Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Calunnia Claims At The Core Of The Problem For Amanda Knox - And Her Parents

Posted by Peter Quennell



Here is Amanda Knox claiming mistreatment as the reason why she falsely fingered Patrick Lumumba.

This was the court CCTV camera feed to the press-room on 12 June 2009. It was legitimate for the reporters there to capture it.

Our Italy-based Italian-speaking posters Fiori and Nicki both observed that to many or most Italians. Knox’s two days on the stand rang pretty hollow. She apparently needed to come across as a lot more fragile for the claims in the video to ring true.

Yesterday at the first hearing to set the date for Knox’s new trial, the number of police interrogators who are considered to have been targets of calunnia Amanda Knox was stated as twelve.

They will presumably all be testifying both at Knox’s new trial in October, and at the trial of Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, who allegedly repeated Knox’s claims on TV, and for whom the first hearing is coming up on 7 July.

They could face prison time and/or fines.

Judge Claudia Matteini observed that her presiding over the early hearings into Meredith’s case in 2008 (and denying Knox house arrest, a denial believed based in part on a psychological profile never made public) was not automatically a reason for her being replaced as a judge in this new case.

Knox had not made the claims you can see in the video at the time Judge Matteini was presiding. However, she agreed with what seems a reasonable defense request that a higher court should take the question of a possible conflict of interest under review.

She stated that the appeals court will issue a decision on who should be the judge for the new trial on 17 June.




Comments

Something is bothering me since the beginning: it should be verified with the Italians on this site, as I do speak Italian but for me, “stupida bugiarda” does not sound right. It sounds like a translation from English, but not like an expression Italians would use.

Can someone clarify that, maybe? I would have expected something like “bugiarda”, “scema”, “stai mentendo” etc…

Posted by Patou on 06/02/10 at 07:09 PM | #

6/2/10
What a liar. She sarcastically mocks the police. Peter, thanks for video reminder of how tinny her testimony sounds. At 1:08-1:18 she mimics the police who dare to question her repeatedly, “Who could I imagine KILLED Meredith?” She spits out the word, killed, like it’s nothing, with her head tossing from side to side, eyes rolling. She dramatizes what in her opinion is the bizarre silliness of Keystone Cops. Her hands chop the table in front of her as she hammers home the point of how ridiculous these knuckleheads are to even CARE who killed MK. She sighs, exhausted by their persistence and the effort required to recount their wrongheaded folly on the stand. She acts like she was ambushed at the police station by these bozos. She finally tells them she “still didn’t know” (who killed MK). Then she laughs. Laughs.

During her most critical hour of court testimony, where were her notes? She wasted a lot of the jury’s time. She tried to sputter along without clear and concise notes. It would have aided her case and helped the translator. With all the time she had to plan for this important day, she goofed and she pretends she’s doing spontaneous recall of the issues surrounding Nov. 1, 2007. Right, more than a year later. She does make it clear she was at RS’s apartment, this she drives home, or tries to.

She doesn’t include one practical detail of the way she and RS watched the movie, what they ate, the e-mails she answered. She could have drawn a very realistic picture of the evening’s togetherness with RS. Instead of persuading the jury about the most important point, she foolishly skirts the main issue while multiplying details of the police station. She had a long time to prepare for June 12, 2009 witness stand, and still she did not narrate “her truth” to advantage. I would have told of every little snuggle w/ RS, the upholstery of the couch, the sheets on the bed, the soap in the sink, every morsel we ate, what went back in the fridge, details of the movie complete with my favorite scenes. If she had been there, surely she could have made it real. Her entire focus is on the police and their supposed confusion and bogus questions.

She makes 2 Freudian slips, one when she complains the police were insisting upon putting everything into hourly segments, (and I agree that’s difficult). Her answer is: but “since I never look at the_______” (clock). Instead of “clock” she says a “w” sound, like watch or wall, maybe walk. I think she had never thought about how long it took her to walk to the cottage. This is just a guess.

