Subject area: Justice systems

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Netflixhoax 19(c) - Yet More On A Genuine, Huge Justice Problem In The US Dishonest Netflix Ignored

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 08/16/17 at 11:58 AM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in Justice systemsOther systemsHoaxers - main mediaThe Netflix hoax
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Friday, August 11, 2017

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Marc Morje Howard

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Susie Madrak

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

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

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

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

Posted on 08/11/17 at 12:21 PM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in Justice systemsOther systemsHoaxers - main mediaThe Netflix hoax
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Wednesday, November 02, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep watching! 

Posted on 11/02/16 at 10:59 AM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemThe wider contextsItalian contextEurope context
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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

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

Posted by Swansea Jack


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not even Raffaele supports this version of events.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    CARLA VECCHIOTTI: “Yes absolutely”

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

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

    STEFANO CONTI: “Anything is possible”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



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

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


1. Wrong “facts” and numerous omissions

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

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

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

We shall be deconstructing the various wrong “facts”.

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

We shall be adding in the numerous omissions.

2. The report’s macro-level takeaways

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

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

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

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

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

(1) The REAL Dr Mignini

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


(2) Italy’s REAL justice system

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

President Giorgio Napolitano simply ignored both of them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Subject of future posts. Check back shortly.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Harder & Harder & Harder To Claim No Evidence Or 2009 Jury Got The Verdict Wrong

Posted by azoza



A rough physical equivalent of our document library

Overview

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can see that logic strongly at work here.

Four search approaches

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

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Main_Page

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

The last branch will be done when uploads are complete.

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

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Master_list

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

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Files_by_type

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

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Court_motivation_reports

All court testimony PDFs are here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Court_testimony

All deposition and interrogation PDFs here:

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

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Reports

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

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

(4) By chronology pages organize files by date:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Files_by_chronology

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

Important files:

Crime scene:

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

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Crime_scene_photos

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

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

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

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

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

Crime scene video is here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Crime_scene_videos

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

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

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

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

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

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

CCTV:

We have made films of CCTV capture:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_CCTV_videos

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

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

DNA:

We have DNA report complete and in color:

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

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

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

Egrams in color are here:

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

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

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Reports

UACV report:

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

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

More UACV materials are here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Presentations

Rinaldi & Boemia:

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

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

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

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Reports

Conti & Vecchiotti critiques:

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

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

and her written report here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Medical consultants:

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

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

Related reports (all censored for disturbing content):

Autopsy:

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

Matteini’s consultants:

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

Mignini’s consultants (replacing Lalli):

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

Dr. Mignini:

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

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

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

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

Formal charges issued in English from July 2008:

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

Final fingerprint report:

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

Court testimony:

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

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Court_testimony

Much of Micheli is audio only, which is here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Court_audios

Various:

This Kokomani interview with Canale 5:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Interview_videos

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

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

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

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


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Netflixhoax 3: Omitted - Dr Mignini Responds To A Reporter Misrepresenting Him About The Report

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


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


1. The Wider Context

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


2. Judy Bachrach’s Latest Crackpot Claims

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

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

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

It pays to understand four things.

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

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

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

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

3. Dr Mignini Corrects The Record At Length

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

Dr Mignini speaks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, August 25, 2016

The West Memphis Three: Another Instance Where A Strong Pro-Guilt Case Is Being Garbled For Profit

Posted by The Machine



Above: Still under a cloud: Jessie Misskelley, Jason Baldwin, and Damien Echols

1. Overview of the series

In my last post on how media hype can badly tangle crime cases, I examined Sarah Koenig’s biased coverage of the Adnan Syed case for the Serial podcasts and her flawed approach to assessing the evidence against him.

In this post, I will analyse a critically acclaimed documentary about another alleged miscarriage of justice: West of Memphis and associated media hype.

The Peter Jackson documentary claims three men known as the West Memphis Three (the WM3) were wrongly convicted as child killers and points the finger at another man.

2. West Memphis 3 background

In May 1993, three eight-year-old boys - Steve Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore - were found dead in a ditch in West Memphis in the US state of Arkansas. There is a crimescene video at the bottom here.

They had been stripped and bound. Steve Branch and Michael Moore had drowned and Christopher Byers had bled to death after his genitals had been mutilated and partially removed.

Three teenagers - Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley - were arrested following a tip that Echols had been seen covered in mud the evening the boys disappeared and Misskelley gave a confession.

The WM3 were convicted of murder in 1994 (see the judge and courthouse below) and sent to prison.

However, they were freed in August 2011 after taking an Alford plea. This is a deal which allowed them to maintain their innocence while agreeing prosecutors had enough evidence to convict them.



Above: the three 8-year-old victims

3. The media campaigns

There have been high-profile campaigns to free the WM3 and cast doubt on their convictions. HBO Television made three films about the case: Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, Paradise Lost 2 Revelations and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory. CBS News produced a documentary about the case entitled A Cry for Innocence.

A number of celebrities and musicians supported the WM3, including Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam, James Hetfield from Metallica, Henry Rollins, actor Johnny Depp, Natalie Mains from The Dixie Chicks, and film director Peter Jackson.  Do any of these celebrities put forward a compelling case for innocence?

In a word - no.

Johnny Depp and Henry Rollins basically say they could relate to Damian Echols.

“I immediately related to Damien and what he went through growing up. He comes from a small town from Arkansas. I come from a relatively small town in Kentucky. I can remember being kind of looked upon as a freak or, you know, different because I didn’t dress like everybody else. So I can empathize with being judged by how you look as opposed to who you are.” (Johnny Depp, A Cry for Innocence, CBS News).

“Damien liked to hang out alone and wrote he was depressed. Hello! He liked to listen to weird music. Check! He was a wise ass in the face of law enforcement. Are you kidding? It could have been me.” (Henry Rollins, West of Memphis)

.

After reading some of the comments in the media about the WM3 case, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Damien Echols was only a suspect because he wore black, listened to Metallica and read Stephen King books.

This comment by Guardian journalist Emma John is a typical comment by the supporters of the WM3

“At their subsequent trial, evidence introduced by the prosecution included the fact that Echols wore Metallica T-shirts and read Stephen King novels”

Several documentaries angled to exonerate the three have been widely promoted on HBO and Netflix including this one.



Above: one of the documentaries

Emma John and countless other journalists, as well as the producers of Paradise Lost and West of Memphis, completely ignore Echols’ startling mental health records - Exhibit 500 - that show he was a seriously disturbed and violent individual.

He was sent to a mental health hospital on three separate occasions. He threatened a number of people with violence and on occasion attacked others. For example, he threatened to kill his parents and to eat his father alive and he admitted trying to “claw the eyes of out” of a student. According to a report, Echols sucked the blood from the wound of one of the boys in Arkansas Juvenile Detention Center.

