Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Shaky Castle Of Cards At Best: The Long-Term Fight For Legitimacy Begins

Posted by Our Main Posters

1. Current State Of Play

As we so often hear, true justice has to be SEEN to be done.

At the end of the day it’s the legitimacy that counts - whether most informed people buy in - and the fight for this could play out over years.

Maybe that was on the minds of the tense Sollecito lawyers seen above after the surprise outcome was announced. Can those five judges make what seemed like a shoot-from-the-hip decision stick?

Back in 2009 the prosecution put on a very fine case, after Knox and Sollecito had failed six great opportunities in 2007 and 2008 to be let out. Prosecutors touched all the bases fast and, including what was presented in closed court, offered a very legitimate case for guilt which a unanimous panel of judges bought into.

Defense attorneys were rumored to be despondent and they never really hit a high point. Sollecito talks in his book about Maori having little conviction in him. Bongiorno was said to feel the same way and to not like Sollecito very much. Several times she was a surprise no-show in court. Ghirga was affable but uncomfortable, and sometimes he dozed off.

Was there under UK and US common law a strong case for an appeal? Under UK and US law an appeal must be requested, and a judge must decide. We have yet to read one opinion by a UK or US judge (and yes, they do write) that a case for granting an appeal was very strong.

In other words, under UK and US common law, the unanimous verdict and sentence would almost certainly have been it. All three would be serving their terms, and five years ago the whole world would have moved on.

In 2010 a clear case of judge-shopping occurred.  Dont take our word for it - the senior and very experienced criminal-law Judge Chiari openly said he had been pushed aside as he resigned. He had been one of Italy’s finest prosecutors, and mentally and in terms of the law and grasp of the facts he was a giant compared to the bumbling ill-qualified Hellman, a business judge with only one other murder trial (a fiasco) in his past.

Throughout 2011 legitimacy swayed this way and that. The prosecutors began to smell a lot of rats and Prosecutor Comodi publicly said so. The chief prosecutor Dr Galati (who had just arrived from the Supreme Court) maintained that it didnt altogether matter, because he just knew the Supreme Court would throw a bum outcome out.

He was right. In March 2013 the elite First Section of the Supreme Court threw the bum outcome out, except for the part about Knox framing Patrick for which she had served three years.

The elite First Section handed the case back down to a new court, the Florence appeal court.

The Florence courts are staffed with very fine prosecutors and judges as they often handle national cases. Right now that court is handling a major investigation into national government corruption on a grand scale, Knox adulator Rocco Girlanda is one of those named.

National politicians under the gun like to knock chips off the courts given half a chance. Ex PM Berlusconi’s allies were said to have this as a fairly consistent aim. Any outcome ever in Rome which takes the Florence courts down a peg (as now) gets a lot of close looks.

Rumors abound in Rome that the president of the group of five judges and maybe one other felt the outcome of the Florence appeal court was the right one. If this is true, they may have never bought in and may now be only going through the motions with a forced grin.

The president of the court already issued an explanation of sorts. This has many in their peer group - the Council of Magistrates (which edged Hellmann out - refused him a promotion so he had nowhere to go) and all of the other judges and prosecutors in Italy - scratching their heads and wondering how in the Sentencing Report the circle can be squared.

Meanwhile on other fronts legitimacy is now on the line. Sollecito is due back in court in Florence on false claims in his book on 30 April. Knox’s calunnia trial is due to resume again shortly in Florence with expanded charges targeting false claims in her book. The Oggi trial for quoting false claims in Knox’s book has a testimony session 16 June.

The final verdict and sentence maybe cannot be wound back and their chances of serving more time for murder and a sex crime are remote. (Knox could be sentenced to more time at her second calunnia trial).

But the circumstances in which they are walking around may come to look very odd. The Supreme Court actually can be sued now for an inexplicable outcome, and made to take another look.

The President of the Italian Republic (who is the ultimate head of the justice system) can be petitioned to step in. Political parties like Beppe Grillo’s astonishingly popular Five Star Movement (said to be already snooping) have a lot of power to make things come unstuck. .

So, in the months and even years ahead, this is clearly going to be a long game, with legitimacy as the ultimate prize. Sorry, Sollecito and Knox, but it aint over till the fat lady sings.

2. New Developments Indicate Concern

Seven developments in this race for legitimacy points suggest that the RS and AK camps are very concerned about it, and are not at all sure what to do.

1) Francesco Sollecito is quoted as asking Guede to endorse the outcome. Guede already said the opposite although his main statement was in the annulled Hellmann appeal. Aviello is still on trial by the way, in 2011 he pointed at the Sollecitos as not playing by the rules.

2) Francesco can be sure Guede wont actually speak out, as he will have his own legal action in the works to get his case reviewed. That could go to another section of Cassation and if they rule differently really open a can of worms.

3) Sollecito has spoken out heatedly and vengefully on Italian TV in effect wanting the Italian state to pay him off in a big way and everybody else to believe him or shut up.

4) Bongiorno publicly disagreed with him and she said such actions need to be considered with a cool head down the road.

Report on the Il Tempo website.

