Monday, March 25, 2013

Elite First Criminal Section Of Italian Supreme Court Now Receiving Prosecution Critiques

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above: Some of the judges of the First Criminal Section hearing another recent case, with other sections behind]

We believe the woman in the image is PIERA MARIA SEVERINA CAPRIOGLIO who is the lead judge (rapporteur) for the case.

Dr Caprioglio is known as a legal expert and hardliner on sex crimes. There is a total of five judges, and the president of the First Section is on the panel. This is unprecedented judicial firepower for a murder case, and seems to be a response to the enormous damage done by the Curt Knox/David Marriott campaign. No American political leader is going to second-guess this.

We are anticipating tweets and news reports out of Italy throughout the day.  Andrea Vogt is one who is tweeting from the court. Follow her here.

First report:

@andreavogt #amandaknox discussions starting now in cassation court in Rome. Judge Caprioglio is summarizing the case.

Second report

@andreavogt Procuratore Generale Riello now taking the floor in #amandaknox case, after a 90-minute review of all the arguments.

[Deputy Chief Prosecutor Luigi Riello [image below] holds the same rank that Dr Galati held before he transferred to Perugia to be chief prosecutor there.]

Third report

@andreavogt PG Riello: I believe the judges [Hellmann and Zanetti] lost their way. There are elements that were absolutely not taken into consideration.

Fourth report

@andreavogt PG read from Guede’s letter blaming Sollecito and #amandaknox. Says “strange” that court believed some Guede statements and not others.

Fifth report

@andreavogt The president just curtly asked PG Riello to get on with it, not go into details heard already in first instance and appeal.

Sixth report

@andreavogt PG Riello has concluded, asking that acquittals be anulled and an appeal retrial be set. Half hour break in #amandaknox hearing.

Seventh report

Okay this is us. The proposal to annul the Hellmann-Zanetti outcome has gone viral on Italian media websites. A translation of ACP Riello’s remarks is coming.

Eighth report

@andreavogt Cassation back in session in #amandaknox case, w/ Kercher Atty F. Maresca asking why there wasn’t a full review all forensic evidence.

Ninth report

@andreavogt Giulia Bongiorno has begun def arguments in #amandaknox case: “raff sollecito went to jail for a shoeprint that belonged to Rudy Guede.”

Tenth report

@andreavogt #Bongiorno just pointed out a factual error in the PG’s #amandaknox arguments. Judges listening. She’s a very good orator.

Eleventh report

@andreavogt C. Dalla Vedova urges Cassation to uphold #amandaknox acquittals and overturn slander: “This girl was stressed, confused, pressured.”

Twelvth report

@andreavogt Lawyers say the court of cassation is expected to announce a decision in the #amandaknox case around 21:00.

[Image below: Luigi Riello Deputy Chief Prosecutor Of The Supreme Court]


Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/25/13 at 01:53 PM in Appeals 2009-2015Hellmann critiquesCassation 2013

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If it’s difficult for us, this waiting, what must it be like for the Kerchers?

Posted by James Higham on 03/25/13 at 02:05 PM | #

Hurrah for Meredith!

Only the BEST for her.

Posted by thundering on 03/25/13 at 02:50 PM | #

Can’t imagine what it must be like for the Kerchers, everything they have gone through over the past 5 years. Please, please, please, let this pave the way for justice for Meredith and her family.

Posted by Urbanist on 03/25/13 at 03:25 PM | #

So the Deputy Prosecutor General (Riello) has just argued that Hellmann and Zanettit “lost their way” and ignored some important elements.

This is all over, I suspect. There MUST be a repeat of the second-level (first appeal) if it was as bad as that.

Time to rehearse the answers to these hundreds of open questions, Sollecito and Amanda Knox.

Absent your getting on the stand you will be much worse off in this round - thanks in part to Sollecito’s book.

Amanda Knox’s book looks like toast at this point.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/25/13 at 03:47 PM | #

Our poster Yummi just posted this on PMF


The PG (Riello) is furious against Hellmann & Zanetti.

Reportedly he said “hanno perso la bussola” (they “lost their compass” = they got out of their wits).

He also said H-Z were basically racist.