Damien Echols’ lawyers presented his mental health records as evidence in the sentencing phase of his trial, presumably to convince the jury he was mentally ill and not fully responsible for his actions, in order to spare him from the death penalty.

4. The West of Memphis production


West of Memphis
is available to watch on the streaming for-pay movie site Netflix. Netflix flatly states that the West Memphis Three are innocent.

“They spent 18 years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit—and the real killer is still out there.”

There’s no legal basis for such an unequivocal claim. The WM3 accepted the court’s judgement of guilt. They were not acquitted by a jury or exonerated by the Supreme Court of the United States.

West of Memphis doesn’t provide any credible exculpatory evidence to support Netflix’s categorial assertion that the WM3 are innocent. No-one should expect this to be the case because if there had been any exculpatory evidence, it would have been presented in court.

A couple of the prosecution’s witnesses recanted their testimony, but that doesn’t mean the entire case against the WM3 collapses. In the Perugia case Judge Massei didn’t find two of the prosecution’s witnesses to be credible, but he and the other judges still found Knox and Sollecito guilty of Meredith Kercher’s murder. 

The Telegraph and Empire gave West of Memphis five stars out of five. The Guardian gave it four stars. Does the documentary deserve such high ratings from these mainstream media organisations?


If you compare West of Memphis to Andrea Vogt’s documentary about the Meredith Kercher case is Amanda Knox Guilty? (which is the gold standard for true crime documentaries because it’s balanced and factually accurate) you have to conclude that it’s light years away from being anywhere near as good as Andrea Vogt’s documentary.

The producers haven’t made a balanced and objective documentary that lets the audience make up their own minds. As with all documentaries about people who have been convicted of murders they allegedly didn’t commit, the cherrypicked story is told primarily from the defence point of view.

This isn’t surprising - Damian Echols and his wife were two of the producers.

I strongly suspect this is also the reason why most of the evidence that led to the convictions of the WM3 is completely ignored. When I found this out, I felt that the producers had been sly and dishonest. Their commitment is clearly to the WM3 - and not the truth. 

If you want to have an informed opinion on the WM3 and to understand why they were convicted, you need to read the official court documents and witness statements, and then consider all the pieces of evidence as a whole.

When you research the case for yourself, you will discover that Damian Echols didn’t become a suspect because he wore black, was different, and a bit of an outsider.

When he was questioned in connection with the murder of the three boys, he failed a polygraph test.

A ten question polygraph test was formulated and three polygraph charts were conducted. The test contained the following relevant questions:

Q.#3. At any time wednesday or wednesday night, were you in robin hood hills? “No”

Q.#5. Were you present when those boys were killed? “No”

Q.#7. Did you kill any of those three boys? “No”

Q.#9. Do you know who killed those three boys? “No”

Q.#10.do you suspect anyone of having killed those three boys? “No”

It is the opinion of this polygraph examiner that this subject recorded significant responses indicative of deception when he answered the above listed relevant questions in the manner noted.

Conclusion: deception indicated.

By reading the official court documents, you will also discover that Echols knew specific details about the crime.

“Detective Bryn Ridge testified that Echols said he understood the victims had been mutilated, with one being cut up more than the others, and that they had drowned. Ridge testified that when Echols made the statement, the fact that Christopher Byers had been mutilated more than the other two victims was not known by the public. The jury could have reasonably concluded that Echols would not have known this fact unless he were involved in some manner.

“Echols took the witness stand, and his testimony contained additional evidence of guilt. When asked about his statement that one victim was mutilated more than the others, he said he learned the fact from newspaper accounts. His attorney showed him the newspaper articles about the murders. On cross-examination, Echols admitted that the articles did not mention one victim being mutilated more than the others, and he admitted that he did not read such a fact in a newspaper.”

(Damien Wayne ECHOLS and Charles Jason Baldwin v. STATE of Arkansas,Supreme Court of Arkansas)



Above: Judge (now State Senator) David Burnett

The police obtained further corroboration that Damian Echols had been involved in the murder of Steve Branch, Michael Moore and Chris Byers when his friend Jessie Misskelley told them that he, Echols and Jason Baldwin had attacked and killed the boys.

“On June 3, or almost one month after the murders, Detective Mike Allen asked Jessie Lloyd Misskelley, Jr., about the murders. Misskelley was not a suspect at the time, but Echols was, and it was thought that Misskelley might give some valuable information about Echols. Detective Allen had been told all three engaged in cult-like activities. Misskelley made two statements to the detective that implicated Echols and Baldwin, as well as himself. The statements can be found in Misskelley v. State, 323 Ark. 449, 459-61, 915 S.W.2d 702, 707-08 (1996).”

(Damien Wayne ECHOLS and Charles Jason Baldwin v. STATE of Arkansas,Supreme Court of Arkansas).

It should be noted that Jessie Misskelley repeatedly claimed that he, Echols and Baldwin had killed the boys before and after he was convicted. On one occasion, he confessed despite being warned not to by his lawyer.

This should trouble anyone who believes the WM3 are innocent because Misskelley wasn’t threatened or promised any deal by the investigators.

He may have a low IQ, but he wasn’t hallucinating when he made these confessions. In short, they were voluntary statements made over a significant period of time - from 3 June 1993 to 17 February 1994.

Furthermore, Misskelley also knew specific details about the crime. He told the police that Christopher Byers had been castrated in an interview on 3 June 1993.

RIDGES: Cutting him in the face. Alright, another boy was cut I understand.  Where was he cut at?

JESSIE: At the bottom

RIDGE: On his bottom? Was he faced down and he was cutting on him, or

JESSIE: He was

GITCHELL: Now you’re talking about bottom, do you mean right here?

JESSIE: Yes

GITCHELL: In his groin area?

JESSIE: Yes

GITCHELL: Okay

RIDGE: Do you know what his penis is?

JESSIE: Yeah, that’s where he was cut at.

RIDGE: That’s where he was cut.

GITCHELL: Which boy was that?

JESSIE: That one right there.

GITCHELL: You’re talking about the Byers boy again?

JESSIE: Yes

GITCHELL: Okay

RIDGE: Are you sure that he was the one that was cut?

JESSIE: That’s the one that I seen them cutting on.

RIDGE: Alright, you know what a penis is?

JESSIE: Yeah

RIDGE: Alright, is that where he was cutting?

JESSIE: That’s where I seen them going down at, and he was on his back. I seen them going down right there real close to his penis and stuff and I saw some blood and that’s when I took off.

Jessie Misskelley’s claim that Christopher Byers was castrated was corroborated by the autopsy report.

“The skin of the penis, scrotal sac and testes were missing. There was a large gaping defect measuring 2 3/4 inch by 1 1/2 inch. The shaft of the penis was present and measured 2 inches in length. The gaping defect was surrounded by multiple and extensive irregular punctate gouging type injuries measuring from 1/8 inch to 3/4 inch and had a depth of penetration of 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch.”

