Category: Raff Sollecito

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Knox & Sollecito: How From Their Very First Questionings The Cracks & Fissures Start To Appear #2

Posted by KrissyG



Minimetro at left foresightedly located provides quick 2 mile trip up to the center.

1. The Much Mischaracterized Interview Context

You’ve read the PR-driven meme that Perugia investigators zoomed in way too quickly on Amanda Knox?

And also on Raffaele Sollecito? No, probably not Raffaele. He is a really big nuisance in proving any malicious targeting. Hard to manufacture a reason to zoom in on an Italian male with a rich and connected father and mafia ties.

Say that investigators were doing little else but ferociously framing Amanda Knox, as John Douglas, Steve Moore and Michael Heavey have claimed again and again (and even so advised the Department of State).

Well-trained American investigators will say they are lucky to average upward of a dozen sessions a week with people of possible involvement. If Douglas, Moore and Heavey have it right, what is your best guess here? Five? Seven? Maximum ten?

Okay. Take a look. Amazing, right? And there were many more still in progress. Interviewing went on for weeks. They are all loaded on the Case Wiki. Never recorded, as the PR lie has it? No, literally everything was captured.

Unfair zooming-in? These depositions prove quite the opposite. Right through to the fourth and ultimate session on 5 November, the investigators were mainly in the mode of spreading the net wider and wider. Seeking still others maybe involved.

2. Analysis Of Knox’s First Statement Continues

Remember this is still the same day Meredith’s body was discovered. We are still on the 2 November deposition which sets narrow limits on what Knox could credibly claim later. (Path dependency, for scientists.)

Maybe Douglas, Heavey and Moore would have missed them?! But I’ll point out more Knox claims that for competent law enforcement would be big red flags. Points that dont match up with Knox down the road, and points that don’t match up with Sollecito.

This morning, around 10-11am, I returned to my house alone to have a shower and change my clothes, and in this circumstance I noticed that the entrance door of the apartment was wide open whereas the doors to the rooms inside the house were all closed, at least the ones to Filomena’s and Meredith’s rooms, although I didn’t check if they were locked, whereas the one to Laura’s room was ajar and my door was open as usual.

Why would she say the door of the apartment was wide open?  Remember, we only have Knox’ word for this.  We know it needed a key to lock it.  In Honor Bound, Raff says this applied both coming in and going out.  Imagine for a minute the real reason for returning was to continue tidying up.  The aim had been to finally leave the cottage with the door left flapping open (as though by an unknown intruder).  If it had been locked, then the conclusion would be it must be Knox, as she and Meredith were the only house mates around that weekend.  So, of course, she has to claim it was open.  Distancing herself.

She says she “˜didn’t check if they were locked’ (Filomena’s and Meredith’s rooms).  But why would they be locked.  This indicates an awareness that Meredith’s room was locked.  To explain why she didn’t spot it then, we have the made-up-on-the-spot event, which turns out to be a non-event.  Rather like Gubbio.  They were going to “˜go to Gubbio’, but then they didn’t go.

We see from Knox’ statement, she wants to tell the story as though she really was innocent.  She has to imagine and play role what an innocent person would do.  The door was hanging open.  She was only there because she wanted to shower and change to go to Gubbio   Ah, but what about Meredith’s locked door?  Didn’t try it to see if it was locked.  Which of course it was.  Perhaps Knox has psychic powers to foresee that it might be found to be locked in the future.  Pre-empting and forestalling the tricky question of Meredith’s closed door.

These things seemed really strange to me because, like I already said, it is customary for all of us to always close the entrance door with a key since that is the only possible way to close it. So I started to call [the names of] the girls aloud, but without getting an answer. At that moment I thought that maybe one of the girls had gone out to throw the trash into the bins, or to go to see our neighbors, the boys, who occupy the apartment below ours and with whom we hang out.

Knox claimed she didn’t know Laura and Filomena were away for the weekend until Filomena told her on the phone after she rang her at midday on 2 Nov 2007, a couple of hours later.  But seriously, if there are three possible housemates around, wouldn’t one just call, “˜Hello!  Anybody home?’ 

Truth is, Knox doesn’t want to say she knew Meredith was the only one around, as the next question would be, “˜So what happened when you called Meredith’s name and knocked on her door, and tried the handle’.

Meredith home alone, would be a real reason to panic.  The realisation “˜Meredith might be hurt inside’ mustn’t come ““ for script purposes ““ until after Knox has - in her story - had a shower, changed and gone back to Raff to tell him of her strange experience.  She has to account for going back to his abode and ringing Filomena from there.  Rather than ring him from the cottage, she has to walk there and then walk back with him.  After a leisurely breakfast, of course.

Still imagining herself in the role of innocent, she has to dream up why, if she thought all housemates were around they didn’t seem to be after all, so here comes the precluding: “˜I thought that maybe one of the girls had gone out to throw the trash into the bins, or to go to see our neighbors’.

I remember having closed the front door of the apartment, but I didn’t lock it with the keys, and I went to the bathroom located near to my room, the one that only me and Meredith usually use, to have a shower, when I noticed drops of blood on the floor and a bigger blood stain on the bath math and other blood stains on the sink as if someone had smeared it with a bloody hand. This thing seemed a bit strange to me because we girls are all fairly clean and tidy, and we clean the bathroom [immediately] after we have used it. At first I thought that the blood on the sink could be mine because I did some ear piercings about a week ago, so I immediately checked in the mirror and touched my ear. Then I touched the blood on the sink but seeing that it was not removed immediately, that is, it was not recent, I thought it could be some girl’s menstrual blood and because it disgusted me, I did not attempt to clean it.

Reason for not raising the alarm or becoming concerned?  I thought it could be some girl’s menstrual blood and because it disgusted me, I did not attempt to clean it.

Again, a clever lie (or so she thought) whilst expressing her disgust at Meredith’s life blood, it would “˜explain’ why she thought nothing was amiss, just a bit strange (she reasons).  As Meredith was the only other person who used that bathroom, we note the careful avoidance of using her name and the use of “˜some girl’ instead.  Remember, at this stage, she is not to know anything has become of Meredith.  Could be anybody’s blood, is the message, with an innocuous cause (albeit “˜disgusting’.)

No mention of padding back to her room on the “˜disgusting’ bathmat to fetch a towel after the shower, which seems to be a story that evolved later, when her lawyers told her of the five isolated luminol prints in the hallway identified as “˜compatible’ with hers and Raff’s.

Immediately after this I went to the other bathroom, where I usually dry my hair, and after having dried it, I noticed that there were feces in the toilet, that is, someone had used it to relieve themselves, but they had not flushed afterwards. This thing also seemed strange to me for the reasons that I have already stated, and so I avoided flushing it myself.

Again we have the liar’s ready explanation as to why the toilet was left in a disgusting state, even though at this stage, she wasn’t spooked enough to think there was anything to be concerned about.  No, the real reason it was “˜strange’, was that according to Knox, nobody who visited the cottage would ever have not flushed the loo.  So that explains why it dawned on her when they realised there had been a burglary that this faece must be the burglar’s.  She ”˜avoided flushing it’ herself, she explains to police, because she had some kind of uncanny intuition it didn’t belong to anybody in the house, nor their friends.

As for Knox shock at the poop, Sophie Purton testified to the court:

One thing in particular that I remember very well regards Amanda’s habits in the bathroom. Meredith said that Amanda often did not flush the toilet. [This] annoyed her and she wanted to do something about it but did not know what to do without creating problems, not wanting to create embarrassing situations.

Same complaint by those in prison with Knox. She does on:

Later I took the mop, which was located inside a closet, and I left my house to go to my boyfriend’s house to clean his room [kitchen] because we had soiled it the previous night. I remember that when I left, around 11.30 am, but I’m not sure about the precise time as I didn’t look very carefully at the clock, I closed the door of the apartment with a turn of the key.

In Knox’ court testimony and police interviews, her favourite refrains are “˜I wouldn’t know what time it was, as I don’t look at the clock’.  One wonders how appropriate this type of sarcasm is in front of murder detectives and a panel of judges.  As Francesco put the time of the pipes leaking at before 8:42 and Knox put it back considerably later, changing it from 9:30, to 10:00 and then to 11:00 pm, we see her dilemma.  She has to say she only took the mop to Raff’s that morning or she’s admitting she returned to the cottage on the night of the murder.

After arriving at the house of my boyfriend, who lives alone in an apartment near my house and to be more precise in Corso Garibaldi number 110, we stayed there for about an hour, for the time it took to clean the kitchen and have some breakfast, after which we returned to my house together. I want to point out that I immediately told my boyfriend about the strange things that I had detected in my house, and he urged me to call one of the girls.

Immediately? That came and went. Here it’s all action, systems go.  The ditzy Knox needed caring Raff to get her to start worrying.  So first two calls to Meredith’s phones.  Then Filomena.  She again has to be told to “˜ring Meredith’, this time by Filomena.  So she dutifully rings Meredith again, this time, just a quick couple of seconds each.  Been there, done that.

And I did indeed first call [emphasis added] Filomena to ask her if she knew anything about the blood I had found in the bathroom, and she replied that she knew nothing about it as she had slept at her boyfriend’s, Marco’s, house the previous night, and the following morning, that is, this morning, she had gone directly to work without going home first. After Filomena, [emphasis added] I phoned Meredith three times and to be more precise, the first time I called her, I called her English cell phone number 00447841131571, which is the first phone number Meredith gave to me, and which I saved first to my phone card; the phone rang several times, and at one point I heard the line disturbances and interruption of rings. So I tried to contact her on the phone with the number 3484673711, and also this time the phone rang but no-one answered. I tried calling her for the third time with the first cell phone number again, but also this time without getting an answer.

I didn’t call Laura because Filomena had told me in the previous phone call that she had gone to Rome, but I don’t remember if Filomena told me when she had left. So I haven’t seen Laura since the afternoon of October 31st this year. At this point, I returned to my house with my boyfriend, worried about Meredith, because she was the only one whose whereabouts I didn’t know of.

As we know, this call was 12:11 yet Knox & Sollecito didn’t actually get to the cottage until circa 12:35, when by coincidence the postale police arrived and Filomena rang Knox again.  This time, she was told of her smashed window.  Knox and Sollecito were so “˜worried about Meredith’ it took over twenty minutes to carry out what should be a five-minute walk. 

Knox doesn’t tell police that the first call she made, after having switched off her phone 20:45 the night before, was at 12:08 to Meredith’s two phones, before she ring Filomena.  So a clear lie, that it wasn’t until Filomena mentioned it that it occurred to her to ring Meredith.  She didn’t realise, either, that police could discover just how long she rang for.  We see it is a nonsense “˜no-one answered’ if they only rang for three seconds or less.  Another sleight of hand, changing the chronology, which takes on a different light when the true time line comes to light.

When I got to my house, around 1 pm, I opened the front door, which I found locked, and entered the apartment. I began to open the doors of the rooms occupied by the other girls. First, I opened Filomena’s bedroom door, that is the first room nearest to the entrance, and together with Raffaele we found that the window, with two shutters, was open and the window glass was broken. I don’t remember if both glasses were broken or only the other one. Broken glass was scattered on the floor, inside the room, near the window. Scared, I thought it could be that a thief had entered the house, and then I quickly glanced around to check that everything was in order, and that nothing had been removed. So I headed to Laura’s room and also there I opened the door and checked that everything was in order. I want to point out that I didn’t go inside the rooms, that I just had a quick look, from the door.

Immediately after that I went into my room, and even there I didn’t notice anything / nothing was different, after which I headed to Meredith’s room, but I couldn’t open the door because it was locked.

Given, having just rang Meredith’s phones three times, and now being told by Filomena that she and Laura were both away for the weekend, you’d think Meredith’s room would be FIRST priority.  Instead, in her account, Knox checks the other two instead, even though Sollecito stated Filomena’s door was wide open when he arrived.  Laura’s door was “˜ajar’ and had a drawer hanging out, and surprise, surprise, Knox’ hunch about Meredith’s door being locked, turns out to be correct, but she only finds out now, some two hours later.

Knox goes to her room, on a dark November day, and doesn’t notice her table lamp is missing (it is on the floor of Meredith’s room) and she would have had to dry herself after the shower (she claims) and change in the dark, as the room had very little natural light.

At that point I looked out from the bathroom terrace, leaning forward to try and see the window of Meredith’s room, but I couldn’t see anything, after which I returned to the door to look through the keyhole and I could only see Meredith’s handbag on the bed. I retraced my steps to take another look at all the rooms without, however, entering any of them and without noticing anything unusual. Immediately after that I entered the first bathroom near the entrance to the apartment where I very quickly looked around without paying close attention to whether the feces were still inside the toilet.

Knox keeps telling the police she didn’t enter any of the rooms, as though she was being carefully to not contaminate any evidence nor disturb the mise en scene the police see set out before them.

At that point while Raffaele remained in the apartment, I went down to the downstairs students’ apartment, and above all to talk with Giacomo hoping he would have news of Meredith’s whereabouts, but no-one answered the door. After I had returned to the apartment, Raffaele decided to call his sister for advice on what to do, and immediately after that call he called, I don’t know if it was the state police (Polizia) or Carabinieri, to come to the house, and in the meantime, I contacted Filomena at her cell phone number 3471073006 to inform her we had found the window panes in her room broken, and that Meredith’s room was locked. She replied that she would join me at once.

So now, the lead up to the discovery of the body is in full swing.  Filomena is on her way, and so are the police.  Once again liar Knox changes the chronology and the correct order of things.  Note how here, Raff calls his sister (a very brief 39 seconds) before Knox claims she contacted Filomena to tell her of the broken window.  Firstly, this would place Raff’s call at 12:35, and we know it was actually 12:47.  Secondly, Knox only called Filomena once, and that was at 12:11. Filomena had to ring Knox ““ for the third time ““ at circa 12:35, when she was informed of the mayhem in her room.  Police later found out the real time of Sollecito’s call.

Raffaele, who was worried about Meredith’s safety, tried to break the door to her room by kicking it without success, and immediately afterwards we saw the plainclothes police arrive. After they showed us their identification cards, they inquired about our particulars and our cell telephone numbers. Then they asked us what had happened. We told them about the window we had found with the shattered glasses, about the blood stains found in the bathroom, and about Meredith’s room that was strangely locked. The policemen asked us questions about the people who occupied the house and about the telephone calls made, and in the meantime a friend of Filomena whom I know as Marco, and two other friends of hers I didn’t know, arrived. At that point Filomena began to talk to the policemen, and while I stood aside in the kitchen, the others together with the policemen headed for Meredith’s room and broke down the door. I can’t specify who really proceeded to break down the door. At that point I heard Filomena screaming and saying “a foot, a foot” while the police officers ordered us all to go outside the apartment.

At that point while Raffaele remained in the apartment, I went down to the downstairs students’ apartment, and above all to talk with Giacomo hoping he would have news of Meredith’s whereabouts, but no-one answered the door. After I had returned to the apartment, Raffaele decided to call his sister for advice on what to do, and immediately after that call he called, I don’t know if it was the state police (Polizia) or Carabinieri, to come to the house, and in the meantime, I contacted Filomena at her cell phone number 3471073006 to inform her we had found the window panes in her room broken, and that Meredith’s room was locked. She replied that she would join me at once.

At that moment I learned from my boyfriend that inside Meredith’s room, in the wardrobe there was a girl’s body covered with a sheet, and the only thing you could see was a foot. None of those present mentioned the name of Meredith, and as I left the house immediately after that without having seen the body, I can’t state whether it’s her.

What’s interesting is what Knox omits.  She fails to mention calling her mother at 3:57 am Seattle Time, soon before Luca kicked open the door at circa 13:05.

These “additionallys” are likely answers to further impressive and unexceptionable questions by the police.

Additionally: There are four Italian students living in the apartment on the lower floor of my house, and we often gather together to play the guitar; together with them we also went out a few times to go for a dinner, and once we went to a disco. Meredith and I went out more times together with all the four boys than the other two (Laura and Filomena). These guys are respectively called Giacomo, Marco, Stefano and the fourth, with whom I personally speak very little, I seem to remember is called Riccardo. I know that one of the four guys, to be precise, Giacomo, is Meredith’s boyfriend. In fact, Meredith sometimes slept at Giacomo’s house and sometimes Giacomo came to our house to sleep with Meredith. I want to point out that the two didn’t very often go out together as Meredith went out with her English friends while Giacomo, from what Meredith told me, preferred to spend more time at home.

Additionally: Regarding the house keys, I can say that they are available to each of us, but I don’t know that other outsiders would be in possession of any copies of them, including Raffaele, my boyfriend. I’m sure Filomena gave no key to Marco, her boyfriend, since every time he arrives at our house he always knocks at the door very loudly. Laura doesn’t have a boyfriend, whereas regarding Meredith, I can say that knowing her I don’t think she had given keys to Giacomo even if I can’t definitely rule it out.

Additionally: Meredith and Giacomo had only been seeing each other for a few weeks, and as for their relationship, Meredith herself told me that it was going well, she never talked about any quarrels with Giacomo, whom I moreover find a very quiet guy. As I’ve already said, she went out very often with her English friends, and they used to attend the disco pub “Merlins”. Once I went there too, and another time we went to another disco pub. Both times there were just us girls.

Additionally: Meredith and I did not celebrate Halloween together, in that I, that evening, was at the “Le Chic” pub, but not for work, but I know she went to “Merlins” with her English friends and without Giacomo, as she told me herself just yesterday. She told me that she had a lot of fun. She did not tell me about any new acquaintances made that evening. From what I know she always went out with the same friends, including me, or with Giacomo and his friends. She usually did not go out alone in the evening.

Additionally: I can describe Meredith as a girl of 21 years or age, of English nationality, about 1.70cm (5’7’‘) tall, thin build, olive complexion, black hair smooth and long, brown eyes. I don’t think she had any particular marks such as tattoos or other marks on her body. The last time I saw her, she was wearing white jeans and a short, light, pale-colored jacket.

Her email to her address book contacts came some 36 hours later, and we can see how she attempts to consolidate what she told the police.  This becomes a script which she commits to memory in strict chronological order as is in the manner of a liar, in order to keep track of their falsehoods.


Monday, December 18, 2017

Knox & Sollecito: How From Their Very First Questionings The Cracks & Fissures Start To Appear

Posted by KrissyG



“Now I say… and then you say… and then I say… and then you say”


Reference the caption above: that’s the last time they talked before their first questionings.

Each day the cracks and fissures got worse. Would any cop not get suspicious?! Three days later, Sollecito separates with a bang and proclaims that Knox had made him lie.

That sure went well. Next murder Knox may do alone… A good primer for this post is this guide on how to read lies.

Here’s my take on the Recorded Statement taken from Amanda Knox 2 Nov 2007 in Part 4 of our previous post below.  It is timed at 3:30pm.  Mignini arrived about 3:00.

It could be the Squadra Mobila (the Flying Squad attached to the Carabinieri) took statements at the scene as Knox had to wait at the Questura quite a while before she was spoken to and got home late. 

I have only processed three or four paragraphs so far (so this could turn into a whole series).  What jumps out at me is the following statement:

Around 5 pm I left my house together with Raffaele to go to his house where we stayed the whole evening and the night.

In Sollecito’s own statement of 2 Nov 2007, in Part 5 of the previous post, he states: 

At about 4:00 pm, Meredith left without saying where she was going, while we stayed at home until about 17.30. After that hour, Amanda and I took a little trip to the center to go to my house where we stayed until this morning.

So, from having been at Via della Pergola for lunch, during which time, Sollecito joined her and Meredith had got out of bed after arriving home in the early hours, and according to Knox and Sollecito, still had the remains of vampire makeup on her chin, was wearing her ex-boyfriend’s jeans, and had gone out at four, “˜without saying where she was going’, the pair claim to have gone straight to Raff’s apartment in Via Garibaldi, “˜at about five’.  In Sollecito’s earliest account, it was to go to his house via the centre.

The next written record we have comes from Knox email home to 25 people in her address book on Sunday 4 Nov 2007, in the early hours circa 36 hours or so after Meredith’s body was found.

meredith came out of the shower and grabbed some laundry or put some laundry in, one or the other and returned into her room after saying hi to raffael. after lunch i began to play guitar with raffael and meredith came out of her room and went to the door. she said bye and left for the day. it was the last time i saw her alive. after a little while of playing guitar me and raffael went to his house to watch movies and after to eat dinner and generally spend the evening and night indoors. [sic]

Many believe this was Amanda writing out a “˜script’ to “˜get her story straight’.  One thing about liars, is that they stick rigidly to a set chronology to make it easier to remember their lies.

The next written record is Sollecito’s first written statement to the police:

Raffale Sollecito: November 5th 2007 at 22:40 in the offices of the Flying Squad of the Perugia Police Headquarters

QA Around 16:00 Meredith left in a hurry without saying where she was going. Amanda and I stayed home until about 17:30-18:00.
QA We left the house, we went into town, but I don’t remember what we did.
QA We stayed there from 18:00 until 20:30/21:00. At 21:00 I went home alone because Amanda told me that she was going to go to the pub Le Chic because she wanted to meet some friends.

For the first time we are made aware that the pair went somewhere after leaving Via della Pergola at between “˜5:30 and 6:00’ according to Raffaele’s statement, this glides neatly into Popovic’s visit at 6:00pm at Raff’s abode.  No visible gaps in the timeline here.

Next comes Knox’ handwritten statement to the police:

Amanda Knox Handwritten Statement to the police 6 Nov 2007

“˜Thursday, November 1st I saw Meredith the last time at my house when she left around 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Raffaele was with me at the time. We, Raffaele and I, stayed at my house for a little while longer and around 5 in the evening we left to watch the movie Amelie at his house.’

So Knox says they left at 5:00 ““ sticking to her scripted story as she set out in the email home, whilst Raff makes it an hour later.  So, we are led to believe, they didn’t stay in town long at all, and in any case, ”˜I don’t remember what we did’. 

This is a big flag.  When people say, “˜I don’t remember’, they are telling you they recall an event, but are unable to retrieve it from their memory.  In fact, they do not even try, not even when elite detectives are carrying out a crucial murder investigation of your girlfriend’s own roommate.  A person who was not involved will say, “˜I don’t know’ when asked a straight question, not “˜I don’t recall’.

Sollecito sticks to his script: “˜We left via della Pergola, five-thirty to six’:

Raffaele Sollecito 7 Nov 2007 PRISON DIARY

“˜An amusing thing I remember is that Meredith was wearing a pair of men’s jeans which belonged to her ex”boyfriend in England. She left quickly around 4 pm, not saying where she was going. Meanwhile, Amanda and I stayed there until around 6 pm and we began to smoke cannabis.
My problems start from this moment because I have confused memories. Firstly, Amanda and I went to the centre going from Piazza Grimana to Corso Vannucci passing behind the University for Foreigners and ending up in Piazza Morlacchi (we always take that road). Then I do not remember but presumably we went shopping for groceries. We returned to my house at around 8 “ 8:30 pm and there I made another joint and, since it was a holiday, I took everything with extreme tranquillity, without the slightest intention of going out since it was cold outside.

Note the signifier, informing the reader, “˜it was cold outside’ embellishing the lie, “˜therefore we could not have gone out that night’.

So, whilst Raff on 7 Nov 2007 has jotted in his PRISON DIARY (which of course he is aware the authorities will be reading avidly), they were out between “˜six and eight’, Amanda writes to her lawyers a couple of days later adhering firmly to her script.

Amanda Knox Letter to her Lawyers 9 Nov 2007

Around 3 or 4 Meredith left the house wearing light-colored clothing, and all she said was “Ciao”. She didn’t say where she was going. I continued playing guitar and after a while Raffaele and I left my house, probably around 5pm.
We went to his house and the first thing we did was get comfortable. I took off my shoes etc. I used his computer for a little while to write down songs I wanted to learn for the guitar, I listened to some of Raffaele’s music at this time.

Note the inclusion of irrelevant and trivial detail, “˜I took off my shoes’.  A liar loves to gild the lily.

click image for larger version

Then comes Knox’ next written affirmation of what she did the day of the murder:

Page 1223 PRISON DIARY ““ AMANDA KNOX 27 Nov 2007

Here is what I did that night:

5pm: Left my house with Raffaele and walked to his apartment.

5:05pm - ???:

    (1) Used the computer to look up songs to play on the guitar.
    (2) Read Harry Potter in German w/Raffaele.
    (3) Watched Amelie.
    (4) Prepared and ate dinner ““ Fish.
    (5) While cleaning the dishes a bunch of water spilled on the floor.
    (6) We tried to soak up a little with small towels but there was too much.
    (7) Raffaele rolled a joint.
    (8) We smoked the joint together and talked.
    (9) We had sex.
    (10) We fell asleep.

It’s that simple.’

Did you spot, she remembers her lines, despite her problems with amnesia?  Still no mention of going into the old town.  When people use qualifies such as, “˜That’s about it’, or “˜It’s as simple as that’, there’s another flag they have just told you a lie.  Note the triple question mark as if she is unsure it took half an hour to arrive at Raff’s, in case anyone pulls her up on it sometime in the future.  Again bells and whistles, the liar’s toolkit.

Raffaele helpfully offers us an insight in his book several years later as to why he revealed ““ even if Amanda never does ““ they went into town in his police statement of 5 Nov 2007.

From Honor Bound 2012 Andrew Gumbel and Raffaele Sollecito write:

(P 17) It was the last time I ever saw [Meredith Kercher].
Amanda and I smoked a joint before leaving the house on Via della Pergola, wandered into town for shopping before remembering we had enough for dinner already, and headed back to my place.

P53 (in the Questura 5 Nov 2007)

I mentioned [to police] Amanda and I had gone out shopping, something I had apparently omitted in my previous statements. [note the plural].

So, we see, Raffaele has not voluntarily offered the information “˜we went into town’ either, on the afternoon of 1 Nov 2007.  He concedes he only proffered it, because the police brought it up.  When asked the purpose of the trip, he claims they went “˜shopping’, but on not being able to prove they bought anything nor state which shops the pair frequented, he had to retract this half-lie, by now adding to his 6 Nov 2007 official police statement, later, that once there, they suddenly realised ”˜we had enough for dinner already’.

So, we are led by this to conclude the purpose of the expedition into the old town was “˜shopping for dinner’, when before, it was to “˜to go to my house where we stayed until this morning.’

It is bizarre and a symptom of lying for someone to say they did something, but then didn’t do it, when asked to elaborate.  Raff omits to even mention to police going into the old town, and Knox persistently does not mention it at all.  He only mentions it when detectives ask him why he omitted to.  He then “˜suddenly remembers’ this “˜unimportant detail’ and tells them they were there to shop.  But wait.  They suddenly do not do any shopping at all, whilst in the old town, because once there, they realise they ”˜already had’ provisions for the evening meal.  Amanda Knox makes clear this evening meal was FISH.  Yet she claims she couldn’t remember exactly what she did at Raff’s, for at least three weeks. Fishy indeed.

