Headsup: Will Gladwell perpetuate hoax at heart of new book Monday in Los Angeles interview with Brit Marling? We'd appreciate someone warning her, also Larry Wilmore, and help them avoid legal liabilities.

Category: Italian system

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Justice Systems Comparisons #7: Common Law (US Etc) V. Civil (Italian) On Self-Represented Litigants

Posted by Chimera

One Of Many Self-Help Videos Now Springing Up Online

1. The Series Context

Several posts since my previous one drew attention to an estimated 200,000 or more poor Americans wrongly sitting in prison.

They are there because trial outcomes differ widely according to how much those charged can afford to pay or can handle their defense on their own, and there are pressures (political and economic) to keep the partly privatised prisons full to capacity.

Oh, those who have been slamming Italian justice forgot to tell you that?! 

Italian perps remain MUCH better off, but this post explains progress elsewhere now being made.

Here are my previous six posts. I use the Canadian system as the common law example. But as the posts explain, the US and UK systems are pretty close. 

Click here for post: Justice System Comparisons #1: Had Meredith’s Murder Taken Place In Canada 

Click here for post: Justice System Comparisons #2: Canada’s Tough Penalties For Slander, False Accusations, Perjury 

Click here for post: Justice System Comparisons #3: Bail, Extradition, and More Crimes In Canadian Law 

Click here for post: Justice System Comparisons #4: How Canada And Italy Shape Up Against The US 

Click here for post: Justice Systems Comparisons #5: How Appeals Differ in Italy and Common Law Countries 

Click here for post: Justice Systems Comparisons #6: Common Law (US Etc) V. Civil (Italian) On Double Jeopardy

2. Rights And Protections Of Self Represented Litigants

In 2006, the Canadian Judicial Counsel released their STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES ON SELF REPRESENTED LITIGANTS AND ACCUSED PERSONS.  Here is a direct link to that article.

Among some of those well intentioned principles are:

(a) Self-represented persons should not be denied relief on the basis of a minor or easily rectified deficiency in their case.

(b) Judges should ensure that procedural and evidentiary rules are not used to unjustly hinder the legal interests of self-represented persons.

(c) Judges and court administrators should do whatever is possible to provide a fair and impartial process and prevent an unfair disadvantage to self-represented persons.

(d) Judges, the courts and other participants in the justice system have a responsibility to promote access to the justice system for all persons on an equal basis, regardless of representation.

The Alberta Court of Appeal (May 2, 2016) allowed the appeal.

Now, the Supreme Court of Canada has endorsed the document and from this point, all Judges/Justices/JP will be obligated to follow it when one or more parties before them is self-represented.

Pintea v. Johns, 2017 SCC 23 (CanLII)

Pintea v. Johns

Valentin Pintea v. Dale Johns, et al.

In laymen’s terms, the gross imbalance between represented/unrepresented litigants will shrink.

The Courts will now be obligated to go the extra mile to ensure that the proceedings are done fairly, and in the overall interests of justice.  The ruling goes even further than what may be expected.

“Judges have a responsibility to inquire whether self-represented persons are aware of their procedural options, and to direct them to available information if they are not. Depending on the circumstances and nature of the case, judges may explain the relevant law in the case and its implications, before the self-represented person makes critical choices.”

So Canada, and to a degree the United States, is trending towards self representation.

Litigants already represent themselves in small claims court, family court, traffic, landlord/tenant disputes, and occasionally in criminal court.

To be fair though, routine self-representation in criminal court is a long ways off.  However, the pattern seems to be moving away from using lawyers, which many people believe to be expensive and largely ineffectual.

Also noteworthy is that in the Canadian Provinces of Ontario and British Columbia, paralegals are becoming more common as an alternative to lawyers. 

Again, the price involved deters most people from hiring lawyers.  Why pay 10 times as much for the same service?  Why pay for a lawyer when many farm their work out to paralegals? Other Provinces have something similar, as do many U.S. States.

Ontario: How Can a Paralegal Help?

British Columbia Paralegal Assoc

3. A Final Thought

Justice should be available to everyone, not just those who can dig deep for a lawyer.  The options of lower cost legal help, and the new requirements of Judges to ensure fairness, will likely go a long way to seeing this happen.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Netflixhoax 20 Yet More On A Genuine, Huge Justice Problem In The US Dishonest Netflix Ignored

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Netflix enabled Knox to sustain her myth of how awful Italian prison life was for her.

First, do notice that Netflix ignored that Knox was in prison for three of her four years quite validly for a felony conviction: her attempt (sustained over several weeks) to try to frame Patrick for Meredith’s murder.

Even now, she still owes Patrick damages of around $100,000 irrevocably confirmed by the Supreme Court. Netflix ignored that also.

Second, do notice that Netflix ignored that that Knox quite provably made up a lot about her prison stay in Capanne and how she was actually treated.

In this post challenging all those claims, we observed that Knox did not have a single witness confirming her accounts.

In fact both the US Embassy which monitored her and the Italian MP Rocco Girlanda who “monitored” her confirmed her treatment was kindly, and her lawyers confirmed that she never ever asked that a complaint be filed. 

And third, not only is no Italian prison the hellhole that Netflix watchers were led to believe. Though there has been temporary overcrowding due to immigrant crime, they are in general among the most humane prisons anywhere on the planet.

That post 18 months ago drew upon a New York Times report. Today the New York Times posts an editorial which shows the gap in humanity between Italian and American prisons is actually deliberately worsening. 

Another contrast in Italy’s favor, ignored of course by Netflix.

Criminal justice officials across the country are struggling to break the recidivism cycle in which prisoners are released only to land right back behind bars. These prisoners are among the most poorly educated people in the country, and that fact holds the key to a solution. Decades of research has shown that inmates who participate in prison education programs “” even if they fail to earn degrees “” are far more likely to stay out of prison once they are freed.

That prison education programs are highly cost effective is confirmed by a 2013 RAND Corporation study that covered 30 years of prison education research. Among other things, the study found that every dollar spent on prison education translated into savings of $4 to $5 on imprisonment costs down the line.

Other studies suggest that prisons with education programs have fewer violent incidents, making it easier for officials to keep order, and that the children of people who complete college are more likely to do so themselves, disrupting the typical pattern of poverty and incarceration.

Findings like these have persuaded corrections officials in both Democratic and Republican states to embrace education as a cost-effective way of cutting recidivism. But Republican legislators in New York “” which spends about $60,000 per inmate per year “” remain mired in know-nothingism and argue that spending public money on inmates insults taxpayers. They have steadfastly resisted Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s common-sense proposal for making a modest investment in prison education programs that have already proved highly successful on a small scale in New York’s prisons.

The Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., stepped into the void left by the Legislature when he agreed l to pay for Governor Cuomo’s prison education plan with more than $7 million in criminal forfeiture money secured from banks. Lauding what he described as a public safety measure, Mr. Vance said, “It makes no sense to send someone to prison with no pathway for them to succeed.”

The goal of the program is to expand the number of inmates taking college courses to about 3,500 across much of the system from 1,000. The curriculum will be broad, covering science, math, philosophy, the social sciences and art. Among the schools that will participate are Cornell University, New York University, Mercy College and Bard College, which has run a highly regarded program since 2001. The recidivism rate is 4 percent for inmates who participate in the program and a mere 2 percent for those who earn degrees in prison, compared with about 40 percent for the New York State prison system as a whole.

Prison education programs were largely dismantled during the “tough on crime” 1990s, when Congress stripped inmates of the right to get the federal Pell grants that were used to pay tuition. The decision bankrupted many prison education programs across the country and left private donors and foundations to foot the bill for those that survived.

Despite limited and unreliable funding, these programs have more than proved their value. New York lawmakers who continue to block funding for them are putting ideology ahead of the public interest.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Netflixhoax 19 More On A Genuine, Huge Justice Problem In The US Dishonest Netflix Ignored

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Is the US actually worse than North Korea of all places? In one respect yes.

Our first post a couple of weeks ago on false incarcerations concluded this way: 

The American prison population is proportionally six times the Italian prison population (why did Netflix omit that?). Mental illness among that population is rife, and few inmates have above average IQs.

Election-driven prosecutors plea-bargaining with threats may have wrongly put many of them there. Maybe 10 per cent.

That is over 200,000 Americans in the wrong place. Funny how Netflix (and the FOA fanatics) forgot to tell us about that.

“Over 200,000” could in fact be a considerable UNDER estimate. An estimated 177,624 innocent Americans pleaded guilty in one year (2013) alone.

Here is The New York Times on this subject this past Tuesday.

By Marc Morje Howard

The American criminal justice system is exceptional, in the worst way possible: It combines exceptionally coercive plea bargaining, exceptionally long sentences, exceptionally brutal prison conditions and exceptionally difficult obstacles to societal re-entry.

This punitiveness makes us stand out as uniquely inhumane in comparison with other industrialized countries…. There’s widespread agreement that current practices are unsustainable.

The United States is home to 5 percent of the world’s population, yet has 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. The grim reality of American justice is that there are 2.3 million people behind bars, five million on parole or probation, 20 million with felony convictions and over 70 million with a criminal record.

Though mafia-tool Netflix ignored them all in its crazed rush to defame the Italian system, every day in the US new reports on this world-beating iniquity are being televised or published.

Why does it happen? In large part because THERE IS PROFIT IN IT. Profits for private prisons and bail-sharks. 

The video at top is a trailer for a new documentary just being released: A Deal With The Devil Devil’ Takes On Unjust Bail System

By Susie Madrak

A plea deal is an arrangement to resolve a case without going to trial. This is an option most often taken by those who cannot afford bail and want to go home instead of wait days, months, even years locked up in jail. An estimated 177,624 innocent Americans pleaded guilty in 2013 alone. Does this sound like a just system to you?

The money bail system is broken: private companies achieve exorbitant profits by scavenging off of communities (primarily of color) living in poverty. Low-income Americans are sitting in jails for days, months, and even years for the most minor of infractions simply because they can’t afford to pay high bond amounts. The reality is that the majority of people in jails ““ over 70% - are there for one simple reason: their income status. This is both morally and legally wrong.

And from now until August 21, 2017, Brave New Films will be campaigning to #EndMoneyBail this summer in the state of California.

Premiere events around the state are scheduled in key legislative districts, with audiences ranging from Bay Area activists and advocates to Los Angeles poets and politicians. Social media launches will coincide each week, with new videos from Brave New Films and other partners in the California Bail Coalition. People who can’t attend premiere events and screenings can host their own in-home events with all of our films before they’re released publicly and everybody should call their Assembly members demanding they #EndMoneyBail this summer.

This three-part series continues here.

 


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Netflixhoax 18 Omitted The Vital Context Of A Genuine, Huge Justice Problem In The US

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


1. Series Overview

The 18 past posts can be read here. In the light of the Netflix report’s nomination for a major award we resume. Full speed ahead.

2. Italian Justice: What Netflix Left Out

In the United States outrage is, well, all the rage… A clear Netflix intent was to horrify and outrage viewers about the Italian justice system itself.

Read the numerous reviews and thousands of comments that imply the system is dangerous and corrupt. Including the very common “I would never send my kid to college there” and “I will never risk traveling there” and “we should boycott Italian goods”. 

Show it as it really is - an extremely fair system from the perps’ point of view that allows ZERO wrongful convictions at the end of the day - and the whole Netflix thesis falls apart.

In Post 6 we described the almost unique carefulness of the Italian system.

How prosecutors can explain their case only in court. How the system allows perps two automatic appeals. How appeals often feature new juries - which never get to hear the full prosecution case.

How the same defense teams get to argue in court all the way up to the Supreme Court while the trial prosecution gets to present its full case just the once.

How the REAL justice system requires that many judgments should be written out at costly length. How prison time is almost never served for sentences under three years.

How most of the prisons are very nice and all perps receive mental treatment if prescribed, and taught a trade so they dont have to commit new crimes to pay their way when out.

The plea-bargain possibility does not exist in the uniquely open and transparent Italian system at all. No furtive shortcuts. No extreme pressure on suspected perps.

Judges, prosectors and especially police must go the extra mile, often over many years, to ever finally win a case.

3. American Justice: What Netflix Left Out

Netflix left out A LOT. See the numerous for-comparison posts here.

Sadly judges and lawyers in the American system can be among the eagerly gullible about both the Italian system and their own.

But there ARE American judges and lawyers who FULLY understand the Italian system and wish some of that could be applied in the US.

In the video at top Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz is quoted as saying this.

“We treat poor people and minority people much worse in the United States by our criminal justice system than they do in Italy, so we really have no standing to tell other countries that their system is unfair.

And based on [the evidence against Knox], in America, if she were not an attractive young woman “” if she were an ordinary person “” charged on the basis of this evidence, she would be convicted and would be serving life imprisonment, or even worse, the death penalty in the United States.”

In the United States pervasive plea-bargaining is making juries obsolete.

Trial by jury has become so rare in modern American criminal jurisprudence that the chance of being convicted at trial is little more than one in one hundred.

That doesn’t mean that people are not getting convicted. They are””in record number. America’s prisons are literally filled to capacity.

In today’s criminal justice system, convictions come by agreement. The tradition of being tried by one’s peers, established centuries ago and affirmed by the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has all but disappeared.

The plea bargain has made jury trials obsolete.

The GOOD aspect is that it can get convictions fast. That is the BAD aspect too.

Very few cases end in acquittal - vastly fewer than in Italy. Tough sentences and even the death penalty are often used as a threat.

“We now have an incredible concentration of power in the hands of prosecutors,” said Richard E. Myers II, a former assistant United States attorney who is now an associate professor of law at the University of North Carolina. He said that so much influence now resides with prosecutors that “in the wrong hands, the criminal justice system can be held hostage.

In effect judges and juries are being sidelined and defense lawyers are faced with strong odds.

A case in Pennsylvania has suddenly put such plea-bargaining in the national news - not because the accused perp didnt do it, but actually because the threat of death penalty was said to have been too lightly used.

In so swiftly wrapping up the case, which transfixed the Philadelphia region, the district attorney of Bucks County, Matthew D. Weintraub, faced questions about whether he had made the right call in taking the most severe punishment for horrible crimes off the table.

Experts in death penalty law said the agreement was especially notable for its speed. But the father of one of the young men found dead said on Monday that family members of all of the victims supported it.

There was no judicial review. Oh and he was mentally deranged.

The American prison population is proportionally six times the Italian prison population (why did Netflix omit that?). Mental illness among that population is rife, and few inmates have above average IQs.

Election-driven prosecutors plea-bargaining with threats may have wrongly put many of them there. Maybe 10 per cent.

That is over 200,000 Americans in the wrong place. Funny how Netflix forgot to tell us about that.

This three-part series continues here.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Justice Systems Comparisons #6: Common Law (US Etc) V. Civil (Italian) On Double Jeopardy

Posted by Chimera



Palazzo Giustizia above in Reggio Calabria, below in Naples

1. The Series Context

You’d think there’d be lots of comparisons at national level between the two great justice systems of the world. But really there are not.

The dishonest Knox and Sollecito PR often uses disparities between the Italian and US/UK systems to confuse, and to try to make the excellent Italian system look bad. 

The common-law lawyers from the US and UK who post here on Italy sometimes say they have to study quite a bit to get things straight. UK lawyer James Raper’s excellent book translates some of the key concepts that can be confused as he did here.

These are my previous five posts. I use the Canadian system as the common law example. But as the posts explain, the US and UK systems are pretty close. 

Click here for post:  Justice System Comparisons #1: Had Meredith’s Murder Taken Place In Canada 

Click here for post:  Justice System Comparisons #2: Canada’s Tough Penalties For Slander, False Accusations, Perjury 

Click here for post:  Justice System Comparisons #3: Bail, Extradition, and More Crimes In Canadian Law 

Click here for post:  Justice System Comparisons #4: How Canada And Italy Shape Up Against The USJustice System Comparisons #4: How Canada And Italy Shape Up Against The US 

Click here for post:  Justice Systems Comparisons #5: How Appeals Differ in Italy and Common Law Countries 

2. Double Jeopardy

Much angry noise has been made about the October 2011 “acquittal” of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito by the Hellmann appeal court in the murder of Meredith Kercher.  The claim was been made that an acquittal at trial means that under American law, it would be “double jeopardy” and hence, illegal, under American law.

While the “appellate trial” differs considerably from appeals in Common Law countries, it is still an appeal.  Portions of the case can be reopened, but the Trial Court’s original findings are the starting point.  It is not meant to be a “new trial”, nor to re-try the case.

“If” an Appeals Court releases a defendant, it is not double jeopardy, as it is not a Trial Court.  They do not try the case, but rather examine it for errors.  Further if a 1st level appeal releases someone, the prosecution can still seek a higher level of appeal.

Read Harvard Law School’s Alan Dershowitz here.

3. Legal Outcomes 2007-09

  • November 6, 2007—AK and RS were charged for rape and murder of MK, alongside PL, whom Knox has accused as the actual killer

  • November 9, 2007—AK/RS faced Judge Claudia Matteini, to see if they could be released conditionally (their 1st Court hearing), and to get a brief assessment of the Prosecution case.  While FoAK crow about there being no bail in Italy, this hearing seems eerily similar to a bail hearing.

  • November 30, 2007—AK/RS challenged Judge Matteini’s decisions (their 2nd Court hearing), and Judge Massimo Ricciarelli presided over a 3 Judge panel which confirmed the detention, but with Rudy Guede as the 3rd person, as opposed to PL.

  • April 1, 2008—AK/RS tried to get released again (their 3rd Court hearing on the matter), and the 5 Judge Cassation panel headed by Judge Torquato Gemelli denied the request, and even the lesser request of house arrest

  • September/October 2008—Pretrial (and Guede’s short form trial) presided over by Judge Paolo Micheli.  Judge Micheli convicted RG, and sent AK/RS to trial.

  • December 2009—AK and RS were convicted at trial by the Court of Judge Giancarlo Massei.


4. Legal Outcomes 2010-15

In 2010 AK/RS then chose to APPEAL those convictions and filed such an appeal.

  • October 2011—AK/RS were “acquitted” of murder by the Appellate Court headed by Hellmann and Zanetti, though the Calunnia conviction was upheld.

The Prosecution then filed a SECONDARY APPEAL to the Court of Cassation

  • March 2013—AK/RS had their “acquittal” by H/Z annulled, while the calunnia conviction was upheld, with aggravating factors added back on.

AK/RS chose to file ANOTHER APPEAL of the 2009 Trial Conviction, this time it went to Florence.  Not a new trial, but another appeal.  Knox didn’t show up.

  • January 2014—AK/RS had their 2009 conviction “confirmed” by the Court of Judge Nencini, with a small sentence increase for AK.

AK/RS then filed a SECONDARY APPEAL to the Court of Cassation.  The 5th Chambers took the case.

  • March 2015—AK/RS had their convictions thrown out by the panel of Bruno/Marasca.  However, the report released in September 2015 didn’t actually say they were innocent.  in fact, the report placed AK at the crime scene, and RS probably so.  The Court found both had lied repeatedly.


5. These Damning Posts Relate

Click here for post:  The Knox Interrogation Hoax #13: The First Two Opportunities Knox Flunked: Matteini & Ricciarelli

Click here for post:  Tape ‘puts Knox at Meredith murder scene’

Click here for post:  The Knox Interrogation Hoax #14: The Third Opportunity Knox Flunked: The Mignini Interview

Click here for post:  The Knox Interrogation Hoax #15: Dr Mignini’s Account Of Formal Warning Session Ending 5:45 AM

Click here for post:  The Knox Interrogation Hoax #16: The Fourth Opportunity Knox Flunked: The Supreme Court

Click here for post:  The Knox Interrogation Hoax #18: The Final Pre-Trial Opportunities Which Knox Flunked

6. Two Constitutions Compared

(A) U.S. Constitution, 5th Amendment

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


(B) Canada Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Part 11(h)

11. Any person charged with an offence has the right…. (h) if finally acquitted of the offence, not to be tried for it again and, if finally found guilty and punished for the offence, not to be tried or punished for it again;....

Notes: Both the U.S and Canadian Justice systems prohibit a person from being punished twice for the same offence.  The main distinction is the word “finally” in the Canadian system.  In the American system, an acquittal is the end of the matter, barring some obscene act, such as bribing a judge.  Is the Canadian system, an acquittal “may” be appealed in extremely limited cases, such as gross misconduct, or clearly inappropriate handling by the Trial Court.

7. Standard for Review

(A) U.S. Appeals

Click here for post:  Definitions: legal concepts for appeal

Matters of Fact—May be challenged if the they are reviewed in a clearly erroneous manner

Matters of Law—Must be considered “de novo” as if there was no finding before

Matters of Discretion—Judges are given wide discretion and it is usually accepted, unless there are clear errors, or the conclusion is illogical


(B) Canadian Appeals

The standard is set by Housen v. Nikolaisen

Click here for post:  Housen v. Nikolaisen Supreme Court Judgment

Factual Findings—These are typically “given deference”, unless the Appellant can show “overriding, palpable error”.

Legal Findings—The Standard is whether the law was “correctly” applied.

In layman’s terms, Appeals Courts “defer” to the Trial Court on the fact findings.  They assume that the Trial Court is in a better position to see and to examine the case.  They will not interfere unless there is a clear, and provable error that effected the outcome.  Surprisingly, it is a much higher standard than challenging the law.

Notes: In both US and Canadian appeals, the Courts tend to accept factual findings unless there is very clearly an error.  Both also tend to view potential legal matters as needing to be consistently applied.  Both Courts also tend to accept the Trial Court’s discretionary decisions unless something is obviously off.  Although the language used varies, the standards quite similar.

8. Cases of “Double Jeopardy”

(A) “Double Jeopardy” U.S.A.

Harry Aleman

This involved a man who was “acquitted” in a murder case.  However, it was later found that the trial judge, Frank Wilson had been bribed to the tune of $10,000, and that the trial had been rigged.  Prosecutors appealed, successfully, that since the case had been pre-arranged, the defendant had never been in jeopardy, and hence there was no “double jeopardy”.  Eventually this was confirmed by the US Supreme Court.

Click here for post:  Wikipedia: Harry Aleman

Click here for post:  Aleman v Cook County

Click here for post:  Man Faces 2d Trial on Murder Charge

Click here for post:  Exception To Double Jeopardy


(B) CANADA

Most of the cases which involved an acquittal being appealed were cases of sexual assault where the Trial Judge grossly mishandled the manner

Here is a particularly harsh appeal review:

Click here for post:  Reasons for judgment:  underage sexual attacker

Some media reports on the topic

Click here for post:  Crown appealing sex assault acquittal of taxi driver

Click here for post:  Judge asked complainant why she couldn’t just keep knees together

Click here for post:  Chief judge launches review of Edmonton judge

Click here for post:  Third Alberta judge faces review

Click here for post:  4 Alberta judges under scrutiny

Note: To a degree, this is comparing apples and oranges.  The US case of Harry Aleman was a case where a defendant literally “bought” a murder acquittal for a mere $10,000.  The Canadian cases listed were ones where the Trial Judge was grossly incompetent, and either unable or unwilling to handle a sexual assault case properly.  However, in both sets of circumstances, justice is not served at the trial court level, so it has to be “redone”.

Note: Also, in the cases of mistrials, re-trials of defendants are often permitted, depending on the circumstances.

9. How This Compares to Italy

(Some additional input from knowledgeable people appreciated)

1. The trial (the one and only trial), took place throughout 2009—the Massei Court—and it was to try the facts, and to hear testimony.

2. The 1st level appeal, an appellate trial (requested by AK/RS) was to determine if any major errors had been committed that would have changed the outcome.  And, unlike in the Common Law, the Defense could reopen portions of the case.

3. The 2nd level appeal—to the Court of Cassation—is to determine if there were any serious legal errors, or if the Lower Court rulings were based on illogical or contradictory thoughts.  It is not to retry the case, or rehear the evidence.

4. The “Appellate Trial” doesn’t exist in the Common Law systems, rather there is a clear distinction between “trial” and “appeal”.  Italy allows this step in a benefit to Defendants which would not otherwise be available.

5. Another benefit for Italian Defendants: those 2 appeals are available upon request.  Under the Canadian/US laws, defendants can immediately file notice of appeal on the 1st instance, though it can be dismissed before the hearing.  For 2nd level appeals, leave is required (“leave” is legalese for “permission”), which is difficult to get.

6. Acquittals in Italian Courts can be overturned if it was based on clear errors in law, or illogical conclusions, just as Canadian cases can.  That is what happened with the Hellmann ruling.

7. Acquittals in Italian Courts can be overturned if there was clear misconduct or illegal action which altered the outcome.

10. Footnote

The Italian appeal standard seems to be closer to the Canadian model.  The American system (so far) requires blatant criminal behaviour, not just incompetence.



Friday, March 31, 2017

Italian Police Again Work Hard On A Murder Where Victim And Main Suspect (Her Husband) Are Foreign

Posted by Peter Quennell



This case is getting a lot of coverage in Italy, Ireland and the UK.

Mrs Belling and her family boarded a cruise ship February 9 at the cruise port west of Rome, and seem to have been in Italy itself for only a few hours. Several days later, after a scene with her husband, she disappeared off the ship.

This wasn’t reported, and the family continued their meals in the dining room.

Then the German-born husband was arrested before he could return to Ireland. He remains locked up in Rome and can be held for a year to check if there is a case against him. 

Now a body in a suitcase has washed up. A “suitcase murder” in her case now seems to be ruled out though as Barbie Nadeau explains.

The short-lived label “suitcase murder” notion has resonated in the New York area. The reason being that an attractive and successful local woman, Melanie McGuire, who had her share of fans during trial, was found guilty of chopping up her husband, essentially for being a bore, and stuffing his remains in suitcases.

They then washed up in Chesapeake Bay about 1/2 a day south. She was found guilty and despite a strenuous defense and an appeal she is inside for life without parole. There are a number of long-form reports on YouTube, and this is perhaps the most-watched.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Interim Prime Minister, Which Points to Renzi Back On Top Soon & Bad News For RS & Knox

Posted by Peter Quennell



Why is this maybe not the worst outcome for Meredith’s case? 

Well Mr Renzi has had more than enough of fake news which perverted both this case and his referendum. 

President Obama and the faction in the US State Department hornswoggled by the Knox PR will be gone by the end of January. A President Trump already ticked off by Knox’s ingratitude will be in charge.

And Rome politics suggests neither Mr Gentiloni nor Mr Renzi would want to place any further roadblocks in front of popular legal initiatives such as this.


Thursday, December 08, 2016

Fake News Provably Propagated By The “No” Parties Making Questionable The Referendum Outcome

Posted by Peter Quennell



PM Renzi is reported as being in a fighting-back mood.

A main reason is that alarmist fake news has hit Italy on the Internet big-time and he claims it may have tilted the final count and perhaps even caused the “Yes” faction to lose.

The main purveyor of alarmist fake news on the Internet might have been the Five Star Movement which runs a number of sites. See the NY Times report here.

Fake news on the Internet plagued the US election, and it may even have tilted the result. Russia is conclusively pointed to as a main propagator, if not the only one.

Trump’s National Security Advisor and his son were tweeting a conspiracy theory that has just led to an unrepentant crackpot storming into a Washington restaurant and firing off a gun.

Almost every day a new violent incident is being reported as caused by fake news. Today another Internet-infected crackpot was indicted and she may face 20 years inside.

Did fake news actually begin with mainstream media? See the video at the top which argues that it did. Meredith’s case has been plagued by a massive volume of fake news in the main media over the past nine years. Netflix continues that trend.

In Perugia the fake news has led to a number of threats of violence and angry verbal rants, some by the Netflix team themselves.

In our next post, we’ll list some of the hundreds of writers of articles and books about Meredith’s case and TV talking heads who have propagated fake news.


Sunday, December 04, 2016

Italians Inside And Outside Italy Are voting Today On PM Renzi’s Proposed Reforms.

Posted by Peter Quennell

 


Wednesday, November 02, 2016

A Majority May Vote “No” In Referendum 4 December, Maybe Transforming Prospects In Meredith’s Case

Posted by Peter Quennell

 
The justice chunk of the huge package of reforms Italy is voting on 4 December probably appeal to pretty well everybody.

They address the awful slowness of the Italian courts and the repetitions of process steps to get it “just right” which too often result in just the opposite. They would tilt back a little toward the victim who too often gets “disappeared” just as Meredith did.

But they are chained to the parliamentary, economic and educational reforms, which PM Renzi cooked up with ex-PM Berlusconi. Maybe not such a smart idea.

They passed with only a bare majority in parliament, hence the referendum. Hence also Renzi’s promise to resign as Prime Minister if the electorate votes against them.

Those reforms are seen by young people in particular as amounting to a powergrab by the center-right and a move away from free college-level education (just when the US may be about to do the opposite).

PM Renzi may or may not have angled for the strange Fifth Chambers outcome in Meredith’s case. But he lost popularity for seeming bending to widely-suspected US arm-bending on this and some other issues even though he and President Obama seem to have not much in common.

If Renzi does go, we are told that prospects for a turnaround in Meredith’s case could become dramatically better. The politics would become right for this case to proceed.

Keep watching! 


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Netflixhoax 11: Omitted - How Italian Justice Is Misrepresented By Multiple Cherrypickings Of Facts

Posted by Swansea Jack


Netflix’s Amanda Knox is an extreme example of misleading bias by cherrypicking. This post is another in our ongoing series, the mothership for material for this media-friendly page online soon.



Quote: “The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”  Malcolm X

We live in a society where I believe I’m justified in saying a majority of people are easily swayed by the material they see on TV or read in the newspapers.

Recently I have witnessed a mass of new posters on Twitter and other social media forums who after watching the Amanda Knox Netflix documentary have formed a cast iron, unshakable opinion on the case.

It is clear after engaging with them very briefly that they frankly have very limited knowledge and understanding of the facts relating to the murder of Meredith Kercher.

I will credit the producers of the documentary Blackhurst and McGinn on what I consider to be a quite clever (but ever so sneaky) disguising of their absolute bias towards Amanda Knox which will not be evident to those who are not acquainted with the case.

They have obviously correctly banked on the ignorance of the majority of their audience.

I get the impression that Nick Pisa is used as a “filler” and a distraction. I come to this conclusion as I feel the producers would be hard pushed to make a 90 minute documentary, favourable to Knox, while addressing the real facts of the case without getting themselves into serious legal trouble.

I also know from first-hand experience that it is a long-term strategy of Knox and her little band of PR hate-mongers to vilify others, in order to distract attention away from the real villains.

It is my impression that the intended main target for vilification was Perugian Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini.

But try as they might, even with their selective editing, they could not produce enough material to achieve their goal due to Mignini’s humility and integrity.

For me personally the documentary raised a few questions which I will share with you.

We have Knox herself stating words to the effect of “either i am a psychopath, a Wolf in sheep’s clothing or I am you” Well she certainly isn’t me or anyone else, she is her, so is this an involuntary but frank admission?

The documentary shows a clip of Diane Sawyer’s interview with Knox in which Amanda is asked “Were you there that night?” She replies “No” but nods yes.

It is my opinion that Knox gets a real power kick out of the notoriety afforded to her and revels in the “Did I or didn’t I” mystery.

She then goes from being the wolf in sheep’s clothing to being a “Warrior Princess like Xena”. An ultimate and powerful fantasy figure.

Knox maintains that she was at Sollecito’s address at 110 Corso Garibaldi watching Amelie at the time of Meredith’s murder.

Not even Raffaele supports this version of events.

It begs the question why Blackhurst and McGinn have omitted the fact that Marasca and Bruno who acquitted the pair state in their motivation report “her (Knox) presence inside the house, the location of the murder, is a proven fact in the trial.”

The acquitting Judges go on to explain their reasoning that Knox was the first person to offer a sexual motive before there was any cadaver or autopsy reports available.

They also make mention of Amanda’s description of “the victim’s terrible scream” which was confirmed some time later by witnesses Nara Capezzali, Antonella Monacchia and others.

How could a person who wasn’t present know these details of the crime?

Knox goes on to describe an idyllic evening, smoking pot and making love, yet makes no mention of who was listening to music on Sollecito’s computer at 05:32 in the morning, a time when both Knox and Sollecito claim to be blissfully sleeping.

Knox can’t comprehend why there is a knife with her DNA on the handle and Meredith’s DNA on the blade.

There is no mention in the documentary of Amanda’s recorded prison conversation with her parents in which she says “I am very worried about this thing with the knife, because there is a knife of Raffaele’s” (*Reference Massei report page 292.)

Neither do they address Sollecito’s claim that the reason Meredith’s DNA is on the blade is because he “accidentally pricked her while cooking.”

He later admitted this was a total fabrication, Meredith had never attended his home.

Knox claims that she accused Diya Lumumba after long hours of questioning. Yet we know that due to the time recorded on her signed voluntary statement that she had fabricated a story swapping Guede for Lumumba in under 2 hours.

She only did so upon learning Sollecito was no longer supporting her alibi.

There is no mention in the documentary that Amanda had provided Diya Lumumba’s name to Rita Ficarra in a list of persons of interest prior to learning Raffaele was not corroborating her version of events.

There is no mention of the sample of Knox’s blood recovered from the faucet of the bathroom she shared with Meredith which Amanda herself dated in her court testimony to the night of Meredith’s murder.

There is no mention of the mixed DNA sample of Knox and Meredith, recovered from a luminol revealed bloodstain in Filomena Romanelli’s room. This is where the alleged point of entry for the burglary occurred. It is worth noting there is no biological trace of Rudy Guede in this room.

Addressing the bra clasp, the Netflix documentary fails to address the fact that the only other sample of Sollecito’s DNA identified in Via Della Pergola 7 was on a cigarette butt in an ashtray in the kitchen. This was a mixed sample containing Raffaele and Amanda’s DNA.

The documentary emphasises the farcical views of the so called “independent experts” Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti. It fails to mention that Vecchiotti confirmed that contamination at Dr Patrizia Stefanoni’s laboratory was not possible if there was a six day gap in the testing of materials during cross questioning at the Hellmann appeal hearing.

    PROSECUTOR COMODI: “Is six days a sufficient interval to rule out contamination?”

    CARLA VECCHIOTTI: “Yes absolutely”

Neither do they address Conti’s explanation (or lack of) as to how and why Sollecito’s DNA was located on the hook of Meredith’s bra clasp

    PROSECUTOR COMODI: “How would Sollecito’s DNA accidentally arrive on the hook of Meredith’s bra?”

    STEFANO CONTI: “Anything is possible”

During his input in the documentary Conti implies that DNA is easily transferable, he gives an example of running his fingers along his arm and magically shedding DNA.