Lawyer Bongiorno. “In the coming days we will evaluate request for compensation,” announced Raffaele’s lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno, after the acquittal of the young man for the murder of Meredith Kercher.

“There are feelings of revenge in Sollecito’s soul,” added the lawyer today. “We will wait for the motivations. Not thrash/lambaste those who might have done [Sollecito] wrong.”

“We’ll see if there were errors and what measures and initiatives could be undertaken. Civil liability - she concluded - is a serious institution that should not be exercised in the spirit of revenge.” (Translation by Guermantes on Dot Net)

5) Barbie Nadeau quotes an Italian expert who says that because RS and AK both provably lied to the police and led them astray, any claim for compensation could be dead on arrival.

Bongiorno may already realise this. She may also realise that having a litany of lies read out hardly advances their quest for legitimacy points.

6) This is previous news. Bongiono passed on being the lead lawyer in Sollecito’s book case. Nothing could cost legitimacy points more than a loss at the Florence trial on the false claims in RS’s book.

Note that at the moment few Italians - including Cassation - know what is in the book. It is possible Bongiorno wants to make herself scarce before the legitimacy points just gained head down the tubes.

7) The Fischer disinformation group (see posts coming up) has moved from shrill to frantic harrassment mode.

Let’s guess. Bongiorno and the other Perugia lawyers would think that a really bad idea, as Knox and RS are still on trial and abuse wont make that go away. Legitimacy if any will come not from strongarming but from cool heads.

Here’s betting all 4 main lawyers and both families would like to keep RS and AK on a really short string. Nothing will screw them like yet another of their open spats.

Right up to last week RS was still distancing himself a mile from Knox.


“Sollecito is due back in court in Florence on false claims in his book on 30 April. Knox’s calunnia trial is due to resume again shortly in Florence with expanded charges targeting false claims in her book. The Oggi trial for quoting false claims in Knox’s book has a testimony session 16 June.”

Pete, for sure the Fat Lady hasn’t sung yet in the Meredith Kercher case. Suspects Knox and Sollecito have created a chain of alleged crimes, (some proven in court and others pending), starting in Perugia in early November 2007 and ending ... well they haven’t ended I fear, thanks to the couple’s apparent incapability of avoiding falsehood, as per the upcoming false claims trials.

This hasn’t been a 100 metre dash, nor even a 800 run. The truth in this case will be a marathon. No immediate “happy endings” for anyone, just a long slog, especially now that legal justice for some unexpected reason has summarily ended that avenue of clarifying the case.

I’m convinced, however, that The Fat Lady will sing, and that when that happens the Kerchers will know better (or, have confirmed) what happened to Meredith and at whose hands.

Sit back, it’s only half-time.

Posted by Kermit on 03/31/15 at 05:52 PM | #

“but it ain’t over till the fat lady sings”

There is some madness in the method. The truth will finally be out, and I am going see the end. Truth has a rather nasty habit of coming out at the most unexpected time.

As the “false claims” are going to be investigated, one by one, bit by bit, some inconvenient truth will show up. It will be fun to watch how the Knoxen will handle them. These trials are not going to take years and years because they have a sharp and narrow focus.

When the fat lady sings finally, she will not only drag the two kids in the net but the whole entourage. Sin loves company.

The world is watching. Me too. I am not alone- I have still some courage left. I can sit up and take notice. That may not be enough but certainly good for a start.

Posted by chami on 03/31/15 at 06:20 PM | #


I haven’t posted for an age. I was shocked by the verdict, utterly mystified. But there has been a big part of myself that ever since the Hellman appeal, wondered if the two would ever go back to prison.

I’ve read a lot of comments from people who are really upset but we can comfort ourselves. First, there are so many people in this case who just did their jobs - from the first police on the scene, the forensics people, the wonderful Mignini, Massei, Michelli, Nencini and all the other prosecutors involved. I’ve read the transcripts of the interviews and think of the police at that station and all the hard honest work they put in doing their jobs.So many of them - the fair judges, Andrea Vogt, etc.  They were not vindictive people, but honest, good people.

At PMF and True Justice so many incredible volunteers who fought a jaded media just out for profit. Had it not been for everyone at these sites, I would have never found out about the mountain of evidence against AK and RS. I have been so impressed by your rational comments, your optimism, your professionalism - so many lawyers, psychologists, Italian speakers here and other areas from housewives to criminologists, just interested in the truth.

Above all, the Kerchers are a most amazing family. There is nothing worse than losing a child. At times, I wished they’d played the media game a little more but now I get it. I think John Kercher knew what a nest of vipers 99% of them were and wasn’t playing that game.

AK and RS have suffered. Four years in jail, 3.5 fighting their case, a black cloud that will be over them for years to come because there is a historical record and they will forever be suspect. Not to mention, they have to live with themselves, what they did, how they “won” in the most heinous of ways - smearing the victims’ family, lying, cheating, enlisting some very strange opportunists and hate-mongerers. If that’s winning…?