I don’t know about you, but if I head into town to buy food or clothes, once there, I don’t suddenly think, “˜Hang on a minute, what am I doing here, I already have bread/a dress at home!’ 

Surely, I would buy something anyway, or at least browse around, perhaps use my John Lewis voucher and go for a coffee and cake.

Astonishingly, years later, Knox still deceives us in this matter:

In Waiting to be Heard  2013 Amanda Knox resolutely omits the detail of “˜going into the old town’:

(P61) Sometime between 4:00pm and 5pm we left to go to his place.’

There then follows filler sentences about how “˜we wanted a quiet cozy night in’.

Then comes the type of deception liars love to use: they pad out their tall tales with irrelevant guff.

“˜As we walked along, I was telling Raffaele that Amélie was my all time favourite movie.
“˜Really?’ he asked.  “˜I’ve never seen it’

[Forgetting completely, forensic police discovered he’d downloaded the movie way back on 28 Oct 2007 {by coincidence, no doubt}].

“˜Oh my God,’ I said, unbelieving.  “˜You have to see it right this second.  You’ll love it’

The narrative then completely jumps to:

Not long after we got back to Raffaele’s place, his doorbell rang.  [Enter first alibi Jovanna Popovic, whom Raff states appeared at 6:00pm].

A whole hour is omitted.  One whole hour to get back to Raff’s, just around the corner, four to ten minutes away at the outside.

From all the embellishments, fabrications and outright lies, we see that what happened between 4:00pm and 9:00pm and where the pair went, is significant.  Some say, they obviously went to score drugs.  However, they openly admit to smoking a joint.  In fact, they go to pains to emphasise it.  They have no inhibitions talking about having sex. Therefore, the trip into the old town which took up to two to five hours of their time is rather more sinister than some kind of coyness or embarrassment about buying some dope.

In his statement to police on 5 Nov 2007, Sollecito changes his story and claims he came home alone at ‘20:30/21:00’.  As we now know, the pair both switched off their phones together, between 20:45 and 21:00, so we can be sure this time is supremely salient.  Meredith was on her way back around then.  From Knox not ever mentioning the trip into town, it could be she indeed never did go into town, and that Raff went alone.

Raffaele Sollecito complains in his book “˜the police were out to get me’ by catching out his anomalies.  However, I was watching a tv programme a few days ago, about a murder case, and detectives had to puzzle out from scratch who was the culprit.  The detectives explained to the viewer, when someone comes in for questioning, all they have is that person’s face value account.  They then check out the details, and then, if they discover falsehood and deception in the interviewee’s story, that is what makes them suspicious.  So Raff and Amanda have only themselves to blame police suspected them.

I believe the pair followed Meredith and stalked her movements that night, hence the concealment of their true motive for being out between 4:00 and 9:00.

Popovic has a story that she had to pick up a suitcase from the station, and then didn’t have to after all, so either she really did see Knox at home at six, as claimed, or it was “˜a friend helping out with the alibi’.  See “˜the event that is a non-event’ -type of lie, as above.  Who knows what that was about.  Popovic claims to have spoken to the pair at between 5:30 and 5:45 and again at about 8:40. I personally remain sceptical of her testimony, as I do of his father’s, Francesco, whose claimed account of the 8:42 telephone conversation directly contradicts Knox’ and Sollecito’ with regard to dinner and the pipes flooding, supposedly happening before the murder.

We do know, as James Raper points out, as per Massei - “at 18:27:15 [6.27 pm]  on the 1/11/07, there was human interaction via the “VLC” application, software used to play a multimedia file for a film “Il Favolso Mondo Di Amelie.avi”, already downloaded onto Sollecito’s computer laptop via P2P (peer to peer) some days earlier.”

We also know there was human interaction when the film “˜crashed’ (as it was finished?) at 9:10 because someone clicked on the error message to close it.  I do not think this starting and finishing the film proves anything.  I have always viewed Amélie as a contrived alibi.

Lies can work both ways.  I don’t believe either Francesco or Popovic. The supposed testimony of these two “˜alibi witnesses’ were used directly against Sollecito when his compensation claim was thrown out.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sollecito Thinks He Can Win Again At The Supreme Court? Think Twice, Eyes Much Sharper Now

Posted by James Raper




1. Sollecito’s Tough Road Ahead

He who comes to court for compensation must come with clean hands.

Dr Maresca’s comment quoted below is relevant and fully justified. It is not to be overlooked that in addition to the lies and suspicious behaviour we have a “definitive” (joke) judgement that also says that Knox and probably Sollecito were present in the cottage at the time of the murder.

Even if Sollecito was not then he had good cause to believe that Knox was, yet before and after his police statement he did everything he could to obfuscate the fact and mislead investigators and prosecutors, all the while trying to dig himself out of a hole.

That adds up to a number of additional criminal offences he has committed but for which he has escaped sanction.  In addition who can doubt that at the very least he had a part in, or knowledge of, the burglary staging (not criticized by the 5th Chambers), and the subsequent removal of blood traces (the evidence for which which the 5th Chamber basically ignored).

‘Doubts Remain about Sollecito’s Acquittal by Maresca’

(ANSA) - PERUGIA, Feb. 12 - The lawyer Francesco Maresca, who represents the family of Meredith Kercher, commented on the decision of the Tuscan capital judges to reject the claim for unjust detention by the young man from Puglia.

“The Court of Appeal of Florence confirms the uncertainty related to the acquittal of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox will remain in the history of Italian justice for all the unresolved doubts that it leaves”.

According to the lawyer “It confirms the statements and behavior of the young pair as a justification for custody and reminds us of the fact that the Supreme Court has placed them still in the house of the crime, so it really does seem that this absolution was to be refused at all costs.”


2. Knox & Sollecito Actions In The Week Prior To Arrest:

This is a repeat of my post of almost exactly three years ago which reveals an incriminating behavior pattern for sure.

A very strong case for guilt has been made at trial and endorsed at the first-level appeal…

The focus of this post… is upon the described behaviours of Knox and Sollecito, from the very beginning for a full week.

How The Behavior Speaks To Guilt

The early pointer of the staged break-in aside this behaviour gave investigators an insight into the pair’s possible involvement back on Day One: Behavioral pointers have continued on a par with corroborated developments in the case.

It has even continued, incredibly, since their release from prison. For me it is the thread that runs through this case having as much to do with the overall picture of culpability as the other elements .

This behaviour - to include what they have to say for themselves - is a catalogue of the inappropriate, of the implausible, of inconsistencies and contradictions, of evasions and obfuscations, to be gleaned from the accounts of Knox and Sollecito themselves and highlighted in the accounts of other witnesses. It is also to be gleaned from phone and computer records.

Taken together it is a formidable body of evidence which goes to character and culpability. It cannot be attributed to a railroading job, the machinations of a corrupt and evil prosecutor or character assassination by the media. It is also implausible if not impossible to explain it as being due to naivety, confusion or some quirkiness of character.

It amounts to the pair of them concocting stories, telling lies and misleading investigators and the general public.

Physical Evidence Array Is Already Substantial

There are numerous items of evidence which are building blocks in the prosecution case and with which we are all familiar.

    1. The staged break-in via Filomena’s window with pointers to this outside, on the windows and shutters, and throughout the bedroom.

    2. The evident partial clean up proved by footprint trails with footprints missing and what was behind the locked door.

    3. Amanda Knox’s lamp on the floor behind Meredith’s locked door which she only conceded was her own at trial, under pressure.

    4. Knox’s dried and congealed blood on the tap in the small bathroom that Amanda Knox and Meredith shared.

    5. The bloody footprint on the mat in that bathroom definitively attributed to Sollecito rather than Guede

    6.  The mixed DNA of Knox and Meredith Kercher found in blood in the basin, the bidet and on the box of Q tips in that bathroom

    7. Two luminol enhanced mixed traces containing DNA belonging to Knox and Meredith Kercher, one in the corridor and the other in Filomena’s room

    8. Two luminol enhanced footprints of Knox in the corridor and one of Sollecito immediately outside Meredith’s room.

    9. The knife taken from Sollecito’s apartment with Meredith Kercher’s DNA on the blade and Knox’s DNA on the handle and on the blade

    10. Meredith Kercher’s bra clasp with Sollecito’s DNA on a hook and contamination possibilities definitively ruled out.
Behaviors In The First Week Of November 2007

I don’t want to make this an unduly long post. Accordingly I am going to concentrate on the period up to that famous police interrogation analysed just below. As to that critical period I will be selective but it should be enough.


The Lady With The Mop?

The story (in Knox’s e-mail) that she had visited the cottage to collect a mop, have a shower and get a change of clothing, earlier on the morning of the 2nd November, but did not notice that Filomena’s window had been broken and her room trashed is just that - a made up story. It is entirely implausible and the account unreliable for a number of reasons including-

    (a) it is hard to believe that she did not notice the hard to miss fact that the shutters to Filomena’s window were (as they were found) open - this would have alerted her to the likelihood that Filomena was back home which she would, of course, have checked out of curiosity if nothing else given that she found no one home.

    (b) her claim that Filomena’s door was shut is contradicted by Sollecito who wrote (prison diary) that when he later entered the cottage with Knox   Filomena’s door was wide open.

    (c) it is hard to believe that she took a shower without noticing until after her shower (as she claimed) that there was blood on the bathroom mat, including a bloody footprint. In fact she didn’t even claim to notice that it was a footprint despite the fact that it was obviously so.

    (d) it is hard to believe that having found the front door wide open and having found blood, and having opted for a shower and to blow dry her hair, she never got round to checking for any sign of Meredith’s presence. Any one else would have tried her door to check whether or not she was home.

    (e) from her appearance at the cottage that morning it is hard to believe that she took a shower at all (let alone blow dried her hair) and the cops remarked that she reeked of body odour.

    (f)  less problematic but nevertheless still somewhat surprising is that as she is drying her hair she makes a fuss over shit (left by Guede) in the toilet,  describes herself as being “uncomfortable” about it but does not flush it away before grabbing the mop and leaving.



The Two Stayed At Home?

The story that Knox and Sollecito had spent the previous night (the night of Meredith’s murder) indoors, critically from 9 pm onwards, that both had slept and that Knox had been the first to rise at about 10.30 am the next morning is implausible and uncorroborated, not only because this alibi is directly contradicted by the testimony of Curatolo and Quintavalle, and Sollecito’s statement to the police that Knox had gone out and not returned until about 1 am, but also in view of the following facts.

    (a) Curatolo claimed to have first seen the Knox and Sollecito in Piazza Grimana shortly after 9.30 pm but Knox claimed in her trial testimony that she and Raffaele had cooked and eaten a meal between 9.30 and 10 pm.
    GCM:  Can you say what time this was?

    AK:  umm, around, umm, we ate around 9.30 or 10, and then after we had eaten, and he was washing the dishes, well, as I said, I don’t look at the clock much, but it was around 10. And”¦he”¦umm”¦well, he was washing the dishes and, umm, the water was coming out and he was very bummed,  displeased, he told me he had just had that thing repaired. He was annoyed that it had broken again. So”¦umm

    LG:  Yes, so you talked a bit. Then what did you do?

    AK:  Then we smoked a joint together”¦”¦we made love”¦..then we fell asleep.

    Unfortunately Sollecito’s father himself torpedoed this dodge by telling the court that when he phoned his son at 8.42 pm Sollecito had told him that there had been a water leak while he was washing the dishes. Taking into account Knox’s testimony that they had eaten before the dish washing, this places the meal and dish washing before that call.

    (b) Sollecito told the police that at about 11 pm he had received a call from his father on his land line. Not only is that not confirmed by his father but there is no log of such a call.

    (c) There is no log of a call to his mobile at that time either though his father had sent a text message at that time but which Sollecito did not receive until 6. 03 am the following morning. We know that he had received it at that time because that is the time at which it is logged in the phone records.  Sollecito had just turned his phone on and clearly the phone had been off when the text message was sent.

    (d) There is no record of any phone activity for either of them from after the 8.42 pm call to, in Sollecito’s case, receipt of that text message at 6.03 am,  and in Knox’s case her call to Meredith’s English phone at 12.07 pm the next day.

    A further word about this Point (d) here as Knox has released her phone records on her web site. In her case it has to be said that this is not so unusual. Up until the 30th October there is no regular pattern of late or early morning phone activity.

    It is interesting to note, however, that as of the 30th October there is a spate of texts and calls between her and a young Greek known to us as Spiros.  Communication between them had in fact been going on since the beginning of October but there are 5 texts in the afternoon of the 30th, two telephone calls in the afternoon and a call at 11.38 pm on Halloween.

    In the early hours of the following morning there are a couple of calls between the two. In fact we know that the two met up together for Halloween as Knox was at a loose end.  Meredith had shrugged her off and Raffaele was attending a friend’s graduation dinner out of town.

    Sollecito is different as his father was in the habit of calling at all hours just to find out what his son was doing and, as we know, he had called late only to find that his son’s phone was switched off.

    In the case of Knox she admitted in any event that her phone had been switched off, “to save the battery”.

    (e) There is no record of any activity on Sollecito’s computer after 9.15 pm and until 5.32 am the following morning when music was played for half an hour.  This contradicts the claim that Sollecito had smoked pot and interacted with his computer until midnight and that they had both slept until late the following morning.

    (f) The fact that the next morning, outside the cottage, both Knox and Sollecito looked utterly exhausted. This belies the alibi that they had spent a quiet night indoors and had only risen late that morning.

The Fake Call To Knox’s Mum in Seattle?

Knox falsely claims in her book that having had her shower she called her mother on her way back to Sollecito’s apartment as she was beginning to have concerns as to what she had seen at the cottage. Her mother tells her to raise her concerns with Raffaele and the other flatmates and Knox says that she then immediately called Filomena. Filomena tells her to get hold of Meredith by phone which she tries to do by calling Meredith’s English phone first, then her Italian one.

    (a) How does this correlate to the contents of her e-mail of the 11/04/07?

    (b) How does this correlate to Knox’s phone records?

    (c) There is no mention of a call to her mother at all in the e-mail. This from her e-mail -
    “”¦.and I returned to Raffaele’s place. After we had used the mop to clean up the kitchen I told Raffaele about what I had seen in the house over breakfast.  The strange blood in the bathroom, the door wide open, the shit in the toilet.  He suggested I call one of my roommates, so I called Filomena”¦”¦”¦..
    Filomena seemed really worried so I told her I’d call Meredith and then call her back. I called both of Meredith’s phones the English one first and last and the Italian one in between. The first time I called the English phone it rang and then sounded as if there was disturbance, but no one answered. I then called the Italian phone and it just kept ringing, no answer. I called the English phone again and this time an English voice told me the phone was out of service.”

    (d) the phone records are as follows for 2 November 2007:

    Ist call of the day @  12.07.12 (to Meredith’s English phone)  - 16 seconds

    2nd call   @  12.08.44 (to Filomena)  -  68 seconds

    3rd call   @ 12.11.02 (to Meredith’s Italian phone)  -  3 seconds

    4th call @ 12.11.54 (to Meredith’s English phone)  - 4 seconds

    8th call   @  12..47.23 (first call to her mother) - 88 seconds

    (e) The discrepancies are numerous, see these examples:

    1. The first call to her mother was not just after leaving the cottage but 40 minutes after the call to Filomena, and the call to Filomena had been placed after she had returned to Raffaele’s place and after they had used the mop and had breakfast. In fact, say about an hour after she left the cottage.

    2.  The first call to Meredith’s English phone was placed before the call to Filomena, and not after as Knox would have it in her e-mail. A minute before,  but Knox did not mention this to Filomena, as confirmed by the e-mail and Filomena’s testimony.

    3. The first call to Meredith’s English phone disappears entirely in Knox’s book.

    4.  The call to the Italian phone did not just keep ringing. The connection was for 3 seconds and this was followed by a connection to the English phone for 4 seconds.

    5.  The English phone was not switched off or out of service. Mrs Lana’s daughter had found it. She said that she would not have done so but for it ringing (the 12.07 call for 16 seconds?). She picked it up and took it into the house where it rang again (the 12.11 call - 4 seconds?). A name appeared on the screen as it rang : “Amanda”.

    6.  The 3 and 4 second calls are highly suspicious. The Italian phone was undoubtedly in the possession of the postal police. According to Massei it’s answering service was activated, accounting for the log. Clearly Knox did not even bother to leave a message for Meredith as it would take longer than 3 seconds just to listen to the answering service. This is not the behaviour of someone genuinely concerned about another.

My Observations:

1.  In her e-mail, and repeated in her trial testimony, Knox says that she woke up around 10.30 am, grabbed a few things and walked the 5 minutes back to the cottage. If the first call to her mother was about an hour after she left the cottage (see before), then she left the cottage at about 11.47 am, which means that she spent over an hour there. Either that or she spent more (a lot more)  than 20 minutes at Raffaele’s place before calling Filomena. The latter would be more likely as it is difficult to conceive that she spent over an hour at the cottage. She didn’t have the heating on when she was there. Either way there is a period of about an hour and a half between when she might have tried to contact Meredith or raise the alarm and actually doing so.

2.  That we are right to be incredulous about this is borne out by the false claim in Knox”˜s book. That false claim is significant and can only be because Knox is aware of the problem and feels she needs to add some support to her implausible story of the mop/shower visit and to conceal the real reasons for the inactivity and delay connected with it.

3. That it is incredible is even belatedly acknowledged by Sollecito’s feeble but revealing attempt to distance himself from Knox in a CNN interview on the 28 Feb this year. “Certainly I asked her questions” he said. “Why did you take a shower? Why did you spend so much time there?”

4.  That she makes that false claim and has constantly stonewalled and/or misplaced the 16 second call to Meredith’s English phone is indicative of her guilty knowledge. Her guilty knowledge with respect to the 16 second call was that it was made to ascertain whether or not the phones had been located before she called Filomena, and hence for her it was not (incredulous though this is without such explanation) a pertinent fact for her to bring up with Filomena.


The Real Call To Knox’s Mum In Seattle?

As to the 12.47 call to her mother itself (4.47 am Seattle time and prior to the discovery of Meredith”˜s body) Knox not only did not mention that in her e-mail but in her trial testimony she steadfastly declined to recall that it had occurred.

She clearly did not want, or could not be trusted, to discuss why the call had occurred and what had transpired in conversation with her mother before the discovery of Meredith’s body.

Not only was the timing of the 12.47 call inconvenient to her mother but I found it interesting to note from Knox’s phone records (covering 2nd Oct - 3rd November) that mother and daughter do not appear to have called or texted each other once up until that 12.47 call.

It would appear then that in so far as they remained in direct communication with each other for that period it must have been by e-mail. One can therefore imagine that her mother was very surprised to receive that call.

It is also very difficult to accept that Knox could not recall a phone call she was not in the habit of making. (On the other hand the same records show that it was not at all unusual for Knox and Meredith to communicate with other on Meredith’s English phone.)


Sollecito’s Call From His Dad?

At the cottage, and prior to the above call, Sollecito received a call from his father at 12.40 am. Do we know what they discussed? It would in any event have been after the discovery of Filomena’s broken window and (allegedly) Sollecito’s (rather feeble) attempt to beak down Meredith’s door.

Did the responsible adult advise his son to do the obvious and call the police? One would think so, but then why was there a 10 minute delay before he called his sister in the Carabinieri at 12.50 am? Indeed, why call his sister at all? Filomena had also urged Knox to call the police when she called at 12.35.The delay might be explained by the unexpected arrival of the postal police and if this was the case then it was before Sollecito called the 112 emergency services.


The Claims Of Finding Meredith’s Body?

Neither Knox nor Sollecito saw into Meredith’s room when the door was broken down and her body discovered on the floor under a quilt. Yet in the immediate aftermath it is as if they have wanted others to believe that it was they who discovered her body and in the bragging about this there have been disclosures, not only as to what they should not have been aware but also suggestive of disturbed personalities. This behaviour was remarkable for all the wrong reasons.

    (a)  Luca Altieri”˜s testimony makes it clear that Knox and Sollecito had heard about Meredith”˜s cut throat directly from him during the car ride to the police station.

    However her bizarre and grotesque allusion in the early moments of the investigation to the body being found stuffed into the closet (wardrobe) is not just factually incorrect (it was lying to the side of the closet) but bears correlation to the later forensic findings based on blood splatter in front of and on the closet door, that Meredith had been thrust up against the closet after having been stabbed in the throat.

    (b)  The behaviour of Knox and Sollecito at the police station is documented in the testimony of Meredith’s English girlfriends and of the police. Whilst it is true that people react to grief in different ways it is difficult to ascribe grief to Knox’s behaviour. Emotionally she was cold towards Meredith’s friends and occasionally went out of her way to upset them with barbed and callous remarks.

    The fact that Knox was not observed to cry and wanted to talk about what had happened is not of itself indicative of anything but remarks like “What the fuck do you think, she bled to death” and her kissing and canoodling with Raffaele (including them making smacking noises with their lips when they blew kisses to each other) in front of the others was not normal.

    Rather chilling in retrospect was a scene between the pair of them when Knox found the word “minaccia” ( in english - threat) amusing and made a play of it with Sollecito in front of witnesses.

    (c) Grief is in any event reserved for friends and relations, or people one much admires. The evidence is that the initial short friendship between the two had cooled to the extent that Meredith was studiously, if politely, avoiding being around Knox. For the narcissistic and attention seeking american girl this would have been difficult to ignore and may well have offended her.

    (d)  The next day Sollecito was willingly collared by a reporter from the Sunday Mirror and told her about the horror of finding the body.
    “Yes I knew her. I found her body.”

    “It is something I never hope to see again,” he said. “There was blood everywhere and I couldn’t take it all in.”

    “My girlfriend was her flatmate and she was crying and screaming, ‘How could anyone do this?’”

    Sollecito went on to tell the reporter that “It was a normal night. Meredith had gone out with one of her English friends and Amanda and I went to party with one of my friends. The next day, around lunchtime, Amanda went back to their apartment to have a shower.”

About the only thing that is true here is that he knew Meredith.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Endemic Hints By RS That He WAS One Of The Real Killers Pretty Blatant In Italy #2

Posted by Guermantes



Popular TV and newsprint presence Selvaggia Lucarelli one of more prominent anti-RS

The humorless and un-self-aware RS and AK really play into skeptical Italian commentators’ hands.

Almost everything Sollecito says and does now is put under the microscope. He seems to sort of get that he becomes the butt of a lot of often-subtle jokes. His ticked-off reactions only make things worse.

This is my translation of a second column by Selvaggia Lucarelli the popular TV and newsprint presence. This was our first.

April 5, 2016

Raffaele Sollecito becomes crime commentator on TV with TgCom24. Next stop ““ knife sharpener?

By Selvaggia Lucarelli

A year ago, the Court of Cassation definitively acquitted Raffaele Sollecito (and Amanda Knox). Evidentiary framework that would confirm their guilt beyond reasonable doubt was lacking. Now Raffaele Sollecito is a free man and has an inviolable right to do what he wants. He could be a singer, an insurance agent, a tailor, a blacksmith, a web designer, or a pizza maker.

And yet, all of his amazing attempts to kick off a second life are clues and evidence (which is rather damning) not to be guilty of murder “beyond reasonable doubt”, but to be guilty of bad taste, inelegance, missed opportunities and unintelligence beyond reasonable doubt. Beyond any doubt or hesitation at all. Beyond any uncertainty.

On this matter, the evidence is rather overwhelming and reliable. And no, I’m not part of that forcaioli (pitchfork, gallows) lobby Sollecito often likes to quote. I am part of that large group of people who witness his awkward and incoherent attempts at liberation / redemption and wonder if there is no one sensible next to him to suggest that he chooses a career a few fields away from the dead people / murder victims.

Because there would be other things to do if he wished so, yet the dear Raffaele, for now, of all the brilliant ideas about his future career has given birth to two: the first was that of an app (funded by the Puglia region with 66,000 Euro) to arrange funerals, share photos of the dead with others and, as is written in the introduction to his website, “to eliminate, through the services of the app, the distance between you and the person you want to commemorate.”

I mean, if really, thanks to Sollecito, there exists a way to keep in touch with the dead, we hope that Meredith’s mother downloads the app as soon as possible and chats with her daughter to ask who had murdered her, together with Rudi Guedè, seeing as he was convicted of murder in complicity with someone, but that someone has never been identified.

However, the Sollecito app, for which he won a grant (the Puglia region realized that the idea of funerals 2.0 was likely to slide into second place in the ranking of the top apps in the world after Whatsapp), must not have had the desired effect because Raffaele has decided to take a second road.

The news is just a few days old: Sollecito is now a TV crime expert in the Mediaset’s program “This Week’s Mystery” where he discusses amiably the most famous murder victims.

Of course, it should be recognized that in a world of improvised TV experts, it could not be said that the young man did not chew on his arguments, so all in all we appreciate his choice of Mediaset to work towards competence. It is the issue of good taste that continues to leave us vaguely incredulous, so much so that TgCom24 announced Sollecito’s debut on April 1, and virtually no one paid attention to the news believing that it was yet another surreal April Fools’ joke.

After three days and the airing of the program everyone had to believe the unbelievable and the news yesterday was revived by all. The moral of the story: Sollecito, commentator on TV in a broadcast on murder victims, in the history of all the April Fools’ jokes from the Cretaceous to the present, is not, alas, a false story mistaken for true, but the first real news mistaken for false.

I wonder now what will be his next steps in the world of work: maybe it would be a nice idea to open a guest house for students. Or become a sharpener of knives. Or open a real estate agency in Perugia. What is certain is that in the wake of this macabre narcissism anything is possible.

And yes, of course, that is the basic premise. The certainty that Raffaele Sollecito can do whatever the hell he wants. It is also true, however, a healthy person judged innocent by a court while half of Italy is still convinced he’s guilty would instead seek media oblivion.

And if not oblivion, at least a career a few fields away from the smell of death, the suspicion that death carries with it, the face of a little girl named Meredith who was killed like a dog. Not Raffaele, he does not intend to sever that bond (with the dead) but, on the contrary, seems to want to ride on with uncanny persistence.

Too bad. It took eight years to prove his innocence, it would take five minutes to prove his intelligence. Maybe opening a kiosk outside the stadium or an architectural bureau in Barletta, instead of going on TV to argue with Bruzzone who knows most about killings, would be a better idea. Meredith’s parents would appreciate this, I’m sure.


Friday, February 26, 2016

Surprising Similarities Between Sammy The Bull Gravano And The Ex-Perps In Meredith’s Case

Posted by Chimera


Overview

This piece is about Salvatore (Sammy the Bull) Gravano, an admitted serial killer.