If this is the case I would like to pose a few of questions to him.

1, Why is the only other sample of Sollecito’s DNA located on a cigarette butt in the kitchen?

2, Why is there no genetic trace of Guede in the small bathroom or in Filomena Romanelli’s room?

3, Can you provide a figure for the statistical probability of Sollecito’s solitary sample of DNA (other than the mixed trace on the cigarette butt) innocently finding it’s way on to Meredith’s bra clasp?

Blackhurst and McGinn predictably make use of Rudy Guede’s Skype conversation with Giacomo Bendetti in which he states Knox wasn’t there, yet do not address the letter Guede wrote to his lawyers in which he refers to “a horrible murder of a splendid, beautiful girl that was Meredith by Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox”

Why have the documentary makers chosen to ignore so very many facts?


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Netflixhoax 6: Omitted - The Almost Unique Carefulness Of Italy’s Justice System

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Bigotry for fame and profit: Stephen Robert Morse, Rod Blackhurst, and Brian McGinn

Netflix’s Amanda Knox is an extreme example of misleading bias by cherrypicking. This post is another in our ongoing series, the mothership for material for this media-friendly page online soon.


1. Wrong “facts” and numerous omissions

As first explained previously in this series the very loaded Netflix report Amanda Knox included some seriously wrong “facts”.

Here is another of them.  The HIV Hoax. Italian doctors did NOT fool Knox about a possible HIV positive; they told her in confidence not to worry, they would retest (a common practice in HIV testing) and that test soon came back negative.

NOBODY in the justice system leaked about this. The leak to the media complete with Knox’s list of recent sex partners was blatantly and well-recordedly made by the Knox-Mellas defense team. Even several of us were leaked-to - this was months before we got a grip on the case.

We shall be deconstructing the various wrong “facts”.

But mainly though the film operated at the level of cut-and-paste innuendo. And it banked on the extreme ignorance of its audience.  Hundreds of inconvenient facts were omitted, any few of which would have disrupted its propaganda purpose.

We shall be adding in the numerous omissions.

2. The report’s macro-level takeaways

About 50 movie reviewers so far have mostly declared these to be their main takeways.

    (1) A muddled or desperate or evil Dr Mignini framed Knox and fooled his co-prosecutor, numerous experts, 30-plus judges, and most of Italy.

    (2) The justice system of Italy is a dangerous error-prone joke, but thankfully some much smarter Americans are here, to save silly Italy from itself.

    (3) Somehow a few BRITISH tabloids influenced an ITALIAN jury to vote “guilty” and the damning prosecution case the hapless defenses did not once dent in 2009 was immaterial.

All three of them are untrue. We’ll take a first stab at correcting for them below, with much more to come.   

(1) The REAL Dr Mignini

He framed Knox? On this there is vast evidence to the contrary. Dr Mignini has already explained some and we have much more to come. Dr Mignini had no motive, early on he was pretty good to Knox, and the checks and balances against any such hoax are simply enormous.

Ask yourself, why would a prosecutor intent on framing Knox do this recorded interrogation?

In fact he did it as a favor to Knox, because she asked him for it. She asked also for the interrogation at trial. Those were the ONLY two interrogations of Knox. Both damning. There were no others, ever.

In both of them, Knox by her own tongue dropped herself in it, far more than any police or prosecutor ever did. The second had a major effect on the jury (and on Italy).

In that same post we pointed to two of the Netflix team’s numerous self-serving omissions.

(1) [The movie]  appears to accept that innocence was proved and that Knox and Sollecito had zero role. That was not what the Supreme Court said. [See Dr Mignini’s final paras.]

(2) Italian lawyers think the Fifth Chambers ruling may have been illegal as well as bent. The reasoning can be read here. That is headed to court soon.


(2) Italy’s REAL justice system

Pretty well the exact opposite of what you’d suppose if you read only Michael Heavey and Frank Sforza and Paul Ciolino and Bruce Fischer and John Douglas and Saul Kassin and Steve Moore and of course Doug Preston and the late Mario Spezi. Read only them, and one might be excused for thinking Italy’s is a huge, horrible system which the Italian population desperately needs THEM to save it from! Bigotry for fame and profit.

A total illusion, which Morse, Blackhurst, and McGinn now want you to swallow. Bigotry for fame and profit.

The main characteristics of the Italian system are (1) a large and visible national and local police presence with excellent forensics labs, (2) a low crime rate even by European standards, and even more-so by American standards, and (3) a very low rate of incarceration that is only 1/6 the rate of the US.

The system is immensely careful and with two AUTOMATIC rights of appeal for convictions for serious crimes the chances of a false conviction standing are zero. Compare this with thousands uncovered in the US. The vast wave of appeals has clogged the courts and right now Parliament is trying to reverse this. 

Appellants have a huge advantage which makes it easy for them to game this system: the prosecution presents their case ONLY at trial. Then seasoned defences can game bewildered prosecutors at higher levels.

Officially the US knows all of this. It has much to gain politically from Italian co-operation and works very hard on their functional relationships. The FBI and the Italian equivalent embed one another’s officers in Rome and Washington, aid one another’s labs, share huge amounts of information, mutually take down mafia, and organize dozens of extraditions annually.

Almost all prosecutors are highly-trained by career-path; the only three who were not in this case (Judges Hellmann, Marasca and Bruno) and sprung Knox and Sollecito are all believed to have been corrupted.

Finally, the mafias and fellow-travelers work hard to smear police and prosecutors (as well as assassinating them, over 100 now). In this respect the Knox PR has wittingly or unwittingly been functioning as an arm of the mafias. Bongiorno, substituted for the hapless Sollecito PR which cost Vanessa her Carabinieri post, became famous for mafia defenses.

The 20 posts we link to below go deeper. You might read at least the headlines and the quotes below. That Italy’s is a pretty good system should be compelling.


1. Click here for post: How Italian Justice REALLY Works

Comparing the US and UK common law system - a model founded on non-written laws and developed through judicial proceedings - with this system which arose from the Roman Law model - based on a written civil code - is really like comparing apples to oranges.

They were both conceived to protect individual’s rights at a maximum level, while seeking justice for the victims. But with entirely different processes.

One is not necessarily better or worse. But there are legal experts who think the Italian system is distinctly fairer - much more weighted toward the defendants. In the US and the UK the prosecutor usually has to make it through only one pre-trial hoop. In Italy the prosecutor has to make it through a whole row of pre-trial hoops…

2. Click here for post:  Why The Prosecutors In Italy Are Relatively Popular

Italy’s a tough country with, albeit dwindling now, a legacy of violent crime, and many brave prosecutors over the years have been assassinated.

And the Italian legal system is not particularly weighted in their direction, with a large number of hurdles they have to climb over before a case ever gets to trial.

And the Italian prison system is relatively lenient, heavily pro-prisoner-remediation and early release, and proportionally only 1/10 the size of the US’s.

So the endemic attempts to undermine Prosecutor Mignini have invariably won only MORE popular support for him and his case in Perugia and Italy in general.

3. Click here for post:  Why The Italian Judiciary’s Probably Less Prone to Pressure Than Any Other In The World

Italian magistrates enjoy an extraordinary level of autonomy from the other powers of government (executive and legislative) and the point of this post is to explain why. This autonomy is above all due to the Italian constitutional framework.

That framework is intended to guarantee such an exceptional level of independence so as to avoid the abuses that occurred during Mussolini’s fascist regime, when Italian magistrates were forced by the executive to prosecute (and persecute) political opponents to the fascist dictator…

4. Click here for post:  Explaining How The Italian Appeals Process Works And Why It Consumes So Much Time 

The extraordinary broad appeal rights awarded by the Italian system are all part of the 1989 reform, which intended to add even more guarantees to the right of the accused. This has resulted in an incredible increase in pending cases in the overburdened Italian justice system….

This situation is exacerbated by the broad appeal rights guaranteed also on the 2nd level of appeal, at the Supreme Court of Cassation. Like other supreme courts around the world, such court does not re-examine the entire body of evidence, but only “˜errores in iudicando’ and “˜errores in procedendo’ (errors in procedure or application of the law).

However, unlike its American or English counterparts, the Italian Supreme Court cannot refuse to review a case, and defendants have unlimited appeal rights to the Supreme Court of Cassation. They don’t even have to wait for the Appeal Court. You can in fact appeal to the Supreme Court directly after the first trial. ...

5. Click here for post:  Barbara Benedettelli: Campaigner For Victims And Families Says Italian System Denies Them Justice

There are proportionally very few perpetrators in Italians prison by global standards, and when there in prison they are given quite a nice time, trained to perform usefully when released, and very often get out of prison early.

Seemingly very humane. But this does carry very high costs. There are often almost unbearable pressures on victims’ families, as Meredith’s father John Kercher has several times described. On top of all this, there is the growing western fascination with perps, and in many cases their elevating to popular cult-worship status.

Barbara Benedettelli is a writer and columnist and the editor of the popular “Top Secret” program on Rete4 TV…  Her latest book (only in Italian) is called “Victims Forever”. She talks of various prominent perps and the enormous and unrequiting pressures on victims’ families. In polls a large majority of Italians detest this. They want much less stress on “fairness” and MUCH more compassion for victims families and, if still alive, for the victims.

6. Click here for post:  Harvard Political Review Writer Alex Koenig Reproaches The Sliming of Italy’s Justice System 

The fact of the matter is, those that immediately claim that Knox was wrongly accused and jailed by a corrupt justice system make two extremely arrogant assumptions that reveal perverse American exceptionalism.

1) It is assumed that, as an American ““ an American woman no less ““ Knox is incapable of murder. This case differs, of course, from the 1,176 domestic murders committed by women because, well, who knows?

2) It is assumed that not only is the Italian justice system incapable of fulfilling its legal duties, but that the intentions of the court were swayed by anti-Americanism.

This is not merely an abstract sentiment, but was actually articulated by Senator Maria Cantwell (D) of my home state of Washington.

7. Click here for post:  Interesting Tilts Of Marcia Clark And Alan Dershowitz Toward Educated, Informed Italian-type Juries 

“[American] jury instructions are so numerous and complex, it’s a wonder jurors ever wade through them. And so it should come as no surprise that they can sometimes get stuck along the way. The instruction on circumstantial evidence is confusing even to lawyers. And reasonable doubt? That’s the hardest, most elusive one of all. And I think it’s where even the most fair-minded jurors can get derailed.”

“Well, if you want justice, don’t look to the criminal law system. That’s not its job. Its job is not to produce a just result. Its job is to produce a legally correct result…”

“We’ve opted for a much more democratic system, and it means that in the end you’re going to be dissatisfied with a lot of verdicts. Just don’t expect too much from our legal system. Don’t expect truth. Don’t expect justice, because that’s not what it’s supposed to give you.”

8. Click here for post:  The Chief Enforcer Of The Constitution And The Rule Of Law is Wildly Popular Throughout Italy 

He is said to receive dozens of petitions a day and in certain cases he does act to get things done. Significantly, two that he chose to ignore recently concerned the ongoing Sollecito-Knox appeal process.

Of two pretty blatant attempts to bias the Perugia process, one came from Joel Simon of the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists, and one came from the junior Berlusconi-party MP Rocco Girlanda.

President Giorgio Napolitano simply ignored both of them.

9. Click here for post:  Compared To Italy, Say, Precisely How Wicked Is The United States? 

We have often remarked that Italy’s crime rate is low, the three mafia families (Sicily, Calabria and Naples) are on the rocks, and the justice system is one of the most cautious - conviction rates are infuriatingly low for the suffering families of victims, but in a forgiving Catholic nation rates of incarceration are unlikely to jump any time soon.

The American incarceration rate in sharp contrast has for a decade led the rest of the world, and it increased every year for nearly 30 straight years from the arrival of President Reagan to the departure of President GW Bush. Its prison rate is ahead of Russia’s, with its mafias and corruption and poverty, and ahead of China’s, with its large population of political prisoners.

10. Click here for post:  Involvement Of The Formidable Carabinieri Shows How Italian Justice Will Not Be Leaned Upon 

Judge Nencini may have invoked the help of the Carabinieri for reasons going beyond simply very good science.

Italy has among the world’s lowest crime-rates, murder-rates and incarceration-rates. Unusually low criminal and anti-social tendencies among native-born Italians, and strong family pride, explains a large part of this.

But another main reason is the high-profile and exceptionally smart police presence. Deliberately a cool presence rather than a hot and intimidating presence, and in fact a very popular one

11. Click here for post:  Italy’s Unpopular Politicians And Mafia Fellow Travelers Against Italy’s Popular Justice System 

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

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

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

12. Click here for post:  Italy’s Advanced, Effective, Humane Law & Order System Also Adopted By City Of New York

New York is now the safest big city in America. It is following a route that is not only almost identical to Italy’s - it is being watched and emulated elsewhere across the US….

Now that the United States has the world’s highest reported rate of incarceration, many criminologists are contemplating another strategy. What if America reverted to the penal policies of the 1980s? What if the prison population shrank drastically? What if money now spent guarding cellblocks was instead used for policing the streets?

13. Click here for post:  Italian Prime Minister Renzi Will Push Measures To Speed Up Justice 

In a move popular not least among those who are part of it Mr Renzi announces moves to speed up Italian justice.

Italian justice and those who work in it are widely trusted and respected in Italy. But a very humane system designed post WWII to give those accused a level of rights unique in the world has been even further tilted over the years by politicians passing laws to aid political and business colleagues in legal trouble.

14. Click here for post:  Why Numerous American JUDGES Favor The Supremely Neutral Italian Kind Of System 

See that above at the bottom of the YouTube screen? Some $280 million has been spent since the year 2000. Can you guess what the $280 million was for?

In fact the $280 million is funds raised and spent for judges’ election campaigns in the roughly 3/4 of all American states where such judges’ elections are held - the original intention of which was good: to get judicial choices out of smoke-filled rooms.

15. Click here for post:  Meredith May Not See Justice (Yet) But She Will Leave At Least Three Legacies 

Knox behaved grossly irresponsibly in heading to Perugia under-funded, intent on drug-doing, and with zero intention of seriously studying.

The University of Washington and many others realised they could have huge liabilities if they did not distance themselves a lot from such loose cannons in future.

In October 2009 we reposted this report by Andrea Vogt which described the initiation of measures many American universities have now come to implement….

16. Click here for post:  Counterterrorism: Another Way Italian Law Enforcement Is An Effective Model For Everywhere Else 

A leading military analyst is citing Italy as a model of counterterrorism done right, pointing out that despite many factors going against it, Islamic terrorists have failed to kill a single person on Italian soil.

17. Click here for post:  Italian Justice & The Telling Status Of Extraditions To And From Italy 

If countries agree to extradite to other countries, that suggests a high degree of trust in justice at both ends. They are in effect voting confidence in each other’s justice systems.

Italy achieves an exceptionally high rate of extraditions in both directions and continues to sign more bilateral treaties.

It is clearly trusted almost worldwide as a destination where those charged will receive a fair shake. And it is very no-nonsense about sending back fleeing felons who try to go to ground there.

18. Click here for post:  Knox’s Nasty-Prisons Hoax: NY Times Describes How Italy Leads The World In Rehabilitation 

Around five years ago, largely because of immigrant crimes, the prison population (previously below 100,000 - in the US, California prisons alone hold almost twice that) began to balloon.

New prisons were built, with no expenses spared, and in these images you can see the result.

Stories of extreme over-crowding have gone away, and the New York Times profiles the new prisons and their programs of today.

19. Click here for post:  How The Italian “Justice Tortoise” Is The Likely Winner Compared To For Example the US System 

Italy is working to try to update its justice system right now and we will report on that shortly. At least in theory, it has one of the easiest tasks in the world, because post WWII its legal system was redesigned from the ground up. It had already junked bad aspects, some going back centuries.

Italy already has some of the world’s smartest juries - jury service is compulsory, so smart people cannot dodge them. And the system already has some other very positive things going for it.

Mainly what is needed is some weeding. And such reforms are made easier in Italy because (1) judges and prosecutors all follow career paths and so they are not politically competing with one another;  and (2) there is the Council of Magistrates (CSM) which can be very progressive in the reforms it pushes at its level.

20. Click here for post:  So Where Would YOU Want To Go On Trial? In Italy Or In The U.S.?

We have still not seen even ONE American lawyer claim that after the first trial in 2009 which found RS and AK guilty that there were strong grounds for an appeal.

In the US, back in 2009, full prison terms would have been begun.

And in fact virtually nothing at the 2009 trial was challenged in the appeal. But the defenses subversively organized to get Civil Judge Hellmann instead of Criminal Judge Chiari to preside, and in 2011 a farcical “not guilty” outcome was the result.

Then there was a THIRD jury trial, in 2013-14, which (as so often in Italy) threw out the not guilty outcome of the previous appeal trial.

And finally, in 2015, due to more subversive defense machinations with a little mafia help, the final Supreme Court appeal was assigned to the FIFTH Chambers, for the first murder appeal that Chambers has ever heard.

A second farcical “not guilty” outcome was the result.

Say what you like about the American system, there is not remotely any parallel in its judicial history to all of that.  Quite the opposite in fact. We have had various posts pointing to an increasingly hard line in the US.


(3) British tabloids corrupted a jury in THIS system?

Subject of future posts. Check back shortly.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Wiki Status: Harder & Harder To Claim No Evidence Or 2009 Jury Got Verdict Wrong

Posted by azoza



A rough physical equivalent of our document library

Overview

This is a progress update on the increasingly vast Meredith Wiki file library:

Remember that much of the trial was conducted behind closed doors. Italians got good reporting from the trial, often in real-time; but those of us in other countries far less-so - though the notion that any of the fairly limited English-language media mentions in 2009 influenced the Italian jury is a seriously absurd one.

So the one and only key to getting the case right is in the documents. Absent a knowledge of the documents (as in the Netflix case) conclusions become quite vacuous.

Remember that NO media outfit ever translated any of the large documents. The Italy-based foreign reporters certainly did some for their own use and for excerpting, but all the heavy lifting was done by the teams on our cluster of websites.

Remember that NO American or British lawyer ever who is fully on top of the extraordinary number of documents has attempted to argue that this was not a strong case or that points pointing to guilt were not overwhelming.

The file library is increasingly being made into something resembling a huge book with a internal strong logic for the help of the numerous intended researchers.

You can see that logic strongly at work here.

Four search approaches

Since my article last June, there have been big changes to the file library layout. We scrapped the nested box approach due to the amount and different kinds of documents.

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Main_Page

Now there are four approaches to find files: (1) the master list; (2) by file type; (3) by subject matter; (4) by chronology of when file was made.

The last branch will be done when uploads are complete.

(1) The master list contains links to all the files, roughly in chronological order. Given the thousands of files (over 3800 now), the master list serves only as a reference point. You get a sense of document flow- what appeared when- by scrolling through the list.

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Master_list

(2) The type pages subdivide files by main types (audio, documents, images, videos) and then further subcategories.

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Files_by_type

The images category will be better filled with more files in due time. The documents category has the most subcategories with descriptions under the headings. So for instance, all court motivation reports are here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Court_motivation_reports

All court testimony PDFs are here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Court_testimony

All deposition and interrogation PDFs here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Depositions_and_interrogations
and police and consultant reports here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Reports

The above are most significant, but there are many other subcategories.

(3) The by subject pages will have pages of all files, disregarding type and date, of a particular subject. So all files related to DNA on one page; all files related to the knife on one page; all pages related to Curatolo on one page. These pages will be more detailed than other pages.

(4) By chronology pages organize files by date:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Files_by_chronology

These pages are only PDFs for now. Eventually the other file types will be linked too. At the bottom of each chronology page is a link to the next section, so it’s possible to click through chronology pages without returning to the chronology menu page each time.

Important files:

Crime scene:

Crime scene photos were distributed by police in 5 volumes and can be found here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Crime_scene_photos

There are more photos in the 5 volumes than in the web page photo gallery.

A subset of these photos are in a second police document from Dec 31, 2007 done in Word. We printed it to PDF:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/photos/2007-12-31-Photobook-Police-survey-cottage-crime-scene-censored.pdf

Photos from this document were captured, censored and stored in this zip file, which has crime scene photos not in the webpage gallery:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/photos/2007-12-31-Photobook-Police-survey-cottage-crime-scene-censored.zip

Crime scene video is here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Crime_scene_videos

We have taken great pains to keep November 2-3 crime scene video intact with sound, censoring as necessary to respect Meredith and her family. It is the most complete version available- 1 hr 20 minutes long.

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/videos/crimescene/2007-11-02-03-cottage.mp4

There is also video of Scientific Police (Dr. Stefanoni) at Sollecito’s apartment on November 13th:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/videos/crimescene/2007-11-13-apartment-Sollecito.mp4

Police video comes from discs prepared by police, complete with menus. It’s likely the video compilations on these discs don’t show all video taken. As an example, the above video at Sollecito’s apartment seems incomplete and is cut-off at the end.

The December 2007 video of the 2nd cottage visit is complete. Police purposely distributed this video without sound.

CCTV:

We have made films of CCTV capture:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_CCTV_videos

We did this because the program and files are proprietary. We will capture photo sequences of important segments and post later.

We could not find “˜video’ for camera 7 from 00:00 to 06:00 on November 2nd. There are other cameras at the garage as well, and we are looking to find any extra footage.

DNA:

We have DNA report complete and in color:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2008-06-12-Report-Scientific-Police-Stefanoni-DNA-result-all.pdf

so charts are now clear. Dr. Stefanoni’s DNA report references these photos here too:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2008-06-12-Report-Scientific-Police-Stefanoni-DNA-result-all-photographic-attachments-censored.pdf

Egrams in color are here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2008-06-04-Report-Scientific-Police-Stefanoni-DNA-result-all-egrams.pdf

Clearer Egram prints of key traces can be found on this page, and also negative controls:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Reports

UACV report:

As mentioned by Olleosnep, this report has not been talked about, but very important crime scene analysis report:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2008-06-09-Report-Scientific-Police-UACV-Codispoti-crime-scene-analysis-censored-colored-and-charts.pdf

More UACV materials are here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Presentations

Rinaldi & Boemia:

Rinaldi & Boemia presentation showing errors in Vinci report is here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/presentations/2009-09-18-Slides-Scientific-Police-Rinaldi-Boemia-comments-on-Vinci-report.pdf

There is much Rinaldi & Boemia presentation material on that page. They also did two reports, one on footprints and a second on shoes. Those are here, with separate photo attachments:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Reports

Conti & Vecchiotti critiques:

Dr. Stefanoni presentation showing errors in Conti Vecchiotti report is here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/presentations/2011-09-04-Slides-Scientific-Police-Stefanoni-comments-Conti-Vecchiotti-report.pdf

and her written report here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2011-09-01-Report-Scientific-Police-Stefanoni-comments-on-Conti-Vecchiotti-report.pdf

Dr. Novelli report critiquing Conti Vecchiotti report is also good reading:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2011-09-03-Report-Consultant-Prosecutor-Novelli-comments-on-Conti-Vecchiotti-report.pdf

Dr. Torricelli has two reports. The second is an updated version of the first:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2011-07-29-Report-Consultant-Civil-Torricelli-comments-on-Conti-Vecchiotti-report.pdf

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2011-07-29-Report-Consultant-Civil-Torricelli-comments-on-Conti-Vecchiotti-report.pdf

Medical consultants:

This medical consultant hearing- asked by Judge Matteini in April 2008- is very important:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/testimony/2008-04-19-Testimony-CM-evidentiary-hearing-consultants-medical-all.pdf

Related reports (all censored for disturbing content):

Autopsy:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2008-02-12-Report-Coroner-Lalli-autopsy-final-censored.pdf

Matteini’s consultants:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2008-04-15-Report-Consultant-Court-Aprile-Cingolani-Ronchi-wounds-manner-of-death-censored.pdf

Mignini’s consultants (replacing Lalli):

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2008-04-24-Report-Consultant-Prosecutor-Bacci-Liviero-Marchionni-comments-on-Lalli.pdf

Dr. Mignini:

His case summary to the Riesame court on November 24, 2007 is important. It shows an early description of the case:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/notices-prosecutor/2007-11-24-Notice-Prosecutor-case-summary-for-Riesame-court-Knox-Sollecito.pdf

He made a case summary for Guede too in December 2007:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/notices-prosecutor/2007-12-10-Notice-Prosecutor-case-summary-for-Riesame-court-Guede.pdf

Formal charges issued in English from July 2008:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/notices-prosecutor/2008-07-11-Notice-Prosecutor-sending-case-to-trial-English.pdf

Final fingerprint report:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2008-01-31-Report-Scientific-Police-fingerprints-cottage-final-censored.pdf

Court testimony:

There is much more court testimony now. Matteini, Micheli, Massei, Hellmann Nencini, but also Guede appeal court Borsini. All testimony is here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Court_testimony

Much of Micheli is audio only, which is here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Court_audios

Various:

This Kokomani interview with Canale 5:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Interview_videos

shows Kokomani in a good way. Court transcripts with him seem confusing, but here he is easy to follow.

This video shows unpacking of kitchen knife on February 26, 2008 in front of all consultants:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/videos/misc/2008-02-26-Knife-review-by-consultants.mp4

The meeting was after knife was tested for DNA, but shows the original box used.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Netflixhoax 3: Omitted - Dr Mignini Explains The Dirty Tricks The Dishonest Netflix Team Employed

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


Netflix’s Amanda Knox is an extreme example of misleading bias by cherrypicking. This post is another in our ongoing series, the mothership for material for this media-friendly page online soon.


1. The Wider Context

Longtime Italy-berater Judy Bachrach is one of the first to view the Netflix movie Amanda Knox. Predictably, she raves about it.

At bottom here Dr Mignini explains the actual final judgment on Knox and Sollecito, and shoots huge holes in Bachrach’s claims.

Judy Bachrach resembles one of those wind-up parrots. She repeats about a dozen of the Knox-PR talking points like mantras again and again.

There are literally hundreds of evidence points on this and other sites that overwhelmingly point to Knox and Sollecito guilt. There is no other way to account for them all. That is why the 2009 trial was so decisive.

Try running those past Bahrach and she is quite certain to come up short of any other explanation. Even simply our two posts directly below this, providing a flavor of that, would leave her seriously stumped. 

She published her first very simplistic take on the case in 2008, months before trial when much evidence was not public and the myth-making Knox and Sollecito PR was ramping up. Then another simplistic take every several years since. She has also repeatedly found her way onto TV and perhaps a dozen simplistic YouTubes are one result.

At Guede, she really rants. Clearly in her eyes the nasty black guy did it, and did it all alone even though not one court, ever, ruled that.

She makes it routine to mischaracterize Dr Mignini, who she seems to think really had it in for the girl (she always forgets Sollecito) because of something to do with sex. And in her mind all of Italy has been fooled.

Our main poster Machine posted an analysis of nine of Bachrach’ wild claims way back in April 2010. They are highly worth reading, here. Machine’s overall conclusion on Bachrach was this.

We have been analyzing Judy Bachrach’s many, many articles and TV commentaries about the case, and they all seem to point to the following conclusions. 

  • That she hasn’t ever read the Micheli report and doesn’t seem to have actually ever mentioned it.

  • That she hasn’t had full access to the prosecution’s 10,000-plus pages file of evidence, and maybe she has had no access at all.

  • That she didn’t attend the key court sessions in which highly incriminating forensic and circumstantial evidence was presented.

  • That she hasn’t absorbed the numerous factual newspaper and magazine reports about the key forensic and circumstantial evidence.

  • That she seems to rely either a lot or totally on sources with vested interests who feed her wrong theories and false information.

  • And that she comes across to us as the reporter most often showing on US media outlets the most complete ignorance of the case.

Quite a track record. We wonder if she is really very proud of it. She seems to sound so.


2. Judy Bachrach’s Latest Crackpot Claims

Judy Bachrach was fast to start beating the drum about the Netflix flick. Almost the first reporter there. You can read her article here. She clearly loves the Netflix report.

That it leaves out about 95% of the key facts seems to be over her head.

In the article, she quotes her recollection of an interview Dr Mignini gave her years ago.  This was clearly a gotcha moment for her - suddenly it was crystal clear why Amanda Knox is being tried for the crimes. Sex! It seems over her head that officially there really were sex crimes; all three were charged with them.

It pays to understand four things.

(1) Not only did the Netflix flick get things wrong and leave myriad things out (how many, we shall soon know) but it appears to accept that innocence was proved and that Knox and Sollecito had zero role. That was not what the Supreme Court said. See Dr Mignini’s final damning paras below.

(2) Italian lawyers think the Fifth Chambers ruling may have been illegal as well as bent. The reasoning can be read here. That is headed to court soon.

(3) Judy Bachrach’s crackpot inventions are not backed up by even one document, transcript or report. She really does parrot the Knox PR and uses inventions to fill in any gaps.

(4) There is a mafia angle, of which Bachrach could be part. Humiliating the forces of justice is what they like to do. We cannot go public until this officially starts to come out. Sollecito first drew attention to it, and law enforcement are on top of it.

3. Dr Mignini Corrects The Record At Length

We offered Dr Mignini this opportunity. He kindly came through. It is made pretty obvious that Bachrach was maliciously putting words in his mouth.  Dr Mignini spoke in Italian, and we translated, and he approved.

Dr Mignini speaks

I will share just some of my thoughts after reading the article in that magazine, which I would really prefer not to speak about. I mainly want to say that those statements which are put between quotation marks as attributed to me contained in that article? I never pronounced them.

I have never said ““ and anyone who knows me would understand (though this journalist Judy Bachrach doesn’t know me, doesn’t know me at all and I myself didn’t have the misfortune to know her) that I would never say, I’d never talk about, and I’d never mention, the morality or the immorality of a person as an argument within the explanation for a crime. Absolutely no way.

A crime is a violation of a law, an action that may be reprehensible or whatever you like, but it is an action regulated as provided by the penal code, subjected to penalty by the code, that needs to be ascertained, period. And that’s all. It needs to be ascertained following totally objective criteria. A crime is an objective action, a codified action. It has nothing to do with moral qualities, or allegations of moral qualities, or lack thereof, of an individuals.

The discussion in the article of Bachrach about those allegedly quoted statements about “morality” attributed to me, they are FALSE, I have simply never said them. And one cannot even say that they were a little changed, because I’ve never said anything even remotely like them. Those are statements of a kind that I would NEVER make.

Such is one statement reported in the article where I allegedly said “Amanda killed because motivated by a wish to be liked at any cost” ““ by the way, statements like those do not make any sense: the person who makes up such statements doesn’t realize she is saying things void of any meaning. 

The Italian Penal Procedure code (art. 220) prohibits that any research into the personality of a suspect could be used in court as evidence, such as the finding of a propensity of a suspect to commit crimes or similar argumentations. A proper research into the personality of a suspect is permitted only when there is a need to establish mental capabilities. On the other hand, some features of a suspect personality might be considered during investigations but only to understand the context of a crime.

When I happened to point at some features apparent in the personality of the suspects, I actually cited observations made by criminal psychiatrist Dr. Mastronardi who had given his opinion on the case. Aspects of personalities traits, showing features such as manipulative behaviours or a passive and dependent attitude ““ to mention some findings involving the suspects ““ were rather noted, highlighted or detailed not by the prosecution, but by the judges on various instances of the investigation and pre-trial hearings (Investigation Judge C. Matteini, Re-Examination Judge M. Ricciarelli, and Preliminary Judge P. Micheli).

[Editors note. These are the judges who really guided the case. Go to this post and scroll down and click through to posts #13 to #16. That includes the findings of the Supreme Court, which backed up the findings of Dr Matteini and Dr Ricciarelli’s panel. It also includes Dr Mignini’s interrogation of Knox, in which she in effect froze up; this was done at her own request though her lawyers were none too thrilled - they feared she would bomb out, and she did.]

As for the “motive” on this case. It should be pointed out that in a case like the murder of Meredith Kercher ““ the murder of a young student girl who was uninvolved in dangerous circles and had no enemies ““ independently from the identity of the perpetrators, we are talking about a crime that cannot have have a “motive” with a rational or consistent logical structure, nor could it be ascribed to a particular conscious and organized intention.

We may talk about causes that could have contributed to leading to a situation that ended in committing the crime. Among the factors we know that unbalanced personalities, life or emotional disorganization of perpetrators, behavioral excesses, inabilities to handle relations, psychological fragilities, are elements that always contribute to this kind of crimes, and we had reasons to believe that drugs also played a role.

The task of the judiciaries is not really to set out the motives of the individuals from a subjective point of view. We know that unfortunately a record of cases exists, in which apparent “ordinary” looking young people ““ including students ““ have committed very violent murders, in contexts where no “motive” could be explained in a way that appears rational or serious from an objective point of view, since futile crimes - including group murders - may emerge from the building up of situations involving individuals not able to handle issues of adult life.

Thus, all statements within quotation marks as reported in the article by Bachrach are false, I’d say absolutely false: they are the product of a making-up or a spin (I reserve for myself any necessary action in the event there is also a defamatory report) or reported without their context or with their context changed (like falsely reporting the dates, such as when I mentioned the time when some Perugian citizens used to compliment me).

I was stunned by one statement by the end of the article, that says ““ in which I am reported to have said ““ that “if they were innocent, they should forget”. That is a statement which I said on request of one of the two interviewers, who asked “what would you say to those young persons in the event that they were actually innocent?”. So what could I say, what should I answer to a question framed and spun in such a way? I might say: “it’s an experience that unfortunately happened to you, something that may happen, try to forget, seek all legal ways” ““ but I was saying that in the abstract, purely in the abstract ““ “that you think you can follow if you deem that you suffered an injustice” ““ albeit the Cassazione ruling is in the dubitative formula (Art. 530 § 2. cpp).

But then the Vanityfair journalist does not report my *second* statement, that is, the other one I said just following: “And what about if they are guilty? If they were guilty I’d suggest them to remind that our human life ends as trial that has an irreversible sentence, that will last forever”. My answer was made of two statements, not of one. Both were rhetorical and hypothetical. The last statement was the one I thought would have unleashed criticism, but curiously it’s the one missing in the article, there is no comment about it.

Another thing: it is true that people in Perugia happened to come to shake my hand and compliment me, but that happened much later, around 2013 and later, and those people basically complimented me about the Narducci case. It was somehow satisfying because it came after many years of difficulties and attacks. The Perugian people expressed their support to me because of the Narducci case, and secondarily they also expressed their support because of my independency in facing the international media campaign that was mounted against me after the Kercher case.