He reportedly said “they granted the defendants almost a sort of antropological and social immunity”.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/25/13 at 04:04 PM | #

Really hope you’re right Peter, it is correct that we have to wait 48 hours for the ruling?

Posted by Urbanist on 03/25/13 at 04:06 PM | #

“@andreavogt The president just curtly asked PG Riello to get on with it, not go into details heard already in first instance and appeal.”

The president of the court will know that the Council of Magistrates edged Hellmann out and may not be keen to see the whole court system in effect too publicly tarred.

Also a sign that everybody has read the case? That minds might be made up?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/25/13 at 04:08 PM | #


THANK YOU ALL for these updates !  Y’all are the BEST !

My thoughts and prayers are with the Kerchers !


Posted by MissMarple on 03/25/13 at 04:24 PM | #

Hi Urbanist: “it is correct that we have to wait 48 hours for the ruling?”

It is due out tonight. It might spill over into tomorrow but as one of the first cases heard today it is hard to see why.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/25/13 at 04:38 PM | #

Extremely grateful for the updates. Fingers crossed for a re-trial decision.

Posted by Sarah on 03/25/13 at 05:19 PM | #

On report #9:  Anybody who thinks Guede at some point took off his shoe and made ONLY that one print in the shape of Sollecito’s foot sure has a lot of ‘splaining to do.

In trial and first appeal the defenses never tried to pin it all on Guede - because Cassation itself has ruled there was more than one perp.


Added: Fly By Night on PMF thinks (ex MP - she lost her seat] Bongiorno may be talking about the Nike shoe print in Meredith’s room. That was not exactly a smoking gun. There were dozens of evidence points more incriminating to RS.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/25/13 at 05:39 PM | #

Thank you very much for the updates.  I couldn’t wait to get home from work to read up on what’s been going on.  Fingers crossed that the decision will be in Meredith’s favor and warm thoughts for the Kercher family.

Posted by Vivianna on 03/25/13 at 05:53 PM | #

Translation from Il Messagero by our main poster Yummi:

ROME - The [Deputy Prosecutor General] of the Supreme Court has asked to cancel the acquittal of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox for the murder of Meredith Kercher, the British student murdered in Perugia on the night between the 1st and 2nd November 2007. Despite being sentenced to 25 to 26 years in prison in the first instance, the two were acquitted on appeal, getting back their freedom after almost four years in prison.

“The judgment of the Court of Appeal of Perugia” which acquitted Knox and Sollecito “is a rare concentration of violations of law and logic and I believe it should be canceled” stressed the PG of the Supreme Court Luigi Riello, in the closing argument at the end of the hearing on the appeal submitted by the Prosecutor General of Perugia [Galati] against the acquittal. The verdict of the Supreme Court is expected in the evening.

Amanda and Raffaele were not in the courtroom. He is studying in Verona, she is in Seattle. While the Kercher family stayed in London, where Meredith is buried in a cemetery on the outskirts of the city.

The English student, who in 2007 had moved to Perugia to study, was fatally stabbed in her throat with a knife, while in her room in a rented house in Via della Pergola. Police investigations coordinated by Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini led to the arrest, on November 6, of Sollecito and his girlfriend at the time, Amanda Knox, who was Kercher’s roommate. Patrick Lumumba also went in prison, he was said to be involved in the statements of the American woman, but then he was proven totally innocent of the charges and later released and acquitted.

The investigation led instead to Rudy Guede, framed by an imprint of his bloody hand beside the body. Arrested in Germany where he had fled, he was sentenced to a 16-year term with abbreviated trial, a sentence which became definitive and [Guede] is now serving in the prison at Viterbo. Sollecito and Knox have always maintained their innocence.

The second-instance judgment was appealed to the Supreme Court by the Procurator General of Perugia. An action of a hundred pages was signed by the Chief Prosecutor Giovanni Galati and deputy Giancarlo Costagliola, seeking the annulment of the acquittals and sending the case back for new judgement. So did the lawyers for the Kercher family, they too have appealed against the acquittal of the two former lovebirds. The Supreme Court will also decide on the recourse by of the defense of the American woman Knox against her three years sentenced, already served, for the Lumumba calunnia.

