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Category: Justice systems

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.


Thursday, February 05, 2015

Justice System Comparisons #2: Tough Penalties In Common Law For Slander, False Accusations, Perjury

Posted by Chimera



Supreme Court Of Canada in the capital Ottawa

1. Overview Of My Multi-Part Series

My first piece on the ‘‘Canadian Perspective’’ of criminal law appears here.

That first article focused on an overview of Canadian law, and the punishments that would have been forthcoming coming for murder.  In the case of Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, and Rudy Guede, they would have been tried for first degree murder, as it happened during a sexual assault, and while the victim was restrained. 

Here are some key differences between Canada and Italy for such a murder case. In Canada:

  • First degree murder would be the charge, in this case no need to prove intent
  • The sentence for 1st degree is life, with the possibility of parole (which is for life), after 25 years
  • Unlike Italy, plea bargaining is possible, and happens frequently
  • During the trial, accused could only make statements under oath (and face cross examination)
  • An appeal to the Provincial Court of Appeals could be filed, but if baseless, would not be heard
  • A Supreme Court of Canada appeal would certainly not be heard if the first appeal was so weak
  • Skipping out on your trials (or appeals), would likely get your bail revoked
  • Leaving the country to go sunbathing, would likely get bail revoked on ‘‘risk of flight’’ grounds

And Canada would have been similar to Italy on these measures:

  • Bail, or ‘‘house-arrest’’ prior to trial would have been extremely unlikely
  • Giving interviews or media appearances while the case is open is VERY unwise
  • If convicted, they could make open statements at sentencing
  • Writing books or getting movie deals (cashing in), would not be permitted

This second post addresses all the other crimes and alleged crimes of Sollecito and Knox mostly to inflame public opinion to lean on the court.

I list first all of the crimes, then the relevant Canadian law, and finally the penalties Sollecito could have faced under that fairminded but firm law.

2. Slander, and False Accusations, and Perjury by AK and RS

1) Much has been made of the false accusation Amanda Knox made against Patrick Lumumba November 5th/6th, 2007.  The American media reported it as a false confession.  In one context they are correct, it was a confession in that it placed her at the scene, at the time of the murder.  However, since she claimed to witness someone else murdering Meredith Kercher, it was in fact a false accusation.  She knew all along Lumumba was innocent. That calunnia got Knox an additional year in prison from Judge Massei.

2) Not content with accusing a man decent enough to give her a job (despite her lack of a European work permit), Knox went further, and claimed she only said that she signed those statements because some officer (whom Knox much later names as Rita Ficarra), smacked her around.

3) In her December 2013 email to the Florence Appeal Court Judge Nencini, Knox goes so far as to refer to her mild questioning as ‘‘torture’‘.  This woman really doesn’t learn.

4) Knox still faces separate charges for the accusations against the police, operative when Judge Hellmann stunningly let AK and RS out.  Although, in a totally inexplicable move (one of many), Hellmann said the accusation was made under duress, not to mislead police—and then increased her calunnia sentence from 1 year to 3.

5) Knox and Solleito each published ‘‘memoirs’‘, Sollecito in September 2012 by Simon and Schuster, and Knox by HarperCollins in April 2013. The books made many claims of corruption, verbal and physical assault, incompetence, judicial fraud, and abuse of due process.  Too numerous to detail here, but TJMK has posted may times on them.  Again, Knox really doesn’t learn from her mistakes.

6) And her ‘‘Knife-Boy’’ drug/fuck-buddy doesn’t seem to learn either.  Both are facing new charges, and at the time of writing, Sollecito and his co-author (now mere ghost-writer??), Andrew Gumbel are facing hearings. Sollecito’s Dad Francesco admits the ‘‘deal’’ with prosecutors to turn on Knox never happened.

7) Knox appeals to the European Court of Human Rights, which will prove amusing as her own lawyers have publicly denied she was assaulted by police.  Again, does she ever learn?

8) Knox made numerous false accusations in her book, some of the worst of which were published in the Italian magazine ‘Oggi’

9) Knox made false accusations of an illegal interrogation which have zero grounding in facts.

10) Knox and Sollecito make many accusations on television interviews too.  To repeat myself: these two really don’t learn.

Although to be complete, Edda Mellas (Amanda’s Mother) doesn’t seem to learn either.

3. Canadian Law For These Kinds Of Crimes

If you level accusations against police officers, officers of the court, or prison officials, by law they must be investigated.  These types of accusations can destroy careers, but even for the ‘‘lucky’’ ones, they are never the same.  This extends to people such as teachers, who have been forced out of teaching due to malicious students.

It really doesn’t matter if you file a formal complaint, post it on the internet, write about it in a book or magazine article, or on television.  Complaints, such as the ones listed above, have to be investigated, in fact it is the same in Italy, the U.S., U.K., or Canada.

Falsely accusing someone of a crime in Italy in a court or to the police is referred to as ‘‘CALUNNIA’‘, which is not quite the same thing as slander, it is worse, with prison terms.

Falsely accusing someone as a crime in the United States is ‘‘OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE’‘.  Different name, same crime.

Guess what, Folks?  You can’t do that in Canada either.  It is called ‘‘PUBLIC MISCHIEF’‘.  Different name, same crime.

If you level accusations against police officers, officers of the court, or prison officials, by law they must be looked into.