I don’t know if Vanityfair was the one which made up or spun my answers, falsely reporting them from the Netflix documentary, or if it was Netflix itself who made them up by editing the interview and disseminating content from a video prior to the premiere. I had a positive experience working with the documentary directors at the time. Not knowing what the journalist watched or made up, I will anyway reserve my decision as a consequence. I have to say, I am quite disconcerted about the way a certain American environment appears to think and keeps going on in a raving manner about this case.

One stunning aspect of this, is that the narrative they put forward, such as in the article we talk about, seems to be based on a focus on me, as if I were to become a kind of key character functional to their fictional story. I found this particularly strange since in reality the Kercher case investigation was actually based on the work of a number of judiciaries, all of them making decisions with a power that was equal, or greater than mine. So is how the Italian system works on these type of serious crimes.

The fact that even a second Public Minister was appointed almost from the beginning may suggest that we didn’t have personal investment: I asked Manuela Comodi ““ who has my equal rank, is not my deputy ““ to share the investigation and deal with the technical parts, such as the expert witnesses, since she is very good in this area. The other, multiple judiciaries involved beside us, all had greater powers, each of them could have stopped the investigation or changed its orientation and settings.

Therefore, a personalization of the case ““ as if I had some kind of special power ““ or a “polarization” of it ““ like a narrative that is woven between me and one of the suspects as main characters ““ that appears unrealistic to any person with a minimum of understanding of the system. Indeed if there are reporters who like to make up a story where a person with my name plays the role of a picturesque fictional character, motivated by “moral” or religious obsessions or else, all of this only shows an agenda pursued by those journalists that tells much more about them and about the type of campaign they are part of, than about the case. 

There is anyway one important element which, unfortunately, I know was left out from the documentary ““ partly because it was produced earlier than the publication of the Cassazione ruling ““ I know that something the documentary omits to mention, is the actual content of the latest ruling by the Fifth Panel of Cassazion. If we leave aside, for a moment, the several issues of consistency and law inherent in the ruling itself (those that may be spotted by those who read it with some knowledge of the topics), there is anyway the fact that the ruling confirms certain findings.

Some facts recognized as certain by the Cassazione, not reported in the documentary, are that it is anyway a “proven fact” that Amanda Knox was present at the scene of crime when crime was committed. The same ruling also points out how it is proven beyond doubt that Meredith Kercher was murdered by more than one person, and Rudy Guede certainly acted together with others. The fact that Amanda Knox was certainly there is emphasized by the Court to the point of noting their agreement with the lower Court on the fact that Ms. Knox heard Meredith’s harrowing scream, and even noted that she had the victim’s blood on her hands, that she washed them in order to clean them from Meredith’s blood.   

The High Court only raises a reasonable doubt about the active participation of Amanda Knox in the action of killing. The Court ““ in agreement with other definitive findings ““ also reminds that Ms. Knox voluntarily lied as she falsely accused an innocent, and notes that no way could this finding ever be overturned. All these things are missing in the documentary. I’d like all American friends to bear in mind these last bits of information as well, whenever they decide to seek information about the Kercher case.


Tuesday, August 09, 2016

So Where Would YOU Want To Go On Trial? In Italy Or In The U.S.?

Posted by Peter Quennell





One reason so many still follow Meredith’s case is because justice has not yet been SEEN to be done.

Maybe 9 out of 10 Italians think this.

Over the years the Italian justice system has become immensely tilted against prosecutors and victims at trial. Right now it is one of the toughest - or if you like, most lenient - anywhere in the world.

Read for example Nicki and Commissario Montalbano for two among our numerous posts on this. 

We have still not seen even ONE American lawyer claim that after the first trial in 2009 which found RS and AK guilty that there were strong grounds for an appeal.

In the US, back in 2009, full prison terms would have been begun.

And in fact virtually nothing at the 2009 trial was challenged in the appeal. But the defenses subversively organized to get Civil Judge Hellmann instead of Criminal Judge Chiari to preside, and in 2011 a farcical “not guilty” outcome was the result.

Then there was a THIRD jury trial, in 2013-14, which (as so often in Italy) threw out the not guilty outcome of the previous appeal trial.

And finally, in 2015, due to more subversive defense machinations with a little mafia help, the final Supreme Court appeal was assigned to the FIFTH Chambers, for the first murder appeal that Chambers has ever heard.

A second farcical “not guilty” outcome was the result.

Say what you like about the American system, there is not remotely any parallel in its judicial history to all of that.  Quite the opposite in fact. We have had various posts pointing to an increasingly hard line in the US.

This is one not necessarily sought or appreciated by prosecutors or judges, who usually like trials and want to see juries of peers call the final shots.

It is actually being imposed by Federal and State politicians, many of whom were prosecutors themselves. Bizarre jury outcomes as at the OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony trials contributed somewhat to this trend.

One result is a trend the exact opposite of Italy’s - the increasing elimination of juries and even of trials altogether. The New York Times explains.

The criminal trial ended more than two and a half years ago, but Judge Jesse M. Furman can still vividly recall the case. It stands out, not because of the defendant or the subject matter, but because of its rarity: In his four-plus years on the bench in Federal District Court in Manhattan, it was his only criminal jury trial…

The Southern District held only 50 criminal jury trials last year, the lowest since 2004, according to data provided by the court. The pace remains slow this year.

In 2005, records show, there were more than double the number of trials: 106. And decades ago, legal experts said, the numbers were much higher.

“It’s hugely disappointing,” said Judge Jed S. Rakoff, a 20-year veteran of the Manhattan federal bench. “A trial is the one place where the system really gets tested. Everything else is done behind closed doors.”

Legal experts attribute the decline primarily to the advent of the congressional sentencing guidelines and the increased use of mandatory minimum sentences, which transferred power to prosecutors, and discouraged defendants from going to trial, where, if convicted, they might face harsher sentences.

In 1997, according to federal courts data nationwide, 3,200 of 63,000 federal defendants were convicted in jury trials; in 2015, there were only 1,650 jury convictions, out of 81,000 defendants.

Former Judge John Gleeson, who in March stepped down from the federal bench in Brooklyn to enter private practice, noted in a 2013 court opinion that 81 percent of federal convictions in 1980 were the product of guilty pleas; in one recent year, the figure was 97 percent.

Judge Gleeson wrote that because most pleas are negotiated before a prosecutor prepares a case for trial, the “thin presentation” of evidence needed for indictment “is hardly ever subjected to closer scrutiny by prosecutors, defense counsel, judges or juries.”

“The entire system loses an edge,” he added, “and I have no doubt that the quality of justice in our courthouses has suffered as a result.”

The article lists a number of resulting ill effects. Will the Knox apologists be up in arms? Dont hold your breath.


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Italian Justice: Describing A Fine System And How To Improve It

Posted by Machiavelli (Yummi)

[Revered prosecutor Paolo Borsellino was assassinated 1992 with probable political connivance]

Trashing Of Justice System Gets Worse

Does this Reuters report capture Italian justice correctly?

We linked to it on 30 June and it seemed to have some key points missing. For example it omits, as English-language reports tend to:

    (1) that the system as originally designed strove above all to be fair,

    (2) that crime rates in Italy are low and murder rates lower and levels of incarceration and recidivism tiny by European standards.

    (3) that the police and justice system remain more popular and trusted than other institutions in Italy.

More On The Hard Facts

If we look at the facts, we could say that while it is true that Italian Justice System is somewhat dysfunctional as far as prosecuting white collar crimes and corruption - that is, politicians like Verdini - in fact if we read carefully, the precise reasons are:

    (1) It’s not the system itself but some of the laws, designed by politicians precisely in order to protect themselves, against the demands of the judiciaries;

    (2) The system is slow because, among other things, there are these unreasonable guarantees in favour of defence rights, which entail the right to series of appeals even on minor charges; besides making trials too long this also leads to a multiplication in the number of trials and of lawyers that embark on time-buying strategies and technicalities;

    (3) The main problems are the short statutes of limitations, which are designed in synergy with the aforementioned features. I would add another legal aspect:

    (4) The lack of an aggressive anti-corruption law; in Italy, judiciaries are basically prevented not only to effectively try corruption charges but also to even investigate them, because the law binds their hands; they are heavily restricted in their possibility to collect evidence, such as searching homes or wiretapping phone calls; they can do this only under certain limited conditions and only for just a few types of crimes.

    (5) Moreover, there are the political reasons: magistrates are under threat by the political system. The problem, here, is not the judiciary but the political system that has been trying to curb the independence of the judiciary for 25 years by various means, including laws and expedients, so that in fact there is an infiltration and an influence, as we know, and there is a chilling effect on magistrates that may have reasons to prosecute powerful people but naturally prefer to avoid problems.


A very important thing to point out: it is not true that all of the judicial system requires some big “reform” - in fact, it requires only modest reforms, and reforms not of the judiciary but to just to the criminal law, would suffice.

Such modifications should include reform of the statute of limitations, and better anti-corruption law that provide prosecutors with investigation tools.

As for the procedure code, a cut to the number of charges that can be appealed. And in the penal code, a cut to the number of irrelevant charges that need to be tried by criminal courts (which could be settled elsewhere) leading to the notorious overloading of the system.

One small, peripheral “reform” dealing with the political issue, could be simply a law that prevents judges from political activity in order to advance their career in the judiciary.

We saw the classical example of Fifth Chambers Judge Gennaro Marasca: a politician who came back working in the justice system after spending years exchanging political favours and getting involved in financial scandals as the minister of budget in his administration, and then was legally allowed to exploit his previous political career and make it count in his resume as if it was a judicial career, so he got onto the Supreme Court. 

But the big problem in Italy, as Judge Piercamillo Davigo has put it, is not the Judicial system. It’s society. The problem is that no system actually works if the members of the society do not intend to make it work, if there is a lack of political ethics.

And also, there is no system or group that, in the long run, is not affected by the problems of the society it belongs to. When there is a regime, part of the judiciary always follows suit, because they don’t have real alternatives, individuals must comply with the system they are part of.

If a society is politically corrupt, part of the judiciary will become politically corrupt as a consequence, they have no alternative and it’s unavoidable.  There is no law or reform itself that can change personal behaviours alone, we do not live under constant surveillance: an internalization of values is needed, the behaviour of citizens and people in power needs to be ethical, in order to have efficient justice.

As for the Five Star movement: I wouldn’t call it “pro-justice-reform”, as we can see, there is not really a political debate in Italy or in the Party about the need for any big reform, it’s attention to just some laws that are needed, among them that anti-corruption law.

The Five-Star movement has an anti-corruption stance and an anti-establishment stance. But rather than pro-reform, they are pro-justice, and generally pro-magistrates. This means they tend to side with the positions of judiciaries against the demands of the traditional political forces.

Judge Piercamillo Davigo is Director of Criminal Chambers II and the Penalties Joint Section at the Court of Cassation . Since April 2016 he has also been president of the National Magistrates Association (CSM).  He is an idol of the Five Star movement’s voters - albeit he does not have a political position.

On a practical level this could be seen as if the Five Star movement would like to see more criminals in jail and the prosecutors prosecuting more, while the Democrats and their allies and the other traditional parties would like the power of justice to be limited (they are the ones who designed the “inefficient” features of the system to their advantage, after all). 

Once again, the problems of inefficiency etc, in Italy does not come from the judicial system; they come from the political system. It’s the political system that has become inefficient, stuck and unstabile. There has been a lack of dynamic democracy for decades. Once the political establishment of Italy was related to mafia in many areas and there is still a murky system of power.

The “inefficiency” of the judicial system is only a mirror of this problem, that is the effect of the political establishment trying to take control of the system, or to block it or hinder it when control fails.

Both the political powers and organized crime have long also employed other methods when the previous failed, such as ad personam attacks against specific magistrates.

Former prosecutor Luigi De Magistris - the mayor of Naples - is an example of the political powers striking back against a magistrate who investigated them: they managed to ruin his career with the help of other complacent judges who waged war against him, and forced him out of the judiciary.

But they did not blow his popularity: the people supported him and he was elected mayor, antagonizing the national political powers.

It’s important to point out that what happened to Dr Mignini is exactly the same: he was prosecuted for alleged non-existent abuses because he disturbed powerful circles with “destabilizing” investigations into the Narducci case, then all charges were dropped, and the investigation proved illegitimate, but they managed to block the investigation on the Narducci case and hindered his career somewhat.

Other judges were less lucky: Paolo Borsellino for example was killed with the probable help of the Italian state. Many others died also.


Thursday, June 30, 2016

New Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi Might Ultimately Be The One To Push Justice Reforms Through

Posted by Peter Quennell





Prime Minister Renzi, previously a popular mayor of Florence, was elected on a promise to force justice and economic reforms through.

He is now being buffeted on two fronts: by Euro-skeptics and Euro-separatists, and by an invisible coalition of MPs and bad guys who really dont want those reforms to go through.

To fully understand why the justice reforms are bogged down this is a vital read though perhaps a bit harsh and in another post we will qualify it a bit.

In large part the problem is within Mr Renzi’s own Democratic Party in the Parliament which Mr Renzi is not deft at handling.

Mr Renzi’s party still leads in the polls, but the relatively new Five Star Movement is gaining fast. It stands for honesty in public life above all else.

Virginia Raggi of the populist, Euro-skeptic Five Star Movement was a relatively unknown lawyer just a few months ago.

In a landslide, she has just beaten Mr Renzi’s candidate for mayor of Rome. 

Mr Renzi, who has worked hard on Angela Merkel to get all possible EC breaks,  had previously announced a referendum of Italy in October to see if he can get the Italian electorate to force his reforms through.

He has said he would resign if the vote does not go his way.

If he fails and he does resign, an election could put Five Star in power, and Virginia Raggi could be a top leader in Parliament. (in Italy, wearing two hats is allowed; see Giulia Bongiorno as the classic case.)

In fact she could even end up as Prime Minister - which could result in female leadership in Germany (Merkel), England (May), the United States (Clinton) and Raggi in Italy.  Norway and Poland have female prime ministers too, and Scotland has one in effect.

Well over half a billion people of the western world. Women often manage in an effective inclusionary style, which is maybe what we could use more of right now.

Given the growing post-Brexit “monkeys-are-running-the-zoo” perception in other EC countries, more EC Exits soon dont seem in the cards.  Though they are very much for interactive democracy, Five Star is unlikely to stick Italy with a referendum on the EC any time soon.

But on those reforms Ms Raggi would not be encumbered with a partially-corrupt party she would have to fight. Her effecting of the reforms could have Italy riding high morally and economically in Europe and the world.

Dramatic stuff. A tragic pity Meredith misses all this.



Monday, June 20, 2016

How The Italian “Justice Tortoise” Is The Likely Winner Compared To For Example the US System

Posted by Peter Quennell



American prosecutor & jury - puzzle now over what system will make them share all evidence


Look around you.

The things you do to make a living. The running of your house and your garden. The education and general development of your children. The restaurants and metro railways and bus services. The police and military and football teams - and grand opera!

All are purposeful systems.

Purposeful systems have created all we have ever built on this planet - all wealth, all structures, all machines, all culture.  Typically any educated adult has within them at least 200 significant systems AKA their skill-set: cooking a meal, riding a bicycle, driving a car, using a computer, playing basketball.

You probably dont have a manual for each of them but each time you exercise a skill you probably follow the same hard-learned steps each time you want the benefit obtained previously.

One of the world’s great problems now - starkly seen in the British argument over its future in Europe, and in slow growth in the Arab world (the world’s slowest), and in China’s economy slowing and in anyone without a college degree likely to be worse off going forward - is that we are locked into whole huge arrays of these systems at various levels (family, corporate, city, country, region) that are archaic and mostly quite wrong for our needs going forward.

And few are sure which of all of them add any real value. We are flying blind on a mammoth scale.

With regard to the US as the main economic locomotive, in the 90s two very significant things happened. The East Asia economies really rocketed - because they adopted good systems pioneered by Japan, which itself had started out with many invented in America.

And for a while at least, many Americans really began to “see” systems, and corporations started a huge push toward quality control. You can see one outcome in today’s automobile ads - cars largely sell on their reliability. Their drive systems and safety systems are what sells cars now.

Latest thinking which we often touch on here is that tweaking of any systems anywhere has a short half-life, and after that the only way to get any better is to totally replace them.  Go down the road and start over. Jump to the next level through complete reinvention.

After WWII Germany and Japan and Italy of necessity all did that and for most of the time since they really benefited.

But right now, most systems in most countries are archaic and nobody - at least no political leader or candidate - seems to be able to arrive at the vision and technique vital to jumping to the next level. That in fact should really be done mostly bottom-up, with national politicians playing quite a minor role.

“Path dependencies” like the myriad systems of the common market, many very old now, are today at least as deadly to our long-term future as any aliens from other planets.

Italy is working to try to update its justice system right now and we will report on that shortly. At least in theory, it has one of the easiest tasks in the world, because post WWII its legal system was redesigned from the ground up. It had already junked bad aspects, some going back centuries.

Italy already has some of the world’s smartest juries - jury service is compulsory, so smart people cannot dodge them. And the system already has some other very positive things going for it.

Mainly what is needed is some weeding. And such reforms are made easier in Italy because (1) judges and prosecutors all follow career paths and so they are not politically competing with one another;  and (2) there is the Council of Magistrates (CSM) which can be very progressive in the reforms it pushes at its level.

Overarching reform in the United States is way way more difficult because power is so diffused in the political system and the political system is so vast, and so split by ideologies, and there is no CSM.

Here is an editorial in the New York Times about curbing the massive damage being done by over-zealous prosecutors - something already taken care of in the Italian system, despite the busload of idiots claiming otherwise.

And here is a blog post calling the New York Times editorial a convoluted crackpot of a column and saying the Times should get real. At least in that way, reform aint ever going to happen.

Hop on a plane, guys. Go to Italy, and learn something.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Justice Systems Comparisons #5: How Appeals Differ in Italy and Common Law Countries

Posted by Chimera




1 Series And Post Overview

Meredith’s case generated enormous amounts of legal confusion and false statements around the world.

This was particularly so in the United States, and some of the confusions were by American lawyers.  We have Curt Knox and the now-defunct Marriott-Gogerty PR firm in part to thank for that. But also part of the misunderstanding comes from the differences in the Italian criminal procedures v.s. the US procedures which derive from English Common Law.

Of course, Knox/Mellas/Marriott have had a vested interested in ensuring that these differences are not made clear. Although it has antecedents in Roman law and French law, Common Law emerged distinctively in England back in 1215 when King John was made to sign the Magna Carta codifying a number of popular rights and of course reducing the king’s powers.

Note: I write this based on my experience in Appellate Court in Ontario (I’m Canadian).  However, the process is similar throughout Canadian Provinces (with minor variations), and I imagine throughout UK and US.  If anyone in other countries has some insight or experience to share, please do so.

Previously in this series: Part #1: An Overview. Part #2: Public Mischief and Perjury. Part #3: Bail, Extradition & Other Crimes. And Part #4: Canada and the U.S.A. (Part 1).

2. The Appeals Process in Common Law Countries

TERMINOLOGY:
  • Appellant—The Party that initiates the Appeal, regardless of who was who at the trial
  • Respondent—The Party that receives the Appeal, again, regardless of who was who at the trial
  • Cross Appeal—The Respondent has the right to launch their own, think of it as a counter appeal
  • Leave to Appeal—Permission to appeal, in some cases it must be granted
  • Proof of Service—Means filing an Affidavit of Service (Form 16-B), with the Appellate Court
  • Back Cover—is a back page put in all submissions (Form 4C)

The decision is handed down by the Court.  For minor criminal matters it is a Bench Trial (trial by Judge alone); for major crimes the Defendant has a choice of a Judge alone or Jury Trial.  In criminal cases, even though the Jury may vote to convict, the Judge will impose the sentence—for every crime except 2nd degree murder, the jury votes on that.  Afterwards ....

Option 1: If leave is needed, it must be granted in order to file.  This is usually for (a) 2nd level appeals; (b) To get Court Orders put in hold; (c) To Appeal prior to a final decision [Rule 62.01]

Option 2: If leave is ‘‘NOT’’ required, then just file notice.

Within the time limit—usually 30 days from the Lower Court ruling—serve a Notice of Appeal (Form 61-A), and file with the Appeal Court.  [Rule 61.04]

If the Appellant intends to submit evidence, then the Appellant’s Certificate Respecting Evidence (Form 61-C) must be served on the other side then filed with the Court.  This is actually optional.  [Rule 61.05]

[15 days after Notice of Appeal] If the Respondent intends to cross appeal, as in launch their own challenge, then Notice of Cross Appeal (Form 61-E) must be served then filed with the Court.  [Rule 61.07]

[15 days after Notice of Appeal] If the Respondent has their own evidence to submit, then the Respondent’s Certificate Respecting Evidence (Form 61-D) must be served then filed with the Court.

[30 days after Notice of Appeal] If a transcript is required, a Certificate of Ordering (proof a transcript has been ordered) must be filed with the Appellate Court [Rule 61.05(5)]

Option 1: If no transcript is required—Appellant must file appeal books within 30 days of Notice of Appeal

Option 2: If a transcript ‘‘is’’ required—Appellant must file appeal books within 60 days of Transcript being completed

In either case, the Appellant must include a Certificate of Perfection

[60 days after Certificate of Perfection Filed] Respondent must submit all books (and cross appeal if one was filed) to the Appellant and the Court

BOOKS TO BE SUBMITTED

[Rule 61.09] and [Rule 61.12] (by Both Sides):

(Mandatory) Appeal Book and Compendium—a collection of various documents and decisions related to the case   [Rule 61.10(1)]

(Mandatory) Factum—this is your ‘‘legal arguments’‘, and usually restricted in length, unless permission given   [Rule 61.11(1)]

(Optional) Exhibit Book—If there was some evidence that the Appellate Court should consider, it gets included here   [Rule 61.10.1]

(Optional) Transcript—If there was reversible error at trial, or in another hearing, it gets sent.  It can be stand alone, or included in the exhibit book

(Optional) Book of Authorities—If there is an error of law, a collection of decisions, a case book, is sent

Note: Factum and Compendium are required by both Appellant and Respondent.  The others may be included, depending on the type of appeal being argued

Note: There is flexibility with the formatting of the Authorities book, and the timing.  It may be sent much later, and cases just downloaded from the internet.

Note: The Appellate Courts are even strict about the colours of the book covers.  They are

  • (Buff)—Appellant’s Appeal Book and Compendium, Appellant’s Exhibit Book
  • (White)—Appellant’s Factum, Appellant’s Book of Authorities
  • (Buff)—Respondent’s Compendium, Respondent’s Exhibit Book
  • (Green)—Respondent’s Factum, Book of Authorities
  • (Red)—Transcript of Evidence
  • (Blue)—Motions filed in the matter
BEFORE THE APPEAL IS HEARD:

While everyone is entitled to ‘‘file’’ an appeal, there is no guarantee the appeal will actually be ‘‘heard’‘.  If the appeal is truly without merit, it will be thrown out before it is fully heard.

One such option (at least in Ontario), is to invoke Rule 2.1.01(6) and ask that the Appeal be dismissed, or grounds it is frivolous, vexing, or an abuse of process.

https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/900194

AT THE ACTUAL APPEAL:

Depending on the Court, it may be a single Judge, a Panel of 3, a Panel of 5, or a Panel of 9 Judges.  These are actual Judges, with years of experience.  In the Provincial High Courts (Ontario Court of Appeals, BC Court of Appeals, Alberta Court of Appeals ....) it is usually 3 Judges who will hear the case.  The Supreme Courts (at least of Canada and the U.S.) are composed of 9 Judges.

The Appeal (and any Cross-Appeal) is restricted to the points raised in the Notice of Appeal/Cross Appeal.  Nothing else may be argued.

The Appellant goes first, explaining what was wrong with the trial, with references to various books.  The Judge (or panel of Judges) may interrupt at any time.

The Respondent goes second, countering the Appellant.  Again, the Judges may interrupt at any time.

The Appellant gets a rebuttal, not a rehash, but to refute anything the Respondent said, or to being in new points.

The Judge (or Panel) may immediately rule, but more likely will reserve its decision, and rule later.

The parties themselves do not address the Court (except for those self-representing), and no witnesses are called.

If (in criminal appeals), the Defendant does not show up, an arrest warrant would be issued, and the appeal likely dismissed out of hand.

With rare exceptions, an appeal hearing takes only a few hours.  Not weeks or months.

POSSIBLE OUTCOMES:

(1) The Appellate Court ‘‘corrects’’ the Lower Court ruling

(2) The Appellate Court ‘‘sends back down’’ the case to the Lower Court, with specific instructions

(3) The Appellate Court dismisses the Appeal

The Appellate Court has wide discretion in how long they make their ruling.  It could be a single sentence confirming the Trial Court, or up to dozens of pages explaining a decision for either side.

USEFUL LINKS:

https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/900194
http://ontariocourtforms.on.ca/en/rules-of-civil-procedure-forms/
https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/divisional/Guide_to_Appeals_in_Divisional_Court_EN.html
http://www.ontariocourts.ca/coa/en/info/howto.htm

3. Contrast This with Criminal Appellate Trials in Italy

The Jury (composed of 2 Judges and 6 Lay Judges) hands down a verdict, and a sentence to go with it.  By Contrast, in Common Law, a Defendant may be convicted but not sentenced for several months.

[90 days after sentence] The Trial Court hands down a ‘‘Motivation Report’’ explaining in great detail the decision.  In serious cases, this may be hundreds of pages.

[45 days after Motivation Report] The ‘‘Losing Side’’ files an appeal with an Appellate Court

Even if the appeal grounds are extremely weak, the Appeal can still go ahead.

The Appellate Trial is then scheduled.  Like the Trial Courts, it is a panel of 2 Judges and 6 lay Judges.  Although it functions as a trial, it is not meant to be a ‘‘re-start’‘, but rather a ‘‘continuation’’ of the earlier proceedings.

The Judges decide how much (if any) of the evidence submitted by the Prosecution and Defence will be heard.  If the Prosecution has thoroughly proven its case at trial, there may be no need to submit any new evidence.  In the case of AK/RS, Prosecutors Mignini/Comodi had overwhelmingly convinced Judge Massei (2009) of guilt.

http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/C443/

The Defendants may address the Court (Spontaneous Declarations), or they may agree to actual questioning (Cross Examination).  In this case, AK/RS gave several speeches at the Hellmann Appeal (2011), but neither agreed to actually be questioned.  At the Nencini Appeal (2013/2014) RS gave speeches but again refused to be questioned.  AK didn’t show up at all.

To be fair, the reason AK/RS may have refused questioning at the Hellmann or Nencini appeals may have been due to the trainwreck with Judge Massei

http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/italy_shrugs_why_the_defendants_testimony_seems_to_have_been_a_real_fl
http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/this_testimony_does_not_seem_to_have_gained_much_traction_here_in_ital

Neither AK nor RS were obligated to attend the Florence Appeal in 2013/2014, but they should have.  It is rude and contemptuous to skip out of the Court deciding your future.  AK hit the media circuit claiming to be afraid, while also arguing that she couldn’t afford to go back (despite a $3.8 million book deal).  RS showed up sometimes, but it interfered with his suntanning abroad.

http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/questions_for_knox_how_do_you_explain
http://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/multiple_ways_in_which_amanda_knoxs_email/
http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/The_Nencini_Email_Why_This_May_Be

Although new evidence may be submitted, there are still restrictions about bringing in expert testimony, as it should properly be done at the trial level.  Cassation (2013), was highly critical the Judge Hellmann let Conti and Vecchiotti appear.  This is to say nothing of their actual reports.

http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/the_hellmann_zanetti_appeal_courts_dna_consultancy_looks_even_worse

Both the Prosecution and Defence are then able to make a Summation of facts for the Appellate Court to consider.

What needs to be said is that the goal is not to ‘‘prove all over again’‘, but to determine if there were sufficient errors, and/or sufficient new evidence to overturn the trial verdict.

A verdict is handed down, either confirming or overturning the Trial Court ruling.  The Appellate Court of Hellmann/Zanetti (2011) overturned the Massei Trial Conviction (2009), while the Appellate Court of Nencini (2014) confirmed Massei’s original ruling, but with a small sentence increase.

The actual Appellate Trial may take place over several months.  With Judge Hellmann (2011) it was 20 sessions that took nearly a year, and with Judge Nencini (2014) it was 10 sessions, which took 4 months.

(90 days after verdict) The Appellate Court must submit their own Motivation Report, which will be scrutinized

4. Other TJMK Posts Of Relevance

http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/first_italian_criticisms_of_the_hellmann_verdict_statement_now_startin
http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/dissecting_the_hellmann_report_1
http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/dissecting_the_hellmann_report_2_how_judges_zanetti_and_hellman_tilted_
http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/reasonable_doubt_in_italian_law
http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/weighing_the_ten_points
http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/Perugias_excellent_umbria24_posts_details
http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/appeal_session_1_more_results_
http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/appeal_session_3_sollecito_in_court_with_family_lawyer
http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/appeal_session_9_sollecito_team_concludes_prosecutor_crini_rebutts_def
http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/what_we_might_read_into_sollecito_lawyer_giulia_bongiornos_final_arguments
http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/defense_dirty_tricks_did_we_just_see
http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/highlights_of_the_nencini_report_1_the_attention_directed1

5. Some Final Thoughts

The ‘‘Appellate Trial’’ as known in Italy, does not have an equivalent in the Common Law Countries.  To be fair though, the Italian Supreme Court hearings (Corti di Cassazione) do resemble Common Law appeals in that they are fairly short hearings restricted to arguing various points of law.

The goal of the ‘‘Appellate Trial’’ is to give the Defendants a huge amount of rights (including re-opening the case) not afforded in Common Law Countries.  Even after going through a full trial, it is an opportunity to re-examine much of the case.

The ‘‘jury’’ of Appellate Trials not the ‘‘Panel of Judges’’ that many would think out here.

http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/rogue_juror_genny_ballerini_a_sure_sign_oggi_sees_its_conviction

The option to testify (and especially to give Spontaneous Declarations) in an Appeal is unheard of in Common Law Appeals.

However, both in Italy and in the Common Law, it is illegal to make false accusations or to sabotage the Court process.  AK doesn’t seem to have learned.

Weak appeals in the Common Law would be thrown out at the preliminary stages, in Italy the burden seems to be much lower.

The Trial and Appellate Trial Courts in Italy seem to go much more into detail about why they make their rulings.

While it is normal to have a Common Law Appeal in just 1 day, the decision may be reserved for months.  Contrast this with an Italian Appellate Trial, which takes place over months, but the verdict is handed down at the end.

This article is not meant to knock Italy in any way.  There are valid reasons for how things are done.  But without living in both regions, or having lots of exposure to both, few would know about these differences.

*****

Author’s Note: Pardon my lopsided detail when it comes to describing the process in Canada, as opposed to Italy.  If someone would like to come up with a more detailed version for Italian Appeals, it would go nicely.


Monday, March 07, 2016

Knox’s Nasty-Prisons Hoax: NY Times Describes How Italy Leads The World In Rehabilitation

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



A classy restaurant in an Italian prison which inmates in training fully run

1. The Knox Picture Of Italian Prison Conditions

Three years ago Amanda Knox devoted 200 pages of her book to an extended horror story about her stay in prison.

Knox provided zero proof. Knox has never published her charges in Italian in Italy, so the rebuttals by those Knox maligned are not (yet) in.

But almost immediately English-language corrections and rebuttals started to flow.  See also all these rebuttals here.

Knox was contradicted by her own lawyers who had visited her often and heard no complaints. She was contradicted by the US Embassy in Rome which monitored her often and heard no complaints. She was contradicted by Rocco Girlanda, an Italian Member of Parliament, who checked her conditions over 20 times (and then wrote a loving book) and reported no complaints. Her own parents reported no complaints.

Even so, one year ago, Knox reissued her notoriously dishonest book. It had been added-to, but not even one of the malicious claims was withdrawn.

Our main poster Chimera highlighted the lies throughout the entire book (over 400) and Posts #3 to #9 here are devoted to Knox’s prison lies.

2. The Real Picture Of Italian Prison Conditions

The Italian prison system was historically always very humane - bathrooms and sometimes kitchens attached to cells; TV in all cells; walk-around rights during the day; numerous group activities such as concerts and games; hair-dressing for women and even massage; and skills training for inmates in an occupation of their choice (Guede and Sollecito both completed degrees).

Around five years ago, largely because of immigrant crimes, the prison population (previously below 100,000 - in the US, California prisons alone hold almost twice that) began to balloon.

New prisons were built, with no expenses spared, and in these images you can see the result.

Stories of extreme over-crowding have gone away, and the New York Times profiles the new prisons and their programs of today.

For years, Italy has struggled with its prison system, as well as how to balance punishment with rehabilitation. Overcrowding had become such a problem that in January 2013 the European Court of Human Rights ordered the country to fix the system. [Actually the ECHR cannot “order” anything, and anyway the building program was already well under way.]

Italian lawmakers responded with more alternative measures for minor crimes. In 2014, Italy also repealed harsh drug sentencing laws enacted during the 1990s, similar to the “three strikes” laws in the United States. In 2014, Italy began releasing 10,000 inmates (of roughly 60,000) who had been convicted of minor offenses.

But the issue of how best to rehabilitate offenders “” and lower the recidivism rate “” remained difficult. Italy has long allowed inmates in medium-security prisons to move around the facilities during the day.

“The main problem has been that they do little during the day, which doesn’t help them at the present, nor for their future outside prisons,” said Alessio Scandurra, who works for Antigone, a nonprofit group focused on the rights of detainees.

The Bollate prison was at the vanguard of experimentation even before opening the restaurant. Under the director, Massimo Parisi, the prison offers an array of programs. Companies have work programs on prison grounds. Volunteers teach theater and painting. Carpentry skills are taught in workshops equipped with power drills and saws. Inmates maintain a stable of horses in the prison yard.

There is also an initiative involving a carefully vetted group of 200 inmates who are allowed to leave each day for jobs with an outside firm. Inmates travel without supervision on public transportation; they must check in upon arrival at work, and at other points during the day.

Mr. Parisi said only one inmate had failed to return at the appointed time, and he showed up a few days later.

The Times reporter follows this with what has to be a global first - a topnotch restaurant run by inmates right inside one jail.





Saturday, March 05, 2016

Italian Justice & The Telling Status Of Extraditions To And From Italy

Posted by Peter Quennell




The Italian Justice System

Any faithful adherents of this campaign know that, in two respects, Italy’s popular justice system is very unusual. 

First, crime-rates and especially murder-rates are low by European standards and very low by American standards and its incarceration rate is only 1/6 that of the United States. At the same time it still does suffer under the presence of several mafias and their fellow travelers and nefarious cousins the rogue masons and corrupt politicians.

