefano Conti, one of two specialists in forensic medicine appointed by the court to review two crucial traces of DNA evidence, gave a sardonic running commentary on the behaviour of the Roman scientific squad searching for clues in the cottage. They failed to use clean protective gloves to handle each item of evidence or biological sample, Conti pointed out. They passed Meredith’s bra clasp to one another before placing it back on the floor where they had found it. The officer who picked up her bra wore no gloves at all.

As the senior appeal judge, Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, recalled last week after acquitting Knox and Sollecito of sexually abusing and murdering Meredith, the DNA review was “the most difficult moment” of the trial.

“The prosecutors understood that their case was at risk, and it was at that moment that the trial became a battle with no holds barred,” he said.

The courtroom fight over this international cause célèbre ended with a sobbing Knox being rushed out by guards and flown home to a heroine’s welcome in Seattle.

But, far from resolving the mystery of how and why Meredith died, the acquittal has fuelled the unanswered questions over her fate. Are we “back to square one”, as Meredith’s brother Lyle said after the verdict? What are the mysteries still to be resolved? And will we ever know what truly happened? MEREDITH, a 21-year-old language student from Coulsdon, Surrey, was found lying virtually naked, her throat cut, in her bedroom in the house she shared with Knox and two other young women on the afternoon of November 2, 2007. “Case closed,” an overoptimistic police chief proclaimed just four days later.

The investigators thought Knox had handed them the keys to the mystery. Under questioning she placed herself at the crime scene on the night before the body was found. She had been in the kitchen, with her hands over her ears, she said, while Patrick Lumumba, a Congolese bar owner for whom she worked as a waitress, killed Meredith.

Police promptly arrested Lumumba, Knox and her boyfriend. But Knox later went back on her testimony, insisting she had been with Sollecito at his flat all night.

Investigators were forced to release Lumumba after witnesses testified he had been working at his bar on the night of the murder. Knox and Sollecito stayed behind bars.

Forensic evidence then prompted the arrest of another African immigrant, Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast drifter. Part of his palm print was on a cushion under Meredith’s body, his DNA was in her body where he had apparently groped her sexually, and his DNA was mixed with hers in drops of blood inside her shoulder bag.

The prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, accused Guede, Knox and Sollecito of killing Meredith when she resisted their attempts to force her into a sex game.

Certainly, there appeared to be compelling evidence that Knox was lying. She had tried to frame Lumumba. The defence now claimed that an intruder had broken into the cottage and attacked Meredith; but the break-in had clearly been staged. Amateurishly, a room had been ransacked before the window into it was smashed “” the glass lay over the strewn clothes instead of under them. Was this to cover Knox’s tracks? There were mixed traces of Knox’s and Meredith’s blood in the bathroom and another room. Bloody footprints had been left by Knox and Sollecito in the bathroom and in the corridor. Knox had behaved bizarrely at the police station after the murder, kissing and caressing Sollecito and doing yoga exercises. Sollecito had said he spent much of the murder night on his computer, but this was disproved by experts.

Still, this was all circumstantial evidence rather than proof. The Rome forensic police came to the rescue of the prosecution team. They reported that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade of a kitchen knife found at Sollecito’s flat “” and Knox’s was on the handle. This was believed to be one of the murder weapons.

Forensic pathologists said Meredith’s wounds had been caused by two knives, pointing to more than one killer. The team from Rome also reported that Sollecito’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra clasp. (Only much later would it emerge that the police had retrieved this from the bedroom floor a full 46 days after first spotting it.) The case rapidly became a sensation. The prime suspect was an intelligent and alluringly pretty American, only 20 at the time, who, reporters joyously discovered, had been nicknamed “Foxy Knoxy” back home in Seattle. That this was for her skills on the soccer pitch was lost in the rush to find out more.

Dozens of witnesses and expert consultants passed through Perugia’s Hall of Frescoes during the first trial, which lasted for much of 2009.

Knox was portrayed by the lawyer for the bar owner, Lumumba, as an unscrupulous and manipulative she-devil, and by her defence team as “a wholesome girl” wrongly accused.

The prosecution case was that Kercher, a hard-working young woman from a modest background, had become exasperated by Knox’s slovenly and promiscuous behaviour as a housemate.

She had remarked to her father that “Amanda arrived only a week ago and she already has a boyfriend”. She told friends that Knox left a vibrator and condoms in the bathroom and brought “strange men” to the cottage. Investigators leaked Knox’s diary, in which she had listed seven sexual partners, three of whom she had slept with after her arrival in Italy, including a man she had met on the train on her way to Perugia. On Facebook she had put down as her interests: “Men.” Unable to prove exactly what had happened on the night of the murder, Mignini offered a plausible scenario based on Meredith’s 43 knife wounds and bruises.

He suggested that an argument between Meredith and Knox escalated when Guede and Sollecito joined the American “under the influence of drugs and maybe of alcohol” in trying to force Kercher into a heavy sex game that ended in murder. The sensational 11-month trial ended in guilty verdicts and jail sentences of 26 years for Knox and 25 years for Sollecito.