Quoted directly from the Canadian Criminal Code:

140 Public mischief

(1) Every one commits public mischief who, with intent to mislead, causes a peace officer to enter on or continue an investigation by

    (a) making a false statement that accuses some other person of having committed an offence;
    (b) doing anything intended to cause some other person to be suspected of having committed an offence that the other person has not committed, or to divert suspicion from himself;
    (c) reporting that an offence has been committed when it has not been committed; or
    (d) reporting or in any other way making it known or causing it to be made known that he or some other person has died when he or that other person has not died.

(2) [Punishment] Every one who commits public mischief

    (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or
    (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

    Had Amanda Knox been in Canada when she levelled her false accusation against Lumumba, she would be guilty of cc. 140.  This is something that Judge Massei (2009), Judge Hellmann (2011), and Cassation (2013), all agreed that she did.

    But look at 140.(1)(b)  ‘’ ... Doing anything to cause some other person to be suspected of having committed an offence that the other person had not commited .... ‘’‘.  Yes, all the Courts agreed that happened.  However, consider those last 6 words….

      ’‘.... OR TO DIVERT SUSPICION FROM HIMSELF….’‘

    This was a key difference between Hellmann (2011), and Cassation (2013).  Hellman said that Knox levelled the accusation against Lumumba out of duress, while Cassation said, no, it was ‘‘to divert suspicion from herself.’’  This difference is what resulted in having the aggravating factors attached to Knox’s (now final) calunnia conviction.

    While the fallout from falsely accusing police officers is not over, Knox will likely still have to face those same aggravating factors ahead.  The Courts will reasonably believe that she made up those lies (such as about Migini and Ficarra), to divert suspicion from herself, or to obstruct the process for her murder charge of Meredith Kercher.  After all, Cassation has already ruled that Knox framed Patrick Lumumba to divert suspicion.

    Regarding punishment, public mischief is a ‘‘hybrid offence’‘, meaning the Crown Prosecutors could proceed summarily (lesser) or by indictment (felony).  Since it was to cover up her involvement in a murder, the Prosecutors would certainly have gone by indictment, and Knox would be facing up to 5 years.

    Facing 5 years in Canada, or 6 years in Italy…?  Hardly a significant difference.

    And, if you don’t think that people go to jail in Canada for levelling false accusations, think again.  See the examples here:

    CanLII Website

    Bonnie Ann-Ambrose (of Alberta), 1998, received a 2 year sentence for falsely accusing a police officer of sexual assault.  On appeal, however, the sentence was reduced, she got time served plus 1 additional year in the form of a ‘‘conditional sentence.’‘

    CanLII Website

    Stacy Little (of British Columbia) in 2001, received a 9 month jail sentence for making false accusations of being sexually assaulted while in custody.  She actually got her boyfriend to call and get the investigation launched.  However, it was reduced to 3 months on appeal.

    CanLII Website

    Tina Brun (of New Brunswick), in 2004, reported that she was the victim of a robbery, and it led to 4 youths being arrested.  Brun later admitted it was all a lie.  She received a 3 month jail sentence for the false accusation, and the New Brunswick Court of Appeals confirmed the sentence.

    CanLII Website

    Steven Mankala-Proulx (of Quebec), in 2013, received a 90 day intermittent (weekend) jail sentence, for getting his mother to make a false complaint against a police officer attempting to make a routine stop.  The allegations were for following him, dangerous driving, and fleeing the scene.  The mother did not know the accusations were false, and Steven had not wanted his mother to be angry with him.  The accusations triggered a mandatory investigation, and resulted in the officer being transferred.

    CanLII Website

    Martin John Zeek (in British Columbia) was found guilty of public mischief (cc 140), and fraud (cc 380(1)).  He received 1 year in prison for reporting his refrigeration trailer stolen.  The sentence was confirmed on appeal.”>

    While these sentences are lighter than what Amanda Knox had received, none of the above falsely accused anyone of murder.

    The ‘‘Friends of Amanda’’ frequently criticise Italy’s ‘‘Stone-Age slander laws’‘, but Commonwealth countries like the U.S. and Canada do not allow people to make false criminal accusation either.  Nor does the U.K.

    Canada will not protect such people for the simple reason that we Canadians don’t tolerate such acts either. And while this article covers criminal penalties—a conviction can form the basis of a VERY expensive civil lawsuit.

    Just something to think about—it is NOT free speech.  Nor is a related action: PERJURY.

    Quoted directly from the Canadian Criminal Code:

    Misleading Justice

    [Marginal Note Perjury]

    131. (1) Subject to subsection (3), every one commits perjury who, with intent to mislead, makes before a person who is authorized by law to permit it to be made before him a false statement under oath or solemn affirmation, by affidavit, solemn declaration or deposition or orally, knowing that the statement is false.

    [Marginal Note Video links, etc.]

    (1.1) Subject to subsection (3), every person who gives evidence under subsection 46(2) of the Canada Evidence Act, or gives evidence or a statement pursuant to an order made under section 22.2 of the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, commits perjury who, with intent to mislead, makes a false statement knowing that it is false, whether or not the false statement was made under oath or solemn affirmation in accordance with subsection (1), so long as the false statement was made in accordance with any formalities required by the law of the place outside Canada in which the person is virtually present or heard.

    [Marginal Note Idem]

    (2) Subsection (1) applies, whether or not a statement referred to in that subsection is made in a judicial proceeding.

    [Marginal Note Application]

    (3) Subsections (1) and (1.1) do not apply to a statement referred to in either of those subsections that is made by a person who is not specially permitted, authorized or required by law to make that statement.

    [R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 131;  R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 17; 1999, c. 18, s. 92.]

    [Marginal note:Punishment]

    132. Every one who commits perjury is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

    R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 132; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 17; 1998, c. 35, s. 119.