Again she slips while saying, “They took me into another _______________room.” (she should say “interrogation room”) but instead she says something like intelligence room. The truth peeks out.

Her short haircut doesn’t look bad. I think AK’s a very pretty and attractive young woman, but to make up for short hair, she seems to now subscribe to a certain female family member’s motto of, “I never met a plunging blouse I didn’t like.” OK, ok, by modern standards the yellow top is not so immodest, but some dignity would impress the court. Edda’s recently been seen replete with decolletage at UW bookstore, again in red.

This lawsuit against Edda & Curt for slandering Perugian police will knit them all the more tightly together with AK, at least for a season. They will fuse together in a huff over being attacked. I agree Ted Simon should aid these people more.

Posted by Hopeful on 06/02/10 at 07:42 PM | #

She certainly comes across as very resilient in this clip. The tough soccer playing, climbing tomboy her parents describe. Somehow I can’t see her as a wilting violet, scared of the police questioning her. She strikes me as the type who would stick rigidly to her guns if she was called to. But here she cannot. It’s because she is lying. Hopeful is right, if she were so sure of her story there would be more detail, more passion. Instead the focus is on blaming others (as usual) and ridiculing them.

I agree with the Italians. She’s a tough cookie, she’s no wimp. I don’t think she would have been intimidated in the way she describes. She’s a fighter. Sadly Meredith found her on the wrong side of this girl’s aggressive nature, and a light was lost from the world.

Thank you Peter. Please keep up your good work.

Posted by TT on 06/02/10 at 07:54 PM | #

Hi Hopeful. Really very acute, as always. As we posted last June, Knox thereafter becomes increasingly impatient with the interpreter (who we are told was doing a pretty good job) and switched to Italian from late on the first of her two days on the stand. Not bad Italian - understandable - though she apparently got some things pretty garbled. There is a complete translated transcript on PMF in the documents area.

In Italian, her tendency to sarcasm and flippancy really came across in the courtroom and in the segments that were broadcast in Italy. We heard from several present in the courtroom, including the book writer Nina Burleigh, that AK’s second day on the stand was the one that was by far the most chilling, and she seemed to take Meredith’s death very, very lightly. She made the hitting claims then and on other occasions but to our knowledge they were not ever captured on camera.

Note that Prosecutor Mignini was not present at the witness interrogation, the first on the night, so he can prosecute in this new case. By the way here in the video AK several times specifically mentions the presence of an interpreter - one who AK seems to be claiming actually tried to give her a break.

Thanks TT. All of us keep going till we sense true justice for Meredith is done and seen beyond Italy to be done. Smoke is still being blown but the pool of gullible sock puppets seems to have mostly dried up. Even Donald Trump seems to have moved on - it was said his anti Italianism may be driven by the fact that his first wife lives there - and is very popular. He doesn’t seem to carry a torch for AK. Weird how some people do.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/03/10 at 09:48 AM | #

Hi Giselle. Point taken but I do think you have to see it in the specific context of (1) AK claiming that a claimed blow on the head so terrified her that she opened up a line of accusation that had Patrick Lumumba sitting in Capanne for a couple of weeks, and (2) showing none of this timidity and easy-to-fright on the stand - in fact, she seemed to come across as very bold and brassy, and not one who would remotely be scared of any cops. That was what caused the surprise in the court. Wrong drama skills, if you like.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/03/10 at 04:05 PM | #

1.  ‘The interrogation process was long and difficult” - less than 2 hours (and NOT the 14 hours usually cited) and WHAT exactly would be difficult? inventing lies?

2. “When they found the message, they asked me if i had sent the message back, which i couldn’t remember doing.”  No?  Why not look in the ‘Sent’ folder and have a look ???

3. “They called me a ‘stupid liar’ ...”  Really? She comes along freely, does cartwheels in the police station then begins to voluntarily answer questions to the point where she self incriminates herself freely, and, hearing this police ‘hit’ her?  Wouldn’t you as police do the very opposite, lull her further?

