Collection: Cassation 2015 critiques

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

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

Posted by James Raper



Image is of busy Rome at night

The Fifth Chambers Motivation Report

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

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

The Critique Part 5

So, let’s do a brief recap now

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Remember this?  -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Abstract hypothesizing on contamination is another.

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

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


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Article 530, Section 2 and Conclusions


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

There is no formula as such.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 11/17/15 at 09:59 AM by James Raper. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, November 13, 2015

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

Posted by James Raper



Image is of busy Rome at night

The Fifth Chambers Motivation Report

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

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

The Critique Part 4

The Simulated Break In

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

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

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

Marasca-Bruno are not interested in Guede.

They acknowledge that Knox and Sollecito are “qualified” persons…………

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Knox a ventriloquist and Sollecito her dummy?

Curatolo & Quintavalle

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

Here Marasca-Bruno effectively reprise the reasoning of Hellmann.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Raffaele Sollecito At House

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

And More On Other Matters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Their evidence was disputed by a defence expert witness.

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

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

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

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

Another unjustified and dogmatic assertion. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What In Part Marasca-Bruno Left Out

Finally Marasca and Bruno declare that -

“The panorama of the declared evidence is complete.”

Except that this is not true.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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Posted on 11/13/15 at 06:00 AM by James Raper. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those who were chargedAmanda KnoxRaff SollecitoThose officially involvedSupreme CourtAppeals 2009-2015Cassation 2015 critiquesJames R critique
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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

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

Posted by James Raper



Image is of busy Rome at night

The Fifth Chambers Motivation Report

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

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

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

A selection of quotes from the Report -

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

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

Selective cleaning - “an hypothesis that is patently illogical”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They then criticise Nencini -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So here are other reasons to support Nencini‘s contextualising.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Selective Search for Other Logical Inconsistencies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Few General Remarks

Get a load of this -

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

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

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

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

That’s right. Remember that.

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

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

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

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

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

This is the precursor for what comes a bit later.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Presence of Amanda Knox

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

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

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

Also:

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

I will comment on this later.

As regards the false accusation against Patrick Lumumba - 

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

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

***

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Posted on 11/10/15 at 10:21 AM by James Raper. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Saturday, November 07, 2015

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

Posted by James Raper



Image is of busy Rome at night

The Fifth Chambers Motivation Report

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

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

Time of Death

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

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

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

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

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

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

On The Scientific Evidence

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

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

The terms of the debate therefore define it‘s conclusion.

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

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

and

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

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

Then, to disguise that selection, we have this -

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

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

They continue -

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why the insistence on repeatability despite Article 360?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

adding that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eh ?!

They refer to Article 192, section 2 -

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

They opine -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where is the common sense of the 5th Chambers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

The knife and the bra clasp -

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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Posted on 11/07/15 at 09:00 AM by James Raper. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those who were chargedAmanda KnoxRaff SollecitoThose officially involvedSupreme CourtAppeals 2009-2015Cassation 2015 critiquesJames R critique
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Thursday, November 05, 2015

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

Posted by James Raper



Image is of busy Rome at night

The Fifth Chambers Motivation Report

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

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

Key Decisions Of The Court

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    7.  No selective cleaning.

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

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

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

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

My Own Overall Reaction To The Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Critique Of The Decisions Part #1

On The Nencini Appeal

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

The Report claims that the Nencini appeal was -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All these assertions require to be demonstrated. Are they?

On The Claimed Media Impact

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Multiple Attackers

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

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

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

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

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

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

On The Trial Process

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

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

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

They then proceed to set these out.

1. The Issue Of Motive

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

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

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

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

Marasca-Bruno continue -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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Posted on 11/05/15 at 09:39 AM by James Raper. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Saturday, October 31, 2015

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

Posted by catnip



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

Overview

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

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

Dissections

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


COMMENT: True, as a principle.

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Observations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 10/31/15 at 09:36 AM by catnip. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those who were chargedAmanda KnoxRaff SollecitoThose officially involvedSupreme CourtAppeals 2009-2015Cassation 2015 critiquesCatnip critique
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Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Marasca/Bruno Report, A Dissection In Four Parts: #3 Their Profound Evidence Muddle

Posted by catnip



Back of house, showing route in of 2 different burglars in 2009


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

The next two sections (7 and 8) of the Bruno judgment span ten pages. Each sentence in the paraphrased gist below corresponds to one paragraph in the text.

Cassation (Bruno) – gist: As to the forensic evidence, it was collected in violation of international standards. Science is receiving too much weight in the legal sphere, the scientific method does not equate to procedural rules. The judge is no longer the ‘expert of experts’, and genetics is light years from the sphere of the judge.

There is no confidence over science, in the sense that it is no longer to be trusted uncritically. Science is a choice, it must be reasoned. Legal rules are not trumped by science, the court does not automatically accept science, and there are many sciences. Evidentiary rules must be followed. Legal testing of evidence is done by cross-examination.

The court accepts evidence according to various factors, and this reduces the distance between ‘procedural truth’ and substantive truth. Inference is any method which bridges two facts in question, allowing the unknown fact to become known, according to reasonableness and good sense. This bridging can be common experience and direct observation through repeatability, scientific laws of universal application, and logic. Trial judges go from item of evidence to result, giving reasons, with external checks (the validity of experience or scientific law) and internal checks (consistency). (7)

COMMENT: Most of this section is bland platitude (not that there’s anything wrong with that).The ‘violation of international standards’ is accepted as a given, and the emphasis on repeatability (as diagnostic of the scientific method) is preparation of the ground for rejecting any tests that weren’t or couldn’t be repeated. Rudy’s forensic evidence is never referred to, as if it has been sealed off in a cardboard box somewhere.

Cassation (Bruno) – gist: In the current case, there is no new scientific method to examine (like blood pattern analysis) but genetics. DNA is reliable. It is evaluated against international protocols, and their breach. The court below did not hesitate to consider the test results to be indicative evidence. This cannot be accepted by this court. Indicative evidence is not proof, genetic results which are not absolutely certain can be indicative. Identification is probative, compatibility can be indicative.

Collection, conservation and analysis of evidence must follow rules.  Criminal Procedure Code Articles 244 para 2, 254 bis. And Article 192 para 2: ‘weight, precision, consistency’, which translates as certainty; certainty cannot be assumed. It cannot be seen how genetic analysis – in breach of collection and preservation protocols – can be weighty and precise in an evidential sense.

There are standards, and there must be repeatability. “In the case at hand, it is certain that those methodological rules have not been absolutely observed (cf, amongst others, folios 206-207 and the results of the Conte-Vecchiotti [sic] tests, deposited with the Perugia Court of Appeal).”

It is enough to consider, in that respect, the knife and bra-clasp; there was a lapse in professional standards (f. 207). The coltellaccio [great big knife] was put in a cardboard box of the gift-organiser kind.

More worrying are the journeyings of the bra-clasp. 46 days, there were other accesses of the crime scene, it was stepped on or at least moved, and the video shows multiple handlings of it with dirty gloves. “Questioned on the reasons for the defective and hasty collection, Dr Stefanoni will say in testimony that, initially, it was not considered necessary to collect the bra-clasp because … [dots in original] the victim’s intimate garment as a whole had been collected.

Nothing of importance was attributed to that small particular, notwithstanding that, in the common perception, it is exactly that closure apparatus that would be of major investigative interest, being manually operated and, therefore, a potential carrier of biological traces useful for the investigation.”

The bra-clasp test is not repeatable (Law [sic] Copy Number), which repeatability is to avoid false positives. The validation/falsification method wasn’t applied; and, significantly, even the RIS of Rome did two amplifications of trace I on the knife-blade. Ask what value such a result is. Scientific truth is not transferable to procedural truth; science is not legal certainty; without precision and weight, it cannot be evidence in court.

An item of evidence can be considered. The court below erred in attributing probative value to genetic results incapable of amplification or which were the fruit of improper recovery and collection procedures. (7.1)

COMMENT: The term indiziario, which cross-maps to ‘item of circumstantial evidence’, I have rendered as ‘indicative’, to bring out how Bruno demotes it. The theme is transferability: transferability of methods, procedures, of truths is not possible; but transferability of DNA is.

The appeal court’s error was to give non-zero weight to zero-weight evidence. Evidence gains zero-weight by not being certain. Certainty is achieved by repeatability, or by following international standards. The three dots (…) are for dramatic anti-climactic effect: meaning Stefanoni is a nincompoop, in other words. Note the spelling of Conti, with an “e”.

And the Voyages of a Bra-Clasp idea is Bongiorno’s and too irresistible to leave out (as with much else).

Cassation (Bruno) – gist: Article 360 of the Code only governs sources of evidence that are mutable; the laws of science involve falsification; probative value is linked to repeatability (7.2)

COMMENT: Interesting jurisprudence. It’s almost as if Bruno is living on another planet. The trope/canard about repeatability in science is an interesting psychological crutch. The accumulation of bizarro-concepts is starting to mount. Individual sentences in the text make sense (sort of), but stringing them together in a too-much-something-in-the-coffee way is starting to ring alarm bells.

Cassation (Bruno) – gist: The judgment below was obviously illogical (8).

COMMENT: A leitmotiv.

Cassation (Bruno) – gist: The missing traces of the accused on the victim have valency. This is a monolithic roadblock on the path taken by the court below in reaching an affirmation of guilt for the current appellants, “already acquitted of the homicide by the Perugia Court of Appeal”. The “selective clean-up” argument is useless and manifestly illogical: it didn’t clean-up the Luminol traces (Luminol is useful for revealing traces of material different to blood).

The clean-up hypothesis is also disproved by the traces in the small bathroom, and since Amanda knew that the other two were outside Perugia and wouldn’t be coming back that evening, there would have been plenty of time to do a proper clean-up.

As for the corridor traces, the SAL cards [work logs] ruled out, on the basis of the use of a particular chemical reagent, that the traces revealed by Luminol were blood – and there is nothing of this in the judgment. Not only that, it is manifestly illogical for the lower court to overrule the defence objection that the bluish Luminol reaction can be produced by substances that are not blood (for example, detergent residues, fruit juice and so on) and that the fluorescent reaction cannot be anything other than blood.

The fragility of the argument is such that, no question, the house at Via della Pergola had never been cleaned. Therefore, it can be categorically ruled out that blood was removed.

Another glaring logical hole is the theft of the phones. The posited reason that it was to prevent the ringtones of the phone being heard could have been accomplished by switching them off or removing the battery. Disrespectful to the proceedings and clearly illogical is the notion of ill-feeling, including the English woman blaming her flatmate for letting Rudy in to use the toilet; Rudy’s “truth” (and admissible insofar as it does not involve third parties) is that he was in the bathroom when he heard Mr Kercher have an altercation with another, female-voiced, person, so that the reason for the altercation cannot have been his use of the toilet.

It is illogical to posit that, in order to support the ill-feeling scenario, the stolen money and credit cards be used, when Amanda and Raffaele were cleared of that charge (f. 316).

It is arbitrary to translate to Via della Pergola a situation Amanda described in a different location, Raffaele’s house: watching a film, taking light drugs, having sex and a good long sleep until late morning the following day; there is no evidence of the influence of drugs, and finding a mixed DNA trace (Amanda and Raffaele) on a cigarette butt instead of doing a DNA-destroying drug test that might have offered useful insights was absolutely irrelevant, given that Raffaele was a visitor to the cottage because of his girlfriend.

The preceding picture is emblematic of the complex architecture of the impugned judgment relating to the substantive reconstruction, starting at paragraph 10, with the title “Conclusive Evaluations”. It is certainly undeniable that the court below required interpretative effort and speculation to fill the large evidentiary holes in the investigation.

Now, it is undoubted that it is the court of merit’s task to reconstruct what happened, not Cassation’s; common sense must be used; it can be logical but must stick to (legal) reality and be based on admitted evidence. Logic and intuition cannot be a substitute for lacking evidence and investigative inefficiencies. In the face of lacking, insufficient or contradictory evidence, the court must acquit under Article 530 paragraph 2, even if morally convinced of the culpability of the accused.

Further, there are holes in the court’s reasoning, for example in saying that Raffaele’s and Meredith’s DNA was found on the knife (f. 321) when elsewhere in the judgment (ff 208) Amanda is trace A, Meredith is trace B, and finally, trace I (unjustifiably ignored in the Conte-Vecchiotti [sic] report) is also Amanda’s. Trace B cannot carry any certainty, being unrepeatable, but nowhere on the knife is there any biological trace attributable to Raffaele (8.1)

COMMENT: Missing evidence is evidence of being missing. Something proves the opposite. What’s the Perugia Court of Appeal (=Hellmann) got to do with anything? The ‘clean-up’ refutation has the hallmarks of Bongiorno technique: to the prosecution suggestion that there might have been a party, her response was, “Where are the balloons, the corks and the champagne glasses?”

Obviously, “clean-up” has a specific meaning to Bruno. Switching a phone off or removing the battery needs fingers and will likely leave traces behind; better a sock and sling-throw into the dark. It’s common sense.

Can Bruno really be so obtuse: the bra-clasp is super-important exactly because it requires fingers, but the phones aren’t (in the hypothetical user’s mind). Drug-testing the cigarette butt is a good idea. Until you think about it: if Raffaele was at the cottage before, after, during, but not at the murder, how can a cigarette butt (with or without ice or cocaine on it) be tied to anything, time-wise?

Applying Bruno’s logic about the typo about Raffaele’s DNA being on the knife, then Bruno’s reference to Conte-Vecchiotti is also a “gaping hole”, because there’s no such people, and refers to a nothing; it’s Conti-Vecchiotti. Same with the nonsense phrase ‘Law Copy Number’ – what’s that? An obvious absurdity.

Therefore Bruno’s judgment is as void as its voids are. That’s logic. Obviously, if someone is stoned in Garibaldi Street, they can’t be stoned at a place two minutes’ walk away. That’s also ‘logic’.

Overall impression so far…

“Suddenly a strange madness took hold of him, a yearning to look once more off the end of the world. It would be his last chance, he thought; …”

—  George R R Martin, A Game of Thrones, [HarperCollins, 1996], p 176. ISBN 9780002246576

There was an episode of Doctor Who last year, where one character was explaining the scientific beliefs of another, and the Doctor asked, ‘Why does he think that? Is he an idiot?’

Good question.

I can’t quite help thinking the choice is between whether Bruno is an idiot, or whether he is merely writing a satire for a student magazine and pretending to be an idiot. Perhaps, in my ignorance, I have not read enough yet, or I have misunderstood what I have read.

There is some logical analysis going on, - and the example of there being no clean-up because if it was Amanda, she would have known she would have had all night, and therefore would have done a proper job of it (!), so because she didn’t, there wasn’t (!!), is a good one – but joining two or more sentences into a coherent thought, and things start to disappear into the mists.

Another leitmotiv: The translation into “certainty” of what characteristics items of evidence must have to be admissible (in common law terms), erases the concept of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ from the picture.

Since he’s had multiple months to ‘get it right’, and these gaps remain, it looks as if Bruno’s condition is not a temporary one.

Posted on 10/17/15 at 08:20 AM by catnip. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, October 09, 2015

The Marasca/Bruno Report, A Dissection In Four Parts: #2 The Strange Two Unrelated Tracks Approach

Posted by catnip



The Bruno demon in the cage…

Initial impressions of the legal reasoning

A closer reading, or later pages, may reveal a change in opinion might be required. If so, those changes in the post will be noted. Based on experience, the likelihood is that, how a thing starts, is how it will tend to continue. Changing horses in mid-stream, though theoretically possible, is not an everyday occurrence.

Cassation (Bruno) – gist: A European Court of Human Rights decision in Amanda’s favour won’t affect the calunnia conviction, since the accusations were repeated to the Prosecutor (such interviews are institutionally immune to psychological pressure), and she confirmed them again when writing in her note, signed by her, in a moment when she was alone with herself and her conscience. (2.2)

COMMENT: To the defence allegation that it was police pressure that caused Amanda to falsely claim that Patrick was the murderer, the obvious and common sense response that the claim was repeated in situations where no pressure was possible, deflates the allegation.

However, note Bruno’s implicit assumption, that Amanda was behaving rationally, that is, not affected by drugs, impaired mental states, or delusional or incorrect beliefs, is not raised, let alone examined and a factual finding made. (Not that it is in the Court of Cassation’s general remit to make findings of fact, but that is another matter.

And Bruno specifically addresses that point later, so he is not unaware of it.)  This way of treating assumptions forms a characteristic pattern, and has implications later. Note that while the murder charges were dismissed, the calunnia conviction was confirmed. This would not be a matter that any PR push for Raffaele would need to be concerned about, as we indeed find.

Cassation (Bruno) – gist: The request is refused to have the Grand Chamber consider the probative value of evidence collected in breach of international forensic standards; witness statements made under a strong media spotlight; and the admissibility of accusatory statements made in the judgment of another court and received into evidence. (2.3)

COMMENT: Bruno can handle the forensics methodology question, Alessi’s bag-of-hot-air statements, and the legal implications of the explicit accusations made in the judgment reasons confirming Rudy’s conviction.

Cassation (Bruno) – gist: The appeal court did not follow Cassation’s ruling on the principles of law involved, namely that the court is not to rely on the original (annulled) reasoning, the court must not trespass into the merits of the case, the court retains the original scope of enquiry, all the facts must be looked at, and the action to take depends upon the type of annulment because there can be errors of law, and errors of logic. (3)

COMMENT: The Florence Court of Appeal did not follow the instructions set down for it by Cassation. This aspect of the rules of law and procedure will take some detail to examine fully, but suffice to say here that Bruno’s own methodology is not automatically immune from the same defects he is accusing Florence of having, merely because it is him saying so. How well does Bruno himself follow the rules?, in other words. Verbal gymnastics and semantic yoga poses are presaged.

Cassation (Bruno) – gist: There were glaring errors. (3.1)

COMMENT: This becomes his leitmotiv, and he actually uses that word when talking of others.

Cassation (Bruno) – gist: There is only one irrefutable certainty in this case: Amanda’s guilt as regards her criminal calumny (calunnia) against Patrick Lumumba; the investigator’s glaring errors and omissions – the intrinsically contradictory complex of evidence is anything but beyond a reasonable doubt (4).

COMMENT: Amanda’s crime against Patrick remains; the evidence is intricate and, due to errors, incomplete, therefore the standard of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ has not been met. How it is that the investigator’s actions were in actual error is not established: the implication is that the defence appeal claims are simply being taken on copy-paste trust.

A fair assessment would entail examining the basis of claims that there was forensic error, hearing any counter-arguments, weighing the significance and importance of any such error if it were found to exist, and deciding if it has a bearing and impact on the legal question to be decided – this is all trial-court matter.

People being driven by the media spotlight is another leitmotiv of Bruno’s. It’s almost as if he is embodying what he is saying that others have done.

Cassation (Bruno) – gist: The absurd and incomprehensible death of Meredith Kercher in mysterious circumstances and the international media spotlight forced an increase in the pace of the investigation and a knee-jerk search for someone guilty to display to the international media, and lack of regard for international protocols about possible contamination, led to hurried, incomplete and incorrect investigative activity. The lack of repeatability, breaking one of the most fundamental requirements of the scientific method as established by Galileo, was a flaw. (4.1)

COMMENT: Here is the first clue that the search for a rational motive is not going to be successful: the murder was senseless. The media spotlight provides the logical underpinning, the motive if you will, of why the police made errors: they needed a quick result, and so therefore cut corners. The ‘international standards’ (which are never named explicitly) provide the yardstick against which these cut corners can be measured.