In West of Memphis, it’s claimed that turtles might be responsible for the missing genitals. I found this theory to be fanciful to say the least.

According to the medical examiner, Chris Byers bled to death because his genitals had been mutilated and partially removed. I believe Jessie Miskelley that this happened before he was thrown into the ditch.



Above: the courthouse about 100 miles north of West Memphis

In the same interview, Jessie Misskelley told the police officers that one of the boys was cut in his face.

RIDGE: Okay, now when this is going on, when this is taking place, you saw somebody with a knife. Who had a knife?

JESSIE: Jason

RIDGE: Jason had a knife, what did he cut with the knife. What did you see him cut or who did you see him cut?

JESSIE: I saw him cut one of the little boys

RIDGE: Alright, where did he cut him at?

JESSIE: He was cutting him in the face.

Prosecutor John Fogleman highlighted the fact that Jessie Misskelley knew facts that nobody else knew in his closing argument. He pointed out that Misskelley knew one of the boys had been cut in the fact and that this specific detail wasn’t mentioned in any of the newspapers.

Nothing in there [the newspapers] about a boy being cut in the face. Said they were beat up real bad, but nothing, nothing in there about somebody being cut in the face. He [Jessie Misskelley] says, “Yes, one of them was cut in the face.”

Jessie Misskelley also claimed that Damian Echols grabbed one of the boys by the ear and that the ear was discoloured as a result.

MISSKELLEY: He [Damian Echols] grabbed one of’m by the ear, I don’t know which one, he grabbed on of’m by the ear trying to pull his ear off or something. He grabbed’m pretty tight. It turned kind of red.

This was also corroborated by the autopsy report for Chris Byers. According to the report, he suffered injuries to his right ear:

“Head Injuries:

The right ear was abraded and contused. The inferior aspect of the right ear showed multiple linear abrasions measuring 1/2 inch to 1 1/4 inch.”

When you find out the three boys were stripped and two of them had injuries to their genitals, it’s natural to assume there must have been a sexual motive. Jessie Misskelley told the police that Damian Echols and Jason Baldwin sexually assaulted two of the boys.

JESSIE: Then they [Damian Echols and Jason Baldwin] tied them up, tied their hands up, they started screwing them and stuff, cutting them and stuff, and I saw it and turned around and looked, and then I took off running, I went home, then they called me and asked me, how come I didn’t stay, I told them, I just couldn’t.

John Fogleman also drew the jury’s attention to the fact that Jessie Misskelley knew that two of the boys had been sexually assaulted - something that was also corroborated by the autopsy reports. Chris Byers and Steve Branch had injuries to their genitals.

Finally, in talking about the boys being sexually abused, Inspector Gitchell says, “So they both did it to all three of the boys?” Jessie: “Just them two as far as I know.”



Above: bridge west from Memphis; crime scene is just one mile ahead

According to Lisa Sakevicius - a criminalist from the state lab - the three victims were tied with three different knots.

Her testimony would seem to rule out that the three boys were killed by a single attacker and indicate there were three attackers.

Jessie Misskelley didn’t just confess to the police. According to his friend Buddy Lucas, Misskelley also confessed to him.

Lucas - so we sit there, sit there, and I said, he said man me jason and damien we went walking last night in the town of west memphis, I said why didn’t you all come by and get me? we will we uh, we were in a hurry and everything go up there and come back home. I said alright I understand (inaudible) now since I found out I’m kinda glad he didn’t come by and get me

Ridge - okay, what did he tell you he do?

Lucas - we…. he told me that uh, that he got in a fight, that’s what he told me at first

Ridge - okay

Lucas - I said damien and jason they helped you? He said um-yea and everything so I said well did you all hurt anybody? And he said yea, I didn’t think it was those 8 year old kids or anything, so I turn around and come to found out that jason he was with jason and damien when they sacrificed them little kids. I was come and tell you all

Ridge - he tells you he’s in some trouble?

Lucas - uh-huh

Ridge - and what did he tell you he was in trouble over?

Lucas - that he really, he said um, we hurt, uh…. uh we hurt a couple of boys, that jason and damien killed

Ridge - okay

Lucas - couple, I said was you involved? He said yea, I said what did you do? I finally got it talked out of him what did he do, he said I hit uh, a couple in the back of the head

Ridge - okay, and

Lucas - and everything to keep them from running and everything

Ridge - and that’s what he told you?

Lucas - yes sir

Two witnesses claimed that Damian Echols admitted he had killing the three boys.

Twelve-year-old Christy VanVickle testified that she heard Echols say he “killed the three boys.” Fifteen-year-old Jackie Medford testified that she heard Echols say, “I killed the three little boys and before I turn myself in, I’m going to kill two more, and I already have one of them picked out.”

The testimony of these two independent witnesses was direct evidence of the statement by Echols. These witnesses were cross-examined by Echols counsel, and it was the jury’s province to weigh their credibility.

(Damien Wayne ECHOLS and Charles Jason Baldwin v. STATE of Arkansas,Supreme Court of Arkansas).




5. Alternative perp Terry Hobbs

The producers of West of Memphis make a case for Terry Hobbs - the stepfather of Steve Branch - being the killer and that his friend David Jacoby was a possible accomplice. However, Hamish McKenzie points out in an article for The Atlantic that the filmmakers are guilty of hypocrisy.

“But the rave reviews miss a dangerous hypocrisy at the heart of the film, which was paid for and produced by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, and directed by Amy Berg. In their quest to clear the names of the “West Memphis Three"—Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, Jr. who were teenagers when they were convicted for the 1993 killings—the filmmakers decide that they have found the actual murderer: Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of one of the murdered boys. And in publicly making the case against him, they perpetrate a similar sort of injustice to the one they originally set out to correct: relying on questionable evidence to prosecute in the court of public opinion.”

The producers of West of Memphis point the finger at Hobbs because he has a history of domestic violence, he gave inconistent alibis and they think two hairs found at the crime scene implicate him and his friend Jacoby. However, Thomas Fedor, one of the defence experts, called the hairs weak evidence.

“The two hairs that I know about – the one that could have in fact come from Mr. Hobbs and the one that could have in fact come from David Jacoby – constitute what I call weak evidence. Because there are other people it could have come from and there isn’t any way to really prove our selection of possible sources for that hair.

I don’t think – my personal opinion – I don’t think that that hair evidence would be enough to convict Mr. Hobbs or Mr. Jacoby or anyone that would be in a similar situation because it’s simply not strong enough.

The percentages I gave of people who could be the source of those hairs are 1.5% of the population in the respect to one hair and 7% in respect to the other hair. That’s not particularly strong evidence and especially in the context of what most people are accustomed to with DNA testing.” (Thomas Fedor, Forensic Serologist).


6. Some conclusions

Concluding the WM3 are innocent on the basis of watching West of Memphis would be like concluding Amanda Knox is innocent after reading Waiting to Be Heard. The documentary is clearly biased and one-sided.