Some months later, in August 2010, I met Knox briefly in Capanne women’s prison, which is a short drive from Perugia. She had cut her hair and looked younger and more frail than during her trial. She wore a red Beatles sweatshirt, black leggings and silver nail varnish.

When I arrived, she was pushing a trolley down a corridor.

A guard explained that her job was to collect orders from other prisoners for small goods they could buy: newspapers, cigarettes, coffee, magazines and “” at that time of year “” strawberries. We were allowed to talk for only a few moments, but a guard told me: “She’s pretty well. Amanda’s confident that the future will bring freedom for her. She doesn’t break down in tears. It’s nothing like the night of tears after the verdict, when we had to comfort her.”

I was told she had been reading “” in Italian “” the 427-page summary by the two judges at her trial, who had dissected the inconsistencies in her evidence.

This summary included the judges’ own reconstruction of what might have happened on the night of the murder, based on the evidence that had been put before them.

They suggested that Knox, Sollecito and Guede had arrived at the cottage at about 11pm. Knox and her boyfriend had gone to her bedroom to have sex, and, excited by a situation “heavy with sexual stimulus”, Guede had walked into Kercher’s room wanting to have sex with her.

Kercher rejected him “” she was tired, and had a new boyfriend anyway “” but Knox and Sollecito intervened to assist him. According to the judges, they were probably drugged on hashish and seeking “erotic sexual violence”. Forcing Kercher to yield to Guede was a “special thrill that had to be tried out”.

They suggested Sollecito cut Meredith’s bra with a small knife he always carried “” collecting knives was a hobby. As Guede sexually assaulted Kercher with his fingers, Sollecito stabbed her in the neck. Kercher screamed “” a neighbour heard her “” and Knox stabbed her in the throat with a kitchen knife, the judges argued. She took several minutes to die as she inhaled her own blood.

THAT was the lurid and damning case that Knox had to fight when she returned to the Hall of Frescoes last November for her appeal.

Her demeanour had changed. Gone was smiling and self-confident “Foxy”, whose manner may have helped secure her conviction. After three years in prison, Knox was much more demure.

The appeal hearing began auspiciously for her when the deputy judge remarked: “The only certain and undisputed fact is the death of Meredith Kercher.”

The comment prompted prosecutors to complain that the court had already made up its mind, but it was a portent of what was about to be revealed.

The appeal court’s decision to grant a defence request for an independent review of two items of DNA evidence “” the kitchen knife and the bra clasp “” proved devastating for the prosecution’s case.

The two experts “” Conti and Carla Vecchiotti, from La Sapienza University in Rome “” said the DNA trace on the knife blade could not be attributed to Meredith because it was too slight. They said Sollecito’s Y chromosome was on the bra clasp, but it could have been the result of contamination by police mishandling of the evidence. From then on, the prosecutors fought a losing battle to discredit Conti and Vecchiotti.

Outside the courtroom the Knox camp’s media offensive exploited the experts’ conclusions.

Knox’s family “” her mother, father, stepfather and friends “” had come well primed for battle. Homes had been remortgaged and funds raised.

With the help of a PR company in Seattle, they dominated prime-time shows on the leading American TV networks, dramatically influencing public opinion there “” so much so that the prosecutor Mignini thundered in court that he had never seen a convict hire a PR firm to prove her innocence.

Mignini himself was a key target. In what appeared to have been a turf battle with prosecutors in Florence, he had been given a suspended 16-month prison sentence for abuse of office after tapping the phones of police officers and journalists in a separate investigation into a serial killer. It was a reflection of the fragmented and politicised condition of the Italian justice system.

The prosecutors tried but failed to switch the focus away from the forensic evidence by introducing Guede, the third party to the murder. He had been prosecuted separately because he had opted for a “fast track” trial that offers a lighter sentence as an incentive. Jailed for 16 years for murder, he had appealed to the Supreme Court in Rome “” Italy’s highest court “” which confirmed his conviction, ruling that Guede had sexually abused and murdered Kercher with “unidentified accomplices”.

This was an insight into the mystifying processes of Italian law. How could justice be served by trying Guede separately? Why had he not been brought to give evidence at the first Knox trial? Why were his accomplices “unidentified” when Knox and Sollecito had been convicted of joining him in the murder? The answers lay in the fact that his supreme court appeal started just after Knox’s appeal began in Perugia “” and the two cases overlapped, a bizarre way of seeking out the truth.

Once Guede’s Supreme Court appeal had been dismissed he was summoned to the witness box in Perugia, where his contribution was damning yet so limited that it did not sway the judges and jury.

Rather than taking him through the events of the killing, Mignini read out a letter in which Guede had written of “the horrible murder of a ... wonderful girl by Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox”. Challenged by one of Knox’s lawyers, Guede stood by the letter, saying: “It’s not as if there is my truth, and the truth of Tom, Dick and Harry. What there is is the truth of what I lived through that night, full stop.”

A lawyer for the Kerchers detailed the injuries Meredith suffered, arguing it would have been impossible for Guede to hold her down, sexually assault her, try to suffocate her, try to strangle her and wound her with more than one knife.

