Amanda Knox's conviction reinstated by appeals court in Italy

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Vash01, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. reckless

    reckless Well-Known Member

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    I practice appellate law and just to clarify something in Prancer's post. She said you can appeal if there is judicial error. That suggests that appeals only lie if the judge erred. However, there are a lot of different grounds for appealing from a ruling in a trial court and different types of alleged errors are evaluated using different standards. It is possible to appeal just arguing that the evidence does not support the conviction. That is usually a difficult standard to meet in the US because even a little evidence is often enough; the reviewing court will generally assume the jury or judge (if there was no jury) was in the best position to weigh the evidence and assess credibility.

    Because that is such a difficult threshold, most appeals assert legal errors. That might be that the judge gave the jury wrong instructions on what the legal standards are, that it misintrpreted the law in rendering a decision on some point in the case, or that erred in admitting evidence. Evidentiary decisions are usually considered discretionary so unless the defendant can show that the trial court got the law wrong when it admitted or excluded the evidence, the reviewing court will again usually defer to the trial court's decision.

    There also are other grounds for appeal like prosecutorial misconduct (e.g., withholding evidence, making improper argument to the jury), juror misconduct (jurors are only supposed to decide the case after all the evidence is heard and based only on what is introduced at trial, but sometimes violate those standards), newly discovered evidence (this usually has to be brought to the trial court first), and ineffective assistance of counsel.

    Also, Prancer used the phrase "prejudicial error." That means that it is not enough to just identify some error that was made in the trial court. The error has to be shown to be "prejudicial," i.e., the defendant has to show that if the decision had gone the other way, the outcome of the case would likely have been different. Appellate courts often will acknowledge that a trial court made a mistake, but will deem it "harmless error."
    AxelAnnie and (deleted member) like this.
  2. kosjenka

    kosjenka Well-Known Member

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    I have no idea if Knox and Sollecito are guilty or not. I was reading several sites about the evidence and specifics of the trial and I fail to see the motive for Knoxs and especially Sollecito. If all 3 of them are guilty (that Rudy's DNA was inside Meredith and all over her room so he is locked with that) - but how is Rudy connected with Knox and Sollecito? For the two of them to be apart of the way Kertcher was killed - there had to be motive which goes beyond the girls not liking each other and not being friendly and I am sure there would have been more physical evidence.

    I know from personal experience how you can be lead to give statement with the police guiding you there and having you imagine things that later show up in the written statements. I dont claim Knox was confused or was covering her tracks or somebody else, I just know this happened more often than it is known and more people implicate innocent people in the story in situations where there is no brutal murder.

    The way this was covered in Italy in the media was disgusting. The story about satanic sex ritual under the drugs is the one that was sold to the media. I dont remember any evidence of Knox & Sollecito being druggies. I know they admitted smoking joint in his apartment but no tests were done for alcohol or drugs on them because they were being questioned but were not suspects(?).
  3. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    Here's something I'd like to know: How were they able to secretly record Knox's conversations with her mother, yet unable to record a word of her interrogations?

    I mentioned this up thread. But, I seem to remember that the prosecutor, in this case, had prior misconduct issues. Am I remembering this right?
  4. Sk8ngCat

    Sk8ngCat Member

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  5. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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  6. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    It makes no sense and there was no physical evidence really.

    To believe they did it means you believe they had some sort of psychic break, committed a terribly violent crime while doped up on pot (which tends to make you sleepy and/or passive), and yet were savvy enough to clean up all traces of their involvement. While leaving all traces of Guede's involvement. Even though they were high. Which does not tend to make one savvy. If even a savvy person could have done such a thing.

    It just defies common sense to me.

    I can buy one or both of them walking in on the murder and freaking out and lying about it later leading to strange behavior which was misunderstood by the cops. (The evidence supports this.)