He had a career in the mafia, and was the underboss and hitman for the notorious mob boss John Gotti.  Although his is a case about organized crime, there are many similarities between Gotti v Gravano, and Knox v Sollecito v Guede.

Some Gotti/Gravano history

John Gotti was a captain in the Gambino crime family (named after Carlo Gambino), based in New York, NY.  A serious problem emerged for him when several members of his ‘‘crew’’ were indicted for drug dealing.

These indictments included his younger brother, Gene Gotti, and Angelo Ruggiero, a childhood friend.  The policy within the crime family for many years had been ‘‘deal-and-die’‘.

The upper leadership of the mob had figured that drug dealing was too high profile a crime, and that the extra police attention was not worth it.  True, this was extremely hypocritical, as the bosses collected their cut of all income, knowing that a large portion of those proceeds came directly from drugs.

The drug indictments suddenly meant that John Gotti was in danger.

Though not personally implicated, he thought he might also be killed on the assumption that he approved of the alleged dealing.  He decided to strike first, to save his own neck by having then boss Paul Castellano ‘‘rubbed out’‘.  Gotti solicited the help of Salvatore (Sammy the Bull) Gravano, who was known as a prolific killer.

Paul Castellano had inducted Gravano into the mob in 1978.  However, Gravano had no qualms about killing his ‘‘friend’’ since Gotti offered him even more: a promotion to ‘‘capo’’ or to ‘‘captain’‘.

Gravano helped Gotti set up the hit for December 16, 1985.  With Castellano (and driver Tommy Billoti who was at the time underboss) dead, the family was temporarily leaderless.  Gotti got himself voted in, and took over the Gambino family.

Castellano wasn’t the only ‘‘friend’’ that Gravano murdered, or would later murder.  Gravano murdered Robert di Bernardo—a business partner, Louie Molito—a childhood friend, and others.  He then took over any assets that they had.  Some ‘‘friend’‘.

For the next several years, Gotti deliberately put himself into the spotlight.  He managed to win 3 criminal trials, and seemed untouchable.  However, in 1990, his mouth got him into trouble, and the FBI recorded Gotti implicating himself and other Gambino associates on murder and other crimes.

Gotti also made many nasty insults towards Gravano, now his underboss.

Gotti, Gravano, and Frank LeCasio (then the 3rd in command) were arrested December 11, 1990.  All were held without bail.  When Gravano finally heard the tapes of what Gotti had been saying about him, he turned and became a ‘‘mob rat’‘.  Gotti and LeCasio were convicted of murder, racketeering and other crimes, and received life without parole. 

Gravano, however got a deal that would put Karla Homolka to shame: 5 years for 19 murders.  True, he could have served 20 for racketeering, but the judge cut it far below that.

For the complete interview, please see the YouTube video at the top here. This was shot in the 1990’s and converted to digital, so the quality is not that great.  Here are a few more for background.  The third one, the movie ‘‘Gotti’’ is fairly accurate, though off on some points.


Gambino family highlights

(1) Albert Anastasia (underboss to Vincent Magino) made his ‘‘friend’’ disappear.  Anastasia then took over.

(2) Carlo Gambino (underboss to Albert Anastasia) had his ‘‘friend’’ shot in a barbershop.  Gambino then took over.

(3) Carlo Gambino made sure the ‘‘best qualified person’’ took over when he had a heart attack.  He hand picked his brother-in-law Paul Castellano to succeed him.

(4) Paul Castellano’s underboss, Neil Delacroce, died of cancer.  Castellano hand picked his buddy, Tommy Bilotti, to become new underboss.

(5) John Gotti and Salvatore (Sammy) Gravano, had their ‘‘friend’’ Paul Castellano shot dead in public.  Gotti took over.

(6) While in prison, John Gotti made sure the best qualified person succeeded him as boss.  He hand picked his son, John Jr.

So…. murder and nepotism seem to be how the top spots get filled in the mafia.

Excerpts From the Video

2:55 (Gravano)  You can relate me to a soldier in Vietnam who killed hundreds of people.  I was a soldier of Cosa Nostra.  I am a hitman.

No. You are just a slimeball who kills for money.

3:25 (Gravano)  Here I am

3:30 (Sawyer)  They have said that you are the single most important witness ever to testify against the mob.

3:36 (Gravano)  I think I am.

3:39 (Sawyer)  So there’s a word you use, for people who turn ...

3:42 (Gravano)  Who cooperate.  You trying to goat me into the word?  Rat?  Is that the word?

3:51 (Sawyer)  That’s the word.  So are you a rat?

3:53 Gravano)  I look at it as ‘‘I was betrayed.  I betrayed him.’‘

3:59 (Sawyer)  Double crosser?

4:01 (Gravano) Loud sigh ... master double-crosser.  John’s a double-crosser.  I’m a master double-crosser.  We played chess, and he lost.

Gravano had in the past sneered at the idea of people testifying.  However, when it is his turn, he dismisses it as a game.

4:30 (Gravano)  Power has a way, where you can believe for a while that you can walk on water.  And I think this is what happened to him.

And people who can walk away from 19 murders?  What are they thinking?

5:25 (Sawyer)  Were you Gotti’s friend?

5:30 (Gravano)  His pit bull.  And his friend.

5:42 (Sawyer)  What was the reason, the real reason you cooperated?  Or was it just to save your skin?

5:48 (Gravano)  I was just tired of the mob, and tired of fighting.  It was a door out of the mob.  You know I watched the David Karresch incident, and I would say to myself: ‘‘how could these people get so brainwashed?  Are they crazy?  Are they nuts?’’ And then I look at myself in the mirror and I say ‘‘brainwashed?’’  Here I am on orders, killing people left and right.  And I’m calling them brainwashed.

6:18 (Sawyer)  There was a book written about you that you said you had a characteristic of committing murder with the non-chalence of someone pulling open the tab on a can of beer.  That was about all that it phased you, or about all it took.

6:30 (Gravano)  As far as being a hitman goes, I was actually good at it.

6:36 (Sawyer)  Because you were fast, and lethal?

6:39 (Gravano)  And loyal.  If I was on your case, I dropped everything.

6:45 (Sawyer)  Look at this list.  There are ... how many?

6:49 (Gravano) 19

6:51 (Sawyer)  Serial killers don’t have 19.

6:53 (Gravano)  We’re worse than they are.

Okay, which is it?  You turned on Gotti because it was a chess game?  Or you did it because you were tired of the mob and the games?  It can’t be both.

7:00 (Gravano)  We only kill ourselves.  What are you worried about?  The public seems to like what we do.  Look at John Gotti.  If I have 19, forget about what he has.  When he wanted a hit, he wanted it done yesterday.  He would sent me to supervise it, or to control it, make sure the job got done.  And I obviously did.  When you’re the boss, and you’re giving orders, you’re credited with all of it, even if you’re not on the street.

Gravano is pulling the ‘‘John was even worse’’ card here.  And he seems somewhat proud of what he has done.  Sicko.

17:55 (Gravano)  I remember something that surprised me is that I had no remorse at all.  None.  I didn’t feel sorry for him in the least.  I felt power.  I felt like my adrenaline in my body was completely out of control.

18:09 (Sawyer)  You were excited?

18:13 (Gravano)  I guess it’s like an animal going after its prey.

18:35 (Gravano)  Everything changed.  .... At a club, oh, no Sammy, you don’t have to wait in line.  You can come right in.

18:40 (Sawyer)  You were a player?

18:45 (Gravano)  I was out of the minor leagues.  I was in the major leagues.

No comment needed.

Other parallels with our pair

  • Gravano is of Italian-American descent.
  • Knox is American.
  • Sollecito is Italian.


  • Gravano was paid $1.5 million for ‘‘his’’ book called Underboss.
  • Knox was paid $3.8 million for ‘‘her’’ book called Waiting to be Heard.
  • Sollecito was paid $950,000 for ‘‘his’’ book, called Honor Bound


  • Gravano tried to ‘‘cash in’’ on his murders by admitting what he had done.
  • Knox/Sollecito tried to ‘‘cash in’’ on Meredith’s murder


  • ’‘Gravano’s’’ book was really written by Peter Maas.
  • ’‘Knox’s’’ book was really written by Linda Kuhlman.
  • ’‘Sollecito’s’’ book was really written by Andrew Gumbel.


  • The families of Gravano’s victims are outraged he is cashing in on the notoriety of his crimes.
  • The Kercher family is outraged AK/RS are cashing in on the notoriety of their crimes.


  • Gravano got an interview from Diane Sawyer.
  • Knox’s first (of many) interviews was with Diane Sawyer.
  • Sollecito’s first (of several) interviews was with Katie Couric.


  • Gambino boss John Gotti was referred to as ‘‘John Gotti’‘.
  • Sammy Gravano was referred to as ‘‘John Gotti’s Hitman’‘.
  • Amanda Knox is referred to as ‘‘Amanda Knox’‘
  • Raffaele Sollecito is referred to as ‘‘Amanda Knox’s Italian Ex-Boyfriend’‘


  • Gravano has no problems airing personal details about his ‘‘friend’’ John.
  • Knox has no problems airing personal details about her ‘‘friend’’ Meredith.


  • Gravano criticizes Gotti’s public lifestyle, then after his deal becomes a media whore.
  • Knox claims she wants to live in peace, but becomes a media whore to sway public opinion, and sell ‘‘her’’ book.
  • Sollecito claims he was just dragged into Knox’s case, but becomes a media whore for the same reasons as Knox.


  • Gravano blames Gotti for destroying the Gambino family, even though he was the one who testified at trial.
  • Knox seems to blame Meredith for her own death, even though she stuck the knife in (well, she had it coming).


  • Gravano (at least he claims) to have rigged Gotti’s racketeering trial to ensure an acquittal (or at worst a hung jury)
  • Knox’s and Sollecito’s case was rigged by Hellmann/Zanetti and Marsca/Bruno to ensure an acquittal.


  • Gravano was psychologically evaluated before leaving prison, and the results were disturbing.
  • Knox and Sollecito were psychologically evaluated in prison, and the results were disturbing.


  • Gravano smeared other mob associates for getting involved with drug trafficking.
  • Knox smeared others (especially in her book) for drug use.


  • Gravano’s drug smears were hypocritical as he was later brought to justice for drug trafficking.
  • Knox’s drug smears were hypocritical, as she was into drugs, and slept with a dealer (Federico Martini) for drugs.


  • Gravano’s most depraved act (outside of murder), was marrying a woman whose brother he had killed (Nick Scibetta).
  • Knox’s most depraved act (outside of murder), was continuing her sex-for-drugs deal even after Meredith’s death.
  • Sollecito’s most depraved act (outside of murder), was his various bride shopping efforts to avoid extradition.


  • Warning signs?  Gravano murdered his business ‘‘friends’‘, so betraying Gotti was no real surprise.
  • Warning signs?  Knox staged a break in, wrote rape stories, and threw rocks at cars, so violence in her home was no real surprise.
  • Warning signs?  Sollecito had supposedly attacked a classmate with scissors, so stabbing someone was no real surprise.


  • Collateral damage?  Gravano was prepared to kill innocent bystanders during the December 16, 1985 hit on boss Paul Castellano.
  • Collateral damage?  Knox framed an innocent person (Lumumba), and tried to pin it all on accomplice Rudy Guede.
  • Collateral damage?  Sollecito helped to pin it all on Guede, and cost his sister Vanessa her career with the Carabinieri.


A Final Thought:

Knox liked the Beatles.  Here is ‘‘Working Class Hero’’ by John Lennon.

.... There’s room at the top
They’re telling you still
.... But first you must learn how to
Smile as you kill
.... If you want to be like all
The folks on the ‘Hill


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sollecito v Italy & Guede: Damning Incriminations Guede’s Team Says RS Will Be Stuck With

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



“Huh???” Sollecito in one of numerous interviews, usually falling short of convincing everyone

Post Overview

Guede’s team in Rome and Viterbo have a number of cards up their sleeves against Sollecito.

Sollecito and his father and legal team have apparently filed some damages lawsuit in Florence for compensation from the Republic of Italy.

His intention seems also to be to sue Rudy Guede, for defamation. In the RAI interview Guede did pretty solidly place him at the scene of the crime.

This post and later others will suggest what Sollecito could see thrown back at him. We’ve already pointed out that previous legal threats and court filings went nowhere. We may of course see that not happen here also.

This is a pre-emptive rebuttal published by the pro-bono team working for Rudy Guede at Viterbo Prison. (He also has a pro-bono legal team in Rome now.) They are responding to an attempt by Sollecito to put his case to bed in the weekly Oggi.

As with Guede’s interview this includes claims that are very self-serving. But it does also highlight the kinds of problems Sollecito faces.

It is kindly translated and submitted by Guermantes, one of our friends at PMF dot Net. Guermantes in part used Catnip’s new translation of the Micheli Report explaining Guede’s original verdict.

First Shot From Guede Team

February 5, 2016

The Centre for Criminological Studies of Viterbo responds - on behalf of Rudy Guede - to Sollecito’s assertions made in the Oggi article of January 26, 2016:

Raffaele Sollecito responds to Rudy Guede: “How many lies in the interview with Leosini”

Raffaele Sollecito “challenges” Rudy Guede on stories told by the Ivorian on TV

OGGI, analyzing word for word the interview with the Ivorian, imprisoned for the murder of Meredith Kercher, has identified at least eight omissions and blatant lies aired without being corrected. Among these, the appointment with the girl, the denial of having performed thefts, the use of hard drugs, the content of the judgment of the Supreme Court regarding the placement of Sollecito and Knox in the murder house.

The story of Rudy Guede still stands up though. Here is why “¦

Viterbo - Received and published ““ We learned of Raffaele Sollecito’s indignation, who, in an article published by a well-known weekly (Oggi, ed), complains about the inappropriateness of the broadcast of the ‘Cursed Stories’ program, in addition to the way it was recorded and run without contradiction[uncontested].

On this point, it is hardly necessary to recall that Raffaele Sollecito had been the guest on a large number of programs such as Porta a Porta, La vita in diretta, Domenica In, Piazza Italia (Rai programs, public television), Quarto Grado, Pomeriggio 5, Matrix (Mediaset), Otto e Mezzo (La7). All this - before, during and after the trials / verdicts that concerned him.

In the article just published, he notes, however, that comments and observations about current events should be offered before the verdicts and not after. Otherwise we would be “in the presence of a surreal fourth degree of judgment.”

We respect this opinion but we would also like to add that another school of thought argues that trials should be conducted in courtrooms and not on the pages of newspapers or in television studios. And Rudy Guede has waited eight years until the end of all sets of proceedings (including those relating to Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox) before expressing his opinion.

Among other things, during a single television broadcast and not on the talk show circuit of national broadcasters. A choice, of Rudy, which should be respected. Because it is broadly related to the principles and values that characterize the Italian legal system.

Then, shifting the focus to the set-up of the program “without contradiction” [counter-arguments], it is necessary to point out at the outset that, in all those years of “Cursed Stories” programming, no one has ever complained about this mode. Moreover, Raffaele Sollecito himself was also the only guest “without contradiction.” Beginning with Porta a Porta of Bruno Vespa and ending with Otto e Mezzo of Lilly Gruber.

The [Oggi} article summarizes in eight points the alleged lies by Rudy quoting in some cases (not all) excerpts from transcripts or judgments about the case of Perugia. We try to respond to each of them, expressing the views of Rudy.

Point #1

Rudy had no appointment with Meredith? It may be! But speaking of appointments, the Court of first instance expressed itself by saying that “it is normal for twenty-somethings in a university town to meet up in the usual places without having to first set up a notary’s deed. “ [Par. 206.50] (page 93, Sentence of the First Degree Rudy Guede). This statement may also be taken into account even in the case of objection to Rudy’s words as having no value?

Still on point 1, credence is given to a few statements by Mr. Barrow, without saying, however, that the same had not only debunked at the hearing all his previous claims, but had also been in conflict with Rudy as regards girls. Moreover, the testimony of Mr. Barrow was interrupted by “the emergence of criminal behavior regarding monetary negotiations with a television news organization” (p.52). So much so that the witness was deemed unreliable.

Source: The Micheli Report

[194] Mr BARROW, already interviewed by the Public Prosecutor on the 11th of December 2007, which is to say a few days after Mr GEUDE’s return from Germany, had declared to knowing Mr GUEDE for some years, having often played basketball. On that occasion, though, he specified not moving in the same circles as him, due to RUDY being a habitual liar, drinking and using drugs, not to mention annoying the girls by molesting them in public and trying to kiss them.

[195] As for Ms KERCHER, who he described as shy and reserved, Mr BARROW had said he knew her from their shared visiting of the night clubs in the town centre, and in fact he had seen her on Halloween at the Domus, where ““ he says ““ RUDY definitely wasn’t; nor did it appear to him that the accused knew MEREDITH, and according to him it was not in fact true that he had spoken to her or had met her.

[196] In court, Mr BARROW restructured his grounds, saying for example that Mr GUEDE used to drink but a bit like how all the other young men were doing it, even if he had often seen him drunk; he instead denied being certain about any drug use on the part of RUDY, about whom he had mentioned it only for having heard gossip.

And also as regards the molestations, he corrected the gist of what he’d said in remembering only once when the detainee had struck up a conversation with a girl, without knowing that she was actually Mr BARROW’s girlfriend, and a squabble arose: on other occasions, he had seen him pull a girl towards himself while they were talking, although describing it as a gesture common to many others of the same age.

[197] On RUDY’s lies, the witness limited himself to saying that one time Mr GUEDE had been accused of having robbed something in a discotheque from a girl’s purse [translator’s note: handbag in BrE], the accused had immediately denied it, but then it had come out on the grapevine that it certainly had been him; on the presumed certainty that Mr GUEDE had not been at the “Domus” on the evening of the 31st of October, finally saying (and in effect he could not have said otherwise, ab initio) that he had not seen him, without being able to rule out that he really was there.

[198] The testimony, which in practice had not led to anything of significance being acquired, was then interrupted by the emergence of the outlines of an offence by Mr BARROW, concerning negotiations of a monetary nature with a leading television journalist, in whose regard he had presented a claim of trespass (when in reality he had invited those reporters in asking them for money for an interview), and it turned out he had then put forth a further request for money to settle things back to normal.

Point # 2

Rudy is a serial thief? The article in question contains two sentences that actually relate to the same incident five days before the tragedy, namely his entering an asylum in Milan. A reprehensible episode. So much so that Rudy has earned a related conviction for it (i.e. for possession of stolen goods.). However, beyond this, there is not a single record of another conviction, nor the presence of a complaint concerning other items mentioned in the article. Not only that, but the same Sentence of First Instance refers on page 101 to the absence of a “previous criminal record”, Rudy not having been tried yet for the Milan incident.

[Par. 44]””¦on 27 October 2007 (ergo, just five days before the murder) he had been identified in the Milan jurisdiction and had been charged without arrest [a piede libero] for theft, receipt of stolen goods, holding and carrying arms.

Point # 3

Rudy had left genetic traces in Meredith’s purse? In the trial papers we have not read even one time that Rudy’s genetic material was found inside her purse; if anything, only on the outside. And the difference is not trivial. In fact, finding his trace on the outside of the purse would allow to assume / hypothesize a simple movement of the object in question, while claim to have isolated Rudy’s DNA inside it would mean that the boy might have really went through it, the latter circumstance, which did not result in any conviction, was not confirmed because not supported by any element.

It is therefore in itself horrible and defamatory, the expression used in the [Oggi] article: “While Meredith was bleeding to death” Rudy “rummaged” [in her purse,] Also cell phones and anything else missing from Meredith’s bag were found elsewhere, without any fingerprints or traces of Rudy.

As far as first aid provided by Rudy to Meredith, his efforts were described even by judges who ““ still on p.101 of the Sentence of First Instance ““ conclude: “not being able to explain otherwise the presence near the body of three towels.”

Point # 4

flight into disco. As unspeakable as this behavior is, it is hardly necessary to mention that as regards Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox, the Court of Appeal judges commented that there were “numerous and varied ways of how human beings react,  faced with tragic situations” (taken from the Supreme Court with reference on page 17). Why should the same not apply to Rudy?

Point # 5

Rudy is a liar and he used cocaine? It is true that during the indictments are read expressions like the ones shown in quotation marks in the [Oggi] article, but in many circumstances the same assertions are revisited and subsequently confirmed by the judgments. Moreover, even as regards Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox, it states that “the two have given versions not supported by objective evidence and not credible”.

Among other things, it is certainly not the case of measuring the credibility of all the defendants relying on the seriousness of the lies told; otherwise it would be appropriate to recall that Amanda Knox put at the scene of the crime an innocent, namely Lumumba, who only through an iron-clad alibi managed to get out of it.

[Par. 260.77] “It must finally be taken into account, still on the level of serious indicia of guilt and however arguing a contrario, that the two accused have given implausible versions [of alibis] or not substantiated by objective corroboration.

[Par. 260.78] “The circumstance of the missing memory or of the state of confusion, perhaps invoked with (convenient) reference to suggestive pressures on the one hand, or cloudiness of mind through use of stupefactants on the other hand, does not have concrete merit.

Point # 6

On this point Rudy says nothing special, so we do not understand just where the challenge is to what he said during the TV program.

Point # 7

The presence of Amanda and Raffaele at the crime scene. It turns out that during transmission Rudy have never claimed to have recognized the person he encountered that evening in via della Pergola. So we don’t understand the complaints about the alleged presence in that house.

It should be noted that in the Supreme Court ruling that absolves Sollecito and Knox is stated (p. 44) that “the hypothesized presence of the current appellants cannot in itself be considered as a demonstrative element of guilt.”

Why cannot the same reflection be taken into account for Rudy? Because the latter would leave traces “everywhere”? Rudy was there and admitted to having been there.

It should however be pointed out that this alleged abundance of traces must be scaled down seeing that on page 97 of the Sentence of First Instance it states that “the quantity of biological material referable to the accused could have been categorized, in effect, as minimal” [Par. 201], “ultimately nothing suggests that there was Rudy’s biological material in great abundance.”

[Par. 201] “”¦ with the conclusion that the biological material of Ms KERCHER was abundant, and Mr GUEDE’s, in proportion, was quite small.”

[Par. 9.3 on p.41 of the English translation (“pre-final”) of the Bruno/Marasca Report]:  ”“¦the supposed presence in the house of the current appellants cannot, in itself be considered as a demonstrative element of guilt.”

Point # 8

In the last point it is reported that the substantial reasons for the denial of permission to obtain benefits requested by Rudy is to be attributed to the “lack of critical review of what has happened. He has not showed any remorse or repentance”.

First, if you intend to bring back quotation marks, it would be appropriate to bring it [the quote] back as it was actually written. And that is: ”“¦found that the applicant has committed serious crimes in respect of which he does not recognize his responsibilities.”

Why would he recognize [his responsibilities] if he claims to be innocent to the point of wanting to request a review of the process? Is it not his right? Or the rights that characterize the Italian legal system do not apply to Rudy?

If he really is a liar, he takes the consequences and responsibilities. But ultimately, in this dramatic story, it seems that it is widely assumed. Maybe - and we stress, maybe - far beyond his faults.


Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Endemic Hints By RS That He WAS One Of The Real Killers Pretty Blatant In Italy #1

Posted by Peter Quennell



TV commentator Selvaggia Lucarelli voices what numerous Italians think


“Social Network For Dead People Launched In Italy By Amanda Knox’s Ex-Boyfriend”

We didnt make that headline up. Really. Sollecito’s gruesome venture is described here.

Called Memories, the business will provide a wide range of “graveyard” services, including lightning candles for the deceased, laying wreaths and flowers at graves, and even tombstone cleaning. Once a service is completed, the client’s profile will be updated with a high-resolution photo showing the work done. The prices start at €45 (50 dollars).

The project received a €66,000 grant (nearly $74,000) from Apulia’s regional authorities. Some extra expenses were covered by Sollecito and his family, The Local reported.

According to Sollecite, the idea came to him after his mother died in 2005. The grieving young man thought it would be a convenient way to look after her grave. “I wanted a way to make remembering her easier,” he explained.

Selvaggia Lucarelli is an influential blogger and a sharp and often very funny guest commentator on many TV shows in Italy.  Like many in Italy, she doesnt just want to hold her nose and give the death-fixated fruitcake a free pass.

This time Sollecito ends up in the clutches of a journalist known for her controversy and sharp tone.

It seems that Lucarelli did not welcome the new start-up by the engineer from Puglia.

“See, Raffaele Sollecito, this thing to create a portal for funerals may seem clever but but is really macabre and in addition paints you for who you are (disrespectful and unintelligent) and casts an even more disturbing shadow over you - a healthy person judged innocent by a court while half of Italy is still convinced he’s guilty would instead seek media oblivion.

And if not oblivion, at least a career a few fields away from the smell of death, the suspicion that death carries with it, the face of a little girl named Meredith who was killed like a dog.

But there is obviously a sadistic pleasure in you wanting to see yourself still, with your hair slicked back and a funereal expression, on the front pages of newspapers associated with the word “death” and social networks associated with predictable jokes on the name Meredith.

Meredith needs to be remembered and respected in the silence of your home, not on a portal through which you try to make your wallet fat - you know that wont happen - and boost your macabre popularity.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Is Francesco Sollecito Forced Into Legal Aggression He Didnt Want & Which Could Rebound?

Posted by Peter Quennell




Legal Development

Francesco Sollecito is being reported as denouncing Guede and initiating actions against him - and the Republic of Italy.

What must have looked to him nicely wound up by the Fifth Chambers at the end of March last year does seem to have a pesky tendency to become unwound.

It was unwound a bit by the continuance of Sollecito’s book trial in which RS lawyer Bongiorno refused to become involved. It was unwound a bit by the charges Dr Mignini requested against the RS lawyer Maori mid-year. It was unwound a bit by the Fifth Chambers with the poisoned sting at the end of its Report.

That Motavazione as phrased could open the way to a wrongful death suit against Sollecito (and Knox) or a petition to the President. A “guilty” verdict on the numerous false claims in Sollecito’s book could open the way to civil suits.

The petition was filed today at the Court of Appeal of Florence by their lawyers Giulia Bongiorno and Luca Maori. The lawyers decided to turn to the last trial court that dealt with the process. In particular, they demanded compensation of 516,000 Euros for the detention to which Sollecito was submitted from 6 November 2007 to 4 October 2011.

The computer engineer from Puglia has always proclaimed he was not involved in the murder and was finally acquitted along with Amanda Knox.  “I can not spend my life defending myself from something I have not done ...”: Raffaele Sollecito commented on the interview… 

He was followed by his father Francesco in transmitting a statement from their home in Puglia. “Raffaele is shocked and outraged,” said Francesco Sollecito. “I am also deeply outraged. I did not even sleep last night.” The father of Raffaele - finally acquitted for a murder he always proclaimed he was outside of - criticized in particular “Guede’s attitude towards the brutally murdered girl. Guede is refuted by the procedural documents, many of which are omitted in the interview. It was denied, among other things, by Raffaele’s friends that there was a random meeting with Meredith Kercher.”