“In this process the trial court has lost its compass” Riello argued in his speech, referring to the appeal ruling that acquitted Sollecito and Knox. According to the PG, the second degree collegium [appeal court] has “shattered the circumstantial evidence” talking about a “breaking into pieces” of them. Riello then spoke of a “fair amount of snobbery” of the appellate judges as they “trivialized” the verdict of the trial court of first instance “reducing it to only four reasons.” He then called the calunnia committed by Knox Patrick against Lumumba a “key point”.

“To blame everything on “messy bunglers” of the Scientific Police - who with all due respect are not playing with toy chemistry sets, but a highly specialized department - this is not reasonable” said Riello during his speech. The PG has anyway recalled that the same experts of appeal have ruled out that contamination could have taken place within the laboratory. Riello added that genetic tests were performed under the formal guarantees of “unrepeatable tests” and thus “[legally] totally similar to a judge appointed expert report “.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/25/13 at 06:00 PM | #

I also felt that race has been a factor in this sordid crime.

That MK was not a distilled white line was certainly went against her.

Italians never had a colony, but Italy has hosted thousands of blacks in recent times. Even politicians are grumpy about that.

I never saw any clear indication about racial bias in AK (except perhaps a couple of bad-taste jokes about jews) and the British friends of MK are rightly tight-lipped about the race. It is still a taboo for the British.

Both race and poverty went against the black-boy.

But I was actually surprised to hear H-Z commenting about the “good kids”. That was certainly poor taste for a judge.

Posted by chami on 03/25/13 at 06:05 PM | #

FOX tv news is now running headlines on ‘HAPPENING NOW’, how Italian justices are at this moment considering the validity of the acquittal of Knox and Sollecito. They run these tiny visual headlines underneath the speaking news anchors. The news about Meredith’s case at Italian Supreme Court was followed by news that Prince Harry will visit the U.S. in May.

Posted by Hopeful on 03/25/13 at 06:22 PM | #

Bongiorno has a habit of losing at the Supreme Court. Here’s two of the most famous cases Bongiorno lost - she does lose big, and a lot.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/25/13 at 06:27 PM | #

Bongiorno and Dalla Vedova seem to be arguing at way too trivial a level. That could irritate the court and seal their fate.

They are ignoring the higher-plane arguments of AG Riello. That will be as obvious as an elephant in the room.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/25/13 at 06:48 PM | #

Dalla Vedova is not a criminal lawyer and that might show. He made a lot of mistakes at trial and appeal and he is regarded by observing lawyers as the lightweight of the main four.

Defenses often hire Supreme Court specialists to argue at that level. Odd that the Knoxes, Mellases and Sollecitos didn’t. These are perhaps not the most winningest teams.

We should find out in a few hours if the families were over-confident or badly advised.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/25/13 at 07:03 PM | #

Many thanks for the updates, I too am hoping with all my might for the aquittals to be overturned; there was far too much ignored.
This may have been answered in a previous post (I have been away a while) but do we know what final alibi AK and RS settled on in their books they are releasing? Seeing as this was a huge part of their flawed defense, not being entirely sure WHERE they were, if not murdering poor Mez, then I would be interested to know what official line they are sticking with, as ‘not remembering’ is just not good enough for me.

Posted by Ginny on 03/25/13 at 07:57 PM | #

Hi Ginny

Sollecito says he was at home all night doing things on his computer (which provably he didn’t; a dumb claim) but AK went out.

We don’t know what AK will claim if her book comes out. If there is a new appeal and she doesn’t want to get charged with contempt of court (as Sollecito will be) her book could get put on hold.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/25/13 at 08:41 PM | #

Thinking of Meredith’s family….

Posted by Bettina on 03/25/13 at 09:01 PM | #

Thanks for the updates, keep them coming, a retrial is a must!

Posted by Urbanist on 03/25/13 at 09:28 PM | #

Thank you for the updates, I am still reading them eagerly.

Meredith’s spirit upholds me as I await the judgment.

God be with the Kerchers and Meredith’s friends.

Posted by Earthling on 03/25/13 at 09:41 PM | #

Megyn Kelly on Fox with loud stupid remarks as she interviewed Lisa Wiehl (a Fox know-nothing spieling same old junk about Knox like she did years ago). When asked about extradition of Knox if Court annuls her acquittal, she scoffed her doubt, said, “it’s already over.”