But it was too late. The appeal panel of judges and jurors had made up their minds. A juror confided after the “not guilty” verdicts had been delivered that the court had decided to acquit because of doubts over the forensic evidence, and because it saw no motive for the murder.

Pratillo Hellman explained: “To convict, the penal code says you have to be persuaded beyond every reasonable doubt. The smallest doubt is enough to not condemn.”

But he added enigmatically: “Maybe Knox and Sollecito know what happened that night, because our acquittal verdict stems from the truth which was established in the trial. But the real truth can be different. They may be responsible, but there isn’t the evidence… So, perhaps they too know what happened that night, but that’s not our conclusion.”

The judge’s comments earned him a new nickname, which investigators texted to each other delightedly: “Pontius Pratillo”, after Pontius Pilate, who washed his hands of responsibility for the execution of Jesus Christ.

The prosecution scored one potentially significant victory. The court found Knox guilty of slandering the former bar owner Lumumba by initially claiming he had killed Kercher. It sentenced her to three years in prison, but released her as she had spent almost four years behind bars.

“That’s absurd, absurd,” Mignini fumed. “Knox accused Lumumba to throw the police off her tracks. Why else would she accuse him?” IN PERUGIA, at least, the prosecution can count on overwhelming backing. After the verdict, a crowd several thousand strong massed outside the courts, amid jeers at defence lawyers and chants of “Assassini, assassini!” (murderers, murderers) and “Vergogna, vergogna!” (shame, shame). In bars across the picturesque city, and on the main cobbled street, Corso Vannucci, many dissected the case for days afterwards “” the consensus was that Knox and Sollecito were at the cottage when Meredith died, but no one agreed on what role they played.

For the Kercher family no outcome could have been more bewildering. As Knox flew home, Meredith’s mother Arline, her brother Lyle and her sister Stephanie spoke to me.

“It almost raises more questions than there are answers now,” Lyle said, “because the initial decision was that [the murder] wasn’t done by one person but by more than that. Two have been released, one remains in jail, so we’re now left questioning: who are these other people or person?” Did they believe that Knox and Sollecito were guilty? “In a way we have to believe what the police say because they are the ones compiling the evidence,” Arline replied. “We haven’t a clue. I think that’s what he was saying. It’s the police “” it’s their job.”

“It’s difficult for anybody to make a valid opinion on any case, not just this one, unless you’re a trained expert,” Lyle echoed. “There are forensics, detectives, psychological profilers and so on, who are trained to do this and read the information and draw the hypotheses from that, which of course no lay person really is. So if that’s the conclusion they come to, then we’re happy to stand by that.”

“We have to accept, don’t we, just like now we have to accept this,” Arline said.

“And that’s why it’s so disappointing, because we don’t know,” Stephanie added.

It is not over for the Kerchers.

Last week’s acquittal is far from the last word on the case. The judges have 90 days to draft a report explaining the reasons for the verdict. Then the prosecution and the defence will have a further 45 days to lodge a new and last appeal. Only rulings by the Supreme Court are considered definitive in Italian justice.

Guede’s lawyers said he would appeal for a new trial if the Supreme Court confirmed Knox’s acquittal “” on the grounds that it would contradict the Ivorian’s conviction for killing Meredith alongside unidentified accomplices. “So I’m supposed to be Meredith’s only assassin?” Guede is reported to have told a prison visitor. “I’m supposed to have struck that poor girl with a knife 40 times? I confessed my responsibilities and I accused those who were in the house with me.

“I’m in prison, and the others are free and happy at home. If it wasn’t them in the house that damned evening, who are the other accomplices supposed to be? The money made available to Amanda and the media strategy helped to free her.”

Many investigators and lawyers admit privately that the Italian judicial system may simply never come up with a full and convincing explanation of Meredith’s death.

Italian justice is agonisingly slow. Judges and lawyers attend several trials in the same week, with the result that the appeal trial saw 20 days of hearings over no fewer than 10 months. It is also full of safeguards for defendants, including long preliminary hearings enshrined in the post-war constitution to eradicate the caricature of justice delivered by the courts under Mussolini.

Many of the most notorious cases in Italy’s post-war history have yet to be resolved in court. Silvio Berlusconi, the billionaire prime minister, is embroiled in a string of corruption, fraud and sex offence investigations and trials, and claims that leftist prosecutors are plotting to oust him.

This week Berlusconi will push through parliament a bill banning publication of phone and other intercepts before a case reaches trial “” a measure that has become a priority for him, as investigators are expected to release within a few weeks dozens of intercepts of reportedly embarrassing conversations between Berlusconi and a convicted drug dealer.

In such a climate Italian justice itself is on trial. The truth of what happened to Meredith Kercher may emerge one day, but it’s no safe bet that it will do so in an Italian court of law.


Friday, October 07, 2011

US And UK Media: Make RS & AK Answer The HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS Of Open Questions

Posted by Our Main Posters





It seems Judge Hellman has begun sweating.

Maybe Judge Hellman already sees as much of the Italian public and commentators do that he’ll have a REALLY tough time answering all the open questions in his December sentencing report as he is required to.