Second, Italy’s justice system was set up post WWII to be exceptionally fair to defendants and in subsequent reforms even more-so, for example all appeals are automatic and “fairness” process steps can stretch on for years. And yet even so, the mafias and their fellow travelers and rogue masons and corrupt politicians bend the system even more now and then to their advantage.

The Knox-Sollecito-Guede case played out in these contexts and was unquestionably corrupted.

There has still been zero attempt to repudiate these accusations of law-breaking by Judges Marasca and Bruno of the Fifth Chambers of Cassation. Sollecito’s several visits to the Caribbean hideyhole of these relatives to try to pull strings is known about on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Italian justice system does not give up easily. Multi-prong law-enforcement and media investigations do continue into those angles and other angles. To our occasional frustration they mostly play out behind the scenes. But clearly the case will not be not fully over for some years yet.

International Votes Of Approval

If countries agree to extradite to other countries, that suggests a high degree of trust in justice at both ends. They are in effect voting confidence in each other’s justice systems.

Italy achieves an exceptionally high rate of extraditions in both directions and continues to sign more bilateral treaties.

It is clearly trusted almost worldwide as a destination where those charged will receive a fair shake. And it is very no-nonsense about sending back fleeing felons who try to go to ground there.

Had Amanda Knox’s final appeal not been corrupted, it is extremely unlikely that any a-political judge in the United States would have concluded Italian police and prosecutors had done a poor job and refused to extradite her. Right now she would be serving out her much-deserved time in a nice Italian prison.

The CIA Operatives Case (Resumed)

Now back in the news is the Abu Omar kidnapping case. Remember that one? We posted on it frequently. See our posts here and here and here and here.

Milan CIA Chief Robert Lady and over 20 other CIA agents and several Italian agents kidnapped Abu Omar - a suspected radical who actually had zero involvement in terrorism - and most received prison sentences, some later anulled but not all of them.

For murky reasons Italy’s Ministry of Justice never formally requested the United States to extradite the operatives.

But they did initiate both European and worldwide arrest warrants (red notices) which are close to being the equivalent - they create a kind of living hell, label fugitives as felons worldwide, and make all their foreign travel parlous.

The fugitive Milan chief Robert Lady quietly set himself up in Panama which then had no extradition treaty with Italy. Panama was about to hand him over anyway, but he skipped out on an American aircraft. He was last heard from somewhere in the US lamenting that he is flat-broke (Italy seized his planned retirement home, his main asset) and not in good health and was muttering about suing the CIA or the State Department.

The President of the Italian Republic - the head of the justice system - did agree last year to reduce his sentence from nine to seven years.

Operative Sabrina de Souza

Sabrina de Souza (who has joint US and Portuguese citizenship) was another CIA operative the Italians have long wanted.

You can see her image above and in this report where she too was muttering about a lawsuit against the US government.

Five months ago, Sabrina de Souza was nabbed in Portugal and the Portuguese justice system observed due process in examining the arrest and extradition warrants.

It now seems likely that Sabrina de Souza will become the first CIA operative in the case to serve time in an Italian prison.

The US is not intervening, even though she may spill the beans in a way that could be embarrassing (well, embarrassing for the GW Bush legacy).

Our Own Learning Experience

Note that this case is five years older than Meredith’s case - the crime was in 2003 and trial in 2009 - and yet the legal processes keep ticking.

And Knox faces known further trials, and may not be safe from a red notice during her lifetime.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Italy Fights For Justice For A Murdered Student As The UK Government Never Did

Posted by Peter Quennell

Above: a minute’s silence in the Italian parliament for Giulio Regeni an Italian student found slain in Cairo a few days ago.

Hundreds of mourners have gathered in a village in northern Italy for the funeral of Giulio Regeni, a Cambridge PhD student found tortured and dead in a ditch on the outskirts of Cairo last week.

Flags were flying at half-mast in Fiumicello, where villagers offered spare rooms and couches for the 28-year-old’s friends and family, as the diplomatic fallout from his death continued in Rome.

The Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, warned Egypt that the health of the relationship between the two countries rested on the quality of the investigation into Regeni’s killing.

Compare with how the UK government reacted after Meredith died. Basically it looked the other way. Many in Italian justice were amazed at how totally disinterested the UK government was in the case in all the years since Meredith’s death.

The US government sprang into action to help Knox and to make sure she was treated right, though there was no proof the Italians would do anything but. They found her a Rome lawyer with good English (Carlos Dalla Vedova) and monitored all her court sessions and her four years in Capanne.

This came at a probable cost of over half a million dollars. And that is just the public support. Nobody ever said “the Federal budget cannot stand this”.

The extent of the British government in pushing justice for Meredith and her family? Exactly zero over the years.

Nothing was ever paid toward the legal costs or the very high travel costs of the Kercher family to be in court as the family finances ran into the ground. Nobody from the Foreign Office in London or the UK Embassy in Rome observed in court except in Florence, just the once.

Appalling pro-Knox Italy-bashing in the UK media based on highly inaccurate accounts was never tamped down - presumably because the Foreign Office was itself in the dark, and did not have a clue what was going on.

The ugly message this sent to the world?  If you are going to be a student in foreign trouble, be an American or Italian. Not a Brit.

However, years after four-year-old Madeleine McCann disappeared in Portugal, the UK government is spending heavily to right a possible wrong there.  Back in 2007 Meredith’s case and Madeleine’s case began just a few weeks apart.

Maybe to right a possible wrong in Italy, the UK government could do likewise here.



Thursday, January 07, 2016

A Stretch Inside Not Only Protects Society: For Perps It May Be Best Shot At Coming Right

Posted by Peter Quennell

Video 1: Very good analysis by psychologist Dr Drew Pinsky on Tuesday 5 January 2016


As we posted Ethan Couch killed four and maimed a fifth for life while drunk-driving in Texas two years ago.

He is now in a Mexico City lockup for illegal immigrants seeking to avoid extradition to the US where he has violated his highly controversial probation. Many or most think this was a travesty for the families of the victims. The judge retired early. Justice was not seen to be done.

Now he is reported to have run up a $1000 tab at a Mexican strip club which his mother paid. That $1000 apparently went in part toward drinks. He had skipped out of the US mid-December because he was videoed at a party with drinks.

Sources say Ethan Couch and his mother Tonya went to a strip club called Harem in Puerto Vallarta on the night of Dec. 23. According to club employees, the pair had drinks before Tonya Couch left the club. Ethan stayed at the club and employees told ABC News that he went off to a VIP room with two women who worked at Harem. Hotel and club employees said Couch was extremely drunk.

Few if any other criminal psychologists ever came out in support of Couch’s defense’s psychologist who convinced the judge two years ago that the affluence of the family was somehow a primary cause.

In the past few days there have been various psychology panels on cable TV discussing the case. Articles too.

From them Ethan Couch did not exactly get a lot of love. A term inside to remove him from his family and choke off his dependencies is what the psychologists incline towards, as Dr Drew in the top video highly recommends.

Video 2: Dr Drew two years ago (this video was previously at the top)


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

National Justice Systems Learning From One Another Tho Far From “International Standards”

Posted by Peter Quennell



Try searching for the “international standards” for DNA testing that Hellmann/Zanetti and Marasca/Bruno claimed Italian police labs dont follow.

In fact, not only are there no international standards or even Europe-wide standards, there are not even any central mechanisms for crime-fighting research and training and standard-setting.

Hellmann/Zanetti and Marasca/Bruno were irresponsibly myth-propagating - all suckered by a pair of dishonest DNA consultants on the defense payroll.

This absence of mechanisms contrasts sharply with all the other segments of national infrastructures, for which the UN agencies run conferences and team efforts for hundreds of nations to learn from. (In them the US and UK and Italy are big players.)

One reason we give the Italian justice system so much attention is that Italy has one of the lowest crime rates and incarceration rates among high-income countries.

There is very much to be learned bilaterally from it. Part of its core model is that it has a large and glamorous and much-liked police presence - Italian police are possibly the world’s most popular.

In contrast, stories of bad policing are pouring out daily in the US.

Most in the US news for bad policing is CHICAGO right in Bruce Fischer’s backyard, where he abysmally failed to comprehend that there was an epidemic of police shootings while he foolishly gunned for Italy. Numbers dead from police guns there are up in the hundreds, and there is to be a Federal investigation.

Meanwhile the effectiveness or even comprehension of Fischer’s pretentious “network” has been at zero (perhaps one reason why the Knoxes disinvited Fischer from Knox’s talk at a Chicago law school - also he had been panhandling them). Why do we doubt the Feds will consult him?

In the news right now in the US is an attempt by jurisdictions to learn from the highly effective Scottish police practices.

Scotland has an extremely low rate of police shootings, and the few police who do carry guns are trained to handle fraught situations to an extent most American police see only a fraction of. See the video.

Here is a Daily Telegraph story, and here is a New York Times story:

Forty minutes into a Scottish police commander’s lecture on the art of firearm-free policing, American law enforcement leaders took turns talking. One after another, their questions sounded like collective head-scratching.

“Do you have a large percentage of officers that get hurt with this policing model?” asked Theresa Shortell, an assistant chief of the New York Police Department and the commanding officer of its training academy, where several hundred officers graduate each year.

“How many officers in Scotland have been killed in the last year or two years?” Chief Shortell added.

Bernard Higgins, an assistant chief constable who is Scotland’s use-of-force expert, stood and answered. Yes, his officers routinely take punches, he said, but the last time one was killed on duty through criminal violence was 1994, in a stabbing.

There is poverty, crime and a “pathological hatred of officers wearing our uniform” in pockets of Scotland, he said, but constables live where they work and embrace their role as “guardians of the community,” not warriors from a policing subculture.

“The basic fundamental principle, even in the areas where there’s high levels of crime, high levels of social deprivation, is it’s community-based policing by unarmed officers,” Constable Higgins said. “We police from an absolute position of embracing democracy.”

That model is pretty close to the Italian one.


Monday, December 07, 2015

Counterterrorism: Another Way Italian Law Enforcement Is An Effective Model For Everywhere Else

Posted by Peter Quennell





We have often mentioned these major justice-system pluses:

(1) That Italy has one of the industrialized world’s lowest crime rates and that US cities have been observing its model.

(2) That it has a very prominent and much admired police presence, and a small and much admired court and penal system.

Now Thomas Williams is reporting this third big plus from Rome in Breitbart Business News

A leading military analyst is citing Italy as a model of counterterrorism done right, pointing out that despite many factors going against it, Islamic terrorists have failed to kill a single person on Italian soil.

In the most recent issue of Nikkei Asian Review, Romanian born political scientist and military analyst Edward N. Luttwak lays out a persuasive theory explaining how Italy has been so successful in thwarting Islamic terror attempts. In a word: Italy is not afraid to deport those it considers to be a threat to national security.

In his essay titled “Doing Counterterrorism Right,” Luttwak contrasts Italy with France and Belgium, noting that although Italy is much more vulnerable than they are, it has been far more effective at stopping would-be terrorists before they strike.

So where France has been “caught by surprise again and again by terrorist attacks with many lives lost” and in Belgium “terrorists have been coming and going for years, buying military weapons with remarkable ease,” Italy has remained unscathed.

It would seem that Italy doesn’t have much going for it. It has porous borders and a Muslim population that exceeds 2 million and has played an active role in military expeditions in Islamic territories. Moreover, the Vatican is the “most iconic target in Europe,” and tops the list of objectives of the Islamic State, Luttwak observes. And yet, “nobody has been killed by Muslim terrorists in Italy.”

Italian counterterrorism has been on full alert since 9/11, Luttwak says, and its combined forces “have detected and interrupted hundreds of terrorist plots large and small, at every stage from mere verbal scheming to fully ready actions.”

So where terrorists have successfully attacked in Madrid, London, Paris, Toulouse, Copenhagen, Brussels and elsewhere, in Italy they have been foiled time after time.

Luttwak suggests that Italy’s success is all a question of method, based on the insight that the only thing that can be done to stop potential terrorists is to follow those who are suspected to be truly dangerous around the clock so that they can be arrested or killed at a moment’s notice. Since the numbers of probable suspects can be astronomical, Luttwak says, their numbers must be effectively reduced if this strategy is to bear fruit. And this is exactly what Italy has done.

State intelligence agencies throughout Europe monitor suspects, filling out reports and keeping files, but they often fail to take the action needed. The Italians, however, immediately conduct an interrogation on credible suspects, and many are sent home or arrested, if their situation merits it. Italy currently has more than 180 radical imams in prison, Luttwak notes.

Employing this method, Italian authorities are able to keep numbers of suspected potential terrorists within a reasonable range and thus are able to monitor them effectively.

Earlier this month, Franco Roberti, the head of Italy’s anti-mafia and counterterrorism task force, said he intended to protect citizens from the danger of terrorism “by adopting all the preventive measures necessary,” and noted that “we must be prepared to give up some of our personal freedoms, in particular in the area of communication.”

The fact that the Italians lump together anti-mafia operations with counterterrorism is also telling. Unlike other European states, with the exception perhaps of the UK, Italy has a long history fighting serious organized crime within its borders, coming from the different branches of the Italian mafia working in various parts of the peninsula.

The Italian interior ministry has reportedly also increased its “targeted expulsions” of persons considered to be a risk to national security. So far this year, 55 individuals have been deported and the ministry has said the numbers will only grow.

According to Italy’s Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, intelligence and counterterrorism units are reevaluating information gathered in recent months on some 56,000 people, scouring case files to see whether anything could have been overlooked.

Given Italy’s impressive counterterrorism track record, it may be about time for other European nations to sit up and take note.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Justice System Comparisons #4: How Canada And The US Shape Up Against Italy

Posted by Chimera



A joint press conference of Italian and American crimefighters in Rome

Framing This Post

A major argument of conspiracy theorists like the one dissected in James Raper’s post below is that the Italian justice system is not very good, and often cruel.

In English only (of course) Sollecito and Gumbel tried that in Sollecito’s book and maliciously and self-servingly misled Americans a lot. Doug Preston has done the same. Here we nailed some of Sollecito’s and Gumbel’s malicious claims. 

We have propagated an accurate take on Italian justice in numerous posts here. Between them they show that Italian justice IS very good, apart from occasional meddling which almost always goes nowhere. By comparison the US (which co-operates closely with both Italy and Canada) has more headaches with law enforcement and justice system (or systems) than quite a few other countries now.

My own contribution has been to show how in many ways Canadian justice resembles Italian justice and it is hard to say which is better or worse. See my past posts on this here and here and here.

This post and the next post in my series focuses on the US and Canada and some basic differences in those laws relevant to our case here.

Plus the highlighting of some notorious killers in both Canada and the United States of a kind which in fact in Italy are quite rare.

Who Makes the Laws?

One important distinction to make here:  In Canada, criminal law is the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government.  That means Ottawa makes the criminal laws, and is responsible to setting the sentences for each offence.  In a similar vein, Ottawa also can remove laws that are outdated, and amend the sentencing ranges for offences.  In the United States, murder and sexual assault are considered ‘‘state crimes’‘, and the respective states determine the laws.  This is why some states have the death penalty, and others do not.

While the American model, being state made, does in theory make the laws more closely reflect the will of the people, it makes for a very uneven set of penalties for crimes.  The Canadian model, by comparison, is uniform across all provinces and territories.

When is it First Degree Murder?

It is first degree murder when a killing is planned out.  However, many circumstances arise which are so aggravated that the government will consider them 1st degree, regardless of being intentional.  Also, depending on who the victim is, just the murder alone may result in s 1st degree charge.  This is a commonality between both Canada and the U.S.

In Canada

According to the Criminal Code of Canada Section 231(5) Irrespective of whether a murder is planned and deliberate on the part of any person, murder is first degree murder in respect of a person when the death is caused by that person while committing or attempting to commit an offence under one of the following sections:

(a) section 76 (hijacking an aircraft);
(b) section 271 (sexual assault);
(c) section 272 (sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm);
(d) section 273 (aggravated sexual assault);
(e) section 279 (kidnapping and forcible confinement); or
(f) section 279.1 (hostage taking).[12]

In The US

The individual states have differences in their laws, but they are common in that planned or premeditated killings are particularly heinous and call for severe punishment.  Most states also have what is called ‘‘felony murder’‘, which is when someone is killed during the commission of a crime, such as rape, robbery, arson or kidnapping.

Generally speaking, killing of police officers, jail guards, and court officials is also first degree murder, regardless of whether those were planned.  I am not posting the statutes for 50 states, but you get the idea.

Take the Jodi Arias case for example.  Arias, in trying to fight off premeditation allegations, claimed that she did not bring the gun (a .25 automatic) to Travis Alexander’s house to kill him.  Prosecutors allege that Arias staged a burglary in her Grandparents’ home a week before to to provide cover.

Arias claimed that the gun was actually Travis’.  However, no gun was ever recovered from the home.  So, then if it was Travis’ gun, Arias must have stolen it from his house, making it a robbery.

Prosecutor Juan Martinez argued either Arias: (a) Brought the gun to Arizona, meaning it was premeditated, and hence 1st degree, or; (b) She robbed Mr. Alexander of his gun after killing him, which makes it felony murder, hence 1st degree. 

Note: in the 2013 trial verdict, all 12 jurors thought it was premeditated, while 7 of them thought it qualified as ‘‘felony murder’’ as well.

Federal v.s. State/Provincial Prison

Under Canadian law, whether a person goes to a Provincial or Federal prison is determined by the length of the sentence.  2 years is the cutoff mark.  2 years and above, the person goes to federal prison, whereas 2 years less a day and below results in going to a provincial jail.

For federal prisoners, in Canada, they are transported to Kingston, Ontario for ‘‘classification’‘. This can take months.  Then they are usually shipped off to other prisons around the country.  For provincial prisoners serving very short sentences (3 months or less), they may just stay in the local jails, while those serving longer terms are usually sent to other provincial jails.

Under American law, the difference between state and federal prison depends on the offence.  Sexual assault, assault, and murder are state charges, while the federal system is more drug trafficking and white collar crime.  This is likely why federal prison is seen as ‘‘easier time’‘.

Death Penalty Laws

Canada currently does not have the death penalty.

Several U.S. states still do, such as California, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Virginia.  This is determined at the state level.

However, do not think that all Americans are bloodthirsty, and all Canadians too forgiving or soft.  Depending on the research poll, about 35-45% of Canadians do support capital punishment in some circumstances.  This is a significant minority.  And many Americans find the death penalty distasteful, as there is the chance to kill innocent people.

Sex Offender Registry

Both Canada and the U.S. have sex offender registries.  Concerning what happened to Meredith: Knox, Sollecito and Guede would all have to register if they were ever set free.  They would be registered for life, regardless if the crime happened locally or internationally.  The reasons are the same for both countries—namely to monitor sexual predators.

One key difference: in Canada, the S.O.R is limited to police use, while in some U.S. states, the public in general can look it up.  Without getting into a debate, I imagine the difference is which concern is more pressing: (a) Letting the public have the right to know and act; (b) Concerns about becoming a pariah, and potential acts of vigilantism.

Deportation of Foreigners

If someone came to Canada or the U.S. and committed these acts, they would be deported after serving their sentence.

There have been attempts to fight deportation, claiming the home country engages in human rights abuses, but hopefully, these will become harder to pull off.

’‘Cashing in’’ on the Notoriety, or Son-of-Sam Laws

Canadian provinces have their own laws, as do U.S. states and the federal government, but in content they are almost identical.  Notorious criminals (usually killers, but not always), cannot cash in on their ‘‘fame’’ in the form of paid interview, articles, book deals or movie deals.

Any such deal would very likely be forfeited either by a government challenge, or by a lawsuit from the victims or their families.  The proceeds from ‘‘Waiting to be Heard’’ or from ‘‘Honor Bound’’ would be seized.

Classifications of Crimes

In Canada:

Minor crimes are tried ‘‘summarily’‘
Major crimes are tried ‘‘by indictment’‘
Crimes which the prosecutor has discretion are called ‘‘hybrid offences’‘

In the U.S.

Minor crimes are called ‘‘misdemeanors’‘
Major crimes are called ‘‘felonies’’

Judge Alone v.s. Jury Trial

In Canada, a defendant has the option of choosing between a judge only trial (called a bench trial), or a jury trial if facing any offence that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years or more.  If the maximum penalty is 5 years or less, then it will be the judge only.  This cuts down on the amount of times jury notice is sent out.

In the U.S. (I don’t know all the cases), but there is usually more options to have the case heard by a jury.

Jury Deliberations

In Canada, jurors are sworn not to talk about their deliberations with their families, or with the press.  This ‘‘legal omerta’’ survives even after a decision and a sentence has been handed down.  In fact, it never expires.  Jurors who deliberated over cases 50 years ago cannot talk about it.  This works the same as with Italy.

This differs from the U.S., where (unless a specific publication ban is in place), jurors are free to talk and give interviews after the fact.  In fact, many jurors do give interviews after high profile cases are resolved.  If Genny Ballerini (who talked about the Florence appeal in 2013/2014), had been an American juror, it would have been okay to do.

Threshold to Getting an Appeal Heard

In all 3 countries: Canada, the U.S., and Italy, all defendants who are convicted have the right to pursue an appeal.  However, an important difference is made.

Canadian and American appeals are screened before the full appeal is heard.  They are checked for merit, and to review if their is any real likelihood of success.  This applies to both defendants seeking to have convictions overturned, and those merely seeking sentence reductions.  If the appeal appears to be baseless, it will be rejected, and the full panel of judges will not hear it.  If the appeal filed before Judge Chairi (later moved to Judge Hellmann), had been in a Canadian or U.S. court, the grounds would be so weak it would have been thrown out on review.

Italy, by comparison, automatically grants not 1, but 2 appeals to all defendants.  All they have to do is file for one.  Yes, a much lower burden, but it means that the appeals courts (and Cassation), are clogged by appeals, slowing everything down.

Makeup of Appellate Courts

Appeal courts in both Canada and the U.S. are comprised of a panel of judges.  This will usually be between 3 and 9 judges.  In Italy, the typical first level appeal is decided by 2 judges and 6 jurors (or lay judges).

Canadian, American and Italian Supreme Courts are decided by judges alone.

Agenda of Appellate Courts

Canadian and American courts are similar in that they are ‘‘paper courts’‘, not ‘‘evidence courts’‘.  They work from transcripts, not evidence or witnesses.  However, in Italy, at the lower appellate level, witnesses are heard, defendants can talk, and evidence can be presented.  It is more like another trial than a Common Law ‘‘appeal’‘.  But to be fair, an appeal to the Italian Supreme Court (a.k.a. Corti di Cassazione), is a brief hearing on the procedures, logic, and findings of the lower court, and is quite similar to a Common Law appeal.

Canadian and American appeals courts are not there to ‘‘retry a case’‘.  Rather, the burden falls on the appellant (the party appealing), regardless of whether it is a prosecution or a defence appeal.

For a defendant appealing a conviction, the burden is on him/her to show that there was significant error that led to the conviction, such as:
-Evidence admitted at trial that should not have been
-New evidence emerges that shows innocence, or impeaches a prosecution witness
-Wrong legal procedures were applied at trial
-There was bias or prejudice from the court

For a defendant appealing a sentence, the burden is to show that:
-The sentence was unduly harsh
-It is inconsistent with similar crimes and circumstances

Size of the Nation’s Highest Court

The Supreme Court of Canada has 9 judges.

The Supreme Court of the United States has 9 judges.

The Supreme Court of Italy has about 300 judges.

Consecutive v.s. Concurrent Sentences

Until very recently, the law in Canada was that all convictions a person received for acts, (or a series of acts), ran together, or concurrently.  This changed to exclude multiple murderers, and the so called ‘‘bulk discount’’ they were getting.  In the past, even serial killers would be eligible for parole after 25 years.  No guarantees of parole of course, but the possibility angers victims rights groups.

The U.S. judges have much more lattitude in handing out consecutive sentences.

Mandatory Sentencing

Canada has mandatory sentences for many offences, including: 1st and 2nd degree murder, crimes committed using firearms, child sex offences, trafficking in drugs, and fraud (if the value is over $1 million).  The trend in the last several years has been to push for harsher penalties.

  -For murder, multiple murder sentences now run consecutively.
  -The minimum for crimes using guns was 4 years, it is now 5, 7 or 10 depending on number of previous offences
  -Child sex offences was 90 days (if by indictment), now it is 1 year
  -Discretion has been removed in sentencing drug dealers to prison for the most part
  -Major fraud has a 2 year minimum.  It never used to.

America also has mandatory jail sentences, including for minor drug offences,  Too numerous to list here, but there has been pressure to reduce these sentences to curb the swelling prison population.  Except for the Walter Whites (Breaking Bad) out there, dealing shouldn’t carry a longer minimum sentence than manslaughter.

Knox’s drug dealer, Federico Martini, should be especially grateful to have been in Italy.  Rather than the 28 months he got for dealing, had he been in the U.S., it would likely be closer to 28 years.

Plea Bargaining

In both Canada and the U.S., plea bargaining is available, (something not available in Italy).  Not only does a defendant usually have the option of pleading for lesser time, but but a lesser charge.  This can cause a quick settlement, especially if one is accused of an offence which carries a high minimum sentence.

While prosecutors and defence counsel can make a deal, the judge ultimately accepts or refuses it.

Plea bargaining in a single defendant case is one thing, but it is much more controversial to make a deal to testify against someone else.  The reasoning is that the person’s story can’t help but be shaped in an effort to please the prosecutors, and that it is in essence ‘‘buying testimony’‘.  Though state standards differ, corroboration is required, as a person cannot be convicted solely on the testimony of an accomplice.  There is also the risk of a conviction being thrown out if lies are discovered.

Guede offered to testify against Knox and Sollecito, but Mignini/Comodi refused to let him.  They didn’t need him, and even if they let him, there was the chance it would blow up in their faces.

Incarceration Rate

Canada: 118 per 100,000
United States: 707 per 100,000

****Incidentally, Italy’s rate is 100 per 100,000

Note: Those topics: (a) consecutive sentences; (b) mandatory minimums; (c) plea bargaining; and (d) incarceration rate; are closely related.

Recording of Police Interrogations

It is not required in Canada to record suspect interrogations, nor (although I don’t know each state) in the U.S.  There is no law in either Canada or the U.S. that witness interviews must be videotaped, often they end merely in statements being written up.

However, most police agencies have a policy of recording suspect questionings.  There are several reasons for doing it: (a) To protect against any claim of being ‘‘roughed up’’ by authorities; (b) To protect against potential claims of being misinterpreted; (c) To provide a full record of what happened; (d) To review later, as a video may be mined for further information.

Knox claimed she was ‘‘interrogated’’ by Perugian Police, and that she was targeted.  Odd, how Rita Ficarra had no idea she would even be coming to the police station.  (Sollecito had been called—alone—to clear up his alibi).  Knox started to work on a list of ‘‘potential suspects’‘.  When Sollecito backed off on being her alibi, Knox was asked to explain.  She then falsely accused Lumumba, and placed herself at the scene.  At this point her legal status changed from potential witness to suspect, and the questioning stopped.  Knox waived her warnings, and signed those statements anyway.

In the media it is misrepresented as being a ‘‘long, brutal interrogation’’ or a ‘‘series of interrogations’‘, and Knox complains of it lasting over 50 hours in her December 2013 email.  She also accuses Rita Ficarra of assault (part of her current calunnia trial), and Prosecutor Mignini of illegally questioning her without counsel. 

Again, how could the Perugia Police be setting an elaborate trap for Knox?  She showed up that night completely unexpectedly.  See the 18 part ‘‘Knox Interrogation Hoax’’ series.

Double Jeopardy Law

Under the Canadian Charter of Right and Freedoms, section 11(h) says that a person who has served a sentence for an offence shall not be tried again, or a person finally acquitted shall not be tried again.  The key is ‘‘finally’‘, as in the parties don’t intend to appeal further

The 5th amendment of the U.S. Constitution says that a person shall not be put in jeopardy twice for the same offence.

The only real difference is that acquittals at trial in Canada may be appealed under very limited circumstances, such as wrong instructions at trial.  It CANNOT be a redo, but there must be a very serious legal error to redress.  Canadian prosecutors have a very high burden to meet.  Under U.S. law, a trial acquittal is the end, barring killing a witness or bribing a judge.

This does not apply to appeal courts.  In both Canada and the U.S. appellate court rulings may be appealed further.  Had Hellmann been a U.S./Canadian appeal judge, it would not be double jeopardy to challenge his ruling.

Canadian Charter v. U.S. Constitution

Italy goes out of its way to give defendants, but here is a quick comparison with the Western Hemisphere.  Sadly, as victim’s rights groups point out, criminals seem to have more rights than their victims.

The Canadian Charter, sections 7 to 14, and the U.S. Constitution, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th and 14th amendments guarantee many of the same rights to criminal defendants

Canada: illegal searches would violate section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 
America: illegal searches would violate the 4th Amendment of the Constitution

Canada: one has the right to instruct counsel without delay, and be informed of the right under Section 10(b)
America: one has the right to a lawyer under the 6 Amendment.

Canada: cruel and unusual punishment is prohibited under Section 12
America: cruel and unusual punishment is prohibited under the 14th Amendment.

Canada: one can’t be forced to be a witness against themselves under Section 11(c)
America: one can’t be forced to be a witness against themselves under the 5th Amendment (taking the 5th)

Canada: retrying for the same offence violates Section 11(h)
America: retrying for the same offence violates the 5th Amendment.

Canada: demanding unreasonable bail violates Section 11(e)
America: demanding unreasonable bail violates the 8th Amendment.

Notes:
-The police obtained warrants before getting internet records, phone records, etc ...
-AK’s first 2 statements were inadmissible because she had no lawyer (even though she refused one).
-AK/RS complain about ‘‘hellish’’ conditions now, but not when the U.S. State Department checked in.
-AK only testified regarding the ‘‘calunnia’‘, but AK/RS used their ‘‘right to not respond’‘.
-AK/RS claim their ‘‘acquittals’’ should be the end, but 11(h)/5th doesn’t apply to appeals court that get further appealed
-AK/RS got multiple attempts to apply for bail

Notorious Killers In Canada

1. Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka

Scarborough, Ontario—This case still leaves a bad taste for Canadians.  The couple murdered 3 teens, Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy, as well as Karla’s younger sister, Tammy.  Bernardo was already a prolific rapist before meeting Homolka, but no one died until they got together.

Bernardo is serving life in prison and has been classified as a ‘‘dangerous offender’‘.  Homolka served only 12 years after testifying against him, in what was called the ‘‘deal with the devil.’’  Homolka claimed that she was forced to go along to help with Bernardo’s crimes, using the ‘‘battered woman’s syndrome’‘, although it has since been shown that she was a willing and enthusiastic participant.  Police speculate that there were other victims but no more additional charges were filed.

Though claiming her innocence, Knox has tried using the ‘‘I was browbeaten’’ line against Italian authorities.

2. David Bagshaw and Melissa Todorovic

Toronto,Ontario—A 15 year old girl convinces her 17 year old (almost 18) boyfriend to murder a rival, a 14 year old girl Todorovic had never met, Stefanie Rengel.  Todorovic threatened to withhold sex from Bagshaw unless he complied, and these threats went on for months.  When Bagshaw finally did kill Stefanie, he got his reward, sex.  While Todorovic never met Stefanie, Stefanie and Bagshaw had briefly dated.

Bagshaw, 4 days short of 18 at the time, lost his bid for a youth sentence, and received a life sentence.  In custody, he helped an inmate try to kill another.  Todorovic tried to claim she never meant for this to happen.  She received an adult sentence, life with a 7 year minimum in custody.  Both lost their appeals.

Todorovic was reportedly jealous Bagshaw had once dated Stefanie.  Knox was reportedly jealous Meredith started dating Giacomo.

3. Jeremy Steinke and ‘‘Jane Doe’‘

Medicine Hat, Alberta—Steinke was the 23 year old boyfriend of ‘‘Jane Doe’‘, the 12 year old who arranged to have her brother and parents murdered.  The girl cannot be named, as an adult sentence could not be imposed (she was under 14 at the time).  Given that 23 and 12 is considered pedophilia in Canada, there were concerns that the parents would have called the police.

The parents wanting to end the relationship was the apparent motive for the murders, although it is not clear why the brother, then 8, was killed as well.  The woman is currently serving the rest of her 10 year sentence in the community, while Steinke is serving 3 concurrent terms of 25 years to life.

The parents obviously disapproved of the huge age gap.  But to be fair—Raffaele Sollecito was a ‘‘kid’’ when he was 23.

4. Russell Williams

Tweed, Ontario—Williams was a colonel in the Canadian Air-Force and Commander of the Trenton Air Base.  He has since been given a service misconduct and kicked out.  In his early 40’s, he began breaking into neighbours’ homes and stealing underwear.  He later committed 2 sexual assault, but let those victims go, but committed 2 more but killed those victims: Marie-Frances Comeau (a military officer under his command); and Jessica Lloyd.

Williams plead guilty to 2 murders, 4 sexual assaults, and 88 break-ins, but will still be eligible for parole after 25 years.

A few gruesome facts: Williams suffocated Ms. Comeau by wrapping her head with duct tape, and made a video of it. 

Also, he told Jessica’s boyfriend (at the time worked under William’s command), that he didn’t have to talk to police without a lawyer.  He also dumped Jessica’s body where he knew her boyfriend hunted.  It seems likely that Williams was trying to frame him.  Perhaps Williams wanted Jessica’s boyfriend to be the one to find her, a bit like Knox wanted Filomena or Laura to find Meredith.

5. Cody Legebokoff

Prince George, British Columbia—Termed ‘‘Canada’s Youngest Serial Killer’‘, he killed 3 women: Jill Stuchenko, Natasha Montgomery, Cynthia Maas, and a 15 year old girl Loren Leslie, all by age 20.

When originally stopped, Legebokoff claimed the blood was from a deer he was poaching and had clubbed to death.  At trial, he tried to claim that a drug dealer X, and his two associates: Y, and Z did it, and that he was an unwilling participant.  That excuse failed, and he was convicted on 4 counts of first degree murder.

An appeal is pending based on the claim that the trial should have been moved elsewhere due to the publicity.  He complains it is impossible to be judged fairly.  But to be fair, he hasn’t sought out the limelight, given TV interviews, or signed any book deals.

Author’s note: I was in Prince George while the trial went on.  Yes, the town knew about it, but people still went about their lives.