Frankly, I think they’ll just fade away. No one wants to hear from them now or read their future books. I can’t see how they’ll get any money out of Italy for false arrest. Yes, they’ll be paraded across the TV shows for the next couple of weeks but then what? Good, you’re free. Now go away! They have not impressed me as two adults. Mommy and Daddy needed to hold their hands through every step of this process.

They suffer from arrested development and as seen by the press conference yesterday, aggrandizement and a very false sense of their own victimhood. And all those “hangers on” - what will they do with them. I doubt they’ll be going away soon. They’ll be wanting their asses kissed for sometime to come. They have expectations and, given their behaviour, I foretell some nastiness in the future and FOA’s turning on AK/RS and each other.

I do look forward to the motivations report. This verdict was just so damn odd. Great comments from Mignini on how last year’s verdict and this one are diametrically opposed. Thanks Peter and all the rest of you.

Posted by Dora Maar on 03/31/15 at 06:23 PM | #

I will tweet..Thanks Pete.

Posted by Tina on 03/31/15 at 08:31 PM | #

I hope this site is kept alive (not shutdown) before we have the full truth out!

Posted by Viksant  on 03/31/15 at 08:50 PM | #

@Viksant: Amen.

Posted by Helder Licht on 03/31/15 at 09:15 PM | #

Hi Dora Maar

An excellent cool-headed take and thanks for remarking that we all somehow helped.

You predict RS and AK and their factions flying off in several directions. For them it will probably only get worse. None seem to have increased earning power or any media charisma that will last.

Part 2 in the post suggests that confusion about to handle “success” without looking like really sore winners is already setting in.

In my professional life (growth management) I get to see a lot of systems, originally functional and well-intended, that have gone wrong. They bite back.


This is the tendency in all systems now, all over the world.  The sub-systems of the Italian justice system among them, They could clearly do with some major overhaul.

In fact Italy among others is in the mother of all systems messes including its political and management and technical and social systems right up to and including the EC.

Hence the slow growth.

If the functionaries of PM Renzi was involved in pushing this case aside, it could well be explained by the fact that he is slowly going down. Beppe Grillo is hard on his heals, and this smart comedian who wants Italy to leave the EC could be the next PM.

This trial-and-appeal process in any other country of the world bar none would have finished at the end of 2009. Italy is the only one that has automatic appeals for almost all crimes.

Here’s a bet. We wont ever see this kind of protracted fiasco happen again. The reason?  ECONOMIC. Italy just cannot afford such a sluggish mutli-stage process within which victims and their families are bounced around like billiard balls and perps too often walk.

Cassation has become huge. With its Rome judges and its judges in all of the regional courts it is possibly as large as all the other Supreme Courts in Europe combined.

Had there been just the one bench here’s betting Friday’s outcome would never have occurred.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/31/15 at 11:08 PM | #

If the two killers actually sue the state of Italy they won’t get a dime as they would have to prove that they didn’t lie to the police but cleary, they did. RS confessed to it and AK was convicted of it. But if they actually do file lawsuits then it will open up the whole case to the whole world yet again. And it will destroy their PR brands. I kind of hope that they bring it on for just this reason!

Bongiorno is backing away from the case altogether. As one of the most hated individuals in Italy, she is done and now fully realizes that she could be disbarred for tampering with witness testimony and missing exculpatory evidence. Ghirga will retire soon and I am sure that Vedova wants to walk away with the “win”. It has also been said that Prime Minister Renzi can reverse the decision and remand it back to the Supreme Court with clear and explicit instructions. He has not made a statement yet but he probably will have to soon. Indeed, this is long from being over.

Posted by Johnny Yen on 04/01/15 at 02:02 AM | #

And, of course, there is the wrongful death lawsuits which will, most certainly, be filed by the Kerchers and automatically awarded.

Posted by Johnny Yen on 04/01/15 at 02:04 AM | #

Even if Renzi doesn’t say anything, Italy’s Supreme Court has to follow case law and protocol. They may have set a new precedent and broken ‘Res Judicata’. Then the ECHR can reopen the case as noted here:


Posted by Johnny Yen on 04/01/15 at 02:41 AM | #

Hi Johnny,

Bongiorno is at possible risk by way of the Aviello trial - he was the one that said bribes were offered - but I think its best just to say that she is moving on. . 

The Kerchers might be able to sue somewhere for wrongful death, but we have no knowledge of that yet. In the US the statute of limitations may have cut in.

There’s plenty of other court action going on. The ECHR only has advisory powers though I guess they could have a role. They are backed up for years.

Only the President not the Prime Minister has power over a Cassation outcome (ask ex PM Berlusconi) plus also the victims family which can now sue if they think the court action was not handled right.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/01/15 at 02:42 AM | #

OK, thank you for the correction Pete. When the motivations report comes out, this case will explode throughout the world.

Posted by Johnny Yen on 04/01/15 at 02:58 AM | #

Stephanie Kercher: “I’ll always miss my sister - I’m worried I’ll forget the little things about her.”


Posted by Johnny Yen on 04/01/15 at 04:08 AM | #

@ Peter - Francesco seeking Guede’s endorsement (your 1st point), what is the source for that?  It sounds like he just doesn’t want the case reopened or reviewed ... essentially the exact opposite of what we advocate here.

