Wednesday, November 04, 2015

A Critique In Five Parts Of The Fifth Chambers Motivation Report By Judges Marasca And Bruno #2

Posted by James Raper

Image is of busy Rome at night

The Fifth Chambers Motivation Report

I continue critiquing the final 34 pages of the Motivation Report, the decisions and verdict parts.

My first post can be read here. A full translation of the Report can be read here.

Time of Death

“Another judicial error is the finding that the establishment of Kercher’s exact time of death was irrelevant, in the belief that the approximate timing offered by the expert investigators was sufficient, for all that this may have been correct at the trial stage”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦.time of death is an unavoidable factual pre-requisite for the verification of the defendants”˜ alibis.”

Once again, this is to entirely misrepresent Nencini.  He did not say that the TOD was irrelevant, and as for an exact TOD this would be impossible, even if the temperature of the body had been taken by the pathologist as soon as he arrived at the scene of the crime, which I am sure any intelligent and informed observer would understand. That would have narrowed the time frame very probably, but it was not a “judicial error”.

We could go on and delve into the evidence, particularly the expert and other evidence which became available over time and which conditioned Nencini’s observations, but Marasca-Bruno do not, instead resorting to a banal statement that does not take account of any of the foregoing.

“Deplorable carelessness in the preliminary investigative phase”¦”¦[ ed: not taking body temperature, yes, but other forensic considerations had to apply as well]”¦....a banal arithmetic mean between a possible earliest time and a possible latest time (from around 6.50 pm on the 1st Nov to 4.50 am of the following day), thus fixing the time at about 11 -11.30pm”

At the time of the Massei trial the pathologist, Dr Lalli had concluded that death may have occurred between 8 pm on the 1st Nov and 4.00 am the next day. This was based on calculating temperature decrease in the cadaver, taking the Henssge nomogram into account, rigor mortis, hypostatic marks etc. The Henssge nomogram also allows one to calculate back a specific number of hours from the time of first measurement and this permitted an intermediate valuation of about 11 pm. It was not simply an arithmetic mean.

But in any event, the decision not to take the body temperature but rather preserve the scene for forensics for about 11 hours had no detrimental impact upon the defendants’ alibis. It is accepted that Meredith was certainly alive at 9 pm on the 1st Nov and there is nothing to corroborate an alibi for the accused from 9.15 pm onwards on the 1st Nov until 5. 30 am the following day.  Body temperature taken, and rigor mortis observed, earlier, would not have been able to narrow TOD down to a period of 15 minutes ( 9 to 9.15 pm), and hence prior to the last temporal reference point for a credible alibi, the interaction on Sollecito’s computer, or anything like that.

On The Scientific Evidence

Marasca-Bruno observe that there is a debate to be had here as to -

“The legal value attributable to scientific evidence, with particular reference to the genetic investigations, acquired in violation of the rules established by international protocols.”

The terms of the debate therefore define it”˜s conclusion.

There are, they say, two theories which have to be balanced -

(1) “that which puts an increasing amount of weight on the contribution of science, even if not validated by the scientific community,” 


(2)  “that which insists on the primacy of law and postulates that, in deference to the rules of criminal procedure, only those scientific experiments validated according to commonly accepted methodological canons may be allowed to enter.”

No cigars for guessing which self- formulated option they prefer. It is, of course, (2), but still they have already both begged and loaded the question with their insistence on “validation” (which in this context means repeating the scientific test to obtain the same result) according to “international protocols”

Then, to disguise that selection, we have this -

“The court concedes that this delicate problem”¦..must find a solution in the general rules that inform our legal system”¦.and not”¦.in an abstract insistence on the primacy of science over law or vice versa”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦. Scientific proof cannot, in fact, aspire to an unconditional credit of self-referential trustworthiness in the trial setting, by the very fact that a criminal trial renounces all notion of legal proof.”

Marasca-Bruno would not be so stupid as to insist that science has primacy over law in a trial setting.  Would they? The law, having primacy, must find the means to accommodate the maxims of science, but within the general rules that inform the legal system.

They continue -

“The reference co-ordinates will have to be those attaching to the principle of cross examination and to the judge’s control over the process of formation of evidence, which must respect preordained guarantees, the observance of which must strictly govern the judgement of the relevant results’ reliability.”

Interesting. “Cross-examination”? Perhaps they are reminded of the decisive inadmissibility of the previously discussed section of Guede’s letter. Can the DNA traces on the knife and the bra clasp fall into the same category? Can “validity according to international protocols” be a preordained guarantee, in the same manner as the rights of an accused not to be incriminated by a witness who refuses cross-examination is guaranteed by Article 526 of the ICCP?