“Guede still has to explain why he was in that house and why he went to the disco after finding the body. Let us remember, Francesco Sollecito empahsized again, that he is a person definitively convicted of murder. “

No mention at all of Knox? She was the one Guede really nailed, though Raffaele was pretty firmly placed at the crime scene too.

Last year, a bombastic Raffaele Sollecito had threatened to file a suit against Italy, but his father and lawyers had wound him back. Presumably because way, way, way too much could come out. “Take care about what you wish for.” “Let sleeping dogs lie.” “Discretion is the better part of valor.” Take your choice.

But such a suit is normal and expected. It would look suspicious if it was never filed. Now the Florence prosecution may get the chance to make the case in full the Fifth Chambers never heard.

Storms In The Past

Francesco Sollecito and Raffaele Sollecito and Vanessa Sollecito are all notorious for loosing their cool.

Francesco lost it here toward Raffaele, and especially here. Vanessa lost it here and again here. Everybody lost it toward Amanda Knox. Sollecito’s own book describes that rage.

And take a look. Despite supposed “honor bound” there are dozens of examples there.

Francesco Sollecito lost it after the Hellmann acquittal when Raffaele said he and Knox were still a thing, and again when RS took off to Seattle after Knox. He lost it again when a false felony claim in Sollecito’s book was unveiled on national TV.

Bongiorno also often seems in a rage. Hmmm. A group of people in a rage, and then things go too far. Where have we heard that before?


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Critique In Five Parts Of The Fifth Chambers Motivation Report By Judges Marasca And Bruno #5

Posted by James Raper



Image is of busy Rome at night

The Fifth Chambers Motivation Report

I conclude my critique of the final 34 pages of the Motivation Report, the decisions and verdict parts.

The four previous posts can be read here and here and here and here. A full translation of the Marasca-Bruno Report can be read or downloaded here.

The Critique Part 5

So, let’s do a brief recap now

1. The Report starts with sensationalized general slurs on the competence and motives of the investigators and judges.

2.  Marasca and Bruno misunderstand the relevance of motive. Nencini was not in error. It is not relevant, or of less relevance, if the evidentiary framework of guilt is by itself sufficient to establish guilt. In such circumstances the normal formula is to attribute futile and trivial motives that require no further definition. Conversely motive does acquire importance, an element in itself, if that framework is insufficient.

3. Their section on TOD produces nothing that is relevant.

4.  Having failed to establish a convincing connection between “the primacy” of rules of evidence and a guarantee of the repeatability of DNA analysis, such that the latter is required by the former, or at least can be tolerated by it for some specific reason, they assert that the latter must prevail anyway. It requires numerous inconsistencies, a failure to follow the ground rules of evidence, and the illogicality of failing to follow their own argument, such as it is, to assert that Meredith’s DNA on the blade of the knife, and Sollecito’s DNA in a mixed sample from the bra clasp, have no probative or circumstantial value simply because they were not capable of repetition. That is simply a dogmatic assertion and one, as we shall see, that has no connection with the permitted grounds for appeal.

5.  As if the foregoing was not enough, and perhaps conscious of it, they bring up the matter of contamination again. Which would not be relevant if the foregoing were true. The contamination argument has long been shown to have no mileage in it. The cardboard box (from the police station) is a stupid reference and that there was pre-existing dirt on a latex glove mere speculation, without context.

6. The section on luminol hits and removal of blood traces is characterized by many misrepresentations and a chronic misunderstanding of the evidence and the inferences that can be drawn from it.

7.  On the simulated break-in, which they accept, they declare that they are then stymied in the necessary inference by the feeblest of anomalies.

8.  Now up to this point we have encountered few, if any, mistakes, inconsistencies and contradictions, of any significance, other than those that Marasca-Bruno are making, or making up, themselves. 


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Remember this?  -

“that fact finding is a task pertaining exclusively to the fact-finding judge, and not up to the Court of Legitimacy. The Supreme Court has to limit itself to whether the fact-finding judge’s reasoning is compatible with common sense and within the limits of an acceptable latitude (law cited) as well as compliant with the limits of evidence.”

In fact appeals to the Supreme Court can only be made under the precise circumstances provided for by the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure.

These are governed by Article 606. Of the provisions in this Article, only section 1, para (e) is applicable, as follows -

“(e)  defect, contradictoriness or manifest illogicality of the judgement reasoning, when the error results from the text of the provisioning appealed, or from other documents in the proceedings specifically noted in the reasons of encumberment.”

Therefore, although fact finding is the preserve of the lower courts, the Supreme Court can enter into the merits of the judgement appealed against on this ground.

The question arises as to what constitutes a fact to which para (e) would not relate.

There are probably not many, for most facts determined would require an element of reasoning. For instance, to hold that a particular witness was reliable, or otherwise, would require explanation, that is, reasoning, and so on.

To be clear, “defect”, “contradictoriness” and “illogicality” all relate to the judgement reasoning.

For instance, a failure to take into account contradictory evidence in the judgement reasoning must obviously be included as a defect.

Another defect would, of course, be misapplication or misinterpretation of the law in the judgement reasoning, an error to which the 5th Chambers have already shown themselves prone.

I am not quite sure how “contradictoriness” in the judgement reasoning is to be construed, but I suspect that there would be contradictoriness in asserting something contrary to the weight of the evidence, or indeed in the absence of any evidence in support. Another case might be in making a point which is then undermined elsewhere in the reasoning

In any event a clear restriction on the Supreme Court entering into the merits of the judgement appealed against, apart from the foregoing, would appear to be that in the case of illogicality, that it has to be manifest.

However, no particular instance of manifest illogicality is likely, on it’s own, to invalidate a verdict, unless it amounts to a serious defect from which the reasoning, as a whole, on the verdict, cannot recover.

Effectively, there have to be numerous manifest illogicalities in the reasoning of the judgement appealed against, for this to happen. Under those circumstances one might actually describe the judgement as “perverse” at one end of the scale, and “unsafe” at the other. Setting aside a conviction for such reasons I would understand.  Usually, at least in the UK, an unsafe conviction would result in a re-trial if the prosecution requested it.

However even the Supreme Court has to motivate it’s decision making process, free from such defects. Clearly that has not been the case.

The banal peppering of the Report with references to “manifest illogicality” and “intrinsically contradictory”, and so on, may impress the undiscerning reader, but the repetition and context are, frankly, “manifestly” unconvincing to the discerning reader.

What we find, on analyzing the 5th Chambers’ motivation, is that when it enters into the merit, it does not do so in a balanced way, and without logical inconsistency on it’s own part, but simply by making dogmatic assertions on the merit. That is hardly extending an acceptable latitude to the fact-finding judge nor is it explaining why his reasoning is incompatible with common sense.

In particular, I do not see how one can make the assertion that the DNA on the knife and the bra clasp has no probative or circumstantial relevance, because the tests were not repeated, when this can scarcely be described as a product of the application of section 1 (e) of Article 606.


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Furthermore, one also has to consider the effect of Article 628. The 2nd paragraph states that -

“In any event a verdict issued by a court following a Cassation order of remand may be appealed only on the reasons that do not concern those that had already been decided by Cassation on the order of remand”¦.”

At the very least this should have served as a warning to the 5th Chambers.

The Chieffi ruling annulling Hellmann was not intended as a foray into the merit but it was a criticism of the procedural defects and reasoning methodology of the Hellmann court, which errors we can see repeated in the Marasca-Bruno Report.

The most obvious and most frequent error is the use of dogmatic assertion, the starkest example of the deployment of self-contained circular reasoning it is possible to have. Indeed, it does not warrant the description “reasoning”.

Another important error was the “atomizing” or “parceling out” of the circumstantial evidence in an attempt to exclude items prior to assessing it in an overall evaluation. This error underwrites the 5th Chambers’ approach to the case, manifestly in it’s use of dogmatic assertion to achieve the aim of eliminating or reducing the evidence.

Abstract hypothesizing on contamination is another.

The reprise of Hellmann’s reasoning as to the reliability of the witness Curatolo is another, and most objectionable, one.

Interestingly, the “validity” of the DNA testing was not an aspect raised by Galati and consequently not touched upon by Chieffi. The only conclusion has to be that the State (subsequently confirmed by Nencini) deemed the reliability of the results as perfectly safe.


————————————————————————————


Article 530, Section 2 and Conclusions


I now turn to the matter of the sufficiency of the evidence.

There is no formula as such.

The evidence is sufficient if the bar of culpable beyond a reasonable doubt is met, insufficient if it is not.

The starting point is clearly the evidence itself, and then the inferences that are drawn logically from it.

As to the evidence and inferences, we are assisted by the fact, under the Italian system, that all verdicts, whether at trial or appeal stage, are required to be motivated in writing. 

The final motivation, prior to the 5th Chambers, is, of course, the Nencini report. It seemed to me that Nencini, despite a few flaws, did an excellent job in unifying the evidence in a global way, as is required of what is essentially circumstantial evidence, fully in accordance with the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court on the matter, and with all the arrows pointing in the same direction and substantially corroborating each other. It left no reasonable doubt, in my humble submission, that the Florence court’s affirmation of the guilty verdicts was correct.

Now, we have already discussed the grounds on which an appeal can be made to the Supreme Court. The sufficiency of the evidence is not one of the stated grounds.That is a matter for the fact-finding judges of the lower courts. The 5th Chambers therefore knowingly exceeded their remit.

We also find, having gone through the Marasca-Bruno criticism of the Nencini Report, in some detail, that many, if not most, of these criticisms lack substance and lack logical consistency in their own right.

The overall effect has been to produce an improper, if not fraudulent, weighting (for want of a better word) on the matter of sufficiency, which should not have even been considered anyway.

In addition the result of the Report has been to produce an interesting scenario based on the following conclusions.

1.  Knox was present in the cottage at the time of the murder but in a non-participatory role. Very probably (if this is not a held fact) she had scrubbed Meredith’s blood off her hands in the small bathroom.

2.  Sollecito was very probably there as well, but it cannot be known when.

3.  There was certainly an assailant (and perhaps more than one) in addition to Guede.

4.  There was a staging of the break-in in Filomena’s room.

As to Knox having blood on her hands (literally rather than metaphorically) there are inconsistencies to be derived from this because, according to the Report, this would have been as a result of contact with blood outside Meredith’s room. Why? Where is that blood? Such blood could, of course, have been there prior to it being removed. However, to affirm that would be to prejudice a number of assertions they have already made. More likely is that Knox had been in Meredith’s room, during or after the event and without, we would have to observe with some interest, leaving any trace of herself there. That would also be the logical explanation for her lamp being on the floor there.

Guede was not charged with, and hence was neither acquitted nor convicted of, the offence of staging, but in any event Marasca-Bruno did not attempt to attribute the staging to him. This leaves either Knox, an unknown person, or Sollecito. As to an unknown person it is manifestly difficult to see how he would be “a qualified person” for the purpose of the inference that only someone with an interest in removing suspicion from himself would do this. Knox and Sollecito qualify whether there is an anomaly or not.

As to who Guede’s unknown accomplices may have been, Marasca and Bruno are silent. This is not surprising as there was no forensic trace of them. There were, in fairness, unidentified genetic profiles, male and female, obtained from cigarette stubs taken from the ashtray in the lounge/kitchen, but as with the mixed genetic profile of Knox and Sollecito on one of these, they cannot be dated and therefore cannot be placed within the time frame for the murder. For all we know they could belong to Romanelli and her boyfriend Marco Zaroli, both of whom were at the cottage earlier on the day of the 1st Nov, with Knox and Sollecito.

More pertinently, however, is this scenario regarding Knox.  It is not one that her defence team, even in their wildest dreams, would have considered advancing on her behalf. She had, throughout the proceedings, maintained that she was not there, whether or not in a non-participatory role.

That is not surprising. The scenario we have is that Knox and perhaps Sollecito were at the cottage with Guede, and at least one other, and that Guede and this other saw fit to commit a horrendous murder in their presence, without encouragement nor opposition from either of them it would seem, but certainly in the knowledge that such action, even if it met with cowed submission from them in the first instance, would meet with the utmost reprobation, and then they leave, trusting to Knox and Sollecito not spilling the beans. That really is stretching credulity well beyond the bounds of breaking point. Even more so if there was no unknown accomplice.

Furthermore, and if that is nevertheless so, then Knox has had more than enough chances to put the record straight, particularly since her return to Seattle. She still has the opportunity to do so.

What we have, therefore, is a fact that neither the defence nor the prosecution has ever advanced in the entire history of the proceedings, and not one that any previous judge has drawn.

Now it may be something that can be justified by a fact-finding judge, on remand, and in the light of the Marasca-Bruno Report.  Not.  But it is surely beyond the remit of the 5th Chambers to hold that as a fact and without even permitting prosecution and defence submissions on it. That runs counter to the principle of natural justice, a violation inherent in the final appeal and in the decision not to permit a remand to a 1st instance court of appeal.

It would have been interesting to have seen the defence submissions.


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I said at the beginning that the Marasca-Bruno Report was a desperate attempt to bring home an incomprehensible verdict. It has been described elsewhere (by a reputable american reporter who had been present throughout the proceedings) as superficial and intellectually dishonest. It is not only that, it is a charade that sullies the good name of Italian justice.

A question to arise is what truly motivated the verdict? It seems to me that the only “glaring investigative omission” in the case, is this. However that is a murky world of connections and undue influence about which we can only speculate at this stage.

Had it been incompetence and had the five Supreme Court judges held up their hands and simply admitted that they had made a mistake, I might have had some sympathy for them. Instead they have persisted with a charade which is essentially corrupt.

By “corrupt” I mean that they have knowingly acted in bad faith. They cannot otherwise have been such simpletons. It is also abundantly obvious why they did not dare risk remanding the case to another appeal court.

As for Knox and Sollecito, sadly for them, they are anything but exonerated.


Friday, November 13, 2015

A Critique In Five Parts Of The Fifth Chambers Motivation Report By Judges Marasca And Bruno #4

Posted by James Raper



Image is of busy Rome at night

The Fifth Chambers Motivation Report

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

The three previous posts can be read here and here and here. A full translation of the Marasca-Bruno Report can be read or downloaded here.

The Critique Part 4

The Simulated Break In

This is all too briefly treated by Marasca-Bruno (whom by now I am beginning to think of as Zaphod Beeblebrox from The Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy) and by way of a sidetrack really.

They in fact affirm the circumstances of simulation without actually having the gumpf to explicitly say so.

They are more concerned to turn their attention to the inference that only a “qualified” person would have an interest in a simulation so as to remove suspicion from him/herself.

Marasca-Bruno are not interested in Guede.

They acknowledge that Knox and Sollecito are “qualified” persons”¦”¦”¦”¦

“Yet this element is also substantially equivocal, especially in the light of the fact that, when the postal police arrived it was”¦.Sollecito - whose trial position is inextricably bound to Knox’s - who pointed out the anomaly to the police officers, that nothing had been stolen from Romanelli’s room.”

And that’s it? The smoking gun, the bull in the appellants’ china shop, brushed aside - because of an anomaly? Pathetic.

It was staged but sadly not staged to perfection, by way of something actually being stolen. A stager, knowing this, would not countenance revealing this information to the police, although it may have been an inadvertent slip due to Sollecito being an idiot.

An inadvertent slip aside, he would have no reason to mention that nothing had been stolen, unless he was as aware as others were that the staging had it’s flaws in other respects as well, in which case he could have thought that his comment had the appearance (Marasca and Bruno fall for it) of innocence.

And how did he know that nothing had been stolen - which only subsequently turned out to be true when Filomena checked the contents of her room-  unless he was involved in the staging?

Even if one accepts the anomaly and extremely dubious reasoning above, it only applies to Sollecito. There is nothing equivocal about the logical inference applying to Knox. That is so despite the illogical connection in asserting that their trial positions are inextricably linked.

Is Knox a ventriloquist and Sollecito her dummy?

Curatolo & Quintavalle

“Nevertheless, the presence of intrinsic contradiction and poor reliability of witnesses [ ed: ie the above named] do not allow unreserved credit to be attributed to (their) respective versions, to the extent of proving with reasonable certainty the failure, and therefore the falsity, of the accused’s alibi, who insisted she stayed in her boyfriend’s home from late afternoon on the 1st November until the following morning.”

Here Marasca-Bruno effectively reprise the reasoning of Hellmann.

Curatolo was a tramp, a drug addict and pusher, and a prosecution witness stooge. The same evening he had seen Knox and Sollecito together in Piazza Grimana (1st Nov) he had seen revellers wearing Halloween masks, and the special buses to take them to discos and nightclubs, referenced by the witness, were not running that night.

Marasca -Bruno overlook the improbability that Curatolo could have seen the two together on Halloween, given that it was established as a trial fact that on that evening Sollecito was attending a friend’s anniversary dinner outside Perugia, and Knox was meeting up with her friend Spiros.

Perugia is a student town. There are numerous discos and nightclubs catering to this market. The defence did produce nightclub owners testifying to their clubs not being open the day after Halloween, and shuttle bus operators testifying that they were not running special buses to them, though these witnesses did not exclude the possibility that other nightclubs had some, or that other buses could have been hired for a private party.

There were indeed still a good few discos and nightclubs open (these can be listed if required), with a normal bus service for Perugia as well. Guede, himself, was seen dancing at the Domus hours after the murder.

[ Halloween is a relatively new festivity in Italy. All Saints Day (Nov 1st) and All Souls Day (Nov 2nd ) are holidays in Italy.]

“This contradicts the balanced assessment - but always in a context of uncertainty and ambiguity - of the witness referring (regarding the context of when he saw the two accused together) to the day before he saw (in the afternoon) unusual movements of police and Carabinieri and, in particular, men wearing white overalls and headgear (they looked almost like aliens) enter the house on via della Pergola.”

As regards Quintavalle, Marasca-Bruno are brief and equally dismissive. This is all they have to say -

“Quintavalle - apart from the lateness of his statements, initially reticent and generic - offered no contribution to certainty, not even as to the product bought by the young woman he noted on the morning after the murder, when his shop opened. The fact he recognized Knox is worthless as her image had appeared in every newspaper and television news broadcast.”

There was no evidence that the young woman had bought, or had tried to buy, a product.

No, his identification testimony was not worthless on that account. If it was worthless for that reason then a lot of ID witness testimony would go by the board in today’s world of rapid 24 by 7 news coverage.

Quintavalle was able to describe the clothes that the young woman was wearing, which description, blue jeans, grey jacket and scarf, was a match for the articles of clothing that the crime scene investigators had photographed scattered on the top of Knox’s bed at the cottage and which had immediately became material evidence along with everything else.

Since Knox was wearing different clothes, including a long white skirt, when she and Sollecito were photographed outside of the cottage by the press, it is difficult to gauge how Quintavalle might have been influenced in his description.

Raffaele Sollecito At House

“In Sollecito’s case too the evidentiary frame work which emerges from the judgement under appeal is marked by inherent and irreducible contradiction”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦However, the strong suspicion remains that he was present in the house on via della Pergola on the night of the murder, albeit it has not been possible to determine when. On the other hand, if Knox’s presence in the home was certain, it would hardly be credible that he was not with her.”

And More On Other Matters

Marasca-Bruno return to the question of the knife again despite the fact that they have excluded it as having any “probative value or circumstantial relevance”.

This is an inconsistent element in their own reasoning, such as their reasoning is.

They remind us that no trace of blood was found on it, and assert that it was a questionable choice to go for a DNA test rather than establish the nature of the biological trace.

“An extremely questionable option, given that the finding of blood traces, coming from Kercher, would have given the trial an element of strong evidentiary value, showing for certain that the weapon had been used to commit the murder.”

One begins to wonder whether they are mentally fatigued at this point. But no, that can’t be it. They have had over 130 days to write 34 pages of reasons, and that wouldn”˜t be particularly taxing, provided that there had been reasons for the verdict in the first place, and that they had remembered them.

They are waffling, padding and turning to risible argument. Particularly given that they should know exactly why Dr Stefanoni had only one sensible option available to her. They had even referred to this in the preceding paragraph.

Even if it had been blood in sample 36b then, without establishing whose blood it was, the knowledge that it was blood would be totally useless as a piece of evidence, as the blood could have come from anywhere, at anytime.

“What is certain is that no traces of blood were found on the knife. Lack of which cannot be traced to meticulous cleaning. As noted by the defence, the knife showed traces of starch, a sign of ordinary domestic use and of cleaning that was anything but meticulous. Not only this, but starch is famous as a substance with a high absorbance rate, thus it is highly likely that, in the event of a stabbing, it would have retained blood traces.”

As we come towards the end of their reasoning the dogmatic assertions start to pop up thick and fast out of nowhere.

Why can lack of blood traces not be connected to meticulous cleaning? Isn’t that, by definition, what meticulous cleaning does?  Was there any expert evidence to the contrary? How can Maresca and Bruno be so sure that their version of common sense is shared universally?

Yes, starch does absorb liquids. However, how do they know that the starch was there on the knife at the time of the murder? It is not improbable that having cleaned the knife it was used again for ordinary domestic use. The starch could also have got there as a consequence of the investigators handling it with latex gloves, which contain traces of starch, and this was pointed out at the Hellmann appeal.

“Finally, the footprints found at the murder scene can in no way be traced to the appellant.”

Another dogmatic assertion. They are, I should point out talking about Sollecito at this point, not Knox.

The bloody footprint on the bathmat and a luminol enhanced footprint in the corridor were useful for negative comparison purposes and both were attributed by the prosecution experts to Raffaele Sollecito because of points of comparison with his foot and because neither had similar points of comparison with Knox and Guede.

Their evidence was disputed by a defence expert witness.

Massei and Nencini agreed with the prosecution experts, Hellmann did not.

However, remember the bit about fact-finding being for the fact-finding judge and not the Court of Legitimacy?

Not only do Marasca-Bruno break the rules at to their remit but they do not even give reasons for their assertion.

“The computers of Amanda Knox and Kercher, which might have been useful to the investigation were, incredibly, burned by the careless actions of the investigators.”

Another unjustified and dogmatic assertion. 

Four computers were found to have sustained damage - probably an electrical burn-out - but it is not in evidence that they were damaged by the investigators.

Indeed, I do not recall any trial evidence that they were working before they were recovered by the investigators. Certainly Sollecito’s Asus was not. That had been damaged for months. Filomena’s computer was found to have been already damaged when it was switched on in her presence at the police station.

It may be the case that Knox, somewhere in her testimony, asserted that her computer was in working order when she last used it, or something like that. But then she would say that, wouldn’t she?

Of all the computers that had problems, the data was ultimately recovered from all but Knox’s Toshiba.

And realistically, what potential information relevant to the investigation did Marasca-Bruno think could be found? Photos of Knox together with Meredith? If there were such photographs, had they been deleted from the camera?

Knox communicated with her family at home by means of an internet café because it had skype available.

E-mail communication is recoverable whether or not the user’s computer is broken.

Marasca-Bruno also opine that in respect of their alibis, what we are talking about is a failed alibi rather than a false alibi. Is this a necessary and relevant distinction?

They both maintained, for trial purposes, that they had been together at Sollecito’s flat from about 9 pm onwards on the 1st November, that both had slept and that Knox had been the first to rise at about 10.30 am the next morning. Of course, Sollecito had contradicted this in his statement to the police. He said that Knox had gone out and not returned until 1 am. However this was not admissible as trial evidence.

In relation to the crucial period of time in which TOD is ascertained to have occurred there is no independent corroboration of their alibi. In that sense it is a failed alibi.

However the reliability of their alibi can certainly be assessed from the trial evidence. Sollecito’s phone was switched on at 6.03 am and earlier heavy music had been played on his computer for half an hour at 5.30 am, on the 2nd November. That manifestly contradicts the alibi. In short the pair were lying when they said that they had slept and that neither had risen until 10.30 am.  Accordingly, it is a reasonable inference that their alibi is not to be trusted.

There is, in addition, the evidence of Curatolo and Quintavalle.

What In Part Marasca-Bruno Left Out

Finally Marasca and Bruno declare that -

“The panorama of the declared evidence is complete.”

Except that this is not true.

They have not for example mentioned the following, which are certainly part of the declared evidence, and which certainly have to be taken into account if we are to consider the sufficiency of the evidence -

1. The presence of Knox’s table lamp on the floor in Meredith’s room.

2.  The police photograph of Knox’s throat and the statement of Laura Mezetti that what is seen in the photograph, as she had noticed at the Police Station, is a scratch.

3.  Knox’s dried and congealed blood on the tap in the small bathroom next to Meredith’s room.

4.  Knox’s e-mail to the world with it’s implausible aspects and which exposes crucial contradictions in the respective accounts of the appellants.

5.  The phone records which expose a suspicious pattern of behaviour on their part and which show that the cell phones of both the appellants had been switched off, or rendered inoperative, between 8.42 pm on the 1st November and 6.03 am on the 2nd November.

6. The luminol enhanced mixed DNA trace for Knox and Meredith on the floor in Filomena’s room, certainly requiring an explanation.

***

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Critique In Five Parts Of The Fifth Chambers Motivation Report By Judges Marasca And Bruno #3

Posted by James Raper



Image is of busy Rome at night

The Fifth Chambers Motivation Report

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

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

Traces in the Murder Room, the Small Bathroom and the Corridor

A selection of quotes from the Report -

“Total absence of biological traces attributable with certainty to the two defendants in the murder room.”

“An insurmountable monolithic barrier on the path taken by the fact finding judge.”

Selective cleaning - “an hypothesis that is patently illogical”

“Selective cleaning not capable of escaping detection by luminol is, for sure, impossible”

It follows, of course, that if the knife and bra clasp have no probative or circumstantial value (effectively rendered inadmissible as far as the incriminating traces on them are concerned) then there are no biological traces attributable to Knox and Sollecito in Meredith’s room. However it is an exaggeration to present this as an insurmountable monolithic barrier to the fact finding path.

Marasca-Bruno misrepresent and trivialise what was undoubtedly a manipulation of the crime scene (i.e the cottage) by the removal of traces of blood, and in this limited sense “selective”, by insisting on using the word “selective” across the board, and in the main to refer to removal of DNA, in both a derogatory and confusing manner and to sidestep the real issue.

The removal of traces of blood, whether selective or not, is not capable of escaping detection by luminol, as they appear to explicitly acknowledge.

Therefore the comment that “selective cleaning” is an hypothesis that is patently illogical is patently deceitful and unworthy of their station as Supreme Court judges.