-Guede getting his case reviewed (your 2nd point), am I reading that right?  His case was confirmed years ago.  Or do conflicting Cassation rulings open a door I don’t know about?

-Sollecito getting paid (your 3rd point), good luck with that.  But then, he is 31 and has never worked in his entire life.  This may be his only chance of earning something other than by Daddy giving it to him.

-Regarding the book trials (your 6th point), can you clarify: is the book itself a single calunnia?  I mean, if it contained 10 provably false accusations against different people, could 10 separate charges be filed, or would be be lumped together?

-Knox and Sollecito back to blaming each other?(your 7th point), Rest assured, it will happen. 

On a quasi related note: I had heard the suggestion of filing a civil claim against AK and RS ‘BEFORE’ the Cassation motivations comes out.  This is essentially a ‘‘shock and awe’’ and would likely have a chilling effect on their report.  Actually, this sounds like a good idea to me.  Yes, it could be viewed as contempt, but so is their ruling.  Thoughts?

@ Johnny Yen - I also hope that he tries to make a suit of it.  Of course he would have to take the witness stand (something he has been too cowardly to do in his own defence).  It would be nice to see his ‘‘persecutors’’ unload on him with the questions he wouldn’t answer before.

@ Dora Maar - Welcome back to the posting. I think the term you are thinking of is ‘‘pyrrhic victory’‘. Yes, you are right. The enormous time, stress, aggravation, and draining their lives.  Some made money, but everyone lost in the end.

The Knox/Mellas and Sollecito families have their children back.  Yay? Amanda looks to be about 45 in recent photos, and Raffaele almost 40.

However, I doubt that they will simply disappear. It would be nice, but don’t count on it. AK and RS need the fame/notoriety.  If they weren’t perpetual victims, what would they do?  Get jobs?

@ Everyone - In January 2014, Judge Nencini ordered that the $3.8 million from Knox’s book to be be forfeited and paid to Patrick Lumumba.  Is that order still in effect, as the calunnia stands to this day?  (This is the calunnia that Cassation confirmed March 2013).

@ Everyone - If Knox does get more time for calunnia from her book and/or 2009 trial testimoney, any idea how likely it is she will be forced back?

Posted by Chimera on 04/01/15 at 04:24 AM | #

Something that still doesn’t make sense:

Sollecito and Bongiorno said in their July 1st, 2014 press conference ‘‘the court takes note that Amanda had told something of a lie about her whereabouts.’’  This was to be one of the ‘‘legal points’’ argued to Cassation.

Further, Bongiorno argued that even though Knox’s statements were inadmissible against her, they should be used to exonerate Sollecito.

And even though Sollecito had gone on a book tour, saying that he and Amanda were together at his place that night, in that press conference he says she stayed that evening, but not that night.

So ... Bongiorno’s grand plan was to argue there is strong evidence against ... Sollecito’s alibi witness???  And to remove Knox, effectively leaving him with ‘NO’ alibi???

And Cassation acquitted them both????

Sounds convoluted to everyone without a J.D.

Posted by Chimera on 04/01/15 at 05:07 AM | #

Hi Chimera

On your first comments, the points addressed to me. Here is the Francesco interview.


As Yummi explained here a couple of days ago Guede can probably ask Cassation to re-open his case if the theory of the crime has changed. That could have Cassation tied up in knots.

I think both families are deep in debt so half a million Euros (which is very unlikely) will still leave RS in the hole.

The calunnia goes back to Knox on the stand in 2009. What is added is diffamazione and vilipendio for false claims in the book and on TV. Only Dr Mignini has complained (as required) so far, all the others impugned have to 2017 at least.

On your second comment, obviously we just dont know. The sentencing report is three months away. At a guess (just a guess) the 2 represented separate problems for the judges.

Knox herself said she went out without Sollecito in the key time period and he kept saying that too. There WAS evidence of him being in the house but exactly when? And liberating RS for this doubt while maintaining the full sentence for AK really might have soured relations between the two states.

Its a system easy to game and it looks like “game it they did”.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/01/15 at 05:32 AM | #

Hi, Chimera, like I said before, I don’t think it really mattered what Bongiorno said or what Bongiorno did. I think Bongiorno herself couldn’t believe her ears when she heard the verdict, in other words, she was probably stunned that her arguments worked so “miraculously”. The fix was in for Knox, and Sollecito was let off the hook because otherwise it would have looked strange.

On the same note, it has been mentioned here that the expenses incurred in monitoring Knox when she was in Capanne ran into the $100,000s ($400K total, perhaps?). These were just payments for the US grunts (let’s call them that) who collected the information and prepared the reports. I am wondering what happened with that information? The Americans are the most cost-conscious individuals on the face of the planet, if they spend money on something, they expect returns. I submit to you that the info was used for making inroads and preparing the ground for a long-term “fix”, not just the immediate bribes for getting Hellman at the ... helm.