If so, then some compelling reason will have to be advanced - abiding by the rules of evidence that inform the legal system. They cannot refer to an Article on the point in the ICCP. There is none, and if there were, and if it stated that the repeatability of a scientific test was a guarantee for the test to be reliable and/or admissible, then sample 36b from the knife would not even have made it into the trial. And this is not the fault of the ICCP. There is no other body of law in the world that I am aware of that embodies any such guarantee, even for Low Copy DNA. And the reason for that, in part, is that there is no internationally recognized protocol, and precisely because there is no agreement in the scientific community as to this as yet.

Marasca-Bruno tend to treat “reliability” and “admissibility” as interchangeable concepts, and indeed, given the manner in which they consider these concepts, in the context of the topic under discussion, there is some logic to this, for surely if a piece of evidence is pre-ordained as unreliable then it must be inadmissible as well.

There then follows a lot more pompous waffle that need not detain us, other than to comment that none of this advances, and indeed does not even consider, any compelling reason for regarding repeatability as a pre-ordained guarantee from the point of view of admissible, or reliable, evidence.

Indeed, the ICCP does specifically take into account non-repeatable tests for we can find in Article 360 that provided the conditions therein are complied with then the results of non-repeatable technical tests are admissible.

Why the insistence on repeatability despite Article 360?

Does the testimony of an eye witness to a crime have to be corroborated by a video of the incident, or other eye witness testimony, before his testimony can be considered reliable and admissible?

Why is the result of a scientific test, conducted in accordance with a method which has already been repeatedly used in the scientific community to establish the validity of the method, be treated any differently?

The eye witness, of course, does not have a video of the incident by which to check his memory, whereas a biological trace may well be sufficient to allow for repeated tests. However in such cases, if there is no repeat, the result is not automatically ruled unreliable or invalid. It is for the defence to request a repeat and if they do not, then it does not happen.

There would, of course, be a capacity for repeat, which Low Copy Number might not have, but if repeats do not occur when the capacity exists, then this is because the result is unambiguous, as the results were, for the judge a quo, in the case of Meredith’s profile on the knife and Sollecito’s profile on the bra clasp.

However, Marasca-Bruno move on to declare that they do not share Nencini’s lack of hesitation in attributing evidentiary value to the knife and bra clasp results.

They quote the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court, in genetic investigations, about it’s degree of reliability -

“full value of proof, and not merely as an element of circumstantial evidence according to Article 192.”¦”

adding that

“in cases where the genetic investigation doesn’t provide absolutely certain findings, circumstantial value can be attributed to it’s results (section 2,n. 8434 of 05/02/2013, etc”¦”¦)”¦”¦which mean that where identity is established, the findings of the genetic investigation assume significant evidence, while in the case of mere compatibility with a specific genetic profile, they only have circumstantial importance.”

It is at this point that I had to pause and consider the very real possibility that Marasca-Bruno may have the combined denseness of two planks of wood nailed together. 

The compatibility of trace B on the knife with the genetic profile of Meredith Kercher is such that it is full proof of the “identity” of the trace, certainly established, and that by any scientific protocol. That was acknowledged by all the trial experts and even, though with some reluctance, by Vecchiotti.

Even if not full proof of ID it certainly has significant circumstantial relevance, according to the above and pursuant to Article 190 (which is mentioned later).

With that uncomfortable thought perhaps lurking in the back of their minds, they seek to obfuscate matters -

“As a general rule it is possible to adhere to these conclusions, on the condition, though, that the activity of collecting samples, storage and analysis of the exhibits has respected the regulations approved by the protocols of the profession.”

They then, rather bizarrely, go on to aver that that the correct methods, to preserve authenticity, were stated by the Supreme Court”¦..“even if only on the subject of information technology evidence” 

Eh ?!

They refer to Article 192, section 2 -

“The existence of a fact cannot be deduced from pieces of circumstantial evidence unless they are serious, precise and consistent.”

They opine -

“Taking into account such considerations [ed: “such considerations” need not concern us - they were just preceding waffle] one really cannot see how the results of the genetic analysis - that were performed in violation of recommendations for the protocols regarding the collection and storage - can be endowed with the characteristics of seriousness and preciseness.”

John McEnroe and “You cannot be serious!” springs to mind.

They are also confusing the information obtained from the electropherogram with sample collection methods.

It is, of course, important to maintain clarity of thought by keeping the issue of the value of the evidence [ed: it’s seriousness, precision and consistency] apart from the issue of contamination. As Nencini and others were able to do. Marasca-Bruno are running these issues together.