    I can buy them being friends with someone who lead them into a murder that they were reluctant participants in and then all 3 cleaning up so there was no evidence of any of them or some evidence of some of them. (The evidence does not support this as there is no evidence they knew Guede and there is no evidence they cleaned up and there is evidence only of Guede's presence, not none of them or all 3 of them except for the bra strap which is tainted evidence and not evidence of Knox's involvement.)

    I can't buy the whole satanic ritual story (no evidence of satanic rituals at all).

    I don't buy the whole sex game gone wrong (again no evidence of this).

    I can sort of see that the two roommates didn't get along and had tension over different standards of cleanliness as that is very common in roommate relationships. It doesn't often lead to murder though. Especially after 5-6 weeks of rooming together. Generally one or the other moves out. Amanda had a boyfriend and was spending all her time with him. That's a perfect solution to living with a slob so no murder was necessary. It does somewhat explain some of her reactions afterwards though. If she seemed cold afterwards maybe it's because she barely knew her roommate and didn't like her much. On top of being in shock.
  7. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    If you read the evidence linked to earlier, you'd see they did leave physical evidence including DNA. It wasn't just traces of Guede's present--Amanda's DNA and physical evidence was there too.

    I did read the transcript of Amanda's phone call to her mom, and the court transcript too. The issue with the phone call to her mom was that she called her frantically before Meredith's body was found. And her mother acknowledged she was in a state when they talked. Even the mom questioned Amanda why she was so worked up when the body hadn't officially been discovered yet. Amanda couldn't give a response to that, and only said she didn't remember calling and talking to her mom.

    That I believe is the incriminating evidence with the taped phone call.
  8. zippy

    zippy Active Member

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    It's important to keep in mind that particular site is one of the most prominent sites trying to show Knox and Sollecito's guilt - honestly it's just about impossible to find a summary of the evidence online that isn't biased one way or the other. The list of evidence linked to did hit the prosecution's main points but also includes things that had been abandoned by the prosecution even before the first trial for being too problematic/unreliable as well as bits that were incorrectly reported in the media and not included in court documents, and it omits points that would be favorable to Knox/Sollecito. But when people say there's no physical evidence, I think they're generally referring to the room where the murder took place, since that room had a large amount of physical evidence from Guede and nothing but the bra clasp from anyone else. That physical evidence from Knox could be found in other areas of the apartment isn't really in dispute, but the interpretation of it gets messy since she lived there.
  9. kosjenka

    kosjenka Well-Known Member

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    I guess it is a need to understand. I remember way too many times when the behavior of the accused of being very worried and sad. In that case - such behavior was portrayed they were worried about getting caught.

    This is very violent way to kill somebody and to deal with the immediate consequences - huge amount of blood and the victim dying in her own blood.
    and like crusine says - neither of them has history of violence. There is large enough research of what pot does to your brain and thats what they say they were using. Cops didnt do any other testing and I think more serious drugs leave trace in the system for a longer period of time so this guessing they were two druggies who were having sex orgies is very biased & was "well played" buy the persecution. I read now that the prosecutor denise making statements of a satanic sex rituals. Interesting how I remember reading his quotes in the italian press when the case was opened. This was the time I was diligently reading everyday news in italian in hopes to improve my italian reading skills so I remember. It was just the start of the academic year so I was persistent :p

    I've never been in any similar situation but I was a witness of a person being coerced (or "lead to") by the police to support the theory they had in mind as the most plausible. This person had first hand knowledge of an event she couldnt have known was important for a completely different situation and was made to consider different scenarios and ended up saying she cannot be sure of her knowledge. Two hours after this - she broke down and realised she just ruined her credibility and possibly made other people suspects of not so legal things. This is as far as I can talk about it, but I cannot not remember it and keep it in mind.