Notorious Killers In The US

1. Gerald and Charlene Gallego

This couple committed a series of murders in California and Nevada.  They kidnapped women to become sex slaves.  Their victims included: Rhonda Schleffer, Kippi Vaught, Brenda Judd, Sandra Colley, Stacey Redican, Karen Twiggs, and at least 4 others.  When caught, Charlene turned against Gerald, claiming he was abuse, controlling, and had initiated everything.

In return for testifying against Gerald, Charlene was not charged in California, and only received 16 years, 8 months in Nevada.  She has since been released.  Gerald received death sentences in both states, but died before either could be carried out.  While Charlene received much more lenient treatment, there has been speculation that the sex slavery was her idea.

Since plea bargaining is illegal in Italy, neither Knox nor Sollecito could turn on each other for a deal.  They probably would have, if it was possible.

2. Douglas Thomas and Jessica Wiseman

Virginia—14 year old Jessica Wiseman arranged to have her 17 year old boyfriend Douglas Thomas murder Wiseman’s parents.  They were shot dead in their sleep.  Thomas apparently was so desparite for love that he was willing to go along with a girl who wanted away from her controlling parents.  While pledging to be with him at first, Wiseman abandoned him once he ‘‘served his purpose’‘.

Wiseman was tried as a juvenile, and released after 7 years, since she could not be held past her 21st birthday.  Thomas was executed 2 years later, after spending 9 years on death row.  This happened even as information emerged that Jessica shot her Mom, though it was never verified.  Though she was younger, it was widely viewed as unjust.

Knox, though not living with her parents, had problems in her home with the women upstairs.  Other options were available, such as moving in with Sollecito, or ‘‘re-negotiating’’ with Federico Martini, but Knox tried to solve her problem by getting rid of it.

3. Alvin and Judith Neelley

Georgia—this couple abducted a 13 year old girl, repeatedly sexually assaulted her, and injected her with Drano, hoping to poison her.  When that didn’t work, Judith shot her in the head.  Afterwards, they abducted a couple, Janice Chatman and John Hancock, brought them to a hotel to be tortured and murdered.  John was shot and left for dead, but survived, and was able to identify the Neelleys afterwards.

Judith was sentenced to death, but it was commuted to life without parole.  Alvin is serving a similar sentence.

A sick game they played, as if they were living out a fantasy.  Who else fantasizes violence?

4. Jodi Arias

Arizona—A California resident had a long distance relationship with an Arizona resident, until he rejected her.  Arias staged a break in at her grandparents’ place to get a gun,  went out of town to rent a car, got 3 5-gallon gas cans (so she wouldn’t have to stop), and turned off her cell phone (so it couldn’t be traced).  She went to Travis Alexander’s home, had ‘‘good-bye sex’’ with him, then stabbed him 29 times, slit his throat, and shot him in the head.  She then cleaned up, and went to her new boyfriend, in Utah, as if nothing happened.

Initially Arias said she wasn’t there.  Then she said 2 masked burglars did it, but she was afraid to identify them.  Next she said she didn’t know who they were.  At trial she claimed self defence, while invoking ‘‘battered woman’s syndrome.’’  The judge and jury didn’t believe her, and while she was spared the death penalty, Arias received life without parole.

Arias didn’t take rejection by Travis well at all, and neither did Knox take being stood up on Hallowe’en by Meredith.

5. Casey Anthony

Florida—Her daughter Caylee goes missing, so Casey goes partying (a bit like Guede did after Meredith’s death).  Prosecutors claim Anthony just wanted out of the responsibilities that came with being a parent.  Casey countered that Caylee accidently drowned.  Unfortunately, coroners were never able to positively determine the cause of death.

Although eventually acquitted of Caylee’s death, Casey was convicted on 4 counts of providing false information to law enforcement.  Among other things, Anthony made up a story about ‘‘Zanny the Nanny’’ possibly being involved to divert attention.  On appeal, 2 of those counts were overturned.  She is free, but keeping out of the public eye.  Anthony still has a record for lying, as does Knox.

6 Thomasdinh Bowman

Washington State—He shot another driver, Yancy Noll, in the head several times.  Bowman tried to clean up the crimescene—his car, and had his cellphone turned off.  When arrested, he denied involvement, but later changed his story to ‘‘self-defence’‘, claiming Noll attacked him in a fit of road rage.  Prosecutors claimed that this was planned, and that he had studied on how to get away with murder.

At trial, he was observed smirking and seeming to enjoy himself.  Knox likewise enjoyed the attention of her 2009 trial.  This attitude would come back to haunt him.  He was convicted of murder, and sentenced to nearly 30 years in prison.  He never expressed remorse to the family, just that he was ‘‘sorry they [the jury] didn’t believe me.’‘

Some Further Observations

Canadian and American laws are very similar in dealing with serious crime, with the focus being on punishment and deterrence.  Both countries have a bill of rights to ensure basic defendant’s rights are met, quite similar to what Italy has, but something many nations don’t offer.  Some main differences: (1) Canadian criminal law is made federally, while the U.S. states make their own laws for murder; (2) Canada has a much lower incarceration rate; (3) Canada’s sentencing laws are getting tougher, while U.S. laws are going the other way; (4) some states have the death penalty while Canada does not.

Both countries have their fair share of wackos, (pardon the non-technical term).  This is not an American problem, or a cultural problem, but a problem of having people who should not be walking freely among us.  While both countries do have ‘‘rehabilitation’’ as part of their sentencing guidelines, murder is a crime that must be punished, both to condemn the act, and to protect the public.

When faced with the prospect of a long mandatory sentence, or multiple, consecutive sentences, there is the reaction to plead out for lesser offences.  However, pleading guilty can have major implications, especially if giving someone else up for a lighter sentence.

Falsely accusing innocent people, or at least fictional people, seems fairly common by killers.  They do not ‘‘falsely confess’’ that other people did the crime, rather they ‘‘falsely accuse’‘.

Male-female killer couples occur in both countries, but almost universally, the female killer gets a much lighter sentence.  This is likely in part due to society willing to believe that the man is primarily responsible.  Also, these women have no qualms about blaming it all on the man.  The case of Knox getting a higher sentence than Sollecito or Guede seems to be an anomaly.

*******

Acknowledgements: A thank you to Yummi, Peter Q., and Cardiol.  Your feedback has altered the direction of this series.


Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Relevance Of The Ship Which Has Sunk In The Yangtze To National Justice System Upgrades?

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


1 International role in sea safety

Regarding the ship which just sank in the Yangtze River with a probable 400-plus deaths, and its relevance to justice systems everywhere?

Well, small inland ships (which are those most prone to a high death-rate) and their rules and regulations are outside the scope of the international body which sets rules and upgrades systems for seagoing vessels.

That is the United Nations agency in London called the International Maritime Organization or IMO. Small inland ships are unregulated unless the relevant government has unilaterally acted.

The IMO sets safety rules including design elements and it advances better rules and systems through conferences and training. It runs a big school in Sweden.

The IMO is NOT part of a world government, or a top down organization; like all of the UN development agencies it is a horizontal network, in its case of all the national maritime agencies in the world.

Their administrators and experts are incessantly heading to London to advance maritime matters in working groups. (The US is a big and enthusiastic player in all of the UN agencies via the relevant Federal departments - agriculture, health, transport, and so on.)

So in China, watch out for a bunch of systems changes with regard to those small vessels.  But watch out also for a bunch of systems changes via the IMO at the global level, to try to head off more such catastrophes and to get the best possible rescue efforts going much faster.

2 The relevancy here?

In justice systems also, many lives are in the balance.

But as mentioned in previous posts, the UN doesnt have a freestanding agency for justice systems upgrades, or for a static thumbnail view of each one.

Currently it has a public administration development division within the “United Nations proper” in New York and a global network of training and reserach bodies.

Not nothing, but also not everything, if the world is not to be overwhelmed by lawlessness..

There is no way that that unit is appropriate to resolving the huge and complex problems in the videos in the post below.

A lesson learned maybe above all others in the UN is that major system change should never be attempted in national or local isolation. It is simply too costly, too remote from global expertise and opinion, and way too inefficient, and participants soon tire themselves out or loose interest.

Ideally a few or many countries all set about systems upgrades in parallel processes and they watch and share with one another.

The justice-systems problems in the videos below have many things in common. They seem very ripe for a global effort on the lines of maritime systems. Maybe Italy and the US could each contribute greatly to getting that alive.

Its not beyond us to explain this and to try to push for it.  This would kinda trump calling top justice officials of this or that national system corrupt or bungling or criminal.

That is the Amanda Knox thugs’ supposed contribution to a better world - apparently their only one.


Below: the International Maritime Organization headquarters in London






Friday, May 29, 2015

Justice System Reform Is Suddenly Everywhere On The Front Burner

Posted by Peter Quennell


1. The Justice System In The US

 


2. The Justice System In Mexico

 


3. The Justice System In China

 


4. The Justice System In Turkey

 


5. The Justice System In Britain

 


Saturday, May 09, 2015

Why Italy Doesnt Look For Guidance On Justice System From Foreign Smartasses

Posted by Peter Quennell





Italy is following closely the sad disarray currently obvious in the American system

Read our numerous posts setting right for example the false claims of Michael Heavey and Steve Moore.  And then read this post and this post and this post and these new stories on US justice. And then answer the question below.

Michael Schwanke: Koch behind push to overhaul criminal justice system

Each year it’s estimated the United States spends almost a $100 billion on prisons. According to Mark Holden, Senior VP at Koch Industries, that’s three to four times what the country spends on education.

Holden and Charles Koch authored a letter titled “The Overcriminalization of America” and now are behind a nationwide push to overhaul the criminal justice system.

The letter points to the many federal laws created over the years. “Congress creates, on average, more than 50 new criminal laws each year. Over time, this has translated into more than 4,500 federal criminal laws spread across 27,000 pages of the United States federal code.”

“We all agree that our system isn’t working. Whether you’re a conservative, evangelical, social liberal, progressive, or libertarian there’s something for you. I don’t think there will be a lot of negative reaction to it,” says Holden speaking to Eyewitness News after addressing the downtown Rotary.

Holden says the U.S. accounts for about five percent of the world’s population, but holds 20 percent of the prison population. Most are non-violent offenders. Holden says one in three people in the U.S. has a criminal record which leads to poverty and joblessness.

Cara Tabachnick: Poll: Young Americans have “little confidence” in justice system

Nearly half of American young adults lack confidence in the nation’s justice system or don’t trust their local police to do the right thing, though that perception is deeply divided by race, according to a national poll of 18- to 29-year-olds released by Harvard’s Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

African-American youth had the deepest distrust of the nation’s criminal justice institutions, with 79 percent of those polled expressing little to no trust in their local police department to do the “right” thing.

Hispanic youth weren’t far behind, with 62 percent of those polled expressing little or no trust in their local police force. In stark contrast, just 31 percent of the white youth polled expressed little or no trust.

More than 3,000 people were polled by the Harvard Institute of Politics between March 18-April 1, on questions of criminal justice and other issues, including politics, climate change and terrorism.

Over all, there was an even split on the U.S. judicial system’s ability to “fairly judge people without bias for race and ethnicity.” About 49 percent of those polled said they have little to no confidence that the justice system can operate without bias.

Jason Fyk: Baltimore’s Criminal Justice System Is Corrupt, I Know Because I Was Imprisoned there

n 2011, I was arrested by Baltimore City Police on charges of conspiracy to commit first degree attempted murder.

You might be asking yourself, “Why? What did he do?” I took a cell phone video of a small drunken scuffle in a downtown Baltimore parking garage. I was not a participant in the fight, nor was I an instigator. Despite what the facts of the situation presented, a personal family relationship with one of the so-called “victims” took precedence over the law. What started as a typical two-sided misdemeanor became a one-sided fight for freedom. I spent 50 days in the Baltimore City Detention Center facing two life sentences, and a host of other charges mounting to well over 200 years in prison, all for simply taking a video.

I’ve seen the corruption firsthand. I’ve seen how a law enforcement agent’s personal agenda can destroy a life. I’ve seen how charges are ramped up in order to make a lesser charge stick. I’ve seen detainees entering jail with worse injuries than the participants in the fight I captured on video, all at the hands of police. I’ve also seen the corruption that resides in BCDC on my 50-day tour of the jail.

The conditions at this facility were sub-human, in some cases. Ignoring the mice, cockroaches and decaying conditions, basic necessities of life were severely lacking. The food was nearly inedible and, in some cases, hazardous. For example, the drink flavoring had a poisonous emblem on it, eggs were often brown and rotten when served, and during my stay we even lost water for four days, which meant toilets and sinks did not work. All we had was a cooler jug that was brought in to drink from. Showers were so hot (not adjustable) you could not stand in the water. I saw a detainee drop on the floor, having a seizure from withdrawal, because drugs are not administered for close to a week after arrival. My experience in jail was that of an educated observant, and what I saw was appalling. The list goes on and on.

So Italy or the USA - which country would you pick to do a crime in? Do Heavey or Moore tell you this? How many times have Heavey and Moore found justice lacking in the US? Apparently no times at all. One-note bashing of Italian justice is all that they do.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Justice System Comparisons #3: Bail, Extradition, and More Crimes Under Common Law

Posted by Chimera



First trial with camers in the court was back in 2000

1. Overview Of My Multi-Part Series

Italian justice has become very slanted toward the defendant, often at the considerable cost of the victim.

Canadian justice does not do that as much. It tries harder than most systems, including the Italian, to be equally fair to both, to balance their interests to the maximum that is possible. So it makes for a good comparison.  Although, to be fair, it is still frequently criticised as ‘‘soft on crime’‘. 

Part #1 can be read here and Part #2 can be read here. In a nutshell, what they said:

-First degree murder falls under a number of categories.  In many cases, the police and prosecutors do not even have to prove intent.  Section 231 defines first and second degree murder, and under cc 231(5)(b) (sexual assault), cc 231(5)(c) (sexual assault with a weapon), 231(5)(d) (aggravated sexual assault), and cc 231(5)(e) (kidnapping and forcible confinement), the trio would face 1st degree for either one of those circumstances.  The penalty is an automatic life sentence, with no chance of parole for 25 years.  No spontaneous declarations for defendants, lying on the witness stand is not allowed, no automatic appeals.

-There are a number of laws, including those enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to ensure fair criminal proceedings.

-Public Mischief (cc 140), is usually an indictable (felony) offence, and it is when someone falsely accuses another of committing a crime, does does something to divert attention from their own crime, or falsely reports someone has died.  Punishment can be up to 5 years.  In Italy, it is called ‘‘calunnia’‘.  It is something Knox has been convicted of, and others, including Sollecito, remain accused of.

-Perjury (cc 131), is lying under oath, or in judicial proceedings, or falsely making sworn statements.  It is an indictable (felony) offence.  Punishment can be up 14 years in prison.  Unlike in Italy, defendants CANNOT do it at their own trials.  Knox, Edda Mellas, Sollecito, and Guede, could all have been charged.

2. Some Background On The Case

Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, and (at the time Lumumba), were arrest November 6th, 2007, for the sexual assault and murder of Meredith Kercher.  They went before Judge Claudia Matteini, who saw enough probable cause to detain the 3 of them.  Lumumba was cleared and released a few weeks later, and Rudy Guede implicated instead.  See this post.  Judge Matteini, even without complete information was able to see enough cause for concern to keep them detained.

Knox and Sollecito tried to have the Italian Supreme Court (Cassation), overturn those decisions, but Italy’s High Court found that the decisions to keep AK and RS in prison, and away from house arrest.  Psychologically tested earlier, the results were disturbing enough to keep the paired detained until trial.  See here.  Also see here.

In 2008, Judge Paolo Micheli presided over Rudy Guede’s ‘‘short form’’ trial.  Guede was found guilty, and given 30 years, the maximum allowed under the ‘‘short-form trial’’ rules Judge Micheli also ruled there was enough evidence to send Knox and Sollecito to trial, as Guede’s accomplices.  Guede was denied house arrest prior to trial, and has been in custody ever since his arrest in late November 2007, and was denied day release recently.

The 2009 trial of Knox and Sollecito took almost the entire year of 2009, and was presided over by Judge Giancarlo Massei.  In December, the Massei Court found AK and RS guilty.  The pair received 24 years for murder with sexual violence, an additional year for staging a crime scene and transporting a knife, and Knox one more year for her false accusation of Patrick. The sentence was originally 30 years for murder, transport and staging, but 5 years were cut off for ‘‘mitigating factors’‘.  While AK and RS lawyers planned to appeal, the Court found no reason to let them out prior to the appeal.

The unintended consequence of the 24 years for the murder (with sexual violence), is that Guede, who took the short form trial, ended up receiving 1/3 less than AK and RS, effectively cutting his sentence in half, from 30 years to 16.

The appeal of AK and RS in 2011, before Judge Claudio Hellmann stunned Italy.  Hellmann acquitted the pair on appeal, despite the following:

-He said in his ruling, the truth may very well be otherwise
-His report only added confusion, it did not help clarify anything
-Knox still had outstanding charges for falsely accusing police officers of assault
-The appeal effectively was a new trial, but only with the defence presenting
-He said Knox’s false accusation was due to duress, not malicious intent—and then INCREASED her calunnia sentence
-The defence had cherry-picked a few pieces of evidence, but left huge amounts unchallenged
-Rudy Guede was apparently a total liar, EXCEPT for the time of death

Knox and Sollecito were released, and AK immediately returned to the U.S.  Sollecito stayed in Italy.  However, the Supreme Court annulled Hellmann’s ruling in March 2013. See here.

A new appeal was to be held in Florence, the fall of 2013. 

Knox refused to attend. 

AK did, however, send an email to Appeal Court Judge Nencini, which repeats many of the false accusations. See here.

She claimed, among other things, financial hardship, despite receiveing a $3.8 million book deal with HarperCollins. See here.

Although refusing to return to Italy, AK has repeated tried to contact the Kercher family, and creepily demanded to visit Meredith’s grave.  RS has also admitted to trying to contact the Kerchers, and claimed he has visited the grave. 

And Knox lets this bombshell out See here.

Sollecito also received a book deal, from Simon and Schuster, and it also stunk of blood money, just like Knox’s. See here.

Sollecito attended sporadically, visiting the Dominican Republic in between court dates, and apparently shopping for an American bride to help him get around extradition. See here.

January 30th, 2014, the date Nencini confirmed the Massei conviction, RS was caught near the Austrian border.  He denies he was trying to flee, but still had his passport confiscated, and was barred from leaving Italy.  Judge Nencini was also not the least bit amused by the goings on of the FOA See here.

And of course, the defence, in the spirit of fairness and sportsmanship, pulls this stunt:  See here.

AK, on the other hand, hit the talk shows, fake-crying about how scared she is, and how she’ll remain a fugitive if necessary.


3. Canadian Law on Bail

Section 11 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms deals with criminal matters and procedures

11. Any person charged with an offence has the right

  (a) to be informed without unreasonable delay of the specific offence;

  (b) to be tried within a reasonable time;

  (c) not to be compelled to be a witness in proceedings against that person in respect of the offence;

  (d) to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal;

  (e) not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause;

  (f) except in the case of an offence under military law tried before a military tribunal, to the benefit of trial by jury where the maximum punishment for the offence is imprisonment for five years or a more severe punishment;

  (g) not to be found guilty on account of any act or omission unless, at the time of the act or omission, it constituted an offence under Canadian or international law or was criminal according to the general principles of law recognized by the community of nations;

  (h) if finally acquitted of the offence, not to be tried for it again and, if finally found guilty and punished for the offence, not to be tried or punished for it again; and

  (i) if found guilty of the offence and if the punishment for the offence has been varied between the time of commission and the time of sentencing, to the benefit of the lesser punishment.

Marginal note:Treatment or punishment

12. Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

Marginal note:Self-crimination

13. A witness who testifies in any proceedings has the right not to have any incriminating evidence so given used to incriminate that witness in any other proceedings, except in a prosecution for perjury or for the giving of contradictory evidence.

Marginal note:Interpreter

14. A party or witness in any proceedings who does not understand or speak the language in which the proceedings are conducted or who is deaf has the right to the assistance of an interpreter.

Section 11(e) refers to the topic of bail, and states that reasonable bail should not be denied without just cause

Actually getting to trial can take a long time. Depending on the nature of the offence(s) charged, it may or may not be in the public interest.  Canada actually has pretty strict requirements about how soon an accused must be brought for a bail review.

In fact, the police don’t have to take the person into custody.  There is discretion to charge the person, and then release him/her on a promise to appear.  Here is a direct quote from cc 503(2), dealing with conditional release.

Conditional release

(2) If a peace officer or an officer in charge is satisfied that a person described in subsection (1) should be released from custody conditionally, the officer may, unless the person is detained in custody for an offence mentioned in section 522, release that person on the person’s giving a promise to appear or entering into a recognizance in accordance with paragraphs 498(1)(b) to (d) and subsection (2.1).

Here is a quote from a practicing Toronto lawyer on why you would be denied bail.  See here.

Why would I be denied bail?

Detention is justified only if deemed necessary on one or more of the following grounds:

  to ensure that you attend court; e.g., if you have a history of failing to attend court or abide by other court orders

  to protect the public; e.g., you could be detained if you have a criminal record for similar offences; in the case of an assault or threatening charge, a history of violence against the same complainant works in favor of detention

  to maintain confidence in the administration of justice; the court will consider the apparent strength of the prosecution’s case, the gravity of the offence, the circumstances surrounding its commission and the potential for a lengthy jail term

Normally, police or prosecutors have to justify why a person should remain locked up.  There are however, circumstances in which the accused has the ‘’‘reverse onus’‘.  In other words, circumstances which the person has to justify why he or she should be released.  These include circumstances like being released (while accused) of a similar offence, and certain gun, drug and gang offences.

4. Contacting Victims or Their Families

This is a quote directly from section cc 515(2) of the Canadian Criminal Code:

Undertaking

  (2.1) In addition to the conditions referred to in subsection (2), the peace officer or officer in charge may, in order to release the person, require the person to enter into an undertaking in Form 11.1 in which the person undertakes to do one or more of the following things:

      (a) to remain within a territorial jurisdiction specified in the undertaking;

      (b) to notify the peace officer or another person mentioned in the undertaking of any change in his or her address, employment or occupation;

      (c) to abstain from communicating, directly or indirectly, with any victim, witness or other person identified in the undertaking, or from going to a place specified in the undertaking, except in accordance with the conditions specified in the undertaking;

      (d) to deposit the person’s passport with the peace officer or other person mentioned in the undertaking;

      (e) to abstain from possessing a firearm and to surrender any firearm in the possession of the person and any authorization, licence or registration certificate or other document enabling that person to acquire or possess a firearm;

      (f) to report at the times specified in the undertaking to a peace officer or other person designated in the undertaking;

      (g) to abstain from

      (i) the consumption of alcohol or other intoxicating substances, or

      (ii) the consumption of drugs except in accordance with a medical prescription; or

      (h) to comply with any other condition specified in the undertaking that the peace officer or officer in charge considers necessary to ensure the safety and security of any victim of or witness to the offence.

 
Clause (c) specifically states to avoid communicating directly or indirectly with any victim or witness in the case.  This would obviously extend to avoid any contact with the Kercher family.  Also, it would include having friends and family attempt to contact a witness or victim.  This prohibition extends to telephone calls or emails, everything from asking for a private meeting, to asking to visit your alleged victim’s grave.  This would also seem to violate clause (h), which is to ensure the safety and security of any victim or witness.  There are reasons for this.

1) To avoid any possible threats or intimidation, which would cause the integrity of the system to be questioned

2) To avoid any type of underhanded tactic, such as appealing for mercy, underneath the court

3) To promote fairness in the trial process.

5. Harassing and Stalking of Victims

This is a quote directly from section cc 264 of the Canadian Criminal Code:

Criminal harassment

  264. (1) No person shall, without lawful authority and knowing that another person is harassed or recklessly as to whether the other person is harassed, engage in conduct referred to in subsection (2) that causes that other person reasonably, in all the circumstances, to fear for their safety or the safety of anyone known to them.

  Marginal note:Prohibited conduct

  (2) The conduct mentioned in subsection (1) consists of

      (a) repeatedly following from place to place the other person or anyone known to them;

      (b) repeatedly communicating with, either directly or indirectly, the other person or anyone known to them;

      (c) besetting or watching the dwelling-house, or place where the other person, or anyone known to them, resides, works, carries on business or happens to be; or

      (d) engaging in threatening conduct directed at the other person or any member of their family.

  Marginal note:Punishment

  (3) Every person who contravenes this section is guilty of

      (a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or

      (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

  Marginal note:Factors to be considered

  (4) Where a person is convicted of an offence under this section, the court imposing the sentence on the person shall consider as an aggravating factor that, at the time the offence was committed, the person contravened

      (a) the terms or conditions of an order made pursuant to section 161 or a recognizance entered into pursuant to section 810, 810.1 or 810.2; or

Not only would it be a cc 215(2)2.1(c) of the criminal code, which refers to conduct while released on an undertaking, harassment and stalking themselves are serious crimes.  Note that cc 264(4) considers it to be an aggravating factor if this harassing occurred while the subject was under a court order not to contact the person anyway.  In any Canadian proceedings, defendants would be barred from contacting family members of the victim, as well as the actual victim.

It is reasonable to assume that the Kerchers want nothing to do with Knox.  After all, this woman allegedly sexually assaulted and stabbed to death their daughter/sister, and then made a mockery of the court process, all while pretending to be the victim.  Yet Knox has repeatedly tried to make contact with them.


A court sketch, common in media back in pre-camera days

6. Contempt of Court

This is a quote directly from section cc 708 of the Canadian Criminal Code:

Contempt

  708. (1) A person who, being required by law to attend or remain in attendance for the purpose of giving evidence, fails, without lawful excuse, to attend or remain in attendance accordingly is guilty of contempt of court.

Marginal note:Punishment

  (2) A court, judge, justice or provincial court judge may deal summarily with a person who is guilty of contempt of court under this section and that person is liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ninety days or to both, and may be ordered to pay the costs that are incident to the service of any process under this Part and to his detention, if any.

Marginal note:Form

  (3) A conviction under this section may be in Form 38 and a warrant of committal in respect of a conviction under this section may be in Form 25.

Knox refused to attend her 2013/2014 appeal in Florence, the one she keeps referring to as a ‘‘new trial’‘.  This would not be tolerated under Canadian law.  Her bail would have been forfeited, and she would have been arrested. 

She would have remained in custody for the duration of the appeal.  And should the appeal have confirmed her guilt, she would most likely have remained in custody while it was being appealed further.

Skipping out on your criminal proceedings without valid grounds is contempt.  Sollecito did it as well when he took a vacation in the Dominican Republic.  Not only is it disrespectful, but it shows a lack of maturity.

Also note, from c.c. 515(2)2.1 of the Criminal Code—see section on harassing—these actions certainly would have violated clause (a), which is to remain in the jurisdiction while the proceedings are ongoing.

7. Cashing in on the Notoriety of a Crime (Son of Sam laws)

In September 2012, Simon & Schuster released Sollecito’s book, ‘‘Honor Bound: My Journey to Hell and Back With Amanda Knox’‘.  In May 2013, HarperCollins released Knox’s book ‘‘Waiting to be Heard’‘. 

What was particularly disturbing was that both Knox and Sollecito were still accused of murder when these books came out.  Knox was in the worse situation, as it came after the March 2013 Cassation ruling, which confirmed her calunnia against Patrick Lumumba, and annulled Judge Hellmann’s appeal acquittal.  However, since Cassation left the Massei trial verdict intact, their legal status was ‘‘guilty, pending further appeals’‘.

Setting aside the sheer idiocy of releasing a book while still accused, it is still illegal to do.  Right now, Canadian provinces seem to be writing their own laws.  Here are 4 of them.

This is from the website, Victimsofviolence.on.ca See here.

The Province of Alberta: See here.

The Province of Saskatchewan: See here.

The Province of Ontario: See here.

The Province of Nova Scotia:  See here.

The provinces do have some small differences in the laws, but the point to be taken here is that you can’t cash in on the notoriety of your crime.  In America, this is referred to the ‘‘Son of Sam Laws’’ after serial killer David Berkowitz, who called himself the Son-of-Sam.

8. Laundering the Proceeds of Crime

This is a quote directly from section cc 462.31 of the Canadian Criminal Code:

Laundering proceeds of crime

  462.31 (1) Every one commits an offence who uses, transfers the possession of, sends or delivers to any person or place, transports, transmits, alters, disposes of or otherwise deals with, in any manner and by any means, any property or any proceeds of any property with intent to conceal or convert that property or those proceeds, knowing or believing that all or a part of that property or of those proceeds was obtained or derived directly or indirectly as a result of

      (a) the commission in Canada of a designated offence; or

      (b) an act or omission anywhere that, if it had occurred in Canada, would have constituted a designated offence.

Marginal note:Punishment

  (2) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1)

      (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or

      (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Marginal note:Exception

  (3) A peace officer or a person acting under the direction of a peace officer is not guilty of an offence under subsection (1) if the peace officer or person does any of the things mentioned in that subsection for the purposes of an investigation or otherwise in the execution of the peace officer’s duties.

Raffaele Sollecito and Andrew Gumbel wrote ‘‘Honor Bound’’ (although they now blame each other).  Amanda Knox wrote ‘‘Waiting to be Heard’‘, which was ghostwritten by Linda Kuhlman.  Knox claims that she used her $3.8 million advance (less the taxes), to pay her lawyers, and her family.

The problem is that the books themselves are bloodmoney, cashing in on a crime they committed.  That is illegal to do.  The million dollar advances were (if Knox is truthful here), essentially converted into legal payments for her lawyers, and to her family.

Unless Knox’s family really did spend a million or more to visit her, the money Amanda claims went to them could be seen as ‘‘gifts’’ or ways to hold onto such funds.  Even if the Knoxes/Mellas did spend that much money, Amanda is paying those debts off with illegally obtained money.

Sollecito has not been nearly as open about where his book advance went (rumoured to be $950,000).  However, he would have the same legal issues facing him as Knox.


9. Prostitution and Soliciting of Prostitution

This is a quote directly from section cc 213 of the Canadian Criminal Code:

Offences in Relation to Offering, Providing or Obtaining Sexual Services for Consideration

Marginal note:Stopping or impeding traffic

213. (1) Everyone is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction who, in a public place or in any place open to public view, for the purpose of offering, providing or obtaining sexual services for consideration,
(a) stops or attempts to stop any motor vehicle; or
(b) impedes the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic or ingress to or egress from premises adjacent to that place.
(c) [Repealed, 2014, c. 25, s. 15]
Marginal note:Communicating to provide sexual services for consideration

(1.1) Everyone is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction who communicates with any person “” for the purpose of offering or providing sexual services for consideration”‰ “” “‰in a public place, or in any place open to public view, that is or is next to a school ground, playground or daycare centre.
Definition of “public place”

(2) In this section, “public place” includes any place to which the public have access as of right or by invitation, express or implied, and any motor vehicle located in a public place or in any place open to public view.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 213; R.S., 1985, c. 51 (1st Supp.), s. 1; 2014, c. 25, s. 15.

In Canada, the prostitution laws are constantly being challenged.  Due to lobbying efforts, the punishments are actually becoming much harsher for soliciting than for providing.

Knox met Federico Martini (the man she calls ‘‘Cristiano’’ in her book), on a train in Italy.  She had been providing sex, and getting drugs, and it kept happening up to the night she was arrested.  It had been known for years in Italy, but only released to the American media in the summer of 2014.

The thing is: this would actually be considered prostitution.  It doesn’t matter if he offered cash, or a bag of coke.  Martini, the client (a.k.a the John), was providing material goods in return for sex.  In Canada, legally speaking , Amanda Knox was prostituting herself (a.k.a. hooking).


10. Fraud Over $5,000

This is a quote directly from section cc 380 of the Canadian Criminal Code:

Fraud

380. (1) Every one who, by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means, whether or not it is a false pretence within the meaning of this Act, defrauds the public or any person, whether ascertained or not, of any property, money or valuable security or any service,
(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding fourteen years, where the subject-matter of the offence is a testamentary instrument or the value of the subject-matter of the offence exceeds five thousand dollars; or
(b) is guilty
(i) of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or
(ii) of an offence punishable on summary conviction,
where the value of the subject-matter of the offence does not exceed five thousand dollars.

Marginal note:Minimum punishment

(1.1) When a person is prosecuted on indictment and convicted of one or more offences referred to in subsection (1), the court that imposes the sentence shall impose a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of two years if the total value of the subject-matter of the offences exceeds one million dollars.

Knox wrote her book ‘‘Waiting to be Heard’’ for a reported $3.8 million.  Sollecito (or was it Gumbel?) wrote ‘‘Honor Bound’’ for a reported nearly $1 million.  Problem here, is that both of these book deals were obtained under false pretences.

Due to the spike in publicity of white-collar crime, the Canadian government imposed a 2 year minimum jail term for fraud that exceeds one million dollars.  Considering that the books are fake, the payoff (at least for Knox), exceeds that amount, she would be facing at least 2 years for that.

Also, I have no idea how much money Knox or Sollecito have raised via their websites, or Twitter accounts, or via PayPal.  But they could face additional charges of either fraud over $5,000, or fraud UNDER $5,000, which carries lower maximum.


11. Carrying a Concealed Weapon

This is a quote directly from section cc 88 of the Canadian Criminal Code:

Possession of weapon for dangerous purpose

88. (1) Every person commits an offence who carries or possesses a weapon, an imitation of a weapon, a prohibited device or any ammunition or prohibited ammunition for a purpose dangerous to the public peace or for the purpose of committing an offence.
Marginal note:Punishment

(2) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1)
(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or
(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

It was one of the charges Knox and Sollecito faced.  Guess what?  Can’t do it here either

12. Fabricating Evidence

This is a quote directly from section cc 137 of the Canadian Criminal Code:

Fabricating evidence

137. Every one who, with intent to mislead, fabricates anything with intent that it shall be used as evidence in a judicial proceeding, existing or proposed, by any means other than perjury or incitement to perjury is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

  R.S., c. C-34, s. 125.

Knox and Sollecito were alleged to have staged the crime scene at the house to make to look like someone had broken in through Filomena’s window, ransacked the place, killed Meredith during a bungled robbery, then fled.  The Courts (Micheli, Massei, Nencini, 2 Cassation panels), also believed that Knox and Sollecito had attempted—albeit unsuccessfully—to selectively clean the house, making it look like Rudy Guede was the sole killer. 

Knox was a resident in the upstairs part of the house, and therefore had a reason to make it look like an outsider did it.  If there were no obvious signs of a burglar, the police would immediately zero in on the other 3 women who lived in the house.