    [Marginal note:Corroboration]

    133. No person shall be convicted of an offence under section 132 on the evidence of only one witness unless the evidence of that witness is corroborated in a material particular by evidence that implicates the accused.

    R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 133; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 17.

    [Marginal note:Idem]

    134. (1) Subject to subsection (2), every one who, not being specially permitted, authorized or required by law to make a statement under oath or solemn affirmation, makes such a statement, by affidavit, solemn declaration or deposition or orally before a person who is authorized by law to permit it to be made before him, knowing that the statement is false, is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

    [Marginal note:Application]

    (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a statement referred to in that subsection that is made in the course of a criminal investigation.

    Those free statements Knox, Sollecito and Guede could stand up and make in court…. they would have to be sworn in.  Under oath.

    And if they said anything provably false, they could face a perjury charge as well.

    As these defendants would likely be lying to clear themselves of murder, it would be an indictable offence, and they could get 14 years each just for that.

    And ... Canada puts perjurers in prison as well. See the examples here:

    CanLII Website

    James John Jack (of British Columbia) in 2008 was arrested on drug charges, and convinced a female friend to lie, to get him off the hook.  When it was proven, he received a 2 year jail sentence for perjury.  The original drug charges were dealt with separately.

    CanLII Website

    Victor Akinyemi (of Ontario), in 2011, falsely reported his vehicle stolen in order to fraudulently obtain insurance money.  He signed sworn statements.  He received 3 months.  The Judge noted that the principles of denunciation would not be met with house arrest.”>

    CanLII Website

    Grant Henry Johnson (of British Columbia) received a 3 year jail sentence for falsely testifying that he had done an armed robbery in order to protect another person from being convicted.  He tried to claim Charter of Rights Protections within the Canada Evidence Act, but that defence failed.  Sentence was upheld on appeal.

    CanLII Website

    Waverly Kendall (of Newfoundland), in 2007, received a 3 month jail sentence after she signed a false statement claiming that she sold a car for $1000 (when it was actually for $6000), to lower the tax bill of the person who bought it.  She lied under oath at a judicial proceeding.



    4. Possible Penalties Under Canadian Law

    These are what Sollecito and Knox could have incurred.

    • Knox would have been charged with public mischief (cc 140) for falsely accusing Patrick of attacking Meredith.  Jail time for certain.
    • Knox would have been charged with public mischief (cc 140) for falsely accusing police of assaulting her.  Jail time very likely.
    • Given how contradictory Knox’s June 2009 testimony was, Mignini could probably have gone for perjury (cc 131). Jail time very likely.
    • Edda Mellas, if it could be proven she lied about Amanda’s phone call, could face perjury charges (cc 131). Jail time possible.
    • Sollecito, in 2011 appeal, said Amanda was at his apartment, but gave conflicting statements to police.  Perjury and jail time quite likely.
    • Rudy Guede, as his testimony changed, could have been charged with perjury (cc 131). Jail time very likely.
    • All of the claims of AK, RS and their supporters, if they sparked official investigations, could lead to additional charges of public mischief (cc 140).  Jail sentences possible for some.  Too numerous to list, but you get the idea

    Again, it really isn’t free speech ....

     

    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

    Posted by Chimera on 02/05 at 02:59 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Justice systemsUS etc systemsComments here (9)

    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

      Posted by Chimera on 01/14 at 01:21 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemUS etc systemsComments here (9)

      Tuesday, January 13, 2015

      The Unsavory Company Knox Would Be Foolish To Aspire To: 160 Americans On The Run From Interpol

      Posted by Peter Quennell





      Meet eight American women on the run from arrest worldwide.

      They are all the subjects of Interpol Red Notices. Right now Interpol has 322 active Red Notices, some 160 of them for Americans, of which 51 are women.

      If they have not yet been to trial, they are considered innocent unless and until they are proven guilty. At the same time many have cash rewards on their heads and private citizens are warned not to apprehend them.

      None of those eight women above are charged with murder or already found guilty of murder - their alleged crimes include kidnapping, drug-smuggling, fraud and insider trading.

      Red Notices are sometimes issued for killers, but they very rarely prove necessary. Regardless of the status of mutual extradition treaties, countries who find they are harboring killers tend to regard them as hot potatoes, and most usually simply arrest them.

      Some on the list of 322 may be dead, and many will be living close to poverty. We posted here previously on Interpol and here previously on how the ex CIA chief in Italy Robert Lady was forced out of Panama by an impending arrest for a Red Notice.

      Robert Lady has lost everything. Seems better to face the music, and end the doubletalk.


      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, November 14, 2014

      In A New Italy Case Involving A Foreign Student The UK Media Is Not Reporting The Full Facts

      Posted by Peter Quennell



      Above: Serena Bowes seen taking a selfie

      Overview Of The Case

      Rape is a devastating crime and if someone DID rape Serena Bowes in Florence he must be put away.

      Apart from this the UK media seems to be reporting her claims cautiously and unemotionally. But if they had checked with the Italian police, or even checked out Italian media reports, they would have found that Serena Bowes is leaving out key facts.

      The Claims By Serena Bowes

      The Daily Telegraph reported what Serena Bowes claims.

      The incident unfolded when Miss Bowes, who is in the second year of her fashion course, joined other students on a trip to Florence.

      She explained how she and a group of friends had been in a local nightclub when she began chatting to a man.

      She alleged that they had been heading to the VIP area when she was guided towards the unisex bathroom where the attack happened.

      Miss Bowes alerted staff from Newcastle College who accompanied her to the police station and to the local hospital.