“It is absolutely certain that these methods were not complied with [cites the C-V Report] -

(a) The knife collected and then preserved in a cardboard box, of the sort used to package Xmas gadgets, agendas “¦”¦”¦.

(b) The bra clasp [collected 46 days after] “¦”¦”¦”¦..the photographic documentation demonstrating that at the time of collection, the clasp was passed from hand to hand”¦. In addition wearing dirty latex gloves.”

Shall I comment? Oh, alright. What is the relevance of the cardboard box unless it was a conduit for contamination?  That was not even hypothetically plausible.

Yes, as we all know the bra clasp was recovered after 46 days. But where are these collection protocols that are internationally recognized and are a pre-ordained guarantee recognized by law?

As for dirty gloves the only evidence of this that I have seen is a photograph of the bra clasp being held in one gloved hand whilst the glove on another hand, patently belonging to the same operative, shows spots of some substance on it, which spots are most probably, in the circumstances, blood derived from the clasp the operative is holding.

Where is the common sense of the 5th Chambers?

What exactly was wrong with the in-depth common sense analysis of Massei and Nencini?

And so we swing back to the conclusion that was their premise.

“In essence, it is nothing less than a procedure of validation or falsification typical of the scientific method, of which we have talked before. And it is significant, in this regard, that the experts Berti-Berni, officials of the R.I.S Roma, carried out two amplifications of the trace (ed: 36I) retrieved from the knife blade.

In the absence of verification by repetition of the investigative data, it is questionable what could be the relevant value to the proceedings, even if detached from the scientific theoretical debate, of the relevance of outcomes carried out on such scarce or complex samples in situations not allowing repetition.”

Let us recall what actually happened with sample 36I. In 2013 this sample, which had not been analyzed by the Independent Experts, was analyzed by Berti-Berni. The sample was Low Copy Number and the quantum of DNA present was significantly less than was present with sample 36B. However they were able to carry out the test with a repeat because since 2007 there had been further technical advances in the equipment.

The repeat confirmed the evidential value of the first test (Knox) despite the low level of DNA. Low Copy Number, as an inherent problem per se, and as evidence of contamination per se, as argued in the case of 36B (Meredith), was shown not to be an issue. That was what was truly significant about the test, and it underscores that the result of the test on 36B had significant evidential value.

The knife and the bra clasp -

“”¦.cannot take on either probative or circumstantial relevance precisely because, according to the aforementioned laws of science, they necessitated validation and falsification.”

The primacy of the rules of evidence has just been jettisoned with this dogmatic assertion, which is not even derived from the logic of the argument they have presented in support. Indeed much of the argument (or rather, the waffle) is merely this dogmatic assertion in numerous different guises and tediously extended formulations of itself.

Not only that but Guede was also convicted on the basis of DNA tests that were not repeated!

One wonders what criminal judges in Italy will make of this, and of the fact that judges from the 5th Chambers, who deal primarily in matters other than criminal law, have presumed to lay down law to them in this field.

The reality is that despite this nothing will change as to the rules of evidence and how forensic evidence is evaluated in the criminal courts. The system, understandably, will not countenance that. That will leave this case, as it pertains to Knox and Sollecito, as an exception, a bizarre anomaly in the judicial record.

Perhaps, in the future it will not present a practical problem, given that developments in technology are able to detect even smaller amounts of DNA, thus allowing for repeats.


Please click here for the next post.


@James Raper, what a tremendous light you shed on the errors of reasoning in Marasca/Bruno report. The knife DNA they threw out as unreliable had been re-tested with repeat tests done by Berti-Berni in Rome, who used more sensitive tests than had been available in 2007. These tests again brought out Meredith Kercher’s DNA on the knife, which underscores the accuracy of the first tests. this is hard to ignore.

Posted by Hopeful on 11/08/15 at 12:46 AM | #

Er, no. 36i was Knox, 36b Meredith. 36b could not be re-tested because it had been used up in the one test. Sorry if that was not clear.

Posted by James Raper on 11/08/15 at 01:04 AM | #

Just an observation on different theme.
Courtney Schulhof was convicted of the murder of her father in 2006.
She was born in 1987 the same year as Amanda Knox.

In the court she joked and laughed even when being sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. If you examine the footage of the trial you will note how very similar she is to Knox even to the point of looking like her. In the trial it becomes obvious that the full weight of the crime of murder she has committed does not register on her at all.

Sound Familiar?  It should amanda Knox is just the same and eventually, and as been detailed on this site Knox will eventually snap and commit another crime. The only question is who will she kill for it is as certain as the sun rising somewhere tomorrow that she will.

