Breaking news. First media article on #Netflixgate that shows how pro-Knox crackpot Stephen Robert Morse, Netflix producer, abuses other reporter for not following his fanatical line, also shows that over a long period Morse made paranoid posts about those who worked to rebut his lies & Knox-PR lies, smeared them as "trolls".

All our posts on Italian system

Monday, September 12, 2016

#Netflixgate We Interview Dr Mignini On Biased Netflix Film And Judy Bachrach’s False Claims

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




1. The Wider Context

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


2. Judy Bachrach’s Latest Crackpot Claims

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

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

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

It pays to understand four things.

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

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

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

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

3. Dr Mignini Corrects The Record At Length

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

Dr Mignini speaks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, September 01, 2016

How Bob Woffinden, Aggrandizing Investigative Journalist, Attempts To Perpetrate Innocence Fraud

Posted by The Machine



Said to be Bob Woffinden - as a pop music reporter, some years ago

1. Woffinden and innocence fraud

These days innocence fraud is a very real thing.

A stern warning was issued to crime laboratory administrators that some post-conviction exonerations may have been secured by innocence activists using malicious tactics, or ‘innocence fraud’, creating potential public safety threats as convicted felons are released from prison.

In this post, I will analyse another example of innocence fraud, this time by British journalist Bob Woffinden on Meredith’s case. Woffinden has done this on other cases before.

He specialises in alleged miscarriages of justice, and has written articles for The Guardian, The Daily Mail and The New Statesman and authored a number a books about high-profile murder cases: Miscarriages of Justice; Hanratty: The Final Verdict and The Murder of Billy-Jo.

Woffinden’s default position when it comes to controversial murder cases seems to be to assume a miscarriage of justice, and to claim someone has been convicted of a crime they didn’t commit.

He’s claimed that James Hanratty, Jeremy Bamber, Barry George, Sion Jenkins and Jonathan King are all innocent. Reflexively anti-police, Woffinden as I described in the post linked to above on the James Hanratty case has a history of putting victims’ families through considerable pain.

2. Woffinden On Meredith’s case

Here he tries to prove that Rudy Guede is innocent of murder, and falsely claims he was convicted because he was black. He also tries to cast doubt on the hard fact that Meredith was sexually assaulted - or that the police got anything right.

Anyone who has read the official court documents and court testimonies with regard to the Meredith Kercher case will be able to assess Bob Woffinden’s professionalism and credibility and ethics as an investigative journalist article by reading his contorted take.

To those who really do know the case, it is immediately apparent that he’s pretty ignorant of the main facts, and that he hasn’t bothered to read the official court documents or the court testimonies available in English here.

He mindlessly repeats various endemic Friends of Amanda PR myths. For example, he erroneously claims the prosecutors concocted the scenario of a sex orgy gone wrong.

“The second mistake then ensued from the first. Needing to explain the presence of their three suspects in connection with the supposed sexual assault – and knowing there was absolutely no evidence to link Guede with Knox and Sollecito – they [the prosecutors] concocted the absurd scenario of a sex orgy gone wrong.”

Dr Mignini didn’t ever say anything about there being a sex orgy that went wrong when he presented his scenario to the court at the trial in 2009 and the numerous hearings (which Woffinden seems totally unaware of) in the 15 months before.

Instead he gave the court a detailed chronological account briefly summarized below of a vicious physical and sexual assault on Meredith, which culminated in her dying some time after the killers left and locked her in.

23:21: Amanda and Raffaele go into the bedroom while Rudy goes to the bathroom.

23:25: A scuffle begins between Amanda, helped by Raffaele, and Meredith. The English girl is taken by the neck, then banged against a cupboard, as shown by wounds to the skull. She resists all this. Rudy Guede enters.

23:30: Meredith falls to the floor. The three try to undress her to overcome her; they only manage to take off her trousers. The girl manages to get up, she struggles. At this point, the two knives emerge from the pockets of Amanda and Raffaele: one with a blade of four to five centimetres, the other, however, a big kitchen knife. Meredith tries to fend off the blades with her right hand. She is wounded.

23:35: The assault continues. Sollecito tries to rip off the English girl’s bra.

23:40: Meredith is on her knees, threatened by Amanda with the knife while Rudy holds her with one hand and with the other hand carries out an assault on her vagina. There is first a knife blow on her face, then straight away another. However, these blows are not effective. The three become more violent. With the smaller knife, Sollecito strikes a blow: the blade penetrates 4 centimetres into the neck.

There is a harrowing cry, which some witnesses will talk about. Amanda decides to silence her, still according to the video brought to court by the prosecutors, and strikes a blow to the throat with the kitchen knife: it will be the fatal wound. Meredith collapses on the floor.

23:45: Meredith is helped up by Rudy and is coughing up blood. The English girl, dying, is dragged along so that she can continue to be undressed.

Why is Woffinden unable to substantiate his claim that the prosecutors concocted the scenario of a sex orgy gone wrong with a verbatim quote from Mignini or Comodi?

Because they never claimed this at all. A competent and ethical professional journalist should be able to support every claim they make.

Woffinden regurgitates another popular PR myth by claiming that Rudy Guede pleaded guilty late in 2008.

“Even as he [Rudy Guede] pleaded guilty, he vehemently asserted his innocence, saying, ‘I can’t talk about things I haven’t seen and that didn’t happen to me’.”

Rudy Guede has never pleaded guilty or confessed to Meredith’s murder. He has always denied killing Meredith. He opted for a fast-track trial in mid 2008 because he could escape a blatant attempt to frame him as sole perpetrator by the Knox and Sollecito defense.

It meant he would automatically received a third off his prison sentence but at the time he had no idea what that would look like.

Bob Woffinden gets yet another fact wrong when he claims the Hellmann appeal court sanctioned a full review of the scientific evidence.

“…the Italian court sanctioned a full review of the scientific evidence on which they had been convicted.”

It did nothing of the kind. Hellmann merely asked Carla Vechiotti and Stefano Conti to review two pieces of DNA evidence - the knife and bra clasp evidence.

They didn’t review the bloody footprint on the bathmat, the bare bloody footprints which had been revealed by Luminol, or the five samples of Knox’s DNA or the blood mixed with Meredith’s blood in three different locations in the cottage.

Yet another wrong “fact”. Bob Woffinden claims that a police officer flushed away Rudy Guede’s faeces and thus destroyed evidence.

“His recollection that he had leapt up from the toilet seat the instant he heard the scream was bizarrely corroborated by the fact that there were faeces still in the pan when the police arrived. Needless to say, one officer activated the toilet, thereby flushing away important evidence.”

Needless to say? In fact this claim is complete and utter nonsense. The faeces in the toilet wasn’t flushed away. It was carefully collected as evidence and tested. However, it didn’t yield any results.

“The faeces present in the toilet of that bathroom did not, however, yield any results, and Dr Stefanoni, the biologist of the Scientific Police, explained that the presence of numerous bacteria easily destroys what DNA might be found in faeces.” (The Massei report, page 43).

Why would Woffinden make these and other demonstrably untrue claims? It seems obvious that he wants to portray the Italian National Scientific Police (much respected by the FBI) as the Keystone Cops, in order to ridicule the forensic investigation, seemingly his purpose here.

Woffinden makes yet another false claim by stating that Guede made only one inconsistent statement.

“Guede’s solitary inconsistency was this. He did comment at the outset of the investigation that ‘Amanda doesn’t have anything to do with it’. But, at that stage, perhaps he couldn’t believe that she did have.”

Judge Micheli, who found Rudy Guede guilty of sexual assault and murder in October 2008, pointed out in his sentencing report of January 2009 that Guede’s accounts were unreliable and varied a lot.

“Analyzing the narratives of the accused…he is not credible, as I will explain, because his version is (1) unreliable, and (2) continuously varying, whether on basic points or in minor details and outline.”

Bob Woffinden also seems to be pushing the wrong notion that Rudy Guede didn’t implicate Amanda Knox until much later - which is another FOA PR myth.

Guede first implicated Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito whilst on the run in Germany on 19 November 2007 in an intercepted Skype conversation with his friend Giacomo Benedetti:

Giacomo: “So they [Knox and Sollecito] killed her while she was dressed.”

Guede: “Yes, here it says that they [clothes] were washed in the washing machine, but that’s not true. She was dressed.”

Bob Woffinden makes the erroneous and offensive claim that there’s no evidence that Meredith was sexually assaulted,

“In their investigation, prosecutors made a series of blunders. The first serious mistake was their assumption that Meredith was sexually assaulted. If one takes cognisance of Guede’s account, there is no evidence of this. The second mistake then ensued from the first. Needing to explain the presence of their three suspects in connection with the supposed sexual assault – and knowing there was absolutely no evidence to link Guede with Knox and Sollecito – they concocted the absurd scenario of a sex orgy gone wrong.”

Had Bob Woffinden actually bothered to read the key Massei trial report, he would have known that several medical experts - Dr Lalli, Professor Marchionni, Professor Bacci and Professor Gianaristide Norelli - testified that there were indications of sexual violence on Meredith.

Such conclusions were further explained [by Dr Lalli] at the hearing of April 3, 2009, in which it was highlighted that signs were present of sexual activity with characteristics of non cooperation by the young woman, which can be derived from the lesion pattern at the vulvo vaginal level (page 40 of transcripts).

[111] These signs were present in the purple ecchymotic type spots detected on the inner surface of the labia minora, the area where they are usually produced. It is the first point of contact for the sex organ or object including fingers penetrating the vagina and therefore the point at which an action ... performed without the full cooperation of both actors would produce purplish spots of this kind. (The Massei report, page 116).

He [Professor Marchionni] noted in this regard that, even without lubrication injuries of this nature are not the result of consensual sexual intercourse, and he argued that the cause of these lesions had originated from a “forcing” that could have been done by the penis or by hands (page 21, hearing on April 4, 2009). (The Massei report, page 117.)

With regard to sexual violence, he [Professor Bacci] referred to the inspection of the genital area conducted by Dr. Lalli at the morgue operating room. On the internal surface of the labia minora, attention was focused on areas of discolouration, which can be interpreted as small bruises, small abrasions associated with small haemorrhages indicative of “small lesions” (page 16, transcripts) consistent with a violent action of friction, pressure an typical of sexual violence and, while affirming the absence glaring signs of typical sexual violence (page 16, transcripts) he concluded compatibility with non-consensual sexual intercourse’ (page 16, hearing, hearing on April 18, 2009). (The Massei report, page 121.)

He [Gianaristide Norelli] further underlined the presence of a slight bilateral suffusion in the area of the iliac spines, i.e. in the areas corresponding to the anterior lateral part of the flank, which represent the end/terminal parts of the wings of the [pelvic] basin and the fact that “lesions in this area are fairly characteristic of seizure [grasping] and immobilisation”; [it is] an area which is ‘highly suggestive’ in the context of the investigation of sexual assault. (The Massei report, page 124).

It should be stressed that the the doctor who actually performed the autopsy - Dr Lalli - believed Meredith had been sexually assaulted.

“The prosecution focused on Lalli’s statements that he believed there had been non-consensual sex.” (Andrea Vogt, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2 April 2009).

You need just an ounce of common sense to know that murder victims who were also raped or sexually assaulted didn’t consent. The Kerchers’ lawyer Dr Maresca made this very point:

“Sex that ends with someone dead is not consensual.”

Dr Maresca also highlighted the fact several medical experts said there were signs of sexual violence in court. Dr Maresca told the court that the expert witnesses

“sustained the prior results and valuations of the coroner who performed the autopsy and the forensic evidence specialists who already testified”. He added: “And for the first time today, we also heard that the bruises on the victim’s hips were consistent with a sexually violent approach.”

Unbelievably, Bob Woffinden regards Rudy Guede as a reliable and credible witness.

I’m surprised anyone would believe Guede’s ever-changing versions of events when they are so blatantly untrue. Guede gave two different accounts of arranging a date with Meredith and they’re both demonstrably false.

Meredith didn’t go to the Halloween party at the Spanish students’ house on 31 October 2007.

Guede then changed his story and claimed that he had met her at Domus, but Meredith was with her friends continuously and none of them saw her with him. None of Guede’s friends saw him with her either.

“He [Rudy Guede] stated that he met the girl on Oct. 31 in the house of some Spanish students and did not meet her later in the “Domus” pub, that the next day, shortly before going to the date with Meredith…

In the third interrogation, by the P.M. [public prosecutor] on March 26, 2008, he changed the place of his meeting with Kercher on Oct. 31 from the Spanish students’ house to the Domus pub” (Judge Giordano’s Supreme Court report, page 17).

“…and also because none of Meredith’s friends (Amy Frost, Robyn Butterworth and [10] Sophie Purton, with whom she had gone out on the evening of Halloween, Oct. 31, 2007) nor any of Guede’s friends (among others AC and PM) had ever seen them talk to each other.” (Judge Giordano’s sentencing report, page 10).

Meredith had NOT arranged a date with Guede at the cottage on Via della Pergola on 1 November 2007. She and Sophie Purton left their friends early that evening because they mistakenly believed they had lectures the next day.

“They [Meredith Kercher and Sophie Purton] were to meet on the morning of the second at around 10:00 am for a lecture at the university…:” (The Massei report, page 35).

“Meredith was tired from the day before when she had come home about five in the morning; the next day she supposed that she had a lesson at the University at 10 am and she needed to prepare for this and she had to also think about resting” (The Massei report, page 58).

Judge Massei explained at length in his report why Rudy Guede’s claims he had a date with Meredith were not credible.

“Speaking of Meredith, there has already been occasion to make mention of her personality (serious, not superficial, with a strong character), of her romantic situation [i.e. her love life] (she had not long beforehand begun a relationship with Giacomo Silenzi), of the plans she had for that evening (studying, preparing for the following day believing that there would be classes at the University, finishing a piece of homework, as her mother recalled during the hearing of 6 June 2009, and resting).

None of the people she frequented and in whom she confided (her relatives and her English girlfriends) testified that Meredith had made any mention to them at all of Rudy, for whom, therefore, she must not have felt any interest. With regard to the totality of these circumstances, it must be considered that Meredith could only have made an outright refusal to Rudy’s advances” (The Massei report, pages 365-366).