The producers did not address most of the evidence that led to the convictions of the WM3 let alone refute it. This is not surprising when you consider the fact that Damian Echols is one of the producers.

The defence lawyers assessed the evidence and recommended that their clients accept a court judgement of guilt. Surely if there was no credible evidence against the WM3 they would have opted for a new trial. If they had been found not guilty, they would have been able to sue the state for millions of dollars.

The supposedly exculpatory evidence was that some DNA was recovered from the crime scene was not attributable to any of the victims or the WM3. Since it is not known to whom that DNA belongs, one cannot say what that person’s role, if any, was and whether the evidence would help the defendants.




Above: from freeway, crime scene is by a creek within trees in left background

7. Valuable Sources

Click: ‘West Memphis Three’ freed after 18 years in prison

Click: Damien Echols: Statements and Polygraph Reports (May 9-10, 1993)

Click: Supreme Court of Arkansas

Click: Closing Argument of John Fogleman

Click: Damien Echols - mental health records - Exhibit 500

Click: Peter Jackson’s West of Memphis: the tale of three wronged men

Click: Damien Echols: how I survived death row

Click: West Memphis Three Facts

Click: The Unsettling Recklessness of Peter Jackson’s ‘West of Memphis’

Click: Misskelley v. State

Click: Statement of Jessie L. Misskelley, Jr. (June 3, 1993 at 2:44 P.M.)

Click: Statement of Jessie Misskelley, Jr. February 17, 1994

Click: Autopsy report for Steven Branch

Click: Autopsy report for Chris Byers

Click: Autopsy report for Michael Moore

Click: Lisa Sakevicius’s testimony

Click: A Skeptic’s Guide To The West Memphis Three Documentaries

Click: Is Amanda Knox Guilty?


[Below: The crime scene about 1 mile west of Memphis - warning, images of the murdered boys are included]

Posted on 08/25/16 at 12:32 AM by The MachineClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Tuesday, August 09, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell





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

Maybe 9 out of 10 Italians think this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 08/09/16 at 06:52 AM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Artificially Controversial Adnan Syed Case Adds To Tilt Against Victims Worldwide

Posted by The Machine



Victim Hae Min Lee; bottom, podcaster Sarah Koenig basking in celebrity

1. The Media Overview

Doug Preston, John Douglas, Steve Moore and Bruce Fischer are by no means the only crackpots in America perpetrating innocence fraud.

Their main distinction was to perpetrate it in English against a victim and a police and court system of other countries, using ignorance and smears and a largely complicit American media to trample hard truths in the case.

But innocence fraud is still a tiny industry in Italy as compared with the godzilla it is becoming in America - often with politically vulnerable judges and usually with naive do-gooders in compliance. 

2. The Adnan Syed/Hae Min Lee serial podcast

Much of the public seems to have developed an insatiable appetite for documentaries about people who have been convicted of murders they allegedly didn’t commit. Faux TV documentaries title American Girl, Italian Nightmare, Paradise Lost, West of Memphis, and Making of a Murderer, have all been watched by millions of people.

Podcasts are another way of reaching them. Wikipedia defines a podcast as “a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.”

High school student Hae Min Lee was the victim in this 1999 Baltimore murder case and her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was convicted in 2000 of her murder and is serving a life sentence plus 30 years. 

The serial podcast about the Adnan Syed/Hae Min Lee case has been downloaded over 80 million times now. According to Apple, it’s the fastest podcast to reach five million downloads and streams in the history of iTunes.

In the light of public sentiment inflamed by it a retrial has been ordered, a ruling which Maryland’s attorney general will now seek to overturn.

Why was this serial podcast so popular?

Natasha Vargas-Cooper and Ken Silverstein made the following observation about the success of Serial in an article about the case for The Intercept:

“The reality is that ‘Serial’ only worked if it could demonstrate that there were serious doubts about the fairness of Syed’s trial and conviction. If he were guilty, there was no story. The storytelling device was to amplify claims that favored Syed’s defense and contrast that with a watered-down version of the state’s case”

TV producers and podcast makers know full well that an innocent person being railroaded by corrupt or incompetent cops is a far more melodramatic story than a run-of-the-mill domestic violence murder.

Paul Ciolino admitted in a question and answer session about the Meredith Kercher case at Seattle University that CBS News didn’t care whether someone was innocent. The only thing they care about is the story.

“I work for CBS News. I want to tell you one thing about CBS. We don’t care if you did it. We don’t care if you’re innocent. We like a story. We want to do a story. That’s all we care about.”

CBS News produced one of the most biased and factually inaccurate documentaries about the Meredith Kercher case “American Girl, Italian Nightmare”.

The CBS documentary is an archetypal example of innocence fraud. The story is told primarily from the defence point of view, incriminating pieces of evidence are ignored and the programme contains a number of significant factual errors.

3. Faults by podcast creator Sarah Koenig

The Serial is another example of innocence fraud. Sarah Koenig, the executive producer and host of Serial, tries to be partial and objective, but fails miserably.

Instead of maintaining a professional distance from Adnan Syed, she becomes emotionally attached to him, and it’s clear she desperately wants to believe he’s innocent.

She can barely hide her disappointment when she finds out things that show Syed in a bad light. Her comments that Syed doesn’t seem like a killer are just crass. She comes across as an unwordly academic who has been sheltered from the real world in her ivory tower. 

She says she doesn’t buy the motive put forward by the prosecution i.e. Adnan Syed couldn’t deal with being dumped by Hae Min Lee and it erupted in violence.

In reality, people kill other people for the most banal and trivial reasons. She doesn’t seem to understand that there are seven billion on the planet and not everyone shares her logic and morals. There have been a number of high-profile murder cases where seemingly normal people have committed horrific and senseless murders with little or no motive.

And motive is not a required element in any common law jurisdiction.

She adopts a piecemeal cherrypicking approach to the evidence and analyses each piece of evidence in isolation from the other pieces of evidence. If there’s an alternative innocent explanation not matter how far-fetched it is, she wrongly assumes it nullifies that particular piece of evidence.

It’s no surprise she concludes there isn’t enough evidence to convict Adnan Syed of murder: “It’s not enough, to me, to send anyone to prison for life.”

She doesn’t understand the concept and application of the “beyond a reasonable doubt standard” and that all the pieces of evidence have to be considered wholly, not separately - by a jury actually present to size up all witnesses.

According to the Supreme Court of the United States in Victor. Nebraska (92-8894), 511 U.S. 1 (1994):

“…absolute or mathematical certainty is not required.”

“You may be convinced of the truth of a fact beyond a
reasonable doubt and yet be fully aware that possibly you may be mistaken.”

You put all the pieces of evidence together to see whether a picture of guilt emerges.

