Saturday, December 18, 2010

First Reports On Scope Of Appeal Sounds Like Maybe A Setback For The Defenses

Posted by Peter Quennell

The first full reports are not out yet. This is a first quick take on the Italian reporting and may be subject to correction.

Some of the Cassation’s hard-line decision for rejecting Rudy Guede ‘s 10 appeal grounds in Rome on thursday will indeed be accepted into this appeal for the judges’ consideration.

The judges are agreeing to the defense request for a review of the testing of the DNA on the bra clasp and the large knife, though of course nobody - nobody - so far has ever proved contamination as the prosecutors today pointed out.

Two Rome experts in DNA have already been nominated.

Apparently none of the other very extensive forensic evidence at the scene of the crime - which is the entire apartment, not merely Meredith’s bedroom - is to be retested. That has always been very tough to explain away.

Apparently only one or two of the previous witnesses whose testimony is described in the Massei report will be heard from again. Possible Guede confidant Alessi will be allowed and maybe Aviello who claimed his missing brother really did it.

And apparently ninety days is added to the allowed duration of this appeal, because the Massei Report took 90 days to produce. The deadline now is next September, although if it lasts through to the spring we will be surprised.

The defense doesn’t seem to have many strong hopes going forward. No more Spiderman attempts on Filomena’s window. They found no room for appeal with regard to the various contradictory alibis, the various peculiar phone calls, and assorted bizarre behaviors.

Remember that even Knox and Sollecito themselves have claimed they were zonked out of their skulls on the night - though magically they seem to have managed a major cleanup and rearrangement of the entire crime scene, minus evidence pointing to Guede.

The astute commenter Piktor posted this on PMF

The expert review would be needed if the scientific results were the only evidence that convicts.

What if the DNA evidence was thrown out. Could you convict without it?

You have the staging, the lies, the false accusation, the police testimony, the defendant’s multiple alibis that don’t mesh, Mrs. Mellas testimony in court exposing Knox’s willful “confusion”, the email and diaries.

You add it up and it all points in one direction. No doubt about the result.

The prosecution narrative makes sense. The defence has no narrative.


Do we know if this is a review of the testing procedure itself - the forensic collection, the testing,the interpretation- which yielded the results on the knife and the bra clasp, or is it a full re-testing of the items themselves? Either way I cant see this being anything other than a significant blow for the defence - no review of the luminol footprints, the mixed DNA in the sink the phone records, the shop worker etc..

Posted by Welshy on 12/18/10 at 08:38 PM | #

As reported by AGI the Court stated for a full re-testing and, unless this is possible, for a review of the testing procedure.

Posted by ncountryside on 12/18/10 at 08:47 PM | #

At the end of the day, the appeals process will be judged on all the evidence presented, just like the previous trial, just the way justice has always been done.

I’m not really sure how Sollecito can backpeddle out of his previous statement (without losing all credibility) that he can not confirm that Knox was with him the night of the murder, even though (post-Lumumba release from jail) Knox changed her story that she was with Sollecito all evening. Hmmmm…..

I think the poster Piktor is correct in the substantial amount of evidence that incriminates K & S. - even without the DNA.

I would wager crying and puppy dog eyes will not sway the court.

Posted by giustizia on 12/18/10 at 09:14 PM | #

Any impartial person reading the Massei Report will be pretty convinced of Knox’s guilt, within the first 100 pages. The part which deals with the alleged “break-in” is utterly, utterly damning and compelling and proves beyond any shade of doubt whatsoever that the break-in was staged.

If the Appeals Court accepts that the break-in was staged then pure, simple logic will lead them to point a finger at the only person in the entire world who would have any interest in pointing attention away from the house by staging a break-in.

The conclusion is fatal to Amanda Knox’s chances.

Of course, if she had an alibi, she might have a shadow of a hope. If she hadn’t lied and lied again, she might have a shadow of a hope. If she hadn’t accused a totally innocent man of murder, she might have a shadow of a hope. If she hadn’t admitted being in the house at the time of the murder, she might have a shadow of a hope. If the mixed DNA evidence didn’t exist, she might have a shadow of a hope.

But she doesn’t, and she did, and she did, and she did, and it does.

And she doesn’t.

Posted by Janus on 12/18/10 at 10:01 PM | #

The problem with the pro- Knox brigade is that they become fixated on specific and isolated aspects of the case instead of undertaking a rational and dispassionate appraisal of the bigger picture, the details, which evaluated together prove beyond any reasonable doubt that Knox and Sollecito are guilty.

The forensic review of TWO contentious items will be seized upon as if it’s the precursor for an abandonment of the entire prosecution case and the subsequent acquittal of both defendants - no appreciation of the fact that the prosecution case is built on a great deal more than these TWO evidential factors (which in any case are only used as an indication of Sollecito’s presence at the scene and Knox’s link to a weapon used in the comission of the offence).