In rejecting Guede’s final appeal Judge Giordano succinctly summarised the reasons why he was found guilty of sexual assault and murder in his Supreme Court report. It had nothing to do with the colour of his skin.

“The judgement rationale thus proceeds through rigorous logical steps, quite consistently, with no possibility of misinterpreting evidence, distorting significant data, or disruption of the overall probative reasoning. Meredith Kercher, before being slaughtered with the deadly blow at her throat, was the victim of a series of wounds, of forced restraining of her limbs, especially the left hand and arm - and on the cuff of the left sleeve of the sweatshirt she wore clear traces of DNA of the defendant are found – aimed at overcoming her resistance to sexual violence, of which the traces of DNA of Guede of the vaginal swabs are evidence, which then led to the violent behaviour of the deadly slaughtering.

The version of the accused is totally unrealistic because, even apart from the obvious omissions and contradictions detectable in his many statements, his previous acquaintance of Meredith, shaped in his story by a meeting on the night before the murder at the Domus pub, by a kiss between the two and by a date for the evening of the following day, is clearly disproved by a whole articulated testimonial structure, [19] coming from several people and indicating that: the two did not meet at the Domus (indicated by the testimonies of all the friends who were accompanying Meredith), even less did they converse, even briefly, at the Shamrock pub during the match between England and South Africa broadcasted the day before (indicated by the testimonies of AC, PM and F), and Kercher never confided anything, as would have been natural, to her friends about a date with Guede, not even on the afternoon of Nov. 1, as she had done in other occasions about details of her personal and love life (indicated by the testimonies of Robin Carmel Butterworth, Sophie Purton).

This is consistent with the portrait of Meredith’s character; she avoided sexual relations with other men apart from Giacomo Silenzi with whom she had begun a relationship that she absolutely did not mean to betray, as stated by her friends, especially not for unimportant adventures.” (Judge Giordano’s Supreme Court report, pages 17-18).

Some conclusions

Bob Woffinden has made a name for himself by publicly championing the causes of convicted killers and sex offenders. Mainstream media organisations such as The Guardian, The Daily Mail and The New Statesman have given him a certain degree of credibilty and respectabilty by publishing his articles. Many people will trust him and assume that he’s a reliable and trustworthy journalist.

However, their trust is misplaced. His lack of due diligence with regard to his article about Rudy Guede and the Meredith Kercher case is disturbing and unacceptable. He doesn’t get the basics of journalism right - which is astonishing for someone who has worked as a journalist for decades. He gets basic facts wrong and he has made numerous demonstrably false claims.

A professional journalist should be able to substantiate every claim they make. Bob Woffinden is unable to do this because he has relied on some of the numerous factually inaccurate articles and the massive defense and PR spin about the case instead of the official court documents and court testimonies.

It defies belief that he accepts Rudy Guede’s fairy tale version of events. You don’t expect such childlike naivety from an adult let alone an investigative journalist. He’s obviously blissfully ignorant of the fact that Guede gave contradictory and confllcting accounts.

It seems he has a deep-rooted psychological need to believe in innocence and police malfeasance, which completely clouds his judgement to the point where he blindly supports and campaigns on behalf of people who are blatantly guilty of sexual assault and murder like James Hanratty and Rudy Guede.

If there’s a more sloppy and self-serving journalist in the world, I haven’t come across them yet.


Tuesday, August 09, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell





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

Maybe 9 out of 10 Italians think this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 08/09/16 at 01:52 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemOther systemsThe wider contextsItalian contextN America context
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (32)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Is This Critique Of The Italian Justice System By Foreign Observers A Fair One?

Posted by Machiavelli (Yummi)

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


Does this Reuters report capture Italian justice correctly?

We linked to it on 30 June and it seemed to have some key points missing. For example it omits, as English-language reports tend to, that the system as originally designed strove above all to be fair, and that crime rates in Italy are low and murder rates lower and levels of incarceration and recidivism tiny by European standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 07/10/16 at 07:56 PM by Machiavelli (Yummi). Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Justice systemsItalian system
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (5)

Thursday, June 30, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dramatic stuff. A tragic pity Meredith misses all this.


Posted on 06/30/16 at 01:10 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemThe wider contextsItalian context
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (19)

Monday, June 20, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



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


Look around you.

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

All are purposeful systems.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 06/20/16 at 05:39 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemOther systemsThe wider contextsItalian contextN America context
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (63)

Monday, April 18, 2016

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

Posted by Chimera




1 Series And Post Overview

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

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

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

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

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

2. The Appeals Process in Common Law Countries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BOOKS TO BE SUBMITTED

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AT THE ACTUAL APPEAL:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

POSSIBLE OUTCOMES:

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

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

(3) The Appellate Court dismisses the Appeal

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

USEFUL LINKS:

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

3. Contrast This with Criminal Appellate Trials in Italy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Other TJMK Posts Of Relevance

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

5. Some Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

Posted on 04/18/16 at 12:38 AM by Chimera. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemOther systems
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (10)

Monday, March 07, 2016

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



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

1. The Knox Picture Of Italian Prison Conditions

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. The Real Picture Of Italian Prison Conditions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Posted on 03/07/16 at 05:11 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemHoaxes KnoxNasty-prison hoax
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (4)

Saturday, March 05, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell




The Italian Justice System

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

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

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

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

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

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

International Votes Of Approval

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

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

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

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

The CIA Operatives Case (Resumed)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Operative Sabrina de Souza

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

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

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

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

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

Our Own Learning Experience

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

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

Posted on 03/05/16 at 05:46 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemOther legal processesItalian unrelatedExtradition issues
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (4)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Posted on 02/14/16 at 12:13 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemOther systemsThose officially involvedVictims familyOther legal processesThose elsewhereThe wider contextsItalian contextEurope context
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (34)

Thursday, January 07, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 01/07/16 at 08:12 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemOther systemsCrime hypothesesThe psychologyHoaxes KnoxNasty-prison hoaxOther legal processesThose elsewhere
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (12)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That model is pretty close to the Italian one.

Posted on 12/23/15 at 07:50 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemOther systems
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (3)

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

One Of The Many Pluses That Amanda Knox’s Paid Defamers Would Prefer That Americans Don’t Know About

Posted by Peter Quennell





We have often mentioned these major justice-system pluses:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 12/08/15 at 12:51 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemOther systemsHoaxes Italy & the caseItalian justice hoaxThe wider contextsItalian contextEurope contextN America context
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (22)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

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

Posted by Chimera



A joint press conference of Italian and American crimefighters in Rome

Framing This Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who Makes the Laws?

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

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

When is it First Degree Murder?

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

In Canada

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

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

In The US

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

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

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

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

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

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

Federal v.s. State/Provincial Prison

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

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

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

Death Penalty Laws

Canada currently does not have the death penalty.

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

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

Sex Offender Registry

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

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

Deportation of Foreigners

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

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

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

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

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

Classifications of Crimes

In Canada:

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

In the U.S.

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

Judge Alone v.s. Jury Trial

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

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

Jury Deliberations

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

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

Threshold to Getting an Appeal Heard

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

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

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

Makeup of Appellate Courts

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

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

Agenda of Appellate Courts

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

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

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

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

Size of the Nation’s Highest Court

The Supreme Court of Canada has 9 judges.

The Supreme Court of the United States has 9 judges.

The Supreme Court of Italy has about 300 judges.

Consecutive v.s. Concurrent Sentences

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

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

Mandatory Sentencing

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

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

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

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

Plea Bargaining

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

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

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

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

Incarceration Rate

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

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

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

Recording of Police Interrogations

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

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

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

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

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

Double Jeopardy Law

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

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

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

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

Canadian Charter v. U.S. Constitution

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

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

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

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

Canada: cruel and unusual punishment is prohibited under Section 12
America: cruel and unusual punishment is prohibited under the 14th Amendment.

Canada: one can’t be forced to be a witness against themselves under Section 11(c)
America: one can’t be forced to be a witness against themselves under the 5th Amendment (taking the 5th)

Canada: retrying for the same offence violates Section 11(h)
America: retrying for the same offence violates the 5th Amendment.

Canada: demanding unreasonable bail violates Section 11(e)
America: demanding unreasonable bail violates the 8th Amendment.

Notes:
-The police obtained warrants before getting internet records, phone records, etc ...
-AK’s first 2 statements were inadmissible because she had no lawyer (even though she refused one).
-AK/RS complain about ‘‘hellish’’ conditions now, but not when the U.S. State Department checked in.
-AK only testified regarding the ‘‘calunnia’‘, but AK/RS used their ‘‘right to not respond’‘.
-AK/RS claim their ‘‘acquittals’’ should be the end, but 11(h)/5th doesn’t apply to appeals court that get further appealed
-AK/RS got multiple attempts to apply for bail

Notorious Killers In Canada

1. Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka

Scarborough, Ontario—This case still leaves a bad taste for Canadians.  The couple murdered 3 teens, Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy, as well as Karla’s younger sister, Tammy.  Bernardo was already a prolific rapist before meeting Homolka, but no one died until they got together.

Bernardo is serving life in prison and has been classified as a ‘‘dangerous offender’‘.  Homolka served only 12 years after testifying against him, in what was called the ‘‘deal with the devil.’’  Homolka claimed that she was forced to go along to help with Bernardo’s crimes, using the ‘‘battered woman’s syndrome’‘, although it has since been shown that she was a willing and enthusiastic participant.  Police speculate that there were other victims but no more additional charges were filed.

Though claiming her innocence, Knox has tried using the ‘‘I was browbeaten’’ line against Italian authorities.

2. David Bagshaw and Melissa Todorovic

Toronto,Ontario—A 15 year old girl convinces her 17 year old (almost 18) boyfriend to murder a rival, a 14 year old girl Todorovic had never met, Stefanie Rengel.  Todorovic threatened to withhold sex from Bagshaw unless he complied, and these threats went on for months.  When Bagshaw finally did kill Stefanie, he got his reward, sex.  While Todorovic never met Stefanie, Stefanie and Bagshaw had briefly dated.

Bagshaw, 4 days short of 18 at the time, lost his bid for a youth sentence, and received a life sentence.  In custody, he helped an inmate try to kill another.  Todorovic tried to claim she never meant for this to happen.  She received an adult sentence, life with a 7 year minimum in custody.  Both lost their appeals.

Todorovic was reportedly jealous Bagshaw had once dated Stefanie.  Knox was reportedly jealous Meredith started dating Giacomo.

3. Jeremy Steinke and ‘‘Jane Doe’‘

Medicine Hat, Alberta—Steinke was the 23 year old boyfriend of ‘‘Jane Doe’‘, the 12 year old who arranged to have her brother and parents murdered.  The girl cannot be named, as an adult sentence could not be imposed (she was under 14 at the time).  Given that 23 and 12 is considered pedophilia in Canada, there were concerns that the parents would have called the police.

The parents wanting to end the relationship was the apparent motive for the murders, although it is not clear why the brother, then 8, was killed as well.  The woman is currently serving the rest of her 10 year sentence in the community, while Steinke is serving 3 concurrent terms of 25 years to life.

The parents obviously disapproved of the huge age gap.  But to be fair—Raffaele Sollecito was a ‘‘kid’’ when he was 23.

4. Russell Williams

Tweed, Ontario—Williams was a colonel in the Canadian Air-Force and Commander of the Trenton Air Base.  He has since been given a service misconduct and kicked out.  In his early 40’s, he began breaking into neighbours’ homes and stealing underwear.  He later committed 2 sexual assault, but let those victims go, but committed 2 more but killed those victims: Marie-Frances Comeau (a military officer under his command); and Jessica Lloyd.

Williams plead guilty to 2 murders, 4 sexual assaults, and 88 break-ins, but will still be eligible for parole after 25 years.

A few gruesome facts: Williams suffocated Ms. Comeau by wrapping her head with duct tape, and made a video of it. 

Also, he told Jessica’s boyfriend (at the time worked under William’s command), that he didn’t have to talk to police without a lawyer.  He also dumped Jessica’s body where he knew her boyfriend hunted.  It seems likely that Williams was trying to frame him.  Perhaps Williams wanted Jessica’s boyfriend to be the one to find her, a bit like Knox wanted Filomena or Laura to find Meredith.

5. Cody Legebokoff

Prince George, British Columbia—Termed ‘‘Canada’s Youngest Serial Killer’‘, he killed 3 women: Jill Stuchenko, Natasha Montgomery, Cynthia Maas, and a 15 year old girl Loren Leslie, all by age 20.

When originally stopped, Legebokoff claimed the blood was from a deer he was poaching and had clubbed to death.  At trial, he tried to claim that a drug dealer X, and his two associates: Y, and Z did it, and that he was an unwilling participant.  That excuse failed, and he was convicted on 4 counts of first degree murder.

An appeal is pending based on the claim that the trial should have been moved elsewhere due to the publicity.  He complains it is impossible to be judged fairly.  But to be fair, he hasn’t sought out the limelight, given TV interviews, or signed any book deals.

Author’s note: I was in Prince George while the trial went on.  Yes, the town knew about it, but people still went about their lives.

Notorious Killers In The US

1. Gerald and Charlene Gallego

This couple committed a series of murders in California and Nevada.  They kidnapped women to become sex slaves.  Their victims included: Rhonda Schleffer, Kippi Vaught, Brenda Judd, Sandra Colley, Stacey Redican, Karen Twiggs, and at least 4 others.  When caught, Charlene turned against Gerald, claiming he was abuse, controlling, and had initiated everything.

In return for testifying against Gerald, Charlene was not charged in California, and only received 16 years, 8 months in Nevada.  She has since been released.  Gerald received death sentences in both states, but died before either could be carried out.  While Charlene received much more lenient treatment, there has been speculation that the sex slavery was her idea.

Since plea bargaining is illegal in Italy, neither Knox nor Sollecito could turn on each other for a deal.  They probably would have, if it was possible.