Constitutional requirement of Ministry of Justice never met?

That so many questions exist but are not generally even known about, especially in the US and UK, is because a key requirement of the usually very careful Italian justice system seems to have been (illegally) ignored.

The key requirement is built into the justice system by the Italian constitution. It is that trial and appeal sentencing reports MUST be made available to the maximum extent, so that the general public (usually only the Italian public) can readily check on the legitimacy of trial outcomes.

Italy is the only country in the world that has that public check and balance on trials.  Under that requirement, if it existed in the US, Barry Scheck of the US’s Innocence Project would likely find that most of the travesties of justice his team uncovers would never have happened in the first place.

Here is how things are meant to work. 

Back when the Micheli Report on the Rudy Guede sentence was released in January 2009 with Judge Micheli’s reasons for remitting Knox and Sollecito to trial it was released in THREE formats.

    1) It was released digitally (in a Word Doc) to the media with the one requirement that it not be posted in full. We translated most of our copy and posted an extensive summary (scroll down) in English in four parts (three by Brian and one by Nikki) in September 2009.

    2) It was released in printed document form by the Ministry of Justice in Rome and anyone in Italy could buy a copy.

    3) It was also posted on the website of the Ministry of Justice in text and Acrobat document format. It appears that this Internet version was checked out by hundreds of thousands and quite possibly even by millions.

Now when the Ministry of Justice in Rome released the Massei sentencing report for Knox and Sollecito (links at top of this page) in March 2010, they released it in only ONE format.

The Ministry of Justice released it ONLY on paper, and it was obtainable ONLY by the press and by those in the general public who managed to figure out how to buy a copy of the book-sized document from the Ministry.

To our knowledge the Ministry of Justice never ever posted the required Internet version.

The effect of this serious and seemingly illegal shortfall by the Rome Ministry has been that even in Italy few people have ever read the Massei Report. The number of Italian readers might be only in the hundreds and at most in the low thousands. Way, way less than ever read Micheli.

As a result only very few people in Italy may have ever realized how powerful, logically complete and conclusive that report is. Probably few or no peers of the lay judges in Perugia have ever read it. The most important document in the entire case is essentially unread.

In August 2010 a PMF team finished translating the Massei Report and made available the Masssei report in English in Acrobat format on the PMF forum and on TJMK.

In June 2011 Skeptical Bystander and a PMF team posted a Massei summary in text on TJMK and PMF.

This English language version has been downloaded close to 30,000 times and there are many people in the US and UK who are very well informed on the conclusions.  Every lawyer we know who has read the report has agreed that it arrived at the right conclusions. Many say and several do right here in these posts (scroll down) that the case would have been way more than enough for a US or UK conviction.

A slam dunk in effect. Evidence overkill.

But few of the busy people in the US and UK media have read the Massei Report and no one in the media to our knowledge has extensively analyzed or quoted from it. None of the books out so far go into the Massei Report in depth.

WHY did the Italian Ministry of Justice fail to fully distribute the Massei Report, and in particular not post it on their website? And is the Supreme Court of Cassation aware of this huge shortfall in its distribution?

This is such a serious mistake that our Italian lawyers believe that the Supreme Court or even the President of the Republic of Italy if he is petitioned could throw out the entire Hellman proceedings, verdict and sentence.

The hundreds and hundreds of open questions

Arising from the Massei Report are literally hundreds of questions for the released defendants and their teams. They have been around since early 2010. The defense teams and PR campaign have never ever tried to answer these questions, or for that matter to produce a convincing alternative scenario that hangs together implicating Guede but not Knox or Sollecito.

Here are four lists of the many, many outstanding questions.

Here from the Daily Beast are those ten questions with the Beast’s annotations showing how they are STILL unanswered:

1. Why did you and Raffaele Sollecito turn off your cell phones at the same time the night of Nov. 1, 2007, and on again at the same time the next morning? You told the police that you and Raffaele slept late the morning of Nov. 2, 2007, but phone records show that you both turned your phones back on very early that morning. How could that be? This question was never addressed fully in the appellate process except when Giulia Bongiorno for Sollecito said that perhaps the cat stepped on the phone and turned it on. At that time the prosecutor Manuela Comodi quipped, “I’ve got a dog and he has never done that.”

2. Why were you bleeding? Your lawyers agree with the prosecution’s findings that at least one of the spots of Meredith’s blood found in the house where she was killed had your blood mixed with it. Your mother told me that you had your period. Your stepfather told others that your ear piercings were infected. Which was it? Even if this mixed blood drop is contentious in its genetic makeup (all blood or blood mixed with DNA), the appellate court was shown a picture of a drop of blood attributed entirely to Knox on the faucet.

3. Once you realized your mistake in blaming Patrick Lumumba for Meredith’s murder, why didn’t you tell the authorities? You told your mother that you felt bad about it, so why didn’t you alert an official so Patrick could be set free?

4. Why did you go with Raffaele to the police station on Nov. 5, 2007? You were not called in for questioning. Did you realize at that time that you were both under suspicion?

