Thursday, October 04, 2012

Foolish Claims In Book By Raffaele Sollecito: The Courts Are The Most Reviled Institution In Italy

Posted by Machiavelli

It seems that the writers or publishers did not run Sollecito’s verror-prone and defamatory book past any lawyer in Italy.

His own lawyers Maori and Bongiorno seem to have been blindsided. The book-agent, shadow-writer and poublisher clearly did not even run it past any well-infomed and mature person at all in Italy (his own father included).

Francesco Sollecito says the book was not accepted for publishing in Italy because there was no demand. Perhaps the real truth is “the book was not even offered for publishing because any publisher or reader would have instantly nailed Sollecito’s lies”?

Lying 1/3 of a world away in English to an ill-informed and gullible American public is a lot easier to get away with than lying in Italian in his own back yard.

In the Preface to his book Sollecito has a passage defaming the Italian Justice System and includes this bizarre claim. “The courts “” tainted by politics, clubbishness, pomposity, and excruciating delays “” are the most reviled institution in the country.”

In actual fact the Italian justice system is remarkably NOT tainted by politics, as even the most surperficial watcher of the trials of ex Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi would know.

And on the issue of popularity we have previously posted this and this and also this.

Here are the collected compelling statistics on how the Italian citizenry actually perceives their justice system

For comparison, in 2011 the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the justice system “a lot” or “enough” was 53.3%. By comparison, the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the government “a lot” or “enough”  were 14.7%, and those who trust the parliament were only 15%.

In 2012, the percentage of Italians who trust the parliament is now only 9.5%, and those who trust the Mario Monti administration are only 21.1%.

Over the eight years from 2004 to 2012 the percentage of Italians who trust the justice system was always bigger than those who trust parliament or government by at least ten points, and in some years we can see a spread of 20, 30, even 39 percentage points achieved by the judiciary over the parliament and government.

However, some cases of corruption (such as our Hellmann-Zanetti case, but also several others indicated by the Rapporto Italia 2012) do hamper trust.

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

Which means the most trusted institutions are precisely those law enforcement instruments which are deployed to enforce the orders of prosecutors.

(My source is “Rapporto Italia 2012” by EURISPES).


There seem to be many reasons for the Justice System’s almost unique level of popularity.

It stands up against corrupt politicians and was highly instrumental in rolling back the mafias - some prosecutors were blown to pieces as a result. It stood up against the corrupt PM Berlusconi and still has him in its crossshairs.

It absolutely stands against persecution and witchhunts and rogue judges and railroaded perps.

It has a very hard time making any sentence stick and probably through frustration and exhaustion more perps walk free than in the United States.

There is a huge reflection of Catholic world view in it - it goes all out for repentance and salvation and for perps being given another try.

Anyone found guilty for the first time won’t go to prison if the sentence is under three years. Young people usually get a lot of breaks (what we sometimes call “the bambino factor” here.)

And our poster Machiavelli might have made mention of another set of polls that show that many or most in Italy think the courts have become TOO LENIENT and victims and their families like the Kerchers dont get THEIR day in court.

The fearless Barbara Benedettelli is in a real sense the strongest campiagner for justice for Meredith in all of Italy.

In our early days we had posters from Italy who strongly took her point of view.  Pity Bongiorno didnt see things that way too.

Shame on her for that.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/04/12 at 06:14 PM | #

Other countries which have a CLEAR and OBJECTIVE view of Italian justice not biased by Curt Knox’s xenophobic hatchet men or Sollecito think the rest of the world may have a lot to learn.

Although he pulled back because he didnt want to be seen as too anti-American when the whole US was raging at the system, Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz was actually praising Italy here.

One can find many lists of things in the UK and US systems that are very hard to like. A lot flowed from the OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony trials, but there are many others showing how the system is too hard.

Example: Some 80 percent of US judges campaign for their jobs. However liberal they may be in person (and many are) it is hard for any campaigner to get up and say “Okay we need to be a bit softer on crime”. 

Despite that, there might be a tendency for the US to move a little toward the model that Italy already represents. Read page 11 here on all the benefits of problem-solving courts, which is what Italy’s essentially are.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/04/12 at 06:26 PM | #

From a recent poll here in Canada, our most trusted institutions:

1. Canadian Forces (68)
2. Supreme Court of Canada (65)
3. Parks Canada (64)
4. Elections Canada (61)
5. Bank of Canada (56)

And our least trusted institutions:

1. House of Parliament (42)
2. CRTC (34)
3. Toronto Stock Exchange (31)
4. RCMP (28)
5. Canada Border Services Agency, Canada Post (27)

(The CRTC is our national communications regulator, sort of like the Americans’ FCC).

While Sollecito is busy bashing the reputation of Italy’s institutions, he might use his critical eye to discuss the potential of influence peddling among his own family and legal team, and perhaps square up the reputations of his defence experts (and especially of Vecchiotti) against those of Novelli, Garofano, and Biondi.

Posted by Stilicho on 10/04/12 at 09:49 PM | #

One little story about the foreign reputation of the Italian justice system could be the role of Italian embassy and judiciary in the building up of the Afghani justice system.