2. Douglas Thomas and Jessica Wiseman

Virginia—14 year old Jessica Wiseman arranged to have her 17 year old boyfriend Douglas Thomas murder Wiseman’s parents.  They were shot dead in their sleep.  Thomas apparently was so desparite for love that he was willing to go along with a girl who wanted away from her controlling parents.  While pledging to be with him at first, Wiseman abandoned him once he ‘‘served his purpose’‘.

Wiseman was tried as a juvenile, and released after 7 years, since she could not be held past her 21st birthday.  Thomas was executed 2 years later, after spending 9 years on death row.  This happened even as information emerged that Jessica shot her Mom, though it was never verified.  Though she was younger, it was widely viewed as unjust.

Knox, though not living with her parents, had problems in her home with the women upstairs.  Other options were available, such as moving in with Sollecito, or ‘‘re-negotiating’’ with Federico Martini, but Knox tried to solve her problem by getting rid of it.

3. Alvin and Judith Neelley

Georgia—this couple abducted a 13 year old girl, repeatedly sexually assaulted her, and injected her with Drano, hoping to poison her.  When that didn’t work, Judith shot her in the head.  Afterwards, they abducted a couple, Janice Chatman and John Hancock, brought them to a hotel to be tortured and murdered.  John was shot and left for dead, but survived, and was able to identify the Neelleys afterwards.

Judith was sentenced to death, but it was commuted to life without parole.  Alvin is serving a similar sentence.

A sick game they played, as if they were living out a fantasy.  Who else fantasizes violence?

4. Jodi Arias

Arizona—A California resident had a long distance relationship with an Arizona resident, until he rejected her.  Arias staged a break in at her grandparents’ place to get a gun,  went out of town to rent a car, got 3 5-gallon gas cans (so she wouldn’t have to stop), and turned off her cell phone (so it couldn’t be traced).  She went to Travis Alexander’s home, had ‘‘good-bye sex’’ with him, then stabbed him 29 times, slit his throat, and shot him in the head.  She then cleaned up, and went to her new boyfriend, in Utah, as if nothing happened.

Initially Arias said she wasn’t there.  Then she said 2 masked burglars did it, but she was afraid to identify them.  Next she said she didn’t know who they were.  At trial she claimed self defence, while invoking ‘‘battered woman’s syndrome.’’  The judge and jury didn’t believe her, and while she was spared the death penalty, Arias received life without parole.

Arias didn’t take rejection by Travis well at all, and neither did Knox take being stood up on Hallowe’en by Meredith.

5. Casey Anthony

Florida—Her daughter Caylee goes missing, so Casey goes partying (a bit like Guede did after Meredith’s death).  Prosecutors claim Anthony just wanted out of the responsibilities that came with being a parent.  Casey countered that Caylee accidently drowned.  Unfortunately, coroners were never able to positively determine the cause of death.

Although eventually acquitted of Caylee’s death, Casey was convicted on 4 counts of providing false information to law enforcement.  Among other things, Anthony made up a story about ‘‘Zanny the Nanny’’ possibly being involved to divert attention.  On appeal, 2 of those counts were overturned.  She is free, but keeping out of the public eye.  Anthony still has a record for lying, as does Knox.

6 Thomasdinh Bowman

Washington State—He shot another driver, Yancy Noll, in the head several times.  Bowman tried to clean up the crimescene—his car, and had his cellphone turned off.  When arrested, he denied involvement, but later changed his story to ‘‘self-defence’‘, claiming Noll attacked him in a fit of road rage.  Prosecutors claimed that this was planned, and that he had studied on how to get away with murder.

At trial, he was observed smirking and seeming to enjoy himself.  Knox likewise enjoyed the attention of her 2009 trial.  This attitude would come back to haunt him.  He was convicted of murder, and sentenced to nearly 30 years in prison.  He never expressed remorse to the family, just that he was ‘‘sorry they [the jury] didn’t believe me.’‘

Some Further Observations

Canadian and American laws are very similar in dealing with serious crime, with the focus being on punishment and deterrence.  Both countries have a bill of rights to ensure basic defendant’s rights are met, quite similar to what Italy has, but something many nations don’t offer.  Some main differences: (1) Canadian criminal law is made federally, while the U.S. states make their own laws for murder; (2) Canada has a much lower incarceration rate; (3) Canada’s sentencing laws are getting tougher, while U.S. laws are going the other way; (4) some states have the death penalty while Canada does not.

Both countries have their fair share of wackos, (pardon the non-technical term).  This is not an American problem, or a cultural problem, but a problem of having people who should not be walking freely among us.  While both countries do have ‘‘rehabilitation’’ as part of their sentencing guidelines, murder is a crime that must be punished, both to condemn the act, and to protect the public.

When faced with the prospect of a long mandatory sentence, or multiple, consecutive sentences, there is the reaction to plead out for lesser offences.  However, pleading guilty can have major implications, especially if giving someone else up for a lighter sentence.

Falsely accusing innocent people, or at least fictional people, seems fairly common by killers.  They do not ‘‘falsely confess’’ that other people did the crime, rather they ‘‘falsely accuse’‘.

Male-female killer couples occur in both countries, but almost universally, the female killer gets a much lighter sentence.  This is likely in part due to society willing to believe that the man is primarily responsible.  Also, these women have no qualms about blaming it all on the man.  The case of Knox getting a higher sentence than Sollecito or Guede seems to be an anomaly.

*******

Acknowledgements: A thank you to Yummi, Peter Q., and Cardiol.  Your feedback has altered the direction of this series.

Posted on 08/13/15 at 03:16 PM by Chimera. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemOther systems
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (23)

Friday, May 29, 2015

Justice System Reform Is Suddenly Everywhere On The Front Burner

Posted by Peter Quennell

1. The Justice System In The US

 

 

 


2. The Justice System In Mexico

 


3. The Justice System In China

 


4. The Justice System In Turkey

 


5. The Justice System In Britain

 

Posted on 05/29/15 at 03:31 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemOther systems
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (9)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Justice System Comparisons #3: Bail, Extradition, and More Crimes In Canadian Law

Posted by Chimera



First trial with camers in the court was back in 2000

1. Overview Of My Multi-Part Series

Italian justice has become very slanted toward the defendant, often at the considerable cost of the victim.

Canadian justice does not do that as much. It tries harder than most systems, including the Italian, to be equally fair to both, to balance their interests to the maximum that is possible. So it makes for a good comparison.  Although, to be fair, it is still frequently criticised as ‘‘soft on crime’‘. 

Part #1 can be read here and Part #2 can be read here. In a nutshell, what they said:

-First degree murder falls under a number of categories.  In many cases, the police and prosecutors do not even have to prove intent.  Section 231 defines first and second degree murder, and under cc 231(5)(b) (sexual assault), cc 231(5)(c) (sexual assault with a weapon), 231(5)(d) (aggravated sexual assault), and cc 231(5)(e) (kidnapping and forcible confinement), the trio would face 1st degree for either one of those circumstances.  The penalty is an automatic life sentence, with no chance of parole for 25 years.  No spontaneous declarations for defendants, lying on the witness stand is not allowed, no automatic appeals.

-There are a number of laws, including those enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to ensure fair criminal proceedings.

-Public Mischief (cc 140), is usually an indictable (felony) offence, and it is when someone falsely accuses another of committing a crime, does does something to divert attention from their own crime, or falsely reports someone has died.  Punishment can be up to 5 years.  In Italy, it is called ‘‘calunnia’‘.  It is something Knox has been convicted of, and others, including Sollecito, remain accused of.

-Perjury (cc 131), is lying under oath, or in judicial proceedings, or falsely making sworn statements.  It is an indictable (felony) offence.  Punishment can be up 14 years in prison.  Unlike in Italy, defendants CANNOT do it at their own trials.  Knox, Edda Mellas, Sollecito, and Guede, could all have been charged.

2. Some Background On The Case

Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, and (at the time Lumumba), were arrest November 6th, 2007, for the sexual assault and murder of Meredith Kercher.  They went before Judge Claudia Matteini, who saw enough probable cause to detain the 3 of them.  Lumumba was cleared and released a few weeks later, and Rudy Guede implicated instead.  See this post.  Judge Matteini, even without complete information was able to see enough cause for concern to keep them detained.

Knox and Sollecito tried to have the Italian Supreme Court (Cassation), overturn those decisions, but Italy’s High Court found that the decisions to keep AK and RS in prison, and away from house arrest.  Psychologically tested earlier, the results were disturbing enough to keep the paired detained until trial.  See here.  Also see here.

In 2008, Judge Paolo Micheli presided over Rudy Guede’s ‘‘short form’’ trial.  Guede was found guilty, and given 30 years, the maximum allowed under the ‘‘short-form trial’’ rules Judge Micheli also ruled there was enough evidence to send Knox and Sollecito to trial, as Guede’s accomplices.  Guede was denied house arrest prior to trial, and has been in custody ever since his arrest in late November 2007, and was denied day release recently.

The 2009 trial of Knox and Sollecito took almost the entire year of 2009, and was presided over by Judge Giancarlo Massei.  In December, the Massei Court found AK and RS guilty.  The pair received 24 years for murder with sexual violence, an additional year for staging a crime scene and transporting a knife, and Knox one more year for her false accusation of Patrick. The sentence was originally 30 years for murder, transport and staging, but 5 years were cut off for ‘‘mitigating factors’‘.  While AK and RS lawyers planned to appeal, the Court found no reason to let them out prior to the appeal.

The unintended consequence of the 24 years for the murder (with sexual violence), is that Guede, who took the short form trial, ended up receiving 1/3 less than AK and RS, effectively cutting his sentence in half, from 30 years to 16.

The appeal of AK and RS in 2011, before Judge Claudio Hellmann stunned Italy.  Hellmann acquitted the pair on appeal, despite the following:

-He said in his ruling, the truth may very well be otherwise
-His report only added confusion, it did not help clarify anything
-Knox still had outstanding charges for falsely accusing police officers of assault
-The appeal effectively was a new trial, but only with the defence presenting
-He said Knox’s false accusation was due to duress, not malicious intent—and then INCREASED her calunnia sentence
-The defence had cherry-picked a few pieces of evidence, but left huge amounts unchallenged
-Rudy Guede was apparently a total liar, EXCEPT for the time of death

Knox and Sollecito were released, and AK immediately returned to the U.S.  Sollecito stayed in Italy.  However, the Supreme Court annulled Hellmann’s ruling in March 2013. See here.

A new appeal was to be held in Florence, the fall of 2013. 

Knox refused to attend. 

AK did, however, send an email to Appeal Court Judge Nencini, which repeats many of the false accusations. See here.

She claimed, among other things, financial hardship, despite receiveing a $3.8 million book deal with HarperCollins. See here.

Although refusing to return to Italy, AK has repeated tried to contact the Kercher family, and creepily demanded to visit Meredith’s grave.  RS has also admitted to trying to contact the Kerchers, and claimed he has visited the grave. 

And Knox lets this bombshell out See here.

Sollecito also received a book deal, from Simon and Schuster, and it also stunk of blood money, just like Knox’s. See here.

Sollecito attended sporadically, visiting the Dominican Republic in between court dates, and apparently shopping for an American bride to help him get around extradition. See here.

January 30th, 2014, the date Nencini confirmed the Massei conviction, RS was caught near the Austrian border.  He denies he was trying to flee, but still had his passport confiscated, and was barred from leaving Italy.  Judge Nencini was also not the least bit amused by the goings on of the FOA See here.

And of course, the defence, in the spirit of fairness and sportsmanship, pulls this stunt:  See here.

AK, on the other hand, hit the talk shows, fake-crying about how scared she is, and how she’ll remain a fugitive if necessary.


3. Canadian Law on Bail

Section 11 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms deals with criminal matters and procedures

11. Any person charged with an offence has the right

  (a) to be informed without unreasonable delay of the specific offence;

  (b) to be tried within a reasonable time;

  (c) not to be compelled to be a witness in proceedings against that person in respect of the offence;

  (d) to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal;

  (e) not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause;

  (f) except in the case of an offence under military law tried before a military tribunal, to the benefit of trial by jury where the maximum punishment for the offence is imprisonment for five years or a more severe punishment;

  (g) not to be found guilty on account of any act or omission unless, at the time of the act or omission, it constituted an offence under Canadian or international law or was criminal according to the general principles of law recognized by the community of nations;

  (h) if finally acquitted of the offence, not to be tried for it again and, if finally found guilty and punished for the offence, not to be tried or punished for it again; and

  (i) if found guilty of the offence and if the punishment for the offence has been varied between the time of commission and the time of sentencing, to the benefit of the lesser punishment.

Marginal note:Treatment or punishment

12. Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

Marginal note:Self-crimination

13. A witness who testifies in any proceedings has the right not to have any incriminating evidence so given used to incriminate that witness in any other proceedings, except in a prosecution for perjury or for the giving of contradictory evidence.

Marginal note:Interpreter

14. A party or witness in any proceedings who does not understand or speak the language in which the proceedings are conducted or who is deaf has the right to the assistance of an interpreter.

Section 11(e) refers to the topic of bail, and states that reasonable bail should not be denied without just cause

Actually getting to trial can take a long time. Depending on the nature of the offence(s) charged, it may or may not be in the public interest.  Canada actually has pretty strict requirements about how soon an accused must be brought for a bail review.

In fact, the police don’t have to take the person into custody.  There is discretion to charge the person, and then release him/her on a promise to appear.  Here is a direct quote from cc 503(2), dealing with conditional release.

Conditional release

(2) If a peace officer or an officer in charge is satisfied that a person described in subsection (1) should be released from custody conditionally, the officer may, unless the person is detained in custody for an offence mentioned in section 522, release that person on the person’s giving a promise to appear or entering into a recognizance in accordance with paragraphs 498(1)(b) to (d) and subsection (2.1).

Here is a quote from a practicing Toronto lawyer on why you would be denied bail.  See here.

Why would I be denied bail?