Check out Knox and Schulhoff and see for yourself. Amanda Knox is guilty of ending the life of Meredith Kercher by slitting her throat so that she could not cry out for help and anyone with half a brain can see that.

This will never end of course. Knox is marked for life because wherever she is and whatever she does people know, and as time goes forward more and more people will know that she is guilty and the full weight of her miserable life and her undeniable guilt will finish her.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 11/08/15 at 01:09 AM | #

As you say, the judicial system can’t be subjected to major overhaul on the basis of one anomaly but if this anomaly stands can it be used as a yardstick for other cases? Or is the report really widely viewed as nonsense but it puts the lid on a troubling political issue? Is the President likely to send the report for review? And would a review allow for more current advances in DNA testing to be applied? Are there more actions, besides plugging the political appointment route to the judiciary, which could prevent more obscenities like this occurring? Sorry, so many questions, and I’m still naive about many strands and previous discussions so, sorry if you’ve already answered all this.

Posted by YorkshireLass on 11/08/15 at 01:41 PM | #

Hi, YorkshireLass,

The 5th Chambers “laying down the law” was just an idiom and probably inaccurate.

I am not an Italian lawyer but I have grasped the fact that much of their legal procedure is codified in a way which we are not used to in our world. There are, for instance, as far as I can gather, well over 700 articles in the Italian Criminal Code of Practice.

I have no doubt there are also Practice Directions and the occasional bit of approved Case Law to fill in the cracks, but overall there is far more structure, being less organic and case-precedent-based than we in the anglo saxon world are used to.

Here, with less structure, law can be adapted and modified by the highest appeal courts, and bad as well as good law can be made in the process. When bad law arises as a result that case precedent can stick around for ages (even though all the lawyers are unhappy with it) until a different court with the appropriate seniority and clout and hearing another case (or parliament through legislation) decides to change it. Until that happens judges and lawyers have to somehow make do with the uncertainty and the oddities that result. Bad law is good money for lawyers and legal academics!

So no I don’t think that the 5th Chambers have laid down the law, as it were, because it is already there and it is not something that any section of the Supreme Court can tamper with and alter.

For that reason the 5th Chambers’ Kercher judgement could, I suspect, just be ignored. A lot of smoke but no structural damage.

This might explain why, for now at least, and from our perspective, the judiciary are giving the impression of being rather laid back about it.

There is no rush, but perhaps with sufficient prompting Italy might be embarrassed enough to do something about it.

The problem, as we all know, is the media’s lack of interest.

Posted by James Raper on 11/08/15 at 07:08 PM | #

“The existence of a fact cannot be deduced from pieces of circumstantial evidence unless they are serious, precise and consistent.”

I am stumped: this is a gem of a statement.

No evidence comes in exact duplicates. No experiment, if repeated, howsoever carefully, will give exactly same results. Please see what we mean by precision and accuracy. All experiments (and observations) are subject to random errors and precision is a relative concept.

No evidence should be discarded because someone thinks that it is not serious (enough). Sometimes statisticians reject some evidences if they consider them to be outliers.

An evidence may be considered precise if it “fits” the other (available) evidences in a “consistent” manner. It is preferable to attribute precision (and consistency) of the selected set of evidences, rather than one individual component.

Regarding the DNA electrophoregrams:

1. When we compare two electrophoregrams, we compare several pre-defined peaks (present /absent)- not the height or intensity (relative fluorescence unit: an arbitrary scale of measuring light intensity) of the peaks.

2. If more number of peaks match (only the position is considered) the match can be considered good.

3. The noise appears as “grass”, many many very small peaks all along the length and rarely as a peak that can be considered as a “false positive”.

4. A peak that is expected but not found on the graph is a “true negative”.

The basic question is:

Do the judges deny that the two DNA samples collected from the knife correspond to AK and MK? If yes, they should ask the police to identify the owners of these two samples?

I simply do not understand the question about “repeatability” at all; do they want the murder to be repeated again? Most of the experiments carried out at CERN have been seen only once; none of the observations in cosmology have been replicated (each evidence is one and unique). If the defense claims that the knife itself has been contaminated somehow, then there is no point in repeating the test at all!

Posted by chami on 11/08/15 at 07:42 PM | #


“I simply do not understand the question about “repeatability” at all; do they want the murder to be repeated again?”.

Lol! I suspect (as should be obvious by now!) that the 5th chambers was/is totally compromised , and all the blather in the report can be considered as a pathetic attempt to justify or lend respectability to a perverse judgement.