4. “They said I was trying to protect someone”. Protect someone? Isn’t this where she points the finger at Lumumba?

5. “Look, look you were going to meet someone”. Truthful answer by an honest person: ‘No sir, that was a message from signor Lumumba advising me not to go to work tonight’. The allegation that police called her a stupid liar is totally out of context.

6. “They treated me badly but I couldn’t understand why”. How was she treated badly? Police asked her questions?

7. “The interpreter explained to me an personal experience where she couldn’t remember what had happened because she was traumatised” ... Does this sound logical? On one hand she is beaten for not remembering and on the other compassion because she might be traumatised?

8. “This seemed ridiculous to me. I REMEMBER for SURE being at R’s house, checking my emails, watching movie, eating ...” But NOT whether I had sex with R all night?

9. “But they where insisting in putting things into hourly segments” No kidding? You mean like any normal police investigation of meticulously piecing the facts together?

10. “They said that I had left R’s to meet someone for a period of time which for me I COULDN"T remember but which the interpreter said I had probable forgotten’. Hey, why not take 2-way bet - $1 0n I was traumatised and a $1 on not remembering! What interpreter would be allowed to ADD their personal comments and views?

@Giselle: you’re not the only teddy bear to be left out in the rain; I have been falsely accused of misconduct and i was was proven innocent too.

You say that we should look at facts and not behaviour; BUT, isn’t that what we are doing? She wasn’t found guilty for her cartwheels or he way she dressed or her sarcasm - she’s guilty because of the FACTS.

@Patou: i agree. AND, we need to keep in mind that she was not called in for questioning - her confession was so unexpected that she would have been softly ‘lulled’ by police; hitting her, abusing her, giving her a hard time would have been counter-producive to their cause.

Posted by Chan on 06/03/10 at 06:11 PM | #

Giselle,

You are right, everyone is different, we all do react in different ways. 

One of the things that left a bad impression, if that is the right word, for me is Knox’s attitude and demeanour in court.  From what you have said above you reacted, initially, in a way that may, to some, have seemed out of the ordinary, however once you were out of the initial very stressful situation and were heading for court you had overcome that initial reaction and, to use your words, “appeared in court with utmost respect and dressed appropriately”. 

I am not sure, given the time between the interrogations and Knox’s appearance in court that I can give her the benefit of the doubt with regards to her attitude and demeanour in the court room - she must have realised that being on trial for murder is a very serious matter, I simply can’t believe that she did not understand the gravity of the situation.  Whatever her initial reactions on 2nd November 2007 and the following days were, she had plenty of time to “get her head around” the fact she was being investigated for murder and to understand how serious things were. 

I think behaviour in the court room is important - it is the only contact an accused person has with the judge and jury; they will analyse the accused’s words and reactions to evidence, they will also be influenced by the accused’s bearing and attitude.  My personal feelings on Knox’s court appearances are that, on a couple of occasions she did feel the pressure and realise the gravity of the situation, but, most of the time, she really didn’t seem to “get it”.  Whether this was a genuine case of being unable to understand the situation she was in, or ? a lack of caring, a case of over confidence, something else altogether? I don’t know - but it didn’t leave a favourable impression, and in a court room that isn’t good.

Posted by Nolongeramember on 06/04/10 at 04:06 AM | #

She could not remember if she had sex all night with Raffaele but…. her mother said the mixed Amanda/Meredith blood in the bathroom was because she had her periods.

I certainly would remember having sex during my periods, or not having it because I had my periods…

Posted by Patou on 06/04/10 at 07:46 AM | #

Knox’s demeanor in the above video reflect that of her parents - patronizing the country she was a guest in, the police are stupid, etc. However, her demeanor did not get her convicted, although it didn’t help.

In my humble opinion, it comes down to the total picture of what the jury and judges in Italy saw: evidence, prosecution and defense theories. We, as observers or armchair sleuths, may see snippets of video testimony and soundbites, and fleeting-moment photos, but it is the Italian court that witnessed a lengthy trial and delivered a guilty verdict for murder - something that is not taken lightly by a jury.