Detention is justified only if deemed necessary on one or more of the following grounds:

  to ensure that you attend court; e.g., if you have a history of failing to attend court or abide by other court orders

  to protect the public; e.g., you could be detained if you have a criminal record for similar offences; in the case of an assault or threatening charge, a history of violence against the same complainant works in favor of detention

  to maintain confidence in the administration of justice; the court will consider the apparent strength of the prosecution’s case, the gravity of the offence, the circumstances surrounding its commission and the potential for a lengthy jail term

Normally, police or prosecutors have to justify why a person should remain locked up.  There are however, circumstances in which the accused has the ‘’‘reverse onus’‘.  In other words, circumstances which the person has to justify why he or she should be released.  These include circumstances like being released (while accused) of a similar offence, and certain gun, drug and gang offences.

4. Contacting Victims or Their Families

This is a quote directly from section cc 515(2) of the Canadian Criminal Code:

Undertaking

  (2.1) In addition to the conditions referred to in subsection (2), the peace officer or officer in charge may, in order to release the person, require the person to enter into an undertaking in Form 11.1 in which the person undertakes to do one or more of the following things:

      (a) to remain within a territorial jurisdiction specified in the undertaking;

      (b) to notify the peace officer or another person mentioned in the undertaking of any change in his or her address, employment or occupation;

      (c) to abstain from communicating, directly or indirectly, with any victim, witness or other person identified in the undertaking, or from going to a place specified in the undertaking, except in accordance with the conditions specified in the undertaking;

      (d) to deposit the person’s passport with the peace officer or other person mentioned in the undertaking;

      (e) to abstain from possessing a firearm and to surrender any firearm in the possession of the person and any authorization, licence or registration certificate or other document enabling that person to acquire or possess a firearm;

      (f) to report at the times specified in the undertaking to a peace officer or other person designated in the undertaking;

      (g) to abstain from

      (i) the consumption of alcohol or other intoxicating substances, or

      (ii) the consumption of drugs except in accordance with a medical prescription; or

      (h) to comply with any other condition specified in the undertaking that the peace officer or officer in charge considers necessary to ensure the safety and security of any victim of or witness to the offence.

 
Clause (c) specifically states to avoid communicating directly or indirectly with any victim or witness in the case.  This would obviously extend to avoid any contact with the Kercher family.  Also, it would include having friends and family attempt to contact a witness or victim.  This prohibition extends to telephone calls or emails, everything from asking for a private meeting, to asking to visit your alleged victim’s grave.  This would also seem to violate clause (h), which is to ensure the safety and security of any victim or witness.  There are reasons for this.

1) To avoid any possible threats or intimidation, which would cause the integrity of the system to be questioned

2) To avoid any type of underhanded tactic, such as appealing for mercy, underneath the court

3) To promote fairness in the trial process.

5. Harassing and Stalking of Victims

This is a quote directly from section cc 264 of the Canadian Criminal Code:

Criminal harassment

  264. (1) No person shall, without lawful authority and knowing that another person is harassed or recklessly as to whether the other person is harassed, engage in conduct referred to in subsection (2) that causes that other person reasonably, in all the circumstances, to fear for their safety or the safety of anyone known to them.

  Marginal note:Prohibited conduct

  (2) The conduct mentioned in subsection (1) consists of

      (a) repeatedly following from place to place the other person or anyone known to them;

      (b) repeatedly communicating with, either directly or indirectly, the other person or anyone known to them;

      (c) besetting or watching the dwelling-house, or place where the other person, or anyone known to them, resides, works, carries on business or happens to be; or

      (d) engaging in threatening conduct directed at the other person or any member of their family.

  Marginal note:Punishment

  (3) Every person who contravenes this section is guilty of

      (a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or

      (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

  Marginal note:Factors to be considered

  (4) Where a person is convicted of an offence under this section, the court imposing the sentence on the person shall consider as an aggravating factor that, at the time the offence was committed, the person contravened

      (a) the terms or conditions of an order made pursuant to section 161 or a recognizance entered into pursuant to section 810, 810.1 or 810.2; or

Not only would it be a cc 215(2)2.1(c) of the criminal code, which refers to conduct while released on an undertaking, harassment and stalking themselves are serious crimes.  Note that cc 264(4) considers it to be an aggravating factor if this harassing occurred while the subject was under a court order not to contact the person anyway.  In any Canadian proceedings, defendants would be barred from contacting family members of the victim, as well as the actual victim.

It is reasonable to assume that the Kerchers want nothing to do with Knox.  After all, this woman allegedly sexually assaulted and stabbed to death their daughter/sister, and then made a mockery of the court process, all while pretending to be the victim.  Yet Knox has repeatedly tried to make contact with them.


A court sketch, common in media back in pre-camera days

6. Contempt of Court

This is a quote directly from section cc 708 of the Canadian Criminal Code:

Contempt

  708. (1) A person who, being required by law to attend or remain in attendance for the purpose of giving evidence, fails, without lawful excuse, to attend or remain in attendance accordingly is guilty of contempt of court.

Marginal note:Punishment

  (2) A court, judge, justice or provincial court judge may deal summarily with a person who is guilty of contempt of court under this section and that person is liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ninety days or to both, and may be ordered to pay the costs that are incident to the service of any process under this Part and to his detention, if any.

Marginal note:Form

  (3) A conviction under this section may be in Form 38 and a warrant of committal in respect of a conviction under this section may be in Form 25.

Knox refused to attend her 2013/2014 appeal in Florence, the one she keeps referring to as a ‘‘new trial’‘.  This would not be tolerated under Canadian law.  Her bail would have been forfeited, and she would have been arrested. 

She would have remained in custody for the duration of the appeal.  And should the appeal have confirmed her guilt, she would most likely have remained in custody while it was being appealed further.

Skipping out on your criminal proceedings without valid grounds is contempt.  Sollecito did it as well when he took a vacation in the Dominican Republic.  Not only is it disrespectful, but it shows a lack of maturity.

Also note, from c.c. 515(2)2.1 of the Criminal Code—see section on harassing—these actions certainly would have violated clause (a), which is to remain in the jurisdiction while the proceedings are ongoing.

7. Cashing in on the Notoriety of a Crime (Son of Sam laws)

In September 2012, Simon & Schuster released Sollecito’s book, ‘‘Honor Bound: My Journey to Hell and Back With Amanda Knox’‘.  In May 2013, HarperCollins released Knox’s book ‘‘Waiting to be Heard’‘. 

What was particularly disturbing was that both Knox and Sollecito were still accused of murder when these books came out.  Knox was in the worse situation, as it came after the March 2013 Cassation ruling, which confirmed her calunnia against Patrick Lumumba, and annulled Judge Hellmann’s appeal acquittal.  However, since Cassation left the Massei trial verdict intact, their legal status was ‘‘guilty, pending further appeals’‘.

Setting aside the sheer idiocy of releasing a book while still accused, it is still illegal to do.  Right now, Canadian provinces seem to be writing their own laws.  Here are 4 of them.

This is from the website, Victimsofviolence.on.ca See here.

The Province of Alberta: See here.

The Province of Saskatchewan: See here.

The Province of Ontario: See here.

The Province of Nova Scotia:  See here.

The provinces do have some small differences in the laws, but the point to be taken here is that you can’t cash in on the notoriety of your crime.  In America, this is referred to the ‘‘Son of Sam Laws’’ after serial killer David Berkowitz, who called himself the Son-of-Sam.

8. Laundering the Proceeds of Crime

This is a quote directly from section cc 462.31 of the Canadian Criminal Code:

Laundering proceeds of crime

  462.31 (1) Every one commits an offence who uses, transfers the possession of, sends or delivers to any person or place, transports, transmits, alters, disposes of or otherwise deals with, in any manner and by any means, any property or any proceeds of any property with intent to conceal or convert that property or those proceeds, knowing or believing that all or a part of that property or of those proceeds was obtained or derived directly or indirectly as a result of

      (a) the commission in Canada of a designated offence; or

      (b) an act or omission anywhere that, if it had occurred in Canada, would have constituted a designated offence.

Marginal note:Punishment

  (2) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1)

      (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or

      (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Marginal note:Exception

  (3) A peace officer or a person acting under the direction of a peace officer is not guilty of an offence under subsection (1) if the peace officer or person does any of the things mentioned in that subsection for the purposes of an investigation or otherwise in the execution of the peace officer’s duties.

Raffaele Sollecito and Andrew Gumbel wrote ‘‘Honor Bound’’ (although they now blame each other).  Amanda Knox wrote ‘‘Waiting to be Heard’‘, which was ghostwritten by Linda Kuhlman.  Knox claims that she used her $3.8 million advance (less the taxes), to pay her lawyers, and her family.

The problem is that the books themselves are bloodmoney, cashing in on a crime they committed.  That is illegal to do.  The million dollar advances were (if Knox is truthful here), essentially converted into legal payments for her lawyers, and to her family.

Unless Knox’s family really did spend a million or more to visit her, the money Amanda claims went to them could be seen as ‘‘gifts’’ or ways to hold onto such funds.  Even if the Knoxes/Mellas did spend that much money, Amanda is paying those debts off with illegally obtained money.

Sollecito has not been nearly as open about where his book advance went (rumoured to be $950,000).  However, he would have the same legal issues facing him as Knox.


9. Prostitution and Soliciting of Prostitution

This is a quote directly from section cc 213 of the Canadian Criminal Code:

Offences in Relation to Offering, Providing or Obtaining Sexual Services for Consideration

Marginal note:Stopping or impeding traffic

213. (1) Everyone is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction who, in a public place or in any place open to public view, for the purpose of offering, providing or obtaining sexual services for consideration,
(a) stops or attempts to stop any motor vehicle; or
(b) impedes the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic or ingress to or egress from premises adjacent to that place.
(c) [Repealed, 2014, c. 25, s. 15]
Marginal note:Communicating to provide sexual services for consideration

(1.1) Everyone is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction who communicates with any person — for the purpose of offering or providing sexual services for consideration  —  in a public place, or in any place open to public view, that is or is next to a school ground, playground or daycare centre.
Definition of “public place”

(2) In this section, “public place” includes any place to which the public have access as of right or by invitation, express or implied, and any motor vehicle located in a public place or in any place open to public view.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 213; R.S., 1985, c. 51 (1st Supp.), s. 1; 2014, c. 25, s. 15.

In Canada, the prostitution laws are constantly being challenged.  Due to lobbying efforts, the punishments are actually becoming much harsher for soliciting than for providing.

Knox met Federico Martini (the man she calls ‘‘Cristiano’’ in her book), on a train in Italy.  She had been providing sex, and getting drugs, and it kept happening up to the night she was arrested.  It had been known for years in Italy, but only released to the American media in the summer of 2014.

The thing is: this would actually be considered prostitution.  It doesn’t matter if he offered cash, or a bag of coke.  Martini, the client (a.k.a the John), was providing material goods in return for sex.  In Canada, legally speaking , Amanda Knox was prostituting herself (a.k.a. hooking).


10. Fraud Over $5,000

This is a quote directly from section cc 380 of the Canadian Criminal Code:

Fraud

380. (1) Every one who, by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means, whether or not it is a false pretence within the meaning of this Act, defrauds the public or any person, whether ascertained or not, of any property, money or valuable security or any service,
(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding fourteen years, where the subject-matter of the offence is a testamentary instrument or the value of the subject-matter of the offence exceeds five thousand dollars; or
(b) is guilty
(i) of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or
(ii) of an offence punishable on summary conviction,
where the value of the subject-matter of the offence does not exceed five thousand dollars.

Marginal note:Minimum punishment

(1.1) When a person is prosecuted on indictment and convicted of one or more offences referred to in subsection (1), the court that imposes the sentence shall impose a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of two years if the total value of the subject-matter of the offences exceeds one million dollars.

Knox wrote her book ‘‘Waiting to be Heard’’ for a reported $3.8 million.  Sollecito (or was it Gumbel?) wrote ‘‘Honor Bound’’ for a reported nearly $1 million.  Problem here, is that both of these book deals were obtained under false pretences.

Due to the spike in publicity of white-collar crime, the Canadian government imposed a 2 year minimum jail term for fraud that exceeds one million dollars.  Considering that the books are fake, the payoff (at least for Knox), exceeds that amount, she would be facing at least 2 years for that.

Also, I have no idea how much money Knox or Sollecito have raised via their websites, or Twitter accounts, or via PayPal.  But they could face additional charges of either fraud over $5,000, or fraud UNDER $5,000, which carries lower maximum.


11. Carrying a Concealed Weapon

This is a quote directly from section cc 88 of the Canadian Criminal Code:

Possession of weapon for dangerous purpose

88. (1) Every person commits an offence who carries or possesses a weapon, an imitation of a weapon, a prohibited device or any ammunition or prohibited ammunition for a purpose dangerous to the public peace or for the purpose of committing an offence.
Marginal note:Punishment

(2) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1)
(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or
(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

It was one of the charges Knox and Sollecito faced.  Guess what?  Can’t do it here either

12. Fabricating Evidence

This is a quote directly from section cc 137 of the Canadian Criminal Code:

Fabricating evidence

137. Every one who, with intent to mislead, fabricates anything with intent that it shall be used as evidence in a judicial proceeding, existing or proposed, by any means other than perjury or incitement to perjury is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

  R.S., c. C-34, s. 125.

Knox and Sollecito were alleged to have staged the crime scene at the house to make to look like someone had broken in through Filomena’s window, ransacked the place, killed Meredith during a bungled robbery, then fled.  The Courts (Micheli, Massei, Nencini, 2 Cassation panels), also believed that Knox and Sollecito had attempted—albeit unsuccessfully—to selectively clean the house, making it look like Rudy Guede was the sole killer. 

Knox was a resident in the upstairs part of the house, and therefore had a reason to make it look like an outsider did it.  If there were no obvious signs of a burglar, the police would immediately zero in on the other 3 women who lived in the house.

13. Jurors Speaking out During (or After) Criminal Proceedings

Quoted directly from the Canadian Criminal Code:

Disclosure of jury proceedings

649. Every member of a jury, and every person providing technical, personal, interpretative or other support services to a juror with a physical disability, who, except for the purposes of

(a) an investigation of an alleged offence under subsection 139(2) in relation to a juror, or
(b) giving evidence in criminal proceedings in relation to such an offence,
discloses any information relating to the proceedings of the jury when it was absent from the courtroom that was not subsequently disclosed in open court is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

The secrecy that jurors are sworn to survives even after the trial.  In the case of Ms. Ballerini talking to the media about the 2013/2014 Florence appeal just before the March 2015 Cassation ruling, it would not be allowed here either.  Financial need would not be considered an acceptable defence.