They seem particularly keen to appear to be “scientific” in a way that should be laughable to anyone who understands the spirit of scientific enquiry. A murder scene is not a laboratory, it is not an experimental set-up, there are no hypotheses being tested, nothing that can or will be peer-reviewed and published. Nothing that demands replication by other murderers. It’s a one-off murder, for crying out loud.

It’s almost as if someone has lent them an elementary textbook on the scientific method and they’ve desperately latched onto experimental “repeatability” as some kind of pathetic way to cast doubt on the case forensics.

Posted by Odysseus on 11/08/15 at 08:18 PM | #

Assuming that the legal profession in Italy are as up in arms as Pete believes they are regarding this travesty of justice and assuming that they think as clearly as people like @James Raper and @Cardiol on here (or at least people in Italy are taking note of what appears on here and can point the relevant people in the direction of this site), then it’s difficult to see that there won’t be a serious attempt to have the Italian Presidente set this judgement aside.

I do hope that copies of the excellent work done on the motivation report will, when they are complete, be duly translated into Italian and sent to as many of the main players in Italy as is possible. A wee helping and well intentioned hand that would hopefully be well received in Italy.

Anything less than a full assault on this ludicrous nonsense will be unacceptable to anyone with a functioning brain. FOA need not apply.

Posted by davidmulhern on 11/09/15 at 02:02 AM | #

Thank you, James for your diligent work. I greatly admire your efforts.

Posted by Wascana on 11/09/15 at 03:24 AM | #

The fallacy of equivocation (changing the meaning of a word or phrase) is something that Bongiorno is quite good at. It is not surprising that Bruno/Marasca do the same, since their start and end point seems to be the defence submissions (with a slight logical bias against Amanda).

Article 192 of the Italian Criminal Procedure Code is “fundamental”, says Tramontano.

Paragraph 1 gives free rein to the Court as to how to reach its conclusion: “libero convincimento del giudice”. The Court is unfettered and not bound by other decisions in its evaluation of the evidence and in deciding one way or the other, giving reasons explaining its decision. This requirement for giving the reasons behind a decision is a defence-rights guarantee because it allows examination of those reasons.

Article 192 paragraph 2 of the Italian Criminal Procedure Code talks about the evaluation of evidence, and puts a restriction on this free rein:

“L’esistenza di un fatto non può essere desunta da indizi a meno che questi siano gravi, precisi e concordanti.”
(The existence of a fact cannot be deduced from other facts unless these be grave, precise and concordant.)*

*In Common Law terms, the evidence has to be relevant, and not too remote.

“Grave” means ‘not susceptible to objection’: a known fact has relevant contiguity with an unknown fact.

“Precise” means ‘not generic, not susceptible of multiple interpretations’: it is a fact that is undeniable, and objectively certain, not one that probably occurred, or is supposed to have occurred, or is guessed to have occurred. An unknown fact is not logically deducible from a hypothetical one.

And “concordant” means ‘not contradicting each other’: all the facts point in the same direction, they are tied together into a unequivocal and harmonious context. And although a plurality is implied by the word ‘concordant’, an unknown fact can de deduced from a single known one.

False alibis constitute evidence of the bad faith of the accused.

An indizio (piece of circumstantial evidence, also called indirect evidence) is a certain fact. The court evaluates the valency of each fact, and then examines them in a global and holistic view ‘for that pregnant and unequivocal demonstrative significance’ that it has for the purpose of reaching a decision.

Luigi Tramontano (ed), Codice di procedure penale spiegato: con esempi pratici, dottrina, giurisprudenza, schemi, tabelle e appendice normativa, 9th edition, (2011) [TribunaStudium, 2011] (The Criminal Procedure Code Explained: with practical examples, doctrine, jurisprudence, flow charts, tables and legislative appendices), pp 453-464. ISBN 9788861326743

See also: Paolo Moscarini, Principi delle Prove Penale, (2014) [Giappichelli, 2014], (Principles of Evidence and Proof in Criminal Law) p 88. ISBN 9788834844274


As the French say: “Les présomptions qui ne sont point établies par la loi, sont abandonnées aux lumières et à la prudence du magistrat, qui doit admettre que des présomptions graves, précis et concordantes, …”  — Article 1353 Code Civil: Édition 2016, 115th edition, (2015) [Dalloz, 2015], (p 1808). ISBN 9782247151011

(“Facts not established by law are left to the discretion of the judge, who must admit only facts which are ‘grave, precise and concordant’.)

It’s an unavoidable logical corollary,

That: the judge can, by way of inference, establish the reality of an unknown fact by means of known facts – “le juge peut, par voie de présomption, établir la réalité d’un fait inconnu à partir de faits connus (TGI Paris, 1er juill 1991)”  Article 1353, annotation 1 (p 1808).