According to the Supreme Court of Canada in Stewart v. The Queen, [1977] 2 SCR 748:

“It may be, and such is often the case, that the facts proven by the Crown, examined separately have not a very strong probative value; but all the facts put in evidence have to be considered each one in relation to the whole, and it is all of them taken together, that may constitute a proper basis for a conviction.”






4. Main facts of the case against Adnan Syed

The key pieces of evidence in the case were the testimony of his friend Jay Wilds and the mobile phone records which destroyed Adnan Syed’s initial alibi that he was at the mosque on the evening of 13 January 1999 - the day Hae Min Lee disappeared- and corroborated Wilds’ claims that he and Adnan were in Leakin Park that evening.

This is significant because Hae Min Lee’s body was found in Leakin Park. There’s no question that Jay Wilds had inside knowledge about the murder - he led the police to Hae Min Lee’s car. He confessed to being an accessory to murder after the fact.

On 13 January 1999, Hae Min Lee was supposed to pick up her cousin from the Campfield Early Learning Center after school and take her home. She must have been abducted by her killer whilst on the way to the kindergarten.

This means the window of opportunity for her killer to abduct her was extremely narrow. It takes approximately 11 minutes to drive the 3.8 miles from Woodlawn High School to the kindergarten. 

Jay Wilds told the police that Adnan Syed’s plan was to get a lift with Hae Min Lee. Becky and Krista, who were friends with Hae and Syed, claim they heard him asking Hae for a lift on 13 January 1999. Scott Adcock, a police officer, testified that Syed had told him he had asked Hae for a lift that day.

Syed would later deny that he had asked Hae for a lift. Adnan Syed had lent Wilds his mobile phone and car that day. However, it should be pointed out that it wasn’t the first time that Syed had done this.

Kevin Urick, one of the prosecutors, acknowledged in his interview with The Intercept that the two key pieces of evidence - the mobile records and Jay Wilds’ testimony - are of weaker probative value when considered separately, but pointed out that when you put them together, they are strong pieces of evidence.

“Jay’s testimony by itself, would that have been proof beyond a reasonable doubt?” Urick asked rhetorically. “Probably not. Cellphone evidence by itself? Probably not.”

But, he said, when you put together cellphone records and Jay’s testimony, “they corroborate and feed off each other–it’s a very strong evidentiary case.”

He also pointed out that the mobile phone records destroyed Adnan Syed’s alibi that he was at the mosque on the evening of 13 January 1999. From The Intercept:

“Yes. Early on in the Syed case, the defense sent us a disclosure of about eighty names stating that these were witnesses that were going to testify that Syed was at the mosque because it was Ramadan. He was praying all evening and that’s where he was [Intercept ed’s. note: We have corrected this in the introduction].

If they called those eighty witnesses, they would’ve obviously been testifying falsely, because the cellphone records in conjunction with all the evidence we gathered about the cellphone towers, who made the calls, who received them, place him everywhere but at the mosque.

The best defense an attorney can put on is the defense the client is telling them. But attorneys still are not supposed to put on fabricated evidence. And that would’ve been fabricated evidence. And I think once Gutierrez recognized that fact, she did not put it on.”

Adnan Syed chose not to testify at both his trials. If he had, Kevin Urick would have asked him a pertinent question.

“And my very last question would be, what is your explanation for why you either received or made a call from Leakin Park the evening that Hae Min Lee disappeared, the very park that her body was found in five weeks later?”

The mobile phone records also showed there was a call from his mobile phone to his friend Nisha’s landline at 3:32pm on the day Hae disappeared. This is significant because Jay Wilds didn’t know Nisha and Adnan Syed claims he didn’t have his phone at this time as Jay Wilds had it. The phone call lasted more than two minutes.

Sarah Koening speculates that the Nisha call could have been a “butt dial”.

Dana Chivvis, one of the “Serial” producers, puts the pieces of evidence together in episode 12 and seems to have serious reservations about Adnan Syed’s innocence.

“Adnan has always said it was his idea to loan Jay the car because he wanted to get Stefanie a birthday present right. So that’s pretty crappy luck that you loaned this guy who ends up pointing the finger at you for the murder that you loaned him your car and cell phone the day you ex-girlfriend goes missing. The next thing is that it seems pretty clear to me that Adnan asked Hae for a ride after school because we’ve got at least two of their friends saying they overheard him ask for a ride from Hae.

Adnan himself tells the cop that day he asked Hae for a ride. And In Jay’s first interview with the detectives, he says to them Adnan’s plan was to get in Hae’s car by telling her that his car was broken down and asking her for a ride. Then the next piece of bad luck is the Nisha call. I mean even if the Nisha call could potentially be a butt dial… in the realm of possibility maybe it was a butt dial, but what are the chances? Like that sucks for for you that your phone butt dialled the girl that only you know and would call on this day your ex-girlfriend goes missing that you happen to loan your car and phone out to the guy who ends up pointing the finger at you. That sucks.

And the last thing that I think really sucks for him if he’s innocent is that Jay’s story and the cell phone records match up from about 6 o’clock to about 8 o’clock which is when Jay is saying that you’re burying the body and that’s the time of day when you have no memory of where you were…But you Adnan you don’t really remember where you were that evening and that blank spot in your memory that’s the window of time when Jay’s story actually does seem to be corroborated by the cell phone records.”

It’s important to put the evidence that Dana Chivvis outlines into the wider context of Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee’s deteriorating relationship.

In November 1998, two months before Hae Min Lee was murdered, she wrote a break-up note to Syed telling him to move on, accept her decision to end their relationship, and to “hate me if you will.” On the back of the note Adnan Syed wrote: “I’m going to kill.”

Is it a coincidence that two months later that Hae Min Lee was killed?

Is it a coincidence that Adnan Syed can remember very little about this day even though it wasn’t an ordinary day because the police called him to tell that Hae was missing and asked him if he knew where she was?

Ann Brocklehurst wrote a blog article criticising Sarah Koenig for consistently minimising the warning signs of intimate partner violence and noted that she overlooked that fact that Hae had asked a teacher, Hope Schab, to help her hide from Syed.




5. Doubts Sarah Koenig tries to raise

Sarah Koenig seems to think that Asia McClain is a credible witness - she claims she saw Adan Syed in the library that afternoon. However, Kevin Urick points out why the judge in the post-conviction trial didn’t take her claim seriously.

“I think the judge in the post-conviction trial does a very good job of pointing out that in the letters to Syed, she is very vague and indifferent about what she’s doing. The difficulty comes from Syed. In all his statements about his whereabouts the day of the case he says that he was at the school from 2:15pm to 3:30pm.

He never once, in any statement, at any time, made any reference about being in the public library. His defense was that he was at the school from 2:30 to 3:30. So [Asia McClain’s] reporting seeing him at the public library contradicts what he says he was doing.”

Kevin Urick also stated that Asia McClain told him she was being put under a lot of pressure from Adnan Syed’s family.