While summary offences carry a maximum of 2 years in prison, in reality, jurors would not see the inside of a cell.  A fine and/or probation would be much more likely.

14. Canadian Law on Extradition

Amanda Knox has made it known publicly (and idiotically) that she will never return to Italy, even if it means remaining a fugitive.  She claimed that she skipped her last appeal out of fear of a wrongful conviction, even though she claimed she had faith in the Italian Courts.  Yes, she’s a hypocrite.  Well, Italy does request extradition of convicted criminals, which is what Knox is (pending confirmation by Cassation). 

Amusingly, she claims again to have faith in the Supreme Court, while remaining in the U.S. out of fear.

However, many countries extradite both suspected and convicted criminals.  Knox’s situation is even weaker, as she will not only be ‘‘convicted’‘, but will be ‘‘convicted, with all appeals exhausted.’’  Considering she has not attended court once since Hellmann released her (she missed Cassation 1, Nencini, Cassation 2), she is not likely to garner much sympathy.

Canada both requests and complies with requests for extradition.

There are a few exceptions however:

(a) Canada generally refuses to extradite if they death penalty is sought

(b) Canada generally refuses to extradite if the person faces inhumane treatment at home.

Note: This article was originally submitted just prior to the Cassation hearing.  We will see what happens now.

Note: Almost all options to block extradition are not available if the person has received a sentence of at least 6 months.  (This was 2 years, but recently lowered).  Knox’s 28.5 years is definitely above that threshold.  See section 3 of the Extradition Act, and note 3(3) in particular.

Extraditable Conduct

Marginal note:General principle

  3. (1) A person may be extradited from Canada in accordance with this Act and a relevant extradition agreement on the request of an extradition partner for the purpose of prosecuting the person or imposing a sentence on — or enforcing a sentence imposed on — the person if

      (a) subject to a relevant extradition agreement, the offence in respect of which the extradition is requested is punishable by the extradition partner, by imprisoning or otherwise depriving the person of their liberty for a maximum term of two years or more, or by a more severe punishment; and

      (b) the conduct of the person, had it occurred in Canada, would have constituted an offence that is punishable in Canada,

        (i) in the case of a request based on a specific agreement, by imprisonment for a maximum term of five years or more, or by a more severe punishment, and

        (ii) in any other case, by imprisonment for a maximum term of two years or more, or by a more severe punishment, subject to a relevant extradition agreement.

Marginal note:Conduct determinative

  (2) For greater certainty, it is not relevant whether the conduct referred to in subsection (1) is named, defined or characterized by the extradition partner in the same way as it is in Canada.

Marginal note:Extradition of a person who has been sentenced

  (3) Subject to a relevant extradition agreement, the extradition of a person who has been sentenced to imprisonment or another deprivation of liberty may only be granted if the portion of the term remaining is at least six months long or a more severe punishment remains to be carried out.

15. What Was Allowed In Italy But Would Not Be In Canada?

Here is a section copied directly from the Law Society of Upper Canada’s website.  This is the regulatory body with licences and is able to remove lawyers in the province of Ontario.  It covers the relationship between lawyers and the administration of justice.

[Amended – October 2014]

5.1-2 When acting as an advocate, a lawyer shall not

(a) abuse the process of the tribunal by instituting or prosecuting proceedings which, although legal in themselves, are clearly motivated by malice on the part of the client and are brought solely for the purpose of injuring the other party,

(b) knowingly assist or permit the client to do anything that the lawyer considers to be dishonest or dishonourable,

(c) appear before a judicial officer when the lawyer, the lawyer’s associates or the client have business or personal relationships with the officer that give rise to or might reasonably appear to give rise to pressure, influence, or inducement affecting the impartiality of the officer, unless all parties consent and it is in the interests of justice,

(d) endeavour or allow anyone else to endeavour, directly or indirectly, to influence the decision or action of a tribunal or any of its officials in any case or matter by any means other than open persuasion as an advocate,

(e) knowingly attempt to deceive a tribunal or influence the course of justice by offering false evidence, misstating facts or law, presenting or relying upon a false or deceptive affidavit, suppressing what ought to be disclosed, or otherwise assisting in any fraud, crime, or illegal conduct,

(f) knowingly misstate the contents of a document, the testimony of a witness, the substance of an argument, or the provisions of a statute or like authority,

(g) knowingly assert as true a fact when its truth cannot reasonably be supported by the evidence or as a matter of which notice may be taken by the tribunal,

(h) make suggestions to a witness recklessly or knowing them to be false;

(i) deliberately refrain from informing the tribunal of any binding authority that the lawyer considers to be directly on point and that has not been mentioned by an opponent,

(j) improperly dissuade a witness from giving evidence or advise a witness to be absent,

(k) knowingly permit a witness or party to be presented in a false or misleading way or to impersonate another,

(l) knowingly misrepresent the client’s position in the litigation or the issues to be determined in the litigation;

(m) needlessly abuse, hector, or harass a witness,

(n) when representing a complainant or potential complainant, attempt to gain a benefit for the complainant by threatening the laying of a criminal charge or by offering to seek or to procure the withdrawal of a criminal charge,

(o) needlessly inconvenience a witness; or

(p) appear before a court or tribunal while under the influence of alcohol or a drug. [Amended – October 2014]


The problem here, is although there are rules of conduct, the rules of conduct also state that lawyers must take every avenue available to help out their clients.  So, it seems that the line between zealous advocacy and professional misconduct gets rather blurry.  While not necessarily criminal offences, these things would throw the law into disrespute, and could cause problems for lawyers.  Cases in point:

i) After the Florence Appeals Court ruled against Knox and Sollecito in January 2014, defense lawyer Guilia Bongiorno tried to have Judge Nencini disciplined for making some rather innocuous remarks to reporters.  This was baseless and vindictive.  If you lose an appeal, you don’t maliciously try to take down the lead judge.  It is a clear violation of clause (a).

ii) Judge Hellmann was installed as lead judge for Knox and Sollecito’s original first appeal.  Hellmann was a business judge, and the much more qualified Judge Chairi was forced off the case.  There was no legitimate reason for doing this—Hellmann was there as the result of ‘‘judge-shopping’‘.  He then proceeded to make a complete mess of that appeal, so much so that Cassation completely annulled it in March 2013.  Putting him on the bench in this case is a conflict of interest and violation of clause (c)

iii) Judge Hellmann also went out of his way to twist and distort much of what the prosectors had presented in the 2009 trial, including witness testimony and evidence.  Few believe this was accidental.  If intentional, it would be violations of clause (d),allowing influence other than as an advocate; and clause (f), distorting evidence and testimony.

iv) Judge Hellmann dragged out the appeal by holding it only a few times each month, which caused enormous burdens on both prosecutors, and the Kercher family.  Not only is this rude, it could be seen as a violation of clause (o).

v) Knox’s lawyers, Luciano Ghirga and Carlos Dalla Vedova allowed Knox to make many accusations on the witness stand in June 2009. Among the most serious is Knox’s claim she was physically assualted November 5th/6th.  Ghirga himself had said publicly Knox wasn’t hit.  These lawyers also passed along Knox’s false email to Judge Nencini, and Vedova filed a bogus claim to the European Court of Human Rights.  This is knowingly letting Knox do dishonest things, and repeated violations of clause (b).

vi) Knox and Sollecito’s defence has been shown to be relying many times on false facts and pretences.  Although lawyers are obligated to defend their clients, deep down they have to know that the defences they are making is true.  These are violations of clause (e), but are prime examples of duty to the court directly conflicting with duty to the clients.

vii) Ted Simon, Knox’s now (absent) U.S. lawyer, has changed his tune.  He spoke out publicly in 2008 saying that there actually was a strong case against Knox (motive notwithstanding).  However, when he came on board, he ‘‘adjusted’’ his views, and now claims that there is no evidence, never was, and never will be.  Although not present at the trial or appeals, Simon has made claims that he himself knows to be false, violating clause (g).

viii) Bob Barnett helped Knox land her book deal with HarperCollins, even though proceedings were still underway, knowing that Knox made false claims, knowing that Knox had been convicted of making false accusations, and knowing that Son-of-Sam laws prohibited such actions.  He helped Knox do something dishonourable, violating clause (b).  Or, if Mr. Barnett didn’t know, then he is far too incompetent to be a lawyer.

While lawyers are obligated to advocate on behalf of their client, the line seems rather fuzzy as to what actually constitutes ‘‘advocacy’’ and what constitutes ‘‘misconduct’‘.  I believe the examples above are all professional misconduct.  They were done with the intention of helping AK/RS, but step far, FAR over the line.  While this is quoted from the Ontario site, other Provincial and Territorial Law Societies have very similar rules.

16. Where This Series Is Headed Next:

This concludes the part of Canadian laws that would have applied to Knox, Sollecito and Guede, had they committed the crime here.  #9, which Knox bragged about to her friends, wrote about in her book, and told to police, would be considered prostitution, when you realize she got drugs for it.  And #13 was added after the juror from the Florence appeal, Genny Ballerini, decided to talk to the media.  All of the crimes listed in the first 3 parts are all crimes under Italian law, even if they are called something different.  These 3 parts were kind of a Canada v.s. Italy perspective.

The next pieces will cover other common law nations, and contrast their varying decisions.  Peter suggested giving an even wider context for crime and punishment across the globe.  The final piece will be some loose ends, and requests for content are encouraged.  If there is a topic I missed, or something that needs more depth, ask.

Complete Listings

1st post appears here:  An Overview.

2nd post appears here:  Public Mischief and Perjury

3rd post appears here:  Bail, Extradition & Other Crimes

4th post appears here:  Canada v.s. the U.S.A. (Part 1)

5th post coming soon: Canada v.s. the U.S.A. (Part 2)

6th post coming soon:  Canada and our Family

7th post coming soon:  Loose Ends, and Reader Request

Posted on 04/28/15 at 03:13 AM by Chimera. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemOther systems
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (4)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Meredith May Not See Justice (Yet) But She Will Leave At Least Three Legacies

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





Meredith’s goal in life was to help people, and she had thought of making a career in the European institutions in Brussels.

So much of human organization is messy and very hard to make better. She would have found that.  But somehow, often in a terrifying lurch, systems do sometimes tend to get better.

These better systems between them benefiting millions may all be attributed to Meredith. More than 99% of humanity can achieve in a lifetime.

1) Perugia is a safer more thriving place now

This is a repeat of our post of 9 April 2010 - there has been a mayor-change, but the broad safety and economic trends continue.

Meet Wladimiro Boccali. The mayor of Perugia.

A year ago when Mr Boccali ran for office (video above) it was in the context of a city-wide desire for prosperity, public safety, support for the police and the court system, the enhancement of Perugia’s reputation, and the clamping down on drug dealing and student excesses.

A mood that very much flowed from the shock of Meredith’s passing. A sense that certain things had gone too far.

Since then, Mr Boccali has been in the Italian national news almost daily, and he is coming to be seen as the kind of political leader Italy could really use in a turbulent future.

He is in the news again right now, because there was a riot in the main piazza of the old city by some drunks late last saturday night.

In part inspired and encouraged by good town leadership, Perugia’s economy is now one of the more thriving city economies in Italy. Perugia’s median IQ is extremely high (Perugia is probably one of the smartest cities in Europe) and a lot of very advanced research goes on there.

Perugia’s town administration does many caring things, such as the special city council meeting for Sonia Marra.

And seemingly attracted by all of this, people are moving to Perugia in droves - its population is increasing at double the national growth rate.

So. Meet the new Perugia. Meredith’s own qualities, writ large.

Since that post Perugia and the university have recognised Meredith by way of a scholarship and a one-day seminar.

2) American universities acted to stop future Knoxes

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

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

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

Mirroring a nationwide trend, the University of Washington is overhauling how its students and professors interface with foreign countries….

The UW study abroad experience today involves much more oversight than it did two years ago when Amanda Knox left on an unsupervised European adventure that quickly degenerated into a nightmare.

When Knox, who is on trial for murder in Italy, left her familiar U-district environs in late summer 2007, she embarked on her own independent study in Umbria with very few guidelines or institutional oversight.

She arrived in the tolerant student melange of Perugia, a vibrant college town with temptation at every turn and many paradoxes (drug deals and party plans are often made on the steps of the cathedral).

A month later, the honor student’s pub-crawling, pot-smoking college shenanigans had taken a very serious turn and she was being hauled off to the Capanne penitentiary, where she remains today, pleading her innocence as the trial and controversial accusations against her plod forward.

Once her troubles began, the university tried to offer support, but had very few official guidelines to follow for responding to the kind of complicated legal-judicial matter Knox faced.

It’s different now….

In the wake of several negative overseas episodes, officials are busy raising awareness about the positive impact the UW is having worldwide and taking steps to improve communications, regulation and emergency preparedness for its students abroad.

Compared with two years ago, international education officials are more closely tracking who, where and what study-abroad programs involve. The university has new rules:. The department chair has to sign off on the program. Insurance is required. So is a cell phone. No program money can be used to buy alcohol, just for starters.

“There’s a much more formal process now,” said Taso Lagos, a UW professor who teaches international communication and manages a study-abroad program in Greece. “With administrators that are very aware, with lines of communication open and policies in place if something happens.”...

The UW’s growing commitment to international education—- even in a budget crisis—is reflected in some developments. [UW Vice Provost for Global Affairs Stephen Hanson] was named a vice provost in January, and in the spring, the UW dedicated an entire wing of the Gerberding Hall administration building to growing an international mission and profile.

This year, a travel security and information officer is coming on board to oversee emergency response and preparedness, as is Peter Moran, a new director of international programs and exchanges who previously worked at the Fulbright Commission office in Katmandu, Nepal.