Also, people somehow forget that Knox had an aunt in Germany that got her famous first job she couldn’t hold. Her aunt appears connected enough, I mean, if I show up in Germany, do you think I can get a job of that caliber? So, what kind of connections does her aunt have with the US in particular, what kind of connections does she have in Europe (Italy), and how well can she manage an interaction between the two parties without drawing attention to herself or little Amanda?

Posted by Bjorn on 04/01/15 at 05:39 AM | #

Hi Bjorn

Please see my comment directly above yours - we dont now think this was a Knox black-op and it is more likely that Bongiorno and others there helped to do the right persuading in the court or behind the scenes. (After all she is a powerful MP.)

The information the Rome Embassy collected is now public and all known. We have several posts on this. Though the monitoring was not cheap, there was nothing untoward sent from Italy to the US.

I dont think aunts are pulling the strings. The job in Germany was as unpaid intern and her uncle organized it. It would only have lasted a few weeks. It was odd that she wandered off, though I had several interns in the UN and its not like they are a huge plus or there is lots of vital work only they can do.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/01/15 at 05:53 AM | #

Peter - you are probably right about Rs and AK presenting separate headaches for the Supreme Court.

But therein lies the problem with the whole ‘‘2 automatic appeals’‘. 

As many pointed out, trial courts hear and see the totality of the evidence, while appeals courts only focus on perceived errors.  Essentially, appealing lawyers are able to pick and choose their facts, while ignoring, lying about, or misrepresenting vast amounts of factual evidence.

That is essentially what happened in the Hellmann appeal, and those famous words, ‘‘The truth may be different.’‘

So, by doing these legal twists at the appellate level, in a sense it ‘‘undoes’’ the evidence presented at the trial court.

The ‘‘no evidence’’ antics and rants that worked with Hellmann and this Cassation panel would not have passed with the Massei trial court, which saw ‘‘ALL’’ the evidence.

You are right, it would make sense to put more barriers up to get appeals heard, (like in Canada, where you need approval before a provincial appeals court will hear you).

Will this be Meredith’s legacy?  Getting judicial bureaucracy trimmed down? Yay ...?!

Posted by Chimera on 04/01/15 at 06:40 AM | #

Hi Chimera with nod to Professor Chami who eats this stuff for breakfast.

Yes that is a very clear-eyed well-stated view of the main problem underlying the appeals component of the Italian justice system.

But it is somewhat hidden as the court above often second-guesses the court below, so in the three court process (trial/appeal/appeal) usually the Supreme Court ends up agreeing with the trial court. Its a lengthy and very wasteful process but in theory it imparts justice and legitimacy.

I’d say though that Italian victims and families are unwittingly treated way worse than in the Canadian or US systems. In the US we have numerous court TV programs like Nancy Grace’s which almost always get fully behind the police and prosecutors.

Much of the abuse directed from the US toward the Italian system is by those who have fallen foul of the US system but cannot take out their anger on that system. The Italian system is being used as a surrogate.

It has wonderful aspects and many lawyers learn from it. But nobody would sit down and design it as the perfect system. It was designed largely post WWII and a strong reaction to the mock courts of the previous era. Serious “upgrades” have got through parliament but some changes were to the advantage of bad guys.

Most accurately, the big gaming has really happened at that level tho it still gave ex PM Berlusconi a lot of sleepless nights.

Right now another justice system upgrade is being worked on in parliament, driven by economic imperatives. As judges and prosecutors are all professionals and there is the Council of Magistrates, this looks like a reform situation with real potential.

This possible reform actually was suggested as a part of Meredith’s legacy in the third area of the previous post.


What happened last Friday will be a factor in the minds of many in parliament and the justice system who regard the outcome after years of trying as an embarrassing fiasco.

Hopefully everybody reading here is heavily tuned into systems. They decide EVERYTHING for better and worse. They are our workplace and city and economy and government and environment. Our car and computer and TV. They will decide the future of the planet.

In my own work to advance large-systems-change (during which I managed a UN program that involved every country in Europe in the upgrades of numerous systems, the only guy ever to do that) I actually create crises to advance things.

On the whole these are not real crises, they are worst-case scenarios for what will happen if systems change does not occur. Plus best-case scenarios for if it does occur. Absent these, processes for system change simply dont start moving.

Read this breakthrough book, which first came out nearly 20 years ago, on scenarios used as change drivers. It is perhaps what all Italians should be reading.


Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/01/15 at 12:57 PM | #

IMO this Internationally-shocking Obstruction of Justice by Cassation is too embarrassing to Italy for any back-track, now.

I expect Italy to brazenly let Cassation’s Verdict stand.

Knox & Sollecito will remain Officially Not Guilty of murdering Meredith, but all their other collateral crimes will be fair game for prosecution, and they will get no quarter on them, as has happened to OJ Simpson in the U.S.

Cassation’s Motivazione will probably justify with cover-up arguments equivalent to “Law of the case”, “res judicata” (Against our position, Johnny), “Not Beyond Reasonable Doubt”, or some other sophistry.

I expect that, in the distant end, Knox & Sollecito will have spent the rest of their lives in an Equivalent to Worse than would have followed the proper Guilty Verdict.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 04/01/15 at 03:23 PM | #

Hi Cardiol

On the last of your excellent points on how they actually end up losers. Dr Mignini has been interviewed by us in Florence and by Italian media quite often.