Having just done a bit of misrepresenting themselves Mascara-Bruno then claim to have unearthed “an obvious misrepresentation of evidence” - presumably by judges previously involved in the case. They say that the SAL had excluded (because of the TMB test) that the luminol enhanced traces were of an haematic nature.

This, of course, is a manifest misrepresentation. TMB is a specific presumptive test for blood. However, that the TMB testing was negative (no result) does not exclude that the traces were haematic in nature, even if the presumption must be that they were not.

They then criticise Nencini -

“Not only that, but it is patently illogical, in this context, the reasoning of the fact finding judge, who reckons being able to overcome the defensive objection that the luminescent bluish reaction generated by luminol can be produced by substances different from blood (for instance leftovers of cleaning detergents, fruit juice and many others), by arguing that the reasoning, while theoretically correct, has however to be contextualised, meaning that if the fluorescence occurs at a place where a murder occurred, the reaction cannot but be connected with haematic traces.

The weakness of the argument is such, already at first sight, that it does not require any confutation, since to reason in that way one should also surmise that the house on via della Pergola was never the object of cleanings nor was a lived in location.

This observation hence allows us to categorically exclude that those traces were made of blood and wilfully removed in that circumstance.”

Oh dear. What is this Court of Legitimacy doing?  Cherry picking, misrepresenting the evidence, entering into a discussion of the merits in line with desperate defence submissions, and drawing conclusions on that basis, that’s what.

I have refrained so far from bringing under discussion glaring omissions of evidence for the reason that I am responding to argument.

However it’s time for the gloves to come off because the above is simply unacceptable.

Reading through this report one gets the impression that Marasca-Bruno think it is sufficient that they are only responding to the Nencini Report and that it is sufficient to pick holes here and there, as if they were marking a student”˜s exam paper, and with the defence submissions as a model answer. That is manifestly inappropriate, even for a Court of Legitimacy.

So here are other reasons to support Nencini”˜s contextualising.

1.  If the luminol fluorescence was due to non-haematic substances such as bleach, fruit juice etc ( due to the fact that the cottage was lived in) then it is remarkable indeed, since the investigators could not see what they were looking for, and therefore where to spray, and therefore sprayed everywhere in the corridor and elsewhere (but not in Meredith’s room, it seems), that fluorescent patches did not appear in smears all over the place but instead were limited to and grouped in specific places, and in a specific way, that is, in the shape of footprints.

2.  There were 4 obvious bare footprints located by the luminol and 3 of these were of a shape and size attributable to a woman - compatible with Knox in fact. One was in Knox’s bedroom, the other two in the corridor, that is, between Knox”˜s room and Meredith”˜s room. The two in the corridor contained Meredith’s DNA.  It is not possible to obtain DNA from bleach or fruit juice etc.

3. The 4th was compatible with Sollecito and the bloody print on the bathmat in the small bathroom.

4. The luminol hits took place on the 18th December whereas the murder occurred on the 1st Nov. The hypochlorite in bleach responsible for luminol emitting light evaporates naturally after just a few days and therefore bleach as a source for the fluorescence can be excluded.

5.  If the fluorescence was due to the peradoxise in fruit juice or other vegetable matter then there should at least be some rational explanation as to why Knox had such substances on the sole of her foot, and why does the peradoxise not show up where she had not stepped in it? What would be the source for these substances and how would they have got there? No explanation has ever been advanced.

6.  As already mentioned the TMB tests on the luminol hits do not categorically exclude blood. Indeed TMB applied after luminol is less likely to bring up a positive result because the chemical reaction for both applications is the same, and luminol is far more sensitive than TMB. That was made clear by, amongst others, Dr Gino who was in fact an expert witness for the defence.

All in all, given the considerable quantity of blood in Meredith’s room, and the fact that it had certainly been tracked outside of her room, visually obvious in the small bathroom, Nencini’s “contextualizing” is not at all illogical. It is plain common sense.

Indeed relevant observations here - before I leave the topic - are that there were no visible connecting bloody footprints between Meredith’s room and the bloody footprint on the bathmat in the small bathroom, and whilst there was blood on the inside handle of her door, there was none on the outside handle, although the door was closed and locked.

When discussing the relative merit of presumptions arising from the luminol and TMB tests, context and the trial evidence are everything. If Marasca-Bruno are relying on some other source of information, then they should - if they are acting in good faith - have disclosed this.

I will leave the last word on this to Nencini, who opined that the defence attempts to argue that the luminol hits were the consequence of a non-haematic source were “from an objective point of view a remarkable exercise in dialectical sophistry rather than trial evidence on which any judge might base reasoning that would be beyond criticism.”

The Selective Search for Other Logical Inconsistencies

“Another big logical inconsistency” is the explanation for why Meredith’s cell phones were removed; if to prevent them ringing, then the goal could have been achieved by switching them off or removing the battery.

OK, point taken, but if that goal could have been achieved simply by switching them off or removing the battery, then why take them with them? The answer, if the perpetrators were thinking straight, would be that in switching them off or removing the battery, the perpetrator could have left his fingerprints on them.  So they would have had to take them anyway. So why bother with the manipulation? A logical inconsistency?

Marasca-Bruno return to the Prosecution’s argument on motive at the Nencini appeal. We can recall that Crini had suggested that there could possibly have been an argument between Meredith and Knox over Guede’s use of the large bathroom. M-B say that the reason for a quarrel could certainly not have been this, as such an incident is not referred to in Guede’s evidence.

Marasca-Bruno argue that the hypothesis of the theft of the money and credit cards that Meredith would have blamed Knox for is illogical and contradictory, given that Knox (and Sollecito) were acquitted of the charge.

OK, but Nencini was not seeking to re-convict them. The hypothesis was based on trial facts and has a high degree of probability even if it did not reach the bar of “beyond a reasonable doubt”. Meredith’s credit cards and rent money were never recovered.  He was simply looking for a plausible reason for a quarrel - on the basis of what Meredith would have thought ““ whether or not Knox was the responsible party. Nothing illogical or contradictory in that.

Marasca-Bruno maintain that it is arbitrary to argue, just because Knox and Sollecito were at Sollecito’s flat viewing a movie, taking light drugs and having sex, that they were later at the cottage for a reason which included a sexual motive and destabilized by drugs.

Marasca-Bruno maintain that there was another investigative omission in the failure to analyze the content of the cigarette stubs (presumably for drugs?) or to ascertain the biological nature of the trace, but just to go for a DNA test, on the basis that such tests would render the sample unusable.

OK, but I am not sure that was the basis for not conducting the further tests. Establishing whether or not Knox and Sollecito had smoked a reefer, or a cigarette whilst under the influence of drugs, at the cottage, at some time, is really not that important. The biological nature of the trace was obviously saliva whether or not it contained drugs.

“And all this was done with the brilliant result of delivering to the trial a totally irrelevant piece of information”  “¦”¦[given that the cottage was where Knox lived and where Sollecito “hung out”.]

Irrelevant as it turned out, I agree. It seems a bit harsh to criticise the DNA test though. I am sure that M-B would have been ecstatic if the mixed trace had turned out to be Guede and an unknown, rather than Knox and Sollecito. And wasn’t the trace postulated as a source for contamination of the bra clasp?

A Few General Remarks

Get a load of this -

“It is, surely, undeniable the interpretative effort displayed by the fact finding judge in order to remedy the unbridgeable investigative gaps and the significant shortfalls of evidence with shrewd speculations and suggestive logical arguments, even if merely assertive and apodictic.”

As we are discovering, “shrewd speculations and suggestive logical arguments, even if merely assertive and apodictic” is exactly what Marasca-Bruno are up to.

What investigative gaps and significant shortfalls of evidence are they talking about? Have we come across any yet? Anyway I will come to discuss this and other matters raised by the Report when I discuss the sufficiency of the evidence at the end of this critique.

Marasca-Bruno then assert (to paraphrase) that fact finding is a task pertaining exclusively to the fact-finding judge, and not up to the Court of Legitimacy. The Supreme Court has to limit itself to whether the fact-finding judge’s reasoning is compatible with common sense and within the limits of an acceptable latitude (law cited) as well as compliant with the limits of evidence.

That’s right. Remember that.

“Faced with missing, insufficient or contradictory evidence, the judge should simply accept it and issue a verdict of acquittal, according to Article 530, section 2 of the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure, even if he is really convinced of the guilt of the defendant.”

Note the surprising inclusion of “missing” evidence, although M-B have merely been speculating wistfully about that and, for obvious reasons, it is not referenced in the wording of Article 530.

Marasca-Bruno then spend far more words than is necessary on Nencini’s mistake of referring to Sollecito’s DNA being found on the knife blade.

There is then a bit of sense but a lot of pompous waffle about the “beyond reasonable doubt” standard.

“It is certainly useful to remember that, taking for granted that the murder occurred in via della Pergola, the alleged presence at the house of the defendants cannot, in itself, be considered as proof of guilt”

This is the precursor for what comes a bit later.

Marasca-Bruno note that there is a difference between “passive behaviour” and “positive participation”.

“It is indisputedly impossible that traces attributable to the appellants would not have been found at the crime scene [ed: by which they mean “the murder room”] had they taken part in Kercher’s murder.”

This is not a remark but a dogmatic assertion which is patently unconvincing. Had Knox and Sollecito been -

    (a) egging Guede on to a sexual assault
    (b) exhorting him to finish her off
    (c) whether with his own knife or one that was handed to him,

then it is improbable in the aforesaid scenarios under (a),(b) and (c) that they would have left traces, but in the event of any one of the aforesaid (a),(b), and (c) they would be participating positively in the commission of the crime, and hence as guilty as Guede.

So, the assertion is not just dogmatic but manifestly illogical.

The Presence of Amanda Knox

“With this premise, with regards to Amanda Knox’s position, it can now be observed that her presence in the house at the scene of the crime is considered an established fact from the trial, in accord with her own admissions”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦.on this point the reliability of the judge a quo is certainly to be subscribed to.”

Developing this affirmation, Marasca-Bruno hold that she was there at the time of the murder but in a different room.

“Another element regarding her (presence) is represented by traces of mixed DNA, her’s and the victim’s, in the small bathroom; an eloquent confirmation that she had come into contact with the latter’s blood, while the biological traces belonging to her are a result of epithelial rubbing.”

Also:

“Nevertheless, even if attribution is certain, the trial element would not be unequivocal as a demonstration of posthumous contact with the blood in circumstances where she would be attempting to remove the most blatant traces of what had happened, perhaps to help someone or deflect suspicion from herself, and thus entailing her certain direct involvement in the murder”¦”¦.her contact with the victim’s blood would have occurred after the crime and in another part of the house.”

I will comment on this later.

As regards the false accusation against Patrick Lumumba - 

“It is not understood what pushed the young American to make this serious accusation. The hypothesis that she did so to escape the psychological pressure of the investigators appears extremely fragile”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦.nevertheless the calumny in question also represents circumstantial evidence against her in so much as it could be considered as an initiative to cover for Guede, against whom she would have had an interest to protect herself due to retaliatory accusations against her. All is underpinned by the fact that Lumumba, like Guede, is black, hence the reliable reference to the former, in case the other was seen by someone, coming into or going out of the flat”

Yes, indeed, but despite a clear run in to the try line M-B still manage to drop the ball. Nencini had no doubt that it was not just an initiative to cover for Guede, but also an opportunity to deflect the investigators from ascertaining her active participation in the murder. Lumumba, after all, would not be able to provide the investigators with any information on that score, or indeed about any others that might have been involved. M-B fail to mention that.

***

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Saturday, November 07, 2015

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

Posted by James Raper



Image is of busy Rome at night

The Fifth Chambers Motivation Report

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

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

Time of Death

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

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

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

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

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

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

On The Scientific Evidence

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

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

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

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

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

and

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

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

Then, to disguise that selection, we have this -

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

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

They continue -

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why the insistence on repeatability despite Article 360?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

adding that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eh ?!

They refer to Article 192, section 2 -

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

They opine -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where is the common sense of the 5th Chambers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

The knife and the bra clasp -

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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Thursday, November 05, 2015

A Critique In Five Parts Of The Fifth Chambers Motivation Report By Judges Marasca And Bruno #1

Posted by James Raper



Image is of busy Rome at night

The Fifth Chambers Motivation Report

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

This is the 54 page report released by the Fifth Chambers of the Italian Supreme Court late in September. For a full translation of the Report which can be referred to or downloaded please click here.

Key Decisions Of The Court

These are the eight main decisions I found In The Report -

    1.  The standard of “beyond any reasonable doubt” was not met due to insufficient and/or contradictory evidence - pursuant to Article 530, section 2 of the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure.

    2.  Multiple attackers upheld. Guede was guilty with others unknown.

    3.  The break-in in Romanelli’s room was staged.

    4.  Amanda Knox was present in the cottage at the time of the murder but there is insufficient evidence that she played a participatory role.

    5.  The DNA profile of Meredith Kercher on the knife and the DNA profile of Raffaele Sollecito on the bra clasp have “no probative or circumstantial relevance”

    6.  “Motive is not irrelevant” and motive was not established.

    7.  No selective cleaning.

    8.  No purpose would be served in remanding the case back to the 1st instance court of appeal (as had occurred on appeal against acquittal)

I am going to examine the 34 pages in which Marasca-Bruno present their rationale for the above. These pages also include reasons for the dismissal of various appeal submissions, which are of no interest to this critique.

Central to the acquittals is of course the claim that that the evidence was insufficient and/or contradictory and I shall look closely at how the Report sets out to demonstrate this.

We shall discover that a number of these co-called contradictions are not plausibly inherent in the trial evidence or in previous reports but are in fact the result of illogical reasoning, dogmatic assertion, indeed simply plucked from the air, by the 5th Chambers itself.

My Own Overall Reaction To The Report

My overall reaction to the Report is that it is quite unlike any other reasoning I have seen produced by a court of law. 

It smacks of a desperate attempt to bring home an incomprehensible verdict.

The language and the dogmatic assertions, unsupported by any evidence, are quite startling.

The competence of the investigators, the forensic service and the judges who have adjudicated previously in the case, is called into question, frequently in a preposterous way. 

I suspect that the Report was written with a view to the media being able to lift headlines from it, and many such potential headlines are to be found loaded towards the front of the Report. The busy tabloid editors dream.

Indeed the Report (when it actually has anything to say) is akin to opinion based journalism; inadequately researched and ill-considered.

There is a substantial amount of ponderous, self indulgent, and obfuscatory “scholastic” waffle in the Report. It forms a turgid barrier (like thick treacle) for the reader and, of course, the Courts’ affirmation that Knox was present when the murder was committed is only to be found deep into the Report.

Remove this waffle and padding however and the illogical and self -defeating nature of the reasoning stands out.

It is odd that some of the lengthy legal citations appear to conflict with the point that the Court is trying to make.

The Report challenges, if not overturns, some settled and well understood legal concepts in criminal law and natural justice and violates aspects of the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure. This must be of some concern to the Italian judiciary in general.

If ever there was a Supreme Court judgement that needed to be referred by the Italian President to the Council of Magistrates for review, this is it.

My Critique Of The Decisions Part #1

On The Nencini Appeal

So, let’s start. We begin with Marasca-Bruno setting the stage for their play (which as it progresses, bears a marked resemblance to Hamlet).

The Report claims that the Nencini appeal was -

“conditioned by the prospect of the factual profile unexpectedly included in the sentence of annulment ( i.e annulling Hellmann); such that the stringent and analytical evaluation of the Supreme Court might unavoidably force one towards affirming the guilt of the two accused. Misguided by this basic misunderstanding, the same judge is drawn into logical inconsistencies and obvious errors of judgement that are here reported.”

The Report refers to “the troubled and intrinsically contradictory path” of the history of the trial, by which, of course, they mean the acquittals at the Hellmann appeal.

“An objectively wavering process, whose oscillations, however, are also the result of clamorous failures, or investigative “amnesia” and culpable omissions of investigative activity. Had they been carried out these would, in all probability, have led to a picture, if not of certainty, to at least of tranquil reliability, pointing to either the guilt or innocence of today’s accused. Such a scenario, intrinsically contradictory, constitutes in itself, already, a first and eloquent signal of an investigation that was never capable of reaching a conclusion that was beyond any reasonable doubt.”

There are many carefully crafted layers of deception, supposition and “begging the question” in the above two quotes.

The first is that there was a factual profile (without stating what this was) emerging from the sentence of annulment.

That would not be true since all that the Supreme Court 1st Chambers did was annul Hellmann’s verdicts having accepted the prosecution’s grounds of appeal, one of which, incidentally, was that Hellmann was riddled with examples of “begging the question”, a trait which Marasca and Bruno are by no means averse to themselves.

That left the judicial process with the factual profile that emerged from the Massei trial, modified, if at all, by trial evidence from Hellmann.

Marasca-Bruno also quite arbitrarily assert that Nencini was “conditioned” and “misguided” by the terms of the annulment.

Whatever errors Nencini may have made in his Report (and there were a few) I can only find one (see later) that could have been potentially significant, an error in law, that is certainly censurable, but it is highly subjective and offensive to assert that these were conditioned by and a consequence of the annulment, or imply that they had an impact on the verdict. That assertion is simply begging the question and is clearly an affront to the appeal judge.

It is, of course, perfectly true that the Hellmann annulment came with a request from the 1st Chambers of the Supreme Court for the Florence appeal court to consider, (to paraphrase), “within it’s broadest discretion, the possibility of determining the subjective positions of Guede’s co-conspirators within a range of hypothetical situations, from premeditated intent to kill to an unwanted sex game that got out of control”.

To be clear, being asked to consider someone’s subjective position is not just an invitation to consider motive but more broadly an invitation to consider that person’s understanding of the nature and consequences of his interaction, or non-interaction, with a situation.

As it happened Nencini demonstrated latitude and independence in considering an entirely different and just as likely, if not more so, hypothesis. The hypothesis was not an affirmation of guilt, let alone proof, but was an element in the picture, and was certainly not forced upon the court by the terms of the annulment.

Marasca-Bruno may not have cared much for Nencini’s hypothesis (see later) but they can hardly, to be consistent, deplore the motivation given that they come up with (be it on little evidence) a subjective and puzzling scenario of their own for Knox (see the end of this critique) that leaves a lot of questions begging.

Equally begging the question is that the Hellmann acquittals were the consequence of an investigation that was never capable of reaching a conclusion that was beyond reasonable doubt. Marasca-Bruno also seem to accept, they certainly imply, that even an annulled verdict is evidence of reasonable doubt. Again there is no logical connection for that given that the verdict - they accept this - was correctly annulled..

All these assertions require to be demonstrated. Are they?

On The Claimed Media Impact

Next the Report claims that the media impacted on the conduct of the investigation and the judicial proceedings. There was “an unusual media clamour” of an international nature that -

“led to a sudden acceleration of the investigation, in the frantic search for one or more guilty people to placate international opinion, and certainly did not help lead to the truth”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦media attention led to “prejudicial reflexes”, “procedural deviations”, generating “illicit noise” in the provision of information. This is not so much from the late discovery of witnesses, as of the raiding of the trial by the impromptu propulsion of detainees with proven criminal records, who are certainly not people averse to moments of pathological lying”¦”

The media, take note. But it is the investigators that are once again being called to account here.

Marasca-Bruno do not identify the point at which the aforesaid sudden acceleration is supposed to occur but I would hazard a guess that it was when the investigators discovered the body of a girl who had been brutally murdered. The only propulsion required would be the perfectly natural need to identify and detain the perpetrators, and not what the media was saying about the case.

Marasca-Bruno do not produce one convincing iota of evidence that the investigators were unduly influenced by the media attention rather than the evidence they were obtaining.

There is, of course, more than a nod to the defence PR myth of a Rush to Judgement about the above. However it is overlooked that there was a period of 7 months between the arrest of Knox and Sollecito and the prosecution notifying all concerned that they were ready to press charges.

Marasca-Bruno are, of course, perfectly right about Alessi and Aviello but omit to mention their names and that these were witnesses called by the defence. The media had nothing to do with that, but rather the evidence of multiple attackers.

Thus ends the setting of the stage for a play within a play.

We should now be aware that there is something rotten in the State of Denmark, with which a theatrical Marasca-Bruno, the personifications of Hamlet, are about to grapple. Nencini becomes Claudius who, as revealed by a supernatural apparition, had murdered Hamlet’s father (Hellmann).

On Multiple Attackers

We now come to a clear and unequivocal endorsement of multiple attackers. Well done.

And then, and here I somewhat reluctantly have to agree, Marasca-Bruno identify an error in law in the Nencini Report.

Nencini referred to Guede’s appearance at the Hellmann appeal when Guede was questioned as to the letter he wrote in response to the allegation concerning him made by Alessi. In this letter, read out to the court, Guede wrote “I hope that sooner or later the judges realize my complete lack of involvement in what was a horrible murder of Meredith a lovely wonderful young woman, by Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox.”

Guede had not specifically said as much before and when cross-examined on the matter he declined to answer, referring the court to his previous statements. Nencini’s error was to treat the letter and those previous statements, in as much as they contained accusations placing Knox and Sollecito at the cottage at the time of the murder, as admissible circumstantial evidence.

That, however, is expressly excluded by the rule that states that incriminatory statements made by a witness of another are inadmissible unless the witness submits to cross-examination on them.

It should, however, be remembered that Guede did not give evidence at the Massei trial (nor were his previous statements admitted) and so it cannot be said that the error was that significant in the context of the evidence as a whole.

On The Trial Process

Having set the stage and dealt with points of law Marasca-Bruno now turn to the “merit of the trial process” which, of course they have already, and without merit, managed to sully.

Particularly this involves looking at the “Motivational structure of the ruling under appeal”.

“Discrepancies, inconsistencies and errors in judgement do not escape notice.”

They then proceed to set these out.

1. The Issue Of Motive

“Erroneous, in the first place, is the assertion regarding the substantive irrelevance of ascertaining the motive for the murderous act. This cannot be accepted in the light of the unquestioned doctrine of this regulating court, relating to the relevance of motive as the glue that links the various elements of which proof is made, especially in circumstantial cases such as the one at hand”

Well, Nencini did not maintain that motive was irrelevant, or even substantially irrelevant, per se. What he did say was this -

“Regarding motive, first it is necessary to quote the teaching of the Court of Legitimacy on whose opinion the precise indication of a motive for the crime of murder loses relevance when the attribution of responsibility to a defendant derives from a precise and concordant evidentiary framework (see Supreme Court, section 1 Criminal Sentence No. 11807, 12th February 2009).”

Marasca-Bruno ignore the above but quote another bit of law which, to paraphrase it,  because it becomes complicated in translation, states that motive, whilst capable of constituting an element, has to be congruent with and capable of pointing all the elements of the evidence in a single direction, in a clear, precise and convergent manner, failing which any motive so postulated attains an air of ambiguity unable to fulfill it’s purpose.

Marasca-Bruno continue -

“”¦..which as we shall see shortly, (such purpose) cannot be maintained in the case at hand, in the face of a body of evidence which is ambiguous and intrinsically contradictory.”

If my paraphrasing is correct, then this does not contradict Nencini. Indeed the quotes, taken together, are complimentary and encapsulate what just about every criminal lawyer understands to be correct about the relevance of a motive in criminal proceedings. Nencini is not erroneous. Motive is not central. It is an element which may be useful. Futile and trivial motives are difficult to pin down to a specific cause. There are, indeed, glues other than motive, which fulfill the same purpose, such as the behaviour, lies, inconsistencies and contradictions referable to the words and actions of the accused themselves.

Finally, on motive, Marasca-Bruno make another point.

Guede had a sexual motive but this cannot be extended to others. To demonstrate the point they present the following argument, but here, again, I encounter a difficulty with the translation into English, and so I paraphrase:

“If it would be manifestly illogical (ed: as it would be) to hypothesize the involvement of Romanelli and Mezetti in the murder, and in complicity with a complete stranger, then it is equally illogical not to extend the same argument to Sollecito who had never met Guede.”

According to M-B, Nencini’s failure to advance this argument is a judicial error.

However I can quite understand why he did not advance it.

Firstly, the argument is based on Guede’s sexual motive and the implied premise that gender and sexual assault are related, which does render the involvement of Romanelli and Mezetti unlikely but does not help Sollecito.

Secondly, the lack of a link to Guede, in either case but particularly in Sollecito’s case, has nothing to do with whether or not the hypothesized perpetrator would in fact possess such a motive. Thirdly there is a link anyway, Knox,

The argument might conceivably operate on another plane, leaving aside sexual motive. Would anyone commit murder with a stranger?  Well it happens in fact, particularly if there is a party who can link the strangers together.

The reason, of course, why one cannot hypothesize the involvement of Romanelli and Mezetti in the murder is that they both had proven alibis, whereas Sollecito did not, and that would seem to be the more pertinent fact.

It is a suggestive argument but one that is flawed. In any event it is not significant and Marasca-Bruno are not averse from making significant judicial errors themselves, as we shall see.

***

Please click here for the next post.


Wednesday, November 04, 2015

TJMK/Wiki Translation Of The Marasca/Bruno Report #7 Of 7: Attempt At Why Court Blinked At Guilt

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Cassation mural by Cesare Maccari 19th century, on the theme of justice

Overview Of The Post and the Series

This represents pages 41 to 46 of the original, which is 53 pages in total. Machiavelli posted the final few quite damning pages several weeks ago.

The four part series by the lawyer James Raper that follows next concentrates on the analysis and conclusions in the second half. We have already carried a four part analysis by Catnip.

We also posted these charges against defense lawyer Maori which also explain at length how the Fifth Chambers (which handles no murder cases normally) among numerous errors of its own broke two laws.

Apart from questions as to why it wandered from its narrow mandate, that court should not have one-upped the First Chambers findings in 2013 or the Nencini findings in 2015 without referring the case back down to him.

Those charges are now lodged with the Florence court, and the archaic “political-track” route to their questionable seats on the Supreme Court of Judge Marasca and Judge Bruno as opposed to career-track has already been sealed off by the Council of Magistrates.

Translation was by a professional translator with extensive finalization by Machiavelli with some help from the Wiki team of the judicial terms used and the accuracy of the English relative to what is in the report.

Please consider this pre-final. Suggestions for improved translation are welcome. The PDF version to go on the Wiki will be the final.

Attempt to Explain Why The Court Blinked At Guilt

8. Now, in fluid succession, the points of clear logical disparity in the appealed motivation should be positioned.

8.1 A process element of incontrovertible value ““ as will be explained further ““ is represented by the asserted absence, in the room of the homicide or on the victim’s body, of biological traces attributable with certainty to the two defendant, when, in contrast, there copious traces have been detected firmly referable to Guede.

This was an insurmountable roadblock on the road taken by the trial judge to arrive at an affirmation of guilt of the current appellants, who were already absolved of the homicide by the Hellmann Appeal Court.