5. Why weren’t your and Raffaele’s fingerprints found in your house after the murder if the two of you had spent time there that morning and the day before? Only one half-print on a glass in the kitchen has been attributed to you, yet you have claimed that you took a shower there that morning. How did you spend so much time there and leave virtually no trace? Much of the crime scene has since been determined to have suffered from sloppy investigative work, meaning the absence of fingerprints in any room of the house may be due to that rather than any sort of cleanup.

6. Why did you take the mop and bucket from your house over to Raffaele’s house? You told the prosecutor during your testimony in June 2009 that you took the mop and bucket to his house to clean up a leak under his kitchen sink. But by your own testimony, the leak was minuscule and could have been easily cleaned up without it. What were you really doing with the mop?

7. What would you do differently if you had a chance to rewind the clock back to Nov. 3, 2007? Would you go to the memorial service for Meredith? Would you still have gone to the police station with Raffaele? Would you have left for Germany when your aunt asked you to?

8. What do you think happened the night Meredith was killed? You have professed your innocence. Who do you think killed her and under what circumstance? Your supporters say Rudy Guede was the lone killer. Do you agree? Or do you think there are still others out there who were involved in your roommate’s murder?

9. What do you really think of the Italian justice system? You told an Italian parliamentarian that you got a fair trial, and you even thanked the prosecutors for trying to solve the mystery of Meredith’s death, but your supporters at home in Seattle maintain that the Italian system is corrupt and unfair. In your appellate hearing you said you lost faith in justice and the police. Now that you are out, what do you really think of the system that has both convicted and acquitted you?

10. Is there anything you wish you would have said in court during your (initial) trial (in which you were convicted)? You talked about your vibrator and about how you did not want an assassin’s mask forced on you. But in your final appeal after the closing arguments on Dec. 4, 2010, why didn’t you say the words, “I did not kill Meredith Kercher”? Raffaele did when it was his turn to speak. Why didn’t you? You have said on many occasions during the appellate trial that you did not kill her and you have never hurt anyone. This question has been addressed with your denials. What about the rest?

Judge Hellman may be able to answer all of these unanswered questions AS HE MUST under Italian law in his sentencing report. He cannot simply address points defense raised about small parts of it. He must be able to explain the totality of the evidence or his report risks being thrown out by Cassation and a retrial at the first appeal level ordered.

Possibly Judge Hellman might be able to achieve this. But why do we seriously doubt it?


Sunday, September 04, 2011

An Overview Of Modern Thinking On The Criminal Mind

Posted by Ergon



[Above: an image of the influential researcher Dr Abram Hoffer]
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Introduction:

The question of criminality has been much in the news lately, as wild gangs of youth rampaged through British cities, and wild gangs of feral financial speculators rampaged through the world’s economies.

As a scientist I wonder about the pathologies involved, and as a spiritual person I wonder about root causes.

So this is about where we are going as a society. Are we descending into criminality, and is the problem getting worse? I also wonder about the connection between criminality and mental illness.

In the course of trying to find a treatment for my own children’s Autism, I came to the following conclusion: conventional medical science has no clue about the causes or effective treatment of mental illness.

Therefore I had to range further into alternative medicine to find solutions, and serendipitously, I did. Yet, when my son’s autism reversal was confirmed by psychologists, no one seemed to want to know how. Neither the media, nor the conventional establishment.

Never mind. My findings were presented, for free, to various alternative medical doctors and clinics, reported in journals and books, and confirmed by them. The protocol has great possibilities in the treatment of other neurological illnesses. It is possible to reverse brain disease.

At my clinic in Toronto as well as other countries, I treated hundreds of young people with Autism, ADHD, Aspergers, and other psychological disorders, using holistic medical methods alone. Many of them went on to have normal lives; most improved significantly. And, when I have the time, I will write a book about this journey, and share it with everyone.

Which I already did in fact.  See here. But this is by way of background. I do not claim to have cures, or answers; I’m a searcher for knowledge, which I wish to share with others.

The question:

So: Is there such a thing as a criminal mind? This was a question much pondered as the new field of psychology came into being. In opposition to religious belief that crimes were caused by man’s original state of sin, and provoked by deadly sins like avarice and lust etc., it tried to define abnormal behaviour as a function of upbringing and environment.

It was only later as research into the nature of the brain emerged that new theories were formed; could neurological deficits explain criminal acts? Along with other suppositions of nurture and nature, addictions and abuse?

The answer:

According to these studies yes there is..

The release today of a study by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) showing than 64 percent of local jail inmates, 56 percent of state prisoners and 45 percent of federal prisoners have symptoms of serious mental illnesses is an indictment of the nation’s mental health care system. It is both a scandal and a national tragedy.

The figures are worse than those generally believed in the past, in which estimates of the total number of inmates with mental illnesses have been approximately 20 percent. The study reveals that the problem is two to three times greater than anyone imagined. What is even more disturbing is the number of these inmates that have served prior sentences, committed violent offenses, or engaged in substance abuse.