And that: the set of facts must be examined as a whole – “l’ensemble des faits … appréciés globalement (Civ 1re, 16 mai 1979)”  Article 1353, annotation 16 (p 1810).

The Italian terminology is that the evidence must not be examined in a ‘parcelled out’ manner.

Bruno/Marasca are doing a lot of parcelling out. And whatever Code they are applying, it’s not the official Italian one.

Posted by catnip on 11/09/15 at 01:07 PM | #

@ catnip

Your comments are always rational and illuminating.

Posted by James Raper on 11/09/15 at 03:20 PM | #

Great comments, including by Catnip again. James Raper’s comparison comment above was really interesting, and actually pretty funny on common law.

After the Casey Anthony not-guilty verdict in the US, the Harvard law guru Dershowitz came pretty close to saying the Italian system is the most precise and careful in the world, and usually beats the US in eliminating false charges and false incarcerations and jury biases like the CSI Effect.

Some more points in reply to YorkshireLass’s timely question.

1. On the nature of the Italian system:

The main elements of the Italian system were set out in the post 1945 constitution as a deliberate extreme corrective action to the kangaroo courts of the era before.

Starting from the bottom there, various posts set out how it works, and how it has been somewhat tilted pro-perp and anti-victim by parliamentarians colleagues giving corrupt parties a break. 

Most changes to the law and codes reach Parliament from the Council of Magistrates (CSM), the very powerful and I believe unique watchdog over the law and those engaged in it. One of those reforms is in process right now.

One reform the CSM can do on its own (it can do many) is to stop under-qualified politically-appointed judges from ever again reaching the Supreme Court.

This has to have been a big blow to Marasca’s and Bruno’s self esteem and legacy, and my guess is they will both soon be gone, rather than face daily contempt from their career-track colleagues.

2. On what-next in Meredith’s case

Everybody is now watching the Florence court, because charges have been laid there which in part argue that the Fifth Chambers broke two laws:

I do suggest to read our full translation of the charges attached. The Florence court has a real dog in this fight, having been impugned by Marasca and Bruno, and various spinoff cases are in motion there. 

3. On the current status of the Press

The Italian and foreign media actually have very little to share with their populations right now.

Partly this is deliberate: going back to the first investigation of Sollecito’s book, under a judge’s instruction all prosecutions and judges have been very low-key in their few statements, and they keep things from the defenses until it is time for those things to emerge in court.

Nobody in Italy has yet come out with analysis with the depth and precision of Catnip’s or James Raper’s though everyone is hoping that someone would. Catnip has done major translation and research, and James Raper has done over 20 major evidence posts including this below, and without that great depth, any analysis would fall far short.

Once the analyses are all done here, and Italian versions of their analysis posted, the media will have available something big that they can safely propagate.


By the way, the fact that RS and AK were found to have been at the house sunk instantly into Bongiorno’s mind and thus Sollecito’s mind.

Given Sollecito’s whining about it and Bongiorno’s silence, its safe to presume that is not the outcome they want.  But the Knox people are as usual behind the curve and flying blind, and their claims continue to be off the mark.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/09/15 at 03:59 PM | #

In keeping with my interest in forensic science. I note that advances are being produced all the time particularly in DNA profiling.

Towards that end I see a time when it will be proven to those who are skeptical (And those whose who are in total denial) of the absolute guilt of Amanda Knox and Raphael Sollecito.

Knox in particular will receive the same fate as Casey Anthony and be scared to leave the house. As to Sollecito I see a dissolute life
as both and Knox spiral down into drunkenness and madness. That is my hope anyway.

There have been cases where even 14 years plus later, guilt has been proven and the shear hate for for these two individuals will not diminish with the passage of time.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 11/09/15 at 04:37 PM | #

Bruno & Marasca are doing what civil case judges are “professionally skewed” to do, look for exceptions to a pattern. So they parcel out pieces of evidence, thinking, wrongfully, that the slightest doubt means they can’t convict.

Penal case judges instead look for a pattern in the various pieces of evidence. The reasonable doubt should arise only when different patterns can explain the same sets of evidence. This is Gestalt thinking. Sometimes the same picture can have multiple interpretations, but sometimes not.

There is no alternative pattern to this case other thano Guede, K and S having murdered Meredith together. There can’t be an alternative because there are no other webs of evidence that point to “Guede and others”.

Micheli’s original 2008 sentence indicates G, K and S acted together to commit murder. Bruno and Marasca have ignored the entire case history to reach a botched conclusion because they have no idea of what they’re doing (and their attempt at obfuscation with sophomoric language points to this.)