      After returning to the UK she attempted to put the incident behind her as no one was charged in relation with the alleged offence.

      When she received a letter in Italian from the Florence Police she assumed it was an update on the case, but when she got it translated, was stunned to discover that she herself was facing charges.

      She said: “I thought it was done with and I could get on with my life. I didn’t think he was going to get prosecuted so I just wanted to get on with my life but this has brought everything back.

      “It doesn’t feel what actually happened is the problem anymore ““ it feels like that has actually been forgotten about.”

      The Daily Mail report additionally added this.

      ‘I will never go back to Florence because of what happened, never mind going to prison there.  ‘If I receive a prison sentence somewhere between four and 12 years my life will be over.’


      Real Facts In Italian Media

      The Italian media seems much further down the road and more fully informed.

      They have reported the details of the case the police have put before the supervising magistrate, and they have done some poking around of their own.

      The police are said to have investigated the allegations very diligently, but so far it is only his story that is holding up and not at all hers. CCTV cameras throughout the club (even apparently in the restroom) show no sign of her fighting off an attack.

      He is seen inside and exiting a restroom, but she does not appear to be in that room or at that same door with him. Many staff and customers in the club were interviewed, but none of them seem to have backed up her report.

      Medical examinations apparently showed no physical evidence on either of them of an attack.  And DNA swabs apparently showed none of his DNA on her or her DNA on him.

      Serene Bowes’s reasons for not going to a mere hearing to explain the question marks above do seem pretty lame. She has placed a big cloud over the guy who she fingered who has been in suspect status ever since.

      But now she shrugs off further help to the Italian police to nail him or clear him as being inconvenient or risky merely to her?

      “I just wanted to get on with my life.” Where have we heard that before?

      Update By Popper On The Rules

      Popper in a comment now explains this, which even more suggests that Serene Bowes would be advised to head back to Florence, that the letter she received (still not released) said nothing about 4-12 years, and that foreign press are too gullible or worse.

      On the case of Serena, we certainly need more details.  Simulation [of a crime] and calumny [accusing someone you know innocent of having committed a crime] are serious matters.

      If she is investigated magistrates have elements that obligated them to inform her of their suspects, it is an act for her protection. If video material exists I fear it must be explicitly against her version, but we do not know enough to be able to give an informed opinion.

      Version presented by some UK papers is uninformed and biased, as we have seen often in MK’s case.  Worst of all, it is exaggerated. An investigation is not a conviction, and if I were Serena [and a victim] I would certainly go there with a lawyer and explain the facts to exculpate myself and get the guilty convicted.

      In any case, the risk she ends up in jail is quite low.  It is fairly likely that, even if convicted for the above crimes [after a trial and 2 appeals], her sentence will be suspended, if statute of limitations does not kick in first.  It follows that her justification for not going back to explain herself to a judge is ridiculous.

      If she is lying and is guilty of simulation and calumny, it will be one of many cases, certainly not a surprise or uncommon.  Unfortunately many crimes are simulated every day, which makes more difficult and expensive the prosecution of real crimes.


      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.











      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.


      Wednesday, April 03, 2013

      The Real Catastrophe For The Defenses That Was The Chieffi Supreme Court Ruling

      Posted by Machiavelli (Yummi)




      1. Overview

      On Tuesday March 26, nine judges of the Rome Supreme Court of Cassation led by the respected Dr Chieffi quashed the previous acquittals of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the murder of Meredith Kercher.

      The Supreme Court annulled almost the entirety of the 2011 Hellmann-Zanetti appeal verdicts, declaring the appeal outcome completely invalid on five of the six charges. The Court only upheld the sixth charge which made definitive Knox’s conviction for calunnia for which she had been sentenced to three years.

      Calunnia is the crime of maliciously placing false evidence or testimony against an innocent person, something the Italian Criminal Code considers not as criminal defamation but as a form of obstruction of justice, a more serious offence. 

      Worse for Knox, the Court annulled a part of the appeal verdict which had dropped the aggravation known as continuance, the aggravation that acknowledges a logical link between the obstruction of justice and the murder charge.   

      2. First reactions

      Once the dust has settled, the defendants and pro-Knox and pro-Sollecito supporters and defences may finally realize how severe a defeat has been dealt to their side. 

      Most American journalists were completely unprepared for and very surprised at the outcome. But most Italian commenters and a very few others elsewhere considered the outcome quite predictable (the criminologist Roberta Bruzzone for example hinted so in written articles, so did Judge Simonetta Matone, as well as John Kercher in his book, and many others too).

      This really is a catastrophe for the defences. A complete annulment of an acquittal verdict is just not frequent at all. They do occasionally occur, though, and this one appeared easily predictable because of the extremely low quality of the appeal verdict report. 

      For myself I could hardly imagine a survival of the Pratillo Hellmann-Zanetti outcome as being realistic.

      I previously posted at length on the Galati-Costagliola recourse (that is an important read if you want to understand all angles of the annulment). I argued there that a Supreme Court acceptance of the verdict would have so jeopardized the Italian jurisprudence precedents on circumstantial evidence that it would have become impossible to convict anyone in Italy at all. 

      The previous appeal trial obviously violated the Judicial Code as it was based on illegitimate moves such the appointing of new DNA experts for unacceptable reasons.  It contained patent violations of jurisprudence such as the unjustified dismissal of Rudy Guede’s verdict on a subset of the circumstantial evidence. Hellmann-Zanetti even “interpreted” the Constitution instead of quoting Constitutional Court jurisprudence.