One can rationalize that due to the traumatic event of an interrogation by the police, Knox falsely accused her boss Lumumba of murder, but that argument waxes thin when she (her mother or Knox’s attorney) made no action to free him as he sat in jail for 2 weeks having his reputation trashed. Accusing her boss of murder! Let’s not forget that she doesn’t simply accuse him, but she places herself and Lumumba at the murder in her statement - she saw MK with Lumumba - something that was proven a lie by Lumumba’s airtight alibi. Knox knew it was a lie.

What is the real puzzle is the question how Knox and Sollecito, who had many advantages and education in life, came to commit such a horrendous and vicious act. Was it a meeting of two unbalanced people making a lethal combination like Loeb and Leopold, or was it the drugs? Or both?

Posted by giustizia on 06/04/10 at 09:41 AM | #

@Giselle:

you say:

“You are way out of line. It just make your sound like the other spectrum of FOA when you fail to realise that guilty or not it is a traumatic experience to be questioned by police.”

Let’s take a step back, please. Firstly, I may have been a little caustic and flippant in your ordeal and really that was not my intention. So, sorry for that.

My point was/is, that there are many of us who have been wrongly accused in our lives:  for pinching cookies by our parents when it really wasn’t us to being put on detention by teachers when truly we didn’t do it . To some degree we all remember the sick feeling of injustice that lingers in our psyche.

However, you stated:  “The reality is that its not fair to base her guilt on her behaviour”.

I totally agree with you. People DO react differently to traumatic situations - some laugh when we would expect tears and some remain silent others faint whilst others scream their lungs out.

Again, I totally agree with you. However, a trauma doesn’t last for 2 years and nor is it the cause of lies and convenient memory lapses.

Frankly, our Amanda was not suffering from trauma but from a cold slick bout of cockiness.

what I reacted to, was your comment: “However it is chilling that every moment of her testimony is ripped to shreds.”

Well, if we can’t ‘rip’ into her testimony because it’s chilling and we cannot rely upon her external ‘behaviour’ because we all react differently to trauma, tell me, how did YOU come to ‘[ ] ...believe whole-heartedly that Amanda Knox is guilty’ ?

To the credit of the italian judicial system, their verdict was based on FACTS and not whether she laughed or not or what clothes she wore.

In your personal ordeal, by your own admission, you were found innocent on the facts and NOT that you laughed when you should have been crying.

I bet too, that you didn’t change your story 3 times, that you answered questions truthfully, had a coherent version of events that ‘squared’ up with what happened, possibly had witnesses and I bet you didn’t point the finger at innocent people; unlike our Amanda.

Looking at the most recent photo and her outward demeanour, I reckon her sojourn in prison is doing her the world of good.

Posted by Chan on 06/04/10 at 09:46 AM | #

I think also that whether you are guilty or innocent, being questioned/interrogated would be a traumatic experience. Imagine being taken into a room and questioned by a room full of police, knowing that you are not at leisure to leave. I think that for a guilty person that would also be traumatic. I wonder if Amanda decided to use this to her advantage,  as some kind of way of deflecting the blame - “They were mean to me”.

I am sure the police were themselves upset and angry about the very brutal murder of a young woman. Imagine, finding the body, or knowing from other police what was done to Meredith. In a town where incidents like this did not happen, it must have been shocking for the police too.

I don’t know the science of interrogations, but I can imagine that the interrogators can get a bit rough in their questioning if they feel that is what is needed to get to the truth -after all, how many criminals willingly tell all? The police may think of this as standard procedure. However, they have denied any physical beating. Perhaps an embellishment Amanda added for good measure.

In sum, I do believe Amanda used any roughness to her advantage, much like a child who is caught, seeks to deflect blame and and seeks revenge on the sibling who told on them to their parents. It’s the ultimate decoy of a desperate person caught in a net.