Because of this, I think something eventually will be done by CSM. Yes, the case can be ignored, but there are plenty of judges who have worked on this case who I’m sure would very much like to see this sentence redone.

Posted by Olleosnep on 11/10/15 at 01:14 AM | #

Very well said Olleosnep.

Apart from anything else, too, the judgement is an appalling reflection of the Italian justice system, and indirectly insults England through its treatment of the victim.
Which is a terrible shame, as the system had worked thoroughly and well - albeit painfully slowly - up to this point.
Even the Hellman phase was eventually dealt with logically.

It is wryly interesting that the authors of this report put emphasis upon ‘motive’, misrepresenting Nencini who did not, in fact, propose motive was irrelevant.
One cannot help but see that the motive behind the authors’ ‘botched conclusion’ - as Olleosnep graphically describes above - is probably the most relevant factor of all.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 11/10/15 at 07:28 AM | #

Thank you James. This is an excellent series and I look forward to more of your analyses on this case.

As for the “defendants‘ alibis” from what I have read, they never had any that were consistent. It has been said that there were like a grand total of eight different stories told by Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. Did Bruno and Marasca just flip a coin? Unbelievable.

As for the “international protocols” of the scientific evidence, there simply are none for DNA collection and analysis. As we all know, DNA is not time stamped and tertiary transfer has never been proven in a lab environment. So it is irrelevant as to when the DNA was collected and contamination was ruled out by all appellate courts, so clearly Bruno and Marasca just made that part up. Indeed, why is Rudy Guede’s DNA valid and Amanda Knox’s and Raffaele Sollecito’s invalid? There is no logical answer for that question and there is no logic included at all in the unlawful acquittal and ludicrous motivations report.

With the exception of Knox’s felony conviction for defamation, the verdict and the report are an insult to criminal justice and to human intelligence overall. The verdict will have to be reviewed and done over by the CSM. My guess is that they won’t review until Knox and Sollecito’s current trials are concluded and they are finally convicted. Thank you again.

Posted by Johnny Yen on 11/10/15 at 07:43 AM | #

@ chami & Odysseus,

As we struggle through M&B’s jungle of sophistry, a light of clarity is emerging under James’s guidance.

M&B have established themselves as illiterate in their Law.

Are they innumerate in their Maths?

I think so: in Maths “precision” refers to the number of digits used to specify the value of a number; the more digits the more precision.

To specify the height of Romeo’s Juliet as 10.012345 Feet is to be very precise; is also very inaccurate both in Fact, and by Mathematical Definition.
To use “precise” to include “accurate” is to adopt a colloquial, confusing, & misleading parlance.

c.f. Wikipedia & OED:
“Although the two words precision and accuracy can be synonymous in colloquial use, they are deliberately contrasted in the context of the scientific method.
A measurement system can be accurate but not precise, precise but not accurate, neither, or both.”

M&B are obtuse in their application of this concept to DNA.

As chami wrote:
The basic question is
“Do the judges deny that the two DNA samples collected from the knife correspond to AK and MK?
If yes, they should ask the police to identify the owners of these two samples.
I simply do not understand the question about “repeatability” at all; do they want the murder to be repeated again? Most of the experiments carried out at CERN have been seen only once; none of the observations in cosmology have been replicated (each evidence is one and unique). If the defense claims that the knife itself has been contaminated somehow, then there is no point in repeating the test at all!”

M&B may well be confused by dicta re Reproducibilty & Repeatability such as these:

“In the fields of science, engineering and statistics, the accuracy of a measurement system is the degree of closeness of measurements of a quantity to that quantity’s true value.[1] The precision of a measurement system, related to reproducibility and repeatability, is the degree to which repeated measurements under unchanged conditions show the same results.[1][2] Although the two words precision and accuracy can be synonymous in colloquial use, they are deliberately contrasted in the context of the scientific method.”

The “correspondence to AK and and MK ” of the DNA samples is not determined by “a measurement system”.
This correspondence is determined by a profiling system, analogous to fingerprinting.
The DNA technologists are performing Pattern Recognition. They have already got the knife DNA patterns and can Reproduce those patterns “ad infinitum”. They have also already got the AK & MK DNA patterns, they can Reproduce those patterns “ad infinitum”, and can also Repeat the Acquisition of AK’s pattern, for as long as AK’s DNA is Available.
MK’s DNA is no longer Available because Meredith’s body is dead, buried, necessary to honor her memory, but not for the indignity of being used as a tool to expose M&B’s sins.