“Asia contacted me before the post-conviction hearing, she got my number and called me and expressed to me a great deal of concern about whether or not she would have to testify at the post-conviction hearing. She told me she was under a lot of pressure from Adnan’s family and to get them off her back she wrote him a couple letters.

The implication was she was trying to appease them and she didn’t want to have to stick by it at that time. And I testified to that when I appeared in the post-conviction hearing.”

Sarah Koenig also seems to think that Jay Wilds’ testimony shouldn’t have been used to convict Adnan Syed because he gave conflicting accounts. Kevin Urick explained why these inconsistencies don’t discredit him as a witness.

“Like I said, people who are engaged in criminal activity, it’s like peeling an onion. The initial thing they say is, ‘I don’t know a thing about this.’ And then ‘Well, I sort of saw this.’ You get different stories as you go along. This is the real world. We don’t pick our witnesses, we have to put them on as they are. There were a lot of inconsistencies throughout Jay’s prior statements. Almost all of them involve what we would call collateral facts.

“A material fact is something directly related to the question of guilt or innocence. A material fact would have been, ‘I was with Adnan,’ and then you’ve got the cellphone corroborating that material fact. A collateral fact would be, We were at Joe’s Sub Shop,’ but then you find out actually they were at the auto repair store. That’s a collateral fact. It’s not necessarily material to the question of guilt or innocence. So, many of the material facts were corroborated through the cellphone records including being in Leakin Park.”

Sarah Koenig is not the only person who thinks Jay Wilds’ testimony shouldn’t have been used to convict Adnan Syed.

Civil lawyer Richard Dwyer says doesn’t believe Adnan Syed and thinks he might be guilty, but he states he shouldn’t have been convicted because Jay Wilds gave conflicting statements and the timeline wasn’t proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

There seems to be a widespread misconception that the prosecution must be able to prove with absolute certainty each and every element of a second-by-second comprehensive timeline and that witness testimony must be discounted if there are any contradictions. 

The bottom line is the jury found Jay Wilds to be a credible witness and found Adnan Syed guilty of murder.

6. Some Conclusions

A biased and one-sided 12-part documentary presented by a partisan journalist doesn’t supercede a criminal trial where the jurors get to hear the defence and prosecution present their cases and watch witnesses being cross-examined in court.

Justice shouldn’t be a like a reality TV show where the public gets to decide whether someone convicted of murder should be allowed leave the big house. However, there’s no doubt that these types of documentaries do influence legal proceedings. A judge has recently ruled that Adnan Syed will be given another trial.

We can expect Adnan Syed’s supporters and a number of media organisations will try to influence the legal proceedings before and during the new trial. This couldn’t happen in the UK because of the sub judice rules which prevents the media from commenting on a case until a verdict is reached in order to prevent the jury from being swayed.

The Guardian recently published an article entitled “Adnan Syed is innocent. Now find Hae Min Lee’s real killer”, which was written by Adnan Syed’s chief advocate Rabia Chaudry. I hope the mainstream media provide balanced and factually accurate reports on the case - something they didn’t do when covering the Meredith Kercher case.

Journalists and the public should remember that a miscarriage of justices are not just cases where innocent people have been convicted of crimes they didn’t commit. They include cases where people have literally got away with murder. I can’t think of one documentary about such a case.

7. The reactions of Hae Min Lee’s family

Hae Min Lee’s family sat through the trials along with the juries and have no doubts that Adnan Syed killed her.

“It remains hard to see so many run to defend someone who committed a horrible crime, who destroyed our family, who refuses to accept responsibility, when so few are willing to speak up for Hae.”

Unlike Sarah Koenig or any of the 80 million people who downloaded the Serial podcasts, they actually attended every day of both trials, heard the arguments put forward from the defence and prosecution and saw the witnesses being cross-examined on the stand.

“unlike those who learn about this case on the internet, we sat and watched every day of both trials – so many witnesses, so much evidence”.




Some Of The Main Sources

One: Serial Season One

Two: EXCLUSIVE: PROSECUTOR IN ‘SERIAL’ CASE GOES ON THE RECORD

Three: EXCLUSIVE: SERIAL PROSECUTOR DEFENDS GUILTY VERDICT IN ADNAN SYED CASE, PART II.

Four: Serial podcast rehabilitated a schoolgirl’s murderer, so where’s the feminist outrage?

Five: Serial case: victim’s family offers rare statement before hearing resumes

Six: Adnan Syed is innocent. Now find Hae Min Lee’s real killer

Seven: Syed Of ‘Serial’ Podcast Given Retrial

Eight: Serial Podcast Locations

Nine: ‘Serial’ takes the stand: How a podcast became a character in its own narrative

Ten: Serial Finale—Why I Don’t Believe Adnan Syed

 

Posted on 07/27/16 at 07:46 AM by The MachineClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Sunday, July 10, 2016

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

Posted by Machiavelli (Yummi)

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

Trashing Of Justice System Gets Worse

Does this Reuters report capture Italian justice correctly?

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

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

Click here for more


Thursday, June 30, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dramatic stuff. A tragic pity Meredith misses all this.


Posted on 06/30/16 at 06:10 AM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Monday, June 20, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



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


Look around you.

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

All are purposeful systems.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 06/20/16 at 10:39 AM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Monday, April 25, 2016

Another Effective Innovation By New York Police Is Being Duplicated By Others

Posted by Peter Quennell



Police horses, up to a dozen stroked and photographed each evening in the Times Square area


In national US news any innovation of the New York police gets a lot of coverage.

Those crowd-calming police horses seen nightly in the Times Square area go way back, and their presence was never reduced back when some other cities did so - often to their later regret.

There is endemic pressure (especially after 9/11) to keep the city as safe as possible.

From that sustained effort at systems improvement, other American police forces, some very besieged at the moment, attempt to learn something.

New York police both themselves innovate and also adopt good ideas from elsewhere - not least from the brave, popular and effective police forces of Italy.

We posted in January 2013 on New York’s adoption of an Italian approach to policing.

One approach which seems a natural for Italy with all of its art is proving successful in New York now.

Described in the NY Times today is this ongoing exercise in staring at artworks. The point being to sharpen the perceptions of investigators, and to put them all on the same page objectively.

To teach people how to notice details they might otherwise miss, Amy E. Herman, an expert in visual perception, likes to take them to museums and get them to look at the art. Recently she escorted a group of New York City police officers to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and asked them to describe some of the things they saw.

They did their best. “This seems to be a painting of some males with horses,” one officer said of Rosa Bonheur’s mid-19th-century work “The Horse Fair,” a scene of semi-chaos as horses are driven to market. He tried to abide by Ms. Herman’s admonishment to avoid words like “obviously.” “It appears to be daytime, and the horses appear to be traveling from left to right.”

