Headsup: Several more analyses of Dr Mignini's book in Italian still to come, but much more when it is published in English later this year.
Category: Conti & Vecchioti

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Appeal Court Sessions This Wednesday And Thursday Dont Look Very Promising For The Defenses

Posted by Peter Quennell




Expected proceedings and backdrop

The Carabinieri DNA report will be the main item and after an interruption from Sollecito we could see the final summations begin.

It is hard to believe that Doug Preston and other deniers of the plain facts have exulted in recent months that the Florence prosecution and court could be a big plus for the perps in their appeal. Presumably their joy was based on highly out-of-date takes on the 2010 move against Dr Mignini by a rogue Florence prosecutor in front of a rogue Florence judge.

Well, guess what? Both have been edged aside (like Hellmann and Zanetti), and the Florence Appeal Court and the Supreme Court have scathingly reversed Dr Mignini’s (and Dr Giuttari’s) faux conviction. And despite some ill-advised smearing still emanating from the Fischers, Moores, and other Knox parasites, Dr Mignini and his colleagues are seeing their careers and popularity (and 2009 success) riding very high. 

Judge Nencini and Prosecutor Crini are both hardened anti-Mafia battlers, and the not-so-hidden hand of the mafia in the Italian media campaign to poison public opinion against the court will not have escaped their attention for sure.

At least half a dozen of the parties on the defense bandwagon are known fellow-travelers of the mafia, and at least two are already headed for court - Luciano Aviello is already there for obstruction of justice, and Mario Spezi is headed there soon for a false and very elaborate framing of murder, a charge which could put him (and maybe Preston) away for a long while. The editor of Amanda Knox’s favorite mouthpiece, Oggi, is another we may see.

The same Florence prosecutors and courts will also be putting Frank Sforza on trial starting this wednesday with a preliminary hearing at which the details of the charges against him will enter the public domain. We will post then at more length. Our past commentary on Sforrza can be read here.

Frank Sforza has been a very close ally of some of the more hotheaded and misleading Amanda Knox supporters (both the Mellases, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, Michael Heavey, among others) and if he squeals to keep himself safe and out of jail, their own legal fortunes could take a big fall.

Frank Sforza is also required to appear for trial both in Perugia and Seattle, in both jurisdictions for physical abuse. If he fails to show in Florence (his Rome address is quite well known) we expect to see him nabbed by the police and sent on his way in handcuffs to all three trials. 

The same Florence prosecutors and courts are also contemplating new charges against Raffaele Sollecito and his publishing and PR bandwagon for the wild claims in his book, which were designed to poison public opinion agains the court and make him a ton of money. Those claims are a real minefield for Sollecito when he gets up and talks as they conflict both with what his team has said in court and what Knox said in her book.

Knox’s book, which was also designed to poison public opinion against the court and make her a ton of money, is being investigated by the chief prosecutor in Bergamo up north. At a minimum, the Florence prosecutors and judges will already know of this attack on the chief prosecutor which seems enough for a guilty verdict all by itself.

Contexting the DNA report

The main findings of the Carabinieri labs were summarised in the post directly below.

This further take on the context, and on who is up and who is down, was kindly contributed by one of our Italian court-watchers, who has many connections in Florence and Rome, and who sees the prosecution DNA teams as riding high now, and the defense forces and Vecchiotti and Conti as left with with no place to hide.

Dr. Barni and Dr. Berti, the two court-appointed Carabinieri RIS experts, are the authors of various internationally-circulated articles about presumptive blood tests, where they prove the opposite of some of the things the Sollecito—Knox sycophants deny. For example that bleach does decompose quickly when exposed to air and does not react to luminol after some 1-2 days.

Patrizia Stefanoni also has respected publications as a scientific author. In fact, in 2011 she was in the top 25 hits of forensic science with her publications, she has been even in first place  with this report.

The Carabinieri RIS note that the refrigerator has no temperature log; from this detail, albeit small within the overall report, we can deduce that Vecchiotti’s laboratory cannot have had ISO 9001 certification or any other international certification, given that the standards would require a temperature log.  Apparently the refrigerator doesn’t have an accurate thermometer either,  since the Carabinieri measured the temperature using one of their own.