Also asked for opinion was Mark Fuhrman (former LAPD homicide police). He is supporting the prosecution solidly because of Knox’s hand in staging a crime scene, he pounded that point across, that staging a scene always means complicity.

Fuhrman also said: “Suspects lie about what they don’t have to,” and that Knox in his opinion is “culpable regardless of the DNA.”

Megyn Kelly could not pronounce Sollecito nor Mignini’s names properly. Wiehl waved away all Knox’s forensics as simple roommate contamination. She and Kelly both seem dismayed that double jeopardy doesn’t apply, and quick to buy into the myth of Italian investigative incompetence.

Fuhrman held his ground staunchly in face of the fast talking excitable idiots around him, by this I mean Kelly and Wiehl. Fuhrman said Knox may be legally innocent but he thinks she’s factually guilty. This report was on FOX News about 5 minutes ago.

Posted by Hopeful on 03/25/13 at 09:42 PM | #

How can you be legally innocent yet factually guilty?

Posted by Smacker on 03/25/13 at 09:50 PM | #

OJ and Casey Anthony?

Posted by Smacker on 03/25/13 at 10:14 PM | #

He means she did it in actual fact, but that they might not be able to prove it through the legal system.

Posted by NCKat on 03/25/13 at 10:27 PM | #

PG Riello sounds like a tiger in there.

I would like to see Mark Fuhrman on this. But we don’t get FOX channel. If anyone can post this, I’d love to see him take apart Wiehl and Kelly. BTW, Wiehl was Bill O’Reilly’s (is that his name) bagwoman for many years. I don’t know if she still is.

Posted by Earthling on 03/25/13 at 10:31 PM | #

@andreavogt: Courts have said they reserve decision for 10 am tomorrow morning.#amandaknox

Posted by The Machine on 03/25/13 at 11:10 PM | #

This is getting close to cruel.  What do we make of the delay?

Posted by James Higham on 03/25/13 at 11:16 PM | #

Sentence expected tomorrow at 10.00 am

Posted by ncountryside on 03/25/13 at 11:17 PM | #

@andreavogt: Sollecito’s lawyers were the only ones in court . Bongiorno just said this kind of delay very rare. They need more time.#amandaknox

Posted by The Machine on 03/25/13 at 11:20 PM | #

Sollecito’s lawyers were the only ones in court . Bongiorno just said this kind of delay very rare. They need more time.

Posted by James Higham on 03/25/13 at 11:20 PM | #

Maybe they want to make the announcement while most of American is sleeping to avoid a huge media frenzy if they call for a retrial. I would think if they were to uphold Hellmans ruling they would just do so now.

Posted by Severino518 on 03/25/13 at 11:21 PM | #

“What do we make of the delay?”

I suppose this has something to do with the operating rules of the Court, how decisions are reached by the group, and technical features of Italian law.

Probably a good indication because if there were no merit to this appeal the court would be quickly done with it - this appeal has traction.

Posted by Fly By Night on 03/25/13 at 11:23 PM | #

Just hope there is no political interference over night with the judgement.

Posted by John Forbes on 03/25/13 at 11:24 PM | #

Peter and Posters,

What do you think of this delay in handing down the decision ?

Does it mean that they are divided in their decision ?

I can’t stand this wait ... lol !

Thanks !


Posted by MissMarple on 03/25/13 at 11:24 PM | #

John - that was my thought too.  Are they waiting for someone to arrive?  Then again, Peter mentioned it can go like this.  It was only Bongorno who spoke of “unusual”.

Posted by James Higham on 03/25/13 at 11:28 PM | #

What power do the Knoxi have now, Mignini was vindicated, Berlusconi is gone, if John Kerry’s brother had some pull in the appeal, why would Kerry as Secretary of State get involved in a potential scandal?

Posted by Severino518 on 03/25/13 at 11:36 PM | #

@andreavogt: Cassation law allows for delay due to fatigue, so lucid decisions are made. 6 hrs of debate on #amandaknox case today. Rest.

Posted by The Machine on 03/25/13 at 11:47 PM | #

I, for one, feel optimistic about the delay. I mean, if the prosecution’s arguments held no water, then it should have been fairly easy to dismiss it. On the other hand, the same cannot be said for the opposite.