This is not an ideological statement, nor is it an attempt to avoid the serious problem of crimes in society. We have to have a system of laws and justice, and we have to protect the innocent. But the present system of crime and punishment doesn’t work, either.

So, how do we measure the criminal mind? Could there possibly be genetic, neurological, behavioral or even, physiognomic markers? I was 10 years old when a gentleman took one look at certain bumps on my head and said I “was very perceptive; could look at a scene and see what others could not"Cool, and this was my introduction to phrenology.

This was where 18-19th century researchers sought to determine racial and emotional differences through the study of skull size, shape and protuberances. And yes, they did believe the criminal’s head was different than that of normal people. This later became the field of craniology and craniometry as scientists tried to avoid making unsavory determinations.

The scars left after World War II by these atrocious programmes of research meant that the study of human skull shape and size fell into disrepute. Human variation, the core subject of anthropology, was increasingly explored through genetics and other biological markers, and became functional and adaptive in orientation rather than a search for racial affinities.

In recent years, however, the introduction of new computer-based techniques of measurement, and the greatly enhanced power of statistical analysis, has meant that there has been a resurgence of interest in this subject, and, stripped of its non-Darwinian and racist past, the study of the human head remains a topic of major importance.

So now, scientists are using cranial measurements to determine mental illness as shown here:

Recently, Harvard researchers reported that children with autism have a wide range of genetic defects, making it nearly impossible to develop a simple genetic test to identify the disorder. Now, University of Missouri researchers are studying 3-D imaging to reveal correlations in the facial features and brain structures of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which will enable them to develop a formula for earlier detection of the disorder…

When you compare the faces and head shapes of children with specific types of autism to other children, it is obvious there are variations. Currently, autism diagnosis is purely behavior based and doctors use tape measurements to check for facial and brain dissimilarities. We are developing a quantitative method that will accurately measure these differences and allow for earlier, more precise detection of specific types of the disorder,” said Ye Duan, assistant computer science professor in the MU College of Engineering.

Then you have “The Criminal Brain-Understanding Biological Theories of Crime”, by author Nicole Hahn Rafter, New York University Press (October 2008)

What is the relationship between criminality and biology? Nineteenth-century phrenologists insisted that criminality was innate, a trait inherent in the offender’s brain matter. While they were eventually repudiated as pseudo-scientists and self-deluded charlatans, today the pendulum has swung back.

Both criminologists and biologists have begun to speak of a tantalizing but disturbing possibility: that criminality may be inherited as a set of genetic deficits that place one at risk for theft, violence, and sexual deviance.

If that is so, we may soon confront proposals for genetically modifying “at risk” foetuses or doctoring up criminals so their brains operate like those of law-abiding citizens.

Wow. Now this really frightens me, to see scientists, once again, barking up the wrong genetic tree, but there you go any way.

Brain Injury as a factor in crime:

Alternative physician Dr. Russell L. Blaylock:  Vaccines, Depression and Neurodegeneration After Age 50

Previously, it was thought that major depression was secondary to a deficiency in certain neurotransmitters in the brain, particularly the monoamines, which include serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. While alterations in these important mood-related neurotransmitters is found with major depression, growing evidence indicates that the primary culprit is low-grade, chronic brain inflammation.

In addition, we now know that inflammatory cytokines can lower serotonin significantly and for long periods by a number of different mechanisms.

I would agree with him there, since it has been my observation that mental illness is often accompanied by inflammatory disorders or auto-immune illness. I also believe the changes in vaccine schedules may have led to increased neurological deficits and genetic damage passed on to subsequent generations, but that is an argument for a separate article. I do not blame vaccines alone, as I will explain here.

There is research that shows criminal minds and behavior issues are often accompanied by brain damage.

Brain injury is a condition that involves microscopic damage to brain tissue that can only be seen in life through the lens of the patterns of the injured person’s life. Chris Henry, the former NFL wide receiver whose autopsy results confirmed he was living with brain damage, may have finally made that clear.

“Limbic Abnormalities in Affective Processing by Criminal Psychopaths as Revealed by Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging” by Kiehl, et al, (PDF)

Results: Compared with criminal nonpsychopaths and noncriminal control participants, criminal psychopaths showed significantly less affect-related activity in the amygdala/hippocampal formation, parahippocampal gyrus, ventral striatum, and in the anterior and posterior cingulate gyri. Psychopathic criminals also showed evidence of overactivation in the bilateral fronto-temporal cortex for processing affective stimuli

The brains of autistic individuals show similar defects:

The two research teams have noticed an intriguing abnormality in the brains of the small group of autistics they have examined: The cerebellum, a portion of the brain involved with muscle coordination and the regulation of incoming sensations, contains fewer neurons known as Purkinje cells. There are also preliminary indications that growth in parts of the limbic system, which oversees emotion and memory, is arrested while autistics are still in the womb

Likewise in schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder.

New research shows for the first time that both have a common genetic basis that leads people to develop one or other of the two illnesses..find that thousands of tiny genetic mutations ““ known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) ““ are operating in raising the risk of developing the illness.

“Early Signs of Psychopathy” argues that signs can show at an early age.