Posted by Vedantist on 06/04/10 at 08:57 PM | #

Hopeful, I think your analysis of her behaviour is quite incisive. On revisiting that clip, I was struck by how much verbal filler she uses. A ruse to allow herself time to construct the next falsehood. She reiterates that she was at RS’s house ‘for sure’. This sounds unnatural. Her body language is very contrived. The mouth can lie but the body cannot. I found this piece from Robert Hare, a renowned psychologist, on the hand gestures of psychopaths, of some interest: 

Hare made an intriguing discovery by observing the hand gestures (called beats) people make while speaking. Research has shown that such gestures do more than add visual emphasis to our words (many people gesture while they’re on the telephone, for example); it seems they actually help our brains find words. That’s why the frequency of beats increases when someone is having trouble finding words, or is speaking a second language instead of his or her mother tongue. In a 1991 paper, Hare and his colleagues reported that psychopaths, especially when talking about things they should find emotional produce a higher frequency of beats than normal people. It’s as if emotional language is a second language—a foreign language, in effect—to the psychopath.

Posted by pensky on 06/05/10 at 02:56 AM | #

A friend is horrifically murdered in a house that she shares, the murderer is apparently on the loose and she sits in the police station waiting room ‘‘doing my homework’’ and not expecting to even be interviewed. She was not requested but as a roomate and the person who made the discovery she is one of the key witnesses and will inevitably be questioned. The police are hardly going to skip the opportunity.

She has always struck me as having repeatedly tried to emphasize her innocence by stressing the very normal and innocent things that she did after the murder. The episode at the underwear shop counter that the owner described as deliberately exhibitionist struck me the same way. ‘Look at us we haven’t a care in the world’
But to be remembered you have to GET NOTICED! Hey! Remember THIS Mister underwear counter man.

She seems totally unaware that normal everyday things are not what innocent people do under these circumstances. Somebody described insanity as normal behaviour under abnormal conditions. Normal people who have discovered their friend slain in a shared house do not sit at the police station calmly doing their homework, performing cartwheels,snogging their boyfriend and bemoaning the inconvenience of the effects on her accomodation situation. The affected disbelief at how the knucklehead policemen could possibly suspect her and the incredulous little laugh at the mere notion of this tells the same story. She expects the audience to nod and give a wry smile in sage agreement. Instead she is waving red flags around like a semaphorist on speed. If the police did not have her at the top of the suspect list when she first arrived at the station, she very quickly pushed herself up the list.

Either her behaviour was natural for her or it was crudely contrived in an attempt to exude an air of blissful ignorance and innocence. Just red flags being waved by different arms. The family would have us believe that it is natural, Amanda being Amanda, she was arrested for being too ‘‘stoic’’ and as trusting as Candide. If it really is natural she has no normal emotional connection with other human beings and is frankly bonkers.

Edda, if it’s an insanity plea then make an insanity plea, don’t just look weepy and blame the police, the prosecutor, the media, the victim, biased juries, the weather and aliens from mars.

Posted by Faustus on 06/05/10 at 05:17 AM | #

In my opinion the Italian judicial system is a major contributor in this mess. People can ” hum and haw ” all they like about her behavior and RS’s behavior. People can analyze her every inflection, whether she smiles, twitches, breaks wind or whatever - I believe that the italian judicial system is biased in favor of the perpetrator/accused, as it has I believe been cited on this site and on many others also. I have read on many occasions that many Italians themselves are disgusted with their own judicial system for this reason.

In my opinion the crux of this problem lies in the ” fast track ” trial for Guede. In my opinion this notion of a ” fast track ” trial with a guaranteed reduced sentence while the accused maintaining his or her innocence is ridiculous. It eliminates the need for a guilty person to ” plea bargain ” and admit their guilt. Instead all the guilty person has to do is maintain their innocence - opt for a ” fast track ” trial and hope for the best - hope they can worm and lie their way out of it. It’s not rocket science.