The reform of the judiciary system of Afghanistan – as soon as the Taliban were about to be overthrown in Kabul – was launched in 2002 in Geneva. World powers agreed that the building of the “security sector” of a future Afghan state (armed forces, law enforcement, justice system, international drug deal, de-mobilization and relocation of ex-fighters) would be entrusted to five “leading-countries”.

Italy was chosen – and the choice was basically undisputed – for leading the reform of the justice system.

There were reasons for this: the modern judiciary reforms in Afghanistan at the beginning of the 20th century were inspired to the Italian and French codes; the former king of Afghanistan had been living in Rome from 1973 to 2002, as well as the most prominent members of the old Afghani establishment. The UK and the US claimed insufficient experience in the field of civil law systems, while other countries appeared to be reluctant to invest resources in field where they believed achievements would be too uncertain and too slow.

The leading role of Italy in the field of justice lasted until about 2006, as leading nations were “downgraded” to key partners. During this time, Italy managed to help the basic reforms of central institutions, the Supreme Court, the office of the Procurator General and the Ministry of Justice,  also working together with the Afghani Judicial Reform Commission (JRC, 2002-2005).

The main institution Ufficio Italiano Giustizia was closed in Kabul in 2007, but a new office called Unità Tecnica Locale della Cooperazione Italiana was opened and took the task, albeit Italy considered itself no longer a leading nation. The project became gradually multilateral and finally (after Italian pressure) it entered the “development budget” of the Afghan government.

The US tended to assume a leadership de facto since 2007-2008, because of the very large amount of funds deployed. However the effects of the new US and of the bilateral strategies of several countries between 2005 and 2008 didn’t lead to a satisfactory picture: the Afghani justice system still was for a large portion still corrupt, politically a weak institution and of bad quality.

Italy changed strategy and departed from a concept of bilateral assistance chosen by the US:  together with Norway, UK and European Commision, Italy applied a new paradigm focused on Afghani sovereignty in the justice system, and results were considered successful. The theory of the Technical Unit office was that bilateral approaches to the building of a justice system would make it dependent from foreign pressure and thus weak. Italian funds for the justice system have reduced over time, but currently Italy still funds and carries on the professional formation of the Afghani operators (police and magistrates) and assists the writing of law and codes.

Other remarkable praises to the Italian justice system around the world, they belong to history coming from unexpected souces.

For example in Australia: the Criminal Code Act (1899 Queensland) is currently the primary instrument for the source of criminal law in Queensland. The Criminal Code Act was largely the product of one Judge, Sir Samuel Walker Griffith, at the time Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland (and formerly Premier).

The Griffith Code borrowed directly large elements of the Italian Penal Code 1889 (also known as the Zanardelli Code after its primary supporter) which Griffith described as “in many respects the most complete and perfect Penal Code in existence” and which was translated from Italian by Griffith himself.

One remarkable feature (not the only one) of the Zanardeli code, was that abolished the death penalty for all crimes in time of peace (albeit some former Italian states had already abolished it, Tuscany was the first country in the world to abolish death penalty in 1797, and in order to be sure that won’t be changed, the council ordered to have it written in the constitution).

Posted by Yummi on 10/05/12 at 12:36 AM | #

Since Peter could not post the whole documentation, I provide here just some more complete data.
Between 2007 and 2011 percentage of trust in the justice system – in the overall population - is in average between 40% and 50%. Considering the whole period 2004-2012 the average of trust is 44,4%.

<ul>People who claim to have “a lot” or “enough” trust in the justice system:

2004: 52,4%;  2005:  44%;    2006: 38,6%;  2007:  39,6 % ;  2008:  42,5% ;  2009:  44,4%  ;  2010:  47,8%;  2011:  53,3% ;  2012 :  36,8% </ul>

According to the chapter of Rapporto italia 2012, trust in the justice system wavers along with the years. The historical lowest datum in the period was 38,6% in 2006, but was 52,4 % just in 2004 and again become higher than 50% between 2010 and 2011.

There is a regular six-year growth, followed by a drop of about 17 points in 2012.

The reasons for the drop are indicated in the “justice” section of Rapporto Italia 2012 (paper edition), basically these four reasons which tainted the reputation of the system between second half 2011 and first half 2012.

<ul>(1) the discovery of a chain of corruption cases (“cricche”) involving politicians and entrepreneurs in which magistrates were involved, the prominent name being Alfonso Papa;


(2) the clash between procuras on charges of corruption, in particular the case of Potenza (“toghe lucane 2”);


(3) the media spotlight on the revelation of the plot about the killing of Judge Borsellino which is being investigated today by prosecutor Ingroia, hinging on the 2011 testimonies of Spatuzza and Ciancimino;


(4) the murder acquittal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.</ul>

The fall in trust for the justice system is yet aligned with the sharper fall of trust in other institutions:, 71,6% of Italians declare their trust for institutions is diminished between 2011 and 2012; only 4,1% had an increase in their trust for institutions.