To overcome the inconvenience of such negative element - unequivocally favorable to the current appellants ““ it has been sustained, in vain, that, after the theft simulation the perpetrators of the crime carried out a “selective” cleaning of the environment, in order to remove only the traces referable to them, while still leaving those attributable to others.

The assumption is manifestly illogical. To appreciate, in full, the amount of disparity it is not necessary to carry out an expert investigation ad hoc, even if requested by the defense. Such a cleanup would be impossible according to common-sense rules of ordinary experience, an activity of targeted cleaning capable of avoiding luminol examinations which are in commonplace use by investigators (also used to highlight different traces, not just hematic ones).

After all, the same assumption of an asserted precision in the cleaning is shown to be wrong in point of fact, considering that “in the little bathroom” hematic traces on the bathmat, on the bidet, on the faucet, on the cotton buds box, and on the light switch were found. And also, in a case of guilt of the current appellants, certainly they would have had enough time for an accurate cleaning, in the sense that there wouldn’t be any reasons for hurry that would have animated any other perpetrator of the crime who would probably be worried about the possible arrival of other persons. In fact, Knox, was well aware of the absence of Romanelli and Mezzetti from the house and she knew that they would have not returned home that night, therefore there would have been all the necessary time for an accurate cleaning of the house.

With reference to the asserted hematic traces in the other environments, especially in the corridor, there’s also an obvious misrepresentation of the proof. In fact, the progress-of-works reports of the Scientific Police had excluded, consequent to the use of a particular chemical reagent, that, in the examined environments, the traces highlighted by the luminol were of hematic nature. Those -of-works certificates, despite being regularly compiled and registered in evidence, were not considered.

Also manifestly illogical, in this regard, is the argument of the trial judge who (at f.186) assumes that he could overrule the defense objection in relation to circumstances in which the luminescent bluish reaction caused by the luminol is also produced in the presence of substances different from blood (for example, detergent residues, fruit juices and others), on the assumption that that, even if theoretically exact, would have to be “contextualized” in the sense that if the fluorescence manifests itself in an environment involving a homicide, the luminol reaction can only be attributed to hematic traces.

The weakness of this, even at first sight, doesn’t require any notation, and it would furthermore require the assumptions that the house in via della Pergola was never subject to cleaning or that it was not ever lived in.

This analysis permits us therefore to exclude, categorically, that hematic traces were removed on that particular occasion.

There’s another clear logical disparity regarding the explanations given by the trial about the theft of the cellphones of Kercher,  which the unknown perpetrator or perpetrators, while moving away from via della Pergola, got rid of, after the homicide, tossing them into a plot next to the road which in the dark could appear like open country (while was a private garden instead).

Far from plausible further more is the judge’s justification that the cellphones would have been taken to avoid their eventual ringing leading to discovery of the corpse of the young English woman before the hypothetic time, without considering that such an outcome could have more easily been achieved by shutting the telephones off or removing the batteries.

It is also clearly illogical ““ and also little respectful of the trial’s body of facts ““ to reconstruct the motivation of the homicide on the basis of supposed disagreements between Kercher and Knox, enhanced by the irritation of the young English woman toward her housemate for having allowed Guede in the house, who had thereupon made an irregular use of the bathroom (f. 312). The explanation offered by the Ivorian in one of his declarations during the proceeding against him (and usable, according to what stated before, only in the parts which don’t involve responsibilities of third parties) is, instead, a different one. The young man in fact was in the bathroom, when he heard Kercher arguing with another person, who he perceived had a female voice, so that the motivation for the arguing could have not be constituted by his use of the bathroom.

Also illogical and contradictory is the judge’s statement that, attempting to provide a cause for that disagreement (which was moreover denied in other declarations) doesn’t hesitate to retrieve the hypothesis of the money and credit card theft which Kercher was said to have attributed to Knox, despite the fact that, in a definitive finding, Knox, and Sollecito too, would be absolved because “there is no hard fact” on the crime of thievery in relation to the aforementioned goods (f.316).

It is also arbitrary in the absence of any accepted confirmation to transfer to the house at via della Pergola the situations that Knox, in one of her declarations, had described and contextualized in a different timeframe and circumstance, which was in via Garibaldi n. 130, in Sollecito’s house: viewing of a movie, light consuming of drugs, sexual intercourse, and nocturnal rest lasting until the late morning of the 2nd of November, in a period before, during and after the homicide. This was introduced as a dynamic of the murder, the possible destabilizing effect of drugs.

This also was done in the absence of any verification, and also because ““ among the multiple omissions or disputable investigative strategies ““ the police teams, even after collecting a cigarette butt from the ashtray in the living room containing biological traces of a mixed genetic profile (Knox and Sollecito), didn’t carry out any analysis on the nature of the cigarette’s substance because that investigation would have resulted in an impossibility to verify the genetic profile, making the sample “unusable”. And all of this with the brilliant [sic] result of submitting to the trial an absolutely irrelevant data, considered that it is certain that Sollecito frequented the house in via della Pergola, because he was sentimentally bound to the American girl; while in contrast the verification of the nature of the cigarette sample might have offered investigative leads of particular interest.

What is underlined above is emblematic of the whole body of the appealed findings related to the reconstruction of the relevant event, reported in par.10 with the title: conclusive evaluations.

It is undeniably a faulty interpretation attempt of the judge in order to compensate for some investigative lacks and obvious proof shortfalls with acute speculative activity and suggestive logical argumentations, being merely assertive and dogmatic.

Now it is unquestionable that the factual reconstruction is an exclusive task of the trial judge and it is not the responsibility of the Court of Cassation to establish if the proposed assessment is actually the best possible reconstruction of the facts, nor to approve his justifications, requiring this court only to address verification if such justification is compatible - according to the basic jurisprudence formula ““ “with common sense and with the limits of a plausible appreciation of opinion” (among others, Section 5, n. 1004 of 30 November 1999, dep. 2000, Moro G, Rv. 215745), and also according to the probative requirements in the light of the text of article 606 lett. e) of the code of criminal procedure; it is also true that the chosen reconstructive version, even if in compliance with the standards of ordinary logic, has to adhere to the reality of the body of facts and be presented as the result of a process of critical evaluation of the points of proof acquired. Therefore the use of logic and intuition cannot compensate for shortfalls in proofs or investigative inefficiency. In the face of a missing, insufficient or contradictory proof, the judge must limit himself to accepting that and deliver an acquittal sentence, according to article 530, chapter 2, of the code of criminal procedure, even if driven by an authentic moral conviction of the guilt of the accused.

Also, there is no shortage of errors in the motivation text of the examined sentence. Accordingly the assumption is totally erroneous in f. 321, according to which in the almost imperceptible grooves of the knife which was considered the weapon of the crime (item 36) DNA samples were attributable to Sollecito and also Kercher. The assumption is, in fact, in conflict with the lengthy exposition in the part concerning the aforementioned item (ff. 208 ss), where the outcomes of the genetic investigations which had attributed trace A to Amanda Knox, trace B to Kercher, a finally, trace I ““ the examination of which was unjustifiably passed over in the Conte-Vecchiotti survey ““ attributed after a new test to Knox. As will be stated further, given the attribution of the traces A and I to the current appellant, the reference of the trace B to Kercher cannot have ““ for the reasons stated above ““ any possibility of certainty being a low copy number sample meaning a scarce-quantity sample which could allow only one amplification (f.124). It doesn’t appear anywhere that the knife carried biological traces related to the genetic profile of Sollecito.

9. The noted errors in judgment and the logical inconsistencies conflict fundamentally with the appealed sentence which therefore deserves to be annulled.

The aforementioned invalidating reasons mount up in the absence of a possible framework of proof that could really be accepted as able to support a verdict of guilt beyond reasonable doubt as required by article 533 of the code of criminal procedure, in the recent text of article 5 of law n. 46 of 2006.

Regarding the discussion of the range of meaning of that rule and its possible reflection on the evaluation of the evidence, this Court of Cassation has more than once had occasion to restate that “the normative prevision of the judgmental rule of beyond reasonable doubt which is based on the constitutional principle of presumed innocence, has not led to a different and more restrictive criteria of evaluation of the proof, but has coded the jurisprudential principle according to which the declaration of the sentence has to be based on certainty with regard to the accused ( Section 2, n. 7035 of 09 November 2012, dep. 2013, De Bartolomei, Rv. 254025; Section 2, n. 16357 of 2 April 2008, Crisiglione¸ Rv. 239795).

It is not in essence an innovative or “revolutionary” principle, but the mere formal recognition of a judgment rule already existing in the judiciary experience of our Country and therefore already in firm force regarding the conditions for a sentence, given the preexistent rule of article 530, second chapter, of the code of criminal procedure, according to which, in case of insufficiency or contradiction of the evidence, the accused has to be acquitted. (Section 1, n. 30402 of 28/062006, Volpon, Rv.234374).

On the basis of such premises the principle was enhanced according to which “the judgmental rule contained in the formula for beyond any reasonable doubt requires the pronouncing of a guilty sentence only when the acquired proofs excludes all but the remotest eventualities, even if supposable in theory and considered possible in the nature of things, but it is obvious that in this concrete case, the investigation results lacked any verification during the trial, unless outside the natural order of things and normal human rationality” (Section 2, n. 2548 of 19/12/2014, dep. 2015, Segura, Rv. 262280); together with the enunciation that alternative reconstructions of the crime have to be based on reliable probative elements, because the doubt which inspires them cannot be founded on merely conjectural hypothesis, even if plausible, but has to be characterized by rationality (cfr Section 4, n. 22257 of the 25/03/2014, Guernelli, Rv. 259204; Section 1, n. 17921 of the 03/03/2010, Giampà , Rv. 247449; Section 1, n. 23813 of 08/05/2009, Manikam, Rv. 243801).

9.1 The intrinsically contradictory quality of the body of proof, the objective uncertainty of which is emphasized by the highlighted irregular progression of the proceeding, doesn’t allow us to consider it as having passed the standard of no reasonable doubt, the consecration of which is a milestone in juridical civilization which has to be protected for always as an expression of fundamental constitutional values clustered around the central role of the person in the legal system, whose protection is effected at trial by the principle of presumption of innocence until there is definitive verification, according to article 27, chapter 2, of the Constitution.

9.2. The terms of objective contradictions in the proof here can be illustrated for each appellant, in a synoptic examination of the elements favorable to the hypothesis of guilt and the elements to the contrary in the text of the appeal and the defense declarations.

9.3. It is useful to the side by side examination of these profiles to consider that, given the committing of the homicide in via della Pergola, the supposed presence in the house of the current appellants cannot, in itself be considered as a demonstrative element of guilt. In the evaluative approach to the problematic compendium of proof offered by the appellate judge, we cannot ignore the juridical categories of “non-punishable connivance” and “participation of persons in the crime committed by others” and the distinction between them as accepted by indisputables decision of the Court of Cassation.

In this regard, it is well understood that the distinction resides “in the fact that the first postulates that the agent maintain a merely passive behavior, of no contribution to the effecting of the crime, while the second requires a positive participatory contribution - moral or material ““ to the other’s criminal conduct in ways that aid or strengthen the criminal purpose of the appellant” (Section 4, n. 1055 of 12/12/2013, dep. 2014, Benocci, Rv. 258186; Section 6, n. 44633 of 31/102013, Dioum, Rv. 257810; Section 5, n. 2895 of 22/03/2013, dep. 2014, Grosu, Rv. 258953). Equally certain is the effect of this specific distinction in the subjectivity consideration, since in the actual participation by persons in the crime the subjective element can be identified in the conscious representations and will of the participant in cooperating with other subjects in the common realization of the criminal conduct (Section 1, n 40248 of 26/09/2012, Mazzotta, Rv. 254735).

9.4 Now, a fact of assured relevance in favor of the current appellants, in the sense of excluding their material participation to the homicide, even assuming the hypothesis of their presence in the house of via della Pergola, lies in the absolute absence of biological traces referable to them (apart from the hook of which we will discuss later) in the room of the homicide or on the victim’s body, where in contrast multiple traces attributable to Guede were found.

It is incontrovertibly impossible that that in the crime scene (constituted by a room of little dimensions: ml 2,91x3,36, as indicated by the blueprint reproduced at f. 76) no traces would be retrieved referable to the current appellants had they participated in the murder of Kercher.

No trace assignable to them has been, in particular, observed on the sweatshirt worn by the victim at the moment of the aggression and nor on the underlying shirt, as it should have been in case of participation in the homicide (instead, on the sleeve of the aforementioned sweater traces of Guede were retrieved: ff. 179-180).

The aforementioned negative circumstance works as a counterbalance to the data, already highlighted, on the absolute impracticality of the hypothesis of a posthumous selective cleaning capable of removing specific biological traces while leaving others.


Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Marasca/Bruno Report, A Dissection In Four Parts: #4 Their Findings - Ambivalent In Spades

Posted by catnip



Sollecito & Bongiorno: reported as very un-thrilled at the findings RS was at crime scene and lied

Overview

This is my dissection of Part 9, the final 10 pages of the report.

My previous dissections of the Fifth Chambers explanation can be read here and here and here.

Dissections

Each sentence in the paraphrased gist of the repoirt below corresponds to one paragraph in the text.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: Errors in law and logical inconsistencies mean that the impugned judgment merits being cassated [quashed]. The evidential picture does not reach the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s not an innovative or “revolutionary” principle and is already present in Italian law, implicitly in Article 530 para 2. Remote possibilities are not “˜beyond a reasonable doubt’(Segura case, 2014) and mere conjecture, even though plausible, cannot found alternative reconstructions (Gurenelli case, 2014, etc) (9).


COMMENT: Citing from cases is a good technique, even to including their names, à  la common law systems. Not reaching the BARD standard is the crux of the matter.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: The contradictory evidence as illustrated by the up-and-down nature of the proceedings through the courts does not reach the BARD standard (9.1)


COMMENT: This is disingenuous. The Perugia Court of Appeal judgment was annulled (except for the calunnia), so calling it into play again as one of the, presumably, “up” side of the “˜swings-and-roundabouts’ of the case as if it were a valid judgment is misleading.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: An overview of the for-and-against positions can be given (9.2)


COMMENT: Given the appearance of a balanced handling of the matter is a good technique. The assumption that there are for-and-against positions is not clarified or explained, though, merely asserted.

That is, a reading of the evidence as “˜not guilty’, to stand and be opposed to and contrasted with a reading of the evidence as “˜guilty’, involves a circularity of reasoning: it is the ultimate contradiction for the same evidence to support both positions simultaneously.

The result of a “˜not guilty’ conclusion is that the evidence leads there, and away from a conclusion of “˜guilty’. A for-and-against view begins with the conclusion, in order to prove the conclusion: circularity.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: Presence does not equate with guilt. Passive participation is different to active participation (Benocci case, 2013 etc). The subjective element can be found in voluntary participation and cooperation (Mazzotta case, 2012) (9.3)


COMMENT: Absence of evidence does not equate with innocence (meaning evidence of absence). Quoting from cases is good: it gives the impression something legal is going.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: Even given their presence, FOR the accused is the absence of their traces in the room or on the body (excluding the bra-clasp, of which more later), and likewise FOR the accused is the presence of Rudy’s evidence. The room is so small that is impossible not to leave any traces if they were murderers. Nothing of theirs was found on the victim’s top or the piece of clothing underneath, whereas Rudy’s trace was found on a sleeve of the top. This makes a clean-up impossible. (9.4)


COMMENT: Declarations of certainty about the consequences of the size of the room are not evidence, no matter how close such declarations seem to be in going “˜beyond a reasonable doubt’. Given an erroneous starting point, impeccable reasoning can be applied, and a conclusion reached.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: Amanda’s self-described presence is credible in that she described, for the first time, a possible sexual motive for the murder, and the piercing scream. In her calunnia she puts herself on the scene which no-one else (other than those others present, obviously) would have known. According to the calunnia, the scream and the murder is due to Patrick Lumumba. AGAINST: the mixed traces (dilute blood, skin cells) in the small bathroom.

Suspicion is not decisive. The trace is not equivocal ““ there could have been posthumous contact with the blood.  There was no trace in the murder zone or on the body. The reason why she accused is incomprehensible ““ the psychological pressure theory is weak (fragile). She couldn’t think it would stand up, since she knew well that Patrick had no relationship with Meredith, or that Patrick wouldn’t have a cast-iron alibi. Maybe to cover for Rudy (both men being black), perhaps hypothesising that Rudy had been seen.

The staged burglary scene, for the prosecution, pointed to somebody who knew the victim, but this is ambiguous because it was Raffaele who pointed out to the police that nothing had been carried off. Lies revealed by SMS and Curatolo and Quintavalle are suspicious, but they are scarcely credible witnesses. The enigmatic drug-dealer Curatolo, coming late to the case and no stranger to cases with a strong media presence, is contradicted by the lack of buses, and the masks and joking around of Halloween, apparently counterbalanced by seeing the accused the day before forensic spacemen arrived. Quintavalle, another tardy witness, has nothing specific to add, not even what purchases were made, and identifying in Amanda in the courtroom has no relevance since her image had appeared on all the newspapers and TV news.

The “A” and “I” traces on the knife are neutral, given she lived with Raffaele, and (as said) there were no traces of Ms Kercher on the knife, contrasting with the prosecution hypothesis that it was the murder weapon. It was an arguable choice to test the trace for DNA rather than for what substance it was. Attributing the trace to Amanda is not unequivocal, and is indifferent, since she lived with Raffaele. Even attributing trace “B” to Meredith is not decisive (not being blood), since, with students, it’s plausible that convivial gatherings and other events would require the transport of a knife for domestic use. Starch implies ordinary use; lack of blood cannot lead to a cleaning action since starch is well-known to be absorbent and would have absorbed blood if it had been there.

It’s implausible that Amanda would carry the kitchen knife for protection in her big bag, rather than carry a small flick knife like knife-collector and knife-fan Raffaele certainly had in his possession. Attributing the print in the homicide location to her is, finally, anything but certain. (9.4.1)


COMMENT:  “˜All over the place like a dog’s breakfast’. Where to begin? The strong suspicion, reinforced with every statement made, is that Bruno is one sandwich short of a picnic. The main cause is due to taking the defence claims in their appeal papers as if they were the factual basis of a new trial. Which makes Bruno two sandwiches short of a picnic. For a Cassation judge, the picnic hamper and its contents is a serious matter. This whole section, and the following one, are destined to become a classic example.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: For Raffaele, the picture is likewise. The bra-clasp, the only trace of his, has no certainty, since there is no 2nd amplification, there is no probative value. There is a strong suspicion he was there on the night, but when is not possible to determine. Given Amanda was present, it’s scarcely believable he wouldn’t be with her. Amanda had versions of the “something strange” story and other versions of being present, it’s strange she wouldn’t have called her boyfriend, presumably being ignorant of Italian emergency procedures and having her boyfriend close by. No call, there was no phone record, implies he was with her.

But presence at the scene is not certain proof. Defence arguments are insufficient to remove doubt. Even if Raffaele watched everything, it does not rule out his presence ““ he could have been at the house, it’s a short distance away, ten or so minutes. Amanda’s claims to have been at Raffaele’s house, countered by Curatalo’s and Quintavalle’s testimony, raises strong suspicion against Raffaele. But their strongly approximative and ambiguous statements cannot, reasonably, lead to certainty, notwithstanding the appeal court’s problematic subjective view on the matter. Suspicions rise from the substantive failure of the alibi about the computers, although it’s not a case of speaking about failed alibis, but rather alibis that didn’t make it. No certainty either about Raffaele’s prints, with their “probable identity”, rather than certainty. (9.4.2)


COMMENT: Reasonable minds can (and often do) come to different conclusions on the same facts. But: Highly trained professional lawyers applied the incorrect methodology?! If Bruno thinks Florence did that, then what’s to stop anyone thinking that Bruno has done the same thing? Curatolo is an enigmatic drug-dealer (and again the media get a look-in), but the enigmatic drug-taking Raffaele isn’t, even with his knife-fetish?

Luckily, enigmas, according to common experience, are not generally the convivial party-going kind, whereof large kitchen knives for domestic use are easily transported. Bruno, and the Bruno Cafe-and-Bar Specials, are ripe for satire (which may be the underlying ulterior intention, subconsciously-speaking: to make a mark, or a stain or a trace, no matter how indeterminate, or, keyword, indecisive.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: Since the main charge is unsupported, the subsidiary charges also fall. (9.4.3)


COMMENT: True, as a principle.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: Contradictory probative elements must compel an acquittal. One last question remains to be resolved. Remand of the case to another court is logically linked to the objective possibility of further tests. The response is definitely negative. The traces are so small they cannot guarantee reliability. Amanda’s and Meredith’s computer were burned by the investigators, probably through the wrong electric current causing irreversible damage. The declaratory evidence is exhaustive. Rudy refused and cannot be compelled to testify.

Defence technical requests cannot guarantee clarity, not only because of the amount of time, but the problematic testing (possibility of selective clean-up); obvious irrelevance (tests on Raffaele’s computer), given the possibility, no matter what the interaction, of going over to Meredith’s house; or clearly superfluous, given the completeness of the examination undertaken (for example, the autopsy and subsequent medico-legal tests). Remand of the case would be useless. Annulment of the conviction under charge (A)  [=aggravated murder] implies a redetermination of the sentence imposed, which will be set as the same one handed down by the Court of Appeal of Perugia, adequate and just.

And so all other defence submissions petitions requests are to be considered denied, while any lines of argumentation, including those not examined, are inadmissible as being, clearly, related to the mertis. (10)


COMMENT: Repeating of the same wallpaper pattern starting to occur. Which means, there is nothing more to say. Literally.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: It only remains to dispose the case (11):

Charge (B): extinction of the charge by prescription
The impugned judgment, excluding aggravated calunnia, annulled without remand on charges (A), (D)and (E) on the grounds on not having committed the deed
Re-determine the sentence inflicted on Amanda for the crime of calunnia to three years of imprisonment.
So decided 27/03/2015
Signed
(Bruno, Recorder) (Marasca, President)


COMMENT: Only Bruno initialled each page; Marasca limited himself to signing at the end.

Observations

What have we learned on the first read-through of (the legal part of) the Cassation decision?

  • That the court is not slave to science, yet Bruno pronounces about repeatability and its scientific significance (which he mistakes for the significance of falsifiability). He makes repeatability a judicial truth. I expect Bruno will be surprised to “learn” that there are sciences where repeatability is not an option, yet they are still science.

  • That the court is not slave to the expert, yet when the defence claim that international standards have been breached in the collection of evidence, that is accepted as judicial truth.

  • That a person is not slave to their DNA: the presence of DNA (Raffaele’s on the cigarette butt) is proof of nothing since he was a visitor to the cottage, and the absence of DNA (in the room) is proof of everything since it “shows” (with certainty) that they weren’t there as murderers.

  • That the court is adept at applying common experience and associated physics, yet Bruno does not hesitate to declare what is and isn’t physically possible (in a small room, say; or with starch grains).

  • That the court applies logic and common sense and everyday knowledge, yet, in continuously describing the crime as senseless, incomprehensible, and indeed not of the everyday, Bruno looks for sense and rationality, and the not finding of it doesn’t alert him to the possibility that it isn’t there.

  • That the copy-paste function on junior judge’s computers should be switched off in cases of non compus mentus, or that at the least that copyright payments should be made to defence clerks for usage of the material, to offset their costs.

Others here will pick up the baton on this. I look forward to seeing them run.


Friday, October 30, 2015

TJMK/Wiki Translation Of The Marasca/Bruno Report #6 Of 7: Why The DNA Evidence Was All Useless

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Luca Giordano (Fa Pesto), Love and Vice Disarm Justice, 17th century

Overview Of The Post and the Series

This represents pages 37 to 41 of the original, which is 53 pages in total. Machiavelli already posted the final few pages so one more post of 5 pages will see the completion.

Following this 6th post will be a final brief analysis by Catnip, and following the 7th and final post will be a major analysis of the entire report by lawyer James Raper from legal and evidence standpoints.

Translation was by a professional translator with extensive finalization by Machiavelli with some help from the Wiki team of the judicial terms used and the accuracy of the English relative to what is in the report.

Please consider this pre-final. Suggestions for improved translation are welcome. The PDF version to go on the Wiki will be the final.

Why DNA Evidence Is All Rejected

7.1. With these general and abstract considerations, we now examine from a new particular perspective specific details of a broadly problematic case.

In this specific case, in fact, it is not a question of verifying the nature and admissibility of a scientific method that is not really new, as in the Franzoni sentence formerly mentioned, , on the admissibility of the “Blood Pattern Analysis” or B.P.A. (a procedure already accepted in the United States and Germany, combining scientific laws of different universally recognized disciplines) because the objects of examination are the outcomes of the one science, genetics, of well-known reliability and increasing use and utility in judicial investigations.

Furthermore, this Court on multiple occasions has already recognized the procedural value of genetic investigation into DNA, given the statistically great number of confirmative recurrences, making the possibility of an error infinitesimally small (Section 2, n. 8434 of 05 February 2013, Mariller, Rv. 255257; Section 1, n. 48349 of 30 June 2004, Rv.231182).

Here it is more a matter of verifying what kind of procedural value can be assigned in a trial to the results of a genetic investigation carried out in a context of verifying very small samples with very little respect for the rules included in international protocols by which, normally, such scientific research is inspired.

Implicitly referring to the jurisprudential interpretation of legitimacy, the judge has not hesitated to attribute to the aforementioned outcomes evidential relevance (f. 217).

The attribution cannot be shared.

Important to note that the case law of this Supreme Court, cited above, has acknowledged of genetic investigations ““ specifically their degree of reliability ““ full evidential value, and not a mere evidential element, according to article 192, chapter 2, of the code of criminal procedure; adding that, in cases where the genetic investigation doesn’t have absolutely certain outcomes, it can be attributed lesser evidential value (Section 2, n. 8434 of the 05 February 2013, Mariller, Rv. 255257; Section 1, n. 48349 of the 30 June 2004, Rv.231182). This means that, in the situation of placing suspects in terms of firm identity, the outcomes of the genetic investigation can have conclusive relevance, while in case of mere compatibility with a determined genetic profile, the outcomes have a mere circumstantial relevance.

This enunciation of principle needs a further clarification.

Generally, it is possible to accept the respective conclusions, provided the sampling activity, conservation and analysis of the sample were respectful of the requirements stated in the relevant protocols. This is true also in the less firm hypothesis, in which the outcomes of the analysis don’t arrive at a firm identity result, but merely a compatibility one.