New guidelines are being put in place to streamline communications, ease financial transactions and institute mandatory training for faculty taking students abroad. The Global Support Project, a rapid-response team with one person from each branch of the central administration, takes on cross-disciplinary international challenges.

Such reforms aren’t unique to UW.

Universities across the country are examining how better to organize study abroad to meet blossoming demand from students (and prospective employers) for foreign experience. Many are turning to independent service providers whose business it is to contract housing, health care or niche risk management services dealing with legal, financial or public relations crises when things go haywire abroad…..

Though the university bore no responsibility for any of the events Knox became entangled in, media across the world continued to mention the University of Washington—whether it was because of character witnesses who were her college buddies, reports of wild off-campus parties Knox attended in Seattle or her studies while in prison.

3) Italy’s justice reforms will be nudged hard

Italian justice has a systemic problem, it has been made to tilt hard toward defendants over the years. That problem was described here and here and touched on in many other posts.

Polls have show that though Italians admire and trust their justice system and especially the brave people within it (over 100 have died fighting mafia) a majority would like some rebalancing toward victims and families.

Justice reforms are now on the national agenda. What happened in Rome yesterday to deny Meredith justice is stirring Italy and seems certain to impact them.’

Court days to flow continuously? Some backing off from automatic appeals? No juries at the second level? Prosecutors and judges to be allowed to speak out more? Maybe in lieu of some of those onerous sentencing reports? Limits to defendants talking without cross-examination in the courtroom?

These are not extreme, they are mainstream in the common-law system, and they would speed Italy’s up, make it fairer, and cost less (a lot less!).

***

All incredibly worthwhile. For one so young, in death Meredith may come to help millions for the better.

Posted on 03/28/15 at 11:01 AM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryThe wider contextsPerugia contextItalian contextN America contextItalian system
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (94)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Probable Final Cassation Ruling In 10 Days: Likely Scenario For The Immediate Future

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Italian Justice Minister Andrea Orlando with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi


We reported previously that Prime Minister Renzi, the former mayor of Florence, has great trust in the court system there.

Cassation is expected to rule on Knox’s and Sollecito’s separate appeals against the Florence outcome (in which they yet again not-too-subtly edge one another between themselves and the flames) on Wednesday or Thursday of next week.

We have something of a consensus here upon what happens then and thereafter, with main inputs here from Italian watchers Popper and Yummi.

1. Cassazione will probably merely announce that the affirmation of conviction by the Nencini appeal court is legitimate from the point of view of Italian law and there will be nothing significant said on the merits of the case.

2. In final appeals Supreme Court justices simply confirm a sentence or not based exclusively on law points. The Cassazione motivation reports due within three months are not too important as they cannot be appealed anyway. A report may not be needed for extradition, the Massei + Nencini sentencing reports could be explanatory and legally correct enough in this case.

3. The execution of this decision would then be over to the Florence courts. If the Nencini confirmation of verdict and sentence is affirmed it will probably then be over to Prosecutor Crini and Judge Nencini, and an arrest warrant for Sollecito would be immediate.

4. There is a slight chance, perhaps 5% to 10%, that Sollecito might try to escape, as he seemed set on doing when he made it to the border on the same day as Judge Nencini’s 2014 ruling. On Italian TV he has been sounding very aggrieved with Amanda while not really winding back the strong case against himself. He lacks his passport and probably the secret stash of money to stay on the run indefinitely.

5. An arrest warrant for Knox, the other defendant, would normally be issued as soon as possible. If she is still located in the US she could be rapidly arrested and put in a holding cell. Based on other examples it is possible that her physical return to Italy could take as long as nine months, though the treaty promotes a fast-track meaning not upward of three months.

6. There is normally 45 days for the extradition papers/request from Dr Andrea Orlando, the Italian Minister of Justice, to be handed over by the Italian Embassy in Washington DC to the State Department, though there is allowance for that request time to be extended.

7. The evidence of course really is overwhelming and no single proof of foul play has ever been proven. Italian justice officials have relevant information they could share privately, such as the corruption of the Hellmann appeal alleged by Judge Chiari, Prosecutor Comodi and others, and such as Knox’s unsavory drug record which is normally a big no-no for the State Department. 

8. Comments made by the host and a magistrate on Italy’s Porta a Porta show last week suggests vagueness on the part of the Italian media and public about the Italy/United States extradition treaty. This treaty, which has always been faithfully observed previously by both countries, with no exceptions, is stark and minimalist and focuses on the paperwork and whether the national law was followed, as explained by lawyers James Raper and TomM. 

9. Assuming their final conviction, Sollecito’s arrest and return to prison will drive Italian public opinion, dormant for years but stirring as the Porta a Porta show suggested, to demand a quick extradition of Knox, who was the flatmate of Meredith the victim and without whom no murder would have taken place.

10. Probably very unlikely, but if there is sustained political resistance despite American media finally getting the facts right, the powers demanding extradition will build up immense pressure, and it will be world-wide pressure from the point of view of the US, not just Italy. All countries will be watching to see how the US behaves, and if their treaties are reliable or not.

The US relies heavily on the Italian government, which is currently a very strong one, on many other matters, and it has other extradition cases worldwide in motion or anticipated (think Snowden in Moscow) so it will be almost certainly be faithful to legality and precedent.

Knox smeared prison authorities in her book and directly caused the imprisonment of a drug-dealer which might be reasons she fears going back. Conceivably a negotiated outcome could result in Knox serving the rest of her time in an American prison to get round this. American prison? This would be nice for her family, but probably a lot less nice for Knox herself.

Knox has long been the pawn of an ugly family and bunch of parasites. Dont totally rule out her simply hopping on a plane to pay her dues and get away from them.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Sollecito Trial For “Honor Bound” #6: Examining Gumbel’s Role In Biasing The Book

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Andrew Gumbel seen in a shrill 2014 CNN report, perhaps the least balanced so far 

1. Bringing The News Up To Date

On 5 March the Florence court will replace the prosecution’s translation of the target claims in the book with its own translation.

And Sollecito and Gumbel will probably be ordered to stand public trial then.

Both the prosecution and the guiding magistrate have as usual in Italy played immensely fair in this case. Each gave Sollecito and Gumbel numerous opportunities over more than a year to try to explain and justify certain target passages in a way that gets them off the hook. In further fairness the hearings have all been closed.

What leaked out after the last hearing in Florence a couple of weeks ago suggested that Sollecito has yet to come up with any justification at all. He was said to look dazed and depressed.

Gumbel was not in court. But his lawyer apparently claimed that Gumbel was merely a sort of well-meaning sheep: Sollecito’s ghost writer, nothing more, who faithfully took down only what he heard from his client.

This has apparently not gone down at all well in the Sollecito camp.

The Sollecito family and legal team has long hinted rather publicly that Gumbel did a number on them, an end-run. Francesco Sollecito and the family and Sollecito’s lawyers Giula Bongiorno and Luca Maori had all claimed within several weeks of the book coming out that numerous passages in the book were malicious and untrue. Sollecito himself denied that he put them in.

The Sollecito family and legal team have also hinted ever since that Gumbel and some American Knox cronies with self-serving agendas (suggested on pro-Knox websites to have been Steve and Michele Moore, Frank Sforza, Bruce Fischer, maybe some more) had recklessly put dangerous unfounded claims in the final draft of the book.

Those claims (now the main subjects of the Florence trial) were seemingly never put into Italian and run carefully by them. No proper due diligence was done, and as a result they have been left holding the can. And all this under the cold eyes of the Supreme Court, which must rule in six weeks whether Sollecito makes things up. 

2. Smart Rules For Ghost Writers To Avoid Trouble

This is hardly the first time a ghost writer and their client have fallen out. It is a touchy trouble-prone profession not governed by formalised training or an established code of ethics, where getting sued or not getting paid is quite a frequent thing.

Some of those who do it full-time and have had their share of trouble and want no more of it and want to alert others have posted their own suggested groundrules online.

For example, both client and ghost writer are well served by spending a few days checking out each other. Then they make a contract where literally everything needs to be spelled out.

Ghost writers need to take extreme care with clients in legal trouble who might drag them in or who they might drag in further. They need to be clear whether they are to research on their own, and to whom they are permitted to talk.

They need to know whether their name will be on the cover or anywhere inside the book. They need to know whether they have a licence from the client to do related TV and print articles, especially if those pay a separate fee, and what they are allowed to say.

They need to try to capture honestly the client’s voice and not turn them into someone they are not. They need to know what facts to put in and to be clear what facts are consciously left out. They need to do due diligence on the drafts with the agent and publisher and lawyers, and if allowed check out dynamite claims with “the other side”.

And if any accusations of crimes are to be made they REALLY need to check those legal hot potatoes with the client and the lawyers and the publishers, line by line. 

Gumbel seems to have ignored pretty well all of these groundrules, and dug Sollecito in much deeper.

Knox’s ghost writer Linda Kulman (more experienced than Gumbel at this and with no axe to grind) seems to have followed some but not all of these guidelines. Her name is only in the Knox book once, in a short thankyou note by Knox at the back, and she remained low-key and made no separate statements.

Nevertheless, Linda Kulman had the Sollecito book as a (then) largely unchallenged model. She included in the book a number of false accusation of crimes and malicious ridicules of others, none of them properly checked out, which will have Knox in court for sure before too long. (Oggi is already in court for repeating some of her claims.)

Linda Kulman also included an entire chapter about Knox’s “interrogation” where every detail is made up. She included a lengthy claim that Mignini did an illegal interrogation of Knox, when in fact he wasn’t even there. And she left out numerous key facts, such as that Knox was having sex with a major drug dealer almost to the day of her arrest, and most of the evidence.

Linda Kulman certainly dd not capture Knox’s real voice or mode of behavior, which are notoriously brash and possibly the root cause of Meredith’s murder.

3. Flashing Warning Lights In Italy In 2012

If the Sollecito family and team did not know all of the above, it would seem to be Sharlene Martin’s fiduciary duty as book agent for Sollecito to make sure both they and any ghost writer they hired did know.

For their part, the Sollecito team should have done their own due diligence in Italy, and perhaps looked around for an experienced ghost writer in Italy who could converse with all of them and show them in Italian what would be in the book. And in particular known about and been respectful of this which was in our first post.

On 3 October 2011 Judge Hellmann told RS and AK they were free to go, despite the fact that no legal process for murder and some other crimes is considered final in Italy until no party pursues any further appeals or the Supreme Court signs off. Most still accused of serious crimes (as in the UK and US) remain locked up. Hellmann, pathetically trying to justify this fiasco ever since, was firmly edged out and still the target of a possible charge.

Other flashing warnings should have made Sollecito’s family and legal team and book writers very wary. They included the immediate strong warning of a tough prosecution appeal to the Supreme Court. They also included the pending calunnia trials of Knox and her parents, the pending trial of the Sollecitos for attempting to use politics to subvert justice, the pending trials of Spezi, Aviello, and Sforza, and so on. 

A major flashing warning was right there in Italian law. Trials are meant to be conducted in the courtroom and attempts to poison public opinion are illegal. They can be illegal in the US and UK too but, for historical reasons to do with the mafias and crooked politicians, Italian laws in this area are among the world’s toughest. So mid-process, normally no books are ever published


4. Warning Lights About A Hasty Gumbel Contract

Many of the problems in the book are associated with a strident anti-Italy tone.  Well over half the false claims taken apart in this May 2014 post are FACTUALLY wrong in areas where Sollecito has no known knowledge or point of view.

For example, it was claimed that the Italian justice institutions are both very unpopular and corrupt. Neither is true, and almost no Italians believe that.

Sharlene Martin was first mentioned as Sollecito’s agent in the NY Times on 5 December 2011 when Sollecito had been swanning around the US west coast in an apparent attempt to, well, get her back in the sack. He was in a weak mode.

On 10 January 2012 Francesco Sollecito was reported in the Journal of Umbria as saying this about the purpose of the book 

“I have not done the math [the lawyers etc costs]. For good luck. I will do it after the ruling of the Supreme Court. It will be painful because the figure of one million euro of which one speaks is not far from reality.” This was stated to the weekly Today, on newsstands tomorrow, by Francesco Sollecito, father of Raffaele.
According to [Francesco] Sollecito, in case of confirmation of absolution, then there will be 250-300,000 euro compensation provided for the unjust detention of his son, this money will be enough only to pay the fees of the 12 consultants “that we had to appoint to succeed to refute the allegations.”

In the interview with the weekly, Francesco Sollecito denies that Raffaele has a girlfriend, as reported after the publishing of photos while kissing a girl: “Annie, the girl who appears with him in photos on Facebook is just a friend, in fact a sorta of cousin… “The priorities of my son right now are otherise.” What? “Raffaele has signed a contract with the American literary manager Sharlene Martin for a book, it is a definite undertaking “.

Apparently at this point Sharlene Martin had not been to Italy or spoken face-to-face with Francesco or the legal team. Whether she had briefed herself on the warning lights described above so that she could properly warn the US team of writer, editors, publishers and publicists is not known. 

5. Gumbel’s Shrill Record Of Sliming Italy

On 12 February 2012 Andrew Gumbel is reported in the NY Times as having got the co-writer job. During that period due diligence (if any) on his background would have been done, seemingly mainly by Sharlene Martin (if any) as a complaint of Sollecito’s team is that they could not look him over before he came on board.

Andrew Gumbel is not a lawyer, and in fact our own lawyers have repeatedly found silly his pretentious and inaccurate legal claims. Nor as far as we know does he have a track record as a ghost writer. His main claim to the job seems to have been based on his having been based in Italy with the UK Independent for nearly five years in the 1990s.

The 1990s were a pretty good time in Italy.

There was okay growth and jobs availability, record tourism, relative political calm before Berlusconi grabbed political and media power, many successful farms and firms, and a really push against the mafias - for which many brave judges and prosecutors had died.  The Italian food and wine were great, the cars and luxury goods were great, and Italy was home to about half of the finest medieval art in the world.

We checked it out: foreign reporters in Italy at the time did a fair and balanced job reflecting all of this. With seemingly only one notorious exception: the British reporter Andrew Gumbel for the UK Independent.