Another detail noted at the beginning is this: the Carabinieri RIS expected the sample volume to be 24 microliters, since this was the remaining volume declared by Conti and Vecchiotti,  while Barni and Berti found it to be only between 16 and 17 microliters.  They infer that Vecchiotti and Conti might have been inaccurate on the estimation of the remaining amount after quantization, or hypothesize that the content might have evaporated over the last two years because the samples were not wrapped inside a protective film.

Vecchiotti and Conti had been already discredited, and have no credibility in the present appeal trial. However, the RIS finding might deliver a further blow to whatever might be their residual credibility. They had already previously been completely discredited because: 

    1. They were appointed by judges who are now completely discredited, whose conduct was found illegitimate for reasons of unprecedented gravity, and who received a devastating bashing from the Supreme Court;

    2. Vecchiotti and Conti were also discredited by Prosecutor Manuela Comodi in her court cross-eamaination in 2011, as the speciousness and falsehood of their arguments was exposed (this was the famous hearing where they claimed contamination on the ground that “everything is possible” and where Vecchiotti admitted she didn’t request negative controls)

    3. Vecchiotti and Conti were discredited scientifically by Novelli’s argument, as he explained that they should have tested the 36-I sample, and as he also explained that that he found no trace of contamination in the Scientific Police laboratory’s work, or any reason to suspect contamination of Meredith Kercher’s DNA, and he explained that attribution could be done accurately based on bio-statistical calculation without requiring a second confirmatory test.

    4. Finally, Vecchiotti and Conti were egregiously discredited by the Supreme Court which addressed a manifest issue in their “intellectual honesty”. Here is the Supreme Court ruling, page 65:  ” ... a member of the panel of experts could not assume any responsibility for unilaterally narrowing the scope of the mission, which was to be carried out without hesitation or reservation, in full intellectual honesty, giving a complete account of the possible insufficiency of the material or unreliability of the result. (...) “

The court mentions sardonically the judge-appointed expert’s “intellectual honesty”, and that is a very striking comment when found in a Supreme Court ruling: since the Cassazione is not a fact-finding panel, they don’t write about factual conclusions unless they appear prima facie as manifest and undisputable.

So the Supreme Court considers there are problems of intellectual honesty in the work of Vecchiotti and Conti, something manifest and obvious; the Court acknowledges they are obvious, something that anyone can see, which does not require a fact-finding by a judiciary organ to be pointed out.

Now the Carabinieri RIS report may bring further discredit upon Vecchiotti and Conti, if they have any credibility left. There are at least two reasons for this:

    1) Because the finding of a reliable DNA profile belies the assessment that was given by Vecchiotti and Conti that extraction of a profile would be impossible, and demonstrates that in fact it was possible to extract a reliable profile; incidentally the fact that a Carabinieri RIS test was ordered itself implicitly denies Hellmann-Zanetti’s assessment that any result from 36-I would anyway be useless because contamination could have occurred outside the laboratory; but also it credits Novelli while it discredits Veccchiotti and Conti on a scientific level,  because it explicitly denies the idea that small (Low Template) DNA amounts are unreliable.

    2) Because the Carabinieri RIS test employs the method proposed by Novelli, that is to couple Stefanoni’s “˜biologic’ analysis method with the statistical probability assessment method, in order to come to a certain attribution. Moreover, the Carabinieri RIS also point out that they can do this by assessing only 11 loci from a complex trace which also has foreign alleles (whereas trace 36-B analysed by Stefanoni was a “˜clean’, non-mixed profile matching a 17-loci sequence).

The Carabinieri RIS ran the test in “˜duplicate’ while Stefanoni made a single profile extraction. The Carabinieri point out that they can do this ““ divide even a smaller and more complex trace, and test it for comparison even on a smaller number of loci - because they now have “a system with extremely higher analytical performance which is able to provide result quantitatively and qualitatively better compared to previous systems”.