13. Jurors Speaking out During (or After) Criminal Proceedings

Quoted directly from the Canadian Criminal Code:

Disclosure of jury proceedings

649. Every member of a jury, and every person providing technical, personal, interpretative or other support services to a juror with a physical disability, who, except for the purposes of

(a) an investigation of an alleged offence under subsection 139(2) in relation to a juror, or
(b) giving evidence in criminal proceedings in relation to such an offence,
discloses any information relating to the proceedings of the jury when it was absent from the courtroom that was not subsequently disclosed in open court is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

The secrecy that jurors are sworn to survives even after the trial.  In the case of Ms. Ballerini talking to the media about the 2013/2014 Florence appeal just before the March 2015 Cassation ruling, it would not be allowed here either.  Financial need would not be considered an acceptable defence.

While summary offences carry a maximum of 2 years in prison, in reality, jurors would not see the inside of a cell.  A fine and/or probation would be much more likely.

14. Canadian Law on Extradition

Amanda Knox has made it known publicly (and idiotically) that she will never return to Italy, even if it means remaining a fugitive.  She claimed that she skipped her last appeal out of fear of a wrongful conviction, even though she claimed she had faith in the Italian Courts.  Yes, she’s a hypocrite.  Well, Italy does request extradition of convicted criminals, which is what Knox is (pending confirmation by Cassation). 

Amusingly, she claims again to have faith in the Supreme Court, while remaining in the U.S. out of fear.

However, many countries extradite both suspected and convicted criminals.  Knox’s situation is even weaker, as she will not only be ‘‘convicted’‘, but will be ‘‘convicted, with all appeals exhausted.’’  Considering she has not attended court once since Hellmann released her (she missed Cassation 1, Nencini, Cassation 2), she is not likely to garner much sympathy.

Canada both requests and complies with requests for extradition.

There are a few exceptions however:

(a) Canada generally refuses to extradite if they death penalty is sought

(b) Canada generally refuses to extradite if the person faces inhumane treatment at home.

Note: This article was originally submitted just prior to the Cassation hearing.  We will see what happens now.

Note: Almost all options to block extradition are not available if the person has received a sentence of at least 6 months.  (This was 2 years, but recently lowered).  Knox’s 28.5 years is definitely above that threshold.  See section 3 of the Extradition Act, and note 3(3) in particular.

Extraditable Conduct

Marginal note:General principle

  3. (1) A person may be extradited from Canada in accordance with this Act and a relevant extradition agreement on the request of an extradition partner for the purpose of prosecuting the person or imposing a sentence on “” or enforcing a sentence imposed on “” the person if

      (a) subject to a relevant extradition agreement, the offence in respect of which the extradition is requested is punishable by the extradition partner, by imprisoning or otherwise depriving the person of their liberty for a maximum term of two years or more, or by a more severe punishment; and

      (b) the conduct of the person, had it occurred in Canada, would have constituted an offence that is punishable in Canada,

        (i) in the case of a request based on a specific agreement, by imprisonment for a maximum term of five years or more, or by a more severe punishment, and

        (ii) in any other case, by imprisonment for a maximum term of two years or more, or by a more severe punishment, subject to a relevant extradition agreement.

Marginal note:Conduct determinative

  (2) For greater certainty, it is not relevant whether the conduct referred to in subsection (1) is named, defined or characterized by the extradition partner in the same way as it is in Canada.

Marginal note:Extradition of a person who has been sentenced

  (3) Subject to a relevant extradition agreement, the extradition of a person who has been sentenced to imprisonment or another deprivation of liberty may only be granted if the portion of the term remaining is at least six months long or a more severe punishment remains to be carried out.

15. What Was Allowed In Italy But Would Not Be In Canada?

Here is a section copied directly from the Law Society of Upper Canada’s website.  This is the regulatory body with licences and is able to remove lawyers in the province of Ontario.  It covers the relationship between lawyers and the administration of justice.

[Amended ““ October 2014]

5.1-2 When acting as an advocate, a lawyer shall not

(a) abuse the process of the tribunal by instituting or prosecuting proceedings which, although legal in themselves, are clearly motivated by malice on the part of the client and are brought solely for the purpose of injuring the other party,

(b) knowingly assist or permit the client to do anything that the lawyer considers to be dishonest or dishonourable,

(c) appear before a judicial officer when the lawyer, the lawyer’s associates or the client have business or personal relationships with the officer that give rise to or might reasonably appear to give rise to pressure, influence, or inducement affecting the impartiality of the officer, unless all parties consent and it is in the interests of justice,

(d) endeavour or allow anyone else to endeavour, directly or indirectly, to influence the decision or action of a tribunal or any of its officials in any case or matter by any means other than open persuasion as an advocate,

(e) knowingly attempt to deceive a tribunal or influence the course of justice by offering false evidence, misstating facts or law, presenting or relying upon a false or deceptive affidavit, suppressing what ought to be disclosed, or otherwise assisting in any fraud, crime, or illegal conduct,

(f) knowingly misstate the contents of a document, the testimony of a witness, the substance of an argument, or the provisions of a statute or like authority,

(g) knowingly assert as true a fact when its truth cannot reasonably be supported by the evidence or as a matter of which notice may be taken by the tribunal,

(h) make suggestions to a witness recklessly or knowing them to be false;

(i) deliberately refrain from informing the tribunal of any binding authority that the lawyer considers to be directly on point and that has not been mentioned by an opponent,

(j) improperly dissuade a witness from giving evidence or advise a witness to be absent,

(k) knowingly permit a witness or party to be presented in a false or misleading way or to impersonate another,

(l) knowingly misrepresent the client’s position in the litigation or the issues to be determined in the litigation;

(m) needlessly abuse, hector, or harass a witness,

(n) when representing a complainant or potential complainant, attempt to gain a benefit for the complainant by threatening the laying of a criminal charge or by offering to seek or to procure the withdrawal of a criminal charge,

(o) needlessly inconvenience a witness; or

(p) appear before a court or tribunal while under the influence of alcohol or a drug. [Amended ““ October 2014]


The problem here, is although there are rules of conduct, the rules of conduct also state that lawyers must take every avenue available to help out their clients.  So, it seems that the line between zealous advocacy and professional misconduct gets rather blurry.  While not necessarily criminal offences, these things would throw the law into disrespute, and could cause problems for lawyers.  Cases in point:

i) After the Florence Appeals Court ruled against Knox and Sollecito in January 2014, defense lawyer Guilia Bongiorno tried to have Judge Nencini disciplined for making some rather innocuous remarks to reporters.  This was baseless and vindictive.  If you lose an appeal, you don’t maliciously try to take down the lead judge.  It is a clear violation of clause (a).

ii) Judge Hellmann was installed as lead judge for Knox and Sollecito’s original first appeal.  Hellmann was a business judge, and the much more qualified Judge Chairi was forced off the case.  There was no legitimate reason for doing this—Hellmann was there as the result of ‘‘judge-shopping’‘.  He then proceeded to make a complete mess of that appeal, so much so that Cassation completely annulled it in March 2013.  Putting him on the bench in this case is a conflict of interest and violation of clause (c)

iii) Judge Hellmann also went out of his way to twist and distort much of what the prosectors had presented in the 2009 trial, including witness testimony and evidence.  Few believe this was accidental.  If intentional, it would be violations of clause (d),allowing influence other than as an advocate; and clause (f), distorting evidence and testimony.

iv) Judge Hellmann dragged out the appeal by holding it only a few times each month, which caused enormous burdens on both prosecutors, and the Kercher family.  Not only is this rude, it could be seen as a violation of clause (o).

v) Knox’s lawyers, Luciano Ghirga and Carlos Dalla Vedova allowed Knox to make many accusations on the witness stand in June 2009. Among the most serious is Knox’s claim she was physically assualted November 5th/6th.  Ghirga himself had said publicly Knox wasn’t hit.  These lawyers also passed along Knox’s false email to Judge Nencini, and Vedova filed a bogus claim to the European Court of Human Rights.  This is knowingly letting Knox do dishonest things, and repeated violations of clause (b).

vi) Knox and Sollecito’s defence has been shown to be relying many times on false facts and pretences.  Although lawyers are obligated to defend their clients, deep down they have to know that the defences they are making is true.  These are violations of clause (e), but are prime examples of duty to the court directly conflicting with duty to the clients.

vii) Ted Simon, Knox’s now (absent) U.S. lawyer, has changed his tune.  He spoke out publicly in 2008 saying that there actually was a strong case against Knox (motive notwithstanding).  However, when he came on board, he ‘‘adjusted’’ his views, and now claims that there is no evidence, never was, and never will be.  Although not present at the trial or appeals, Simon has made claims that he himself knows to be false, violating clause (g).

viii) Bob Barnett helped Knox land her book deal with HarperCollins, even though proceedings were still underway, knowing that Knox made false claims, knowing that Knox had been convicted of making false accusations, and knowing that Son-of-Sam laws prohibited such actions.  He helped Knox do something dishonourable, violating clause (b).  Or, if Mr. Barnett didn’t know, then he is far too incompetent to be a lawyer.

While lawyers are obligated to advocate on behalf of their client, the line seems rather fuzzy as to what actually constitutes ‘‘advocacy’’ and what constitutes ‘‘misconduct’‘.  I believe the examples above are all professional misconduct.  They were done with the intention of helping AK/RS, but step far, FAR over the line.  While this is quoted from the Ontario site, other Provincial and Territorial Law Societies have very similar rules.

16. Where This Series Is Headed Next:

This concludes the part of Canadian laws that would have applied to Knox, Sollecito and Guede, had they committed the crime here.  #9, which Knox bragged about to her friends, wrote about in her book, and told to police, would be considered prostitution, when you realize she got drugs for it.  And #13 was added after the juror from the Florence appeal, Genny Ballerini, decided to talk to the media.  All of the crimes listed in the first 3 parts are all crimes under Italian law, even if they are called something different.  These 3 parts were kind of a Canada v.s. Italy perspective.

The next pieces will cover other common law nations, and contrast their varying decisions.  Peter suggested giving an even wider context for crime and punishment across the globe.  The final piece will be some loose ends, and requests for content are encouraged.  If there is a topic I missed, or something that needs more depth, ask.

Complete Listings

1st post appears here:  An Overview.

2nd post appears here:  Public Mischief and Perjury

3rd post appears here:  Bail, Extradition & Other Crimes

4th post appears here:  Canada v.s. the U.S.A. (Part 1)

5th post coming soon: Canada v.s. the U.S.A. (Part 2)

6th post coming soon:  Canada and our Family

7th post coming soon:  Loose Ends, and Reader Request


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Meredith May Not See Justice (Yet) But She Will Leave At Least Three Legacies

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





Meredith’s goal in life was to help people, and she had thought of making a career in the European institutions in Brussels.

So much of human organization is messy and very hard to make better. She would have found that.  But somehow, often in a terrifying lurch, systems do sometimes tend to get better.

These better systems between them benefiting millions may all be attributed to Meredith. More than 99% of humanity can achieve in a lifetime.

1) Perugia is a safer more thriving place now

This is a repeat of our post of 9 April 2010 - there has been a mayor-change, but the broad safety and economic trends continue.

Meet Wladimiro Boccali. The mayor of Perugia.

A year ago when Mr Boccali ran for office (video above) it was in the context of a city-wide desire for prosperity, public safety, support for the police and the court system, the enhancement of Perugia’s reputation, and the clamping down on drug dealing and student excesses.

A mood that very much flowed from the shock of Meredith’s passing. A sense that certain things had gone too far.

Since then, Mr Boccali has been in the Italian national news almost daily, and he is coming to be seen as the kind of political leader Italy could really use in a turbulent future.

He is in the news again right now, because there was a riot in the main piazza of the old city by some drunks late last saturday night.

In part inspired and encouraged by good town leadership, Perugia’s economy is now one of the more thriving city economies in Italy. Perugia’s median IQ is extremely high (Perugia is probably one of the smartest cities in Europe) and a lot of very advanced research goes on there.

Perugia’s town administration does many caring things, such as the special city council meeting for Sonia Marra.

And seemingly attracted by all of this, people are moving to Perugia in droves - its population is increasing at double the national growth rate.

So. Meet the new Perugia. Meredith’s own qualities, writ large.

Since that post Perugia and the university have recognised Meredith by way of a scholarship and a one-day seminar.

2) American universities acted to stop future Knoxes

Knox behaved grossly irresponsibly in heading to Perugia under-funded, intent on drug-doing, and with zero intention of seriously studying.

The University of Washington and many others realised they could have huge liabilities if they did not distance themselves a lot from such loose cannons in future.

In October 2009 we reposted this report by Andrea Vogt which described the initiation of measures many American universities have now come to implement.

Mirroring a nationwide trend, the University of Washington is overhauling how its students and professors interface with foreign countries….

The UW study abroad experience today involves much more oversight than it did two years ago when Amanda Knox left on an unsupervised European adventure that quickly degenerated into a nightmare.

When Knox, who is on trial for murder in Italy, left her familiar U-district environs in late summer 2007, she embarked on her own independent study in Umbria with very few guidelines or institutional oversight.

She arrived in the tolerant student melange of Perugia, a vibrant college town with temptation at every turn and many paradoxes (drug deals and party plans are often made on the steps of the cathedral).

A month later, the honor student’s pub-crawling, pot-smoking college shenanigans had taken a very serious turn and she was being hauled off to the Capanne penitentiary, where she remains today, pleading her innocence as the trial and controversial accusations against her plod forward.

Once her troubles began, the university tried to offer support, but had very few official guidelines to follow for responding to the kind of complicated legal-judicial matter Knox faced.

It’s different now….

In the wake of several negative overseas episodes, officials are busy raising awareness about the positive impact the UW is having worldwide and taking steps to improve communications, regulation and emergency preparedness for its students abroad.

Compared with two years ago, international education officials are more closely tracking who, where and what study-abroad programs involve. The university has new rules:. The department chair has to sign off on the program. Insurance is required. So is a cell phone. No program money can be used to buy alcohol, just for starters.

“There’s a much more formal process now,” said Taso Lagos, a UW professor who teaches international communication and manages a study-abroad program in Greece. “With administrators that are very aware, with lines of communication open and policies in place if something happens.”...

The UW’s growing commitment to international education—- even in a budget crisis—is reflected in some developments. [UW Vice Provost for Global Affairs Stephen Hanson] was named a vice provost in January, and in the spring, the UW dedicated an entire wing of the Gerberding Hall administration building to growing an international mission and profile.

This year, a travel security and information officer is coming on board to oversee emergency response and preparedness, as is Peter Moran, a new director of international programs and exchanges who previously worked at the Fulbright Commission office in Katmandu, Nepal.

New guidelines are being put in place to streamline communications, ease financial transactions and institute mandatory training for faculty taking students abroad. The Global Support Project, a rapid-response team with one person from each branch of the central administration, takes on cross-disciplinary international challenges.

Such reforms aren’t unique to UW.

Universities across the country are examining how better to organize study abroad to meet blossoming demand from students (and prospective employers) for foreign experience. Many are turning to independent service providers whose business it is to contract housing, health care or niche risk management services dealing with legal, financial or public relations crises when things go haywire abroad…..

Though the university bore no responsibility for any of the events Knox became entangled in, media across the world continued to mention the University of Washington—whether it was because of character witnesses who were her college buddies, reports of wild off-campus parties Knox attended in Seattle or her studies while in prison.

3) Italy’s justice reforms will be nudged hard

Italian justice has a systemic problem, it has been made to tilt hard toward defendants over the years. That problem was described here and here and touched on in many other posts.

Polls have show that though Italians admire and trust their justice system and especially the brave people within it (over 100 have died fighting mafia) a majority would like some rebalancing toward victims and families.

Justice reforms are now on the national agenda. What happened in Rome yesterday to deny Meredith justice is stirring Italy and seems certain to impact them.’

Court days to flow continuously? Some backing off from automatic appeals? No juries at the second level? Prosecutors and judges to be allowed to speak out more? Maybe in lieu of some of those onerous sentencing reports? Limits to defendants talking without cross-examination in the courtroom?

These are not extreme, they are mainstream in the common-law system, and they would speed Italy’s up, make it fairer, and cost less (a lot less!).

***

All incredibly worthwhile. For one so young, in death Meredith may come to help millions for the better.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Probable Final Cassation Ruling In 10 Days: Likely Scenario For The Immediate Future

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Italian Justice Minister Andrea Orlando with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi


We reported previously that Prime Minister Renzi, the former mayor of Florence, has great trust in the court system there.

Cassation is expected to rule on Knox’s and Sollecito’s separate appeals against the Florence outcome (in which they yet again not-too-subtly edge one another between themselves and the flames) on Wednesday or Thursday of next week.

We have something of a consensus here upon what happens then and thereafter, with main inputs here from Italian watchers Popper and Yummi.

1. Cassazione will probably merely announce that the affirmation of conviction by the Nencini appeal court is legitimate from the point of view of Italian law and there will be nothing significant said on the merits of the case.

2. In final appeals Supreme Court justices simply confirm a sentence or not based exclusively on law points. The Cassazione motivation reports due within three months are not too important as they cannot be appealed anyway. A report may not be needed for extradition, the Massei + Nencini sentencing reports could be explanatory and legally correct enough in this case.

3. The execution of this decision would then be over to the Florence courts. If the Nencini confirmation of verdict and sentence is affirmed it will probably then be over to Prosecutor Crini and Judge Nencini, and an arrest warrant for Sollecito would be immediate.

4. There is a slight chance, perhaps 5% to 10%, that Sollecito might try to escape, as he seemed set on doing when he made it to the border on the same day as Judge Nencini’s 2014 ruling. On Italian TV he has been sounding very aggrieved with Amanda while not really winding back the strong case against himself. He lacks his passport and probably the secret stash of money to stay on the run indefinitely.

5. An arrest warrant for Knox, the other defendant, would normally be issued as soon as possible. If she is still located in the US she could be rapidly arrested and put in a holding cell. Based on other examples it is possible that her physical return to Italy could take as long as nine months, though the treaty promotes a fast-track meaning not upward of three months.

6. There is normally 45 days for the extradition papers/request from Dr Andrea Orlando, the Italian Minister of Justice, to be handed over by the Italian Embassy in Washington DC to the State Department, though there is allowance for that request time to be extended.

7. The evidence of course really is overwhelming and no single proof of foul play has ever been proven. Italian justice officials have relevant information they could share privately, such as the corruption of the Hellmann appeal alleged by Judge Chiari, Prosecutor Comodi and others, and such as Knox’s unsavory drug record which is normally a big no-no for the State Department. 

8. Comments made by the host and a magistrate on Italy’s Porta a Porta show last week suggests vagueness on the part of the Italian media and public about the Italy/United States extradition treaty. This treaty, which has always been faithfully observed previously by both countries, with no exceptions, is stark and minimalist and focuses on the paperwork and whether the national law was followed, as explained by lawyers James Raper and TomM. 

9. Assuming their final conviction, Sollecito’s arrest and return to prison will drive Italian public opinion, dormant for years but stirring as the Porta a Porta show suggested, to demand a quick extradition of Knox, who was the flatmate of Meredith the victim and without whom no murder would have taken place.

10. Probably very unlikely, but if there is sustained political resistance despite American media finally getting the facts right, the powers demanding extradition will build up immense pressure, and it will be world-wide pressure from the point of view of the US, not just Italy. All countries will be watching to see how the US behaves, and if their treaties are reliable or not.

The US relies heavily on the Italian government, which is currently a very strong one, on many other matters, and it has other extradition cases worldwide in motion or anticipated (think Snowden in Moscow) so it will be almost certainly be faithful to legality and precedent.

Knox smeared prison authorities in her book and directly caused the imprisonment of a drug-dealer which might be reasons she fears going back. Conceivably a negotiated outcome could result in Knox serving the rest of her time in an American prison to get round this. American prison? This would be nice for her family, but probably a lot less nice for Knox herself.

Knox has long been the pawn of an ugly family and bunch of parasites. Dont totally rule out her simply hopping on a plane to pay her dues and get away from them.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Justice System Comparisons #1: If Meredith’s Murder Had Taken Place In Common-Law Countries

Posted by Chimera



Supreme Court Of Canada in the capital Ottawa

Overview Of This Post

Much has been made about the differences between the American and Italian criminal justice systems.

This post offers some different perspectives, from the Canadian system, the one I know most about as I reside in Canada, as do many readers here. While I am not a lawyer, I do know a fair amount about the system here.  Enjoy this multi-part submission.

I explain first the Canadian system, and then what would have happened to those accused of Meredith’s death under this system.  I am making no judgements as to which system is the best, as all have their pros and cons.  Please take this article as a source for broadening perspectives.

Some History Of Our System

a. Canada is part of the British Commonwealth.  Although the Queen of England is still our official head of state, and her representative, the governor general, the head of Canada’s military, the roles are largely figurative.

b. Although most of Canada is governed by Common Law, from the British model, the province of Quebec uses its own regulations, based largely on the Civil Code from Napoleonic times. 

c. Because of the differences in the Common Law and Civil Codes, by law, the Supreme Court of Canada MUST contain both judges from Quebec and from the other provinces.

d. Although in the past cases settled in the Supreme Court of Canada could still be appealed to the UK, that is no longer the case.

Is Criminal Law a Federal, Provincial, or Municipal matter?

Criminal Law is made up, and amended exclusively by the federal government, however, administrating the courts, and trying cases is a provincial matter.  The rules spell out clearly what is a federal v.s. provincial responsibility.  Stepping outside these boundaries often leads to tension, and having the new rules struck down.

Are prisons and probation/parole offices federal or provincial?

It depends on the sentence.  A jail term of 2 years or more is a federal sentence, in which case federal corrections is put in charge of the person.  Naturally, these are for much more serious or repeat crimes.  A jail term (or conditional sentence) of under 2 years is a provincial sentence, and the respective province deals with the person.

Probation and parole rules and regulations are set out differently, and it depends on what the person has received in terms of prison time.  If no prison time is given, then probation is the responsibility of the province.

How Are Offences Classified?

Offences in Canada are classified as such in the criminal code

  • 1. Summary Offences: Minor in nature, in America called a ‘‘misdemeanor’’
  • 2. Indictable Offences: Much more serious, in America called a ‘‘felony’‘
  • 3. Hybrid Offences: The prosecutor has discretion in how to proceed
Who hears criminal appeals in Canada?

The appeal will likely be heard in the province’s court of appeals, the provincal ‘‘top court’‘.  Please do not mistake ‘‘provincial supreme court’’ as being the top court, as it is not the same thing. 

A trial court hears witnesses, while an appeals court is called a ‘paper court’.  It works from transcripts.

1. Generally, there are 2 main trial courts, the lower court, and the higher (Superior or Supreme) court.  As the names imply, the lower courts generally take on less serious cases, while the higher courts take more serious cases, such as murder.

2. If a case is tried summarily (a less designated case) and in the lower court, the case may be appealed to either the Provincial Court of Appeals, or to the High Court (Superior or Supreme)

3. If a case is tried by indictment (felony), or in Superior/Supreme Court, then appeals MUST go to the Provincial Court of Appeals.

    (a) For example, a major case in Ontario will be tried in Ontario Superior Court, and if appealed, it will go to the Ontario Court of Appeals. 
    (b) For example, a major case in British Columbia will be tried in the BC Supreme Court, and if appealed, will go to the BC Court of Appeals.
    (c) Other provinces also have trial courts, then a court of appeals

4 In any case, it may be further appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada

    For some perspective: Imagine Amanda Knox lived in Toronto, Ontario. 

    Her rock throwing riot in Seattle, if here would likely have landed her in the Ontario Court of Justice, and the prosecutors would likely have gone summarily against her, although a more serious charge (assault) would be a hybrid offence.  If she chose to appeal, the Superior Court (which is also a trial court), would likely hear her appeal.

    Her sexual assault and murder charges, if in Ontario, would automatically have been tried as indictable offences and she would be in Superior Court.  Her first appeal would be with the Ontario Court of Appeals

5. A defendant has the right to appeal a criminal conviction to the provincial appeals court.  However, this is more like the U.S. than Italy, in that these appeals are not automatically granted.  The Court first has to determine that there is some merit to the appeal.  If it is baseless, it will be dismissed.  In the case of Knox and Sollecito, it would likely not be allowed to proceed.

6. A defendant has the right to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada after a Provincial Court of Appeals rules.  However, the S.C.C. usually declines to intervene, unless the facts are extremely controversial, or of significance.  This is especially true if it is just a rehash of the Provincial appeal.

What are your rights if arrested in Canada?

Section 10 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms says that you have the right to be informed of the reason, the right to retain a lawyer without delay, and have the validity of the detention challenged by way of habeas corpus.

Are people’s name shielded from press?

In some circumstances

  • The person was a minor at the time of the offence (though an adult sentence annuls that protection)
  • In sexual assault cases, the victim(s) name(s) CANNOT be released publicly
  • In highly sensitive cases (like treason or terrorism)
  • If it would put someone in danger or compromise a witness
Can you give press conferences or talk to the media if accused of a crime?

While possible, this is not recommended.  For example, and appeals about adverse publicity or not being able to get a fair trial will not be taken seriously.  Also, contempt charges will be quite likely. 

While the media does cover serious cases, the coverage has generally been pretty neutral in Canada.

Can you write a book or get a movie deal?

No these deals would be considered profit or proceeds from crime.

Can you be forced to take the stand in Canada?

As a defendant, no.  11(c) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects against forced self incrimination (in America, it is called ‘‘taking the 5th’‘).

Interestingly enough, there are no real protections for witnesses who just don’t want to testify.

Does Canada grant bail to accused criminals?

Usually. 11(e) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that reasonable bail should not be denied without just cause.  In practice, this means unless the person is a flight risk, a threat to the public, or the offence is extremely shocking to the public, they can get bail.

However, if a person has a prior criminal record, it becomes harder to get bail each time.

Note: Bail hearings are usually done by J.P.s (Justices of the Peace).  They are not judges, but can make some legal decisions.  Bail decisions can usually be appealed to a judge,

Does Canada have the ‘Double Jeopardy’ law?

Yes and no.  Refer to 11(h) in the Charter or Rights and Freedoms.  It says that if a person is finally acquitted of the offence, or finally found guilty and punished, not to be tried again for the same offence.

The key word here is finally, as in, all appeals have been exhausted.

The appeal will likely be heard in the province’s court of appeals, the provincal ‘‘top court’‘.  Please do not mistake ‘‘provincial supreme court’’ as being the top court.  That is an American naming.  For example, a major case in Ontario will be tried in Ontario Superior Court, and if appealed, it will go to the Ontario Court of Appeals.

If a person is convicted, and chooses to appeal, that case will likely be heard by the provincial court of appeals.

Note: Notice of an appeal must generally be filed within 30 days of the verdict.  If no notice is filed, then the acquittal/conviction is considered final.

Note: It is possible, but very rare for a prosecution to appeal an acquittal, or to appeal a Provincial Appeal Court ruling.  Basically, the prosecution must prove that the trial court (or first appeal court) made fundamental and very serious legal errors.  It cannot just be a another shot at a conviction.  The Appeal Court can then do many things, including sending it back for a retrial, amending the sentence, or throwing out a conviction.  Or it can confirm the acquittal.

Does Canada have a plea bargaining system?

Yes, Crown Prosecutors and defence attorneys can sign what is called a ‘‘joint submission’‘, and give it to the judge.  This is an agreement of the facts and sentence.  While judges usually accept these submissions, they are not obligated to, and can reject them if far too lenient or harsh.

Can defendants testify or make spontaneous declarations?

They can testify (and must be sworn in), but they cannot make the kind of challenge free remarks like in Italy.

Does the short form trial exist in Canada?

As in the 1/3 deduction… No.  However, judges routinely give breaks for guilty pleas, or for some kind of remorse or contrition.

There is a diversion program, which is an alternative to going through the trial process (essentially getting treatment), but reserved for minor offences.  Sexual offences, or serious violent ones are not eligible.

Do defendants awaiting trial get psychologically assessed?

Sometimes, and it can happen for a few reasons

    (1) The defendant is pleading not criminally responsible (insanity)
    (2) The defence has applied for bail, but the judge has reservations about granting it
    (3) The defence wants to use it as a mitigating factor, or in sentencing
    (4) Prosecutors can request it, but this is rare
Can an Appeals Court increase a jail sentence?

This is extremely rare, but yes they can, if the opinion is that the trial judge simply went too soft.  A couple cases in Canada are these:

    Paul Coffin who pleaded guilty to 15 counts of fraud, related to the previous Liberal government.  He originally got house arrest, but it was overturned on appeal, and substituted for 18 months of real jail time.

    Graham James a notorious pedophile and infamous hockey coach who sexually abused his players.  He got 2 years at one trial, which the prosecution appealed, and had increased to 5 years (still very light though)

Much more common though, is that an appeal will either be dismissed, of the judges will knock some time off the sentence.  Full reversals are not the norm.

Do judges have to justify a conviction/acquittal and a sentence?

Yes, in a bench trial (trial by judge), the judge does have to explain how he/she came to these conclusions.

Yes, there are fairly rigid sentencing guidelines to follow, and (cc 718), follow these:

    (a) to denounce unlawful conduct
    (b) to deter the offender and others from committing similar conduct
    (c) to separate offenders from society, where necessary
    (d) to assist in rehabilitating offenders
    (e) to provide reparations for harm done to the victims and the community
    (f) to promote a sense of responsibility in offenders, and acknowledgement of the harm done to victims and the community

Note: Many serious offences have mandatory minimum jail sentences, which limit the discretion available to the judge.

What is the punishment for killing someone in Canada?

1. First degree murder:

This is a premeditated murder, or happens during a sexual assault, or when the victim is restrained.

Punishment: A life sentence, with no parole for 25 years (or 15 years under the ‘‘faint hope clause’‘)

2. Second degree murder

This is when the act is intentional, but not planned out

Punishment: A life sentence, but the parole eligibility baseline ranges from 10 to 25 years.

3. Manslaughter

This is not an intentional killing, but happens while committing an illegal act

Punishment: No mandatory minimum, but can get prison up to and including life.

Note: There are other things, such as impaired driving causing death, dangerous driving causing death, criminal negligence causing death, and the punishments are severe, but they do not apply here.

(Quoted directly from the Canadian Criminal Code)


Classification of murder

231. (1) Murder is first degree murder or second degree murder.
Marginal note:Planned and deliberate murder

(2) Murder is first degree murder when it is planned and deliberate.
Marginal note:Contracted murder

(3) Without limiting the generality of subsection (2), murder is planned and deliberate when it is committed pursuant to an arrangement under which money or anything of value passes or is intended to pass from one person to another, or is promised by one person to another, as consideration for that other’s causing or assisting in causing the death of anyone or counselling another person to do any act causing or assisting in causing that death.
Marginal note:Murder of peace officer, etc.

(4) Irrespective of whether a murder is planned and deliberate on the part of any person, murder is first degree murder when the victim is
(a) a police officer, police constable, constable, sheriff, deputy sheriff, sheriff’s officer or other person employed for the preservation and maintenance of the public peace, acting in the course of his duties;
(b) a warden, deputy warden, instructor, keeper, jailer, guard or other officer or a permanent employee of a prison, acting in the course of his duties; or
(c) a person working in a prison with the permission of the prison authorities and acting in the course of his work therein.
Marginal note:Hijacking, sexual assault or kidnapping

(5) Irrespective of whether a murder is planned and deliberate on the part of any person, murder is first degree murder in respect of a person when the death is caused by that person while committing or attempting to commit an offence under one of the following sections:
(a) section 76 (hijacking an aircraft);
(b) section 271 (sexual assault);
(c) section 272 (sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm);
(d) section 273 (aggravated sexual assault);
(e) section 279 (kidnapping and forcible confinement); or
(f) section 279.1 (hostage taking).

    So, without even proving intent to commit murder, Knox, Sollecito and Guede would have been guilty of first degree murder.  Meredith’s death happened under cc 231(5)(c), which is sexual assault with a weapon, cc 231(5)(d), which is aggravated sexual assault, and cc 231(5)(e), which is forcible confinement.

    Note: While in the case of AK/RS/RG, the sexual assault charge was combined with the murder charge, in Canada, aggravated sexual assault, cc 273, is an indictable offence, punishable by up to life in prison, and those convicted are registered sex offenders for life upon release.

    Other Punishments

    While Canada no longer has the death penalty, we do have something called a dangerous offender designation.  The prosecution applies for it, after a conviction, and a judge may or may not grant it.  Essentially, it is a special title, saying that the person presents a high risk to the public and should be locked up indefinitely.

    Many killers have gone received life sentences without the dangerous offender title, but many (violent) criminals have gotten the dangerous offender title without killing anyone.

    We also have ‘‘long term offender’’ designations, which are meant to keep someone on probation for a long time (up to 10 years).  These are usually reserved for sex offenders.

    So To The Probable Scenario In Canada

    If Knox, Sollecito and Guede had committed this crime in Canada, all of the following conditions would probably apply:

    • They would be arrested, would have to be informed why, and could contact an attorney as soon as they reached the police station

    • Because the murder happened during a sexual assault, while Meredith was restrained, it would be 1st degree murder

    • Because of the sexual assault and restraint, premeditation would not be necessary to prove 1st degree murder

    • They could apply for bail (before a J.P.), but under the circumstances, would likely be denied

    • They could appeal to a judge for a review of the bail, but again, would likely be denied

    • Because of the serious nature, the trial would be in the provinces Supreme/Superior Court

    • There is no fixed time before a trial would start.  Murder trials have been known to start 2-5 years after arrest

    • Defendants could testify against each other, and prosecutors could make deals with them

    • The kind of antics that went on in the 2009 trial would not be tolerated

    • The defendants could testify under oath, and be cross examined, but free statements are not allowed

    • If found guilty, all 3 would receive life sentences, and MUST serve 25 years before parole eligibilty.

    • There is ‘‘faint hope’’ which is parole after 15 years, but a murder like this would definitely not qualify

    • Because of the sexual assault component, they would be registered sex offenders for life

    • They would be prohibited from owning weapons for life

    • If any chose to appeal, it would go to the province’s Court of Appeals

    • They could apply for ‘‘Appeal Bail’‘, but it would likely be denied

    • If the Hellmann Appeal is any indicator, the appeal grounds are so weak the appeal would be dismissed

    • They could try the Supreme Court of Canada, and likely get declined


    In Conclusion

    This a brief overview of how criminal law works in Canada and how it could have worked in Meredith’s case. Quite smilar to the U.S., but then both systems are based on English Common Law.


    Complete Listings

    1st post appears here:  An Overview.