Apparently Gumbel could find almost nothing to like about Italy. In 5 years almost nothing to write a positive report on.

Brits relying only on his shrill reporting in the Independent may have thought Italy to be a very corrupt, lawless, politically and economically dysfunctional place, with nothing about it to like and no reason to visit. If they were bigoted, this could have made them more-so. Nasty stuff, and for foreign reporters in any country anywhere very unusual.

Below are the headers for most or all of Andrew Gumbel’s shrill reports from Italy.

Fair and balanced? The right guy for a delicate project with his client in a delicate legal bind? You decide.  We have highlighted in yellow all the reports with a negative bias, maybe true, maybe not. Of the total of 62 reports only 4 seem to us neutral or nice. Were the Sollecitos or their Italian lawyers or HarperCollins made aware by Gumbel or Sharlene Martin of Gumbel’s emotional negative bias?

    1. Gumbel Articles On Italy’s Government + History (25)
  • A sick economy shakes out the fake invalids. (growing economic problems in Italy make corruption less acceptable)
  • Bickering while Venice sinks.
  • Can Italy survive Dini’s fall? (prime minister Lamberto Dini)
  • Chirac consigns Italy to Europe’s second division. (French president Jacques Chirac)
  • Corruption on an Olympian scale.(Rome, Italy, seeks to host Olympic Games)
  • Facing up to Italy’s crisis. (Italy’s economic problems)
  • Glitz takes a back seat on road to Rome. (Romano Prodi begins electoral campaign in Italy) (Interview)
  • How the kidnap and rape of Dario Fo’s wife was ordered by Italy’s right-wing rulers.
  • Illegal migrants reach EU havens via Italy.
  • Italy waits for the gravy train to be derailed. (problems facing Italian railway system)
  • Italy ready for mission impossible: intervention in Albania could bring instability to Rome.
  • Italy heads back into a political void.
  • Italy struggles to shake off the legacy of Mussolini.
  • Italy’s Olive Tree fails to bear fruit.
  • Italy’s rich city prays for fall of nation state. (citizens of Bologna, Italy, strongly in favour of European Union)
  • New wave of state corruption stuns the Italians.
  • Past demons threaten Italy’s bid for change. (Italy fails to move towards a SEcond Republic)
  • Prodi’s dilemma: let the left win or surrender Italy’s drive towards Emu. (Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi)
  • Rome’s magic circle. (deterioration of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy)
  • Scholars in a spin over Churchill link to the death of Mussolini. (claims that Mussolini was shot by British secret services)
  • Shouting could drown out Italian democracy. (serious political clashes damage reputation of Italian parliament)
  • So, were there offers he should have refused? (trial of Giulio Andreotti)
  • The Nazi and the protection racket. (controversy over trial of former Nazi Erich Priebke in Italy)
  • Venice’s grand opera descends to farce. (dispute hampers rebuilding of La Fenice opera house)
  • Why Italy cannot bring war criminals to justice.
  • 2. Gumbel Articles On Italy’s Scenery, Art, Music, Fashion, Culture (2)
  • Il Papa brings on Dylan for a taste of the devil’s rhythms. (Bob Dylan to perform for Pope)
  • Inside the Assisi basilica, a sight to make saints weep. (challenges involved in restoration of art treasures from Basilica of St Francis in Assisi, Italy)
  • 3. Gumbel Articles On Italy’s Economy + Business (8)
  • A nation that brings its style to the track. (many changes to Italian rail network)
  • All is not bene among the united colours. (problems facing Benetton)
  • Berlusconi consolidates his rule over the Italian air waves. (former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi)
  • Ciao Gianni, but now what? (Gianni Agnelli resigns as chairman of Fiat)
  • Climax of Italy’s TV war. (referendum on whether Silvio Berlusconi should sell his television channels)
  • Italy’s new crop stifled in the shadow of a paradise lost.(problems affecting the Italian motion picture industry)
  • Murdoch pursues Italian television. (News Corp seeks stake in Silvio Berlusconi’s media empire).
  • The dark world behind Versace’s life of glamour. (murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace)
  • 4. Gumbel Articles On Italy’s Justice, Crime, Corruption,  Mafias (24)
  • Accidental death of an anarchist comes back to scandalise Italy. (three men convicted of murder of police commissioner Luigi Calabresi in 1972)
  • A fashion label that really is to die for .... (murder of fashion designer Maurizio Gucci may have been instigated by his former wife)(Column)
  • After the suicide, a wall of silence. (new type of Mafia activity in Sicily)
  • Amnesty offers Italy chance to forget its years of terror. (Italian government pardons six people involved in Red Brigades terrorist group in 1970s)
  • Andreotti to face trial on Mob links. (former Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti to stand trial for consorting with the Mafia)
  • Another black mark against Italy’s judges. (Italy’s anti-corruption magistrates lose their credibility)
  • Arrest us, but we’ll be back next week. (three Italians with Aids use legal loophole to rob banks)
  • Backlash threatens to silence informers. (controversy in Italy over Mafia informers)
  • Bloody end of a fashionable affair. (murder of Maurizio Gucci)
  • Fake invalids at heart of Italy’s postal scandal. (postal service employs many invalids, but some are fakes)
  • Fear and loathing in the Alto Adige. (serial killer murders six people in Merano, Italy)
  • Godfather’ village baffled by murders. (Sicilian town of Corleone)
  • God’s Banker: ‘He was given Mafia money and he made poor use of it.’ (investigation into death of Italian banker Roberto Calvi in 1982 may soon be concluded)
  • Gucci: hell for leather. (Patrizia Gucci convicted for contract killing of former husband Maurizio Gucci)
  • How Cosa Nostra’s cunning outfoxed the Italian state. (Mafia’s criminal network still operating in Italy)
  • How Italy failed to trap its Monster. (failure to bring serial killer in Florence, Italy, to justice)
  • Italy’s men of violence throw off the state’s chains. (revival of the Mafia in Italy)(includes details of murder of magistrate Giovanni Falcone)
  • Mafia trawls Venice’s dark lagoon. (organised crime in Venice, Italy)
  • Mysteries unravel as mafiosi spill secrets. (Italian gangsters make confessions)
  • One woman’s dangerous and lonely battle to break the Cosa Nostra. (challenges facing Maria Maniscalco, mayor of San Giuseppe Jato, Italy)
  • Rome turns a blind eye to Mafia’s killing spree.
  • Secret of why the Mafia has never shot a soul. (code of silence about Mafia in Sicily)
  • Street wars in Italy’s wild south. (high crime levels in Naples, Italy)
  • Who killed Pasolini? (new film about the murder of Pier Paolo Pasolini)
  • 5. Gumbel Articles On Italy’s Physical Disasters (3)
  • After the deluge (eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Italy will create chaos)
  • Assisi in mourning as quake shatters Basilica of St Francis.
  • Umbria shows the civilised way to cope with calamity. (effects of series of earthquakes in Italy)


6. Conclusion And Next Posts

This list was checked out with half a dozen posters resident in Italy at the time. All of their reactions were to the effect that, in lying by omission, Gumbel did not play fair with Italy back then. A trivial mind. One which should have been fought off with a stick.

The next posts seek to identify what Gumbel and the Knox misrepresenters (said to be primarily the Moores, Sforza and Fischer) were responsible for putting in the Sollecito book, and to describe Andrew Gumbel’s vigorous public media campaign. Whether authorized or not authorized, he made around 20 shrill damaging interventions.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Sollecito Trial For “Honor Bound” #5: Gumbel Really A Cowardly Defamatory Shill?

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Above: “Neutral ghostwriter” Andrew Gumbel tweets…

1, Today In The Florence Court

Lately many of the chest-thumping PR shills have whined a lot more about themselves as victims than done anything to boost Sollecito and Knox.

Think of Preston, Burleigh, Dempsey, Sforza, Fisher, Moore, and a whole lot of other serial complainers. Now chest-thumper Andrew Gumbel seems to want to join their ranks. That is if the claim that he was ONLY a ghostwriter was made by his lawyer with his consent to the Florence judge.

2. Signs Gumbel Really Is A Shill

Note that Sollecito gave many signs during his US book promotion tour late in 2012 that he really didn’t know much about what was in his own book.

So did Gumbel really only hang on Sollecito’s every word? Or did he talk to a lot more people than that, and get very invested in nasty, dishonest propaganda to deny justice for Meredith via the courts?

Here’s Andrew Gumbel on 1 May 2014, providing the first media opinion in the UK on Judge Nencini’s appeal report. The nasty false claims highlighted suggest Gumbel has a very strong investment in Sollecito and Knox and not a little contempt for the Italian courts.

One truth in Gumbel’s article which he must really regret? That sentence in the thitrd paragraph: “Disclosure: I am the co-author with Sollecito on his memoir about the case.”

The longer the Italian courts consider the Meredith Kercher case – and we have now had three trials, six presiding judges, two hearings before the Italian high court and a third on the way – the more the country’s institutions of justice have covered themselves in shame.

Judge after judge has twisted the available evidence into extraordinary contortions of logic to assert, at different times, that Kercher – a British exchange student stabbed to death in her room in Perugia in 2007 – was the victim of a premeditated attack; that her murder happened spontaneously; that the motive was sexual; that the motive was a dispute over housework with Amanda Knox, the star defendant; that the trigger for the murder was the unseemly appetite Knox and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, had for sex and drugs; that the trigger for the murder was Rudy Guede, the Ivorian-born drifter everyone agrees was involved, knocking on the door to use the toilet.

By now, Knox and Sollecito have been convicted, acquitted and convicted again, and the underlying forensic evidence has been both exposed as a sham and, mystifyingly, reinstated. (Disclosure: I am the co-author, with Sollecito, on his memoir about the case.)

Still, the latest judicial document in the ongoing battle, a 337-page justification of the most recent convictions made public on Tuesday, marks a new low. Not only has Alessandro Nencini, the presiding judge of the Florence appeals court, apparently resorted to the same tortured logic as his predecessors; he has also stated things as fact that are manifestly and provably wrong.

That may be more than even the Italian justice system can stomach; judges, after all, aren’t supposed to do things like that. And it may provide Knox and Sollecito with unexpected – if still slim – grounds for hope at the very moment when Kercher’s death had seemed settled, at last, according to the law.

To read the new conviction report in detail is to enter a kind of alternate reality, where concrete facts appear ignored and alternate facts are seemingly plucked from the air. Kercher’s murder is reduced to a parlor game and all roads lead to the inevitable, if not also foregone, conclusion that Knox and Sollecito are guilty. For instance:

  • On page 63, Judge Nencini claims that a partial shoeprint found at the murder scene comes from a size 37 women’s shoe and must therefore belong to Amanda Knox. But this is not based on the available evidence. In the early days of the case, the prosecution sought to show that the shoeprint was from Sollecito’s Nikes; the pattern of concentric circles on the sole was later proven to come from a different pair of Nikes belonging to Guede.

  • On page 81, Nencini grapples with the question of how Knox and Sollecito could have participated in the murder but left no more than a single, hotly disputed trace of themselves at the scene. Extraordinarily, Nencini argues that Knox and Sollecito must have wiped the place clean of their DNA (but left an abundance of Guede’s) because no traces of Knox’s DNA were found anywhere in the apartment that she shared with the victim. But multiple samples of Knox’s DNA were found and presented at trial; they just weren’t found in the room where the murder took place.

  • Then, on page 321, Nencini writes that the blade of the purported murder weapon – a large kitchen knife found in Sollecito’s apartment – bore traces of both Kercher’s and Sollecito’s DNA. Again, this is at variance with the evidence. The most the prosecution ever asserted was that Kercher’s DNA was on the tip of the blade. Sollecito’s DNA has never been found.

The defense teams have reacted with consternation: Knox issued a formal statement decrying the lack of “credible evidence or logic” in this latest document, which arrived just ahead of the three-month deadline following her latest conviction; Sollecito’s lead lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno, denounced what she said were “at least ten clamorous mistakes per page”. (A Kercher family lawyer called the document “a version that we have always in some ways sustained”.)

This being Italy, however, the judicial errors are not necessarily a bad thing for Knox and Sollecito, because they give the Italian high court an opening – should the justices choose to take it – to overturn the latest conviction, and either dismiss the case, send it back to get the mistakes fixed, or order yet another trial in another court.

The high court justices will be aware, of course, that the longer the case drags on, the more suspect the process will look in the eyes of world opinion. Another trial would test the patience of even the most ardent believers in Knox and Sollecito’s guilt, and certainly of the Kercher family. But the process is starting to curdle – even without the spectacle of lawyers arguing, yet again, over the same controversies before a barrage of international TV cameras. That leaves the high court, which always has one eye on the integrity of the system, with a genuine dilemma.

Much has been written about Italian justice’s desire to save face in this much written-about case. To admit a miscarriage of justice, the argument runs, has become too difficult, because it would expose the mistakes of too many people, from the primary investigators to the Rome forensic lab to the prosecutors and judges.

However, as the case trudges toward the seven-year mark, one has to wonder how much appetite the institutions of justice still have to stand by what they have done. Will the high court really want to endorse Nencini’s report with all these evident flaws? Or will this finally be the moment when the justice system calls a halt to a travesty committed in its name and exonerates Knox and Sollecito, as it should have done years ago?


3. How Gumbel Got It Wrong

We responded by rebutting 20 of Gumbel’s malicious claims in just the first 7 pages of Honor Bound. And Pataz1, a TJMK main poster who also runs his own blog posted this rebuttal of Gumbel below

This letter was sent to the Guardian’s Reader Editor on 4 May 2014, and again on 3 June, 2014. The Reader’s Editor did not respond to either of the email submissions.

Gumbel’s May 1st, 2014 article in the Guardian is a thinly veiled advocacy piece for Sollecito and Knox. He left out a significant phrase from a Nencini passage he cites; this phrase he omitted undermines one of his main claims.