He has always maintained that his view of the crime is one of a drug-fueled sexually humiliating hazing. Meredith’s death was not intended except perhaps in the final micro-seconds.

I believe Meredith’s family would take comfort in knowing that for sure.

In response and probably believing the same thing the lawyers initially took a relatively soft line especially after Knox’s meltdown in her interview with Mignini on 17 December.

How the charges escalated from a possible manslaughter into first degree murder was that the angry families required the lawyers to increasingly push back.

So in mid 2008 after they lost for the first time at Cassation both teams decided to try to hang it all on Guede.

That forced Guede into the short-form trial, leaving them to demonize him further at trial without him or his lawyers even being there.

This could have been planned and engineered from way back, though I think they made it up as they went along, and lucked out with Antonio Paolo Bruno on the Fifth Section.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/01/15 at 03:40 PM | #

Interesting, Cardiol, and much as I surmised.

It really does lower their reputation though, especially here (in England).

Is there such a crime as Falsely creating a crime scene - a la staged burglary? Everyone seemed to be in agreement about that.

I wonder how the majority of the Italian people view this absurd outcome?

An Italian friend reported that of 6 people, all six thought ‘Guilty’ and also all thought it was the fault of the Italian justice system.

Let’s hope it proves to be the catalyst to DO something about it, as Pete says, above.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 04/01/15 at 03:47 PM | #

We are being told that for now commentary in Italy is being constrained for legal reasons. The Italian system is very particular about getting the Sentencing Report out and that that and not rumors or hypotheses should be the subject of popular commentary.

The Sentencing Reports are always issued in PDF format or posted on the Ministry website. That is so that there are no easy ways to circulate fake alternatives - as has happened.

We ourselves havent got into the concepts Cardiol (rightly) quoted. Even for us that is three months away. This is what Italian judges and lawyers are waiting on in “convince me if you can” mode.

That is the biggie down the pike in terms of legitimacy.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/01/15 at 03:55 PM | #


“I get to see a lot of systems, originally functional and well-intended, that have gone wrong. They bite back”

True. In some sense, dynamical systems are kind of living beings. You see bacteria and viruses develop resistance to drugs. As if they are learning from experience. Some of them are even resistant to multiple drugs and combination drugs. This learning process is not unique to living systems but to many dynamical systems too.

If you make a rule and do not enforce it strongly, people will experiment and learn how to bypass it. Social systems and economies too are like that- they learn the loopholes by practice and trial and error. All the rules are intended to improve order in a system and nature abhors order. There is a spontaneous tendency to bypass any rule, howsoever well intended- in all natural systems.

The key is the maintenance; you must enforce all rules strictly and not let any one bypass (the key process to learning is experimentation) and monitor constantly so the rule also evolves with the system. All rules must stay relevant and current to be enforceable.

What you say is a rather natural process.

Posted by chami on 04/01/15 at 04:13 PM | #

The other possible outcome of this perverse verdict is that the perpetrators could be emboldened to kill again.

In the U.K., for example, John Christie went on to more murders after his lodger Timothy Evans was hanged for the murder (almost certainly committed by Christie) of his own daughter, Geraldine Evans.

In some way that eludes us killers seem able to convince themselves right from the start that they are blameless - and any official recognition of that at any point simply enables them to carry on as before, with renewed vigour. In this context the vainglorious pronouncements from the deadly duo since the acquittals should put everyone on guard, especially those living in Seattle and Bari

Btw, regarding AK’s desire to return to Italy - would that be to Perugia in particular? It’s said that murderers often return to the scene of the crime (RS already has); when this happens is it a forlorn, unconscious attempt to come to terms in some way with what happened, to find some honesty among the lies one has told oneself and others? If so AK should save on travel expenses and find a therapist/confessor.

Posted by Odysseus on 04/01/15 at 04:50 PM | #


Re “The Italian system is very particular about getting the Sentencing Report out and that that and not rumors or hypotheses should be the subject of popular commentary.”

I hate to be cynical but they aren’t that particular it seems to getting anything out in a hurry.They don’t do hurry (that’s why we’ve waited 7 + years for an ultimately crazy verdict). Someone needs to tell them that speed is of the essence, otherwise rumours and hypotheses are bound to spread. Three more damn months for their report, on and on it goes, but meanwhile no one must chit-chat…!

Posted by Odysseus on 04/01/15 at 05:09 PM | #


I too do not see why it should take three months. After all, the decision took only two days.

The uncontested points can simply be listed- cut and paste is a wonderful thing!

The contested points can be reported as a summary.

They are NOT conducting an appeal trial- they are simply evaluating a judgement- if I understand correctly- on technicalities.

Finally if you stop people from chit-chat, they will simply whisper. Make your choice. Take your pick.

Students finish their Ph.D. in 3-4 years. And these are professional judges.

They may simply think that if they deliver the report promptly, their importance may suffer. But efficiency may be a real virtue for them too.

Posted by chami on 04/01/15 at 05:40 PM | #


“...their importance may suffer”

Precisely - that’s the fear.