    Things in life happen in many ways. The lack of real motive, supported by evidence or testimonies makes this case against Knox and even more so against Sollecito weak to build.
  10. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    I thought finding Knox's blood on the murder weapon was a major point.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
  11. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    It wasn't the murder weapon. They found her blood on a knife in her boyfriends apartment that didn't match the knife used to kill Meredith. They then claimed that Meredith's DNA was on it as well and speculated that two knives might have been used in the crime. But Meredith's DNA was found in a minuscule sample that didn't really meet reasonable standards for credible DNA sampling -- there wasn't enough to do a B sample for example -- and there was no evidence whatsoever that a second knife was used in the killing. Plus why would he show up at the apartment with a large bread knife for an unpremeditated murder? (The knife was a bread knife -- bread crumbs were found on it as well.)
  12. zippy

    zippy Active Member

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    They didn't find that. They found Knox's DNA (not blood) on the handle of a knife found in a drawer in Sollecito's kitchen. In the first trial the prosecution claimed Kercher's DNA (again not blood, no blood was anywhere on the knife) was on the tip of the blade, but the sample was so small it couldn't be reproduced for this latest trial. This knife also didn't match a bloody imprint of a knife or the victim's wounds, so it seems unlikely to be the murder weapon.

    ETA - sorry MacMadame, you beat me to it!
  13. Sk8ngCat

    Sk8ngCat Member

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  14. Sk8ngCat

    Sk8ngCat Member

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    A biased summary of the evidence or not, neither of these 2 defendants seem to me to have been railroaded by the Italian judicial system.
  15. loulou

    loulou Well-Known Member

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    I'm well aware Italy doesn't extradite if death penalty is on the table. Everyone is.

    Italy made it clear (in advance) that the country despises death penalty, does not convict anyone to death penalty, will not extradite anyone that risks death penaly, because that's a principle the country feels they cannot give up.

    If the US feels like they will never extradite anyone unless
    1) all interrogations are recorded (even if the person in question is not a supect at the time),
    2) interrogations can only happen with a lawyer present (even if the person in question is not a supect at the time),
    3) prosecutor cannot appeal,
    they should state so, before rather then after would be nice.


    You should carefully consider what principles you are in no case willing to give up: a justice system is complicated set, with balances and counter balances, that is (hopefully) built to work at best as a whole, also considering, for example, the size of the country or its cultural heritage.

    Unless one has studied the subject very seriously, it might suprises how rules can be more than fare, how defendants can be well guaranteed, even if, say, the double jeopardy rule is not in place.
    Well maybe it wouldn't surprise you, you're very sure.


    The US don't really have to state clearly their agreements with Italy, though.
    Italy is more than willing to spare US citizenships, even when italian victims are involved.
    Silently, like filthy secrets are kept.


    I would link english pages, but they I'm not seeing them report what's relevant in here.


    Cermis

    1998. A US military airplane cuts the ropes of an aerial railway in Italy. 19 people die: three Italians, seven Germans, five Belgians, two Polish, two Austrians, one from the Neetherlands.

    It's only thanks to italian judges that the truth could be established. They impounded the military airplane, that was about to be disassembled and repaired in the US military base.

    Italian prosecutors request to have four marines on trial, but an italian judge states that it's US jurisdiction.

    2012: National Geographic sheds light on what happened. Thanks to the testimony of some american investigators that tried invain to get the people responsible convicted, for the first time we can hear Joseph Schweitzer, airplane navigator, that says: "I destroyed the tape (a tape some turists hade made). I didn't want CNN to air a tape where you could see me smiling (he was having fun) and then the victims blood".
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
  16. loulou

    loulou Well-Known Member

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    Nicola Calipari

    2010. Wikileaks and Guardian reveal that US ambassador in Rome Mel Sembler writes to Washington that italian government report was intentionally wrote to stop further investigations from the italian judges; so that the good understanding between Italy and the US wouldn't be compromised, and that Italy would keep sending troups to help the US in Iraq. Berlusconi's government is determined to stop further inquiries in the parlament, that its opposition requires, supporting the theory that it was just a tragic accident.