      They omitted a number of pieces of evidence, literally “forgetting” them or dismissing them without providing an argument (they should have, being an appellate trial based on the previous findings and arguments of the lower court). The appeal trial had obvious illogical contradictions on a macro level, such as the contradictory putting together of the conviction for calunnia and the acquittal on the murder charge (ignoring a logical link required by statute without introducing any reason at all). 

      The Hellmann-Zanetti verdict was also based on an illogical processing of all pieces of evidence (such as the dismissal of Nara Capezzali’s evidence without logical reason, even after calling her “credible,” and that of Quintavalle; and attributing the bloody footprint to Rudy Guede on the basis of some ludicrous reasoning).

      The appeal verdict basically ignored the concept of “a contrario” evidence, like concluding that the luminol footprints are probably not in blood but in some other substance and not related to the murder (despite failure to indicate any alternative substance nor any reasonable scenario).

      The verdict was also biased with open prejudice in favor of two of the suspects in assuming they would be unlikely to even socialize or hang out together with the third, based on social or racial discrimination (two whites from good-looking families are called “good fellows” while the third is “different”). 

      Beyond the glaring, major faux pas in procedure, the verdict’s low quality, unlawfulnesses, and hypocrisy in its reasoning tended to be pervasive and obvious through all its paragraphs, and possibly this also could have caused an aura of distrust toward the work of the Hellmann-Zanetti court. 

      One could assess the strikingly low quality of the appeal verdict especially by comparing it to a sophisticated recourse such as the 100-page Galati-Costagliola Supreme Court appeal. While nobody could anticipate with total certainty the Supreme Court decision between the Galati-Costagliola appeal and the Pratillo Hellmann-Zanetti appeal verdict, to good legal eyes the outcome would be as uncertain as the result of an England versus San Marino football game!

      EACH of the eleven single mistakes, plus EACH of the six “method” mistakes pointed out in the Galati-Costagliola recourse could by itself have been a sufficient cause for the annulment of the acquittals.

      The redundancy of reasons and remarks by Cassation sheds light on the judgment shortcomings from many different angles, and all the reasons presented for the recourse were certainly assessed by the Supreme Court. 

      But on the practical side, most probably the Hellmann-Zanetti verdict did not even survive beyond the first mistake. The appeal verdict most likely crumbled completely from the very beginning on reason #1, the illegitimate appointing of new experts by Hellmann-Zanetti to re-examine the DNA.   

      But even given that the defences’ defeat could be foreseen, I never expected the defeat to pervade to this extent.

      I thought the appeal verdict might be quashed entirely and a new appeal would start from scratch. But the Supreme Court went further and decided to “save” only the parts of the verdict that were unfavorable to Knox, and declared her conviction for calunnia definitive.

      Meanwhile, the Court accepted the Calati-Costagliola reason #10, and quashed the part that denied a logical link between calunnia and murder.
       
      The Supreme Court thus sends Raffaele Solecito and Amanda Knox back to appeal trial, but this time Amanda Knox will enter the trial as a felony convict with a definitive criminal record, which ““ the Supreme Court hints ““ is to be considered logically linked with the charge of murder. 

      Moreover, judges in the appeal that will come next in Florence will have to follow the decisions set by the Supreme Court. Since the Supreme Court’s motivations report has not been issued yet, we still don’t know what points exactly Cassazione will make. But we can expect that several arguments used by Pratillo Hellmann-Zanetti that were “needed” to acquit Knox and Sollecito will be now declared illegitimate. 

      This might mean that we will not see for a second time such faulty reasoning as “Knox’s statement can’t be used as evidence of lying because it is not true.” It may not be possible to dismiss the verdict that found Guede guilty of concurring in murder “with others” from the set of evidence just because it was “weak.” It may not be possible to deduce the time of death based only on declarations of Rudy Guede. 

      We also may not have a chance to again see an expert declaring that contamination is “likely” on the sole basis that “everything is possible.” We also may not have another judge attributing footprints without talking about any measurements.






      The Supreme Court session began on March 25, and it is only a rare event that a Cassazione session extends over into two days.

      The first criminal division of the Supreme Court ““ scheduled to decide on this case ““ was a five-judge panel presided over by Dr Severo Chieffi. His name never did sound like a particularly favorable omen for Knox and Sollecito. Dr Chieffi is a 70-year-old judge, known for being the author of a famous 2008 verdict which definitively closed a notorious criminal case (“the first time a Cassazione hearing attracted massive live media attention”), a verdict among the most quoted in jurisprudence which is known as that “on reasonable doubt.” 

      Dr Chieffi and his nine-judge panel explained reasonable doubt as to be intended as an “a contrario” concept, the concept used to formulate a logical reasonable alternative. That verdict pointed out the concept of “reasonable” and also stressed that the nature of evidence is “logical”. “Reasonable” depends only on the plausibility of alternatives, not on how conclusive or reliable single pieces of circumstantial evidence are, and a piece of evidence does not require any specific “physical” element or conclusive quality.   

      The rapporteur judge was Dr Piera Maria Severina Caprioglio. The rapporteur judge goes through the papers of the whole trial and summarizes their content to the other panel judges; the rapporteur and the president are the two who physically write the report (it may sound like irony that both judges have the adjective “severe” in their name). I was told Dr Caprioglio was a rather stiff judge, known for her scrupulosity in procedure matters, and she is also a specialist “and hard liner“ about sexual crime (maybe that’s why she was chosen by Dr Chieffi as the one to do the research on this case). 