Another pair of officers tackled Picasso’s 1905 “At the Lapin Agile,” which depicts a wilted-looking couple sitting at a French bar after what might have been a long night out. “They appear to have had an altercation,” one observed. The other said, “The male and female look like they’re together, but the male looks like he’ll be sleeping on the couch.”

The officers asked that their names not be used because they were not authorized to speak to reporters. They said that they did not know much about art — their jobs allow little opportunity for recreational museumgoing — and Ms. Herman said she preferred it that way.

“I’ve had people say, ‘I hate art,’ and I say, ‘That’s not relevant,’” she said. “This is not a class about Pollock versus Picasso. I’m not teaching you about art today; I’m using art as a new set of data, to help you clear the slate and use the skills you use on the job. My goal when you walk out the door is that you’re thinking differently about the job.”

A painting has many functions. It’s a cultural artifact, an aesthetic object, an insight into a time and a place, a piece of commerce. To Ms. Herman, it’s also an invaluable repository of visual detail that can help shed light on, say, how to approach a murder scene. “It’s extremely evocative and perfect for critical inquiry,” she said in an interview. “What am I seeing here? How do I attach a narrative to it?”

One of the processes:

Before unleashing the officers in the galleries, she talked to them in a classroom in the Met’s basement. She put up a slide of “Mrs. John Winthrop,” a 1773 portrait by John Singleton Copley. The painting, showing a woman sitting at a table holding little pieces of fruit, is considered a masterpiece of fine detail — the intricacy of the lace trim on the lady’s gown, the rich decorations on her hat. But there’s a detail that’s so obvious, or maybe so seemingly irrelevant, that most people fail to mention it in their description.

“Everyone sees that this is a woman with fruit, and 80 percent miss the mahogany table,” she said. (They also miss the woman’s reflection in the veneer.)

Ms. Herman also displayed a pair of slides featuring reclining nudes: Goya’s “The Nude Maja” (1797-1800) and Lucian Freud’s 1995 “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping,” who is very fat. Ms. Herman asked the group to compare the pictures. “Most cops, when I ask this question, say it shows someone before and after marriage,” she said.

Several officers raised their hands.

“Uh, the woman at the bottom is more generously proportioned,” one said.

“She is morbidly obese,” said another.

“Right!” Ms. Herman said. “Don’t make poor word choices. Think about every word in your communication.”

Ms. Herman, who has a new book out, “Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life,” came to her vocation in a roundabout way. She worked first as a lawyer, did not like it, took a job in the development office at the Brooklyn Museum and then moved to the Frick Collection. Earning a master’s degree in art history at night at Hunter College, she eventually became head of the Frick’s education department.

There, inspired by a program in which Yale medical students studied works of art to better observe their patients, she helped devise a similar program for the Frick. Eventually she moved beyond medicine. She has been offering the courses full time as her own business since 2011; her clients include federal and local law enforcement agencies across the country, as well as medical students and business executives.

Also successful elsewhere:

Steve Dye, chief of police at the Grand Prairie Police Department in Texas, brought in Ms. Herman recently to talk to a group of officers from the region. He said her presentation was invaluable in showing the officers how to better observe and document their findings accurately and free from bias.

“Some of the works of art she showed us, we wouldn’t notice the finer details,” he said. “And we’re supposed to be professional observers.”

When forced to deconstruct paintings in group settings, people from different professions tend to respond differently.

For cops it’s a natural.

“The law enforcement community is much more forthcoming,” Ms. Herman said. “Cops will outtalk you every time. Doctors and medical students are much more inhibited. They don’t want to be wrong, and they never want to show that they are ignorant about anything.”

The New York Police Department is one of Ms. Herman’s most important clients. She tailors her presentations to her audiences, and they are on the regular training curriculum at the detective bureau and the training bureau at the Police Academy; other divisions use her services from time to time. In general, her program is voluntary rather than mandatory.

“Amy reminds officers to explore outside the box,” said Police Officer Heather Totoro, who added that the program helped officers in training because of its “uniqueness and power.”

“She taps into officers’ unique sixth sense, teaching them to tell her what they see, not what they think.”

Law enforcement officials tend to view the works through the lens of the job: Who has done what to whom? Where is the perp?

“Sometimes they’ll say, ‘We have an E.D.P. here’ — an emotionally disturbed person,” Ms. Herman said. Once she showed some officers El Greco’s “The Purification of the Temple,” which depicts Jesus expelling the traders and money-changers amid turmoil and mayhem.

“One cop said, ‘I’d collar the guy in pink’” — that would be Jesus — ‘“because it’s clear that he’s causing all the trouble.’”

Among the works she finds most interesting as a learning tool is Vermeer’s exquisitely ambiguous “Mistress and Maid,” a 1666-7 portrait of a lady seated at a table, handing over (or being handed) a mysterious piece of paper. “There are so many different narratives,” she said. “The analysts come away asking more questions than answers — ‘Who’s asking the question? Who’s doing the talking? Who’s listening?’ The cops will say, ‘It’s a servant asking for the day off.’”

She also likes “House of Fire,” a 1981 painting by James Rosenquist that has three absurdist parts: an upside-down bag of groceries, a bucket under a window shade, and a group of aggressively thrusting lipsticks. “It’s really conducive to good dialogue,” she said. “How many times do officers have to make order out of chaos? So many times in our work we come across things that don’t have a coherent narrative.”

The officers in the class seemed impressed, both by Ms. Herman and by their grand surroundings.

One officer said that she had learned “how to sit down with colleagues and deal with the fact that you can perceive things so differently from each other.” It was her first trip to the Met, or indeed to any art museum.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “It’s very Thomas Crown-ish, isn’t it?”

Below: the Vermeer painting referred to, in the Frick Museum in New York

Posted on 04/25/16 at 04:52 PM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Sunday, April 17, 2016

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

Posted by Chimera




1 Series And Post Overview

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

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

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

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

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

2. The Appeals Process in Common Law Countries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BOOKS TO BE SUBMITTED

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AT THE ACTUAL APPEAL:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

POSSIBLE OUTCOMES:

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

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

(3) The Appellate Court dismisses the Appeal

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

USEFUL LINKS:

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

3. Contrast This with Criminal Appellate Trials in Italy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Other TJMK Posts Of Relevance

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

5. Some Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

Posted on 04/17/16 at 05:38 PM by ChimeraClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemOther systems
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Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Case Of Russell Williams: What a ‘‘Set-Up’’ Police Interview Really Looks Like

Posted by Chimera

Russell Williams’s “Compressed” Interview 2 Hours 40 Minutes Long

1. Post Overview

This contrast’s Knox’s claimed trick “interrogation” and “confession” with one known to be real.

Russell Williams, unbelievably, was a Colonel in the Canadian Air Force, and the Commanding Officer at Trenton Air Force Base.

(From Wikipedia) From July 2009 to his arrest in February 2010, he commanded CFB Trenton, a hub for air transport operations in Canada and abroad and the country’s largest and busiest military airbase. Williams was also a decorated military pilot who had flown Canadian Forces VIP aircraft for dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, and the Governor General and Prime Minister of Canada.