    2nd post appears here:  Public Mischief and Perjury

    3rd post appears here:  Bail, Extradition & Other Crimes

    4th post appears here:  Canada v.s. the U.S.A. (Part 1)

    5th post coming soon: Canada v.s. the U.S.A. (Part 2)

    6th post coming soon:  Canada and our Family

    7th post coming soon:  Loose Ends, and Reader Request


    Thursday, December 18, 2014

    The Dangers Of Not Extraditing Convicted Felons Labeled An Explosive Threat To Other People

    Posted by Peter Quennell



    Above: Sydney moslems leaving wreaths- for the non-moslems killed

    1. Lessons From Australia

    It looks like several Australian judges may have wrecked their careers for allowing Man Haron Monis to be at large even though police said he should be denied bail.

    Man Haron Monis was the former Iranian who took 17 hostages in downtown Sydney and caused the death of two others and himself. Coming to light is how many times previously the Australian justice system had treated him with kid gloves for major crimes.

    Reporting from NBC:

    Iran tried to extradite the gunman behind Sydney’s deadly hostage crisis years ago, Tehran’s top cop said, amid questions over how the self-styled cleric had found his way to Australia but not onto a watch list…

    Monis grew up in Iran as Mohammad Hassan Manteghi. In 1996, he established a travel agency, but took his clients’ money and fled, Iran’s police chief, Gen. Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam, told the country’s official IRNA news agency Tuesday.

    Australia accepted him as a refugee around that time. The police chief said Iran tried to have Monis extradited from Australia in 2000, but that it didn’t happen because Iran and Australia don’t have an extradition agreement.

    Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he wanted to know how Monis had been granted permanent residency and why he had been receiving welfare benefits for years, despite being able-bodied “if not necessarily of sound mind.”

    Monis had a gun licence, a rarity in Australia - and he walked free after being charged for writing letters of hate to families of dead Australian soldiers, and for having a hand in the killing of his wife.


    2. The Relevance Of This To Knox

    Regardless of extradition treaty situations, countries almost universally extradite convicted murderers. They dont want dangerous people to have another chance to cause deadly havoc in their own midst.

    Knox is already a felon for life. If Knox is confirmed guilty of murder next March she will be a DANGEROUS felon for life.

    The Italian-US extradition treaty gives a US judge no wiggle room other than to check if the paperwork is in order and then send her on her way.

    But another bent judge could again throw a spanner in the works.

    How dangerous is Knox?  Our psychologists generally think that, untreated,  she is not good news. Not a latent serial killer, or one who sits around and plots, but one who could again explosively hit back when she imagines or exaggerates slights.

    More than anyone in Perugia, Meredith tried to get along with Knox. But Knox showed no sign of a learning curve. The very heavy drug use went on, the sleeping with a drug dealer went on, the dirtiness and laziness around the house went on, and the noisy sex episodes with strangers through paper-thin walls went on.

    She really was the housemate from hell.

    For a month or two after Meredith died, Knox was highly erratic about her role in that death, and showed an extreme eagerness to talk with the prosecution which resulted in the long session with Dr Mignini on 17 Dec.

    In a move serially misinterpreted by the dimwits of the Knox brigade, the prosecution, suspecting she was both mixed up and high on hard drugs, in effect offered Knox and her team a way to a lesser count, when they said that the murder could have been a taunting attack which spun out of control.

    In her book, Knox describes how the family and lawyers worked hard on Knox to destroy all elements of trust. By the summer of 2008 she was in a mood of full-blown paranoid mistrust, and all chances of a lesser charge were gone.

    At trial in 2009 Knox was daffy and uncomprehending, making irrelevant interventions and really shooting herself in the foot when she took the stand. Raffaele Sollecito and Patrick Lumumba, almost the last two in Perugia to still give her the time of day, both said she was very odd.

    Knox was mentally tested in Capanne Prison and apparently scored high on the psychopathic chart. The four courts hardest on Knox all knew this - the Matteini court, the Ricciarelli court, Cassation, and the Nencini court - which was a major reason why Cassation did not allow bail in April 2008.

    Assuming she killed once, in what was an exceptionally barbaric attack, Knox may or may not kill again. She is certainly inciting or condoning a massive amount of dangerous hate toward Meredith’s family and toward the Italian officials of the court.

    One unhinged attack has already occured - that of the disturbed Michele Moore against Dr Mignini in the Perugia court - and the British resident David Anderson has screamed at meetings and runs an incessant campaign to stir up hate. Court officials have received messages of hate, and there is a small mountain of false and dangerous accusations against them on the web.

    Left untreated and unpunished, a convicted but not extradited Knox would be a killer walking loose on American streets and could continue to condone or incite violence for the rest of her life.

    If Knox killed and remains loose, could she kill again or cause others to kill? Any extradition judge needs to ask as the Australian judges did not:

    Do we REALLY want to find out?















    Friday, October 31, 2014

    Prime Minister Renzi’s Justice Reforms: One System-Change Need Strongly Suggested By Meredith’s Case

    Posted by Peter Quennell





    Prime Minister Renzi might be able to push some justice reforms through the Rome parliament.

    After all, it was not his pals that were being plagued with investigations and charges, it was ex-PM Berlusconi’s, and business is leaning on him.

    Those reforms being talked about (of a system which most Italians rightly feel proud of) seem to mostly involve economic efficiency. But it would be popular if a more-pro-victim tilt is also promoted.

    The only slight pro-victim tilt at present is the presence of a lawyer representing the victim at trial. Dr Maresca in fact is representing Meredith not her family, but this small tilt toward fairness drives the Knox crazies like Bruce Fischer even crazier. It also promotes the (illegal under the laws of all countries) stalking and harassment of Meredith’s family.

    A more-pro-victim tilt polls well in Italy. A clear majority of the population would like to see it. This post was about one of the fearless campaigners, a popular TV presenter who has written to us with thanks for siding with her.

    Surely introducing a hurdle to all those automatic appeals (unique to Italy) that so clog the court agendas and eat up judges’ time would be a good idea.

    Surely a really good idea, one which all of those tied up by the case in Italy and also many elsewhere would side with, is: No fast-track trial and automatically reduced sentence like Guede’s without a REAL confession and repentance.

    Our poster Popper explained (again) in comments here on 21 October what the law on fast-track trials is for the moment, and why Guede got no special breaks from anyone except the Italian system itself for not talking.

    [A deal with Guede? All such deals are illegal.] Not only illegal, impossible I would say, as not envisaged by the code for serious crimes, ie not practically possible, there are no exceptions ... in addition 1. a prosecutor cannot promise or decide anything in that system (even if it was a small crime for which plea bargain is possible, judge or court decides and can say no)  2. Mignini was not the PM responsible of the Guede appeal as the groupies should know if they had read the primary documents they publish on their, for the rest, useless website 3. Mignini got a life sentence for RG (decreased to 30 years for fast track discount) I do not believe he appealed this verdict, obviously.

    So as we said many times (I repeat for newcomers and for the benefit of people in good faith, FoA in bad faith know already) Guede got this reduction as the life sentence (with fast track discount 30 years, this is an automatic formula) became 24 years given the judges of appeal gave generic mitigations equivalent to aggravations, exactly as in the first instance and appeal trials of Amanda and Raffaele.  Once this factor is introduced, the base penalty for murder becomes 24 years (like Amanda and Raffaele) but there is, for Guede, the automatic reduction of 1/3 for the choice of the abbreviated trial.  Result is 16 years of prison.

    Amanda and Raffaele got from 24 to 28.5 and 25 for their other crimes in continuation, theft phones, simulation, transportation of a weapon, calumny to Lumumba (only Knox).

    Many might live more easily with the idea of Guede getting his sentence pared down to only 16 years in prison, if only he had been made to fess up properly about what happened and make a real bid to express sorrow and remorse to Meredith’s family.

    But his sticking point even now which the current law allows is that Meredith INVITED him in for sex and he was only a bystander to her murder.

    Wail at his callous obtuseness all you like, but he has only gone where the system itself points him. 

    Judge Massei had tried to punish him additionally by reversing Judge Micheli on primary blame and placing primary blame for the fatal attack on Guede.

    But that weird stretch didnt hurt him, his eventual sentence was unaffected, and it caused enormous problems down the road when Judge Hellmann was enabled to go even further and roll back the guilt of RS and AK entirely.

    This is a problem Judge Nencini then had to set about correcting, which never would have even existed had Guede been forced in 2008 to fully confess and repent, in exchange for his fast-track trial and reduced sentence.

    If the Italian system had forced Guede’s confession in 2008 as his part of the deal, how radically different would have been the history of this protracted process. And how radically different would have been the lives and peace of mind of Meredith’s family, left suffering now both financially and in health terms.

    It wasn’t meant to be, but in this respect Italy’s is a cruel system. Please, Prime Minister Renzi, correct it. Call it the Meredith Amendment.


    Thursday, October 30, 2014

    Why Numerous American JUDGES Favor The Supremely Neutral Italian Kind Of System

    Posted by Peter Quennell



    See that above at the bottom of the YouTube screen? Some $280 million has been spent since the year 2000.

    Can you guess what the $280 million was for?

    In fact the $280 million is funds raised and spent for judges’ election campaigns in the roughly 3/4 of all American states where such judges’ elections are held - the original intention of which was good: to get judicial choices out of smoke-filled rooms.

    Sitting judges and prospective judges themselves usually dont like this fundraising, because they have to take time off to raise these funds,  and pressures from donors - including bad-boy donors and in some cases defense lawyers seeking a break - can become extreme.

    We have posted previously on enlightened American lawyers favoring main aspects of the Italian kind of system and on American cities now doing the same. Now we see many American judges and public-interest groups inclining the same way.

    Why all judges in Italy are impartial and well-trained in the extreme (like all prosecutors) and dont have to keep their paws outstretched is that they are in a merit-based system where only their performance and not their politics counts.

    We described how Italian justice system officials have to jump hurdle after hurdle in getting their cases advanced. A very demanding process in which only the best succeed.

    It’s the same with their careers. They have to jump hurdle after hurdle in exams and peer assessment to advance from level to level - to make it as high for example as this revered prosecutor here.

    Do such serial defamers of the Italian system as Doug Preston and Steve Moore and ex-judge Michael Heavey bother to tell you this about the Italian system? Probably not. They have never been truthful about it before.


    Tuesday, September 09, 2014

    Italian Prime Minister Renzi Will Push Measures To Speed Up Justice

    Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





    In a move popular not least among those who are part of it Mr Renzi announces moves to speed up Italian justice.

    Italian justice and those who work in it are widely trusted and respected in Italy. But a very humane system designed post WWII to give those accused a level of rights unique in the world has been even further tilted over the years by politicians passing laws to aid political and business colleagues in legal trouble.

    Because there are now strong economic pressures, reforms may have a slim chance of parliamentary approval. In particular convicted perps’ automatic right to two levels of appeal for most crimes could be pared back more in line with the US and UK where a judge must decide if there are any real appeal grounds.

    Italian and US and UK lawyers among others have posted here on Italian justice about 40 times in the past six years. If you don’t have time for the full 40 these posts with some American comparisons provide good coverage of the key basics.

    1. Click here “They Were Held For A Year Without Even Being Charged!!” How Italian Justice REALLY Works

    2. Click here Why The Italian Judiciary’s Probably Less Prone to Pressure Than Any Other In The World

    3. Click here Why The Prosecutors In Italy Are Relatively Popular

    4. Click here Explaining How The Italian Appeals Process Works And Why It Consumes So Much Time

    5. Click here Italian Parliament Is Now Moving On A Bill To Speed Up Many Trials And Appeals

    6. Click here A Token Balance In The Italian System: The Voice In The Court For The Victim

    7. Click here Compared To Italy, Say, Precisely How Wicked Is The United States?

    8. Click here Interesting Tilts Of Marcia Clark And Alan Dershowitz Against US’s Non-Professional Jury System

    9. Click here The Terrible Weight On The Victim’s Family Because The Italian System Is So Very, Very Pro Defendant

    10. Click here Italy’s Advanced, Effective, Humane Law & Order System Also Adopted By City Of New York

    11. Click here Italy’s Unpopular Politicians And Mafia Fellow Travelers Against Italy’s Popular Justice System

    12. Click here The US Lacks Legal Authority To Decline To Deliver A Guilty Knox To Italian Authorities


    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

    Fine Report On One Of Numerous Cases Much Harder To Explain Than Poor Meredith’s

    Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





    Strange case indeed. Please click above and then scroll down for a smart presentation by the BBC.

    It shows how difficult police work can be, and how there really can be false confessions. Unfortunately, police work is not helped when there are false claims to false confessions.

    The 2009 trial transcripts show that Knox was definitely not pressed (in less than two hours, during which she was mostly making a list of seven possible leads) into a false confession (actually a false accusation of Patrick) like the examples here. 

    The capital of Iceland, Reykjavik, is to the west (in the position of eight o’clock on a map of Iceland) and the peninsula here is south-west of Reykjavik, in the United States direction.

    The BBC is a regular peruser of TJMK. To their great credit they recently aired the excellent, highly objective documentary by Andreas Vogt and Paul Russell on Meredith’s case.


    Friday, August 15, 2014

    Legal Timeline Of The Main Case, On Which The Next Ruling By Supreme Court Could Be Final

    Posted by catnip



    Cassazione (Supreme Court of Italy) seen from the east across the Tiber River


    Todays Status

    The Supreme Court is due to rule, possibly in the autumn, on what might be the final appeal by Sollecito and Knox on grounds which have not been published. Main steps prior to this:

    November 2007

    Meredith Kercher is found violently killed in her home while studying abroad in Italy. Her housemate, Amanda Knox, and Amanda’s friend Raffaele Sollecito, as well as Amanda’s boss, Patrick Lumumba, are arrested. A fourth person, Rudy Guede, is tracked down and also arrested. Patrick Lumumba’s alibi is confirmed and he is released.

    December 2007, January 2008

    Due process hearings authorise the continuation of preventative custody for the suspects, on the grounds of flight risk and possibility of tampering with the evidence.

    October 2008

    Preliminary Hearing Court, Perugia, Micheli presiding ““ after investigations have completed, the committal hearing finds there is a case to answer and remands Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito to stand trial on the charges of :

      (A) aggravated murder in company of Meredith Kercher
      (B) illegal transport of a knife from Raffaele Sollecito’s apartment
      (C) aggravated sexual assault in company of Meredith Kercher (later folded into charge (A), on the grounds of being part of the same criminal event)
      (D) illegal profiting by possession, to wit: of a sum of money approx. €300 and of credit cards belonging to the victim, and her mobile phones
      (E) simulation of a crime, to wit: staging a break-in in Filomena Romanelli’s room
      (F) Amanda Knox, in addition, calunnia, for falsely claiming, knowing him to be innocent, Diya Lumumba also called “Patrick”, of being the author of the murder

    Rudy Guede is tried summarily “on the papers”, as he has requested the expedited trial procedure (“fast-track” trial) and is found guilty of charges (A) and (C), and not guilty of the theft, charge (D), and sentenced to life, automatically discounted to 30 years for choosing the expedited trial procedure.

    December 2009

    On appeal to the Court of Appeals, Perugia (4/2009, on 22 December 2009), his sentence is reduced to 24 years, automatically discounted to 16 years, the aggravating factors of the charges not being found by the court. His final appeal, to the Supreme Court of Cassation, First Criminal Section, is rejected (7195/11, hearing of 16 December 2010, reasons handed down 24 February 2011).

    December 2009

    Court of Assizes, Perugia, presided over by Massei ““ finds Amanda and Raffaele guilty of all charges (except the theft of the money and credit cards) but without the aggravating factors applying, and sentences them, with mitigating factors included, to 26 years for Amanda, and 25 years for Raffaele (the extra year for Amanda being for the calunnia).

    October 2011

    Court of Appeals of the Court of Assizes, Perugia, presided over by Hellmann (after a last-minute replacement) ““ trial convictions quashed, except for the calunnia charge against Amanda (charge (F)), where sentence was increased to time served (3 years); both prisoners released (4/2011, decision 3 October 2011, reasons handed down 5 December 2011).

    March 2013

    The Supreme Court of Cassation (25/3/2013) found the acquittals on charges A&C, B, D, and E to be unsafe, and annulled that part of the decision, remanding the matter to the Florentine jurisdiction, as per the usual cascade rules, for a fresh determination, and rejected Amanda Knox’s appeal on the charge (F) conviction and sentence.

    January 2014

    Court of Appeals, Second Chamber, Florence, presided over by Nencini ““ trial convictions on the non-calunnia charges upheld, therefore sentence increased to 28 years and 6 months for Amanda (11/13, decision 30 January 2014, reasons handed down 29 April 2014). All convicted parties to pay the relevant compensation to the various injured parties. Appeals to the Supreme Court of Cassation have been lodged.

    Associated Timelines

    See the posts here and here on the timing of events arrived at by the trial judges.


    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

    How Claims By Perpetrators & Their PR That THEY Are Victims Get Equal Pushback

    Posted by Peter Quennell



    [Florence prosecutor Giambartolomei will soon confront many false claims ]


    To the considerable pain of victims and their loved ones, Italy’s has become one of the most pro-defendant justice and penal systems in the world.

    That doesn’t mean that it has become a complete pussycat. Push it, and it usually pushes back harder in its search for the truth. And the quality Italian media goes along. 

    Time and again the ill-conceived short-term PR and legal tactics for Knox and Sollecito based on a hurricane of lies have left them in terms of the ultimate end-game worse off than they were before.

    Judge Matteini and Judge Micheli (the judges in 2008) both took firm lines with the copious evidence and the psychological tests of AK and RS in front of them.

    Both judges took a line as firm as the prosecution (as firm as the “evil Mignini”) in concluding that there was a drug-fueled hazing escalating to murder with sexual aspects (however short the timescale of the intent).

    [Ed note: See comment by Yummi below which explains the above a little differently. PQ.]

    Though his panel of judges voted unanimously for guilt, Judge Massei in 2009 did take a somewhat less firm line in the sentences, after observing one daffy defendant and one very nervous defendant sitting in front of him for nearly a year. Judge Massei for no especially convincing reason

    (1) pinned the initiating of the attack on Rudy Guede (really?!) and

    (2) handed Knox and Sollecito (and thus Guede) quite a break with his supposed “mitigating circumstances” (the duvet over Meredith’s body) resulting in 20 years lopped off their combined sentences.

    Both the defenses and the PR were weak and largely futile in that year. But come 2010 the dirty tricks moved into overdrive.

    Cassation reverted to the firmer line in January 2011 when it ruled on Guede’s final appeal: Guede was a party to the murder, but copious evidence proved he did not act alone. 

    The Hellmann appeal court and DNA consultancy and verdict of 2011 were corrupted (counter-measures are still quietly playing out) which fully explains its startling soft line.

    Thereafter the Italian courts observed the illegal blood-money binge with the essentially fictional books of Sollecito and Knox, and two years of them each claiming to ill-prepared interviewers “we’re the real victims” on TV.

    Cassation observed all of this, annulled the corrupted Hellmann court verdict, and issued instructions in June 2013 to the Florence appeal court to ensure that the firm line should be maintained. Unsurprisingly, we have seen a firm line from the chief prosecutor (Crini) and a seeming firm line from the lead judge (Nencini) in recent weeks.

    In the rest of this year Italy will see at minimum these events where the court’s firm line will go on and the babbling and unhelpful legal and PR tactics may finally dry up.

      1) RS and AK continuing to babble for a while on TV as they each dig the other one deeper. Sollecito has just said that his saliva or sneezing may explain why his DNA was on the clasp of the bra.

      2) The sentencing report of Judge Nencini is due at the latest on 30 April and he seems likely to give space to rebuttals of any bizarre new claims made by Knox and Sollecito before 30 April like the one just above. 

      3)  The obstruction of justice trials of witness Luciano Aviello and incessant meddlers Mario Spezi and Frank Sforza will continue, probably though into 2015. Each of those trials could result in others (like Spezi ally Doug Preston and Sforza allies Bruce Fischer and Steve Moore) being declared at minimum persons of interest if not actually charged.

      4) Florence prosecutor Giambartolomei Firenze (image above) may soon be announcing which passages in Sollecito’s book Honor Bound criminally defame Italian officials or deliberately miscontrue hard facts in evidence in an illegal attempt to to poison public opinion against the court.

      5) Similarly soon after on Amanda Knox’s book with the surreal title Waiting To Be Heard (and on Knox articles and interviews in Oggi) by the chief prosecutor in Bergamo. 

      6) Cassation’s First Chambers should be the one to handle Knox’s and Sollecito’s final appeal. They handle murder cases and they issued the guidance to Florence in 2010.

      7) If so, they should take note of such revelations by way of Judge Nencini’s and Prosecutor Crini’s reports; and this next autumn or winter may finally declare a firm “confirmed guilty” final-appeal outcome and invite Knox to come back.

    And when prosecutor Giambartolomei Firenze announces which claims are radiocative, hopefully a major hush will come over Heavey, Fischer, Bremner and Moore.


    Friday, February 21, 2014

    The US Lacks Legal Authority To Decline To Deliver A Guilty Knox To Italian Authorities

    Posted by TomM



    [Rome airport; exceedingly rare for those convicted of Italian crimes not to be sent back via here]


    The reporting on this case has, with few exceptions, been poor.

    Recent reporting on whether the US would extradite Amanda Knox continues that tradition, ranging from assertions that “sources” within the State Department say they would never extradite her, to claims that the risk of extradition is real, but that the Secretary of State has the discretion to refuse to extradite.

    If the Secretary of State actually has this discretion, it must be grounded in the law.

    That means it must be found in the Constitution, or in an act of Congress, or in a treaty—all of which constitute the “law of the land”.  Beyond authorizing the President to make treaties, with the consent of two thirds of the Senate, the Constitution sheds no further light.

    The only act of Congress dealing with extradition of US citizens is Title 18, United States Code, section 3196; a bit of background first.

    There is no uniform US extradition treaty.  Each treaty is separately negotiated with the other sovereign nation.  Historically, many of the treaties entered into by the US contained clauses providing that neither country was obligated to extradite its own citizens.

    Notwithstanding this, the US had extradited US nationals on the basis of discretion to extradite even though extradition was not required by the language of the treaty.  But in 1936 the US Supreme Court held that if the treaty does not “obligate” the requested party to extradite its own citizens, the Secretary of State does not have the discretion to deliver the person sought to the requesting country.  [Valentine v. United States ex rel. Neidecker 299 U.S. 8]

    In 1990, Congress passed 18 U.S.C § 3196, captioned “Extradition of United States citizens:”

    “If the applicable treaty or convention does not obligate the United States to extradite its citizens to a foreign country, the Secretary of State may, nevertheless, order the surrender to that country of a United States citizen whose extradition has been requested by that country if the other requirements of that treaty or convention are met.”

    That is the full extent of Congressional action on extradition of US citizens; there is no Congressional grant of discretion to the Secretary of State to decline extradition in the face of a treaty obligation.

    Some US extradition treaties contain clauses that give the requested country the discretion not to extradite its own citizens; perhaps that is where the idea that the Secretary of State has discretion not to extradite Knox comes from.

    Here, for example, is a clause from the US-Sweden treaty:

    “There is no obligation upon the requested State to grant extradition of a person who is a national of the requested State, but the executive authority of the requested State shall, subject to the appropriate laws of that State, have the power to surrender a national of that State if, in its discretion, it be deemed proper to do so.”

    The treaty with Italy is short (ten pages) and written in plain language.  The treaty has commences with Article I, captioned “Obligation to Extradite”:

    “The Contracting Parties agree to extradite to each other, pursuant to the provisions of this Treaty, persons whom the authorities of the Requesting Party have charged with or found guilty of an extraditable offense.”

    The cover letter of the Secretary of State to then-President Reagan explains:  “Article I obligates each State to extradite to the other, in accordance with the terms of the Treaty, any persons charged with or convicted”¦”. (emphasis added)

    There are mandatory grounds for refusal, such as political or military acts, double jeopardy (if the person sought has already been tried by the requested State for the same offense), or if the prosecution or penalty is time-barred in the requesting State.

    There is just one discretionary ground: if the country requested is also prosecuting the person sought for the same act.

    Article 4 provides:

    “A Requested Party shall not decline to extradite a person because such a person is a national of the Requested Party.”

    Thus, any discretion to deny extradition implied by 18 USC 3196 has no application to requests made under this treaty.  Further, although some appellate cases have treated some issues regarding extradition of nationals differently, they fairly firmly hold to the difference in the meaning of mandatory words like “shall” and “obligate” on the one hand, and discretionary or permissive words like “may”.

    Comments to the effect that the US has declined extradition to Italy in the past are superficial and uninformed.

    The first illustration such commentators cite is that of the Air Force pilot who severed a ski lift cable, causing multiple deaths.  That was not an extraditable offense under the treaty because of double jeopardy; the pilot had been court martialed.  Although his acquittal enraged Italians, the pilot had already been tried by the US, and thus his case fell under the mandatory ground to denial of extradition specified in the treaty.

    The other example mentioned is that of the CIA operatives who were prosecuted in absentia for the abduction of Abu Omar in Milan.  The Italian Minister of Justice refused, during both the Berlusconi and Prodi administrations, requests of the Milan court to commence extradition proceedings.  In Italy, the courts and the government are independent, and the courts lack power to compel government to make a request for extradition.

    Even if the Italian government had made an extradition request, there is at least a colorable argument to be made that this was in the nature of a military act in the US war on terror, thus constituting a mandatory ground of refusal.

    Thus, if Italy requests the extradition of Amanda Knox, the US lacks legal authority to decline to deliver her to Italian authorities.  If the US government wants to avoid extraditing her, it will have to rely on diplomacy rather than law.  In other words, it will need to convince the Italian government not to make an extradition request in the first place.



    Wednesday, February 05, 2014

    Italy’s Unpopular Politicians And Mafia Fellow Travelers Against Italy’s Popular Justice System

    Posted by Peter Quennell


    [Above and below: several of over 100 car bombings Italian police and prosecutors were killed in]

    1. On The Pro-Justice Side…

    This puts the faux Nencini “end-of-civilization-as-we-know” crisis into some sensible context.

    The Italian system doesn’t exactly come out badly compared to say that of the US. Surprise, surprise: See here who agrees.

    Comparatively speaking, Italy has a much lower crime rate than the US, a much lower murder rate, a highly professional un-elected police hierarchy, a much smaller court system, and a miniscule number of prison cells.

    The mafias are now mostly backed into small pockets..

    For reasons to do with Italian history pre-WW II the system keeps politicians very much at arms length.

    Almost every other justice system in the world comes under the Prime Minister’s or equivalent’s control, and it his or her party that appoints the judges. The Italian system comes under the separately-elected and non-partisan President of the Republic.

    All judges and all prosecutors follow a career path laden with checks and balances, learning exercises and tests. (At this the highly-competent and impartial Dr Mignini excels and he will soon be the attorney-general of a region.)

    The system is extremely pro-defendant - probably the most pro-defendant in the whole world. See this article and this article for proof.

    The number of Italians who are in prison at any one time is proportionally only about 1/5 that of the United States. Take a look.

    It is not like everyone in Italy is impatiently waiting for the fatuous posse of Preston, Heavey, Fischer & Moore to turn up and save them from themselves. There is no problem there.

    Our Italian poster Machiavelli (Yummi) who reported for us on the Cassation and Nencini appeals has assembled these facts on what the Italian population actually thinks. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    More evidence of this popularity.  And even more.

    2. On the Anti-Justice Side

    In the past decade both corrupt politicians and the mafias have been remorselessly rolled back.

    The Perugia Prosecutor-General’s Office being close to Rome and notoriously hard to bend was given national jurisdiction over the corruption of the 2006 Winter Olympics and the 2010 rebuilding following a huge earthquake.

    The Florence Prosecutor-General’s Office being close to Rome and notoriously hard to bend was given national jurisdiction over the corruption of the contracts for the high-speed rail links that pass through Florence and on.

    But attempts of corrupt politicians and others to meddle in this case go on and on and on.

    Knox and Sollecito may think it is for pure love of them. Think again. There are unsavory parties on the anti-justice bandwagon who if it suited them would disappear Knox and Sollecito in the blink of an eye.

    Politics played a part in ex-MP Rocco Girlanda, a Berlusconi poodle, accessing Capanne Prison multiple times to slobber over Knox. As a member of the Justice Committee under former Berlusconi-party MP Giulia Borngiorno’s sway (hows THAT for a conflict of interest?) Girlanda (1) petitioned the President for Knox, (2) tried to cut the national police wiretap budget, (3) tried to get Perugia prosecutors investigated, (4) repeatedly appeared on TV and in other media to make false allegations, and (5) chaired several US/Italy “liberation” meetings.

    Sollecito lawyer Giulia Bongiorno has been wearing her member-of-parliament hat to stir up the (essentially toothless) Ministry of Justice against Judge Nencini. And to try to get the Council of Magistrates to give her client a break (Good luck with that - they wont move.)

    The mafia backseat drivers (known about in Italy but not reported in the US) are there in a minor but pervasive way. Their roles were summarised in several places including this post here.

    It is odd, to say the least, to see such self promoting reformers of the Italian system as Preston, Heavey, Fischer and Moore happily carrying water for the mafias.

    So What We May Expect

    Judge Nencini is a seasoned mafia fighter, and he is also a seasoned fighter of politicians who are corrupt and try to bend the system their way. But his record is very clear. Attack him for murky end - and he does not exactly back down.

    From the point of view of Sollecito’s prospects, this faux storm looks like another huge wrong move.


    Saturday, January 25, 2014

    How Many Extraditions Do The US And Italy Refuse? Approximately Zero, When It’s To Each Other

    Posted by Peter Quennell



    [Ex-fugitive Florian Homm above and below in front of his palatial Mallorca Spain home]


    The State Department and FBI collaborate more closely with their Italian counterparts than with almost any others in the world.

    Italy is a very loyal political ally to the US and has helped out a lot diplomatically and militarily around the world. The FBI and their Italian counterparts in Rome have officers permanently embedded from one another and there are dozens of transactions going on all the time..

    Extraditions both ways take place without fuss at the rate of a few a year, which the State Department and Justice Department are not inclined to fight. A couple of weeks ago, the Supreme Court in Rome declined the final appeal of fugitive swindler Florian Homm and sent him on his way to the US.

    Homm had many millions to pay top lawyers to fight his extradition case. But he still lost.

    The only extradition requests from Italy the US doesnt fulfill are the CIA kidnaping in Milan and Air Force Dolomites case.

    It is the CIA and Pentagon overtly or clandestinely exercising special military privileges that is the cause of the two standoffs. NOT the Department of State, which has made clear it is not too thrilled.

    Contrary to broad confusion in the US (fed by biased stories from Colleen Barry of the Associated Press) the Florence appeal is not a second or third trial of Knox.

    It is a FIRST appeal, actually filed by Sollecito and Knox, on the same lines as any American first appeal, after the previous Hellmann appeal was furtively bent, and then scathingly annulled.  Knox has been in provisionally guilty status since late in 2009.

    So double jeopardy absolutely does not apply.

    The one REAL difference between this appeal and any American appeal, which seems over Colleen Barry’s head, is that this appeal request was automatically allowed. Any American appeal judge (except Heavey, who serially gets the hard facts wrong) would have thrown the flimsy appeal grounds out.

    It may take up to a year, if Amanda Knox chooses to waste more big bucks on lawyer fees -  their batting record for that is pretty dismal so far, though, and a confirmed-guilty verdict in Florence next week might be only the start of more legal strife. False claims in her book will soon see her back in court.

    But it seems 100% likely that Italy will “get their man”. To a rapidly increasing number of Americans, Italy’s gain would also be the US’s gain.



    Friday, December 06, 2013

    After 6 Years Heavey Is Still Heedless Of His Errors Pointed Out Again & Again & Again

    Posted by pat az




    1. Overview of this post

    Michael Heavey has a considerable record of interventions that seriously mislead.

    He makes false claim after false claim after false claim. Often corrected, he heedlessly gravitates no closer to the truth.

    This post corrects a misleading and dishonest letter from Heavey to President Obama copied to Congress of 16 May 2011.

    1 Misleading interventions in 2008

    During this year Heavey (then still a judge, though one who was merely elected - nothing compared to the rigorous process Italian judges must go through) sent three erroneous open letters (posted on the web and widely copied) to senior justice officials in Italy about the case.

    TJMK posted on the errors in December 2008.

    2 Misleading interventions in 2009

    By way of interviews in the media, Heavey continued his campaign. He has claimed that his motives really are noble: in effect, Knox could have been his own daughter, though his daughter has distanced herself from this campaign.

    3 Misleading interventions in 2010

    One of the 2008 letters to Italy was sent on official judicial letterhead, as if he was speaking for the State of Washington. In 2010 the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct disciplined Heavey although it was only for an illegal use of the official letterhead, not for wrong claims.

    The initial announcement was posted on here. The details of the charges were posted on here. The disciplinary penalty was posted on here.

    4 Misleading interventions in 2011

    In April 2011, one month prior to his misleading letter,  Heavey was a droning presence on a panel before an audience of 35 at Seattle University. His familiar talking points were again repeated.

    It is cross-posted from my own website here.  Links to previous posts about Heavey on TJMK for the period 2008 to 2011 appear at the bottom of this post.

    2. The 16 May 2011 letter to President & Congress

    On May 16, 2011, Judge Heavey (now retired) apparently sent US President Barack Obama a letter regarding the Amanda Knox case. 

    This document was retrieved from the King5.com news site under a search result for “Amanda Knox.” The subject of Judge Heavey’s letter was “Re: Failure of Rome Consular Officials to protect the rights of U.S. Citizen Amanda Knox.”

    The new Heavey letter was written on letterhead “From the chambers of Judge Michael Heavey.” The address given is his house address.






    The Judge charged that the State Department absolutely failed to look out for the rights of Amanda Knox. Nowhere in the letter does Judge Heavey actually address any of the evidence in the case.

    Ten times in his letter, he charges consular officials failed to take action when they should have.

    However, many of his points are false or misstate the events. In many instances, Judge Heavey is proven wrong by statements from Amanda Knox herself.

    This letter, full of errors, was carbon copied to Members of Congress AND the Secretary of State (at the time, Hillary Clinton).

    These mistakes would have known at the time Judge Heavey wrote his letter by using the interviews and documents available at that time.  This did not stop Judge Heavey from writing an error-laden letter to the President and Congress. These errors are detailed below.

    Additional signatories to the letter (on letterhead from “from the chambers of Judge Michael Heavey”) include Friends of Amanda representative Thomas L. Wright, and author of “The Framing of Amanda Knox” Dr. Mark C. Waterrbury.