      At the Supreme Court there is also an office known as the Office of Procurator General, which has more than 50 magistrates. The Procurator General appoints a magistrate (normally called the “PG”) to study cases and to make arguments on all cases dealt with in Supreme Court sessions. The PG is considered “neutral” in the sense that their office represents no party only the “precedents” of the court. While the rapporteur makes a description of the case, the procurator makes arguments about the recourses submitted by the parties. 

      At 10:30 am on Monday, Judge Caprioglio begun her 90-minute speech summarizing the case. She detailed legal events that led to the first Massei-Cristiani verdict, and then the appeal trial led by Hellmann-Zanetti and their verdict. 

      She sounded rather neutral; hers was a sheer summary with no comment attached. Nevertheless, it sounded most ominous for the defences: right from Dr Caprioglio’s speech, in fact, Knox and Sollecito’s attorneys understood that they were going to lose. 

      This is because Dr Caprioglio devoted half of her rapporteur time or more to detailing Massei’s first degree trial and verdict, explaining the arguments and evidence used by the Massei court. Such attention was itself ominous to the defences. 

      A main basis of the Pratillo Hellmann-Zanetti verdict is in fact a series of denials about the work of the lower court, in which plenty of evidence was simply ignored or dismissed without dealing with the first degree conclusions; while the strategy of Giulia Bongiorno was to entirely “replace” the details of the evidence set with a self-made narrative, quite unattached to actual trial events, which somewhat “worked” as rhetoric and in the media.

      Yet Dr Caprioglio was not yet the biggest problem facing Knox and Sollecito. The defence was about to face a pincer front, because the Procurator General’s offices did not appreciate the appeal verdict at all.

      A bomb went off with the speech of Procurator Riello which followed next. 

      Dr Riello recalled the points of recourse submitted by Galati-Costagliola, which may sound technical or subtle to those unaccustomed to them. Dr Riello endorsed the radical censures made by Galati-Costagliola and made clear his own view in an overview of the whole verdict. His arguments had the subtlety of an anvil. 

      To summarize, he basically maintained the appeal judges had conducted an appeal trial as if they were idiots, and followed the paths of logic, procedure and law like sailors without a compass.
       
      Seen from the point of view of the Procurator General, their way of conducting the appeal trial itself was like a journey through a dreadful series of unlawful steps, decisions informally taken without deliberation, and arbitrary and unjustified ordinances. The court simply “lost their way.”

      In the body of their findings, it seems they understood almost nothing about the evidence ““ in particular about how circumstantial evidence works. They did not deal with the findings and arguments of the first instance court as they should have, as if they didn’t exist, and they trivialized the previous legal material. 

      In fact Dr Riello sounded almost sarcastic; outraged by the incredibly amateurish work of this appeal court, he tended to detail the merit of questions and was interrupted by the president asking him to stick to the discussion on the table. 

      At the close of his speech, he called the appeal verdict “a rare concentration of law violation, a monument to illogicality.” He said “the judge of merit lost their way in this trial.” Dr Riello noted “they fragmented, they parceled out the pieces of circumstantial evidence.”

      He implied not only incompetence but a kind of disingenuous attitude: “The Court employed a fair dose of snobbism for trivializing the first degree verdict, reducing it to four elements. A very imprecise and superficial synthesis.”

      He went beyond the criticism expressed in the Galati-Costagliola appeal when he described an obvious bias of the appeal court “not in just a few passages of the second instance verdict ““ it’s as if the defendants should benefit from a kind of anthropological and cultural immunity, in relation to the events.”

      He criticized Pratillo Hellmann’s dismissal of Amanda Knox’s handwritten memoir, and recommended that a new appeal trial must in part be based on that statement as “it is a usable document”; and he stressed that in his opinion “the scream heard by Amanda is a significant datum, of great importance.” The behavior claimed by Knox on the morning of November 2, 2007 in his view was “chilling” and her taking a shower in a cold bathroom is a “chilling detail.” 

      Dr Riello concludes by saying: “These are all conditions for not letting the curtains close on an upsetting and extremely serious crime for which the only culprit found up to the present day is Rudy Hermann Guede, who has been addressed through a Lombroso-style assessment, either calling him a thief, a criminal or a drifter. He didn’t confess and he was not convicted by another court for concurring in a crime together with others, maybe with ‘ectoplasms.’” (A reference to Cassation’s previous decision that he did commit the crime with others, but Hellmann-Zanetti identified no other people; hence ‘ectoplasms.’)

      The Prosecutor General also dealt with the DNA experts’ report which defined the previous results as “unreliable.” He implied that the report and its language were used as a pretext by the defences “as a tombstone, while in fact it is not.” It was used as a tool to focus the trial on the DNA and steer it away from the whole evidence set, to “bury the set of pieces of circumstantial evidence which all have their vital value.”

      The rhetoric of the defences aimed to “blame everything on those involved in the scientific police who are almost depicted as bunglers; however they are not brigadiers playing with toy chemical sets, they are in fact a highly qualified department and they do employ cutting-edge technologies.”

      A severe legal bashing like the Riello speech is not at all common at the Cassazione. As I heard the news on the radio, law experts commented that the event was unusually serious, and they hinted that its consequences may lead to the setting of a historic jurisprudence precedent.

      Francesco Maresca ““ who brought his mentor Vieri Fabiani with him ““ endorsed the recourse points and made points similar to Dr Riello’s. He pointed out that a major flaw of the appeal trial was to focus on two DNA instances as if the case was based on them. The court appointed experts to review items with no legitimate basis, they provided an inconsistent explanation for their steps, and then they refused to analyze and introduce further evidence, totally contradicting themselves and also violating the code.