As everyone knows it is an undeniable fact that Guede was present. So if Guede did not have the luxury of the ” fast track ” trial the police/ prosecutors could have applied maximum pressure on Guede - ” throwing the book at him “- with no way out - then simply out of human nature - ” self preservation ” - he most likely would have cracked and spilled the beans. If Ak and RS took part in it, then Guede would have thrown to the wolves to save his own hide.

This may be a mess for the Knoxes, but it definitely is a mess for the Kerchers, and I believe that what I have mentioned above as what I believe is a major flaw in the Italian judicial system, has been without doubt in my mind a major contributing factor to this whole mess.

That’s just my opinion!

Posted by Paddy5000 on 06/05/10 at 09:59 AM | #

Hi Paddy. Very true. Three of our Italian posters with a legal background - Nicki, Commisario Montalbano, and most recently Cesare Beccaria - have observed that the Italian system innately has some amazing qualities, and those qualities certainly impress others of our lawyer posters who work within the common-law system (UK and US).

But over the years, many breaks have been politically worked into the system, which among other things results in Italy proportionally having less perps locked up in prison than any other country in the OECD. And in the case of Guede and his lawyers, they took full advantage of those breaks - which is why now Guede is looking at only 16 years without a confession, whereas Knox might eventually be looking at forty.

But Knox and Sollecito too have had certain breaks . Some evidence that would have been allowed in UK and US courts was disallowed in their case. They were permitted to stand up in court and make statements not under oath when they wanted to - Knox made all of the statement above not under oath. Knox apparently has weekly access to a hairdresser. and her cell has its own separate bathroom and toilet - try to find that in any US jailhouse! And so on.

Many posts here prove your point.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/05/10 at 12:21 PM | #

Hi Peter,

So AK has her own bathroom, toilet and weekly access to a hairdresser ( Holy Crap ). As you and I know, just look at Haiti as well as probably the vast majority of people in this world - I know this is a joke in poor taste on my part, but those people would kill to be in AK’s position ( I’m not laughing ).

AK’s private bathroom, toilet and weekly access to a hairdresser as you mentioned - are in my eyes a further insult to the Kerchers on the part of the Italian judicial system.

I am not trying to bash the Italian judicial system but it has played a major role in torturing the Kerchers. In my opinion the outcome of this case thus far is a disgrace. The Kerchers have been crucified by Guede - most likely AK and RS and perhaps most sadly and definitely most ironically the Italian judicial System, which has only dragged out what to many people would appear to be an open and shut case by being overly lenient to the ” Perps/accused “, and further adding insult to injury to the Kerchers by that same leniency to the ” Perps/accused ” in prison.

This whole saga must be agonizing beyond words and belief for the Kerchers. I hope justice prevails!

Posted by Paddy5000 on 06/05/10 at 01:44 PM | #

The main responsibles for the ordeal endured by the Kercher family after the murder are the Knox/Mellas family. Plain and simple. The comments, insinuations and lies spouted off by the family of Amanda Knox are beyond cruel.

The fast track trial and plea deal are basically two different approaches for the same thing. The Italian justice system seems to work way better than anything I have seen from the US so far. You can go on and on about the “quality life” behind prison bars in Italy vs. the US, but I would always bet that a released prisoner from an Italian prison has better chances to be re-inserted in society than a prisoner released from an US prison. The focus is on rehabilitation in Italy (in Europe in general), while in the US the focus seems to be more on revenge and punishment - above all revenge, thinking in the death penalty. Or maybe for those who agree with Britney Spears think death penalty is meant for rehabilitation: “I am for the death penalty. Who commits terrible acts must get a fitting punishment. That way he learns the lesson for the next time.”

Quite clear, Paddy, I don’t agree with your point of view that the Italian justice system had any role “torturing” the Kerchers. Thanks to the thoroughness of the Italian justice system, they didn’t let RS and AK go away with murder. All that besides the fact that the family of RS tried to influence the investigation and the family of AK started a media campaign with the hope to pervert the course of justice, because they basically didn’t have any defence in the court room (which didn’t prevent Curt and Edda from saying that all evidence had been disapproved and thrown out in court!).