A twenty-five year study, published this month in The Journal of Abnormal Psychology, demonstrates that, as early as the age of three, there are temperamental and physiological difference between those who show psychopathic tendencies as adults and those who don’t.

Not only do psychopaths lack emotions of conscience and empathy, but research has shown that these individuals consistently display certain aspects of temperament including a lack of fear, lack of inhibition and stimulus seeking behavior.

A lack of a hormone that affects empathy:

We’ve long accepted that hormones can make you amorous, aggressive, or erratic. But lately neuroscience has been abuzz with evidence that the hormone oxytocin—which also acts as a neuromodulator—can enhance at least one cognitive power: the ability to understand the gist of what others are thinking. In this week’s Mind Matters, Jennifer Bartz and Eric Hollander, two leading researchers in this area, review the many and surprising ways in which oxytocin seems to influence both our openness to others and our understanding of them.

For inherently social creatures such as humans, the ability to identify the motives, intentions, goals, desires, beliefs and feelings of others is not a nicety but an essential skill. We must understand “where others are coming from” not only to pursue our individual goals but also to facilitate social harmony more generally. Specifically, we need to recognize that other people can have thoughts, beliefs, desires and feelings that differ from our own…

And it may be this that drives psychopathy, or the criminal mind.

Cleckley in Psychopathy: Two lengthy checklists of psychopathic, or anti-social personality disorder:

Cleckley’s original list of symptoms of a psychopath:

1. Considerable superficial charm and average or above average intelligence.
2. Absence of delusions and other signs of irrational thinking
3. Absence of anxiety or other “neurotic” symptoms considerable poise, calmness, and verbal facility.
4. Unreliability, disregard for obligations no sense of responsibility, in matters of little and great import.
5. Untruthfulness and insincerity
6. Antisocial behavior which is inadequately motivated and poorly planned, seeming to stem from an inexplicable impulsiveness.
7. Inadequately motivated antisocial behavior
8. Poor judgment and failure to learn from experience
9. Pathological egocentricity. Total self-centeredness incapacity for real love and attachment.
10. General poverty of deep and lasting emotions.
11. Lack of any true insight, inability to see oneself as others do.
12. Ingratitude for any special considerations, kindness, and trust.
13. Fantastic and objectionable behavior, after drinking and sometimes even when not drinking—vulgarity, rudeness, quick mood shifts, pranks.
14. No history of genuine suicide attempts.
15. An impersonal, trivial, and poorly integrated sex life.
16. Failure to have a life plan and to live in any ordered way, unless it be one promoting self-defeat.

Hare in The Psychopathic Personality:

A psychopath can have high verbal intelligence, but they typically lack “emotional intelligence”. They can be expert in manipulating others by playing to their emotions. There is a shallow quality to the emotional aspect of their stories (i.e., how they felt, why they felt that way, or how others may have felt and why).

The lack of emotional intelligence is the first good sign you may be dealing with a psychopath. A history of criminal behavior in which they do not seem to learn from their experience, but merely think about ways to not get caught is the second best sign.

The following is a list of items based on the research of Robert Hare, Ph.D. which is derived from the “The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised, .1991, Toronto: Multi-Health Systems.” These are the most highly researched and recognized characteristics of psychopathic personality and behavior”:

1. glibness/superficial charm
2. grandiose sense of self worth
3. need for stimulation/prone to boredom
4. pathological lying
5. conning/manipulative
6. lack of remorse or guilt
7. shallow emotional response
8. callous/lack of empathy
9. parasitic lifestyle
10. poor behavioral controls
11. promiscuous sexual behavior
12. early behavioral problems
13. lack of realistic long term goals
14. impulsivity
15. irresponsibility
16. failure to accept responsibility for their own actions
17. many short term relationships
18. juvenile delinquency
19. revocation of conditional release
20. criminal versatility

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Is it becoming a rare quality among young people? It certainly seems to be declining in society.

Emotional intelligence “is a type of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use the information to guide one’s thinking and actions” (Mayer & Salovey, 1993: 433). According to Salovey & Mayer (1990), EI subsumes Gardner’s inter- and intrapersonal intelligences, and involves abilities that may be categorized into five domains:

Self-awareness: Observing yourself and recognizing a feeling as it happens.

Managing emotions: Handling feelings so that they are appropriate; realizing what is behind a feeling; finding ways to handle fears and anxieties, anger, and sadness.

Motivating oneself: Channeling emotions in the service of a goal; emotional self control; delaying gratification and stifling impulses.

Empathy: Sensitivity to others’ feelings and concerns and taking their perspective; appreciating the differences in how people feel about things.

Handling relationships: Managing emotions in others; social competence and social skills.

And according to Goleman (1995: 160), “Emotional intelligence, the skills that help people harmonize, should become increasingly valued as a workplace asset in the years to come.”

The last words belong to the educators, of course.

Howard Gardner (July 11, 1943 - ) American Psychologist and Educator

Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1983) proposes that intelligent behavior does not arise from a single unitary quality of the mind, as the g -based theories profiled on this Web site suggest, but rather that different kinds of intelligence are generated from separate metaphorical pools of mental energy.