    2011. Wikileaks leaks a cable from the US ambassy in Rome to Washington, from 2005: the understandment between Italy and the US is confirmed. The prime minister (Berlusconi) let us know the he will let us free to carry our version, without contesting any of it. The ambassador notes that for US investigators was only natural to wonder why they only shot one car out of the thirty that passed.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
  17. loulou

    loulou Well-Known Member

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    Abu Omar

    Italian judges requested extradition for american citizens (26 CIA agents, I believe) and trasmitted the request to Italian Minister of Justice, Castelli. Castelli has always refused to pass the extradition request to the US, starting a conflict with judges in Milan.

    2010. Wikileaks, leaks cablos sent from the US ambassy in Rome to headquartes in Washington, that would reveal the US pressured the italian government to avoid CIA involement in the abduction of Abu Omar.

    ---

    As you can see, US pressures tend to be effective in Italy.

    Since the US public opinion feels so strongly about this case that US politics cannot ignore it, since the US diplomacy in Italy is reported to be very active, Knox is very likely to have a strong ally in the italian government, rather than the other way around.

    No one has yet explained me - but maybe it's my weak mind fault - why would judges put themselves in such a difficult position, if not for their work ethics.
    A not guilty verdict would be such an easy way out of this wasp's nest.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
  18. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    Don't bother.

    The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/fifth_amendment

    The U.S. won't extradite someone to be tried for an offense for which she has already been acquitted.

    The fact that Italy doesn't regard the acquittal as final doesn't alter the fact that the U.S. does. End of story.
  19. zippy

    zippy Active Member

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    But here's what I and I think others can't get past. I agree a person doesn't necessarily have to have a psychotic break to commit a violent crime; there would be a lot less murders if that were so. As for the prosecution's latest theory about the murder resulting from anger over cleaning a toilet, well, people have been murdered for stupider things (parking spaces at the mall, etc.). I could believe any of the three suspects might singularly be capable of such a rage if the evidence supported it (as it does for Guede). But three near strangers coming together to commit a spontaneous violent crime of a sexual nature? Raffaele and Amanda had only known each other for a week, Amanda had apparently met Rudy Guede briefly once, and Rudy and Raffaele had never met. I would need some really compelling evidence to get there. Are there other crimes where this has happened? Even two near strangers working together to commit a spontaneous murder with no apparent motive seems farfetched to me. Some kind of drug-induced group hallucination? Too bad they apparently didn't drug test the suspects. I'd need some evidence of PCP use or something to even begin to make sense of that.

    I'd say "railroading by the Italian judicial system" is a strongly worded phrase that invites emotional arguments on either side. I don't think any judicial system on earth is 100% safeguarded against wrongful convictions. In the US, we've seen cases where the whole system worked together to produce a wrong result (see Cameron Todd Willingham). The Italian justice system is interesting - I do like how the judges are required to publish a motivation statement following a verdict. I've seen some really interesting blogs suggesting the Italian courts are a little behind the times when it comes to forensic science and this was a factor in the decision to overturn the appeal that acquitted Knox and Sollecito. Another factor, as I understand it, is a lot of things that just aren't done in US courts can be seen as acceptable in an Italian court because of their reliance of professional judges on the jury - the system puts a lot of stock in their ability to reason appropriately and consider reasonable doubt in ways that the US system doesn't. Here's an academic PDF article that addresses that (I just gave it a quick read, so forgive me if I don't have that aspect of the Italian justice system right). I am interested in how the cross-cultural elements and unfair media characterizations played a role in this case, though. I don't doubt the professionalism of judges; I just think some of these elements are interpreted subconsciously and may not lead to as objective an overview of the evidence as one would think. I do remember being struck by some of the leaps of logic made in the Massei report following the first trial, after outlining a pretty systematic review of the evidence - I think at one point they wrote they were skeptical that Knox actually took a shower the morning following the murder because she had taken one the day before and it was cold, for instance. That seems like a case of judges being out of touch with what would be seen as very plausible behavior of a young American female, and a small example of ways that cultural perceptions could interfere.
  20. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    They will extradite if the original verdict was guilty. Don't forget Knox was acquitted on appeal, not the original trial.
  21. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    Can you give an example of when that happened?
  22. loulou

    loulou Well-Known Member

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    Reported where?