Posted by Nell on 06/05/10 at 11:06 PM | #

I too am impressed with the Italian system’s focus on rehabilitation - in order to re-enter society it is vital that a prisoner has completed their education and has skills to offer, it gives them a chance to make a contribution and earn a wage once they are at liberty, hopefully helping them to stay away from the lifestyle that led them to jail in the first place.

Balancing out that prisoners have access to a hairdresser on a more regular basis than those of us in the outside world is the fact that, upon release, one prisoner has experience as a hairdresser and can hopefully support themselves in the future without resort to criminal activities.

There is of course a need to find a balance with regards to prisoners’ quality of facilities/opportunities and the punishment element of a custodial sentence.  There are always going to be people who think the status quo is too stringent or too lenient.

I think European Human Rights legislation probably has an impact on things such as availability of bathing and toilet facilities (Capane was built in 2005 I think and as such would have been subject to such legislation so cells would have been built with such facilities in place) and HR legislation probably impacts on many aspects of prison life.  Deprivation of liberty and personal freedoms is the mainstay of punishment. 

Those are just my meandering thoughts,  what I also want to say is that the people who are responsible for the ordeal of a victim and the victim’s family are those who are responsible for the crime.  The Italian system may not be perfect, but it is the framework within which the judicial process must work,  the responsibility for the ordeal of the Kercher family lies solely at the feet of those convicted.

Posted by Nolongeramember on 06/06/10 at 04:58 AM | #

@ Innai

I share your point of view completely and just in case I was misunderstood: I referred, among other things, to the ordeal of the victim’s family after the murder, because in my opinion, the Knox/Mellas family added considerably to it.

The responsibles for the murder itself are naturally the convicted ones. Those who added additional weight to it were or still are the Knox/Mellas family with their constant and notorious comments about railroading their poor innocent daughter. I find their way of managing the whole matter disconcerting, unusual and outrageous.

Every time I see them in an interview, I feel physically ill, thinking of the Kerchers who must be so offended by their behaviour. It is something never seen before in those dimensions. Even though I understand that parents want “the best” for their children and that possibly doesn’t include 25/26 years in a prison cell, but there is a line, and Curt Knox, Chris Mellas and Edda Mellas crossed this line a long time ago. With every statement they confirm: the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

Posted by Nell on 06/06/10 at 07:41 AM | #

Nell,

I understand and agree with all you have said.

Like you, I don’t think the Italian justice system has increased the ordeal suffered by the Kercher family.  It has played it’s role in invstigating, trying and convicting the three in a very thorough and careful manner - such a process will always be hard for the family of the victim, the system has to deliver justice within it’s own boundaries, and that is what it has done.  The system may not be perfect, I am sure that every judicial system in the world has many flaws that could be improved upon,  but it has served and continues to serve the demands of justice.

Posted by Nolongeramember on 06/06/10 at 08:41 AM | #

For the most part I agree with Nell regarding the Italian judicial system, and applaud the efforts to rehabilitate, but I do feel that in some cases the death penalty is warranted:

1)If it is proven beyond any doubt that a person took another’s life for any reason other than self defense or defense of another person and

2)If there is even a scintilla of chance that the perpetrator had insufficient control of himself/herself as such that they are likely to kill again.

I do not believe that the kind of person that would, in full mental capacity, kill another under any circumstances other than self defense or defense of another, can be rehabilitated, especially those who kill even one innocent child, such as Mario Alessi or Casey Anthony. 

And I’m sure that there are those that would disagree with me on this, but I would apply the same measure to the criminally insane.  If there is absolultely no chance to effect a cure of the insanity that caused someone to kill, and they are believed likely to kill again, particularly in the case of serial killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy, then I feel that death by lethal injection is warranted, rather than keeping them alive under lock and key and at the taxpayer’s expense, to boot.  I prefer that my tax dollars support the poor and helpless.