The principle of necessary methodological correctness in the phases of collection, conservation and analysis of examined data to preserve their maximum integrity and validity has been stated by this Court in Section F, n. 44851 of 6 September 2012, Franchini, although that was in the area of IT evidence, on the basis that those principles have been included in the code of criminal procedure with the modification of the second chapter of article 244 of the code of criminal procedure and the new particular requirement of article 254 bis of the same code, introduced into law on 19 September 2008, n. 48.

Justifying reasoning resides, for this Court, in the same notion of evidence offered by the standard code of procedure, which in article 192 chapter 2 states that “the existence of a fact cannot be deduced from evidence, unless they are serious, precise and concordant”, so that a procedural element, to be elevated to firm evidence, has to present the characteristics of seriousness, precision and concordance, according to a configuration borrowed from the civil law (article 2729, first chapter, civil code).

This is all summarized in the so called “certainty” requirement of circumstantial, even if such a requisite is not expressly enunciated in article 192 of the code of criminal procedure, chapter 2. It’s about, in fact,  a further connotation considered non-failable in consolidated case law and intrinsically connected to the requirements for systematic evidential proof, through which, using a procedure of formal logic, a demonstration of the proof matter ““ a previously unknown fact - is achieved flowing from a confirmed fact and, therefore, considered true. It is well understood, in fact, that such a procedure would be, in short, fallacious and unreliable, in cases where it moves from non-precise to serious factual premises and therefore to certain. Given, obviously, the fact that the certainty, discussed here, is not to be understood in absolute terms, in an ontological sense; the certainty of the evidential data is, in fact, always a category of a procedural nature, falling within that species of certainty which takes form during the evidential procedure. (cfr. the Franzoni sentence).

In the light of such considerations it’s not clear how the data of the genetic analysis ““ carried out in violation of the prescriptions of the international protocols related to sampling and collection ““ could be considered endowed with the features of seriousness and precision.

And in fact, rules for crystallizing of the results from valid samples, strengthened through repeated experimentations and methodical statistical verifications of experimental data, promote the standards of reliability in the results of the analysis both in hypothesis and identity and simple compatibility with a particular genetic profile. Otherwise, no relevance could be attributed to the acquired data, not even of minor evidence (cfr. Section 2, n. 2476 of 27 November 2014, dep.2015, Santangelo, Rv. 261866, on the necessity of a correct conservation of the vessels containing the genetic imprints, for the purpose of “repeatability” of the technical verifications capable of duplicating the genetic profile; repeatability also is dependent on the quantity of the trace and the quality of the DNA present on the biological samples collected; id. n. 2476/14 cit. Rv. 261867).

In this case, it is certain that these methodological rules have not being fully observed (cfr, among others, ff. 206-207 and the outcomes of the Conte-Vecchiotti survey, acquired by the Court of Appeal of Perugia).

Just consider, in this regard, the modalities of retrieval, sampling and conservation of the two items of major investigative interest in the present judgment: the kitchen knife (item n. 36) and the brassiere hook of the victim (item n. 165/B), regarding to which, during the process, the conduct of the investigators was qualified as lacking in professionalism (f. 207).

The big knife or kitchen knife, retrieved in Sollecito’s house and considered as the weapon of the crime, had been kept in a common cardboard box, very similar to the ones used to pack Christmas gadgets, like the diaries normally given to local authorities by credit institutes.

More singular ““ and unsettling ““ is the fate of the brassiere hook.

Observed during the first inspection of the scientific police, the item had been ignored and left there, on the floor, for some time (46 days), until, during a new search, it was finally picked up and collected. It is sure that, during the period of time between the inspection in which it was observed and when it was collected, there had been other accesses by the investigators, who turned the room upside down in a search for elements of evidence useful to the investigation. The hook was maybe stepped on or moved (enough to be retrieved on the floor in a different place from where it was firstly noticed). And also, the photographic documentation produced by Sollecito’s defense demonstrates that, during the sampling, the hook was passed hand in hand between the operators who, furthermore, wore dirty latex gloves.

Questioned on the reasons for the absence of a prompt sampling, the official of the scientific police, doc. Patrizia Stefanoni, declared that, initially, the collection of the hook was not focused on because the team had already collected all the clothes of the victim. Therefore, no importance was attributed to that little detail, even if, in common perception, that fastening is the part of major investigative interest, being manually operable and, therefore, a potential carrier of biological traces useful for the investigation.

Also, the traces observed on the two items, which the analysis of has produced outcomes that will be discussed further, were very small (Low Copy Number; with reference to the hook cfr. ff. 222 and 248), so little that it didn’t allow a repetition of the amplification¸ that is the procedure aimed to “highlight the genetic traces of interest in the sample” (f. 238) and attribute the biological trace to a determined genetic profile. On the basis of the protocols of the matter, the repetition of the analysis (“at least for two times” testimony of Major CC Dr Andrea Berti, an expert nominated by the Appeal Court, f. 228; “three times” according to Professor Adriano Tagliabracci, technical adviser for Sollecito’s defense, f.126) is absolutely necessary for a reliable analysis result, in order to marginalize the risk of “false positive” within the statistical limits of insignificant relevance. 

In essence, it is nothing less than a procedure of validation or falsification typical of the scientific method, of which we have talked before. And it’s significant, in this regard, that the experts Berti-Berni, officials of the R.I.S. of Roma, carried out two amplifications of the trace retrieved from the knife blade (f. 229).

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

The Court is sure that the scientific truth, regardless of elaboration, cannot automatically be introduced in to the process to transform itself into procedural truth. As stated before, scientific proof requires a mandatory postulate, verification, so that the relevant outcome can take on relevance and be elevated to the rank of “certainty”; since otherwise it remains unreliable. But, independent of the scientific evaluation, an unverified datum, precisely because it is lacking in the necessary requirements of precision and seriousness, cannot be granted in the process any evidentiary relevance.

Certainly, in such a context, is not a zero, to be considered non-existant. In fact, it is still process data, which, although lacking in autonomous demonstrative relevance, is nevertheless susceptible to appreciation, at least as a mere confirmation, within a set of elements already equipped with such inclusive indicative value.

Therefore hidden here is the judicial error in which the trial judge committed in assigning evidential value to the outcome of the genetic investigation unsusceptible to amplification and resulting from an unorthodox procedure of collection and sampling.

7.2 In order to clarify any possible misunderstanding in this regard, it is worth considering that if it is impossible to attribute significant demonstrative relevance, in the court process, to outcomes of genetic investigations not repeated and made unsusceptible to repetition, because of scarceness or complexity of the sample,  it is not possible to compensate by way of claiming the efficacy and usability of the “unrepeatable” technical verifications, in case of, as in this circumstance, observance of the defensive guarantees accorded in article 360 of the code of criminal procedure. In fact, the technical investigations to which the procedural rule mentioned are those that ““ for crystal-clear positive formulation ““ are related to “persons, things or places the status of which is subject to modification”, in other words situations of any type or category which, according to their nature, are variable, therefore it is necessary to crystallize their status unequivocally even before the preliminary investigation phase, to avoid irreversible modifications with an outcome that under standard procedures is destined to be utilized during the court hearings. This is allowed because the verification to be carried out, especially in cases of impossibility of repetition because of modification of the item to be examined, is still capable of highlighting already-accepted realities or entities equipped with demonstrative value. In this case, despite the observance of the rules expressed in article 360 of the standard code of procedure, the acquired data ““ not repeated and not susceptible to repetition for any reason ““ cannot assume either probative or evidential relevance, precisely because, according to the aforementioned laws of science, it requires validation or falsification. So, in one instance the empiric data, when immediately “photographed”, acquires demonstrative significance; while in another instance it’s lacking such a feature, precisely because its indicative relevance is indissolubly bound to its repetition or repeatability.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

TJMK/Wiki Translation Of The Marasca/Bruno Report #5 Of 7: Some “Incongruencies” By Previous Courts

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Painting by Paride Pascucci of Siena on the theme of justice

Overview Of The Post and the Series

This represents pages 32 to 37 of the original, which is 53 pages in total. Machiavelli already posted the final few pages so two posts of 5 pages will see the completion.

Translation was by a professional translator with extensive finalization by Machiavelli with some help from the Wiki team of the judicial terms used and the accuracy of the English relative to what is in the report.

Please consider this pre-final. Suggestions for improved translation are welcome. The PDF version to go on the Wiki will be the final. 

On Further Appeal Grounds

6. The examination of the motivational structure of the appealed sentenced, the object of multiple claims by the defenses, can now be proceeded with.

Even from a very first reading, we can identify contradictions, incongruencies and errors in rulings which deeply permeate the whole argumentative structure.

6.1 Firstly, the judges’ statement is erroneous that the motive for homicide does not have to be determined with precision

The assumption is not acceptable in relation to the indisputable principle of this regulatory Court (from Section 1, n. 10841 of the 24 September 1992, Scupola, Rv. 192865) regarding the relevance of the motive as bond between multiple elements that the proof has constituted, during evidential procedures like the one examined here.

Furthermore, the value in this as one of the strengthening elements of the evidence is, obviously, contingent on verification of the reliability coefficient of the evidences, by way of clarity, precision and concordance, with analytic and resulting appreciation of these, individually considered and subsequently placed in a global and unitary perspective (Section 1, n. 17548 of 20 April 2012, Sorrentino, Rv. 252889 in the wake of Section U, n. 45276, Andreotti, Rv. 226094 according to which the “cause”, representing a confirming element of the involvement in the crime of the subject intent on the physical elimination of the victim as it converges in its specificity and exclusivity in an unequivocal direction, nevertheless, but still preserving a margin of ambiguity, in the meantime can work as a catalytic and strengthening element of the evidential value of the positive elements of proof of responsibility, from which can be logically deduced, on the basis of known and reliable experience rules, the existence of an uncertain fact (that is the possibility of attributing the crime to the instigator), when, after analytic examination of each one of them and in the framework of a global evaluation, the evidences in relation to the interpretation supplied by the motive reveal themselves as clear, precise and convergent in their univocal significance).

This, as will be stated below, cannot be confirmed in this case, because of an evidential compendium which is equivocal and intrinsically contradictory.

Specifically, none of the possible motives in the scenarios of the appealed sentence have been firmed up in this case.

The sexual motivation attributed to Guede during the separate procedure against him is not wholesale extensible to the supposed other attackers; for as has been stated before the hypothesis of a group erotic game has not been demonstrated; it is not possible to presume for each contestant a shared or combined motive assuming a sharing in the attack. Such an extension would have to postulate the existence of trusting interpersonal relationships between the contestants, which within the particular and sudden character of the criminal pact would lend verisimilitude to such a move.

Now, though the sentimental relationship between Sollecito and Knox was fact, and though the girl had occasion to know Guede to some extent, there is no proof that Sollecito would have known or hung out with the Ivorian. On this point it is contradictory and clearly illogical to assume (see f. 91) the unreasonable hypothesis of participation in such a brutal crime with an unfamiliar person by the housemates Filomena Romanelli and Laura Mezzetti (who certainly didn’t know Guede), but not extend this argument to Sollecito, who also seems to have never known the Ivorian.

6.2. Another error of judgment resides in the supposed irrelevance of the verification of the exact hour of Kercher’s death, considering sufficient the approximation offered by the examinations, even if assumed as correct during the trial pohase.

With regards to this, Sollecito’s defense has reasons to appeal, since they signaled the necessity of a concrete verification specifically in the evidential proceedings, every consequential implication. Furthermore, the exact determination of the time of Kercher’s death is an inescapable factual prerequisite for the verification of the alibi offered by the defendant in course of the investigation aiming to verify the possibility of his claimed presence in the house at via della Pergola at the time of the homicide. And for this reason an expert verification was requested.

So, specifically on this point, it is fair to note a despicable carelessness during the preliminary investigation phase. It is sufficient to consider, in this regard, that the investigations carried out by the CID had proposed a threadbare arithmetic mean between a possible initial time and a possible final time of death (from approximately 6:50 PM on 1st November to 4:50 AM on the next day) setting the hour of death approximately at 11-11:30 PM.

The examinations of the gastrointestinal tract of the victim, who, in the late evening, had consumed a a meal with her English friends, has allowed ““ once again only with approximation, adjusted during the trial hearings ““ to much further circumscribe the temporal range.

The Appeal Court further reduced the temporal range, placing it in the hours between 9 PM of the 1st of November (time of Kercher’s farewell to her friend) and 12:10:31 AM of the next day, on the basis of the recording (resulting from the acquired phone records) of a signal of one of the cellular phones of Kercher intercepted in a telephonic cell covering the area of via Sperandio, where the cellular phones had been abandoned by the perpetrators of the homicide.

But this observation also suffers from approximation, because at the last indicated time, Meredith Kercher was already dead, even if only for a little time, precisely because the signal was registered in the area where the telephones had been abandoned, after being stolen, shortly after the homicide, within the house in via della Pergola, some hundreds of meters from the place of their retrieval.

The contestant’s defense has offered, in this regard, a more reliable analysis, backed up by incontrovertible facts.

From the examination of the telephonic traffic has emerged that, after the departure from her English friend’s house at 9 PM, the young woman had, in vain, tried to call her parents in England, like she used to do every day, while a last contact was registered at 10:13 PM, so that the temporal range has been further reduced to approximately 9:30/10:13 PM.

7.  The second critical observation, relative to the appealed judgment, introduces the central matter of the judgment value attributable to the results of the scientific examinations, with particular reference to the genetic investigations, acquired in violation of the rules dictated by international protocols.

The specific question falls within the doctrinal debate on the relation between scientific proof and criminal procedure, in search for an equilibrium between the orientation ““ which is amenable to certain foreign schools of interpretation ““ which tends to recognize ever more weight to the science contribution, even if not validated by the scientific community; and the orientation which claims the supremacy of the laws and postulates that, according to the rules of criminal proceeding, only scientific results tested according to methodological standards which are routinely accepted could be considered as relevant here.

The present cultural debate, even if respecting the principle of free conviction of the judge, also tries to critically revisit the notion, by now obsolete and of dubious credibility, of the judge as a super-expert. In fact, the archaic rule of thumb reflects a cultural model that is not current anymore and instead is anachronistic, at least in the measure of what is supposed to be handled by the judge’s real capacity to manage the scientific knowledge flow that the parties would enter into the proceedings, where, instead, a more realistic configuration wants him completely unaware of that contribution of the knowhow,  the result of scientific knowledge that doesn’t belong to him and cannot ““ and has not to ““ belong to him. And this is truer in relation to genetic science, in which complex methods postulate a specific knowledge in the fields of forensic genetics, chemistry, and molecular biology, which are part of a knowledge patrimony very distant from the prevalently humanistic and juridical education of the magistrate.

But the consequence of the inescapable acknowledgment of such a state of legitimate ignorance of the judge, and therefore of his incapacity of managing “autonomously” the scientific evidence, cannot be his uncritical acceptance, which would be equivalent ““ maybe for a misunderstood sense of free convincement and maybe also of a misunderstood concept of “expert of experts” ““ to a substantial renouncement of his role, through totally uncritical acceptance of the expert contribution to which is delegated the resolution of the judgment and therefore the responsibility for the decision.

But also, in a situation of a one-sided scientific contribution coming from just one of the procedural parties, and thus standardly disposed of by the same judge, this can be welcomed as a paraphrasing in a more or less rational way of the technical argumentations presented to support the procedure, a problem dramatically arises when in a situation of conflicting scientific contributions, the same judge is called upon to settle upon a choice, and, in this case, the paraphrase is more complex, requiring a pertinent and valid motivation to explain the reasons for which an alternative scientific prospection would not be shareable. (cfr. Section 6, n. 5749 of 09 January 2014, Homm, Rv. 258630, according to which the judge who considers to adhere to the conclusions of the expert, in discordance with the ones presented by the defense adviser, even if not obliged to provide, as a reason, an autonomous demonstration of the scientific exactitude of the firstly cited, and the erroneousness, on the contrary, of the others, “he is however called to” demonstrate the fact that the expert conclusions have been valued “in terms of reliability and completeness”, and that the advisers’ argumentations have not been ignored).

The court considers that this delicate problem, with regard to the present judgment, requires a solution within the general rules which compose our procedural system, and not from elsewhere in an abstract claim of a supremacy of the science over the law or vice versa. The scientific evidence cannot, in fact, aspire to an unconditional endorsement of reliability during the trial proceeding because the criminal procedure rejects every idea of legal proof. Also, known to everyone is that there doesn’t exist a single science, a bringer of absolute truth and immutability throughout time, rather various sciences and pseudo-sciences, both the official ones and the ones not validated by the scientific community because they reflect research methods not universally recognized.

And therefore the solution to this problem must result from the consideration of principles and rules which regulate the acquisition and the formation of the evidence in the criminal procedure and, then, of criteria which support the relative evaluation.

The citation points must be ones relating to the adversarial principle and the judge’s control over the path of formation of the proof, which has to respect predetermined guarantees, the observance of which must be a rigorous parameter of the judging and reliability of the relevant outcomes.

So, a result of a scientific proof can be considered reliable only when examined by the judge, at least with reference to the subjective reliability of those who advance it, and the scientific method employed, and a more or less acceptable error margin, and the objective value and reliability of the obtained result.

Therefore, observing a method of critical approach not different, conceptually, from the one required for the appreciation of ordinary evidence, aiming to elevate as much as possible the degree of reliability of the legal truth, or alternatively, reduce to reasonable margins the inescapable gap between procedural truth and substantial truth.

Moreover, in procedures of inductive-inferential logic, which allow one to trace back from the known fact to the unknown one to be proved, the judge, in his full freedom of convincement, can use any element which would work as a bridge or bond between the two considered facts and allow one to trace back from the known one to the unknown one, according to parameters of reasonability and common sense.

The connection can, therefore, be of the most varied nature: the so called “experience rule”, legitimated by common knowledge or by direct observation of the reality of a phenomenon, which registers the repetitiveness of specific events in constant, identical, determined, conditions; a scientific law, of universal value or more narrowly statistical; a law based on logic, which presides and orients the mental paths of human rationality and anything else useful to the purpose.

The evidential reasoning which allows passing from the element of proof to the result of proof it is an element of the exclusive competence of the judge of merit, who has obviously to supply a concrete motivation and who, with regards to evidential proof, is required to apply a duplicable confirming scrutiny: a first verification concerning the so called “external justification” by way of which the same judge has to test the validity of the experience rule, or scientific-logic law, or any other rule observed; and a further verification related to the so called “internal justification” through which must be demonstrated, concretely, the validity of the result obtained through the application of the “bridge-rule” (Section 1, n. 31456 of 21 May 2008. Franzoni, Rv. 240764).

 


Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Marasca/Bruno Report, A Dissection In Four Parts: #3 Their Profound Evidence Muddle

Posted by catnip



Back of house, showing route in of 2 different burglars in 2009


My previous dissections of the Fifth Chambers explanation can be read here and here.

The next two sections (7 and 8) of the Bruno judgment span ten pages. Each sentence in the paraphrased gist below corresponds to one paragraph in the text.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: As to the forensic evidence, it was collected in violation of international standards. Science is receiving too much weight in the legal sphere, the scientific method does not equate to procedural rules. The judge is no longer the “˜expert of experts’, and genetics is light years from the sphere of the judge.

There is no confidence over science, in the sense that it is no longer to be trusted uncritically. Science is a choice, it must be reasoned. Legal rules are not trumped by science, the court does not automatically accept science, and there are many sciences. Evidentiary rules must be followed. Legal testing of evidence is done by cross-examination.

The court accepts evidence according to various factors, and this reduces the distance between “˜procedural truth’ and substantive truth. Inference is any method which bridges two facts in question, allowing the unknown fact to become known, according to reasonableness and good sense. This bridging can be common experience and direct observation through repeatability, scientific laws of universal application, and logic. Trial judges go from item of evidence to result, giving reasons, with external checks (the validity of experience or scientific law) and internal checks (consistency). (7)

COMMENT: Most of this section is bland platitude (not that there’s anything wrong with that).The “˜violation of international standards’ is accepted as a given, and the emphasis on repeatability (as diagnostic of the scientific method) is preparation of the ground for rejecting any tests that weren’t or couldn’t be repeated. Rudy’s forensic evidence is never referred to, as if it has been sealed off in a cardboard box somewhere.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: In the current case, there is no new scientific method to examine (like blood pattern analysis) but genetics. DNA is reliable. It is evaluated against international protocols, and their breach. The court below did not hesitate to consider the test results to be indicative evidence. This cannot be accepted by this court. Indicative evidence is not proof, genetic results which are not absolutely certain can be indicative. Identification is probative, compatibility can be indicative.

Collection, conservation and analysis of evidence must follow rules.  Criminal Procedure Code Articles 244 para 2, 254 bis. And Article 192 para 2: “˜weight, precision, consistency’, which translates as certainty; certainty cannot be assumed. It cannot be seen how genetic analysis ““ in breach of collection and preservation protocols ““ can be weighty and precise in an evidential sense.

There are standards, and there must be repeatability. “In the case at hand, it is certain that those methodological rules have not been absolutely observed (cf, amongst others, folios 206-207 and the results of the Conte-Vecchiotti [sic] tests, deposited with the Perugia Court of Appeal).”

It is enough to consider, in that respect, the knife and bra-clasp; there was a lapse in professional standards (f. 207). The coltellaccio [great big knife] was put in a cardboard box of the gift-organiser kind.

More worrying are the journeyings of the bra-clasp. 46 days, there were other accesses of the crime scene, it was stepped on or at least moved, and the video shows multiple handlings of it with dirty gloves. “Questioned on the reasons for the defective and hasty collection, Dr Stefanoni will say in testimony that, initially, it was not considered necessary to collect the bra-clasp because “¦ [dots in original] the victim’s intimate garment as a whole had been collected.

Nothing of importance was attributed to that small particular, notwithstanding that, in the common perception, it is exactly that closure apparatus that would be of major investigative interest, being manually operated and, therefore, a potential carrier of biological traces useful for the investigation.”

The bra-clasp test is not repeatable (Law [sic] Copy Number), which repeatability is to avoid false positives. The validation/falsification method wasn’t applied; and, significantly, even the RIS of Rome did two amplifications of trace I on the knife-blade. Ask what value such a result is. Scientific truth is not transferable to procedural truth; science is not legal certainty; without precision and weight, it cannot be evidence in court.

An item of evidence can be considered. The court below erred in attributing probative value to genetic results incapable of amplification or which were the fruit of improper recovery and collection procedures. (7.1)

COMMENT: The term indiziario, which cross-maps to “˜item of circumstantial evidence’, I have rendered as “˜indicative’, to bring out how Bruno demotes it. The theme is transferability: transferability of methods, procedures, of truths is not possible; but transferability of DNA is.

The appeal court’s error was to give non-zero weight to zero-weight evidence. Evidence gains zero-weight by not being certain. Certainty is achieved by repeatability, or by following international standards. The three dots (”¦) are for dramatic anti-climactic effect: meaning Stefanoni is a nincompoop, in other words. Note the spelling of Conti, with an “e”.

And the Voyages of a Bra-Clasp idea is Bongiorno’s and too irresistible to leave out (as with much else).

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: Article 360 of the Code only governs sources of evidence that are mutable; the laws of science involve falsification; probative value is linked to repeatability (7.2)

COMMENT: Interesting jurisprudence. It’s almost as if Bruno is living on another planet. The trope/canard about repeatability in science is an interesting psychological crutch. The accumulation of bizarro-concepts is starting to mount. Individual sentences in the text make sense (sort of), but stringing them together in a too-much-something-in-the-coffee way is starting to ring alarm bells.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: The judgment below was obviously illogical (8).

COMMENT: A leitmotiv.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: The missing traces of the accused on the victim have valency. This is a monolithic roadblock on the path taken by the court below in reaching an affirmation of guilt for the current appellants, “already acquitted of the homicide by the Perugia Court of Appeal”. The “selective clean-up” argument is useless and manifestly illogical: it didn’t clean-up the Luminol traces (Luminol is useful for revealing traces of material different to blood).

The clean-up hypothesis is also disproved by the traces in the small bathroom, and since Amanda knew that the other two were outside Perugia and wouldn’t be coming back that evening, there would have been plenty of time to do a proper clean-up.

As for the corridor traces, the SAL cards [work logs] ruled out, on the basis of the use of a particular chemical reagent, that the traces revealed by Luminol were blood ““ and there is nothing of this in the judgment. Not only that, it is manifestly illogical for the lower court to overrule the defence objection that the bluish Luminol reaction can be produced by substances that are not blood (for example, detergent residues, fruit juice and so on) and that the fluorescent reaction cannot be anything other than blood.

The fragility of the argument is such that, no question, the house at Via della Pergola had never been cleaned. Therefore, it can be categorically ruled out that blood was removed.

Another glaring logical hole is the theft of the phones. The posited reason that it was to prevent the ringtones of the phone being heard could have been accomplished by switching them off or removing the battery. Disrespectful to the proceedings and clearly illogical is the notion of ill-feeling, including the English woman blaming her flatmate for letting Rudy in to use the toilet; Rudy’s “truth” (and admissible insofar as it does not involve third parties) is that he was in the bathroom when he heard Mr Kercher have an altercation with another, female-voiced, person, so that the reason for the altercation cannot have been his use of the toilet.

It is illogical to posit that, in order to support the ill-feeling scenario, the stolen money and credit cards be used, when Amanda and Raffaele were cleared of that charge (f. 316).

It is arbitrary to translate to Via della Pergola a situation Amanda described in a different location, Raffaele’s house: watching a film, taking light drugs, having sex and a good long sleep until late morning the following day; there is no evidence of the influence of drugs, and finding a mixed DNA trace (Amanda and Raffaele) on a cigarette butt instead of doing a DNA-destroying drug test that might have offered useful insights was absolutely irrelevant, given that Raffaele was a visitor to the cottage because of his girlfriend.

The preceding picture is emblematic of the complex architecture of the impugned judgment relating to the substantive reconstruction, starting at paragraph 10, with the title “Conclusive Evaluations”. It is certainly undeniable that the court below required interpretative effort and speculation to fill the large evidentiary holes in the investigation.

Now, it is undoubted that it is the court of merit’s task to reconstruct what happened, not Cassation’s; common sense must be used; it can be logical but must stick to (legal) reality and be based on admitted evidence. Logic and intuition cannot be a substitute for lacking evidence and investigative inefficiencies. In the face of lacking, insufficient or contradictory evidence, the court must acquit under Article 530 paragraph 2, even if morally convinced of the culpability of the accused.

Further, there are holes in the court’s reasoning, for example in saying that Raffaele’s and Meredith’s DNA was found on the knife (f. 321) when elsewhere in the judgment (ff 208) Amanda is trace A, Meredith is trace B, and finally, trace I (unjustifiably ignored in the Conte-Vecchiotti [sic] report) is also Amanda’s. Trace B cannot carry any certainty, being unrepeatable, but nowhere on the knife is there any biological trace attributable to Raffaele (8.1)

COMMENT: Missing evidence is evidence of being missing. Something proves the opposite. What’s the Perugia Court of Appeal (=Hellmann) got to do with anything? The “˜clean-up’ refutation has the hallmarks of Bongiorno technique: to the prosecution suggestion that there might have been a party, her response was, “Where are the balloons, the corks and the champagne glasses?”