(Which leads to a circular-logic paradox scenario: At the scriptwriters’ workshop for Detectives 101: Writer A: “I’ve got them on the scene now, ready to decide what to do. So how do I get them to cut corners? What are the corners, the international standards?” Writer B: “I don’t know. Make ‘em up. Or download something official-looking off the Internet.” Writer A: “What are their guidelines in real life, though? Surely they don’t go about breaching guidelines on every callout. How did they know about putting on gloves, for instance?” Writer B: “.”)

Cassation (Bruno) – gist: The media and its associated “noise” (in it computer science sense) induced a mythomane seeking to break the long grey day of an incarceration regime, at least for a day; and Rudy the half-truth teller is key: definite traces of him were found in the room and on the victim. (4.2)

COMMENT: Alessi, believed to be a full-truth teller, wanted some fresh air for a couple of hours, so a trip to the courtroom was organised. The media’s fault. Rudy, the known half-truth teller, knows more, because actual traces of him were found in what can be referred to as the ‘murder zone’. Notwithstanding that a person’s traces can be found on a victim, and the person is not a murderer. Bruno is also performing some literary yoga poses in this passage.

Cassation (Bruno) – gist: Rudy’s finalised, definitive, judgment, and his statements, attract questions of admissibility. (4.3)

COMMENT: This is the crux of the legal use of the inferences available in terms of Bruno’s reasoning. Rudy’s trial and conviction are being treated by Bruno as separate and distinct from the trial of Amanda and Raffaele, rather than logically interlinked: if the forensics against Amanda and Raffaele are flawed, then those against Rudy are not, because his conviction has become definitive. That is an artificial way of looking at it. Inferences can go both ways: if Raffaele’s DNA is the result of contamination, then so could Rudy’s be, for exactly the same reasons; if a person has the victim’s blood on their hands, then that does not make them the (or a) murderer.

Indeed, Rudy explicitly stated he got blood on him while trying to help Meredith (implicitly, this must be the untrue part of one of Rudy’s half-truths). So then Rudy’s conviction becomes a legal fiction, not a representation of what actually happened, and Rudy’s definitive judgment voids itself into nothingness. Bruno avoids discussing this line of thought, for some reason. He also, conveniently, has somehow forgotten about the phrase “acting in company with” in the Criminal Code, again, for some reason (presumably).

Cassation (Bruno) – gist: Rudy’s judgment: The search for a motive for the murder has yielded nothing, in proportion to what has been conjectured: mere disagreement among flatmates, sexual desires (an at least initial consensual act cannot be excluded); and even less for an unknown burglar who graduates from theft, to uncontrollable sexual assault, to gratuitous homicide with such brutal ferocity, unless there was a serial killer in action, which there is no evidence of in the documents that in Perugia, at that time, other homicides of other young women in identical circumstances were being committed. (4.3.1)

COMMENT: This counts as a straw man within a straw man. The Perugian Serial Killer angle almost qualifies as a laughable joke. And what are the chances of finding a traditional rational motive for an irrational (“senseless and absurd”) act? Close to zero, would be the statistician’s answer. The key word is “gratuitous”. Although, the lone-burglar scenario defence gambit gets a drubbing.

Cassation (Bruno) – gist: Rudy’s statements—made in the absence of the people whose rights are affected (a denial of rights), not always coherent and constant (a denial of logic), and somehow involving Amanda (but never Raffaele explicitly), while continuing to maintain his innocence notwithstanding his forensic presence at the scene and on the victim – can only be rejected as inadmissible, and in breach of the requirements for a fair trial. In fact, Rudy as a witness violates his right not to testify after finalisation of his sentence or undergo cross-examination. (4.3.2)

COMMENT: There’s legal yoga posing in this section. The interlinked nature of the trials works both ways: accusations made by the Amanda and Raffaele defence against Rudy in his absence can’t be responded to and cross-examined by him. The bit about ‘not always coherent and constant’ also applies to Amanda and Raffaele. And the bit about Rudy never mentioning Raffaele being on site and present does not sound like it came from Amanda’s defence. On the plus side, Bruno, as editor, did manage to condense the 600-and-more pages of the (Bongiorno) defence appeal down to a couple of dozen paragraphs.

Cassation (Bruno) – gist: The procedural rules were violated when the defence request to re-open argument was refused. The term “relevant”, as in relevant evidence as mentioned in the Code, is mere linguistic decoration (4.4)

COMMENT: There might be some merit in the idea that witnesses are recalled and argument re-opened only when it’s relevant, and not otherwise. The assertion of procedural violation remains just that, though, an assertion. In any case, opposing views are not examined. So how did Bruno reach his decision? A set of reasons without the actual reasons being given – is that what we are looking at?

Cassation (Bruno) – gist: The charge relating to unlawful transport of a knife has exceeded the time limit set by the statute of limitations. (5)

COMMENT: The limitations period expiry gambit is a widely-used defence strategy. Lots of people, including very many in the media spotlight, have taken advantage of it and benefitted from it.

Cassation (Bruno) – gist: The judgment appealed from, the subject of multiple censures by the parties, exhibits mistakes, incongruities and errors of law. (6)

COMMENT: The prosecution are strangely absent from all of this. Did Bruno only have the transcript of the second day’s hearing, after misplacing the prosecution’s or leaving it at the bus stop? In any case, he does not give any indication that he has read it.

Cassation (Bruno) – gist: In first place, the affirmation that determining the motive is substantively irrelevant is an error. Automatically transferring Rudy’s sexual motive to the others doesn’t hold up; the erotic game scenario finds no corroboration; extending a shared and definite set of interpersonal relationships amongst the co-participants is also a species of transfer.

The love-story between Amanda and Raffaele is obvious and even if it appears certain that she somehow, somewhen, knew Rudy, there is no evidence that Raffaele knew him or ever visited him. If Laura and Filomena didn’t know Rudy and are ruled out as murderers, not to do the same with Raffaele is illogical and irrational. (6.1)

COMMENT: The other judges got it wrong about the importance of motive. If motive is essential, then no motive means no crime. And if one person had motive, it doesn’t mean the others must have had the same motive. The love-story appears obvious, but appearing so doesn’t make it so. Calling it a love-story is an interpretation, in any case. How was the conclusion reached and alternative hypotheses rejected? And how does not knowing Rudy socially (beforehand) have a bearing on anything (even motives)? A straw straw-man being invoked?

Cassation (Bruno) – gist: Holding that the exact time of death was irrelevant was also an error. From the phone records, it emerges that the time of death can be set between 21:30 and 22:13. (6.2)

COMMENT: The exact time is needed for a fair trial so the accused can supply an alibi. The prosecution method of picking the middle of the estimated time range is ‘mere’ arithmetic, not science (including gastric).  Perhaps Bruno read along the line underneath by mistake on the phone call log printout (if he actually read anything)? Perhaps he just accepted the defence claim at their word? Who can tell?

Pause here and re-energize, before we continue in another post. Bruno’s pattern seems to be shaping up as:

Make assertions as if they are conclusions; show no reasoning for them; exhibit a predilection and fondness for posing (of which more, when we get to the detail); and embody what he alleges the prosecution (and Alessi) have done, namely hastening under pressure and influence of the media spotlight and not following international standards, in this case, of legal reasoning and fairness (plus the implicit backhanders to all those who “got it wrong”).

It’s almost as if this case has provided him with the opportunity of at least a small break from long grey days of unproductive solitude. If so, it’s no wonder his sympathy with Raffaele’s situation of watching mould growing on his cell wall shines through so brightly.

Posted on 10/09/15 at 07:38 AM by catnip. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, October 01, 2015

The Marasca/Bruno Report, A Dissection In Four Parts: #1 The Strange “Dogmatic Assertions” Approach

Posted by catnip



General Garofano founded Carabinieri labs, has long argued DNA evidence in this case very strong

1. Overview Of This Post

These analyses will be interspersed with the final posts of the Marasca/Bruno report. 

A person holding themselves out to be a ‘creation scientist’ may easily make a statement (in the form of a short sentence in an article or of a soundbite on TV).

At which point, it may take a whole book of effort, to examine the background and field(s) of scientific learning and expertise that are involved and to follow the lines of reasoning used (if any), in order to come to a satisfactory assessment of the accuracy and reliability of that statement.

Likewise with the Fifth Criminal Chamber Cassation judgment penned by Bruno. It seems to be full of assertions. And that’s it.

Take, as one example, the international standards that the forensics personnel are supposed to have breached.

2. Example: ‘International standards’

Much has been made of what have been called ‘international forensic standards’, and whether they have been met and what significance the evidence would have had if they hadn’t.

There is also a subtext of what forensic procedure the Italian Scientific Police were actually following and why a breach of those guidelines did not ground a submission by the defence that there had been contamination and therefore that the evidence was unusable.

(Plus also, disposable gloves are called ‘monouso’, that is “single use”, in Italian, and that name seems to have sown some confusion in the minds of the defence lawyers about how such gloves are to be used in actual cases.)

In Italian, there’s a recent textbook, with international contributors:

Donatella Curtotti and Luigi Saravo (eds), Manuale delle investigazioni sulla scena del crimine: Norme, techniche, scienze, (2013) [Giappichelli, 2013] (Crime Scene Investigation Manual: Guidelines, techniques, science)

ISBN 9788834829004

A perusal of the contents shows that its coverage is extensive in terms of subject matter, and not superficial, at over a thousand pages:

Introduction

D Curtotti, BAJ Fisher, MM Houck and G Spangher, “Diritto e sceinza: Un rapporto in continua evoluzione”,  pp 1-36 (Law and Science: A relationship in continuous evolution)

The legal picture

D Curtotti, “I rilievi e gli accertamenti sul locus commissi delicti nelle evoluzioni del codice di procedura penale”,  pp 37-118 (Collection and tests at the scene of the crime in the developments of the Criminal Procedure Code)

D Curtotti, “L’inadeguatezza delle norme al cospetto della nuova realta’ investigativa e le soluzioni giuridiche percorribili”,  pp 119-146 (Legal inadequacy in the face of the new investigative reality and feasible judicial solutions)

F Giunchedi, “Le consulenze techniche tra accertamenti irripetibili e incidente probatorio”,  pp 147-176 (Technical consultants between unrepeatable tests and preliminary hearing)

A Procaccino, “Le selezione del consulenti technici e la tracciabilita’ dell’expertise: Profili interni e comparatistici”,  pp 177-218 (The selection of technical consultants and the audit trail of expertise: Internal and comparative profiles)

D Curtotti, “Il sopralluogo della difesa”,  pp 219-234 (The defence crime scene search)

D Curtotti and L Saravo, “L’errore technico-scientifico sulla scena del crimine”,  pp 235-253 (Technical and scientific error at the scene of the crime)

E Cataldi, M Vaira and A Iasillo, “La scena del crimine vist dai protagonisti del processo”,  pp 255-300 (The scene of the crime as seen by the protagonists in the trial)

The technical-scientific picture: the new investigative paradigm

L Saravo, “Il nuovo paradigma investigativo sulla scena del crimine”,  pp 301-312 (The new investigative paradigm at the crime scene)

L Rockwell and L Saravo, “L’analisi logica della tracce”,  pp 313-342 (The logical analysis of traces)

L Garofano and L Saravo, “Il primo intervento”,  pp 343-364 (First intervention)

L Saravo, “CSI: Il metodo di ricerca e valutazione delle tracce”,  pp 365-414 (CSI: Trace search and evaluation method)

The technical-scientific picture: technique, technology and science on the traces of crime

R Gennari and L Saravo, “Le tracce”,  pp 415-466 (Traces)

A Galassi, D Gaudio, P Martini, L Saravo, M Sgrenaroli and G Vassena, “La rappresentazione della scena del crimine: Dalla descrizione narrative ai rilievi tridimenionali”,  pp 467-558 (Representation of the crime scene: From narrative to 3D)

R Gennari and L Saravo, “Rilievi edaccertamenti sulle tracce: Dalle impronte al DNA”,  pp 559-644 (Collection and tests on traces: From prints to DNA)

G Arcudi and GL Marella, “Il cadavere e la scena del crimine: Un binomio inscindibile”,  pp 645-671 (The body and the crime scene: An inseparable pairing)

The technical-scientific picture: new techniques

TP Sutton, “L’analisi della macchie di sangue (BPA)”,  pp 672-706 (Blood pattern analysis)

M Mattiucci, “Le indagini sui repertiinvisibili: High Tech Crime”,  pp 707-718 (Analysis of invisible evidence: High Tech Crime)

P Magni and E Di Luise, “Gli insetti nelle scienze forensi”,  pp 719-742 (Insects in the forensic sciences)

P Magni and E Di Luise, “Le tracce orfane: Botanica, micologia, zoologia, microbiologica, e geoscience nel mondo forense”,  pp 743-791 (Orphan traces: Botany, mycology, zoology, microbiology and geoscience in the world of forensics)

B F Carillo, U Fornari, G L Giovanni and L P Luini, “La scena del crimine vista con gli occhi della criminologia”,  pp 791-872 (Looking at the crime scene through the eyes of the criminologist)

The technical-scientific picture: complex investigations

D Gaudio, D Salsarola, P Poppa, A Galassi, R Sala, D Gibelli and C Cattaneo, “L’archeologia forense: Il corretti recupero dei resti umani”,  pp 873-896 (Forensic archaeology: The correct recovery of human remains)

S Scolaro, P Magni and E Di Luise, “La scena criminis in ambiente acquatico”,  pp 897-926 (The crime scene in aquatic environments)

B Cristini and F Notaro, “Lo scenario incendiario”,  pp 927-982 (The incendiary scenario)

A Boncio, Ecataldi, R Mugavero, G Peluso and L Saravo, “Lo scenario terroristico”,  pp 983-1062 (The terrorist scenario)

D O’Loughlin and L Saravo, “I disastri di massa”,  pp 1063-1086 (Mass disasters)

In all the above, the name of Garofano can be seen (a well-known and highly regarded forensics expert), and the Australian contribution (the last chapter) relates to learnings from the Black Saturday bushfires.

“fictional events can gain currency in the real world”  —  Jim Fraser, Forensic Science: A Very Short Introduction, (2010) [Oxford University Press, 2010], p 25 (talking about movie scenes showing the effect of an injection of adrenalin into a person’s heart).  [ISBN 9780199558056]

The defence aim was to reduce the significance of Raffaele’s DNA being found on the torn-off or cut-off clasp of Meredith’s bra, which clasp was collected on a second, later, occasion from a different location in Meredith’s room a pace or so distant from that in which it had been found originally (beneath a pillow under her body).

The video of the scene showed the clasp being handled by various gloved personnel before being bagged.

One strand of the defence attacked the gloves, arguing that they should have been changed.

What are the actual recommendations on gloves?

Disposable gloves should be ‘changed frequently’:

“The evidence collector must handle all body fluids and biologically stained materials with a minimum amount of personal contact. All body fluids must be assumed to be infectious; hence, wearing disposable latex gloves while handling the evidence is required. Latex gloves also significantly reduce the possibility that the evidence collector will contaminate the evidence. These gloves should be changed frequently during the evidence-collection phase of the investigation. Safety considerations and avoidance of contamination also call for the wearing of face masks, shoe covers, and possibly coveralls.”  —  Richard Saferstein, Criminalistics: An Introduction to Forensic Science, 10th edition, (2011) [Pearson, 2011], p 286, Collection of biological evidence. ISBN 9780132545792

Gloves should be changed for each new item of evidence:

“One key concern during the collection of a DNA-containing specimen is contamination. Contamination can occur by introducing foreign DNA through coughing or sneezing onto a stain during the collection process, or there can be a transfer of DNA when items of evidence are incorrectly placed in contact with each other during packaging. Fortunately, an examination of DNA band patterns in the laboratory readily reveals the presence of contamination. … Crime-scene investigators can take some relatively simple steps to minimize contamination of biological evidence: 1. Change gloves before handling each new piece of evidence. 2. … 3. … 4. …”  —  Richard Saferstein, p 288.

Myths about contamination

“There are many myths and misunderstandings about contamination… The first is that all scenes are examined using the highest standard of anti-contamination precautions (suits, overshoes, mob caps, gloves, etc.), which is not the case. … Secondly, the belief that contamination can be completely prevented by wearing the kinds of protection described above and by controlling a scene is unfounded. If you accept Locard’s principle, then you have to accept that any examination of a scene is likely to disturb it and to ‘contaminate’ it in some way. Finally, the assumption that because someone has failed (for whatever reason) to follow recommended operating procedures with regard to contamination does not mean that contamination will necessarily result and have an impact.”  —  Jim Fraser, Forensic Science: A Very Short Introduction, (2010) [Oxford University Press, 2010], pp 19-20.

ISBN 9780199558056

What does the Italian crime scene manual say?

Personal protective gear and single-use equipment mitigates the risk of contamination.  —  R Gennari and L Saravo, “Rilievi edaccertamenti sulle tracce: Dalle impronte al DNA”,  pp 559-644 (Collection and tests on traces: From prints to DNA), p 626.

The main references to contamination are in R Gennari and L Saravo, “Le tracce”,  pp 415-466 (Traces), where they say:

“In the strictest sense, the term ‘contamination’ refers to the introduction into the scene (and even onto an item of evidence originating there) of spurious information corrupting its original nature or state.”  (p 449).

“It must be noted, though, that the contaminated item of evidence is not necessarily unusable [emphasis in original]. It is only an item of evidence which has lost its original state: its own characteristics have undergone modification and it has been enriched with other, indeterminate, information. It is necessary to know how to evaluate the impact that this could have had in the question posed or on the information that will be needed to be revealed to reconstruct the crime.”  (p 450).

“It is not enough just to wear the personal protection gear to reduce the risk of contamination; it is necessary that this gear be employed in the correct manner [emphasis in the original].

Not changing gloves before touching a new surface is, for example, a source of contamination: DNA, once touched a first time, transfers itself to all the various surfaces touched successively by the same gloves.”  (p 451).

And, not to forget, protective gear is worn for the protection of forensic personnel against infection and chemicals (p 452).

So, in summary:

Gloves reduce and minimise the risk of contamination - they do not remove it altogether; contamination cannot be completely prevented. Searching a scene changes it from its original state.

Changing gloves “frequently”, or “each time” a new piece of evidence, or a new surface, is touched.

After putting on the gloves, what counts as a new piece of evidence or new surface in this list?:

bedcover, victim, pillow, bra-clasp, carpet/floor

Coughing or sneezing on the evidence: means the forensic officer’s DNA contaminates the item, not the accused’s DNA.

Following the procedure does not guarantee that the evidence is uncontaminated; following procedure just reduces the potential risk of contamination.

Likewise, not following procedure does not mean the evidence is automatically contaminated.

And even if the item were contaminated, that does not make it unusable.

In Raffaele’s case, if his DNA were transferred via the latex forensic gloves, how did his DNA get there on the glove when it was found definitively nowhere else in the room? Did he spit on his hand and then shake hands with the forensic officer? Now, that would indeed be a breach of protocols, anywhere in the world.

To say that, because it’s the accused’s DNA, therefore it’s contamination, is circular reasoning.

All of the above should have been (and was) examined at trial, and double-checked on appeal (eventually).

So why is Bruno taking up the invitation to rehash it all again?

3. Further Reading On DNA

See our previous 50 or so previous posts on DNA.

Posted on 10/01/15 at 08:06 PM by catnip. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those who were chargedAmanda KnoxRaff SollecitoAppeals 2009-2015Cassation 2015 critiquesCatnip critique
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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Supreme Court Confirms All Three Were There And Lied, RS & AK Apologists Desperate To Downplay That

Posted by Machiavelli




1. Shocking Sentencing Report

Despite the public relations campaign this was by any standards a very strong case.