Peter Cook satirised judges brilliantly in this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kyos-M48B8U

Posted by Odysseus on 04/01/15 at 05:53 PM | #

Hi Odysseus and Chami

I guess I could have been clearer. Three months is a maximum.

The rule of thumb for Italian legal analysts and journalists is abided by quite happily. It applies primarily to the concepts Cardiol quoted.

And it is well intentioned. Heavyweight perps in Italy are nothing if not ingenious, and their flunkies devote lifetimes to bringing justice down a peg.

Remember there are all those other court cases. Its not like its the end of life as we know it here.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/01/15 at 06:03 PM | #

Thanks Pete, I take your point. I still wouldn’t mind betting it will be the full 3 months!

I reckon justice isn’t served at all by endless scrutiny, appeals, etc. Au contraire there’s a tendency to get tied up in legal wrangling, concern about minutiae, etc. to the point where all intuitive sense about the case is lost completely. It really amounts to a loss of nerve in human sense.

Of course trials must be as thorough as reasonably possible, but ultimately a decision has to be reached in reasonable time and, however “scrupulous” they are in Italy, occasionally an innocent party will be convicted. And even that’s presumably reversible if new evidence comes to light. So why such disproportionate fear of convicting the innocent? You’d think that a country so concerned with Mafia crime would have to be less bothered about erroneously convicting the innocent.

Posted by Odysseus on 04/01/15 at 06:35 PM | #

Re ‘desire to return to Italy’...  Yes, I’m sure this need exists. It is of utmost importance in the therapeutic process for a narrative to be formed that makes sense of the traumatic event.

That’s why we go over and over stressful events, until we have this inner narrative that we are content with.

And if we DON’T do this, there can be no healing, no moving on, just continued divisiveness and instability and dysfunction.

But we have to be honest to do it. So if this is not being done (because of fictions and spinning and TV performance etc), then there will be flashbacks and/or fascinations to re-visit and re-experience etc.

But truthfully the re-experience needs to be in the mind and conscious understanding (this needs work). Not by re-living it unconsciously, else, - you are right, - this can lead to re-enactment.

Hope this makes sense. It’s actually the gist of my new post, which may be up tomorrow.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 04/01/15 at 07:20 PM | #


It certainly makes sense to me. You are right - it’s the re-experience and conscious integration that prevents acting out, but this of course is what’s most resisted, and why so many of us run around like headless chickens! 

As Stan Grof said, “the full experience [inc. conscious integration] of an emotion is the funeral pyre of that emotion.” Therapy is actually brilliant value for money - it usually prevents a lifetime of futile self-avoidance.

I look forward to your main post.

Posted by Odysseus on 04/01/15 at 07:52 PM | #

@Odysseus, I would like to allow Knox unconscious urges for peace but I can’t because of the way she has taunted the Kerchers with threats of visiting Merediths grave etc.  She seems to me a narcissistic sadist and to my mind a trip to Italy would be her equivalent of giving the middle finger.

Posted by MHILL4 on 04/01/15 at 11:06 PM | #

I’ve been thinking of a collective noun to describe the craven Knox followers and I reckon I have it. A “constipation” as in “I was on Twitter earlier when I suddenly found myself beset by a constipation of Amanda Knox followers”. Fairly apt I would suggest with sincere apologies to anyone who finds levity at this time inappropriate. Personally, I need to laugh sometimes just to ease the anger I feel at this horrific injustice.

Posted by davidmulhern on 04/01/15 at 11:29 PM | #

There will be unconscious urges, for sure. Whether they will be for peace is another matter. They are more likely to be of a compulsive nature, and essentially unresolved.

I really and truly hope there is sufficient victim protection in place. Anything else would be disgraceful.  For me, that is one of the worst aspects of this flawed decision/judgement.

OK, don’t ask for extradition if that’s such a big deal - she can stay and be an American in the US, if it matters so much.

But to allow and encourage a continuation of so much untruth, and fictitious constructs and projections in indulgent speeches seems an unworthy decision. Truly, how does that deliver justice to the victim?

It is highly unsatisfactory, and I hope as Cardiol said, there is embarrassment. There should be. It certainly looks like a weak decision from here in England, and not sufficiently respectful towards the Kerchers.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 04/01/15 at 11:47 PM | #

@david mulhern

You mean like when you get a whole group of insects all fixated on crowding into one particular spot, buzzing to and fro, and actually none of them getting to it?

And they don’t give up, even when it’s pointless?

That is quite funny. People can’t help lacking in the little grey cells though. Just like insects can’t help their programmed behaviour.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 04/01/15 at 11:59 PM | #

This is an open question to all: Okay, Rudy Guede can use the contradicting Cassation rulings to get his case reviewed.  Question is - who would actually take his case?  He is not a lawyer, probably doesn’t have any money or family connections, and I don’t see anyone doing it for free. Or is it a mandatory thing?

Posted by Chimera on 04/02/15 at 09:31 AM | #


The therapeutic process can never begin while people are stuck in telling lies, and/or repressing the truth. (Even if they were the culpable agents, the event was still also a trauma for them).