    It was asked to me in what direction is the italian public opinion leaning.

    Perugia is a small town, with teeny tiny streets.
    I can hardly imagine a large portion of the italian population fitting in there.
    Did they travel by train, by bus, to be there just in case the appeal would overturn the sentence?
    It must have been an organizational nightmare.
    Did anyone statistically study the crowd to check if it was representative of the italian population?
    Maybe people from the UK were there, in the demonstrations that were reported to you?
  23. loulou

    loulou Well-Known Member

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    Did the US make it clear that unless the Fifth Amendment was applied, even if the first degree sentences guilty, they would not extradite?

    -- But they won't extradite, you sure have that part right.


    Why would italian judges convict without solide evidence, and against science?

    Please, bother.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
  24. loulou

    loulou Well-Known Member

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    After Supreme Court sentence, I posted an interview to a Harvard Law lawyer, who said just that.

    Vagabond should tell him, or alert the School their people need further preparation. - End of story, like he/she kindly posted, because that helps the discussion.


    Link to interview.

    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
  25. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    I don't have an example. I am not going to look for one. I have it from 3 lawyers, that the US would be legally obliged to extradite based on the original ruling. Whether or not they do is a different story. However, the law is that they extradite on the original trial ruling.

    I am to saying that I feel that Knox and Sollecito should be convicted. I am simply stating law.
  26. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    Their behavior on record supports their word more than not. In fact, that part of their story doesn't seem to be in dispute by anyone including Italian authorities.

    Amanda Knox is not a CIA agent. These reports are irrelevant as what happens to her is not a matter of national security.

    That is your opinion. My opinion is that the US government will cooperate with Italy and not put pressure on them at all. Knox is a private citizen and it doesn't really impact the government what happens to her. Sure, some people will be upset and write angry words on Twitter and Facebook and some might even write to their government officials. But that's about it. The reality is that it has no real impact on the US government's day-to-day running and the US government has no dog in this fight.

    In your opinion. In other people's opinion this doesn't count as double jeopardy and they will extradite.

    Major news outlets all over the world.

    And your answer revealed your extreme bias.

    Not to mention, Allan Dersowitz is a publicity hound and a douchebag. If you want to find a credible source to support your POV, he ain't it. ;)
  27. reckless

    reckless Well-Known Member

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    I have a couple of thoughts.

    Regarding Knox accusing the wrong man, I seem to recall somewhere that while the police didn't know about Guede, they had found a hair that they realized came from someone of African descent at the crime scene. Is that something that Knox was told during interrogation? If so, it might explain why she implicated Patrick Lumumba. She knew the killer was African. As I also understand it, the police found a text from Knox to Lumumba where she said "See you later" in response to his telling her she didn't need to come to work and they interpreted it as meaning she intended to meet up with him that night. If she was confronted by the police during her interrogation with the fact that Meredith was killed by an African and the police pointed to evidence linking to Lumumba, it would help explain why she accused the wrong man.

    The second thing has to do with the new motive. Guede was convicted on the theory that Meredith was killed during a sex game gone wrong while she was being held down by Knox and Sollecito. Now, the prosecutor has convicted Knox and Sollecito using a completely different scenario -- a fight over cleanliness. So which is it? It seems fundamentally wrong to me to allow a prosecutor to pursue inconsistent theories against different defendants, because both theories cannot be true. The prosecutor should have some duty to the public to seek the truth; his responsibilities should go beyond just getting a conviction by whatever means is possible.
  28. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    I think most of us agree with you. Hearsay, unrecorded interrogation (in a language the defendant was not fluent in), inadequate, inconsistent evidence/scenario, a desire to get a conviction, sloppy crime scene investigation - pretty much sums it up.
  29. zippy