2. Williams First Association With Crimes

It is early February 2010. Ontario Provincial Police are investigating 4 incidents in a region of Southern Ontario, believing they are connected.  They are, 2 unsolved sexual assaults, the sexual assault and murder a military flight commander, Marie-France Comeau, and the January 28 disappearance of a woman named Jessica Lloyd.

While Lloyd’s disappearance was still ongoing, a witness came forward and reported seeing an SUV-type vehicle nearby.  Police follow up and find tire tracks in that location.  They then go about trying to match those tracks to a particular vehicle.  Roadchecks are set up along various roads.

Williams gets caught in the checkpoint, and the police notice that the tires on his Nissan Pathfinder are identical to those tracks near Jessica Lloyd’s home.  Williams is let go, but under 24 hour surveillance at that point.

3. Narrative Of Williams Interview

It is Sunday, February 7, 2010. Williams is called into police headquarters to answer questions.  He arrives at 3pm, and stunningly, he is wearing the same boots he wore to Jessica Lloyd’s house.  Either moronic, or bold.

The interview starts off casually, though Williams is asked for evidence to prove he is not involved: DNA, fingerprints, and bootprints. 

Watch the video above, Williams is in shock when the topic of bootprints comes up.  At 6pm Det-Sergeant Smyth drops the bombshell:

(1) tire tracks near Jessica Lloyd’s home are from his vehicle;

(2) those are his bootprints behind her house;

(3) the DNA is about to be matched;

(4) the homes are being searched, and the vehicle seized.

Williams realizes at this point that he has been tricked, that it was a setup all along.

Confession “To Spare His Wife”

Williams did come clean about 5 hours into the interrogation.  The reason: to spare his wife the added trauma and humiliation of the police tearing the homes apart.

He rationalized that if he simply told the police where to find evidence, they would take it and go.  At that point, it was about all he could do.

(from Wikipedia) On October 21, 2010, Williams was sentenced to two life sentences for first-degree murder, two 10-year sentences for other sexual assaults, two 10-year sentences for forcible confinement, and 82 one-year sentences for breaking and entering, all to be served concurrently.

Civil Courts Follow-up

Williams’ wife, Mary Harriman did take control of the couple’s multiple properties in Ontario.  She sought a divorce, which has dragged on for years, and did try to get the proceedings banned from publication.

The problem, according to the victims and the families is that this transfer from him to her amounts to FRAUDULENT CONVEYANCE.

In plain English, the allegations are that Williams transferred everything to his wife in order to avoid having it seized by lawsuits.  Williams claimed he sold it (cheaply) to his wife since he was serving a life sentence and not likely to ever need it again.

Ms. Harriman is now also being forced to testify about the true nature of their marriage for civil matters.  The argument being advanced is that she either knew what was going on, and could not be that oblivious—in light of the shear volume of trophies Williams kept.

Wife of serial killer Russell Williams loses court battle

OPP detective used ‘Reid technique’ to get Russell Williams to confess

World’s Greatest Police Interrogator: Detective Jim Smyth

4. The Narrative Of Knox’s Interview

Knox showed up unexpectedly at the Questura the evening of November 5, 2007.  Sollecito had been called in—alone— to clear up inconsistencies in his stories.

Knox went anyway, and remained even when told to leave.  She was told by Inspector Ficarra that if she really wanted to help, she could put together a list of possible suspects who may have visited the house.  She agreed.

Sollecito, when shown proof in his phone records that contradicted his story, threw Knox under the bus.  He claimed that AK went out alone, he stayed inside and used the computer, and that Knox came back several hours later.  RS claims AK asked him to lie, and that he didn’t think of the inconsistencies at the time.

Knox, on the other hand, thought that RS had actually accused her of murder, not just pulled her alibi.  AK is shocked, and fakes a crying fit. 

She then responds by throwing—someone else completely—under the bus.  Not Sollecito.  Not Guede.

Of course once it turns out that PL is completely innocent, police and prosecutors don’t believe anything she says at this point.

The Knox Interrogation Hoax

#1 Overview Of The Series - The Two Version of the 5-6 Nov 2007 Events

#2 Trial Testimony From Rita Ficcara On Realities 5-6 Nov

#3 More Defense Pussyfooting Toward Rita Ficcara, Key Witness

#4 More Hard Realities From Rita Ficcara, More Nervousness From Defense

#5 Key Witness Monica Napoleoni Confirms Knox Self-Imploded 5-6 Nov

#6 Sollecito Transcript & Actions Further Damage Knox Version

#7 Full Testimony Of Witness Lorena Zugarini To Knox Conniption 5-6 Nov

#8 Testimony Of Interpreter Donnino And Central Police Officer Giobbi

#9 Officer Moscatelli’s Recap/Summary Session With Sollecito 5-6 Nov

5. Contrasts And Similarities

1-A The Williams case above is a clear instance of police luring in a suspect under the pretense of a ‘‘background interview’‘.  The Ontario Provincial Police spent days trying to put together a profile and work up a method of questioning such a suspect.  And it took Det. Sergeant Jim Smyth just 3 hours to get Williams to crack.

1-B Knox, on the other hand, showed up uninvited to the police station, most likely to keep RS on a short leash.  She not only wasn’t invited, but was told to leave.  She cracked when RS revoked her alibi.

2-A Williams says his main motivation in confessing was to spare his wife extra humiliation, and destruction to the houses.

2-B Knox, on the other hand, threw a totally innocent person, Lumumba, to the wolves.  She also has no qualms about protracting the publicity, and milking her ‘‘celebrity’‘.

3-A Williams wore the same boots to the police station

3-B Sollecito brought his knife to the police station, and had similar shoes to Guede

4-A Williams was nailed by his bootprints

4-B Knox was cast under suspicion by a shoeprint, and bare footprints nailed both AK and RS

5-A Williams wife illegally profited by taking the property in order to stave off having it seized

5-B AK and RS illegally profited by having other people (Kuhlman and Gumbel) write blood money books for them.

6. Analysis Of Williams Interview

This excellent analysis is one hour long.

 

 


Monday, March 07, 2016

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



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

1. The Knox Picture Of Italian Prison Conditions

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. The Real Picture Of Italian Prison Conditions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Posted on 03/07/16 at 09:11 AM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemHoaxes By Knox & team209 Nasty prison
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Saturday, March 05, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell




The Italian Justice System

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

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

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

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

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

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

International Votes Of Approval

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

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

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

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

The CIA Operatives Case (Resumed)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Operative Sabrina de Souza

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

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

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

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

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

Our Own Learning Experience

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

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

Posted on 03/05/16 at 09:46 AM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemOther legal processesItalian unrelatedExtradition issues
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Saturday, February 13, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Thursday, January 07, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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