See in Fifty Of The Most Common Myths Still Promoted Without Legal Restraint By The Knox PR Campaign
Posted by The Machine on 6/12/14:

“19. The DNA on the blade could match half the population of Italy. Vieri Fabani (sic - should be Fabiani), a lawyer for the Kerchers, pointed out that there is the possibility of 1 in 1 billion 300 million” (1.3 billion) “that the DNA on the blade does not belong to Meredith. 

20. Meredith’s DNA wasn’t found on the blade of the knife.
A number of independent forensic experts—Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Giuseppe Novelli, Professor Francesca Torricelli and Luciano Garofano—have all confirmed that sample 36B was Meredith’s DNA.
Even American experts Elizabeth Johnson, Greg Hampikian and Bruce Budowle, who have been critical of the Scientific Police’s work in this case, have conceded that the DNA was consistent with Meredith’s DNA profile.
It should be noted that none of these American experts” (who criticized the testifying experts) “testified at the trial or played any official role in the case. They became involved in the case after being approached by supporters of Amanda Knox. They had no bearing on the legal proceedings in Florence.
Judge Nencini accepted that Judge’s Massei and the prosecution’s assertions that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade of Sollecito’s kitchen knife and that it was the murder weapon.” 

I believe Vieri Fabiani’s statement, and have seen no credible contradiction of it. M&B seem to ignore Vieri Fabiani’s statement. The incriminating DNA patterns do match. The DNA patterns are not even the only incriminating facts. AK & RS are Bard-Guilty.

Thanks, Machine.


Posted by Cardiol MD on 11/10/15 at 02:54 PM | #

Having just got back from the pub -when my intellectual faculties are at their sharpest (Ho-Hum) - I have re-visited the issue of repeatability.

Take the case of sample 36B. What would have been the result had this sample been sufficient for it to have been divided into two bits first, with each bit then being amplified and put into the electropherogram? Lets call the divided bits 36B(i) and 36B(ii).

The answer is quite simply that 36B(ii) would have produced the same result as 36B(i), it being immaterial whether 36B was on the knife from contamination in the first place. The only exception, arising in the event that 36B(ii) had not produced Meredith’s profile, would be if there had been lab contamination of 36B(i)  once it had been taken for testing.

The issue of lab contamination was considered extensively (and ruled out) by both Massei and Nencini but, and here’s the surprise, not at all by Marasca and Bruno. Not at all. From this one might infer that they did not think it possible, let alone probable. And if they thought that then, logically, repeatability would have been a non-issue, whatever non-existent international protocols might have said.

I don’t dismiss their capacity for logic (they are Supreme Court judges after all) which is why I think that they are fundamentally dishonest in their Report.

Posted by James Raper on 11/17/15 at 02:15 AM | #

James, contrary to Massei and Nencini, M and B ignored the subject of Lab-Contamination?

So, not only do M and B ignore Vieri Fabiani’s prosecutorial-supportive submission that the probability that the DNA on the blade does Not belong to Meredith is 1 in 1.3 billion, they also ignore the Crucial Defendant-submission on Contamination.

James’s inference that M and B should logically conclude that Lab-Contamination is impossible, and that Repeatability is a non-issue, are 2 more nails-in-M and B’s Coffin for their dishonesty.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 11/17/15 at 05:53 PM | #

@James Raper, Pub thoughts are the best kind.

Posted by Hopeful on 11/17/15 at 10:00 PM | #


My sentiments exactly.

Now that I am stone cold sober, I also notice that M-B’s dismissive assertion “In essence, it is nothing less than a procedure of validation or falsification typical of the scientific method, of which we have talked before” occurs in conclusion to their brief reference to Article 360, which allows for non-repeatable tests under certain conditions.

In other words they have just dismissed the law here, written into the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure, not only as irrelevant, but wrong.

I could not envision anything of the sort being accepted without the joint concurrence of the Council of Magistrates and the Italian Parliament!

This is the most astonishing numb-skulled arrogance.

The whole point of Article 360 is to ensure that non-repeatable test results are only admissable if notice is given and the procedure for the test is witnessed by other experts. It was as there were experts there from the Kercher and Sollecito families. There was no criticism at all as to the procedure as regards possible contamination.

Accordingly, and in addition to all the other evidence on the point, we can be more than confident that had it been possible to repeat the test it would have produced the same result.

I perfectly well understand that had a second test not produced Meredith’s profile, then the result of the first test would be in extreme doubt. Indeed the only logical inference is that the first test was the consequence of lab contamination.

However the above scenario is merely conjecture and it is an hypothesis which we need not consider as being credible given the safeguards applied as required by the law.

Posted by James Raper on 11/18/15 at 02:25 PM | #
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