When the process - of moving on from trauma - doesn’t begin, in the conscious mind, the person will necessarily be in a certain (unstable) state where flashbacks of the trauma will break through and impose themselves, and aspects of the event will be revisited and possibly re-enacted.

We all have to do this processing - it is necessary, and without it, there will be dysfunction and/or what is known as a dissociative state. This is why honesty is vital to health, and not an option.

This is my deep sorrow regarding this judgement : it does nothing to dispel or discourage the ongoing untruthfulness and disingenuous behaviour that has emanated from these two from day one, even, at times, from their own admission.

With this continuing, justice for Meredith has not been delivered. People here in the UK I have spoken to believe that the judges failed to do their job.

The ex-defendants behaviour needs to be corrected whether they are in prison or not. Even Bongiorno seems to acknowledge this when she warned RS not to speak out in revenge and anger, and said they needed to reflect and make cool decisions.

I hope to goodness they get some wise advice and guidance from whoever has influence now.

This is why Pete has been talking about legitimacy. Most people are not stupid, nor dysfunctional : they will see what has happened, is happening.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 04/02/15 at 10:35 AM | #

Hi Chimera

The lawyers Biscotti and Gentile have never stopped working for Guede. They have done a really good job. Their are paid some by the Italian state and their national profile is huge.

They represented Parolisi in a murder case we posted on which was far bigger news in Italy than the Perugia case because it was suspected (he was found guilty) he coldbloodedly nurdered his wife.

This is one of those situations where we either want Guede to serve his years (and maybe more) or we want a factor to upset the apple cart and have the truth blast out. Wither because Gude is free to speak or because Cassation has to admit it has talked with several tongues.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/02/15 at 02:13 PM | #

@SeekingUnderstanding - I’m very much looking forward to your post.

@Chimera - Rudy Guede was represented by Walter Biscotti in the past.  I don’t know if this is still the case, but I imagine that if Biscotti dropped his case, he would be assigned a court-appointed lawyer. 

I think Guede’s case review could be important for the Knox-Sollecito case, though, since he was convicted for committing the murder in concorso with others.  If these others are not Knox and Sollecito, then who are they? And if none of the evidence implicates an unknown third party, then how can it not be them? 

The Marasca verdict is so incongruous with the findings of two other Supreme Court panels (the one which confirmed Guede’s trial verdict and the one which annulled Hellmann and ordered the Nencini appeal), that I have no idea how it could possibly stand up to scrutiny.  I guess we’ll have to wait for the motivation report.

Posted by Vivianna on 04/02/15 at 02:37 PM | #

“This is why Pete has been talking about legitimacy. Most people are not stupid, nor dysfunctional: they will see what has happened, is happening.”

Cassation has left the equivalent of a red rag to a bull - an unsolved crime - which will now start to occupy media for years.

A crime which overwhelmingly points to three in which no one man could have done it on his own.

There is a strong trend in the US. Beliefs in conspiracies get “worse”. There is zero proof of a conspiracy by Italy but huge proof of a conspiracy by the PR.

More and more, crimeshow watchers will look at RS and AK and think “Hmmm”.

Even the defense teams conceded it was three. During the two recreations of the attack (by three) at trial in 2009 they had no comeback. They just gave up.

In 2011 Alessi and Aviello were brought in - extraordinary longshots if you know who they are and what they said - in desperation to try to claw back.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/02/15 at 02:43 PM | #

Hi Vivianna

I see I read your mind! That is an honor for sure. Sometimes I wonder what I am needed for.

Starting here soon. A long series with a header that commences with “How Will The Cassation Report Handle This? ...”

Fire way here if you see angles we might address?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/02/15 at 02:47 PM | #

Reports are appearing on PMF dot ORg about the Kerchers themselves having said they have called it quits on all fronts. Hmmmm. We will post here if/when that actually happens.

Perhaps most in Italy and many in the justice system would like the status quo to be tested. Nobody talks of involving RS and AK in this, which is legally impossible.

But this case is not a miracle of a precedent and no victim’s family should ever have to pay the giant psychic and financial costs they have been exposed to. Nobody would begrudge them.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/03/15 at 06:54 PM | #

On the Italian system again, posted here as the thread below on this has topped out.

At trial the prosecution part went fine without various things being brought out that could have been. Eg Knox’s drug dealer and Guede’s offer to testify. The trial was largely over (guilt loomed large) after Knox’s 2 days on the stand. The defenses brought character witnesses, but they seemed vague and thin on the ground, and didnt reverse the very odd spectacle of a brash callous sharp-elbowed Knox claiming she was a weak, quivering thing.

If Italy is going to have automatic appeals there needs to be a better way for the original prosecution case to come across. If 1/3 of a trial is behind closed doors, appeal courts like Hellmann and Cassation never get the flavor of those.

At least Crini was well prepared and given a whole day; where was the equivalent of Crini at the Supreme Court? Almost all that the judges got there was 2 longwinded defenses - by lawyers who had been on the case since 2007 and had been super-tuned through 7 years of Groundhog Days.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/04/15 at 09:43 PM | #
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