In contrast the language, logic and law of the Marasca/Bruno Report are about as weak as Rome lawyers have seen. The Fifth Chambers normally handles only appeals of verdicts for fraud, defamation, and other mundane non-violent personal and family injuries and they are forbidden from judging evidence. Their reports are almost invariably 1-3 pages long.

No finding by any experienced murder judge ever stretches logic and law and evidence as much as this. This grim situation for RS and AK still remains. 

    (1) The report very firmly places all three at the scene of the crime with extensive language on a long list of proofs; but though bizarrely it separates two from the crime itself.

    (2) The final verdict is not “assoluzione” meaning acquittal or innocence but simply “proscioglimento” meaning the dropping of charges (not usually used in a court context, see the note in the final paragraphs of translation) which can be subject to appeal.

    (3) The report does nothing to help Knox and Sollecito to get beyond their calunnia, villiipendio and diffamazione trials. It makes a win against either or both Knox and Sollecito in a wrongful-death suit more or less an assured thing. And it pre-emptively dismisses the frivolous appeal by Amanda Knox to ECHR Strasbourg.

If the appeal by Knox and Sollecito against the Nencini court findings and guilty sentences had been handled without chicanery, it is the First Chambers which deals with murder cases and which annulled most of the Hellmann appeal outcome in 2013 which would have got this appeal. Almost certainly those judges would have simply rejected the appeal, and sent Knox and Sollecito right back to jail.

The report makes lawyers question why Knox and Sollecito were not at minimum found guilty of being accessories to murder after the fact. Even the defense teams seem to have realised the risks in the shaky judgement

2. Passages Finding Knox And Sollecito Were There

In chapters 4, 9 and 10 the Marasca/Bruno report makes very clear that Knox and Sollecito were both at the house on the night. They find that the proof of that stands up. Highlighted in the translation below are passages amount to the firm conclusion that Knox definitely was there, with blood on her hands, and Sollecito logically also.

From Chapter 4

4.3.1 As for the first question, the use of the [Guede’s] definitive verdict in the current judgement,  for any possible implication, is unexceptionable , since it abides with the provision of art. 238 bis of Penal Code [sic]. Based on such provision “(…) the verdicts [p. 26] that have become irrevocable can be accepted [acquired] by courts as pieces of evidence of facts that were ascertained within them and evaluated based on articles 187 and 192 par 3”.

Well, so the “fact” that was ascertained within that verdict, indisputably, is Guede’s participation in the murder “concurring with other people, who remain unknown”. The invoking of the procedural norms indicated means that the usability of such fact-finding is subordinate to [depends on] the double conditions [possibility] to reconcile such fact within the scope of the “object of proof” which is relevant to the current judgement, and on the existence of further pieces of evidence to confirm its reliability.

Such double verification, in the current case, has an abundantly positive outcome. In fact it is manifestly evident that such fact, which was ascertained elsewhere [aliunde], relates to the object of cognition of the current judgement. The [court’s] assessment of it, in accord with other trial findings which are valuable to confirm its reliability, is equally correct. We refer to the multiple elements, linked to the overall reconstruction of events, which rule out that Guede could have acted alone.

Firstly, testifying in this direction are the two main wounds (actually three) observed on the victim’s neck, on each side, with a diversified path and features, attributable most likely (even if the data is contested by the defense) to two different cutting weapons. And also, the lack of signs of resistance by the young woman, since no traces of the assailant were found under her nails, and there is no evidence elsewhere [aliunde] of any desperate attempt to oppose the aggressor; the bruises on her upper limbs and those on mandibular area and lips (likely the result of forcible hand action of constraint meant to keep the victim’s mouth shut) found during the cadaver examination, and above all, the appalling modalities of the murder, which were not adequately pointed out in the appealed ruling.

And in fact, the same ruling (p. 323 and 325) reports of abundant blood spatters found on the right door of the wardrobe located inside Kercher’s room, about 50 cm above the floor. Such occurrence, given the location and direction of the drops, could probably lead to the conclusion that the young woman had her throat literally “slashed” likely as she was kneeling, while her head was being forcibly held [hold] tilted towards the floor, at a close distance from the wardrobe, when she was hit by multiple stab wounds at her neck, one of which – the one inflicted on the left side of her neck – caused her death, due to asphyxia following [to] the massive bleeding, which also filled the breathing ways preventing breathing activity, a situation aggravated by the rupture of the hyoid bone – this also linkable to the blade action – with consequent dyspnoea” (p. 48).

Such a mechanical action is hardly attributable to the conduct of one person alone.

[Ed note: Firm settling on motive is not required in Italian law.] On the other hand such factual finding, when adequately valued, could have been not devoid of meaning as for researching the motive, given that [27] the extreme violence of the criminal action could have been seen – because of its abnormal disproportion – not compatible with any of the explanations given in the verdict, such as mere simple grudges with Ms. Knox (also denied by testimonies presented, [even] by the victim’s mother);  with sexual urges of any of the participants, or maybe even with the theory of a sex game gone wrong, of which, by the way, no mark was found on the victim’s body, besides the violation of her sexuality by a hand action of Mr. Guede, because of the DNA that could be linked to him found inside the vagina of Ms. Kercher, the consent of whom, however, during a preliminary phase of physical approach possibly consensual at the beginning, could not be ruled out. 

Such finding is even less compatible with the theory of the intrusion of an unknown thief inside the house, if we consider that, within the course of ordinary events, while it is possible that a thief is taken by an uncontrollable sexual urge leading him to assail a young woman when he sees her,  it’s rather unlikely that after a physical and sexual aggression he would also commit a gratuitous murder, especially not with the fierce brutality of this case, rather than running away quickly instead. Unless, obviously, we think about the disturbed personality of a serial killer, but there is no trace of that in the trial findings, since there are no records that any other killings of young women with the same modus operandi were committed in Perugia at that time.

From Chapter 9

         

9.4.1 Given this, we now note, with respect to Amanda Knox, that her presence inside the house, the location of the murder, is a proven fact in the trial, in accord with her own admissions, also contained in the memoriale with her signature, in the part where she tells that, as she was in the kitchen, while the young English woman had retired inside the room of same Ms. Kercher together with another person for a sexual intercourse, she heard a harrowing scream from her friend, so piercing and unbearable that she let herself down squatting on the floor, covering her ears tight with her hands in order not to hear more of it.

About this, the judgment of reliability expressed by the lower [a quo] judge [Nencini, ed.] with reference to this part of the suspect’s narrative, [and] about the plausible implication from the fact herself was the first person mentioning for the first time [46] a possible sexual motive for the murder, at the time when the detectives still did not have the results from the cadaver examination, nor the autopsy report, nor the witnesses’ information, which was collected only subsequently, about the victim’s terrible scream and about the time when it was heard (witnesses Nara Capezzali, Antonella Monacchia and others), is certainly to be subscribed to.

We make reference in particular to those declarations that the current appellant [Knox] produced on 11. 6. 2007 (p.96) inside the State Police headquarters. On the other hand, in the slanderous declarations against Lumumba, which earned her a conviction, the status of which is now protected as final judgement [giudicato], [they] had themselves exactly that premise in the narrative, that is: the presence of the young American woman inside the house in via della Pergola, a circumstance which nobody at that time – except obviously the other people present inside the house – could have known (quote p. 96).

According to the slanderous statements of Ms. Knox, she had returned home in the company of Lumumba, who she had met by chance in Piazza Grimana, and when Ms. Kercher arrived in the house, Knox’s companion directed sexual attentions toward the young English woman, then he went together with her in her room, from which the harrowing scream came. So, it was Lumumba who killed Meredith and she could affirm this since she was on the scene of crime herself, albeit in another room.

Another element against her is the mixed DNA traces, her and the victim’s one, in the “small bathroom”, an eloquent proof that anyway she had come into contact with the blood of the latter, which she tried to wash away from herself (it was, it seems, diluted blood, while the biological traces belonging to her would be the consequence of epithelial rubbing).

(Ed: This next passages on hypotheticals shows how ignorant of murder jurisprudence Marasca & Bruno were, they had never handled a murder case before.]  The fact is very suspicious, but it’s not decisive, besides the known considerations about the sure nature and attribution of the traces in question. 

Nonetheless, even if we deem the attribution certain, the trial element would not be unequivocal, since it may show also a posthumous touching of that blood, during the probable attempt of removing the most visible traces of what had happened, maybe to help cover up for someone or to steer away suspicion from herself, but not contributing to full certainty about her direct involvement in the murderous action. Any further and more pertaining interpretation in fact would be anyway resisted by the circumstance – this is decisive indeed – that no trace linkable to her was found on the scene of crime or on the victim’s body, so it follows – if we concede everything – that her contact with the victim’s blood happened in a subsequent moment and in another room of the house.

Another element against her is certainly constituted by the false accusations [calunnia] against Mr. Lumumba, afore-mentioned above.

It is not understandable, in fact, what reason could have driven the young woman to produce such serious accusations. The theory that she did so in order to escape psychological pressure from detectives seems extremely fragile, given that the woman [47] could not fail to realize that such accusations directed against her boss would turn out to be false very soon, given that, as she knew very well, Mr. Lumumba had no relationship with Ms. Kercher nor with the Via della Pergola house. Furthermore, the ability to present an ironclad alibi would have allowed Lumumba to obtain release and subsequently the dropping of charges.

However, the said calunnia is another circumstantial element against the current appellant, insofar as it can be considered a strategy in order to cover up for Mr. Guede, whom she had an interest to protect because of fear of retaliatory accusations against her. This is confirmed by the fact that Mr. Lumumba, like Mr. Guede, is a man of colour, hence the indication of the first one would be safe in the event that the latter could have been seen by someone while entering or exiting the apartment. 

And moreover, the staging of a theft in Romanelli’s room, which she is accused of,  is also a relevant point within an incriminating picture, considering the elements of strong suspicion (location of glass shards – apparently resulting from the breaking of a glass window pane caused by the throwing of a rock from the outside – on top of, but also under clothes and furniture), a staging, which can be linked to someone who – as an author of the murder and a flatmate [titolare] with a formal [“qualified”] connection to the dwelling – had an interest to steer suspicion away from himself/herself, while a third murderer in contrast would be motivated by a very different urge after the killing, that is to leave the apartment as quickly as possible.

But also this element is substantially ambiguous, especially if we consider the fact that when the postal police arrived – they arrived in Via della Pergola for another reason: to search for Ms. Romanelli, the owner of the telephone SIM card found inside one of the phones retrieved in via Sperandio – the current appellants themselves, Sollecito specifically, were the ones who pointed out the anomalous situation to the officers, as nothing appeared to be stolen from Ms. Romanelli’s room. 

Elements of strong suspicion are also in the inconsistencies and lies which the suspect woman committed over the statements she released on various occasions, especially in the places where her narrative was contradicted by the telephone records showing different incoming SMS messages; by the testimonies of Antonio Curatolo about the presence of [the same] Amanda Knox in piazza Grimana in the company of Sollecito, and of Mario Quintavalle about her presence inside the supermarket the morning of the day after the murder, maybe to buy detergents.

Despite this, the features of intrinsic inconsistency and poor reliability of the witnesses, which were objected to many times during the trial, do not allow to attribute unconditional trust to their versions, in order to prove with reassuring certainty the failure, and so the falsehood, of the alibi presented by the suspect woman, who claimed to have been at her boyfriend’s home since the late afternoon of November 1st until the morning of the following day. Mr. Curatolo (an enigmatic character: a clochard, drug addicted and dealer) [48] besides the fact that his declarations were late and the fact that he was not foreign to judiciary showing-off in judicial cases with a strong media impact, he was also contradicted about his reference to young people waiting for public buses to leave in the direction of disco clubs in the area, since it was asserted that the night of the murder the bus service was not operational; and also the reference to masks and jokes, which he says he witnessed that evening, would lead to believe that it was on Halloween night, on October 31., and not on Nov. 1. instead.

The latter point apparently balances – still within a context of uncertainty and ambiguousness – the witness’ reference to (regarding the context where he reportedly noticed the two suspects together) the day before the one when he noticed (at an afternoon hour) an unusual movement of Police and Carabinieri, and in particular people wearing white suites and head covers (as if they were extra-terrestrials) entering the house in Via della Pergola (obviously on November 2., after the discovery of the body).

Mr. Quintavalle – apart from the lateness of his statements, initially reticent and generic – did not offer any contribute of certainty, not even about the goods bought by the young woman noticed on the morning subsequent to the murder, when he opened his store, while his recognizing Knox in the courtroom is not relevant, since her image had appeared on all newspapers and tv news.

Regarding the biological traces, signed with letters A and I (the latter analysed by the RIS) sampled from the knife seized in Sollecito’s house and yielding Knox’s genetic profile, they constitute a neutral element, given that the same suspect lived together with Mr. Sollecito in the same home in via Garibaldi, although she alternated with the via della Pergola home, and – as for what was said – the same instrument did not have blood traces from Ms. Kercher, a negative circumstance that contrasted the accusation hypotheses that it was the murder weapon.

On that point, it must be pointed out that – again following a disputable strategic choice by the scientific police genetic experts – it was decided that the investigation aimed at identifying the genetic profile should be privileged, rather than finding its biological nature, given that the quantity of the samples did not allow a double test: the quality test would in fact would have “used up” the sample or made it unusable for further tests. A very disputable option, since the detecting of blood traces, referable to Ms. Kercher, would have provided the trial with a datum of a formidable probative relevance, incontrovertibly certifying the use of the weapon for the committing of the crime.

The verified presence of the same weapon inside Sollecito’s house, where Ms. Knox was living together with him, would have allowed then any possible deduction in this respect. Instead, the verified identification of the traces with genetic profiles of Ms. Knox resolves itself in a not unequivocal and rather indifferent datum, given that the young American woman was living together with Mr. Sollecito, sharing time between his dwelling and [49] the Via della Pergola one. Not only that, but even if it was possible to attribute with certainty trace B to the genetic profile of Ms. Kercher, the trial datum would have been not decisive (since it’s not a blood trace), given the promiscuity or commonality of inter-personal relations typical of out-of-town students, which make it plausible that a kitchen knife or any other tool could be transported from one house to the other and thus, the seized knife could have been brought by Ms. Knox in Via della Pergola for domestic use, in occasion of convivial meetings or other events, and therefore be used by Ms. Kercher.

What is certain is, that on the knife no blood traces were found, a lack which cannot be referred to an accurate cleaning. As was accurately pointed out by the defence attorneys, the knife had traces of starch, a sign of ordinary home use and of a washing anything but accurate. Not only, but starch is, notoriously, a substance with remarkable absorbing property, thus it is very likely that in the event of a stabbing, blood elements would be retained by it.

It is completely implausible the accusative assumption on the point, that the young woman would be used to carrying the bulky item with her for a self-defence purpose, using – it is said – the large bag she had for that purpose.  It wouldn’t be actually understandable why the woman, if warned by her boyfriend to pay attention during her night time movements, was not in possession of one of the small pocket knives surely owned by Sollecito, who apparently had the hobby of that kind of weapon and was a collector of a number of them.

Finally, the matching with the current appellant woman of the footprints found in the place location of the murder is far from being certain.             

9.4.2 Also the evidential picture about Mr. Sollecito, emerging from the impugned verdict, appears marked by intrinsic and irreducible contradictions. His presence on the murder scene, and specifically inside the room where the murder was committed, is linked to only the biological trace found on the bra fastener hook (item 165/b), the attribution of which, however, cannot have any certainty, since such trace is insusceptible of a second amplification, given its scarce amount, for that it is – as we said – an element lacking of circumstantial evidentiary value.

There remains anyway the strong suspicion that he was actually in the Via della Pergola house the night of the murder, in a moment that, however, it was impossible to determine. On the other hand, since the presence of Ms. Knox inside the house is sure, it is hardly credible that he was not with her. 

And even following one of the versions released by the woman, that is the one in accord to which, returning home in the morning of November 2. after a night spent at her boyfriend’s place, she reports of having immediately noticed that something strange had happened (open door, blood traces everywhere); or even the other one, that she reports in her memorial, in accord to which she was present in the house at the time of the murder, but in a different room, not the one in which the violent aggression on Ms. Kercher was being committed, it is very strange that she did not call her boyfriend, since there is no record about a phone call from her, based on the phone records within the file. Even more if we consider that having being in Italy for a short time, she would be presumably uninformed about what to do in such emergency cases, therefore the first and maybe only person whom she could ask for help would have been her boyfriend himself, who lived only a few hundred meters away from her house. Not doing this signifies Sollecito was with her, unaffected, obviously, the procedural relevance of his mere presence in that house, in the absence of certain proof of his causal contribution to the murderous action. 

The defensive argument extending the computer interaction up to the visualization of a cartoon, downloaded from the internet, in a time that they claim compatible with the time of death of Ms. Kercher, is certainly not sufficient to dispel such strong suspicions. In fact, even following the reconstruction claimed by the defence and even if we assume as certain that the interaction was by Mr. Sollecito himself and that he watched the whole clip, still the time of ending of his computer activity wouldn’t be incompatible with his subsequent presence in Ms. Kercher’s house, given the short distance between the two houses, walkable in about ten [sic] minutes.

An element of strong suspicion, also, derives from his confirmation, during spontaneous declarations, the alibi presented by Ms. Knox about the presence of both inside the house of the current appellant the night of the murder,  a theory that is denied by the statements of Curatolo, who declared of having witnessed the two together from 21:30 until 24:00 in piazza Grimana; and by Quintavalle on the presence of a young woman, later identified as Ms. Knox, when he opened his store in the morning of November 2. But as it was previously noted, such witness statements appeared to have strong margins of ambiguity and approximation, so that could not reasonably constitute the foundation of any certainty, besides the problematic judgement of reliability expressed by the lower [a quo] judge.

An umpteenth element of suspicion is the basic failure of the alibi linked to other, claimed human interactions in the computer of his belongings, albeit if we can’t talk about false alibi, since it’s more appropriate to speak about unsuccessful alibi. 

Finally, no certainty could be reached [was acquired] about the attribution to Mr. Sollecito of the footprints found in the via della Pergola house, about which the technical reports carried out have not gone beyond a judgement of “probable identity”, and not of certainty (p. 260/1).

9.4.3. It is simply the case to observe, that the declaration of the lacking of a probative framework, coherent and sufficient to support the accusatory hypothesis regarding the more serious case of the homicide, reverberates on the residual, accessory charges referred in point d) (theft of the phones) and e) (simulation of crime).

From Chapter 10

10. The intrinsic contradiction of probative elements emerging from the text of the appealed sentence, undermines in nuce the connecting tissue of the same sentence, causing the annulment of it.

And in fact, when facing a picture marked by such contradiction, the appeal judge was not supposed to issue a conviction but rather – as we observed above – they were compelled to issue a ruling of acquittal with reference to art. 530 paragraph 2 of penal procedure code. 

At this point the last question remains, about the annulment formula – that is, whether it should be annulled with remand or without remand. The solving of such question is obviously related to the objective possibility of further tests, which could resolve the aspects of uncertainty, maybe through new technical investigations. 

The answer is certainly negative, because the biological traces on the items relevant to the investigation are of scarce entity, as such they can’t undergo amplification, and thus they won’t render answers of absolute reliability, neither in terms of identity nor in terms of compatibility.

The computers belonging to Amanda Knox and to Ms. Kercher, which maybe could have provided information useful to the investigation, were, incredibly, burned by hazardous operations by investigators, which caused electric shock following a probable error of power source; and they can’t render any further information anymore, since it’s an irreversible damage. [Ed: unproven how damage occurred, all records were recovered.]

The set of court testimonies is exhaustive, given the accuracy and completeness of the evidentiary trial phase, which had re-openings both times in the instances of appeal [rinvio; sic].