The idea that the bra clasp must have been contaminated because of the length of time it took to recover and test is ridiculous when viewed in the context of cold case reviews which convict people after 10-20 years when, for example, advances in DNA analysis etc allow previously recovered exhibits to be tested again to establish if any DNA is present when originally there was assumed to be none. The onus is always on the defence to provide a convincing hypothesis on how an exhibit may have been contaminated - not merely suggest it.t

Posted by Welshy on 12/18/10 at 10:10 PM | #

It is my belief that the footprints revealed with luminol, the staged break-in and the clean up are most damning. Let’s not forget RS bloody footprint on the mat.

Even if the double DNA knife would be disproved by the new appointed forensic experts (I doubt the clasp will), they are still guilty. I know, the Amanda Knox supporters are all excited right now about the “good news”, waiting for the “truth to emerge”, but I think it’s futile.

Posted by Nell on 12/19/10 at 03:44 AM | #

the truth has emerged, Nell…it’s just not the “truth” they want to hear. my cynical side sees this as a means of removing of all the whining, all the arguments by the pro-defense team who have bawed and bawed about the knife and the bra clasp, but as Welshy and Janus so rightly point out…it’s the big picture, the whole scene which makes the conclusion so obvious.

Posted by mojo on 12/19/10 at 08:20 AM | #

A DNA test uncovers a person’s own genetic code. As a biological “something” it must be subject to decay.

Hence the judge wisely allows that the initial testing procedure may be evaluated anew in case a DNA test has become impossible (over time.)

What’s obvious to me is that the Knox response (including mother & friends) rests upon a logical inconsistency.  Amanda tears up (some report) & Edda Mellas weeps openly.

Just bring back fresh DNA confirmation (if possible) & the Knox clan will immediately take up the cry of contamination. So why rejoice over the promise of retesting?

I don’t find that Curt Knox’s response is anywhere reported unless I’ve overlooked it.  He stands back in the shadows, his musket loaded with the charge of contamination.

Amanda lives & tries most desperately to believe in her own lie: I am not that woman, I am not a person who could have been capable of that.

As well said above, the totality of the evidence is quite enough for the court to uphold the conviction even if the DNA for whatever reason may fail.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 12/19/10 at 11:18 AM | #

A friend has pointed out to me an inadequacy in my statement, just above.  I write of a “logical inconsistency” in the Knox response & ask, “Why rejoice over the promise of retesting” since we already know how Curt Knox contends that the evidence is contaminated.

But Amanda’s gratified response, & even more so that of Edda Mellas (she weeps openly & says, “There’s hope”) may strengthen any future claim of contamination.

The logic, then, is this:
You see how glad we were—we wept for joy & relief—to know that retesting would be done. We were only too happy to cooperate because we knew that an honest result must justify Amanda.

But if a report returns evidence of Amanda’s DNA on the murder weapon & Meredith’s, too, it’s proof enough that the knife was contaminated—or even that the evidence was planted.

This deeper interpretation rests on a premise of Knox pre-planning.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 12/19/10 at 05:11 PM | #

A good article By Andrea Vogt seems to be the most in depth analysis of what is happening.

He named geneticist Carla Vecchioti, a professor of forensic medicine at the Sapienza University of Rome.

However, the judge rejected defense requests for a new analysis of activity on Sollecito’s computer, a new coroner report on the time of death and the testing of an unidentified stain on Kercher’s pillow that defense experts suggested was semen.

Hellman also did not immediately admit the testimony of convicted child murderer Mario Alessi or Mafioso Luciano Aviello, saying he would reserve the right to call them. Prosecutors also requested the right to call counter-witnesses, if those two are eventually heard.

he granted the prosecution’s request to acquire the documentation from all three trials of Ivory Coast immigrant Rudy Guede. Earlier this week, Guede’s conviction and 16-year prison sentence were confirmed at the Supreme Court level in Rome, which closes the final judicial chapter in his case and makes available the materials for use in the separate Knox-Sollecito appeal.

Posted by Giselle on 12/19/10 at 06:24 PM | #

The Knox clan are terrified of the thought of Guede testifying at the appeal. It is interesting that they embrace the heresay of jailbird sleazes Mario Alesi and Luciano Aviello as truth, desperately grasping for anything to spring Knox from the box. Yet any testimony from jailbird Guede must be a lie - more inconsistent logic from the defense clan.

Posted by giustizia on 12/19/10 at 09:04 PM | #

I may have missed it somewhere, but can anyone explain what happens if this appeal is successful, i.e does the case get thrown out, is there a retrial?

Posted by bobc on 12/19/10 at 09:20 PM | #

@bobc I am not certain but I think that the verdict can be overturned by this court. Its the last court of appeal that can order a retrial…. (correct me if I am wrong)

But I just read that the prosecution is confident despite the review of the evidence being ordered that Knox and Sollecito will stay in jail. Also the evidence from Guede’s trial has been allowed as well - so that is a huge blow to the Knox camp. As Giustizia has pointed out “the Knox clan are terrified that Guede will testify”.

There are quotes from Mignini, comodi, and the Kercher lawyers.

Posted by Giselle on 12/19/10 at 10:22 PM | #

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