      Their criteria for choosing which piece of evidence to discuss or review were totally contradictory, and their series of steps egregiously violated a series of procedural conditions that any court is supposed to follow.

      The analyzing of the knife DNA sample and bra clasp sample as pieces in isolation is a sort of device that serves a defence made-up narrative; the focus on “disputed” items and the re-make of a narrative about legal events is simply a defence strategy which is aimed at the media rather than official court proceedings. For the Kercher family, the evidence points to the guilt of Knox and Sollecito beyond reasonable doubt. 

      The evidence, explained Maresca, consisted of numerous pieces of evidence and reasoning, that were simply not dealt with by the appeal court. The whole process was “non-transparent” and the result is also contradictory given that Knox is indicted by her own words on the crime of calunnia.

      Maresca explained that the appeal verdict is riddled with many flaws and errors in the merit of the facts which cannot be assessed by the Cassazione court, but there are also patent violations of law which are “strong and obvious” and of the most serious kind.






      Then it was the defence attorneys’ turn. Giulia Bongiorno knew she would need to apply the full power of her best rhetorical skills: she pointed out a factual error in the recalling of Prosecutor Riello and threw herself head-first into the merit of the evidence. 

      She even made FOA-style overstatements on the number of Guede’s DNA instances: “So many genetic traces of Rudy Guede were found in the bedroom of the murder, Amanda and Raffaele’s DNA would have been found too if they had been there.” (Her claim is false: in fact, only four samples yielding Guede’s DNA were found in the bedroom, and some were very scant.)
       
      Bongiorno focused on investigation mistakes and complained that Raffaele Sollecito “was put in jail because of a shoe print found beyond the duvet which covered the body, a print that was attributed to Guede.” She also commented on Knox’s handwritten memoir and again put forward the claim ““ already rejected by all the judges of all instances ““ that the statement should be “not usable” because there was a “blackout” of defendant guarantees. Apparently, Bongiorno did understand that the most dangerous threat, and the actual battleground, would be about the danger of having Knox now definitively convicted for calunnia. 

      Bongiorno said “we do not want to put the scientific police on trial” but then said the point defence demonstrated was that they made “an infinite series of errors.” In fact, Bongiorno’s speech largely consisted of the well-known defense stance of pointing the finger at a list of supposed wrong-doings by the police.

      Bongiorno’s argument of pointing out supposed “police mistakes” would probably ring true to Knox’s Amarican supporters, who may find these arguments convincing and effective. 

      In fact, it was obvious that Bongiorno’s position was extremely weak, and that her arguments were not going to have any effect. The weakness of Bongiorno’s arguments was obvious from the start because she backed into arguing the case only on the merit of investigation techniques. 

      Her arguments would maybe resonate effectively with uninformed spectators, but they had already failed in those courts that were legitimate, and they have no consequence from a legal standpoint. Talking about supposed mistakes during the investigation and supposed bad behavior of police are good to build a narrative for journalists, but they would have zero effect on expert judges. 

      I think she knew she was going to lose, but besides being a lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno is also a smart public person, and she plays in the public arena as well as in a court of law at the same time. Her technical stances are all wrong, but she knows she will be remembered well for her good-looking performance. 

      The president did not interrupt her, showing due politeness toward the defence attorneys. But no attorney would convince the Supreme Court by simply saying “we demonstrated that the investigators made mistakes.”

      In order to seek to obtain some positive effect, she should have argued in favor of the Pratillo Hellmann-Zanetti appeal verdict on points of law, and put forward arguments for their legitimacy; for example, an argument in response to point #1 of Galati’s recourse claiming that the appointing of DNA experts was unmotivated.

      Luciano Ghirga and Carlo Dalla Vedova had to take care of their own recourse against the conviction for calunnia on the false accusation of Patrick Lumumba. Their line of defence on this point was the same ““ and could be nothing else ““ than what they maintained though all the previous instances. Dalla Vedova deals with the handwritten note where he understands “Amanda says she is confused, she does not care about what she said.”

      They reintroduced the myth that “she had been interrogated by the investigators for 54 hours.” They explain ““ almost a paradoxical argument ““ that the document was “a defensive paper” while then becoming one of the elements on which the charge of calunnia was built. They stressed that “she wanted to cooperate” with the investigation and that “she was a friend of Meredith.” 

      A failure of their arguments was easily predictable because their recourse was built on points that had already failed at lower instances. Some time ago before this appeal, I posted this criticism of the Ghirga-Dalla Vedova recourse on Knox’s calunnia conviction to the Supreme Court:

      Pages 3-11: The first argument is about the non-usability of the evidence for the crime of calunnia.

      Such an argument is basically the re-proposal of the same argument that had been already dismissed by the Supreme Court in 2008, and subsequently by Massei-Cristiani in 2009 and also by Pratillo Hellmann-Zanetti. Therefore, it is an especially weak argument. Ghirga-Dalla Vedova do attempt to use it again at the Supreme Court because it is what they have.

      Just like Giulia Bongiorno will likely recall it too, just like she attempted to request of nullification of Stefanoni’s testimony on procedure grounds before Massei, which was rejected again by Hellmann-Zanetti (the Knox supporters have such a spun perception of the proceedings, they apparently don’t see how some basic defensive claims were rejected by all judges).

      Pages 11-14 complete the first argument, addressing the further requirements of the crime of calunnia (maliciousness and voluntarity). 