Mr. Guede, who was sure a co-participant to the murder, has always refused to cooperate, and for the already stated reasons he can’t be compelled to testify.

The technical tests requested by the defence cannot grant any contribution of clarity, not only because a long time has passed, but also because they regard aspects of problematic examination (such as the possibility of selective cleaning) or of manifest irrelevance (technical analysis on Sollecito’s computer) given that is was possible, as said, for him to go to Kercher’s house whatever the length of his interaction with the computer (even if one concedes that such interaction exists), or they are manifestly unnecessary, given that some unexceptionable technical analysis carried out are exhaustive (such are for example the cadaver inspection and the following medico-legal examinations).   

Following the considerations above, it is obvious that a remand [rinvio] would be useless, hence the declaration of annulment without remand, based on art. 620 L) of the procedure code, thus we apply an acquittal [proscioglimento *] formula [see note just below] of dropping of charges which a further judge on remand would be anyway compelled to apply, to abide to the principles of law established in this current sentence.

[Translator’s note:  Under the Italian Procedure Code, the Italian word for “acquittal” is actually “assoluzione”; while the term “proscioglimento” instead, actually refers only to non-definitive preliminary judgements during the investigation phase, and it could be translated as “dropping of charges”. When applied to the investigation phase “proscioglimento” is normally meant as a not-binding decision, not subjected to double jeopardy, since it is not considered a judgement nor a court’s decision.]

The annulment of the verdict of conviction of Ms. Knox as for the crime written at letter A), implies the ruling out of the aggravation of teleological nexus as for the art. 61 par. 2 Penal Code. The ruling out of such aggravating circumstance makes it necessary to re-determine the penalty, which is to be quantified in the same length established by the Court of Appeals of Perugia, about the adequacy of which large and sufficient justification was given, based on determination parameters which are to be subscribed to entirely.

It is just worth to note that the outcome of the judgement allows to deem as absorbed, or implicitly ruled out, any other objection, deduction or request by the defences, while any other argumentative aspect among those not examined, should be deemed manifestly inadmissible since it obviously belongs to the merit.



3. Wrong Translation Circulated By Amanda Knox

This version was garbled apparently to try to show innocence.  (It is a crime to deliberately garble Italian legal documents.)



[Above: wrong Knox version]



[Above: wrong Knox version]


Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Court Filing Suggesting 5th Chambers Encroached Illegally On 1st Chambers & Florence Court Powers

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





This opinion was drafted by several of Italy’s most experienced lawyers and it was filed with the Florence court several months ago.

These passages quoted below raise issues of what the Fifth Chambers under the Penal Code legally can and can not do, with respect to prior rulings of (1) the Supreme Court (the First Chambers which mostly overturned Hellmann in 2013) and (2) the Florence appeal court.

According to this opinion, the Fifth Chambers has significantly overstepped its legal boundaries in brushing aside previous rulings and trying to fulfill the role of an appeal court, or a first-level trial court (the same stretch the First Chambers considered the Hellmann appeal court to have been indulging in). 

This is uncharted territory. Judges of the First Chambers and Florence court and the Council of Magistrates all seem likely to side with this seemingly watertight opinion, and so reactions could ripple on for years.

The Fifth Chambers judges might find themselves increasingly beleaguered. And their rulings on evidence items and the investigators and prosecutors and foreign media would all seem to be moot, if the perception grows that the Fifth Chambers should not even have gone there.

the judgment of the [Florence] court remitted to would have been impugnable only for reasons not regarding the points already decided by the Court of Cassation, according to the very clear disposition of Article 628, second paragraph, Criminal Procedure Code. From this it follows that the Fifth Chamber of the Supreme Court, called on to decide the merits of the appeals brought by the accused against the decision of the court remitted to, would have had to consider as inadmissible the appeals presented in violation of the second paragraph of Article 628 Criminal Procedure Code and, in any case, would have had to rigorously conform with the points already decided by the First Chamber and with all the questions of law decided by the same…

the Court of Cassation cannot, therefore, ever adopt decisions on the merits and issue orders of acquittal under Article 530, second paragraph, Criminal Procedure Code.

...two chambers of the same Court of Cassation, the First (the one competent for proceedings in homicide matters, whose decision of annulment is definitive and who had identified and decided questions of law in a definitive and un-retractable manner) and the Fifth (who would have had to decide the appeals presented only on grounds of legitimacy of the defendants’, constrained by what had already been definitively decided by the First) have handed down two absolutely divergent decisions and the second had annulled the Florentine decision, positively excluding any remitting to another court and acquitting the defendants pursuant to Article 530, second paragraph, Criminal Procedure Code.

the judgment of the [Florence] court remitted to would have been impugnable only for reasons not regarding the points already decided by the Court of Cassation, according to the very clear disposition of Article 628, second paragraph, Criminal Procedure Code. From this it follows that the Fifth Chamber of the Supreme Court, called on to decide the merits of the appeals brought by the accused against the decision of the court remitted to, would have had to consider as inadmissible the appeals presented in violation of the second paragraph of Article 628 Criminal Procedure Code and, in any case, would have had to rigorously conform with the points already decided by the First Chamber and with all the questions of law decided by the same…

the Court of Cassation cannot, therefore, ever adopt decisions on the merits and issue orders of acquittal under Article 530, second paragraph, Criminal Procedure Code.

...two chambers of the same Court of Cassation, the First (the one competent for proceedings in homicide matters, whose decision of annulment is definitive and who had identified and decided questions of law in a definitive and un-retractable manner) and the Fifth (who would have had to decide the appeals presented only on grounds of legitimacy of the defendants’, constrained by what had already been definitively decided by the First) have handed down two absolutely divergent decisions and the second had annulled the Florentine decision, positively excluding any remitting to another court and acquitting the defendants pursuant to Article 530, second paragraph, Criminal Procedure Code.

from these starting points in fact and in law which are absolutely undeniable, it emerges that the course of proceedings in this case have been absolutely linear and respectful of the substance of the procedural rules up to and including the Florentine decision.

the Court of Cassation, on the appeal of the Prosecutor-General of [the Perugia] district Court, had in a radical and definitive manner annulled the acquitting pronouncement and had remitted it to the Florentine district court because the same would adopt the consequent decisions of merit in the line of reasoning of the principles of law laid down by the First Chamber of the Supreme Court and of the points decided by it.

These principles of law are by now unmodifiable and unarguable: the [Fifth Chambers] , called on to decide the matter, as a “second opinion”, concerning the appeal of the defendants from the [Florence] judgment below, would have had to hand down a judgment fully within the “railway tracks” of the law, as fixed by the First Chamber, like the Florentine district court did, principles from among which we may cite:

[Umodifiable principle] the principle, in fact the unfailing legal prerequisite of a Supreme Court decision, namely the fact that the Court is precluded from “trespassing into a re-evaluation of the compendium of evidence” (see the judgment of the First Chamber at page 40);

[Unmodifiable principle] the principle of law of the total and holistic evaluation of the probative material, as opposed to the “parcelled-up and atomistic evaluation of the pieces of circumstantial evidence, taking them into consideration one at a time and discarded in terms of their demonstrative potentiality”, which characterised instead, in the negative, the decision of the Court presided by Pratillo Hellmann (see the decision of the same First Chamber at pp. 40 and 41… ). The ancient brocard “Quae singula non probant, simul unita probant” [‘Those which alone do not prove, together do prove’], quoted on p 41 of the First Chamber’s judgment, consecrates in a definitive and unmodifiable manner this requirement of a global and holistic approach in which each individual piece of the jigsaw puzzle of reconstruction of the facts is considered together with all the others in their demonstrative synergy;

[Unmodifiable principle] the principle by which the [Hellmann] court had run afoul of grave shortcomings and contradictory lines of reasoning and in glaring misrepresentations of the outcome, even in the attempted decoupling of the calunnia, by now definitively attributed to Ms Knox, with the result of masking from view the responsibility of the same in the homicide;

[Unmodifiable principle] the principle according to which the testimony of the homeless person Mr Curatolo ought to have been evaluated on the basis of corroboration between his statements and the objective and unarguable circumstances emerging from the trial (such as the fact that the witness had with absolute decisiveness anchored the fact of having seen the two accused in the precincts of the basketball courts of Piazza Grimana, nowadays Piazza Fortebraccio, the evening before the arrival, the following day, at the Via della Pergola house of the men from Forensics in their white coveralls), rather than on the basis of Mr Curatolo’s social conditions and lifestyle (see the cited judgment of the First Chamber at page 50);

[Unmodifiable principle] the principle according to which the definitive conviction of accomplice Rudy Hermann Guede ought to have been taken into account (no. 7195/11, published on 16.12.2010, it also from the First Criminal Chamber of Cassation), Guede having been held to have been extraneous to the simulation of burglary of a house. [A] habitation that, on the night of the murder, was solely at the availability of the victim and of Amanda Knox and from the statements made by the same Rudy before the Perugian district court, according to which Meredith was killed by the two co-accused (see the judgment at pages 55 and 56).

[Unmodifiable principle] The principle by which contamination of the evidence is to be proved by the party invoking it and which, on the facts of the case, no evidence in support had been offered and which the [Hellmann} Court had seriously confused the abstract possibility of the fact with the averment of the fact (see the judgment at page 69).Umodifiable principle] The principle according to which it was a matter of a homicide committed by multiple persons, in concourse amongst themselves (see page 73 of the cited judgment).

Here is a translation of Article 530:

Article 530:

1. If the act does not subsist [541 2, 542], if the defendant has not commited it [541 2, 542], if the act is not an offence or it is not envisaged by law as an offence, that is, if the offence has been committed by a non-indictable person [c.p. 85] or by a not punishable person for other reasons, the judge issues a judgement of acquittal, stating the reason. 

2.The judge issues a judgement of acquittal also when there is lack of evidence or it is not sufficient, or there is contradictory evidence that the act subsists, that the defendant has comitted it, that the act constitutes an offence or that the offence has been committed by an indictable person.(1).

3. If there is evidence that the act has been committed in circumstances of a legal excuse or exemption from criminal liability, that is, there is doubt about them, the judge issues a judgement of acquittal pursuant to clause 1.

4. In the event of an acquittal the judge applies security measures, in the cases provided for by law.

And here is a translation of Article 628:

Impugnability of a ruling issued by a judge after remand

1. A verdict that had been issued by a court following a Cassation order of remand, may be impugned through a recourse at Supreme Court of Cassation if the ruling was issued on an appeal instance, and through the mean provided by law if was issued on a first instance level.

2. In any case a verdict issued by a court following a Cassation order of remand may be appealed only on the reasons that do not concern those that had already been decided by Cassation on the order of remand, or for not abiding to disposition of art. 627 paragraph 2.


Friday, July 03, 2015

Rome Shocked - Seems Drafting Of Fifth Chambers Report With Poss Illegalities Not Even At First Base

Posted by Peter Quennell




The Illegalities

These are described in the Maori charges document and explained further in our post below.

In summary, Judge Marasca in his 27 March court ruling and 29 March Corriere interview illegally threw out the March 2013 First Chambers rulings. Plus he illegally accepted the appeal arguments on the evidence which he should not have.

He cannot do that in the sentencing report itself without reprisals being guaranteed.

The Tweet

Our first alert today was this tweet by the most reliable Italy-based reporter on the case.

Andrea Vogt ‏@andreavogt: Italian legal code (Art. 617) requires Cassation court to issue reasoning after 30 days. #AmandaKnox case due April 27. Why the delay?


The Rumor

On checking, word appears to be spreading in Rome that the Fifth Chambers may not even have got to first base.

On April 27 a draft of the report should have been filed with the Cassation Registry. But it apparently isnt even there yet.

The Code

Here are the relevant rules for the Supreme Court.

1. The Original

Art. 628 CPP

1. Conclusa la deliberazione, il presidente o il consigliere da lui designato redige la motivazione. Si osservano le disposizioni concernenti la sentenza nel giudizio di primo grado, in quanto applicabili.

2. La sentenza, sottoscritta dal presidente e dall’estensore, è depositata in cancelleria non oltre il trentesimo giorno dalla deliberazione.

3. Qualora il presidente lo disponga, la corte si riunisce in camera di consiglio per la lettura e l’approvazione del testo della motivazione. Sulle proposte di rettifica, integrazione o cancellazione la corte delibera senza formalità.

2. The Translation

1. Subsequent to the deliberation, the president or the director appointed by him draws up the motivation report. They observe the provisions concerning the judgment in the first instance, as applicable.

2. The judgment, signed by the President and by the writer, is lodged at the Registry no later than the thirtieth day after the deliberation.

3. If the president has done this, the court will meet in closed session for the reading and approval of the text of the motivation. On the proposed rectification, integration or cancellation the court shall act without formalities.


What To Expect?

The only legal and face-saving way out? Admit error, and if there are real grounds, refer the appeal back down to the Florence court.

Posted on 07/03/15 at 09:13 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Appeals 2009-2015Cassation 2015Cassation 2015 critiques
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Monday, June 15, 2015

Those Pesky Certainties Cassation’s Fifth Chamber May Or May Not Convincingly Contend With #4

Posted by Cardiol MD




1. SERIES OVERVIEW

This post continues a response to the March 27th, 2015 announcement of Cassation’s Fifth Chamber that it had decided that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were Not Guilty of the November 2007 Murder in Perugia of Meredith Kercher.

The Fifth Chamber’s Reporting Judge Antonio Paolo Bruno, was reported to have said that the trials had “not many certainties beyond the girl’s death and one definitely convicted”.

In fact Judge Bruno was wrong.

Post #1 and Post #2 and Post #3 reported dozens of Certainties contained in “the trials”.

As previously noted, the Existence, Timings, Durations, and General-Locations of all the telephone calls are a very fertile source of Certains, or Certainly-Nots. This is because civil telephone time-keeping all over the Earth’s surface, including in Italy, the U.S. and the U.K, use, and specifically did use in November 2007’s Perugia, the Coordinated Universal Time Protocol (CUT).

Coordinated time-keeping assures that the time assigned to a telephone event is accurate and very precise, independent of where it occurs.  It’s almost as if these November, 2007’s Perugia ‘phone users were wearing criminal-offender’s ankle bracelets. CUT records enable decisive challenge to the credibility of a false witness (impeachment).

(Uncoordinated Time-keeping could have resulted in wrong times being assigned to a telephone event)

2. MORE SUCH CERTAINTIES


(A) SOLLECITO’S PHONE

43. IT IS CERTAIN THAT SOLLECITO’S PHONE WAS EITHER AFFIRMATIVELY SWITCHED-ON, OR HAD-BEEN-MOVED, AT 6:02:59 AM, 2 NOVEMBER 2007

Therefore, contrary to the Defense “reasoning”, cited below, there is Certain proof that Sollecito’s phone was switched on or had been moved at 6:02:59 am on 2 November 2007, and that Sollecito &/or Knox were awake at that time, contrary to their assertions, which are Certainly false:

Nencini Page 158:

“If in fact one can agree with the Defense reasoning by which there is no certain proof that at 6:02:59 am on 2 November 2007 Raffaele Sollecito’s phone was switched on (by himself or by Amanda Marie Knox, the only two present in the apartment) allowing [142] reception of the SMS sent to him by his father a good six hours earlier, the only logical alternative is that someone obviously moved the phone inside the apartment from the location in which it was positioned, and where it was not receiving the “signal”, to a different location in the apartment, where the “signal” was received.What matters, and what the Court finds proved, is that at 6:02:59 am on 2 November 2007 in the apartment at 130 Via Garibaldi, they were not in fact asleep, as the defendants claim, but rather the occupants were well awake, so much as to switch on or move the phones.”

More in this case:

(B) WITNESS ANTONIO CURATOLO

Antonio Curatolo had testified at the Massei Trial that he had seen Amanda Marie Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, from 9:30pm to around midnight of 1 November 2007 in Piazza Grimana”

However, the Hellmann Court of Appeal’s motivazione had rejected the reliability of Curatolo’s Testimony.

The SCC Panel, Annulling the Hellmann Court of Appeal’s motivazione had, in turn rejected and annulled Hellman’s Analysis of Curatolo’s Testimony, stating on pp 67-69:

“The Hellmann Court of Appeal rejected the reliability of the testimony of Antonio Curatolo which, in the reconstruction of the First Instance Court, had been taken as a basis of proof that the negative alibi offered by the two accused was false,  and which constituted one of the tesserae of the mosaic which led to their being held to have been present at the scene of the crime.  Incidentally,  it is worth recalling that the First Instance Court held, via reasoning that was correct from both a legal and logical point of view, that the false alibi must be considered as evidence against [the accused],  to be placed in relation to the other elements of proof in the context of the entire body of evidence.

This method of analysing the testimony, as observed by the Prosecutor General submitting the appeal,  is absolutely subject to censure in that it displays a lack of the prerequisite thorough examination of the facts and circumstances,  so that the conclusion that was reached [by the Hellman Court of Appeal] – that in indicating the two accused students as having been present in Piazza Grimana, he confused the evening of 31 October and the evening of 1 November – clashes with ascertained facts that seriously contradict such an absolutely certain assumption,  so as to shed full light on the well‐foundedness of the charge that the justifying discourse is contradictory and thus manifestly lacking in logic (it was in fact proven by other facts that on the evening of 31 October that neither Knox nor Sollecito,  who were both occupied,  the former at Lumumba’s pub where she was preparing for the normal activity associated with the Halloween festival,  the latter at a graduation party,  could have been present in Piazza Grimana at around 11 PM).

The assertion that the sighting of the two young people by the witness should be shifted to 31 October (page 50 of the sentencing report)  because the context described was more suitable to that day than the next day,  since [the latter]  did precede the arrival of the Scientific Police but [50] [was] taken out of context,  is a manifestly illogical assertion, not only because it contradicts facts which unequivocally demonstrate that the two were not in the piazza on the evening of 31 October (a fact of fundamental importance in the context of the evaluations) and thus the impossibility of squaring the circle in the sense proposed, but also because it follows an utterly weak inferential rule.

Starting from the need to undo the knot of contradiction presented by the testimony (he saw the two young people the evening before the investigation of the Scientific Police and he saw them in the context of the Halloween festival),  the Hellmann Court of Appeal,  after having heard the witness testify a second time and after having verified that he erroneously placed Halloween on the night of 1‐2 November, they heard the witness reiterate that his temporal placement of the fact was anchored to the described presence of people who were all dressed in white and that, after midday on the day after he saw the two young people, he caught sight of the men in white in via della Pergola (a fact with a very high level of certainty, more than any other) together with the police: this notwithstanding, the Court reached the conclusion that his testimony could not be accepted due to the man’s deteriorating intellectual faculties and due to his lifestyle, since he was a detainee for drug dealing when he testified the second time and was a habitual heroin user.

Once again,  the progression of the argument emerges as obviously illogical,  in that the evaluation of the testimony should have been correlated (regardless of the conclusions, this being a discussion of evaluation methods)  to the unique objective fact of absolute reliability (the presence of individuals wearing the white suits, the day after the sighting of the two in the piazza, at a time earlier than 11 PM‐midnight) because that is a fact whose existence is certain, which was a unique identifying circumstance, which could not but remain imprinted on the mind more than any other; while instead, once again, character issues were considered and asserted, furthermore, without any scientific examination that could ascertain whether the man’s intellectual faculties had deteriorated.  Moreover, Curatolo showed up when called upon to testify,  in both the first and second instance trials and, even well after the fact, he never had any difficulty recognizing the two accused as those whom he had seen in Piazza Grimana the evening before he noticed the men dressed in white (whom he called “extra‐terrestrials”) and the police in via della Pergola.