Obviously, “clean-up” has a specific meaning to Bruno. Switching a phone off or removing the battery needs fingers and will likely leave traces behind; better a sock and sling-throw into the dark. It’s common sense.

Can Bruno really be so obtuse: the bra-clasp is super-important exactly because it requires fingers, but the phones aren’t (in the hypothetical user’s mind). Drug-testing the cigarette butt is a good idea. Until you think about it: if Raffaele was at the cottage before, after, during, but not at the murder, how can a cigarette butt (with or without ice or cocaine on it) be tied to anything, time-wise?

Applying Bruno’s logic about the typo about Raffaele’s DNA being on the knife, then Bruno’s reference to Conte-Vecchiotti is also a “gaping hole”, because there’s no such people, and refers to a nothing; it’s Conti-Vecchiotti. Same with the nonsense phrase “˜Law Copy Number’ ““ what’s that? An obvious absurdity.

Therefore Bruno’s judgment is as void as its voids are. That’s logic. Obviously, if someone is stoned in Garibaldi Street, they can’t be stoned at a place two minutes’ walk away. That’s also “˜logic’.

Overall impression so far…

“Suddenly a strange madness took hold of him, a yearning to look once more off the end of the world. It would be his last chance, he thought; “¦”

“”  George R R Martin, A Game of Thrones, [HarperCollins, 1996], p 176. ISBN 9780002246576

There was an episode of Doctor Who last year, where one character was explaining the scientific beliefs of another, and the Doctor asked, “˜Why does he think that? Is he an idiot?’

Good question.

I can’t quite help thinking the choice is between whether Bruno is an idiot, or whether he is merely writing a satire for a student magazine and pretending to be an idiot. Perhaps, in my ignorance, I have not read enough yet, or I have misunderstood what I have read.

There is some logical analysis going on, - and the example of there being no clean-up because if it was Amanda, she would have known she would have had all night, and therefore would have done a proper job of it (!), so because she didn’t, there wasn’t (!!), is a good one ““ but joining two or more sentences into a coherent thought, and things start to disappear into the mists.

Another leitmotiv: The translation into “certainty” of what characteristics items of evidence must have to be admissible (in common law terms), erases the concept of “˜beyond a reasonable doubt’ from the picture.

Since he’s had multiple months to “˜get it right’, and these gaps remain, it looks as if Bruno’s condition is not a temporary one.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

TJMK/Wiki Translation Of The Marasca/Bruno Report #4 Of 7: Continuing Dismissal Of Various Claims

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Another Italian masterpiece on justice (in this case brutal justice, by Caravaggio)

Overview Of The Post and the Series

Only two more posts after this one (we promise!).

Machiavelli already posted what constitutes Part #7 and also the first few paras of this one.

Translation was by a professional translator with extensive finalization by Machiavelli with some help from the Wiki team of the judicial terms used and the accuracy of the English relative to what is in the report.

Again this seems like a lot of furious backpedaling away from the imperial, magisterial announcement by Judge Marasca back in late March.

Our further critiques will be posted separately in Comments and other posts. Please consider this pre-final. Suggestions for improved translation are welcome. The PDF version to go on the Wiki will be the final. 

On Further Appeal Grounds

4.3.1 As for the first question, the use of the [Guede’s] definitive verdict in the current judgement,  for any possible implication, is unexceptionable , since it abides with the provision of art. 238 bis of Penal Code [sic]. Based on such provision “(”¦) the verdicts [p. 26] that have become irrevocable can be accepted [acquired] by courts as pieces of evidence of facts that were ascertained within them and evaluated based on articles 187 and 192 par 3”.

Well, so the “fact” that was ascertained within that verdict, indisputably, is Guede’s participation in the murder “concurring with other people, who remain unknown”. The invoking of the procedural norms indicated means that the usability of such fact-finding is subordinate to [depends on] the double conditions [possibility] to reconcile such fact within the scope of the “object of proof” which is relevant to the current judgement, and on the existence of further pieces of evidence to confirm its reliability.

Such double verification, in the current case, has an abundantly positive outcome. In fact it is manifestly evident that such fact, which was ascertained elsewhere [aliunde], relates to the object of cognition of the current judgement. The [court’s] assessment of it, in accord with other trial findings which are valuable to confirm its reliability, is equally correct. We refer to the multiple elements, linked to the overall reconstruction of events, which rule out that Guede could have acted alone.

Firstly, testifying in this direction are the two main wounds (actually three) observed on the victim’s neck, on each side, with a diversified path and features, attributable most likely (even if the data is contested by the defense) to two different cutting weapons. And also, the lack of signs of resistance by the young woman, since no traces of the assailant were found under her nails, and there is no evidence elsewhere [aliunde] of any desperate attempt to oppose the aggressor; the bruises on her upper limbs and those on mandibular area and lips (likely the result of forcible hand action of constraint meant to keep the victim’s mouth shut) found during the cadaver examination, and above all, the appalling modalities of the murder, which were not adequately pointed out in the appealed ruling.

And in fact, the same ruling (p. 323 and 325) reports of abundant blood spatters found on the right door of the wardrobe located inside Kercher’s room, about 50 cm above the floor. Such occurrence, given the location and direction of the drops, could probably lead to the conclusion that the young woman had her throat literally “slashed” likely as she was kneeling, while her head was being forcibly held [hold] tilted towards the floor, at a close distance from the wardrobe, when she was hit by multiple stab wounds at her neck, one of which ““ the one inflicted on the left side of her neck ““ caused her death, due to asphyxia following [to] the massive bleeding, which also filled the breathing ways preventing breathing activity, a situation aggravated by the rupture of the hyoid bone ““ this also linkable to the blade action ““ with consequent dyspnoea” (p. 48).

Such a mechanical action is hardly attributable to the conduct of one person alone.

On the other hand such factual finding, when adequately valued, could have been not devoid of meaning as for researching the motive, given that [27] the extreme violence of the criminal action could have been seen ““ because of its abnormal disproportion ““ not compatible with any of the explanations given in the verdict, such as mere simple grudges with Ms. Knox (also denied by testimonies presented, [even] by the victim’s mother);  with sexual urges of any of the participants, or maybe even with the theory of a sex game gone wrong, of which, by the way, no mark was found on the victim’s body, besides the violation of her sexuality by a hand action of Mr. Guede, because of the DNA that could be linked to him found inside the vagina of Ms. Kercher, the consent of whom, however, during a preliminary phase of physical approach possibly consensual at the beginning, could not be ruled out. 

Such finding is even less compatible with the theory of the intrusion of an unknown thief inside the house, if we consider that, within the course of ordinary events, while it is possible that a thief is taken by an uncontrollable sexual urge leading him to assail a young woman when he sees her,  it’s rather unlikely that after a physical and sexual aggression he would also commit a gratuitous murder, especially not with the fierce brutality of this case, rather than running away quickly instead. Unless, obviously, we think about the disturbed personality of a serial killer, but there is no trace of that in the trial findings, since there are no records that any other killings of young women with the same modus operandi were committed in Perugia at that time.

4.3.2.  With regard to the second matter, relative to the option of akkowing ““ as article 238 bis of the code of criminal procedure allows ““ declarations “against others” made by Guede in the context of his own procedures in absence of other defendants (with reference to declarations, not always coherent and consistent, during the preliminary investigations and noted in his sentencing reports, somehow involving Knox in the homicide, but never explicitly Sollecito, while continuing to plead innocence, despite the presence in the crime scene and on the victim’s body of multiple biological traces attributed to him), the ruling can only be negative. Such a mode of allowance would result in an evasion of the guarantees dictated by article 526 chapter 1- bis, of the code of criminal procedure, according to which “the defendant’s guilt cannot be proved on the basis of declarations produced by anyone who, in free will, had always voluntarily avoided the examination by the accused or his defense team”. And furthermore, it seems a clear violation of article 111, chapter four. of the Constitution, which dictates identical an prescription in order to harmonize judicial processes according to article 6 letter d) of the European Convention for Human Rights (Section F. n. 35729 of the 1st August 2013, Agrama, Rv 256576).

In this regard, it appears useful to refer to the principle of “non-substitutability”, accepted by the United Divisions of this Supreme Court under the category “legality of the proof”, meaning that, when the code establishes an evidentary prohibition or an expressed non-usability, it is forbidden to resort to other procedural instruments, typical or atypical, with the purpose of   surreptitiously avoid such obstacle (Section U, n. 36747 of the 28 May 2003, Torcasio, Rv. 225467; cfr,, also, Section U, n. 28997 of the 19 April 2012, Pasqua, Rv. 252893).

And also during this trial, Guede ““ asked to speak as contextual witness, following the accusative declarations of the convicted offender Mario Alessi (sentenced for the horrible homicide of a child) ““ after denying the accusations of the aforementioned, confirmed the content of a letter sent by him to his attorneys which was then, surprisingly, shared with a television news service, in which he accused the current contestants - has then, substantively, avoided cross-examination by the defendants. And in fact, after recognizing the authenticity of the missive, where he denied what was stated by Alessi, regarding some asserted confidences related to the innocence of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox, he didn’t wanted to be cross-examined by the accused’s defense, claiming his presence (as contextual witness) was limited to the content of Alessi’s declarations, which was with regard to him. So, the non-usability of what he declared ““ in the part concerning the letter that related to the current contestants ““ that is not useable in a different procedural context because it was produced absent the prescribed guarantees.

Furthermore, facing such unmoving and non-cooperative behavior, the appeal judge [Hellmann] did automatically insist on cross-examination of the Ivorian, despite the final irrevocability of the sentence against him, and failed to resolve the incompatibility of speaking in the present proceeding, according to article 197 of the code of criminal procedure.

And in fact, according to article 197 bis chapter 4 of the same standard code of procedure, he could have not been obliged to depose on the facts for which he had received a sentence, having always denied, during the proceeding against him, his responsibility and, not being able, in any way, to depose on facts involving his responsibility regarding the crime for which he was accused.

4.4 Finally, continuing on the preliminaries, the matter of standards must be faced, as claimed by the defense, regarding the denial of the claim for renewed court hearings during the appellate trial, on the request of carrying out new external investigations as requested.

The appeal exception was founded upon the observance of the presumed obligatory nature of the request of evidential integration of article 627, chapter 2, second part, according to which “[”¦.] if a sentence in appeal has been annulled and the parties request it, the judge can order a reviewing of the court hearings by obtaining proofs relevant to the decision”

Clearly, the letter of this norm is far from the discipline of the regular powers of the appellate judge regarding this matter under article 603 of the code of criminal procedure “non-decidability of the state of proceedings”,  in the hypothesis above in part 1, that the defense request referred to evidences already collected or new; referring to the criteria of article 495, chapter 1, on the hypothesis of new evidences found after the first instance ruling; there is “absolute necessity” of its integration with supplementary investigations, in case of review ex officio, beyond the special subject matter (originally in application and now canceled, according to article 11 law 28 April 2014, n. 67) of the requested review in favor of a defendant absent from the trial in the first instance.

The Supreme Court here states that the particular formulation of the aforementioned rule does not require the appellate judge, in the hypothesis of annulment of the first instance ruling, to be obliged to renew the court hearings just because the parties request it. A different interpretation would not have a rational basis and, instead, would introduce a dystonic element in the discipline of the institution.

In fact, the first part of the second chapter of article 627 of the code of criminal procedure highlights that the appellate judge decides with the same powers of the judge whose ruling has been annulled, except only for limitations originating in the law.

For a harmonic reconstruction that follows the code’s architecture it is imperative, then, to consider that the specific observance of the trial ruling renewed during the appeal judgment should not create an exception to the general requirement dictated in article 603 of the code of criminal procedure.

Furthermore it is clear that the reference, in chapter 2 of article 627 of the code of criminal procedure, to the assumption of “relevant” evidence for the decision constitutes a mere repetition, given that the trial judgment is, necessarily, central to the evaluation by the appeal judge charged with the requirement of evidentiary integration and the same appreciation of absolute necessity inspiring the appeal. And in fact, in case of renewing of the trial hearings on appeal no evidence that is not “relevant” to the decision may enter the proceeding; and the same thing applies, more generally, to the whole evidential section of the criminal proceeding, according to the fundamental principle stated in article 190 of the standard code of procedure, according to which the judge has to approve the evidence requested by the parties, excluding, beyond the instances prohibited by the law, any “manifestly irrelevant or unnecessary” evidence.
In this sense, with this clarification, it is worth, therefore, restating the orientation expressed, regarding this matter, by this Supreme Court on similar occasions

(Section 5, n. 52208 of 30 September 2014, Marino, Rv. 262116, according to which “the appellate judge, charged with the proceeding following the annulment declared by the Court of Cassation, is not obliged to reopen the court hearings every time the parties demand this, because his powers are identical to the ones of the judge whose sentence was annulled, and he has to accept assumption of the suggested new evidence only if it is necessary for the new decision” according to article 603 of the code of criminal procedure, and article 627, second chapter, of the code of criminal procedure; Section 1, n. 28225 of 09 May 2014, Dell’Utri, Rv. 260939; Section 4, n. 20422 of 21 June 2005, Poggi, Rv, 232020; Section 1, n. 16786 of 24 March 2004, De Falco, Rv. 227924)

Also, without question, the use of the powers conferred upon the appellate judge regarding new investigation, has as always to be concretely motivated and the relative motivation is, of course, again contestable by the Supreme Court.

In this specific case, the appeal judge [Nencini] has given a concrete reason for denying further evidentiary incorporation, considering it irrelevant for his decision purpose.

Furthermore the motivations for the denial of appeal implicitly emerged from the judge’s motivational construct, which declared complete the evidentiary compendium.

Furthermore, there is no reason to assumne, even within the specific appellate judgment, that the general principle of neutral expertise separated from the viewponts of the parties and remitted to the discretional power of the judge, was not observed because “it doe not come within the category of decisive proof and the consequent ruling of denial is not arguable according to article 606, chapter 1, let. d), of the code of criminal procedure, because it represents the result of a factual judgment which, if supported by adequate motivation, cannot be reversed by Cassation” (Section 6, n. 43526 of 3 October 2012, Ritorto, Rv. 253707).

5. Now having resolved, in the sections above, the defense’s prejudicial claims,  and the preliminary standard ones, the “merit” of the judgment can now be considered, in relation to the substance of the appealed matters

Firstly, it has to be assumed that, according to the loss of rights claimed under point b), relative to the charge of illegal carrying of the knife, this is now beyond the statute of limitations.

This has to be accepted, even in absence of more favorable reasons for acquittal on the merit, referring to article 129, second chapter, of the code of criminal procedure, and also the declarations of guilt in the trial sentence and the second appeal court.

Moreover, according to the undisputed decision of this Court of Cassation “the acquittal formula on the merit prevails on the statute of limitations in appeal cases where, with a mere analysis, the absolute absence of the proof of guilty against the defendant that is in fact positive proof of innocence can be observed, though not in the case of mere contradiction or insufficiency of the evidence which requires a pondered judgment between opposing conclusions, n.10284 of 22 January 2014, Culicchia, Rv. 259445).


Friday, October 09, 2015

The Marasca/Bruno Report, A Dissection In Four Parts: #2 The Strange Two Unrelated Tracks Approach

Posted by catnip



The Bruno demon in the cage…

Initial impressions of the legal reasoning

A closer reading, or later pages, may reveal a change in opinion might be required. If so, those changes in the post will be noted. Based on experience, the likelihood is that, how a thing starts, is how it will tend to continue. Changing horses in mid-stream, though theoretically possible, is not an everyday occurrence.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: A European Court of Human Rights decision in Amanda’s favour won’t affect the calunnia conviction, since the accusations were repeated to the Prosecutor (such interviews are institutionally immune to psychological pressure), and she confirmed them again when writing in her note, signed by her, in a moment when she was alone with herself and her conscience. (2.2)

COMMENT: To the defence allegation that it was police pressure that caused Amanda to falsely claim that Patrick was the murderer, the obvious and common sense response that the claim was repeated in situations where no pressure was possible, deflates the allegation.

However, note Bruno’s implicit assumption, that Amanda was behaving rationally, that is, not affected by drugs, impaired mental states, or delusional or incorrect beliefs, is not raised, let alone examined and a factual finding made. (Not that it is in the Court of Cassation’s general remit to make findings of fact, but that is another matter.

And Bruno specifically addresses that point later, so he is not unaware of it.)  This way of treating assumptions forms a characteristic pattern, and has implications later. Note that while the murder charges were dismissed, the calunnia conviction was confirmed. This would not be a matter that any PR push for Raffaele would need to be concerned about, as we indeed find.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: The request is refused to have the Grand Chamber consider the probative value of evidence collected in breach of international forensic standards; witness statements made under a strong media spotlight; and the admissibility of accusatory statements made in the judgment of another court and received into evidence. (2.3)

COMMENT: Bruno can handle the forensics methodology question, Alessi’s bag-of-hot-air statements, and the legal implications of the explicit accusations made in the judgment reasons confirming Rudy’s conviction.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: The appeal court did not follow Cassation’s ruling on the principles of law involved, namely that the court is not to rely on the original (annulled) reasoning, the court must not trespass into the merits of the case, the court retains the original scope of enquiry, all the facts must be looked at, and the action to take depends upon the type of annulment because there can be errors of law, and errors of logic. (3)

COMMENT: The Florence Court of Appeal did not follow the instructions set down for it by Cassation. This aspect of the rules of law and procedure will take some detail to examine fully, but suffice to say here that Bruno’s own methodology is not automatically immune from the same defects he is accusing Florence of having, merely because it is him saying so. How well does Bruno himself follow the rules?, in other words. Verbal gymnastics and semantic yoga poses are presaged.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: There were glaring errors. (3.1)

COMMENT: This becomes his leitmotiv, and he actually uses that word when talking of others.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: There is only one irrefutable certainty in this case: Amanda’s guilt as regards her criminal calumny (calunnia) against Patrick Lumumba; the investigator’s glaring errors and omissions ““ the intrinsically contradictory complex of evidence is anything but beyond a reasonable doubt (4).

COMMENT: Amanda’s crime against Patrick remains; the evidence is intricate and, due to errors, incomplete, therefore the standard of “˜beyond a reasonable doubt’ has not been met. How it is that the investigator’s actions were in actual error is not established: the implication is that the defence appeal claims are simply being taken on copy-paste trust.

A fair assessment would entail examining the basis of claims that there was forensic error, hearing any counter-arguments, weighing the significance and importance of any such error if it were found to exist, and deciding if it has a bearing and impact on the legal question to be decided ““ this is all trial-court matter.

People being driven by the media spotlight is another leitmotiv of Bruno’s. It’s almost as if he is embodying what he is saying that others have done.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: The absurd and incomprehensible death of Meredith Kercher in mysterious circumstances and the international media spotlight forced an increase in the pace of the investigation and a knee-jerk search for someone guilty to display to the international media, and lack of regard for international protocols about possible contamination, led to hurried, incomplete and incorrect investigative activity. The lack of repeatability, breaking one of the most fundamental requirements of the scientific method as established by Galileo, was a flaw. (4.1)

COMMENT: Here is the first clue that the search for a rational motive is not going to be successful: the murder was senseless. The media spotlight provides the logical underpinning, the motive if you will, of why the police made errors: they needed a quick result, and so therefore cut corners. The “˜international standards’ (which are never named explicitly) provide the yardstick against which these cut corners can be measured.

(Which leads to a circular-logic paradox scenario: At the scriptwriters’ workshop for Detectives 101: Writer A: “I’ve got them on the scene now, ready to decide what to do. So how do I get them to cut corners? What are the corners, the international standards?” Writer B: “I don’t know. Make “˜em up. Or download something official-looking off the Internet.” Writer A: “What are their guidelines in real life, though? Surely they don’t go about breaching guidelines on every callout. How did they know about putting on gloves, for instance?” Writer B: “.”)

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: The media and its associated “noise” (in it computer science sense) induced a mythomane seeking to break the long grey day of an incarceration regime, at least for a day; and Rudy the half-truth teller is key: definite traces of him were found in the room and on the victim. (4.2)

COMMENT: Alessi, believed to be a full-truth teller, wanted some fresh air for a couple of hours, so a trip to the courtroom was organised. The media’s fault. Rudy, the known half-truth teller, knows more, because actual traces of him were found in what can be referred to as the “˜murder zone’. Notwithstanding that a person’s traces can be found on a victim, and the person is not a murderer. Bruno is also performing some literary yoga poses in this passage.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: Rudy’s finalised, definitive, judgment, and his statements, attract questions of admissibility. (4.3)

COMMENT: This is the crux of the legal use of the inferences available in terms of Bruno’s reasoning. Rudy’s trial and conviction are being treated by Bruno as separate and distinct from the trial of Amanda and Raffaele, rather than logically interlinked: if the forensics against Amanda and Raffaele are flawed, then those against Rudy are not, because his conviction has become definitive. That is an artificial way of looking at it. Inferences can go both ways: if Raffaele’s DNA is the result of contamination, then so could Rudy’s be, for exactly the same reasons; if a person has the victim’s blood on their hands, then that does not make them the (or a) murderer.

Indeed, Rudy explicitly stated he got blood on him while trying to help Meredith (implicitly, this must be the untrue part of one of Rudy’s half-truths). So then Rudy’s conviction becomes a legal fiction, not a representation of what actually happened, and Rudy’s definitive judgment voids itself into nothingness. Bruno avoids discussing this line of thought, for some reason. He also, conveniently, has somehow forgotten about the phrase “acting in company with” in the Criminal Code, again, for some reason (presumably).

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: Rudy’s judgment: The search for a motive for the murder has yielded nothing, in proportion to what has been conjectured: mere disagreement among flatmates, sexual desires (an at least initial consensual act cannot be excluded); and even less for an unknown burglar who graduates from theft, to uncontrollable sexual assault, to gratuitous homicide with such brutal ferocity, unless there was a serial killer in action, which there is no evidence of in the documents that in Perugia, at that time, other homicides of other young women in identical circumstances were being committed. (4.3.1)

COMMENT: This counts as a straw man within a straw man. The Perugian Serial Killer angle almost qualifies as a laughable joke. And what are the chances of finding a traditional rational motive for an irrational (“senseless and absurd”) act? Close to zero, would be the statistician’s answer. The key word is “gratuitous”. Although, the lone-burglar scenario defence gambit gets a drubbing.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: Rudy’s statements—made in the absence of the people whose rights are affected (a denial of rights), not always coherent and constant (a denial of logic), and somehow involving Amanda (but never Raffaele explicitly), while continuing to maintain his innocence notwithstanding his forensic presence at the scene and on the victim ““ can only be rejected as inadmissible, and in breach of the requirements for a fair trial. In fact, Rudy as a witness violates his right not to testify after finalisation of his sentence or undergo cross-examination. (4.3.2)

COMMENT: There’s legal yoga posing in this section. The interlinked nature of the trials works both ways: accusations made by the Amanda and Raffaele defence against Rudy in his absence can’t be responded to and cross-examined by him. The bit about “˜not always coherent and constant’ also applies to Amanda and Raffaele. And the bit about Rudy never mentioning Raffaele being on site and present does not sound like it came from Amanda’s defence. On the plus side, Bruno, as editor, did manage to condense the 600-and-more pages of the (Bongiorno) defence appeal down to a couple of dozen paragraphs.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: The procedural rules were violated when the defence request to re-open argument was refused. The term “relevant”, as in relevant evidence as mentioned in the Code, is mere linguistic decoration (4.4)

COMMENT: There might be some merit in the idea that witnesses are recalled and argument re-opened only when it’s relevant, and not otherwise. The assertion of procedural violation remains just that, though, an assertion. In any case, opposing views are not examined. So how did Bruno reach his decision? A set of reasons without the actual reasons being given ““ is that what we are looking at?

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: The charge relating to unlawful transport of a knife has exceeded the time limit set by the statute of limitations. (5)

COMMENT: The limitations period expiry gambit is a widely-used defence strategy. Lots of people, including very many in the media spotlight, have taken advantage of it and benefitted from it.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: The judgment appealed from, the subject of multiple censures by the parties, exhibits mistakes, incongruities and errors of law. (6)

COMMENT: The prosecution are strangely absent from all of this. Did Bruno only have the transcript of the second day’s hearing, after misplacing the prosecution’s or leaving it at the bus stop? In any case, he does not give any indication that he has read it.

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: In first place, the affirmation that determining the motive is substantively irrelevant is an error. Automatically transferring Rudy’s sexual motive to the others doesn’t hold up; the erotic game scenario finds no corroboration; extending a shared and definite set of interpersonal relationships amongst the co-participants is also a species of transfer.

The love-story between Amanda and Raffaele is obvious and even if it appears certain that she somehow, somewhen, knew Rudy, there is no evidence that Raffaele knew him or ever visited him. If Laura and Filomena didn’t know Rudy and are ruled out as murderers, not to do the same with Raffaele is illogical and irrational. (6.1)

COMMENT: The other judges got it wrong about the importance of motive. If motive is essential, then no motive means no crime. And if one person had motive, it doesn’t mean the others must have had the same motive. The love-story appears obvious, but appearing so doesn’t make it so. Calling it a love-story is an interpretation, in any case. How was the conclusion reached and alternative hypotheses rejected? And how does not knowing Rudy socially (beforehand) have a bearing on anything (even motives)? A straw straw-man being invoked?

Cassation (Bruno) ““ gist: Holding that the exact time of death was irrelevant was also an error. From the phone records, it emerges that the time of death can be set between 21:30 and 22:13. (6.2)

COMMENT: The exact time is needed for a fair trial so the accused can supply an alibi. The prosecution method of picking the middle of the estimated time range is “˜mere’ arithmetic, not science (including gastric).  Perhaps Bruno read along the line underneath by mistake on the phone call log printout (if he actually read anything)? Perhaps he just accepted the defence claim at their word? Who can tell?

Pause here and re-energize, before we continue in another post. Bruno’s pattern seems to be shaping up as:

Make assertions as if they are conclusions; show no reasoning for them; exhibit a predilection and fondness for posing (of which more, when we get to the detail); and embody what he alleges the prosecution (and Alessi) have done, namely hastening under pressure and influence of the media spotlight and not following international standards, in this case, of legal reasoning and fairness (plus the implicit backhanders to all those who “got it wrong”).

It’s almost as if this case has provided him with the opportunity of at least a small break from long grey days of unproductive solitude. If so, it’s no wonder his sympathy with Raffaele’s situation of watching mould growing on his cell wall shines through so brightly.


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