Complete data for government and parliament are as follows:

<ul>People who declare to have “a lot” or “enough”  trust in the government:


2004:  33,6 % ;  2005:  32,9 %;  2006:  23%;  2007:  30,9%;  2008:  25,1%;  2009:  27,7% ;  2010: 26,7%;  2011:  14,7%  ;  2012: 21,1%; </ul>

<ul>People who declare to have “a lot” or “enough”  trust in the parliament:


2004:  36%;  2005:  34%;  2006:  24,6% ;  2007:  30,5%;  2008 19,4%;  2009: 26,2% ;  2010:  26,9%;  2011:  15%  ;  2012:  9,5%</ul>

The President of the Republic (Giorgio Napolitano) is the only political institution to achieve trust from the majority, he receives 62,1%  though suffers a six-point drop compared to 68,2% of 2011.

The 2012 achievement of 36,6% of trust in the justice system is the lowest over the period. But there are also two further interesting data.

The first interesting datum, is that the percentage of trust in justice system increases as the educational level grows. Even in 2012,  people with a university degree still declare they trust magistrates by 45,5% (ten points above the average).

The better educated people are, the more they trust magistrates.

(The percentage of those who trust magistrates is anyway overall always higher than trust for the other branches of administration: in average between 40 and 50% (as opposed to 27-15% in the Berlusconi government and to 23-30% in the previous Prodi government). 

The second interesting datum comes as an answer to a question. Some people might argue that the drop in trust for magistrates in 2012 might be the consequence not of criticism of the [/i]acquittal[/i] of Knox and Sollecito, but instead could have an opposite meaning, meant to be a criticism of their arrest and prosecution and to their previous conviction.

However, this idea clashes with the other datum about: which institutions actually did increase their trust among population. The best result is achieved by the growth of the people’s trust in the Law Enforcement forces: the Polizia di Stato (71% of trust, and particularly among women) and the Carabinieri (74% of trust).

It’s hard to imagine that population would trust law enforcement forces and distrust prosecutors in agreement with them, given that both branches of LE are coordinated by prosecutors on investigations: Police and Carabinieri detectives are instruments in charge of the enforcing of prosecutors’ orders; moreover, the LE forces plaid a decisive role in this specific case, in the investigation and arrest of Knox and Sollecito.

One thing which these data prove for sure is that when Raffaele Sollecito says that the judiciary is the most reviled institution in the country, he is lying.

Posted by Yummi on 10/05/12 at 02:13 AM | #

Impressive global spread of the lessons learned in Italian justice. Also mention is due of the great Cesare Becaria who was literally centuries ahead of his time:

Also of how much US and Italian law enforcement work smoothly together. Both second officers to the other country.

The Canadian figures (another country with good institutions and high trust) also show the courts working properly. The RCMP (Canadian Carabinieri) seemingly less-so.

Other sampling by reporters etc suggests the perception in Italy of RS and AK guilt is still sky-high. I’d agree that any hit in good opinion can be laid at the feet of the very sloppy judges Hellmann and Zanetti.

It would be interesting to see a poll showing how much Curt Knox’s defamatory campaign trashing Italy is despised there. The US embassy there didnt like the case at all, and presumably neither did the Italian embassy here.

These are two countries that need to get along and not see foreign policy hijacked by such ignorant morons as Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, Saul Kassin, and now the Sollecito gang.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/05/12 at 05:45 AM | #

“The better educated people are, the more they trust magistrates.”

Roll on higher education. True world-wide. Those clinging to conspiracy theories on this case rarely seem to have traveled a lot and their education is invariably not at a high level or irrelevant to the analysis of the case.

They undermine key institutions and there is nothing of merit on their sites. Walk into a job interview spouting what they spout and they would never get a call back.

Someone sent me a quote from Curt Knox’s hatchet man Bruce Fischer saying he is at ease with his very humble lot in life.

I think not. I think like many of them he demonstrates a manic disempowered rage. I have NEVER met a successful person who hacks away at his supposed enemies as Bruce Fischer does.

And Curt Knox nurses a gigantic rage. Ask Edda. She and Amanda bore the brunt.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/05/12 at 05:57 PM | #

Raf has written a best-smeller all right.  His low opinion of Italian courts smacks of sour grapes…belittling what he can’t buy.

If he’d had the real nerve to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help him God, he might have a better outlook on the courts who would have been lenient with him.

With the lies in this book he’s emotionally throwing good money after bad. He’s a self-deceived nut like Amanda who makes a wrong decision but claims a moral victory by sticking to it forever. His daddy doctor is as helpless with this boy as the owner of a sick goldfish.

Raf holds his head high because of a stiff neck. Same with Amanda. And what’s with Amanda grim as death a year after being acquitted? Where was all her smileless solemnity when the friend was killed?

Raf’s sudden freedom of speech and Stateside grins on U.S. TV seem to have shut her down like a murdered roommate didn’t.

Posted by Hopeful on 10/05/12 at 06:47 PM | #

The Courts Are The Most Reviled Institution In Italy

Stupid enough to release him?  Is that what he’s saying?

Posted by James Higham on 10/07/12 at 12:01 AM | #

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Or to previous entry Stupid Claims Made By Raffaele Sollecito #3: His False Timeline Conflicts With Other Evidence #2 DRAFT