The fact that he had been a homeless man who spent all day in the piazza was not a reason for dismissing him as an unreliable witness out of hand, at the cost of colliding with the accepted principles on the matter of the reliability of testimony.  In conclusion,  [51]  a contribution [that was]  expressed with certainty and noted in the trial transcripts of the witness, and again during his second testimony (“as certain as I’m sitting here” he said of having seen the two accused the evening before the day in which he saw the men in white suits and the police), cannot be circumvented by merely referring to the character of the author of the contribution; this would have required a process of evaluation through facts with equally strong probative evidence.

Moreover,  the opinion must be annulled and remanded, since the explanations of the reliability of the witness Curatolo are incomplete (as they did not take into consideration the facts that contradicted the conclusion reached by the Court), vitiated by an incorrect application of the laws governing the matter. The ‘precise and serious’ nature of the evidence provided by the testimony was dismissed in the [Appeal] opinion without testing its concordance with other evidence, on the basis of a conjecture (that the witness superimposed the evening of 31 October onto that of 1 November) that was not even confronted with the facts contradicting its conclusions”

In summary, this SCC Panel ruled that Hellmann’s Motivazione “must be annulled and remanded” because it ignored facts contradicting Hellmann’s conclusion, and incorrectly applied “the laws governing the matter”, “without testing its concordance with other evidence”, not even confronting Curatolo “with the facts contradicting (Hellmann’s) conclusions”.

Therefore:

44. IT IS CERTAIN THAT CURATOLO WAS PRESENT IN PIAZZA GRIMANA ON THE EVENING OF NOV. 1st, 2007
45.  IT IS CERTAIN THAT CURATOLO TESTIFIED THAT HE SAW MEN IN WHITE SUITS, AND POLICE PRESENT IN PIAZZA GRIMANA ON THE MORNING AFTER HIS SIGHTING OF AMANDA KNOX AND RAFFAELE SOLLECITO IN PIAZZA GRIMANI.


3. AND MORE BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBTS


(A) WITNESS ANTONIO CURATOLO

The SCC Chamber’s reasons, given above, for Annulling And Remanding Hellmann’s conclusions re Curatelo’s misremembering the Date, in spite of his specifically remembering that it was the evening before he saw the Official Commotions relating to Meredith’s murder, justify the Conclusion that:

8. IT IS BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT THAT CURATOLO SAW AMANDA KNOX AND RAFFAELE SOLLECITO IN PIAZZA GRIMANA ON THE EVENING OF NOV.1st, 2007 ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS. A FEW YARDS FROM THE COTTAGE AT NO. 7, VIA DELLA PERGOLA, WHERE, IN THE SAME SPAN OF TIME, THE MURDER TOOK PLACE.


WITNESS MARCO QUINTAVALLE

Nencini p 156:

“Amanda Marie Knox went to Marco Quintavalle’s Conad shop around 7:45am on 2 November 2007, obviously in search of something to buy that she could not find. She was noticed by Mr. Quintavalle who, at the trial, identified her with certainty in the courtroom. So we are able to affirm that Amanda Marie Knox was lying when she claimed to have slept at Mr. Sollecito’s house in his company until 10am in the morning on 2 November 2007.

Having already been proven false by witness testimony, the alibi given by the accused is also proven false by comparing it with objective data, which tallies with the witness testimony referred to above.”

SCC. Annulling H/Z p 50

“In this case,  [the Defence argues that]  a re‐evaluation of the witness is not allowed,  given that his testimony was correctly examined by the Hellmann Court of Appeal,  knowing the lapse of time after which he offered his contribution to investigators. The witness’s statements were,  for the rest,  compared with those of his co‐workers, who referred to the doubts expressed by Quintavalle on the exactitude of his identification. There is therefore no lack of logic in the reasoning,  since the lack of logic must be manifestly perceived,  whereas minimal inconsistencies must have no influence”

SCC ANNULLING H/Z p 70-71

“In reality,  the notice taken of the witness’s statements, as pointed out by the Prosecutor General, is absolutely biased, since the sighting out of the corner of the eye referred to the girl’s exit from the shop, whereas the witness specified having seen her at a close distance (between 70‐80 centimetres), adding that she remained imprinted on his mind “because of her very light blue eyes”,  her “extremely pale face”,  and “a very tired expression”.

Moreover,  the witness clarified in his testimony that he became convinced that the girl who appeared in the newspapers was the one he saw in the early morning of 2 November 2007, given that the colour of her eyes could not be ascertained from the photo, but that he became certain once that he saw the girl in the courtroom. The selection made from the pool of information was absolutely one‐sided, which distorted the evidence to the point of making it appear uncertain, whereas the witness explained the reasons for his perplexity and the development of his conviction in terms of certainty.

As noted by the Prosecutor General in the appeal documents filed,  this portion of the report assumed relevance within the framework of the reconstruction and required an explanation based on an examination of the entire testimony; instead, through a process of unacceptable selection, only some of the testimony was considered to be of value, indeed, only that portion considered to be consistent with a [specific] conclusion, one that in fact required rigorous demonstration.

The result,  once again,  is blatantly and manifestly illogical. What is at issue is not a re‐evaluation of the evidence –  which is obviously prohibited by this Court, as the Defence for the accused has justly pointed out – but rather the need to point out a glaringly evident flaw that consists of an intolerable chasm between what is stated by the witness and what is acknowledged in the justifying arguments, on a point of significant importance, since it concerns the foundation of the alibi.

On this point also, the new judgment will have to be conducted in light of the preceding observations.”

Given the above:

9. IT IS BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT THAT MARCO QUINTAVALLE SAW AMANDA KNOX IN HIS CONAD SHOP AT AROUND 7:45 am ON 2 NOVEMBER 2007.

Amanda Marie Knox was lying when she claimed to have slept at Mr. Sollecito’s house in his company until 10am in the morning on 2 November 2007.

To be continued, though we may need to wait until the end of June 2015 when SCC’s Motivazione is due.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Those Pesky Certainties Cassation’s Fifth Chamber May Or May Not Convincingly Contend With #3

Posted by Cardiol MD



Media staff waiting in front of the Supreme Court

1. This Series’ Foreboding Context

On March 27th, 2015 Cassation’s Fifth Chamber announced that it had decided that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were not guilty of the November 2007 Murder in Perugia of Meredith Kercher.

The Fifth Chamber is but one of Cassation’s more than 75 Panels. It’s reporting Judge is Antonio Paolo Bruno. He mas dismissive of the massive evidence. He was quoted as having said that the trials had “not many certainties beyond the girl’s death and one definitely convicted.”

Posts #1-#2 addressed the fact that, contrary to Judge Bruno’s pronouncement,  the trials had Many Certainties, listing them under 30 enumerated Headings, but in total, there were many more Certainties and Certainly-Nots, listed in sub-headings.

The existence, timings, durations, and general locations of All the telephone calls are Certains, or Certainly-Nots. They bring the Total up to Many; Many more than 30; Certainly Not “not many”, as Judge Bruno asserted, Inappropriately, Deceptively, and Prejudicially.

Note the distinctions between when, and where Message-Received, and -Sent, versus When, Where and Whether Message-Read, e.g. Knox was near the Women’s Villa when her Telephone received Lumumba’s crucial message, but allegedly at Sollecito’s Flat when she First-Read his message. In Knox’s officially reported Q&A Testimony there was Confusion and Ambiguity over this issue, exploited to Knox’s advantage

2. Certainties 31 to 42

31 THE FINAL FATAL SEQUENCE

Details of the Fatal Sequence have been masked, over the years, apparently for humanitarian considerations, but such details should be available to readers who wish to more-objectively assess culpability. Here is what we have deduced:

Massei disagreed with the Reconstruction proposed by the Prosecution, which depicted Meredith on her knees, facing the floor:

a.  Massei concluded that Meredith was in a standing position, facing her attackers:

MASSEI PAGE372-373: “…considering the neck wounds sustained, it must be believed that Meredith remained in the same position, in a standing position, while continuously exposing her neck to the action of the person striking her now on the right and now on the left. Such a situation seems inexplicable if one does not accept the presence of more than one attacker who, holding the girl, strongly restrained her movements and struck her on the right and on the left because of the position of each of the attackers with respect to her, by which it was easier to strike her from that [ End of p372; Start of p373: ] side. …”

b.  Meredith’s autopsy was performed by Dr. Luca Lalli, but his detailed findings are not included in Massei’s report, they await their Translation into English.The Massei report includes only a limited paraphrase of Lalli’s findings.

32 CERTAINTY ONE re FINAL FATAL SEQUENCE

In “Darkness Descending - the Murder of Meredith Kercher” Paul Russell (Author), Graham Johnson (Author), and Luciano Garofano (Author) give clearer, more detailed descriptions of Dr. Lalli’s findings than Massei does.

On pages 72-74 of DD it emerges that the cut (Stab A) made by A large knife in Meredith’s neck was on the left-side, ran obliquely from left-to-right, almost parallel to her jaw, and slightly Upwards.

33 CERTAINTY TWO re FINAL FATAL SEQUENCE

DD does state that the knife entered 8cm vertically below her left ear, 1.5cm horizontally towards the front of her neck, but does not specify the cut’s length.

34 CERTAINTY THREE re FINAL FATAL SEQUENCE

A large knife created a gaping wound, visible only through the opened-skin of the Left-Side, continuing its travel under the skin, traveling across the mid-line plane, towards the right-side, exposing the oral cavity, fatty tissues and throat glands. Important jaw muscles were also severed.

35 CERTAINTY FOUR re FINAL FATAL SEQUENCE

As DD states, there was another stab wound (Stab B) on the right-hand side of Meredith’s neck, 1.5 cm long, penetrating 4 cm subcutaneously.

36 CERTAINTY FIVE re FINAL FATAL SEQUENCE

Stab B was made by a Knife smaller than the above large knife.

37 CERTAINTY SIX re FINAL FATAL SEQUENCE

The wound was shallow, did not create a gaping wound, did not cut important subcutaneous structures, but did create a route to the exterior through which blood from Stab A, then created by the large knife on Meredith’s left side could also exit to Meredith’s right side.

38 CERTAINTY SEVEN re FINAL FATAL SEQUENCE


g.  The large knife had damaged no significant vessels of the Left-Side.

39 CERTAINTY EIGHT re FINAL FATAL SEQUENCE

i.  Blood also flooded the subcutaneous tissues around the breech in the right-hand side of Meredith’s airway caused by the knife-stab on the left-side of her neck.

40 CERTAINTY NINE re FINAL FATAL SEQUENCE


j.  This resulted in Meredith’s inhalation of her own blood.

41 CERTAINTY TEN re FINAL FATAL SEQUENCE

k.  Meredith stops screaming, but now her blood seems to be everywhere, including over her attackers, and they quickly abandon her, already evading the accountability they are fully aware is theirs.

42 CERTAINTY ELEVEN re FINAL FATAL SEQUENCE


l.  As DD comments, during Meredith’s Autopsy surprise was expressed that the Jugular Veins and Carotid Arteries (of both right and left sides) were intact.

Others who read about this murder, had concluded-then that the killers must have known about the major blood vessels (MBVs), but not about branches-of-Carotid-branches such as little RSTA.

3. Plus Beyond Reasonable Doubts

BEYOND ANY REASONABLE DOUBT ONE re FINAL FATAL SEQUENCE

c.  Accepting Massei’s conclusion, Knox and Sollecito were standing-up and facing Meredith in Meredith’s room. Knox, Sollecito and/or Guede, were participating in the restraining of Meredith.

BEYOND ANY REASONABLE DOUBT TWO re FINAL FATAL SEQUENCE

d.  Sollecito (or Guede) was holding the smaller Knife, probably in his right hand. This smaller knife made Stab B.

BEYOND ANY REASONABLE DOUBT THREE re FINAL FATAL SEQUENCE

Stab B preceded Stab A, and caused Meredith’s scream.

f.  When Meredith screams Knox plunges Knife36 into Meredith’s neck in the above long-axis direction, from left to right, transecting Meredith’s Hyoid bone, first opening Meredith’s airway to the atmosphere, then transecting Meredith’s Right Superior Thyroid Artery.

BEYOND ANY REASONABLE DOUBT FOUR re FINAL FATAL SEQUENCE


e.  Knox was holding Knife36, probably in Knox’s right hand, holding Knife36 against the left side of Meredith’s neck with Knife36’s point directed slightly upwards the right side of Meredith’s neck, the blade-label facing towards Knox, the palm of Knox’s right hand also facing towards Knox and the long-axis of Knife36 angled a few degrees above horizontal.

BEYOND ANY REASONABLE DOUBT FIVE re FINAL FATAL SEQUENCE

f.  When Meredith screams Knox plunges Knife36 into Meredith’s neck in the above long-axis direction, from left to right, transecting Meredith’s Hyoid bone, first opening Meredith’s airway to the atmosphere, then transecting Meredith’s Right Superior Thyroid Artery.

BEYOND ANY REASONABLE DOUBT SIX re FINAL FATAL SEQUENCE


h.  A thin stream of bright-red blood spurted from this artery to its exterior environment, probably through the cuts made in her skin to the outside by both knives.

(Consistent with bleeding from both cuts, Follain, in his book “A Death In Italy” states that Guede saw that blood was coming out of the left side of Meredith’s neck. Follain also states that Francesco Camana of the Rome forensic police, in Camana’s written report, that spurts of blood in the middle of Meredith’s chest made her sweatshirt more bloody on the right side than on the left side)

BEYOND ANY REASONABLE DOUBT SEVEN re FINAL FATAL SEQUENCE

i. The large knife was Knife-36, which had been brought to the murder room from Sollecito’s kitchen.


This series continues here.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Those Pesky Certainties Cassation’s Fifth Chamber May Or May Not Convincingly Contend With #2

Posted by Cardiol MD



The Italian Supreme Court is in the background

1. This Series’ Ominous Context

On Friday, 27th March, 2015 a Panel of five Court of Cassation judges of the Fifth Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court in Rome, found Amanda Knox, and Raffaelle Sollecito, Not Guilty of the Murder of Meredith Kercher.

The President Judge of the Fifth Criminal Chamber of this Supreme Court Panel is Gennaro Marasca, The Prosecutor General is Mario Pinelli, and the Reporting Judge for the Meredith Panel is Antonio Paolo Bruno.

Near the start of the above SCC hearings Judge Bruno was quoted as having said that the trials had “not many certainties beyond the girl’s death and one definitely convicted.”

We consider that to be flat-out wrong. Absurd in fact, as the hapless Hellmann & Zanetti could testify. So do numerous professionals well-briefed on the case in Italy. We expect soon articles in Italian similar to this one.

In fact if the forthcoming Marasca Sentencing Report attempts to brush the numerous real factual certainties under the table there is a near-certainty that the perverse verdict can be overturned by way of a lawsuit or a petition to the President of the Italian Republic. 

Post #1 of 10 April described some 26 of the factual headaches facing the SCC under the strict Italian Legal Requirements for classification of Evidence as Circumstantial-Evidence.

The fact that the trials actually had very many certainties was demonstrated in Post #1, and continues in this Post.

2. Note On Circumstantial Evidence

Defendants typically trivialize Circumstantial-Evidence as “Only Circumstantial-Evidence”.

Actually, Circumstantial-Evidence is often the most potent evidence leading Finders-of-Fact to their Verdict. This is even more true in Italian Law because its Circumstantial-Evidence classification-requirement provides that an evidentiary circumstance or fact must be true to the level of being a Certainty. Therefore, for example, the unverifiable RS/AK broken water-pipe story can not be classified as Circumstantial Evidence and cannot legally be admitted as Evidence at all.

Continuing the review of the Massei Motivazione, the Nencini Motivazione, and the several past SCC rulings, demonstrating the large number of Certainties:

3. Certainties 27 To 30

27. THE SIMULATED BURGLARY

:

This Subject has already been commented-upon in Pesky #1, under the Heading “13. Crimescene Meddling?”:
“Having accomplished the Phone-Dump, Meredith’s killers next re-model the crime-scene, minimising the evidences of their identities, cleaning-up the evidences that it was ‘an inside job’, and simulating the appearances that it was ‘an outside job’.”

According to the Massei Summary, Part 3:

“8. The staged break-in

The Massei Report examined the evidence surrounding the broken window and disarray in Filomena Romanelli’s bedroom in order to determine whether a real break-in had occurred or the appearance of one had been staged….....

The court concluded that the disorder in Romanelli’s room and the breaking of the window pane constituted an artificial representation created in order to misdirect the investigations towards a person who, not having the key to the front door, was supposed to have entered through the previously broken window and then effected the violent acts on Meredith which caused her death.”

So Massei, having carefully analysed all the Evidence, and the Arguments on both sides Concluded that there was No Burglary at all, and that Meredith’s killers had deliberately created the appearance of a Burglary, in order to misdirect the Investigators of Meredith’s death.

According to the Hellmann-Annulling SCC Panel wrt the Simulated Burglary:

Page 56:

“The compartmentalisation of the single pieces of evidence thus weakened their value and their depth, since a piecemeal evaluation of their relationship and of the required synthesis inevitably followed, ignoring the increase in value that the pieces of the mosaic of circumstantial evidence assume when synergistically evaluated.”

The Panel begins its justification for Annulling Hellmann/Zanetti.

The Hellmann-Annulling SCC Panel Page 66:

“.....the simulation of the burglary should have been evaluated in light of the investigative data collected immediately after the event,  such as Rudy’s shoeprints (along the path of his flight)  and the traces of the victim’s blood detected in many spots in the bathroom used by Ms Knox and [49] Ms Kercher, surely carried there by third parties present in the house after the murder.”

The Panel takes-for-granted that the “Burglary” was Simulated by the Perps, and focuses on its improper evaluation by H/Z.

The Hellmann-Annulling SCC Panel Page 82-83:

“The Hellmann Court of Appeal preferred – in full agreement with the defence pleadings –  to favour the information the unreliable Rudy Guede had conveyed in his chat with his friend Benedetti, i.e., that he was in via della Pergola around 9.00/9.30 PM on the first of November 2007;  this information was correlated with the victim’s telephone records which registered:

a)  an unanswered call at 8.56 PM
b)  the dialling of the number 901, corresponding to an answering service at 9.58 PM, immediately after which the call was blocked
c)  at 10.00 PM the dialling of the first number in the list of phone numbers for the Abbey bank, without however the dialling of the required dialling code
d) at 10.13 PM a GRPS connection of the length of nine seconds, most probably linkedto a multimedia message, without the necessity of human interaction.

On the basis of these facts, the Hellmann Court reached the conclusion that Miss Kercher had not called her family again in the period of time between 8.56 and 11.00 PM,  since shortly after the first attempt an unexpected event may have occurred, such as for example the attack,  and the dialling of the number at 10.00 PM could have been done [61]  by another person, who was not familiar with that mobile phone, while attempting to silence it, a fact which would place the time of death at before 10.13 PM.

The reconstructive path is permeated with factual deductions deriving from a series of conjectures and baseless suppositions, without any reliable, demonstrative basis,  in spite of [other]  findings of significant value which conflict with those [deductions] and have a greater probative value,  which were reduced in their importance on the basis of an unsatisfactory reasoning,  which stands out because multiple passages contradict other passages of the statement of reasons, and because of manifest illogicality which must be rightfully censured in this venue. “

The Panel implicitly includes H/Z’s failure to recognize the “Burglary"as simulated, as part of its “unsatisfactory” and improperly “baseless” reasoning.

NENCINI Page 175:

“In the cottage at 7 Via Della Pergola, on the day of 2 November 2007, in the early hours of the day and up until approximately 12.00 pm, nobody had a shower, just as no burglar had gottenin through the window of Filomena Romanelli’s room; more simply the totality of the circumstantial evidence examined to this point gives us a plain picture of how the defendants put into action a clean-up of the traces of the murder committed and activity to “derail” the investigations that involved a series of actions, a number of which are still to be described.”