After all, this is a trial that has attracted considerable media attention and strong emotions from different parts of the world. Moreover, overturning the decision of another judicial body is always a delicate task and due respect needs to be given to the arguments that led to the decision in the first place(a fact that Hellman completely failed to appreciate).

The court has to weigh all arguments carefully before doing so. And the fact that they are taking so much time shows that they are weighing and considering the prosecution’s arguments seriously. If they had come with any prior judgments like Hellman, then they would have probably wrapped it up by now.

Posted by Sara on 03/25/13 at 11:59 PM | #

Clander wrote at PMF:

Just listened to Bongiorno on SKYTG24. She said that if Cassazione does annul Hellmann’s verdict, this does not automatically mean that the two defendants are guilty.

Considering the unthinkable according to her.

This ties in with Sara.  When Bongorno pointed out an “error” in the PG’s case, wonder what it was and whether the PG had right of reply?

So, we wait until 2 a.m. Knox time.

Posted by James Higham on 03/26/13 at 12:09 AM | #

Last from me - La Corriere:

«Una decisione che ci ha sorpresi, rimaniamo comunque fiduciosi nella Cassazione» ha detto Maresca dopo il rinvio della sentenza.

“A decision that surprised us, we remain confident in the Supreme Court,” said Maresca after the postponement of judgment.

Posted by James Higham on 03/26/13 at 12:22 AM | #

This is from one source only, as everybody in Rome seems to be at dinner. AG Riello made a number of very hard-hitting, telling points. He essentially destroyed the Hellmann-Zanetti outcome in all possible ways, and the defenses merely attempted distraction.

So it appears that the extra time is required for the judges panel to arrive at a detailed guideline for a rerun of the appeal. Hellmann and Zanetti illegally tilted the playing field in a number of different respects (with some very murky help) and Cassation doesnt want to be looking at a similar outcome a year or two down the road.

If correct, this looks bad for the defense. You can try to arrive at your own guideline if you like. See how long it will take.  Start here:

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/26/13 at 12:54 AM | #

I am feeling optimistic that the Supreme Court will make a good decision in this case.

The extra time makes sense to me - because it’s going to very important not just what the decision is but how they communicate it.

Posted by Media Watcher on 03/26/13 at 02:10 AM | #

There was 100 page long recourse presenting 10 reasons, plus other points. Some of these reasons are big and sensitive to jurisprudence.

The court had heared other 8 cases overall on the same day and was late with the work of other 5 cases. The Kercher case alone took overall 6 hours of working time.

It was approaching 9pm at Rome, dinner time. The court assessed they would need thwo more hours to go through the point doing a decent work.

They need to set details of the reasoning on all points. It is easy to guess why they called it a day and let the fine work for tomorrow morning.
Italians are not anxious on the case; it was night, dinner time, after a long working day.

Posted by Yummi on 03/26/13 at 04:15 AM | #

I am hoping the Court reconsiders the proven mixed traces of Meredith and AK in Filomena’s room… that to me says it all.  Retrial is absolutely necessary.

Love and strength directed to the incredible, strong and honorable Kercher family tonight.  I am unworthy since I didn’t know her personally, but I still want to say:  Miss you Mez.  The world is diminished by the absence of your bright physical presence, but your eternal energy is probably doing more good than we collectively could all ever realize.

Posted by zinnia on 03/26/13 at 07:45 AM | #

... ehm ... further bad news from Perugia

Posted by ncountryside on 03/26/13 at 09:55 AM | #

Thanks ncountryside. Yes bad news. One dead and one just hanging on with unshot wounds apparently from an armed intruder.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/26/13 at 10:09 AM | #

Zinnia, when you write: “I am unworthy since I didn’t know her personally, but I still want to say:  Miss you Mez,” you’re more than worthy simply by writing that.

We’re keeping our eyes focused on justice for Meredith and relief for her family and that’s all that counts in the end.

Posted by James Higham on 03/26/13 at 11:10 AM | #


Before any additional media reports on the case, they should review the comments from Alan Dershowitz from Harvard Law School, now available in this interview:

Posted by Media Watcher on 03/27/13 at 12:05 AM | #

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