      Basically, this point contends that the false accusation was not voluntary or not malicious. The only usable point in my opinion in this reasoning consists of one line, which recalls that Hellmann-Zanetti did not acknowledge the aggravation of continuance for the crime of calunnia. But this point has no consequence because it is a weak point in Hellmann’s verdict itself which violates jurisprudence and logic itself.

      The other claims at this point are basically useless; they attack the Hellmann verdict in a way peculiar to the prosecution appeal with an opposite stance. But in fact “not knowing” that someone is factually innocent obviously cannot be extended to an absolute meaning; Hellmann is illogical on that, because he dismisses the logical link with the murder without explanation. 

      Pages 14-18 speak about the alleged “extreme exhaustion” of Knox in order to exculpate her of her confusion and falsehood.

      This argument tends to be a stronger attempt to use some of the contradiction in Pratillo Hellmann-Zanetti, using as a starting point the fact that H-Z did state that Knox was allegedly under excessive pressure. They convicted her for calunnia nonetheless. I think this argument won’t go too far, for two reasons.

      First, because it’s basically on the merits; it quotes the whole writing of Knox and requests the SC to directly re-assess the sincerity of her words, something which the SC are unlikely to do.

      Second, because while on the one hand there is a contradiction in H-Z as they accuse her of calunnia but do not use her writings as an evidence of lying on the other crime, and they reject the continuance despite the obvious link between the calunnia and the murder, on the other hand the contradiction addressed by Ghirga is weaker. There was in fact no factual finding about “excessive pressure,” neither in the H-Z appeal trial nor in previous Massei testimonies.

      As for jurisprudence, pressure and “psychological alteration” itself is not enough to cause a loss of mental faculties to understand and will. Basically, most crimes are committed in a state of psychological stress or alteration, and people are responsible for themselves notwithstanding. The faculty to understand and will is not a psychological condition; it is something that affects the cognitive and decisional functioning of the brain on more basic functions, and requires a medical assessment.

      So there is no way the argument of Ghirga-Dalla Vedova can overturn a conviction for calunnia based on an argument of psychological conditions: they have no basis; and there is no consistent ground to assert “excessive pressure” either. 

      Pages 19-20 is a very short argument about two articles of the code that Ghirga puts in in relation to a case of defensive rights. 

      This is an argument I am unable to assess clearly. This point basically claims Knox is somehow protected by the law because of an extension of her rights of defence. I have the feeling this point is wrong, because the boundaries of the right to defend oneself are already fixed and limited by a SC ruling of 2008, and because Article 51 only applies to what she declared as a defendant, but not to what she declared as a witness.

      Pages 20-22 is only about the sentencing and not about innocence; it claims that, anyway, even if Amanda is guilty of calunnia, the punishment was too stiff and this severity was not logically motivated by Hellmann. This point is the only that could stand, in my opinion.

      After the hearing of March 25 ““ which was the ninth case the Supreme Court panel dealt with that day ““ the panel deliberated for six hours, then adjourned the hearing and scheduled the final decision for the following morning.

      The question whether to annul the verdict entirely, or to confirm the calunnia conviction, might have been the cause of some of the extra time needed. 

      When the Supreme Court has to deal with scheduled cases the relator puts a mark ““ between 1 and 8 ““ indicating the difficulty of the case: 1 is the easiest and 8 is very complex. 

      Almost all recourses are below 3, while a case like the one on the Narducci investigation a week earlier, involving Mignini, could have been closer to 8. The difficulty of this case is unknown. But because of some sensitive jurisprudence involved and because of the articulation of the recourses, this could have been around 6 or higher.

      After retirement of the court, and adjournment to the subsequent day, at 10 am on March 26, the court’s dispositivo was the following:

      ENDING THE RESERVATION FROM THE HEARING OF 03-25-2013, [THE COURT] DECIDES AS FOLLOWS: ANNULS THE IMPUGNED VERDICT, LIMITED TO THE CRIMES UNDER CHARGES:  A) (INTO WHICH CHARGE C) IS ABSORBED), B), D), E), AND TO THE AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCE UNDER C.P. ART. 61 NO.2 IN RELATION TO CHARGE F), AND REMANDS [THE CASE] TO THE CORTE DI ASSISE DI APPELLO OF FLORENCE FOR A NEW TRIAL. REJECTS THE APPEAL OF AMANDA MARIE KNOX, WHOM IT SENTENCES TO THE PAYMENT OF COURT COSTS AS WELL AS REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE PRESENT PROCEEDINGS BY CIVIL PARTY DIYA LUMUMBA, IN THE AMOUNT OF 4000 (FOUR THOUSAND) EUROS, IN ADDITION TO I.V.A. AND C.P.A., PLUS GENERAL EXPENSES ACCORDING TO LAW.

      Thus, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are sent back to appeal trial in Florence on all charges related to the rape and murder of Meredith Kercher (a, b, c, d, e). And Knox is definitively declared guilty of the obstruction of justice charge known as calunnia, while the argument denying any logical link between the calunnia and the murder is quashed.

      Resources used

      The article above draws in part upon a translation into English of news information published by various Italian press sources, which our readers may like to look at directly. A good coverage of the case ““ including Riello’s speech ““ was broadcast by RaiNews 24 and they also have a lot of information on the website. Online updates were provided by Televideo. Commentaries and discussions were hosted on Radio1 - GR Rai. Dr Riello’s comments were reported by Il Fatto Quotidiano and Style.it. There were reports on Libero Italy.it. Also details and chronicles were reported at the end of the day by Il Giornale dell’Umbria. Coverage and the quotes for March 25 were provided by AGI. The dispositivo official document was obtained and published by Andrea Vogt.

       


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