So, having stated at length “the totality of the circumstantial evidence examined” Nencini concludes, that the defendants (Knox and Sollecito) had faked the “Burglary” and,

Nencini Page 335:

“...we exclude, for the reasons already expressed, that the murder was committed by a burglar caught in the act of entering the flat after breaking Filomena Romanelli’s window…”

The Nencini Appellate Court Judges, presumably recognise that their conclusion Knox and Sollecito had faked a burglary didnot implicitly exclude the co-existence of a real burglar.

So now they explicitly “exclude” the conclusion that the murder was committed by any burglar.

What will the Marasca Panel make of that?

28: THE SCREAM

Amanda Knox is herself the very first person to refer to the Scream, in her voluntarily insistent Written-Note of November 6th, 2007.

This allegation is generally accepted to be so factually Certain that its factual existence has never been plausibly disputed.

Massei Pages 98-99:

“.....it can thus be held that, in fact, towards 23:30 pm on November 1, 2007 there was a loud, long scream from a woman which came from [91] the house at 7 Via della Pergola.
After this scream, Nara Capezzali heard running on the metal stairs located below her residence in the S. Antonio car park towards the section used as the exit for the cars, and straight afterwards she heard running on the path situated in front of the house in Via della Pergola.

The harrowing scream heard a little before must have caused a strong agitation in Mrs. Capezzali, who was rendered particularly sensitive and attentive to what might happen and who knows the area; therefore, it is to be held that she referred to noises on the metal steps and on the path because there actually were such noises and she was able to hear them.

Furthermore, the deposition of the witness Dramis, who referred to ‚running steps‛ heard about 23:30 pm on that same November 1st in Via del Melo, which is very close, almost a continuation of the path of the houseIp in Via della Pergola, could constitute some confirmation of this.

The running on the path in front of the house at 7 Via della Pergola shortly after the heart-rending scream leads this Court to hold that the heart-rending scream came from the house at 7 Via della Pergola; likewise, whoever’s running steps were heard on the metal steps and whoever’s running steps were heard a little later on the gravel path and leaves in front of the house at 7 Via della Pergola lead the Court to hold that more than one person came out of that house.”

So Massei “held” as a specific “fact” that the scream, came from the 7 Via Della Pergola cottage, rented by Meredith Kercher and Amanda Knox, among others, at about 23:30 pm on November 1st, 2007.

However, Hellmann/Zanettii, and the miscellaneous FOA systematically trivialized the Scream, e.g.: the Police made AK invent it; the Police suggested it to AK; the Police tricked AK into writing it down; there are so many Screams-in-the-Perugia-Night that the scream the Witnesses testified to having heard was not Meredith’s Scream; the scream the Witnesses testified to having heard was at some other time; and Meredith’s Scream was at yet another time. So-many imagined doubts were marshaled that Hellmann/Zanettii argued that there was too much Reasonable Doubt.

The Hellmann-Annulling SCC Panel Page 86:

“Before concordant pieces of data convergent towards a time necessarily later than the one established by the court, back to which the heart‐rending scream of the unfortunate Meredith needs to be tracked, the appeals court preferred to draw the threads from Guede’s presentation of facts, [which he] delivered in a context outside the court, and anyway absolutely false (given that the accused declared himself to be uninvolved in the murder).

The conclusions drawn appear even more jarring if one only considers that the heart‐rending scream was mentioned even by Amanda herself in her handwritten letter when the fact was not yet in the public domain. Not only this, but the reconstruction made by the Hellmann Court of Appeal is not even in line with the relevant post-mortem findings, which indicated a time of death range from 6.50 PM to 4.50 AM on 2 November, thus at a time around 11.00 to 11.30 PM according to the calculated average, so as the First Instance Court had argued, with greater adherence to the available evidence.

Thus, the statement of reasons suffers from a grave lack of logic and from inconsistency with other available evidence also on this point, openly showing an obvious explanatory inadequacy to which the judge of remand will have to bring remedy.”

So this SCC Panel Excoriates Hellmann/Zanetti’s biased and illogical reasoning wrt the scream,  constructively ordering the judge of remand “to bring remedy”.

NENCINI stated on pages 117-118:

“.....from her very first statements, Amanda Marie Knox provides the picture that, at some point during the attack, Meredith was screaming. Indeed, it was only because of the poor girl’s scream [102] that the defendant imagined “what might have happened”. This scream, so excruciating that it caused her to move her hands to her ears to block it out, is introduced in the written statement on the same morning at the offices of the Perugia police. Significantly, this is the scream that was clearly heard by the witnesses Nara Capezzali and Antonella Monacchia. It was so “excruciating” that Nara Capezzali was beside herself, something that she told the First Instance Court hearing on 27 March 2009, having previously only spoken about it to the police, about a year after that night of November 2007.”

Thus does “the judge of remand” bring remedy, expressing no doubt that the scream Knox claims to have imagined “might have happened”, Certainly Did-Happen.

It will be interesting to see Bruno’s take if his SCC Panel submits its Motivazione.

29. THE KNIFE COLLECTED IN SOLLECITO’‘S FLAT

This Knife was mentioned in Post #1, in which the use of at least 2 knives in Meredith’s murder was established.

Massei Page 194:

“Seven samples were taken from the exhibit [reperto] acquired by the Flying Squad of Perugia (i.e, Exhibit [reperto] 36) and consisting of a large knife, 31 centimetres long; on the handle, from the trace indicated as ‚trace A‛, the genetic profile of Amanda Knox was found and in a point on the blade, the genetic profile of the victim was found. All of the other samples gave negative results. “

Here, calling this knife Exhibit 36, Massei reports that Meredith’s DNA was found on this knife (In spite of the fact, corroborated by Knox herself, that Meredith had never been in Sollecito’s flat), as well as Knox’s DNA.

Massei Page 264:

“EXHIBIT 36 (THE DOUBLE-DNA KNIFE)

[282] On November 6, 2007, during the search carried out in the apartment in Perugia where Raffaele Sollecito lived, the 31cm-long knife was found.”

Here, Massei refers-back to when and where this knife was found.

Massei Pages 373-375:

“Of Raffaele Sollecito’s habit of carrying a pocket knife, Corrado De Candia also made reference, recalling that the blade of Raffaele Sollecito’s pocket knife had a length around 6-7cm and a width of 1cm or less.

In relation to the preceding (Raffaele Sollecito actively present at the scene of the murder, finding himself behind Meredith, pulling on the bra with violence, finally deciding to cut it), it must be affirmed that Raffaele Sollecito not only found himself at the scene of the murder and pursuing, with violence, the same objective as RudyGuede, but he is there with a well-sharpened knife (dangerous and thus capable of cutting a resistant material, such as that of a bra, [401] especially in the part that was cut, which may be seen in photos 117 and 119 in the second volume of photographic evidence) and having a blade probably around 4cm long, as De Martino and Binetti have referred to (the length of this, 4cm, appears more consonant with the type of pocket knife described, and Raffaele Sollecito’s habit of always carrying a pocket knife attached with a clip to his trousers, and therefore to be considered rather short and manageable, with respect to a blade of 6 or 7 cm, as indicated by Candia).

Elements which lead one to consider that the 4cm in depth wound was inflicted by Raffaele Sollecito with the pocket knife that he was always carrying around with him, and was inflicted immediately after having cut the bra, while Rudy penetrated the unfortunate victim – who had been almost completely stripped naked – probably with his fingers because the biological trace on the vaginal swab did not present anything of a spermatic nature.

That the knife used by Raffaele Sollecito on that occasion, according to what has been said, has not been found, is an irrelevant circumstance when it is a case of blade weapons [arma bianca] of easy availability and easy enough to conceal (cf. on this specific point, Cassation 30 June 2004, no 48349).

This progression of violence, from advances to gripping, from which derive the numerous bruises, to ultimately injuring the girl with a knife, finds a possible explanation in the fact that Meredith, it must be held, continued to put up the resistance that she could (there are in fact no signs of yielding, of any acquiescence occurring and, as a matter of fact, the scream that Nara Capezzali and Maria Ilaria

Dramis have declared to having heard confirm this behaviour of the young lady), and, to the end of completely subduing her, even to her will as well, probably, as an angry and almost punitive reaction against a girl continuing in this behaviour, there was the blow inflicted upon the neck producing the 4cm deep wound (corresponding to about the length of the blade described by Binetti and De Martino), a blow that, as observed above, is to be held to have been inflicted with the same pocket knife used to cut off the bra and therefore by the [402] same person who had sliced the bra itself and who had the use of this pocket knife, and this is Raffaele Sollecito.

The very loud scream (as described by Maria Ilaria Dramis) of pain and, at this point, also of terror, made by Meredith and of which it was said, not causing any repentance among the attackers, but the final definitive progression of violence, and while her already-cut bra was being removed (the bra that, coming into contact with the part of the body that had begun to be covered in blood from the wound in the neck, itself became partially stained with blood), the hand of one of the attackers sealed Meredith’s mouth, so that she could not scream again, and another of her attackers struck her again on the neck, but on the left side because, probably, they were on the other side with respect to the person who had inflicted the 4cm deep wound, causing [in their turn] a lesion 8cm deep. Meredith tried to withdraw the part of her body that was once again and more deeply attainted but, held by the hand of whoever was holding her mouth shut and countered by the presence of the one who had caused the 4cm-deep wound, she ended up being driven back towards the knife that still remained in the wound itself, and occasioned a second incision on the epiglottis, as has been seen, almost as if it were [a case of] a second blow being inflicted upon her.

This dynamic requires the presence of a second attacker, of a second knife. This Court holds that the second attacker is Amanda Knox and the second knife is Exhibit 36. The outcome of the genetic investigation with a quantity of DNA indicated as ‚too low‛ was placed under censure and doubts about reliability. Equally, the incompatibility of this knife with the wounds suffered by Meredith was affirmed.

On these matters, the considerations already made must be recalled, which led this Court to evaluate the outcome of the genetic investigation as reliable, and this knife as absolutely compatible with the most serious wound. The inquiry elements allow, still, further observations.

This knife, which attracted the attention of Inspector Finzi during the search in Raffaele Sollecito’s house such that it was taken, unlike the other knives that were in the same drawer, must have presented itself as different from the others, with [403] its own individuality with respect to the other knives present in the Corso Garibaldi house. The owner of this house, were this knife not to be found in the Corso Garibaldi house, would have been able to remember its presence and note the absence of this utensil, and this circumstance would have been able to constitute a trace, an investigative hypothesis upon which Raffaele Sollecito may have been called in to supply an explanation for. In relation to this, it is to be held that Amanda and Raffaele would have evaluated as opportune to carry the knife back to the house from which it had been removed, considering also that its cleaning (it was in fact found extremely clean, as has been noted) would have ensured the non-traceability of the wounds suffered by Meredith to it itself.”

Massei here explains the sequence of events at the murder-scene, the knives used, who used them, the wounds inflicted, the scream, why there must have been at least one more attacker additional to Guede, and why it is Certain that 2 knives were used, one of which was Exhibit 36, and why the Court concludes the second attacker to be Amanda Knox and the killing-knife to be Exhibit 36.

Massei also discusses the transport, cleaning and return of Exhibit 36 to Sollecito’s rented flat.

The Hellmann-Annulling SCC Panel Pages 88-90:8

“In the course of their investigation,  the appointed experts found a third trace on the blade of the knife taken from Sollecito’s flat (Exhibit 36), apart from the one attributed without objection to Knox and the one attributed with strong objections to the victim, right near the trace from which the DNA attributed to the victim was extracted. This [third]  trace was not submitted for genetic analysis due to a decision made unilaterally by one of the experts, Prof. Vecchiotti, without written authorisation from the Court, which had in fact precisely charged her with the task of attributing the DNA found on the knife and bra clasp,  because the previous traces] were deemed to be of insufficient quantity to yield a reliable result, being low copy number. Her decision was later approved by the [Hellmann Court of Appeal] on the assumption that the [new]  quantity was [also]  too small to permit the two amplifications needed to ensure reliability of the result (page 84 of the [appeal] judgment).

Therefore,  [65]  when the Prosecutor General and the Counsel for the Civil Partiessubmitted a request to complete the analysis on the basis of the scientific explanation provided by Prof. Novelli,  a geneticist of undisputed repute recognized by the [appeal] court itself (page 79 statement of reasons),  regarding the availability of instrumentscapable of reliably analysing quantities even smaller than ten picograms in diagnostic fields (such as embryology) in which the need for certainty is no less important than in thecourts,  the Hellmann Court of Appeal refused on the assumption that the methods mentioned by Prof.  Novelli were “in an experimental phase”  (page 84),  thereby freely interpreting and misrepresenting the testimony of the professor,  who on the contrary mentioned the use of such techniques in diagnostic domains in which the certainty of the Presult is essential.

All in all,  the modus operandi of the Hellmann Court of Appeal which,  unacceptably delegating its own function,  entrusted to the unquestioned evaluation of the expert the decision of whether or not to submit the new trace for analysis, is open to understandable and justified censure, considering that the test requested by the Court should have been done, lying as it did within the scope of the expert’s mission, subject to a discussion of the results if they were not deemed reliable.  In any case,  a member of the panel of experts could not assume responsibility for unilaterally narrowing the scope of the mission, which was to be carried out without hesitation or reservation, in full intellectual honesty, giving a complete account of the possible insufficiency of the material or unreliability of the result.

All the more so as the repeat of the genetic tests was requested in 2011, four years after the initial tests; a lapse of time during which significant progress had been made in the instruments and techniques of analysis, as Prof. Novelli, a consultant to the Prosecutor General, stressed. Precisely on receiving the information from this consultant, who spoke of cutting‐edge techniques while under oath –  the Court fell into another gross misinterpretation, in a significant argument concerning the reliability of the results of the analyses made, by assuming the impossibility of repeating the tests even on traces found at a later time, thereby affecting the logic of the statement of reasons (Section I, 25.6.2007, n. 24667).

The Hellmann Court of Appeal also completely ignored the authoritative points offered by Professor Torricelli,  who shed serious doubt on the fact that a very small quantity was found; she quantified the useful material in the new trace as 120 picograms (hearing of 6 September 2011, page 91 of transcript), which is sufficient to execute a double amplification,  and she opposed the methodology by which Prof. Vecchiotti reached the decision not to proceed, in a report obviously not endorsed by the Prosecutor General and the Civil Parties. The authoritative nature of the observations of the two consultants of the parties [66] would have required that the Court deal with their points, which irremediably conflicted with the assumptions of Prof. Vecchiotti,  whose points could indeed be accepted by the Court,  but only after evaluation of the opposing points, which were of equal scientific value.

It must be concluded that when it rejected the request of the Prosecutor General and of the Counsel to the Civil Parties to complete the expert investigations by analysing the new traces found on the blade of the knife collected in Sollecito’s flat, as initially mandated to the experts ‐‐ a request that was supported by more than adequate scientific knowledge ‐‐ the Court made a flawed decision, by reason of its failure to comply with the relevant laws which mandate the safeguarding of all parties in their access to evidence (article 190 of the Criminal Procedure Code), especially in an area in which the expert report (as a means of seeking evidence)  was requested by the Defence,  and was arranged,  but was not completed regarding the new trace, even though it demanded a response more than any other.”

The Panel Excoriates both Hellmann, and it’s appointed expert, Prof. Vecchiotti. The latter for not examining Exhibit 36 as ordered-to by Hellmann, and Hellmann for letting Vechiotti get away with her dis-obedience.

Finally the Panel Criticised Hellman for “failure to comply with the relevant laws”.(Referring specifically to “laws which mandate the safeguarding of all parties in their access to evidence”)

Nencini Pages 337-338 :

“The Court believes that the other blade, the one that caused the wound on the left side of the neck from which most of the blood came out and that caused the death of Meredith Kercher was held by Amanda Marie Knox. It is the knife that was seized from the flat of Raffaele Sollecito by the State Police and labeled as Exhibit 36, on which it is now appropriate to make some considerations.The knife with the blade of 31cm was seized by the State Police from Raffaele Sollecito’s flatduring the first search performed there. [321]The State Police officer who physically took it from the cutlery drawer declared in testimonygiven during the First Instance trial that his attention was caught by this knife, and not others in the drawer, as it was much cleaner than the rest of the cutlery, so as to imagine that it had beencarefully and recently washed. This circumstance, which might appear to be an irrelevantpersonal perception, brought important conclusions to the trial. The Scientific Police analyzedBthe knife and found, on the blade, inside a series of streaks almost invisible to the naked eye, themixed DNA of two contributors: Meredith Kercher and Raffaele Sollecito [sic].[see Footnote 28 below]

This evidence, strongly contested by the Defense, was analyzed by this Court in the section related to the genetic analyses and there is no reason to repeat those arguments. Surely it is an attribution that cannot be considered definite evidence, for the reasons reported above related to the failed repetition of the analysis of the trace, but it remains a strong piece of circumstantial evidence of the fact that this weapon is the second one used in the murder of Meredith Kercher.

On the knife there was a second different trace with sufficient DNA for an analysis, carried out by Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, who attributed this trace to the DNA of Amanda Marie Knox. This attribution was not challenged by the Defense and can be taken as conclusive evidence.

Furthermore, after having ordered in this remand trial an analysis of the trace (I) extracted during the course of the expert analysis performed at the behest of the Judges of the Court of Assizes of Appeal of Perugia, the Carabinieri of R.I.S. [Reparto Investigazioni Scientifiche, Scientific Investigative Unit] of Rome highlighted DNA that could be analyzed and alsoattributed it to Amanda Marie Knox, without any particular challenge.

[Footnote 28:This is certainly an oversight of the Court, as everywhere else in the report they mention the DNA of Meredith Kercher on the streaks, as is widely known. The DNA of Raffaele Sollecito on the knife is never mentioned anywhere else and is not part of the case documentationScientific Investigative Unit of Rome highlighted DNA that could be analyzed and also attributed it to Amanda Marie Knox, without any particular challenge.]

Both traces attributed to Amanda Marie Knox were extracted from the handle of the knife, from the part closer to the blade.

The evaluation of all the elements extracted from the seized knife leads this Court to believe that it is one of the two weapons used in the murder and that it was held by Amanda Marie Knox, who therefore struck Meredith Kercher on the left side of the neck, thus causing the only mortal wound. “

Nencini rebuts the Defence arguments and concludes that Knox stabbed Meredith on the Left side of Meredith’s neck, using Knife Exhibit 36, causing Meredith’s death.

Nencini Page 339:

“...Whoever struck Meredith Kercher on the left side of the neck with a stab that penetrated 8cm (the entire length of the cut) caused violent and abundant bleeding, as shown by the quantity of blood that came out and the splashes of blood on the furniture, so as to hide completely the surface of entry of the blade, thus making [323] impossible the reintroduction of the weapon in the same cut where it was introduced with the first blow.

It must be stated therefore that whoever struck Meredith Kercher on the left side of her neck did so only once, causing a devastating wound from which, pushed by arterial pressure, a great gush of blood came out, as shown by the splashes of blood on the furniture near the spot where the young woman was struck.

Thus, it must be concluded that the weapon seized is not incompatible with the wound on the left side of Meredith Kercher’s neck, certainly a mortal wound, and that the finding of Meredith Kercher’s DNA on the blade of the knife is evidence fully compatible both with the nature of the weapon and with its use.”

Nencini summarizes-finally its conclusions, rejecting Defence arguments that the Knife, Exhibit 36, is “incompatible” with the wound on the left side of Meredith Kercher’s neck, but is certainly “fully compatible both with the nature of the weapon and with its use.”