To the Guardian:

I’m writing to you about Andrew Gumbel’s “comment” on developments in the murder of Meredith Kercher case. Gumbel writes about the recently released Nencini court motivations document, which outlines the court’s reasoning for affirming Knox and Sollecito’s conviction for the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Gumbel waits until the end of the third paragraph in his article to provide his disclaimer: that he is a co-author of the book by one of the defendants. Its hard to understand why Gumbel waited so long to disclose his vested financial interest in the innocence of one of the defendants on trial. By this time, Gumbel has already levied allegations of impropriety upon the Italian courts and judges. For example, he alleges “the country’s institutions of justice have covered themselves in shame.” He continues specific allegations that “judge after judge has twisted the available evidence […]”.  If Gumbel had provided his disclaimer appropriately at the beginning of his letter, readers would have had a more appropriate understanding of Gumbel’s perspective and motivations for writing his letter.

Despite being a co-author of a book by one of the two still on trial for Meredith’s murder, Gumbel’s statements on the court process are wrong. Gumbel pushes the perspective that Knox’s reps have pushed in the US; that Knox and Sollecito have been “convicted again” after an acquittal. Gumbel leaves out any mention of the Italian Supreme Court ruling that overturned Knox and Sollecito’s acquittal and sent the case back to the appellate level. After the acquittal was annulled, the original 2009 conviction remained in place. Gumbel is no doubt aware that the Florence court is an appellate court.  (Curiously, Sollecito’s co-defendant Knox also wrongly claims on her website that the Italian Supreme Court “annulled all previous verdicts”; ref: http://www.amandaknox.com/about-contact/?).

Gumbel’s omission of the Italian Supreme Court ruling is odd, because the entire point of his article is the integrity of the judicial decisions. Gumbel left out that the Italian Supreme Court has already made one ruling regarding the integrity of a judicial decision in this case. The Supreme Court’s ruling wasn’t in favor of Gumbel’s co-author and defendant Raffaele Sollecito;  perhaps this is the reason that Gumbel failed to mention the actual outcome of the acquittal.

Or perhaps Gumbel left out this information so he could present the evidence the way it is framed by supporters of Knox and Sollecito. Later in the the same paragraph, Gumbel expresses confusion about why evidence remains in the case. He states “the underlying forensic evidence has been both exposed as a sham and, mystifyingly, reinstated.” As the co-author of the book with Sollecito, Gumbel is again no doubt aware that after the appellate-level acquittal was thrown out, the original conviction (with all of the evidence) remained as a part of the case. Any decision made by Hellmann on the evidence was also thrown out of the case, including Hellmann’s conclusions on the knife DNA evidence and the Sollecito’s DNA on the bra clasp. Further, if Gumbel had indeed read the Nencini decision, he would have read the passage where Nencini takes to task the “independent experts” in the Hellmann trial (detailed here:http://thefreelancedesk.com/amanda-knox-trials-meredith-kercher-case/). Gumbel should be well aware after his reading of Nencini why the evidence still contributed to the Florence court upholding his co-author’s conviction.

In his second point on the Nencini decision, Gumbel leaves out a key phrase that completely undermines his claim. By this time in his article, one is forced to wonder if this omission is deliberate. Gumbel’s claim is that Nencini contradicted himself by writing that Knox and Sollecito only left a “single, hotly disputed trace of themselves” despite the other evidence that Nencini also talks about. But the start of the passage Gumbel cites is:

“Una peculiarità è, ad esempio, il rilievo che all’interno della villetta di via della Pergola quasi non sono state rinvenute tracce di Amanda Marie Knox – se non quelle di cui si dirà e riferibili all’omicidio – né di Raffaele Sollecito.”

The phrase Gumbel deliberately left out is this: “se non quelle di cui si dirà e riferibili all’omicidio”, which, roughly translated, is “except those which will be discussed and related to the murder.”  The Nencini Motivations document explicitly contains a clause that accommodates the other traces related to the murder. Gumbel’s point is provably false. As someone who arguably puts himself forth as an expert on the case, this omission is highly concerning.

In Gumbel’s third point he highlights what is a minor error in the Nencini report. Calling out one word in a longer passage, Gumbel points out the report states that Sollecito’s DNA was found on the knife that is alleged as a murder weapon. If Gumbel truly read the report, as he claimed in a twitter exchange with me, he would be aware that the rest of the section that is contained in makes it clear that the finding is Knox’s DNA on the knife, not Sollecito’s. This minor error is hardly cause to overturn the full conviction.

I could continue, but the rest of Gumbel’s article is largely a diatribe against the length of the trial and the Italian justice system. Gumbel cites an article written by Douglas Preston, another author who has financially benefited by being openly critical of the prosecutor in Knox’s case. Knox and Sollecito’s case has gone through three levels of the Italian court system, and back to appeals. Cases in the US that follow a similar path have not happened any faster than the one in Italy. For example, in the Scott Peterson case in the US his defense still filed appeals eight years after his first-level conviction.

That the Guardian has allowed itself to be used as a platform to push the defense’s perspective is not only a disservice to the family of the murder victim who lives in the UK, but is also a disservice to the victim of a violent, brutal murder.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Justice System Comparisons #1: Had Meredith’s Murder Taken Place In Canada

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 on 01/14/15 at 03:21 PM by Chimera. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
    Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemOther systems
    Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (9)

    Friday, December 19, 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?














    Posted on 12/19/14 at 01:18 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
    Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemOther systemsOther legal processesExtradition issuesThe wider contextsItalian contextEurope contextN America context
    Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (20)

    Friday, December 12, 2014

    Even More Reasons Why NOBODY In Italy Now Is Claiming Innocence Of RS And AK

    Posted by Peter Quennell




    1. The Knox-Sollecito State Of Play

    On average we get an email or two from readers in Italy every day.

    Maybe half are from Italians and half are from foreigners who are resident there. This is from an appreciative American who is married to an Italian and now lives in Milan.

    I go back to Perugia and my friends there as often as I can - everything there is very special to me. Perhaps this sounds a little strange but, to me, the city seems to have lost it’s innocence with Meredith’s murder. I still haven’t met anybody in Italy - from North to South (or from Switzerland either) who believes that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are innocent.

    No-one in Italy any longer seems to believe that AK and RS or of course Guede were not involved. The courts have made their case.

    There has simply been too much documentation, too much commentary broadcast on TV, too many disturbing facts coming to light like Knox having sex for drugs with a drug kingpin right up to the night of her arrest.

    The incessant bickering of the two has become a bore. Trials against Sforza, Aviello, and Sollecito proceed and more charges against Amanda Knox and Curt and Edda Mellas remain.  Since this time last year neither of the two has won even one point.

    2. More Proof Undermines The Guede Hoax

    Can you figure out what the image at the top depicts?

    This is the north end of the massif from the east. Right at the center is the law office of Dr Paolo Brocchi, whose office was burgled and whose laptop turned up in the possession of Rudy Guede in Milan. Meredith’s house is visible at top-right and Patrick’s bar, the English girl’s house and the courts are all off to the left.

    At the bottom of the image below in the center is a narrow dark ally. Whoever broke in seems to have done so via that ally and a narrow balcony on the second floor of the law offices. 






    The killer-groupies refer to Rudy Guede as the FORGOTTEN killer though there is no logical reason why. He doesnt hog the limelight but he is convicted and he is doing his time.

    The killer-groupies claim Guede was a drug dealer (untrue), a petty thief (unproven), a knife wielder (untrue), who threatened a man (untrue), a police snitch (untrue) who killed Meredith alone during a burglary which went wrong (untrue). Quite a list of false claims. 

    There is in fact zero evidence proving Guede acted alone. Meredith’s missing money was equivalent to money Knox could not explain.  Read the 45 posts here for all the proof the killer-groupies ignore.

    Absolutely key to the verdict of the trial court were the TWO recreations of the attack on Meredith. Each pointed to three attackers. Both were presented in closed court. 

    Please follow the images below to see how a burglar broke into Dr Brocchi’s office two and a half weeks before Meredith was killed.

    The front door of the law office is at street level. Because the ground slopes down at the rear, the law office is one level above ground level. That is where the glass in the French doors was broken and the break-in may have occurred. 




    Above and below: images of law office at the street level from the front,






    Whether it was Guede or not (there are good reasons for thinking it was not) he or she broke in around the back, up that alley, in the dark, where there is a quite easy reach up to the floor of a narrow balcony outside the French doors.



    Above and below, law office from back, balcony is at hard left not visible here





    Above and below, law office from back, balcony is visible one floor up from ground level





    Above law office from back, balcony is visible one floor up from ground level



    What does that climb resemble? See the final image below. It fairly precisely resembles the climb in the dark onto Meredith’s balcony, also at the back, a route which two separate sets of burglars used in 2009.

    It does NOT resemble at all the climb into Filomena’s room, much higher, in bright light, which to this day not one person has been able to emulate, and which would actually resemble a climb to the office windows at the front in bright streetlight . 

    Those who claim that climbing into Filomena’s window was anyone’s known “modus operandi” are not telling the truth.




    Above, Meredith’s house from the east with balcony used by burglars at the back


    There were no fingerprints in the office and to this day nobody can say for certain what the burglary was really about.

    Only that certain legal papers had been accessed and it is held probable in Perugia that someone was trying to interfere with a legal case. Two other offices at the back were bypassed. 

    Neither Dr Brocchi nor Ms Maria Del Prato who encountered Guede in her nursery school in Milan pressed charges against him for assault or theft. Their testimonies at trial were low-key and puzzling but certainly did not leave Guede in a worse light. Neither had an axe to grind with him.

    So the Milan police and courts finally acted against Guede merely for being in possession of a couple of items of stolen property. Nothing more.

    If Guede had no already been convicted he would have served no prison time.

    But as we recently reported he gets an additional 16 months in prison and his work-release is denied.  Guede’s final appeal to Cassation has just been turned down.

    The killer-groupies should move along. Demonizing Guede with false claims and lying to justice departments (their new angle) will never ensure Knox remains free.


    Saturday, November 01, 2014

    Prime Minister Renzi’s Justice Reforms: One System-Change Need Strongly Suggested By Meredith’s Case

    Posted by Peter Quennell





    Prime Minister Renzi might be able to push some justice reforms through the Rome parliament.

    After all, it was not his pals that were being plagued with investigations and charges, it was ex-PM Berlusconi’s, and business is leaning on him.

    Those reforms being talked about (of a system which most Italians rightly feel proud of) seem to mostly involve economic efficiency. But it would be popular if a more-pro-victim tilt is also promoted.

    The only slight pro-victim tilt at present is the presence of a lawyer representing the victim at trial. Dr Maresca in fact is representing Meredith not her family, but this small tilt toward fairness drives the Knox crazies like Bruce Fischer even crazier. It also promotes the (illegal under the laws of all countries) stalking and harassment of Meredith’s family.

    A more-pro-victim tilt polls well in Italy. A clear majority of the population would like to see it. This post was about one of the fearless campaigners, a popular TV presenter who has written to us with thanks for siding with her.

    Surely introducing a hurdle to all those automatic appeals (unique to Italy) that so clog the court agendas and eat up judges’ time would be a good idea.

    Surely a really good idea, one which all of those tied up by the case in Italy and also many elsewhere would side with, is: No fast-track trial and automatically reduced sentence like Guede’s without a REAL confession and repentance.

    Our poster Popper explained (again) in comments here on 21 October what the law on fast-track trials is for the moment, and why Guede got no special breaks from anyone except the Italian system itself for not talking.

    [A deal with Guede? All such deals are illegal.] Not only illegal, impossible I would say, as not envisaged by the code for serious crimes, ie not practically possible, there are no exceptions ... in addition 1. a prosecutor cannot promise or decide anything in that system (even if it was a small crime for which plea bargain is possible, judge or court decides and can say no)  2. Mignini was not the PM responsible of the Guede appeal as the groupies should know if they had read the primary documents they publish on their, for the rest, useless website 3. Mignini got a life sentence for RG (decreased to 30 years for fast track discount) I do not believe he appealed this verdict, obviously.

    So as we said many times (I repeat for newcomers and for the benefit of people in good faith, FoA in bad faith know already) Guede got this reduction as the life sentence (with fast track discount 30 years, this is an automatic formula) became 24 years given the judges of appeal gave generic mitigations equivalent to aggravations, exactly as in the first instance and appeal trials of Amanda and Raffaele.  Once this factor is introduced, the base penalty for murder becomes 24 years (like Amanda and Raffaele) but there is, for Guede, the automatic reduction of 1/3 for the choice of the abbreviated trial.  Result is 16 years of prison.

    Amanda and Raffaele got from 24 to 28.5 and 25 for their other crimes in continuation, theft phones, simulation, transportation of a weapon, calumny to Lumumba (only Knox).

    Many might live more easily with the idea of Guede getting his sentence pared down to only 16 years in prison, if only he had been made to fess up properly about what happened and make a real bid to express sorrow and remorse to Meredith’s family.

    But his sticking point even now which the current law allows is that Meredith INVITED him in for sex and he was only a bystander to her murder.

    Wail at his callous obtuseness all you like, but he has only gone where the system itself points him. 

    Judge Massei had tried to punish him additionally by reversing Judge Micheli on primary blame and placing primary blame for the fatal attack on Guede.

    But that weird stretch didnt hurt him, his eventual sentence was unaffected, and it caused enormous problems down the road when Judge Hellmann was enabled to go even further and roll back the guilt of RS and AK entirely.

    This is a problem Judge Nencini then had to set about correcting, which never would have even existed had Guede been forced in 2008 to fully confess and repent, in exchange for his fast-track trial and reduced sentence.

    If the Italian system had forced Guede’s confession in 2008 as his part of the deal, how radically different would have been the history of this protracted process. And how radically different would have been the lives and peace of mind of Meredith’s family, left suffering now both financially and in health terms.

    It wasn’t meant to be, but in this respect Italy’s is a cruel system. Please, Prime Minister Renzi, correct it. Call it the Meredith Amendment.

    Posted on 11/01/14 at 12:24 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
    Archived in The wider contextsItalian contextItalian system
    Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (5)

    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.

    Posted on 10/30/14 at 09:28 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
    Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemOther systemsHoaxes Italy & the caseItalian justice hoaxFlorence MOF hoaxThe wider contextsItalian contextN America context
    Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (2)

    Page 1 of 3 pages  1 2 3 >