    zippy Active Member

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    This. It's one of several red flags about the prosecution/investigation of this case, like when Sollecito's computer hard drive was accidentally (?) destroyed during the investigation, which might have had exonerating evidence of computer usage during the night of the murder, and yet the prosecution was able to get a lack of computer activity accepted as evidence anyway. Another good one was that a security camera positioned near the apartment was checked for evidence of Knox/Sollecito passing by on the way to her apartment that night (it was on the route between Sollecito's apt and hers, and did catch Guede and Kercher as they headed to the apartment). They were never seen - so the investigators handed the tape back to the company to record over instead of holding it as evidence. Then the witnesses - from a homeless man who admitted to using heroin that night and could only give garbled testimony, to a man who claimed Knox, Sollecito and Guede leaped out of a garbage bag in the middle of the road, pulled a knife on him, and he managed to get away by throwing olives at them!

    The question of extradition will be interesting, if it comes to that. I've heard some speculate Italy may not want to drag this out anymore and just won't bother with a request, perhaps cutting some kind of deal. If they do, I tend to agree the US would cooperate unless Knox's defense team could build some rock solid case about this violating her constitutional rights. They could point out that at her acquittal, she wasn't just found not guilty for lack of evidence, but actually found innocent for not having done the crime. Then there are some other aspects of the decision to overturn the acquittal they might be able to bring up, such as the fact that on several points it was based on the reasoning of the acquittal not being in line with evidence accepted at the trial of Rudy Guede - a trial at which Knox and Sollecito had no representation, and at which the defense had a vested interest in forwarding the theory of multiple attackers. Guede got his sentence reduced almost in half for implicating Knox and Sollecito - and that has a lot to do with why the case went to trial again after the acquittal.

    ETA: An interesting discussion on the 14 points the Supreme Court made in the ruling to overturn the acquittal, as I believe loulou was looking for. Some interesting stuff in the comment section too.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2014
  30. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

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    This thread prompted me to buy her book in audio format, and read by Amanda. Anyone else read it?

    First off, let me say that I don't think the Italians had evidence enough to put her at the scene of the crime at the time of the crime, let alone to convict her.

    Having said that....she is one weird duck! I wonder if she sits somewhere on the high functioning end of the Autism spectrum.
  31. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

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    I can't help but find her boyfriend's comments interesting. He mentioned how aggravated she was when she came back from the house and said it looked like someone broke in and there was blood in the bathroom. Then he said she seemed to be gone a long time for someone who just went to take a shower.

    I have been adamant about her innocence and I still am but this is interesting coming from him. I have a feeling he is just trying to distance himself from her and I can't blame him. It may be his only shot of not going to prison. He can throw her under the bus and know it won't matter for her, she will hardly stand a chance of being extradited.
    AxelAnnie and (deleted member) like this.
  32. kosjenka

    kosjenka Well-Known Member

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    I have also read (well - listened) to her story. And yes - she is one weird duck. There are aspects of her thought process that are ... lets say interesting.

    She has avoided some of the things in her book that had later been presented against her and I am yet to read Solleccito's book in Italian.

    The other day I was talking to 5 of students from my University who spent a semester or more in Perugia and asked them about the students life. 4 of them were there for Erasmus, while one came back with a degree, but all 5 of them say the same thing about pot being easily available and is used with ease, casually and often by locals (i think they meant local students at Perugia Unviersity) and foreign exchange students. So it is interesting how the prosecutor in the original trial and the press painted the American student as a druggie...
  33. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    As a side thought- does the audio (listening to her voice) make the story more convincing than reading her book? I am more into reading than listening. Based on the sloppy work by the prosecution/police, I am inclined to believe that Amada did not commit the murder. The full truth may never come out, but I don't want an innocent person punished if there is a grain of doubt about Guilt.
    AxelAnnie and (deleted member) like this.
  34. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

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    ^^ I think hearing Amanda's voice added a whole dimension to the information.