Here is the Wiki Site opinion:

“Conclusion

Given there is no doubt that the profile discovered on the knife is Meredith Kercher’s profile and that both contamination and secondary transfer have been excluded the only possible conclusion is that the DNA got on the knife because it was used in the murder of Meredith. That Sollecito would so quickly fabricate a lie to explain why Meredith’s DNA would have been expected on the knife rather than protest that it is impossible just adds support to a position that needs no support. Sollecito’s knife was used to kill Meredith.”

30. THE ANALYSIS OF FOOTPRINTS AND OTHER TRACES

[Note the difference between Footprints/Soleprints and Shoeprints; this difference is crucial]

Micheli post-trial interview 2008, according to the Guardian:

“while footprints there might not definitely belong to Knox and Sollecito, they did indicate more than one attacker.”

Excellent example of how Facts may not indicate “Who?”, but Do indicate, with Certainty, “How Many” (“more than one”)°

Massei Pages 352-353 :

“Professor Vinci stressed the value of some particularly individualising details of the right foot of Raffaele Sollecito, revealed by the said examination, consisting of: the fact that his second toe does not touch the ground (the so-called “hammer” position of the distal phalange) connected to a slight case of valgus on the right big toe, and the fact that the distal phalange of the big toe also does not touch the ground, (meaning that there is a distinct separation between the print of the ball of the foot and the print of the big toe in the footprint of the accused). Given these two features which make Sollecito’s foot morphologically distinctive, Professor Vinci’s study basically arrives at the assertion that, while the second toe of Raffaele Sollecito’s right foot is entirely absent from the footprints known to be made by him, on the contrary the footprint on the bathmat does contain the imprint of the second toe. [378] Professor Vinci reached these conclusions based on a close examination of the weave of the bathmat, and also by varying the colours of the footprint, as shown in the photograph album of the Scientific Police, so that via the use of different filtres it could be viewed in black and white or in a more intense red colour which emphasised the traces of blood.

A morphological examination of the footprint alone led the professor to consider it as irreconcilable, due to its general shape and size, with the footprint taken directly from Sollecito’s right foot. Indeed, the consultant hypothesised that the measurement calculated by the Scientific Police of the width of the big toe of the bathmat footprint was to be reconsidered: he rejected the measurement of about 30mm in favour of a much smaller measurement of 24.8mm, which he obtained by detaching a mark of haematic substance which he did not consider to be a mark from the surface of the big toe, but from a separate body, namely the imprint of the second toe, which is totally absent from the print taken from Sollecito’s right foot.”

In standard English-Language medical terminology, Sollecito’s Right Foot has a distinctive “Hammer Toe”.

It is certain that None of the other suspects have this abnormality.

This Fact is key to the Certainty that Sollecito was barefoot-at-the-crime-scene!


Note missing 2nd toe-print on Sollecito’s Right Footprint:

The Hellmann-Annulling SCC Panel Page 96-98:

“13 – Analysis of footprints and other traces

The criticisms expressed on the subject of the obvious lack of logic of the reasoning Oconcerning the evaluation of the genetic evidence are well‐founded.

The [appeal]  court evaluated two technical consultancies on the footprint in the victim’s blood left by a bare foot on the bathmat of the small bathroom of the flat where the crime was committed, with [identification] capacity limited to negative comparisons. As a matter of evaluation,  this in itself is not subject to censure, however the court of second degree has again fallen into [the error of making] a statement in open contradiction with the available evidence, ending by attributing the contested footprint to Guede, by making an assumption contrary to all the evidence that “after having left a print on the pillow”, he slipped out of his right shoe “in the course of the violent aggressive manoeuvres to which he subjected Ms Kercher” and stained his foot with blood, which he supposedly then washed in the small bathroom, since if it had not happened this way, his right shoe would have also left some bloody traces in the corridor (compare page 100 of the statement of reasons).

Not only is this assumption deeply implausible, considering that the print left by Guede on the pillow was made by his hand, which is easily explained by the dynamics of the event, but it is much harder to explain how he might have lost his Adidas sneaker, given a situation in which Guede, jointly with others, as stated in the verdict that convicted him, overpowered the young Englishwoman so as to immobilise her. Not only that, but the above assumption also clashes with the available evidence regarding the bloody shoe prints which indicate that he left the room where the crime was committed to proceed directly to the exit door of the flat.The fact that only the left shoe was stained does not that his right foot was unshod, since at most it proves that only his right (sic) shoe signify stepped in the pool of blood which formed due to the numerous wounds inflicted on the unfortunate victim, very probably with two knives.

Just as deficient is the logic adopted in a further step of the statement of reasons, relating to the discovery of the presence of traces revealed by luminol (not visible to the naked eye), which yielded Knox’s profile and the mixed profiles of Knox and Kercher, found in Romanelliʹs room, in Knoxʹs room and in the corridor. These traces could not be attributedto footprints left on other occasions, as the appeal court implausibly accepted [them to be], since luminol reveals traces of blood and it is not really conceivable that Knoxʹs feet might have been stained with Kercherʹs blood on some other occasion.

As pointed out by the party submitting the appeal,  no justification is given for the coincidence of the presence of Knoxʹs DNA in every trace mixed with the blood of the victim, whereas [71] the hypothesis formulated by the judgment of first degree is much more plausible: it emphasized the mixed nature of the traces (including those found in the small bathroom) which, via adequate inductive logic, led to the conclusion that with feet washed of the victimʹs blood but still bearing some residue, Knox went into her own room and Romanelliʹs room passing through the corridor during the staging operation as assumed in the initial reconstruction, which is based on the objective fact that only after midnight did the victim’s telephones stop connecting to the cell tower of via della Pergola and connect instead with the one on via Sperandio, where they were eventually found; this meant that only after midnight were they removed by unknown hands from the flat in via della Pergola.

While according to the prosecution’s hypothesis, the mixed traces found in the small bathroom suggested a cleaning activity by Knox, who transferred the victim’s blood from the crime room to various points in the small bathroom (on the sink faucet, on the cotton swabs box, the toilet seat, the bidet, the light switch, the bathroom door) where the traces were collected, the Hellmann Court of Appeal entrenched itself behind a position of absolute certainty, without acknowledging what the First Instance Court had observed in disagreement with the defence arguments espoused by the Hellmann Court of Appeal, which decided, in essence, that if the two defendants had remained in the flat of via della Pergola to clean themselves up from the victim’s blood traces, thus functioning as vehicles carrying blood to the small bathroom,  then some trace of Sollecito would have been found, whereas in response to this objection the First Instance Court plausibly noted that Sollecito could have washed himself in the shower stall with an abundance of water, so as to eliminate traces, perhaps without even any rubbing, leaving to Knox the task of cleaning the sink and bidet with the traces of the victim’s blood.

The alternative explanation offered in the first instance judgment to the Defence’s objections was not taken into consideration, and thus the Hellmann Court of Appeal fell into another error of reasoning, having neglected various circumstances which,  in the course of their analysis, they should have examined and if necessary refuted with more weighty arguments. As pointed out by the party submitting the appeal, no justification is given for the coincidence of the presence of Knoxʹs DNA in every trace mixed with the blood of the victim, whereas [71] the hypothesis formulated by the judgment of first degree is much more plausible:

It emphasized the mixed nature of the traces (including those found in the small bathroom) which, via adequate inductive logic, led to the conclusion that with feet washed of the victimʹs blood but still bearing some residue, Knox went into her own room and Romanelliʹs room passing through the corridor during the staging operation as assumed in the initial reconstruction, which is based on the objective fact that only after midnight did the victim’s telephones stop connecting to the cell tower of via della Pergola and connect instead with the one on via Sperandio, where they were eventually found; this meant that only after midnight were they removed by unknown hands from the flat in via della Pergola.

While according to the prosecution’s hypothesis, the mixed traces found in the small bathroom suggested a cleaning activity by Knox, who transferred the victim’s blood from the crime room to various points in the small bathroom (on the sink faucet, on the cotton swabs box, the toilet seat, the bidet, the light switch, the bathroom door) where the traces were collected, the Hellmann Court of Appeal entrenched itself behind a position of absolute certainty, without acknowledging what the First Instance Court had observed in disagreement with the defence arguments espoused by the Hellmann Court of Appeal, which decided, in essence, that if the two defendants had remained in the flat of via della Pergola to clean themselves up from the victim’s blood traces, thus functioning as vehicles carrying blood to the small bathroom, then some trace of Sollecito would have been found,

Whereas in response to this objection the First Instance Court plausibly noted that Sollecito could have washed himself in the shower stall with an abundance of water, so as to eliminate traces, perhaps without even any rubbing, leaving to Knox the task of cleaning the sink and bidet with the in the moments immediately after the murdertraces of the victim’s blood.The alternative explanation offered in the first instance judgment to the Defence’s objections was not taken into consideration, and thus the Hellmann Court of Appeal fell into another error of reasoning, having neglected various circumstances which, in the course of their analysis, they should have examined and if necessary refuted with more weighty arguments.”

Hellmann’s Annulment is here not only fully justified, but is essential to avoid a gross miscarriage of justice.

Nencini Pages 328-329 :

“We know with certainty that, on the evening of 1 November 2007, Rudy Hermann Guede was present inside the Via della Pergola cottage, not only because he said so and it is reported in thefinal verdict that convicted him, but also on the basis of investigations and analyses carried out by the State Police inside the cottage contained in the case file. We also know with certainty that Rudy Hermann Guede could remain inside [312] the flat with absolute ease… [for] considerable time, as he left his “traces” in the large bathroom [of the flat].

We know with certainty, as this is shown by the evidence, that immediately after the homicide inside the Via della Pergola cottage three people were present, surely two men and a woman. This can be observed from the genetic investigations and the results of the traces highlighted using luminol. We can also say that one of the men who walked over Meredith’s blood left a very visible trace of his foot on a blue bathmat found inside the small bathroom of the flat. This footprint was attributed by investigators to the right bare foot of Raffaele Sollecito, with an analysis this Court finds correct on the basis of the considerations already made. One of the footprints detected using luminol was then attributed to a woman’s foot compatible, in size, to that of Amanda Marie Knox; in addition, mixed DNA traces found in the small bathroom of the flat (washbasin, bidet and cotton-swab box) were attributed to Amanda Marie Knox.

We have, in substance, pieces of circumstantial evidence of certain reliability, multiple and concordant, that place Rudy Hermann Guede, Amanda Marie Knox, and Raffaele Sollecito inside the Via della Pergola flat on the evening of the murder of Meredith Kercher, in the moments immediately after the murder, when the three left traces of their passage by depositing [marks in] the victim’s blood, abundantly released from wounds.”

Emphasizing the Certainty of its knowledge regarding “traces”, blood, luminol, genetic investigations, DNA, and footprints, Nencini rules Guede, Knox, and Sollecito to have been at the crime-scene “in the moments immediately after the murder” of Meredith Kercher.

4. Other Worries For Judge Marasca

However far-fetched the Motivazione of this SCC Panel turns-out to be, it can hardly have-been unaware of the facts that Sollecito is scheduled to be back in a Lower-Court in Florence on 30th April, 2015, facing his first-set of charges in the Sollecito & Gumbel trial for diffamazione and vilipendio (slander of officials and of the system), nor that Knox is scheduled to be back in a Lower-Court in Florence on 9th June, 2015, facing her new, expanded-set of Calunnia charges.


This series continues here.

Posted on 04/30/15 at 01:38 PM by Cardiol MD. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those who were chargedAmanda KnoxRaff SollecitoEvidence & witnessesThe locationsThe timelinesOther witnessesReal crimesceneCassation 2015 critiquesCardiol critique
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Friday, April 10, 2015

Those Pesky Certainties Cassation’s Fifth Chambers May Or May Not Convincingly Contend With #1

Posted by Cardiol MD



The Italian Supreme Court is in the background

1. How Overload Can Overwhelm The Checks And Balances

The Italian Supreme Court (SCC) has 396 Judges in Rome and elsewhere.

Because of the enormous pro-defendant tilt in the system, the SCC hears about 80,000 appeals a year - more than all other Supreme Courts in the rest of Europe combined.

The SCC operates in panels, typically of 5 justices; that scales to about 4 appeals/panel/workweek, or about 1 appeal/panel/workday. A huge workload impinging on carefulness and promoting distraction and exhaustion.

Even with a law-clerk infrastructure, and the most ingenious exploitation of human concentrated-attention-span, highly questionable outcomes such as that for Meredith’s case would seem inevitable.

The four SCC judges panels (2008, 2010, 2013, 2015) which have ruled on various issues arising as Meredith’s murder case inched its way through the Italian legal system have been composed of different judge-combinations, with different skills, different knowledge, different education, and different experiences.

In many cases high-tech issues are an integral part of the evidence before the courts. This requires the enlistment of expert opinions because the judges may not be versant in the relevant high-tech issues. All sides, the defence, the prosecution, other interested parties, and even the judges, can cherry-pick experts for hire, who often use brazen sophistry to persuade the judges in the experts’ favour.

These facts may help to explain if not justify the unexpected conclusion of this current SCC judges panel which is now drafting the Motivazione.

2. Circumstantial Evidence And The Italian Requirement For Certainty

Near the start of the 2015 SCC hearings Judge Bruno, one of the 5 members of the Marasca SCC-Panel, was quoted as having said that the trials had “not many certainties beyond the girl’s death and one definitely convicted.”

As we await this particular Motivazione intended to explain its decision, we will review the Massei Motivazione, the Nencini Motivazione, and the several past SCC rulings to establish what do constitute the certainties - of which in fact as Italian law defines them there is actually a large number.

In order to be classified as Circumstantial Evidence in Italian Law an evidentiary circumstance or fact must be true to the level of being a certainty. Note that this rule does not supersede BARD, it applies only to the the acceptance of individual items of evidence as circumstantial, so it can mislead and confuse authors and readers.

As will be noted below, under this Italian requirement the unverifiable RS/AK broken water-pipe story can not be classified as pro-defense Circumstantial Evidence. Therefore it cannot legally be argued as corroboration of the excuses of Knox & Sollecito, including their mop claims.

Sollecito’s father, Dr. Francesco Sollecito, did say that RS had mentioned the alleged-leak of Nov. 1st, 2007, in the father’s 221 seconds, 20:42:56 call of Nov.1st, 2007.  Hellmann/Zanetti bought into this story, discussing it in their Motivazione.

AK is quoted by Nencini as referring to the alleged-leak in her testimony, but neither Galati nor the 2013 Hellmann/Zanetti-annulling SCC panel mentioned the alleged-leak. All seemed aware that there was no certainty.

3. An Explanation Of Why This Will Matter So Much In Future

In 2013 the SCC itself annulled most of the Hellmann-Zanetti verdict in part because there was an obvious parceling-out of the pieces of circumstantial evidence and a lack of assessment of each piece of circumstantial evidence. Hellmann-Zanetti had failed to check whether the possible flaws and lacks in the logical value of each single piece of evidence could be resolved by cross-checking them and taking in account the whole.

Have the SCC judges themselves now made this same mistake? It is especially at this level that informed legal analysis in Italy of the pending SCC Motivazione will concentrate, future books on the case will concentrate, and the final degree of legitimacy will be established.

Given the peculiarity that the case was not referred back down to Florence for adjustment, worries at this level especially could be driving the very obvious nervousness of all of the defense counsels, shushing and restraining their clients in the presumed hope that the SCC judges really can square the circle and achieve legitimacy.

4. Certainties And Certainly-Nots In The Circumstantial Evidence

1. Fracture Of Hyoid Bone?

The SCC-Panel for Guede’s Sentencing (English Translation) wrote on Pages 4-5:

c) The body presented a very large number of bruising and superficial wounds – around 43 counting those caused by her falling – some due to a pointed and cutting weapon, others to strong pressure: on the limbs, the mouth, the nose, the left cheek, and some superficial grazing on the lower neck, a wound on the left hand, several superficial knife wounds or defence wounds on the palm and thumb of the right hand, bruises on the right elbow and forearm, ecchymosis on the lower limbs, on the front and inside of the left thigh, on the middle part of the right leg, and a deep knife wound which completely cut through the upper right thyroid artery fracturing the hyoid bone, a wound which caused a great deal of bleeding from the vessels of both lungs.

This caused a haemorrhagic shock and asphyxiation by the presence of blood in the respiratory passages, an exitus [decease] placed at around 23:00 of Nov. 1 by the forensic pathologist.

The emphases are mine. The knife cut through the hyoid bone rather than fractured it (in the English version it should say that it severed the hyoid bone; this is a translation issue). A Certainly-Not then.

The wound certainly did not cause any bleeding at all from the vessels of either lung; this is not a translation issue. This is a factual error in the original Italian Sentencing Report. A Certainly-Not then.

(This shows how the SCC-Panel Reports are not infallible. Unfortunately the Marasca Panel will have to dredge-up some past, fallible SCC-Panel Reports in order to explain its own reasoning.)

2. Two Knives?

Massei Translation p377: “There must necessarily have been [405] two knives at the scene of the crime.”

Certainly! There were 2 major, penetrating knife-wounds into Meredith’s neck; one entering on the left-side, and one entering on the right-side, which was made by a pocket-knife of the size Sollecito customarily carried. The latter wound could not have been made by whatever knife entered on the left-side. Therefore 2 knives were Certainly used.

3. Single Blow?

Massei Translation p 371 ”…a single blow was apparently halted by the jawbone…”

Certainly Not.

The statement that a blow could be “apparently halted” by Meredith’s jawbone is at best a figure of speech, and the quotes of Prof Cingolani on page 152 of the Massei Translation clearly indicate that any cause and effect inference from the phrase “apparently halted”, “did not…. have elements of certainty to establish” it was “stopped by the jawbone.” Prof Cingolani “did not, however, have elements of certainty to establish that the blade which had caused the wound 4 centimetres deep had stopped at the said depth because [it was] stopped by the jawbone.”

Maybe there is a Judicial, translational, or typographical glitch and “by” the jawbone should have been “near” the jawbone. Skin is soft and bone is harder but there is no way that the knife striking the jawbone or hyoid bone would halt the knife in this case, they would just roll with the blow, depending on the angle of attack.

Furthermore, contact between the knife and jawbone or hyoid bone would not mark the knife because living-bone is softer than the knife. When your pet gnaws on a non-living cow-bone, neither the bone nor your pet’s teeth can bend; both your pet’s teeth and the bone can be broken, and the bone gets scratches on it because it is still softer than the teeth, but your pet’s teeth do not get scratches on them, because they are harder even than the non-living bone.

If someone is stabbed in the back with a kitchen carving knife, penetrating ribs on its way to the heart, the knife may have no scratches at all, nor show any signs of damage caused by that action. Any implication in the statement quoted above that stabbing Meredith’s neck with enough force to penetrate the layers of her neck and then strike bone would have the effect of signs of damage to the knife-blade, is a mistaken implication.

It is an old rule of materials-physics that a softer substance cannot mark a harder substance. [To some people this may be counter to their intuition, so I have passed it by an eminent MIT physicist, and he agrees with me that the knife blade would certainly not show signs of damage caused by the stabbing in this case.]

4. SMS Message?

It is Certain that at 20:18:12 on Nov.1st, 2007 Amanda Knox’s mobile-phone received the SMS sent to her by Patrick Lumumba, which let her off from having to go to work at the ‚Le Chic? pub on the evening of 1 November.

Remember that mobile-phones are equivalent to convicts’ ankle-monitor bracelets, their use creates with Certainty a record of the Times of cell-phone activities, the Location of the corresponding transmitter-cell, and hence the general location of the mobile-phone, especially Ruling-Out particular Locations e.g. Proving whether the carrier of the phone was in or out of the range of their home transmitter-cell. Call Verbal-Content is not publicly available.