    Judge Heavey had been admonished for using court resources and stationary as a part of his advocacy in the Amanda Knox case, as well as his public speeches while he was a sitting judge. 

    The admonishment only covered the letters written to Italian court officials and prosecutors, using court stationary and court staff. The letter he apparently sent to Obama and congress was not included in the admonishment.

    The following is a point by point review and rebuttal of the by-now admonished Judge Heavey’s Letter to President Obama and Congress

    1. False brutal interrogation claims

    The letter opens up with a summary of the argument- that this case was a prosecutor’s vendetta against Amanda Knox, and that her rights were violated, and Consular officials did nothing. The letter is arranged as a series of points, which are discussed below.

    Judge Heavey writes: “Amanda Knox was arrested for the murder of her roommate after an all-night interrogation [...]. The Perugian Police denied her food and water, cuffed her on the back of the head, and, most importantly, prevented her from sleeping.”

    However, Amanda Knox was not the one called into the station. Raffaele was; and they went right after having dinner!

    A UK based paper had published the day before an article with quotes from Raffaele. Raffaele said he and Amanda went to a party on the night of the murder. Police were likely calling in Raffaele due to the conflicting stories.

    Amanda’s “interrogation” didn’t start until at least 11pm. Police have testified she was offered food and water. She went to sleep after signing her second statement, at 5:45 am. There was a break between signing her first statement at 1:45 am and signing her second statement (after being warned by Dr Mignini to say nothing further without a lawyer) at 5:45 am.

    Here is Amanda Knox:

    “Around 10:30pm or 11pm Raffaele and I arrived at the police station after eating dinner at the apartment of one of Raffaele’s friends. It was Raffaele who the police called, not me, but I came with him to the Questura anyway while he was to be questioned for support, as he had done for me many times.” -Amanda Knox, letter to lawyers, 9 Nov 2007

    “I signed my second “spontaneous declaration” at 5:45 AM [...]. I asked permissions to push two metal folding chairs together, balled myself into the fetal position, and passed out, spent. I probably didn’t sleep longer than an hour before doubt pricked me awake”¦ “  -Amanda Knox, Waiting to be Heard

    To this day, Raffaele Sollecito has not corroborated Amanda Knox’s alibi in court.

    2. False no-lawyer claim

    Judge Heavey writes: “When a witness becomes a suspect, the police are obligated to appoint a lawyer”

    Knox was not a suspect and the interview was merely a recap/summary session with someone who might have information as the defenses themselves agreed. Knox herself twice declined a lawyer before insisting on writing three statements out.

    Prosecutor Mignini was interviewed by CNN ten days before Judge Heavey wrote his letter. In the interview, Mignini describes the questioning of Amanda:

    “And thus her interrogation as a person informed of the facts was suspended by the police in compliance with Article 63 of the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure [c.p.p. - Codice di Procedura Penale], because if evidence appears that incriminates the person, the person being questioned as a person informed of the facts can no longer be heard, and we must stop. “Everyone stop! There must be a defense attorney [present]”. And thus the police stopped and informed Amanda” -

    Prosecutor Mignini, CNN interview, May 6 2011 (Ten days prior to Judge Heavey’s letter)

    Thus, it was known on national television in the US what the sequence of events was. This did not stop Judge Heavey from writing an error-laden letter to congress.

    3. False no-recording claim

    Judge Heavey writes: “Article 141 of the CCP requires that every interrogation of a person in custody (for any reason) must be fully recorded by audio or audiovisual means”

    However, Amanda Knox was not in custody during her questioning on Nov 5th & 6th. She was not a suspect, and this was not a suspect interview. She merely eagerly listed seven names. She was only at the station because Raffaele was called:

    “It was Raffaele who the police called, not me, but I came with him to the Questura anyway while he was to be questioned for support, as he had done for me many times. “

    -Amanda Knox, Letter to Lawyers, 8 Nov 2007

    4. False no-interpreter claim

    Judge Heavey writes: “Amanda spoke little Italian, yet was not allowed to have an interpreter to assist her with understanding the questions put to her, the charges against her, or anything else.”

    Two sources refute Judge Heavey’s point- official court records of the questioning, and Amanda Knox’s own statement on trial and in her book:

    From Court documents

    “...assisted by the English-speaking interpreter Anna Donnino” -Signed 1:45 AM statement.

    “....assisted by the English-speaking interpreter Anna Donnino” -Signed 5:45 AM statement.

    And from Amanda Knox:

    November 2nd: “”¦they brought in an english-speaking detective for hours two through six.”  -Waiting to be Heard

    November 4th: “AK: So, it seems to me that Laura and Filomena were there, but they had arrived with other people, while I was in the car with the police and an interpreter, that’s it.” -Trial Testimony

    November 5th/6th: “The interpreter, a woman in her forties, arrived at about 12:30 A.M.” -Waiting to be heard

    5. False vengeful prosecutor claim

    Judge Heavey simply engages in a character assassination of Prosecutor Mignini:

    “[...] Mignini was well known in Italy for a bizarre theory [...] under investigation for abuse of office [...] previously driven American journalist, Douglas Preston out of Italy[...]”

    Judge Heavey, Dr. Waterbury, and FOA representative Thomas Wright conclude point five with:

    “Consular officials knew Mr. Mignini was prosecuting Amanda Knox. They knew he had been charged with abusing his office. They knew of the bizarre theory that he pursued, from which the charges arose. They also knew he was under tremendous pressure to achieve some vindication to save face. Why did consular officials do nothing?”

    The trumped-up charges against Prosecutor Mignini pursued by a rogue prosecutor ad rogue judge in Florence were overturned by the Florence appeal court and sacthingly roasted by the Supreme Court. Dr Mignini (now Deputy Attorney General for Umbria) was under no pressure at all. See this post here.

    6. False satanic myth claim

    Heavey and others raise the satanic ritual myth quoting Prosecutor Mignini as stating at the October preliminary hearing, “the crime was a sexual and sacrificial ritual in accordance with the rites of Halloween.”

    The ONLY source for this quote is a defense lawyer for Sollecito who made it up. Judge Heavey then turns around and uses this metaphor himself:

    “these and other statements should have shouted to consular officials that Amanda was a defendant in what had become a witch trial, being prosecuted by a delusional prosecutor. Why did consular officials do nothing?”

    7. False US Embassy claim

    Despite Heavey’s claims, US consular officials WERE monitoring the case, as revealed in FOI-released documents requested by journalist Andrea Vogt. She released these documents in a May 2013 post on her website.

    This is clear: consular officials regularly visited Knox and tracked case developments. The following diplomats’ names appear on the cables: Ambassador Ronald Spogli, Deputy Chief   Elizabeth Dibble and Ambassador David Thorne, U.S. Embassy Rome.







    The US Embassy cables that were released were dated: Nov, 07; Dec 08; Feb 09; May 09; Aug 09; Nov 09; Dec 09. No other documents were released.

    Consular staff visited Amanda Knox on November 12 2007, and noted her lawyers had already visited with Knox.  The charges against Amanda Knox as stated by the US Embassy were:

      * Participation in Voluntary Manslaughter with aggravating circumstances of cruelty
      * Participation in sexual assault
      * Simulated robbery
      * Slander
      * Possession of weapons
      * Aggravated theft.

    Over four years from late 2007 to late 2011 we estimate that the US taxpayer paid $400,000 for the Embassy’s monitoring of Knox.


    Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    Differences Between Micheli, Massei, Hellmann and Nencini Courts Pointing To Almost Certain Outcome

    Posted by Peter Quennell





    What are the biggest differences? In fact the Supreme Court already pointed them out: science, scope, and balance.

    Judge Micheli, Judge Massei and Judge Nencini all have a very extensive criminal-case background. All three have handled many cases of murder, many cases against the mafia, and many cases involving criminal science. All three have remarkable success records and have hardly ever been overturned on appeal. 

    Judge Hellmann and his court are the extreme outliers. Until forced into early retirement by the Council of Magistrates, he had been a (quite good) business judge. His one major criminal case, years ago, had led to a farcical outcome, and he was ridiculed for this at the time.

    Cassation made it very clear that he simply did not reflect a knowledge of the precise Italian law on scope and balance at the appeal level, and that he mishandled the science. In fact, as he actually said, the reason he appointed two independent DNA consultants was that he was at sea on the science.

    That left Judge Hellmann’s panel of judges like a rudderless ship, bereft of the kind of good guidance from the lead judge on science, scope, and balance that comes only from many years of experience.

    Which, given a level playing field, the pathbreaking Italian system enforces competently like almost no other.

    Above all as the Hellmann Report makes extraordinarily plain, his court came to be swayed by the CSI Effect, with the help of two tainted consultants and probably the irresponsible Greg Hampikian in Idaho.

    The CSI Effect is a phenomenon very, very unlikely to happen in Judge Nencini’s court.  First, take a look at this good explanation of what the CSI Effect is in the Fox Kansas City video.



    Many crime shows such as the BBC mysteries and the Law & Order series and spinoffs show investigators solving their crimes in the old-fashioned way. Lots of witness interviews and alibi and database checking, and walking around and loose ends and lying awake at night puzzling. And often there’s a big stroke of luck. 

    But if you watch the very popular CSI Las Vegas series and its spinoffs in Miami and New York, and the various clones on other networks, you will see something very different indeed.

    When those shows first began airing worldwide in the late nineties, the producers explained that audiences increasingly appreciate learning something new when watching a show, and it is true, one sure can load up on the trivia.

    But you will also see the US equivalent of Dr Stefanoni and her forensic team in those shows, roaming far beyond the narrow crime scene, interrogating witnesses and checking alibis and finding a lot of non-forensic evidence, and even at times drawing guns.

    Most unreal is that, time and again, the forensic evidence testing is clearcut and takes just a few minutes and instantly clinches the case.

    • There are several articles like this one and this one on whether the Casey Anthony jury was affected by a shortfall in the starkness of the forensics when the behavioral evidence seemed so strong.
    • There are several articles like this one and this one on whether the appeal verdict outcome in Perugia might be affected in the same way.
    • There are many articles like this one and this one and this one and especially this one saying there is a tough added burden on investigators and juries without a commensurate improved outcome.

    With conviction rates declining in the US and Europe, professionals are taking a scientific look at whether the CSI Effect is one big cause of that decline.

    At the macro level in the US this writer doubted that the CSI Effect is fatally unbalancing takes on the wider evidence. The same conclusion was reached in this first major study at the micro level.

    But the belief in the CSI Effect continues. Articles like this one on an Australian site talk of a backlash against too many acquittals. Some articles like this one argue that maybe lay juries are out of their depths.

    And judges and prosecutions are taking countermeasures.

    In Ohio and many other states prosecutors and judges are acting against a possible CSI Effect in their selection and briefing of juries. And an NPR report came up with these findings.

    Some states now allow lawyers to strike potential jurors based on their TV habits. Judges are issuing instructions that warn juries about expecting too much scientific evidence based on what they see on TV.

    In the field, Shelton says death investigators sometimes run useless tests, just to show they went the extra CSI mile.

    “They will perform scientific tests and present evidence of that to the jury. Even if the results don’t show guilt or innocence either way, just to show the jury that they did it.”

    This is coming at a time when death investigators in America have no resources to spare. An investigation by NPR, PBS Frontline and ProPublica shows some states have already opted not to do autopsies on suicides, others don’t autopsy people who die in traffic accidents, and many don’t autopsy people who die over the age of 60.

    But Murphy, the Clark County coroner, expects things to get worse.

    “You know, we’re in budget cuts right now. Everybody’s in budget cuts. Las Vegas is no different than anybody else. We’re hurting. We’re going to feel that same crunch as everybody else,” he says.

    One of Zuiker’s great disappointments is that, for all its popularity, his fictional Las Vegas crime lab didn’t generate more political support to fund death investigation.

    “I’ve done my job. You know, we’ve launched three shows that cater to 73.8 million people a week and is a global phenomenon and the largest television franchise in history. We hoped that the show would raise awareness and get more funding into crime labs so people felt safe in their communities. And we’re still hoping that the government will catch up.”

    None of the science in Meredith’s case has ever been discredited in court. Even in Judge Hellmann’s court the agenda-driven independent consultants Conti and Vecchiotti failed - and under cross-examination admitted it.

    Also remember that the Hellmann court did not get to see two very key closed-court scientific presentations (the stark recreation of the attack on Meredith, in a day of testimony, and later in a 15 minute video) which had a very big balancing effect on the Massei court. 

    Right now the reputation of not one defense-campaign stooge who has attacked the science remains intact.

    Greg Hampikian has headed for cover. He had widely proclaimed that he clinched the Hellmann court’s outcome, in an act which may well have been illegal. Unsurprisingly, he is now trying very hard to hide his own claimed “proof ” of shortfalls in the science, as Andrea Vogt has been showing in her Boise State University investigation, and as we will soon post more on. 

    Saul Kassin is another defense-campaign stooge who falsely claimed that he clinched the Hellmann court outcome by “proving” a false confession by Knox - in an interrogation that never even took place.

    Despite all of this, maybe as straw-snatching, we can again see an organized attempt to confuse American opinion on the science of the case.

    Whether she did this intentionally or not, that is what the PR tool Colleen Barry of the Associated Press was doing when she omitted that the trace of Meredith on the knife is undisputed hard evidence.

    Judge Micheli and Judge Massei handled the science, scope, and balance with some brilliance. In all three dimensions Judge Hellmann fell short abysmally.

    What is your own bet on the outcome under the exceptionally experienced Judge Nencini?





    Parts of this post were first posted in 2011 after the disputed and much examined outcome of the Casey Anthony murder trial..


    Friday, October 25, 2013

    Questions For Sollecito: Do You Stand By Your Smear Of Reasonable Doubt In Italian Law?

    Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



    The Italian Supreme Court is seen here at rear-right with the Vatican in the foreground]


    How the tough questions for you only grow, and grow… We have 12 posts already in our questions for Knox series and 11 posts already in our questions for Sollecito series.

    We also have increasing confirmation that this thrust is paying off and is helping to meet a widespread felt need in the media. Ask Katie Couric, and Diane Sawyer, and the CNN legal talking heads, and the BBC, and an increasing number of others in the media.

    Today’s post returns, certainly not for the last time, to your wildly inaccurate book.

    1. What You Wrote in Honor Bound On Reasonable Doubt:

    Amond the absurd legal babble in your absurdly titled book Honor Bound this legal babble especially stands out.

    The meandering complexities of the Italian legal system, where speculation and hearsay are allowed to run rampant and time invariably slows to a maddening trickle, did little to help our cause. For reasons deeply embedded in the country’s history, the concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt scarcely exists in Italy, and the very notion of undisputed fact is viewed with suspicion, if not outright aversion.


    2. How Lawyer James Raper With Yummi Disagreed

    From their post last January before Cassation uttered its final word, which also takes to task Hellmann’s and Zanetti’s interpretation. 

    What he is implying (in a manner gratuitously insulting to the intelligence of his compatriots) is that were the above statement not true then he, and Amanda, would have been acquitted in the first instance.

    Oh, really?

    It seems that we are also being asked to believe that Sollecito and his ghostwriter, Gumbel, are historians of Italian jurisprudence. So, let’s quickly examine what substance there is to the claim.

    It will be seen that the concept of “reasonable doubt” is understood well enough in the courts of Italy, though unfortunately less well understood by the former Umbria Appeal Court judges Hellmann and Zanetti.

    Not only that but those two judges made pointed remarks at the outset of the appeal also garbling the concept, which were very disturbing. I shall look into that in a moment.

    Sollecito”˜s remark does have some context but it is wildly inaccurate and unfair. 

    We know that the Italian legal system is based on the inquisitorial system common to continental Europe, whereas the anglo-saxons amongst us are used to the adversarial system. It is also true that the specific expression “beyond reasonable doubt” was not introduced into the Italian criminal procedure code until 2006.

    It is Article 533 of the Criminal Procedure Code: “The judge pronounces sentence of conviction if the accused is guilty of the offence charged beyond all reasonable doubt.”

    Now let me defer to our Italian poster Yummi who can explain the historical context. He writes -

    The current Italian system is the result of a procedure code reform introduced in 1989. This reform introduced several features of the adversarial system into a new criminal procedure code. One of the features of the new code was the abolition of the “not proven” verdict. This factually had been working very effectively as the version of “reasonable doubt” in the Italian system.

    In an inquisitorial system the court is a council headed by professional judges and it’s task is not just to deliver a verdict, but to deliver a written rationale or dossier aimed to provide “a judicial truth”.  Typically “reasonable doubt” is a formulation coming from systems where juries do not issue a written rationale while systems that have motivation reports on verdicts usually don’t have it: it was commonly agreed that the absence of doubt should be understood from the rationale. Absence of doubt is not a quality that is inherent in the internal conviction of a juror, but instead is understood to be a feature of the logical proof provided by the written rationale. It was believed that the absence of doubt in the judge’s mind should be shown by the fact that a motivation report is logical.

    No Italian scholar would ever maintain that the “reasonable doubt” standard is a recent introduction in the Italian system.  Only the acknowledgement of it’s wording is relatively recent.  In the Italian system the formulation “reasonable doubt” was starting to be used explicitly in Supreme Court jurisprudence in the early nineties; a change of wording in honour of the adversarial reforms, but in fact a continuation of the long jurisprudence tradition of the “not proven” standard.”

    In fact in the adversarial system “beyond reasonable doubt” is really an instruction to the jurors that they must arrive at a certain evidentiary standard if they are to convict. Any system that would produce a “not proven” verdict would mean that the standard has not been met.

    In the adversarial system no written rationale for a verdict is required to accompany the verdict. That the Italian system retains this requirement is very much a safeguard for the accused as well as for the State both being thereby protected from perverse or capricious convictions or acquittals.

    Second here is Judge Zanetti at first appeal:

    The only certain and undisputed fact is the death of Meredith Kercher.

    So said Judge Zanetti on the opening day of the appeal. It was a statement that brought gasps of astonishment from those in court, particularly from the reporters present who deemed it to be an admission that reasonable doubt existed.

    In fact, of course, there were a lot of certain and undisputed facts. No one denied that there was evidence, most of it undisputed. What was disputed was the interpretation of that evidence.

    That, being so, why did not Zanetti say that? Clearly the remark was injudicious, and cogent only in its intended impact.

    What of the Massei Motivations Report one might ask? is it toast?

    That remark not only helped to set the tone for the entire appeal - what was said soon after by his senior colleague was even worse. 

    Compliance with article 533 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Judgement of conviction only if the defendant is guilty of the offence complained of beyond a reasonable doubt) does not allow (us) to share fully the decision of the Court of Assize of First Instance.

    (In Italian: il rispetto dell’articolo 533 del Codice di procedura penale (pronuncia di condanna soltanto se l’imputato risulta colpevole del reato contestatogli al di la ogni ragionevole dubbio) non consente di condividere totalmente la decisione della Corta d’Assize di primo grado”)

    That was said by Judge Hellmann on the third day of the appeal before even the evidentiary and discussion stage had opened. And thanks again to Yummi for the above quote.

    It seems that the presiding judge had felt compelled to expand upon his colleague’s stark opening remark but in doing so he had opened a can of worms. He had just made things even worse. Unfortunately the prosecution decided not to challenge the remark and the appeal proceeded. They should have done so.

    Article 533 relates to verdict. The verdict (to be) is not to be hinted at or discussed at the opening of any trial or appeal and certainly not as pointedly as this. So serious is this faux pas that I have it on good authority that the prosecution considered impeaching the presiding judge for incompatibility and incompetence. It seems that they did not because of the furore this might have caused and perhaps also because they were confident of the strength of the case in any event. In retrospect a grave mistake.

    What in fact was Hellmann saying? Let us consider.

    “Compliance with article 533.”¦..”¦does not allow us to share fully the decision of the Court of Assize of First Instance.” 

    I believe that what we see here is the first indication of the judges’ manifest misunderstanding of what should have been the correct approach to an evaluation of the evidence in the case and the application of the “reasonable doubt” standard.

    I do not intend to deal with that in any detail. It is set out cogently in the Galati appeal.

    Suffice to say that the “reasonable doubt” standard applies only to the culpability of the accused for the offence with which he/she is charged. Article 533 makes this abundantly clear and this is no different from how our own adversarial system deals with it. It is not a standard to be parcelled out to each item of evidence or inference drawn. That the appeal judges thought they could do (and did) precisely that is implicit in Hellmann’s remark.

    How can one not “share fully the decision of the lower court”?

    Hellmann could have said that he did not fully share the decisions of the lower court as regards each element of evidence rather than “the decision”, which can only be a reference to the actual verdict. But “the decision” is what he says, linking it specifically to article 533 where only the singular use of the noun would have any meaning. So on the face of it this can only be about the verdict of the lower court. And yet, how can one not fully share a verdict? A verdict cannot be parcelled out. One either agrees or disagrees with it.

    Despite it’s manifest inappropriateness, no doubt the remark was meant to acknowledge that there was some doubt about the validity of the verdict in their minds. Well at least that’s honest but in that case, was it not incumbent on them to specify what it was that concerned them? I would have expected that. True, it was already clear that the DNA on the knife and bra clasp, and Curatolo’s credibility, were specific issues, as they had allowed these to be examined, but beyond that there was no disclosure as to what other doubts on the evidence they had in mind. We know now from the Motivations that there were others and what these were ( Quintavalle and the staged break-in, just for example) - and I think it would be pretty disingenuous of them to pretend that they did not exist at the time.

    Already one sees elements of confusion, incompetence, mis-procedure, misleading the prosecution and coded messages (for the media and politicians?) to the effect that the appeal judges had already rationalized an acquittal in the appeal.

    And if, with their doubts, they had in fact done so then what, pray, was the point of :-

    1. Ordering a review of the DNA evidence on the knife and the bra clasp

    2. Re-hearing Curatolo

    3. Hearing from Aviello and Alessi

    “¦”¦other than that they were seeking that elusive “reasonable” element of doubt.

    It is almost as if the entire appeal was tailored to suit and a sham. It certainly looks that way in retrospect, particularly as the element of reasonable doubt still remains elusive on close examination.

    Yet it may just be that the appeal judges were just incompetent and that their incompetence (with the incompetent assistance of Conti & Vechiotti) infected the entire proceedings.

    We shall see what Cassation thinks of the garbling of this fundamental concept when the prosecution appeal is entertained on 25 March.

    3. How The Cassation Motivation Report Also Disagrees

    The Supreme Court doesnt buy your smear of Italian law either, though we doubt your book was a hot item there. The concept of “reasonable doubt” was fully respected in the Massei trial where your guilt was firmly established - and the concept was trashed by the unlamented Hellmann & Zanetti.

    This is from the Cassation report on the decision to annul the Hellmann appeal.

    2.2.3 “ Manifest lack of logic and inconsistency in the reasoning in reference to the use of the principle of reasonable doubt in sustaining the order of 18.12.2010. [According to the lawyers for the Civil Parties], the verdict of conviction beyond a reasonable doubt could have been reached even after the outcome of the expert report arranged for in the second instance trial, inasmuch as the examination of the circumstantial evidence ought to have been global and consistent, the hypothetical defect of any one of these being acceptable, provided that the remaining elements were ““ as they ought to have been deemed ““ sufficient to reach the required level of certainty, [29] since what is asked of isolated elements of proof being evaluated is that they display the credentials of correspondence with real events, at least with predominant probability. Proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt can rest on items of circumstantial evidence that are not all equally certain, that is, not all established with the same level of probability.

    So, Raffaele Sollecito, you jobless failure in all walks of life: would you care to correct all these fine lawyers?


    Saturday, October 12, 2013

    Involvement Of The Formidable Carabinieri Shows How Italian Justice Will Not Be Leaned Upon

    Posted by Peter Quennell





    Judge Nencini may have invoked the help of the Carabinieri for reasons going beyond simply very good science.

    Italy has among the world’s lowest crime-rates, murder-rates and incarceration-rates. Unusually low criminal and anti-social tendencies among native-born Italians, and strong family pride, explains a large part of this.

    But another main reason is the high-profile and exceptionally smart police presence. Deliberately a cool presence rather than a hot and intimidating presence, and in fact a very popular one.

    This has allowed for an extremely small court and prison system relative to the size of the population. These principles are now being adopted by of all places New York city.

    At its apex is the very well-trained well-funded well-equipped national force, the Carabinieri, about which, in response to a claim that was stupid even by Sollecito’s standards, our main poster Yummi remarked:

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

    Quite possibly the police force with the highest popularity rating in the world. In a recent email about the Carabinieri, Yummi also added the following:

    The Carabinieri are a very peculiar police corps. They are indeed a police corps, yet also are formally military; in fact, they have military battalions (elsewhere) and under all points of view they are an extreme elite-corps. As militariy they don’t answer directly to the government but to the President; and from their facilities, you may infer they are a pretty well-trained police force.

    They have the popular respect that the US’s FBI would probably like to have. (The two forces do co-operate very closely, and in fact they permanently exchange officers to work on their numerous common cases.)

    The only relationship prior to these lab tests of the Carabinieri to Meredith’s case was that Raffaele Sollecito’s sister Vanessa once worked there.

    She lost her job for some seriously foolish moves and her appeal to get back in to the Carabinieri was a failure.

    So. The Carabinieri. Of possible real significance now in Meredith’s case?

    The Carabinieri report directly to the President of the Republic. The President is also the ultimate head of the justice system, deliberately so as set out in the constitution to keep murky politics at bay. He also is wildely popular.

    Judge Nencini may be signaling that he wants Italy’s most respected institutions on the side of his verdict. And no more murky politics.











    Monday, September 09, 2013

    In English The Vital Supreme Court Rationale For the Hellmann Annulment And Florence Repeat Appeal

    Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




    On 23 June in his summary for English speakers our main poster Yummi started off as follows:

    On June 18. 2013 the Supreme Court of Cassazione issued the official rationale for the sentence of annulment of the Hellmann-Zanetti verdict.

    That verdict acquitted Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito on the charge of murder and sexual violence, while finding Knox guilty of the crime of calunnia (obstruction of justice by maliciously placing false accusation against a person you knew was innocent)....

    The 74-page motivation report states clearly that they “˜accept the points of the recourse’ from both the Prosecution and the Kercher parties, while they reject the Knox defense recourse.

    While you will realize it yourself in reading it, I can say in advance that what the Supreme Court points out in the appeal verdict is a pattern of manifest violation of an unprecedented gravity. All those I know in the law professions have never seen, throughout their professional lives, a Cassazione bashing portraying such a concentration of flaws in one verdict. 

    Mostly written by Judge M. S Caprioglio (possibly including parts by Judge Severo Chieffi) the document features a sophisticated Italian language and a formal style.

    This report has now been put into English by the same team on PMF that has already done so much to level the playing field which the defense forces have tried so hard to tilt by way of the fact that Italy speaks a different language. 

    The translators are the PMF posters and Italian speakers Catnip, Clander, Earthling, Jools, Popper, Skeptical Bystander, The 411, Thoughtful, Tiziano, TomM, and Yummi,

    Clander has posted the download link and covering notes here on PMF. Well done. A vital read.


    Below at front: some of the judges of the Supreme Court’s elite First Section with Dr Caprioglio at right]

     


    Thursday, June 20, 2013

    The Florence Palace Of Justice Where Sollecito And Knox Are Expected To Be Seen In Court Soon

    Posted by Peter Quennell



    This is a video of a recent light show. The soundtrack leaves something to be desired, but the huge new courthouse looks amazing at night.

    We posted previously here on the new Palazzio di Giustizia, which is one of Europe’s largest and most modern. It only came into full operation this year.

    It is reported today in UK newspapers that Knox and Sollecito have just been having a meeting in the vicinity of New York, maybe to sort out a common narrative once and for all. Our betting is that each will appear in the Florence court, not least to keep a close eye on the other and to attempt to warm the judges to themselves.

    However, their nasty and dishonest books have not made things any easier for them, and have led to a lot of negative reaction in Italy where they have been discussed on TV. It is easy to spot where in many places the two texts conflict, and also where (as demonstrated in the two post below) they also contradict many accepted well-documented facts of the case.

    Both books are being considered as substantial new evidence, and the prosecution will ask the appeal court if they can be included in.

    Both books are also being investigated, by the chief prosecutors in Florence and Bergamo for separate new felony charges, as they appear to constitute substantial lllegal attempts along with the internet vilification posted by the likes of Preston, Fischer and the Moores, to inflame and mislead public opinion during an ongoing legal process.

    The writers have also sought to undermine the officers of the court, by accusing them of serious crimes, again as illustrated in the two posts directly below. Many Italians and Americans with “relevant information” could be called to testify for the prosecution or the defenses. They will probably be asked to explain their own inflammatory campaigns and may face charges of their own. Again, Preston, Fischer and the Moores seem to have painted targets on their backs. 

    Results of both investigations, together with any new charges against Sollecito, Knox, and their entourages, should be made public well before the new appeal of Meredith’s case gets under way.

    If the two are indicted on new charges for the books, as expected, that will mean more to explain, more to try to harmonize upon, more goodwill lost, and more legal bills.

    If their Italian lawyers recklessly promoted these daft projects, as texts in the books themselves suggest, the lawyers could all face both contempt of court charges and malpractice suits from their clients.

    Nice work….


    Sunday, April 07, 2013

    Tip For The Media: In Fact Knox Extradition Is Likely To Be Readily Granted

    Posted by James Raper



    [[Above: a plane landing at Florence airport; most under arrest arrive via Rome airport]


    This is the latest in our many posts nailing the myths perpetrated by the pro-Knox campaign,

    We can already see that there is an attempt to generate a new myth in the media and on the internet.  This is that it is unlikely that Amanda Knox would be extradited to Italy. Talking heads appear by the dozen on US TV channel networks to say so. A plethora of internet articles add up to the same. They are all wrong, take it from me.

    However the fact that the subject is even under discussion is an indication that the implications of the Italian Supreme Court’s annulment of the Appeal verdict are sinking in, in some quarters at any rate. I am sure that what Ted Simon says for public consumption is very different from the advice which (assuming he has been asked) is rendered privately to Amanda and her family. If not then the family is being seriously misled as to Amanda’s prospects of avoiding extradition.

    There is, of course, an extradition treaty between the United States and Italy and it seems that the main issue as to whether extradition could take place would be Double Jeopardy.

    Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Professor of Law, has written a good piece.  Sensible articles like this have been a long time in coming but even he gets some of it wrong and cannot resist creating a little air of uncertainty.

    “Ms Knox would likely challenge any extradition request on the ground that she was already acquitted by the lower appellate court, so any subsequent conviction would constitute double jeopardy.

    That is when the real legal complexities would kick in, because Italian and American law are quite different and both will be applicable in this trans-national case involving a citizen of one country charged with killing a citizen of another country, in yet a third country.

    America’s extradition treaty with Italy prohibits the US from extraditing someone who has been “acquitted”, which under American law generally means acquitted by a jury at trial. But Ms Knox was acquitted by an appeals court after having been found guilty at trial.  So would her circumstances constitute double jeopardy under American law?

    That is uncertain because appellate courts in the US don’t re-try cases and render acquittals (they judge whether lower courts made mistakes of law, not fact). Ms Knox’s own Italian lawyer has acknowledged that her appellate “acquittal” wouldn’t constitute double jeopardy under Italian law since it wasn’t a final judgement - it was subject to further appeal, which has resulted in a reversal of the acquittal.

    This argument will probably carry considerable weight with US authorities, likely yielding the conclusion that her extradition wouldn’t violate the treaty. Still, a sympathetic US State Department or judge might find that her appellate acquittal was final enough to preclude her extradition on the ground of double jeopardy.”

    “Final enough”?”¦.hmmmmm. That doesn’t seem very legal language to me. And given the Italian three tier system how does one determine when an acquittal is final enough, other than at the end of it? Of course, if in doubt, the State Department or judge could read all the published court judgements in the case. That would help.

    On the other hand, perhaps Dershowitz should read the 1984 Extradition Treaty between the USA and Italy more carefully.

    Article VI states -

    Extradition shall not be granted when the person sought has been convicted, acquitted or pardoned, or has served the sentence imposed, by the Requested Party for the same acts for which extradition is requested.

    The Requested Party, in the case of a request for extradition from Italy, will of course be the United Sates.  Clearly this is no bar to extradition in the case of Amanda Knox as there has been no judicial process against her in the USA regarding the murder of Meredith Kercher .

    And for the avoidance of doubt jeopardy Article I states - “The Contracting Parties agree to extradite to each other, pursuant to the provisions of this Treaty, persons whom the authorities of the Requesting Party have charged with or found guilty of an extraditable offense.” So an offense shall be an extraditable offense only if it is punishable under the laws of both Contracting Parties by deprivation of liberty for a period of more than one year.

    (There are other circumstances under the treaty when extradition will not be granted, but these do not apply to Knox. They concern political and military offences.)

    Furthermore the 1984 Extradition Treaty recognizes (as do all such treaties) the validity and fairness of the contracting parties’ respective judicial systems. Such treaties would not be possible otherwise. The USA has already extradited its citizens (when it had to) to countries where, as here, an appeal acquittal has been overturned on further appeal, the original conviction has been re-instated, and the process then continues to another appeal. This is in recognition of the fact that in some systems the State has a right of appeal as well as the accused. What’s wrong with that?

    Is all of this likely to change on account of Amanda Knox?

    Imagine, for a moment, that Knox fights the request for extradition through the US courts and secures a landmark decision from the Supreme Court that the request is a violation of double jeopardy. At a stroke the US government will be forced to negotiate a raft of new unequal treaty rights and obligations with a number of foreign states that will feel insulted, nonplussed and humiliated by the slight to the reputation of their judicial systems. Some may refuse to do so, and this will more likely disadvantage the USA than the other way around. It would create an enormous mess in US relations with such states.

    I don’t think the Supreme Court would be that daft. It’s just not, given the circumstances, a runner.

    Neither would the State Department, for the same reasons, be that daft. It is under a treaty obligation, the extradition papers being in order, to (a) grant the request or (b) if the request is challenged in the courts, to hand the matter over to the Justice Department for it to be pursued there on behalf of the Requesting Party.

    The reality is that if Knox’s fresh appeal were to fail and the conviction were to be upheld finally by the Italian Supreme Court, then her opposing an extradition request from Italy through the US courts would be an exercise in futility, and an extravagant waste of legal costs that would cut deep into the alleged $4 million for her book.

    There would be nothing left for her after that, and after paying off Marriott and numerous other creditors waiting in the wings.


    Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 >