Gardner derived this conceptualization of intelligence in part from his experiences working with members (of) extreme populations, in which certain cognitive abilities are preserved (often to a remarkable degree) even in the absence of other, very basic abilities. For example, some autistic savants display extraordinary musical or mathematical abilities despite severely impaired language development and social awareness. Likewise, individuals with localized brain damage often demonstrate severe deficits that are circumscribed to a single cognitive domain (Gardner, 1983/2003).

And Piaget, who inspired me many years ago: Jean Piaget (August 9, 1896-September 16, 1980) Swiss Biologist and Child Psychologist

Definition of Intelligence:  Intelligence is an adaptation”¦To say that intelligence is a particular instance of biological adaptation is thus to suppose that it is essentially an organization and that its function is to structure the universe just as the organism structures its immediate environment” (Piaget, 1963, pp. 3-4).

Intelligence is assimilation to the extent that it incorporates all the given data of experience within its framework”¦There can be no doubt either, that mental life is also accommodation to the environment. Assimilation can never be pure because by incorporating new elements into its earlier schemata the intelligence constantly modifies the latter in order to adjust them to new elements” (Piaget, 1963, p. 6-7) (Including, imo, ‘criminal intelligence’)

Major Contributions:

The Theory of Genetic Epistemology.  Piaget also believed that intellectual development occurs in four distinct stages.

The sensorimotor stage begins at birth, and lasts until the child is approximately two years old. At this stage, the child cannot form mental representations of objects that are outside his immediate view, so his intelligence develops through his motor interactions with his environment.

The preoperational stage typically lasts until the child is 6 or 7. According to Piaget, this is the stage where true “thought” emerges. Preoperational children are able to make mental representations of unseen objects, but they cannot use deductive reasoning.

The concrete operations stage follows, and lasts until the child is 11 or 12. Concrete operational children are able to use deductive reasoning, demonstrate conservation of number, and can differentiate their perspective from that of other people.

Formal operations is the final stage. Its most salient feature is the ability to think abstractly.

It is my opinion that emotional intelligence development also follows these four distinct phases. This is where nurture and nature come into play, and any trauma, abuse, neglect, that occurs during these phases can lead to an emotional stunting where the child is unable to progress to the next stage of development.

In the same way, a positive home and school environment can help children grow to be more harmonious members of society, once you adjust for any biological and neurological deficits. Early recognition and treatment is key…

Having worked as a volunteer in the public school system, I can tell you what teachers and educators have been telling me for years: the number of learning disabled and emotionally disturbed children is increasing exponentially..

Is it just me, or does it seem like the world has become an increasingly disharmonious place lately?

But the last word might well come from a book written by a Norwegian judge, Jens Jacob-Sander:  The Criminal Brain: A View from the Bench…  Exploring the Criminal Mind

What goes on in the minds of criminals? This question raises perennial philosophical issues about human behavior in general and criminal conduct in particular. Do criminals act the way they do because of how and what they think and feel? And, are these internal forces of thought and feeling caused by the states of their brains, which in turn are predetermined by biology, chemistry, and genetics? Is the problem, in short, what used to be called bad blood?

Or, are the thoughts, feelings, and actions of criminals caused by external factors such as parents, education, and other influences in the environment that mold and shape malleable brains, which, in turn, give rise to the criminal personality? In other words, is the real culprit for criminal behavior what used to be called society?

With the emergence of brain science over the past 50 years, including brain imaging technologies and the study of brain chemistry, perhaps we can return to these profound questions with new hope of making progress toward answers.

At the present time, although some scholars of brain science lean heavily toward a reductionistic biological determinism, others call attention to the plasticity of the brain and its capacity for change. Even if we cannot ever uncover a single satisfactory answer to how the criminal mind works, perhaps we can begin to diminish the devastation caused by criminal behavior.

An exploration of the criminal mind might yield insights, ideas, and innovative hypotheses worthy of serious consideration and further study. It might also provoke us to reconsider how we think about the questions we ask about the causes of criminal behavior. Instead of polarizing the discussion by pitting determinism (biological or social) against free will as mutually exclusive explanations of criminal conduct, we might discover that biological predispositions and habits of thought can be influenced by education, cognitive retraining, and behavior modification. Whatever our current state of knowledge, isn’t it worth our effort to try to formulate better theories and more effective forms of intervention?

That daunting task has been undertaken in a new e-book titled Exploring the Criminal Mind and subtitled Advances of Brainscience and Mental Procedures of the Criminal Personality: A Unified Brain-Mind Theory. The author and publisher, Jens-Jacob Sander, is a judge in the Norwegian Courts of Justice, located west of the city of Oslo. Judge Sander tells us in the foreword to his book that it grew out of his frustration with trying to understand the criminal mind while he was engaged in a major international fraud-hunt in 1989 that, although successful, was apparently hampered by the lack of adequate information and insights about criminal minds.

Perhaps we can return to these profound questions with new hope of making progress toward answers, indeed.

Posted by Ergon on 09/04/11 at 05:01 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Various hypothesesThe psychologyComments here (11)

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