Here the mobile-phone Record proves that Knox’s mobile-phone was Certainly-Not in Sollecito’s lodging-house at 20:18:12 on Nov.1st, 2007:

At the time of reception, Knox’s phone connected to the cell on Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 3, whose signal does not reach Raffaele Sollecito’s house. Amanda Knox’s mobile phone, and therefore Knox herself, was therefore far [i.e. absent] from Corso Garibaldi 30 when the SMS reached her, as she was walking in an area which was shown to be served by the Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 3 cell.

This point of her route could correspond to Via U. Rocchi, to Piazza Cavallotti, to Piazza IV Novembre, bearing in mind that Lumumba’s pub is located in Via Alessi, and that Amanda Knox would have had to travel along the above-mentioned roads and the piazza in order to reach the pub.

Knox was therefore Certainly Not at Sollecito’s Corso Garibaldi Lodging at that time, contrary to the allegation that she was, and Knox Certainly-Could have been at her Cottage.

5. SMS Reply?

At 20.35.48 on Nov.1st, 2007, Amanda Knox Certainly sent an SMS in reply to Patrick, at No. 338-7195723; the message was sent when her on Nov.1st, 2007 mobile phone was in Corso Garibaldi 30 or in the immediate neighbourhood. The cell used, in fact, was that of Via Berardi sector 7 - no other [use] was shown for the day of 1.11.07, noting that Amanda declared during hearings that she had switched her mobile phone off once she had returned 323 to Raffaele’s house, claiming she was more than happy she did not have to go to work and could spend the evening with her boyfriend.

(Knox may also have been LESS than happy that Lumumba preferred Meredith instead of Knox as an employee. This was perhaps humiliating enough to Knox for Knox to decide that the time to cut Meredith down-to-size was now.)

6. Bomb Threat?

Massei Translation page 25: On “the evening of November 1, 2007 at around 10:00 pm, someone called and warned Elisabetta Lana not to use the toilet of her dwelling because it contained a bomb which could explode. Mrs. Lana immediately notified the police of this phone call; and they came to the house but did not find anything….”

This call was Certainly received, the Police Certainly came to Mrs. Lana’s home, presumably not long after 10: pm on the evening of November 1, 2007 (Time & Duration of Police presence apparently not publicly-available).

The Courts must know those times accurately and precisely; reasonably assuming them to be after Meredith’s murder, and near the time of the Phone-Dump (Otherwise, the necessary combination of coincidences is too implausible).

It is most likely that the visible, and possibly audible, presence of Police triggered the panicked disposal of the Cell-Phones down the steep slope that falls sharply into the valley below.

There is no need to invoke any awareness by the phone-dumper[s] of the reason(the hoax-call) that the Police were near Mrs. Lana’s residence.

So if the killers saw flashing police-lights, or any other sign of police near Mrs. Lana’s place, that sign could be enough to explain panic phone-dumping - then and there (not considering whether the phones were switched-on or switched-off).

According to John Follain the slope is heavily overgrown with trees and bushes, an ideal place to dispose of evidence. If the phones had fallen just a few yards further, they would certainly have gone over the edge of the cliff, down into a 50m gully, straight into a thick scrub of nettles, and probably been lost forever….

7. Phone Dialings?

There were four dialings on Meredith’s mobile phones after her arrival home on the evening of 1 November ‘07:

    i. 20:56 hours on 1 November 07, attempted call to Meredith’s mother’s home in England.

  ii. 21:58 hours on 1 November 07, attempted call to mobile phone’s answering service, voicemail ‘901’.

  iii. 22:00 hours on 1 November 07, dial to Meredith’s London bank ‘ABBEY’.

  iv. 22:13:29 hours (9 seconds) on 1 November 07, attempted internet connection. Connection consistent with being attempted from cottage, but inconsistent with being attempted from Mrs.Lana’s.

These dialings are Certain with regard to Existence, Timings, and Location.

Massei Translation, page 331, attributes the above 4 dialings to Meredith absent-mindedly playing with the mobile phone in her hand, and her phone may well have still been in her hand when her attackers surprised her.

8. Phone Location?

Was Meredith’s Phone still in the cottage at Via della Pergola at 22:13:29 hours on 1 November 07? Yes. Certainly.

9. A Tow Truck?

At about 22:30 hours Car broken-down nearby. Tow-Truck called-for.

At about 23:00 hours Tow-Truck arrives to load car.

At about 23:13 hours Tow-Truck leaves with loaded car.

These events Certainly occurred, but those times are approximate.

10. Francesco Called?

@23:41:11 RS’s father attempts phone-call but makes no oral contact. Father leaves message which is not received until 06:02:59 on 2.11.07.

This 23:41:11 call was attempted during the very time-frame of the attack on Meredith, her murder, and the flight of her killers with her mobile telephones. Meredith’s Phone[s] were removed from her cottage by about Midnight, less than 20 minutes after this attempted call.

These phone calls are Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

11. Phone Location?

For 2.11.07 the first record is that of MKP - [0]0:10: 31, (i.e. Very early in the a.m. 10 minutes and 31 seconds after midnight) “when it has been established as an incontrovertible fact that Meredith’s English mobile phone was no longer in Via della Pergola, the mobile phone having received the contact under the coverage from Wind signal [cell] ..25622, which is incompatible with the cottage.”

Was Meredith’s Phone still in the cottage at Via della Pergola at 00:10: 31, 2.11.07? No!

Therefore Meredith’s English mobile phone had been removed from her cottage between 10.13.39 p.m. on 1.11.07 (more likely about 11.13 p.m.  when tow-truck departed) and 0:10:31 on 2:11:07; about 10 ½ minutes after midnight – say Meredith’s Phone[s] Removed By About Midnight, allowing for the time-elapse before being dumped near Mrs. Lana’s place. (Hellmann falsified this time-span on page 14 of his report, stating it to be more than 10 hours after midnight rather than about 10 ½ minutes after midnight.)

12. Phones Stolen?

At some time before Meredith’s attackers fled, they had seized her mobile telephones, probably near the beginning of the attack, having started their attack with a pre-emptive strike to intimidate Meredith, remove all hope, surround her, display knives, seal all possible escape-routes, and remove any possibility of phone-calling for help.

Immediately after Meredith’s scream her attackers had silenced her with the fatal stabbing, and then fled immediately.

They fled with her already-seized but still switched-on mobile telephones, probably without locking anything, including Meredith’s door.

Their over-riding and 1st imperative was not-to-be-caught-at-the-crime-scene.

See item 6. above.

13. Crimescene Meddling?

Having accomplished the Phone-Dump, Meredith’s killers next re-model the crime-scene, minimising the evidences of their identities, cleaning-up the evidences that it was ‘an inside job’, and simulating the appearances that it was ‘an outside job’.

One should bear in mind that these killers should have still been overwhelmed by their having actually committed a crime beyond their wildest imaginings.

Their panic impaired their thinking, and their ignorance, immaturity, inexperience, lack of technical resources and their arrogance precluded their selecting deceptions more effective against knowledgeable, experienced professional crime-investigators with a large fund of resources. They probably think that throwing the stone from inside Filomena’s room was a brilliant deception.

They wish it had never happened.

They wish they could make it unhappen (Hellmann/Zanetti got close to fulfilling this wish, but got themselves unhappened by Cassation)

They wish they could prevent the discovery of Meredith’s murder.

They cannot prevent the discovery of Meredith’s murder.

They may be able to postpone its discovery, but not longer than the inevitable return of the cottage-mates, later that day.

They believe that the person who ‘discovers’ a murder may become 1st-suspect.

They may be able to manouevre others-than-themselves into being the ones that make the discovery – quite a wily aim.

It is beyond reasonable doubt that:

Meredith’s killers seized her mobile telephones, and that

Her killers did not switch-off these mobile telephones, and that.

Her killers threw the telephones into an apparent ravine, landing in Mrs.Lana’s garden, and that

This phone-dump was accomplished before 00:10: 31, 2.11.07, and that

Amanda Knox caused:

    i. the English phone to ring at 12:07:12 (16 seconds) and be discovered by Mrs.Lana’s daughter only because it rang , and

    ii. the other phone, registered to Filomena Romanelli, to ring, very briefly, at 12:11:02 (3 seconds) and,

    iii. the English phone to ring again, also very briefly, at 12:11:54 (4 seconds), after being brought into Mrs.Lana’s house. 6. Sollecito had more than 5 days, from about 11.30 pm on November 1st, 2007 until November 6, 2007, to remove from the killing-knife the traces of Meredith’s DNA.

In the opinion of the Court of Assizes (Massei Translation p.325), Amanda Knox’s call to Meredith’s phone was

...the first indispensible step before putting the [348] planned staging into action. The lack of a reply, since the poor girl was obviously already dead, gave a reason for reassurance about the fact that the young woman’s phone had not somehow been retrieved, [and] was therefore safe in the spot where it had been thrown, which, according to the expectations [in the minds] of the murderers was a precipice or some other inaccessible spot, rather than in the garden of a villa located barely outside the city, where the vegetation concealed it from view.

Knox may well have expected that she was safe from phone-discovery, but these calls turned out to be the very instrument of a phone-discovery.

Had Knox not made these obfuscatory stabs, in the time-frame she made them Meredith’s phone would not have rung when it did ring and would therefore not have been discovered by Mrs. Lana’s daughter when she did discover it.

14. Phone Switched On?

For the day of 2.11.07, when Meredith was already dead, the traffic registered for the Vodafone number was shown to be the following:

00:10:31; duration and caller unspecified, but Wind signal [cell] incompatible with cottage, but compatible with Mrs. Lana’s place.

Therefore, Meredith’s mobile cell-phone had already been taken away from the cottage by her killers. It is not possible to determine from this phone-record whether the phone was switched on or off, but this phone was discovered at Mrs. Lana’s place because it was ringing, and therefore was “on”.

12:11:02 (duration of 3 seconds): Knox’s phone call reached the phone and was diverted to the answering service. The Vodafone cell used by Meredith’s service provider was situated in Strada Vicinale S. Maria della Collina sector 1.

12:11:54 (4 seconds): another call is made by Knox’s phone towards Meredith’s English mobile phone number (the cell used is the one in Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 3, thus compatible with Sollecito’s house)

Three more phone-calls Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

15. Francesco SMS Received?

At 06:02:59 Raffaele Sollecito received the SMS from his father allegedly wishing Raffaelle a good night; from the evidence of the mobile phone record printouts of Dr. Francesco Sollecito, it was shown that the sending of the message occurred at, as has been said, 23:41:11 of 1.11.07. This was the last SMS sent from that mobile phone during the whole day of 1.11.07

3+ Hours after receiving his father’s message from 23:41:11 of 1.11.07:

At 09:24 Raffaele Sollecito received a phone call from his father lasting 248 seconds]

At this time RS’s consiousness would be dominated by his guilty knowledge, and probably far-advanced in the accomplishment of the 3rd imperative.

Did RS and father spend 4+ minutes discussing the weather?

This is the first father/son opportunity to formulate the two-pronged water-leak story.

Although AK had already been to the hardware store 2 hours before, they may well not have known the potential DNA problems with the knife, the need to scrub it vigorously, to clean-out, and repair the drain-pipes under the sink, and the need to return the knife to RS’s kitchen drawer.

As it turned-out, Sollecito had more than 5 days, from about 11.30 pm on November 1st, 2007 until November 6, 2007, to remove from the killing-knife the traces of Meredith’s DNA.

They probably did not know that incriminating stains could be invisible, but can be revealed by Luminol.

16. Francesco Calls Received?

At 09:29 another call was received lasting 38 seconds

At 09:30 (duration unspecified?) the father called Raffaele; the call connected to the Vial Belardi sector 7 cell.(the best server cell for Corso Garibaldi 30).]

These two calls, Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations, were probably spent dotting ‘i’s, crossing ‘t’s, and exchanging options, such as enlisting sister Vanessa’s skills and contacts.

17. More Calls Later?

Another 2+ Hours later:

At 12:07:12 (duration of 16 seconds) Amanda calls the English phone number 00447841131571belonging to Meredith Kercher. The mobile phone connects to the cell at [346] Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 9 (the signal from this cell is picked up at Sollecito’s house)

At 12.08.44 (lasted 68 seconds) Amanda calls Romanelli Filomena on number 347-1073006; the mobile phone connects to the Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 3 cell (which covers Sollecito’s house)

Discovery will be inevitable when Filomena eventually arrives-back at the cottage.

AK/RS have accepted that they have to ‘stand-pat’ with their efforts so-far to accomplish not-to-be-the-“discoverers”-of-Meredith’s-body.

Amanda did not say a word in this phone-call to Filomena about Amanda’s phone call to Meredith, thereby withholding information that should have led Amanda to initiate discovery of Meredith’s body, and help Amanda to manouevre someone other than Amanda into being the one who ‘discovers’ Meredith’s body.

At 12:11:02 (3 seconds) the Vodafone number 348-4673711 belonging to Meredith (this is the one [i.e. SIM card] registered to Romanelli Filomena) is called and its answering service is activated (cell used: Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector3)

18. Yet More Calls?

For the day of 2.11.07, when Meredith was already dead, the traffic registered for the Vodafone number was shown to be the following 5 calls, Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations:

    i. 12:11:02 (duration of 3 seconds): Amanda’s phone call reached the phone and was diverted to the answering service. The Vodafone cell used by Meredith’s service provider was situated in Strada Vicinale S. Maria della Collina sector 1.

    ii. 12:11:54 (4 seconds): another call is made towards Meredith’s English mobile phone number (the cell used is the one in Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 3, thus compatible with Sollecito’s house)

    iii. 12:12:35 (lasting 36 seconds) Romanelli Filomena calls Amanda Knox (No. 348-4673590); Amanda receives the call connecting to the cell on Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 3 (still at Raffaele’s house)

    iv. 12:20:44 (lasting 65 seconds) Romanelli F. calls Amanda, who receives the call connecting to the cell in Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 9 (good for Corso Garibaldi 30)

    v. 12:34:56 (48 seconds): Filomena calls Amanda who receives it from the cottage on Via della Pergola 7 (the cell used is that on Piazza Lupattelli sector 7. As mentioned, Raffaele also used the same cell when he called the service centre at 12:35 hours to recharge [the credit of] his mobile phone)
19. RS Phone Location?

At 12:35: Raffaele’s mobile phone contacted a service centre for a phone [credit] recharge (the cell used was that of Piazza Lupattelli sector 7, which gives coverage to the little house on Via della Pergola 7. The signal in question does not reach Corso Garibaldi 30, which instead is served by the signal from Piazza Lupattelli sector 8)

At 12:38: Vodafone sent R.Sollecito a message of confirmation of phone [credit] recharge (Piazza Lupattelli sector 7 cell, good for Via della Pergola 7)

At 12:40: incoming call from RS’s father’s mobile phone (lasting 67 seconds; connection through Piazza Lupattelli sector 7 cell, compatible with the Sollecito’s presence near the little house)]

At 12:47:23 (duration of 88 seconds): Amanda calls the American (USA) number 00120069326457, using the cell on Piazza Lupatetlli sector 7; the phone call takes place prior to the one which, at 12.51.40, Raffaele Sollecito will make to ‚112?, connecting to the cell on Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 1, which gives coverage to Via della Pergola 7]

In “Waiting To Be Heard” Knox can hardly deny having made this 1st call, acknowledges making the call, and purports, now, to recall its substance, providing the reader with her version of what was said.

At 13:24:18 (duration of 162 seconds): Amanda calls the same American number which corresponds to the home of her mother, Mrs Edda Mellas, using the same cell. It is obvious that the young woman is inside the cottage, where by this point, several minutes earlier, the Postal Police had shown up, [347] represented by Inspector Battistelli and Assistant Marzi, who were engaged in the task of tracking down Filomena Romanelli, who was the owner of the Vodafone phonecard contained in the mobile phone found earlier in the garden of the villa on Via Sperandio]

In “Waiting To Be Heard” Knox can hardly deny having made this 2nd call either, she acknowledges making the call, and provides the reader with her current version of what was said.

20. More Phone Locations?

At 12:50:34 outgoing call directed at mobile phone 347-1323774 belonging to Vanessa Sollecito, sister of the defendant; duration 39 seconds. Connection to Piazza Lupattelli sector 7 cell 320

At 12:51:40 Raffaele Sollecito called ‚112? to inform the Carabinieri of the presumed theft in Romanelli’s room (duration 169 seconds; connection to Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 1 cell, which covers Via della Pergola 7)

At 12:54: a second call by Raffaele to ‚112? (57 sec.; connection to Piazza Lupattelli sector 7 cell)

Three more Sollecito calls Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

21. More Phone Locations?

At 13:17:10 (lasting 1 second) to Meredith’s phone: the cell used was located in the same place, sector 7

At 13:27:32 (duration of 26 seconds): Amanda calls the American number 0012069319350, still using the cell at Piazza Lupattelli sector 7.

At 13:29:00 (duration of 296 seconds) Amanda receives [a call] from No. 075/54247561 (Piazza Lupattelli sector 7 cell)

Three more Knox calls Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

22. Another Phone Location?

At 13:40:12: incoming call from his father to RS (94 sec.; Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 1 cell)

Another Sollecito call Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

23. More Knox Calls?

At 13:48:33 (1 second): this is an attempted call to AK’s mother’s number

At 13:58:33 (1 second): this is an attempted call to her mother’s number

The above item is a faithful translation from the Massei Motivazione section on Amanda Knox’s mobile phone traffic, but is listed out-of-time-sequence; the assigned-time is probably a ‘typo’ – “13:48:33” is much more likely correct.

Two more Knox calls Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

24. Francesco Call?

14:33: Sollecito’s father called Sollecito for 21 seconds (as above)]

Do RS and father exchange more caveats in their call Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations?

25. More Knox Locations?

At 14:46:14 (102 seconds) Amanda receives a call from the German number 494154794034, most likely belonging to her aunt Doroty Craft

Call to Meredith’s phone at 15:13:43 (5 seconds) cell not indicated.

At 15:31:51 (1 second): Knox receives an SMS sent from the number 389/1531078; at this point the cell being used is the one on Via Cappuccinelli 5/A sector 2, where the Questura [police headquarters] is located.

Two more Knox-related calls Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

In the hours that followed the [mobile phone record] printouts show that the answering service of Amanda’s number 348-4673590 was activated due to a lack of signal coverage.

Massei Translation p.324:

Finally, the analyses of the [phone record] printouts highlight that the first phone call made by Amanda on the day of 2 November was to Meredith Kercher’s English number.

The American student called her English flatmate even before contacting Romanelli Filomena to whom she intended to express, as she testified in court, her fears about the strange things she had seen in the cottage, which she had returned to at about 11 o’clock in order to shower in preparation for the excursion to Gubbio which she and Raffaele had planned.

It is strange that Amanda did not say a word to Filomena about the phone call to their flatmate, when the call, not having been answered, would normally have caused anxiety and posed some questions as to why Meredith did not answer the phone at such an advanced hour of the day.

26. Sollecito Locations?

At 17:01: RS’s father called RS for 164 seconds; cell used is that of Via Cappucinelli 5/A sector 2, corresponding to the location of the Perugia Police Station

At 17:42: RS’s father called RS for 97 seconds (as above).

With regard to Raffaele Sollecito’s landline home phone (No. 075-9660789)

The above 2 calls presumably covered final agreements on the Father/son stories.

For the entire day of 1 November and then of 2 November, Raffaele Sollecito’s fixed line was not affected by any calls, either incoming or outgoing.


This series continues here.


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