Posted by Mo-in-Mass.,USA on 06/06/10 at 09:23 AM | #

@Mo-in-Mass.

I am sure there are lots of terrorists and murderers that we wouldn’t miss once they were gone, but I think it is an ethical question: It is just not right to take a life, unless in self-defence.

Independently how our feelings are about the death penalty, the USA have shown that it is as easy to execute an innocent man than it is to execute a guilty felon. No justice system is perfect and therefore it should be out of question to execute anybody.

The death penalty is a peculiar thing for a first world country like the USA and it is a huge step backwards in my opinion. I am glad, I’ve always lived in countries where the death penalty was abolished a long time ago.

On the other hand, I agree that too much leniency is not appropriate either. For pedophiles, rapists, murderers and terrorists I suggest to lock them up and throw away the key. Still, I wouldn’t want to see them killed.

“If there is absolultely no chance to effect a cure of the insanity that caused someone to kill, and they are believed likely to kill again, particularly in the case of serial killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy, then I feel that death by lethal injection is warranted, rather than keeping them alive under lock and key and at the taxpayer’s expense, to boot.”

Spending taxpayers money on something you consider “waste” is not an excuse to kill anybody in my eyes. It is cruel and inhumane.

Posted by Nell on 06/06/10 at 10:17 AM | #

Whether anyone likes it or not, the truth is if a ” gun ” figuratively speaking was put to Guede"s head, and he was told that he alone was facing 30/40/life in prison or the death penalty for this crime ON HIS OWN, and that AK and RS were free - and with AK and RS smiling, laughing and of course hugging and kissing during TV and newspaper interviews proclaiming their innocence “, apparently getting on with their lives ” full steam ahead ” and profiting financially from Meredith’s murder - how long does anyone really think it would really be before Guede would jump at the chance to save his own skin and tell the whole truth - no shit?

The weak point in this case has been the Italian judicial system. People can waffle and ramble all they like and grab the ” high moral ground ” - but the truth is if the Italian judicial system had real ” teeth and balls ” this case would be wrapped up neatly with a ribbon a long, long time ago. The bungling ” Inspector Clousseau ” of the comedy movies could have solved this one.

I also do not believe in the Death Penalty, but the notion that by affording a convicted BUTCHERER access to a hairdresser is going to quite possibly turn AK into a hairdresser whenever she is released from prison is just gibberish. I’m sure it must be very comforting to the Kerchers to know that their beautiful young MEREDITH is lying cold and rotting in her grave and her sick and twisted laughing and mocking BUTCHERER is living in what many people would regard as luxurious conditions getting her hair done each week - perhaps even getting a pedicure and a manicure - HOLY SHIT I DON’T THINK SO - if this isn’t an insult to the Kerchers I don’t know what is.

As I say I do not believe in the Death Penalty, but sometimes everyone has to ” grab the bull by the horns ” and face the fact that sometimes it probably is justified. For those who disagree with this, please just imagine Meredith lying on the floor, terrified, in agony, knowing her life his over, as she gasps for her final breaths of air while drowning in her own blood. Well when I think of this, I believe that Guede and RS should hung by the balls with ” piano wire “, and I will leave it to someone else to decide where Knox should be hung by with the ” piano wire “.

Meredith’s murder was a brutal crime, and as much as I myself do not agree with the Death Penalty, I must admit that in this case the punishment should match the crime. When these people did what they did to Meredith they didn’t think about her human rights, and by so doing gave up their own rights to human rights. ” What you give - you get in life “. What is the saying? ” Do unto others as you would they do onto you “. I’m not religious, but I think that is a very true quotation!

Posted by Paddy5000 on 06/06/10 at 08:59 PM | #

@Paddy5000:

“In my opinion the Italian judicial system is a major contributor in this mess.”

How?

What is the ‘mess’ you are referring to?

Please tell me how did the judicial system fail you? Because it doesn’t have a death sentence or because we didn’t point a gun to G/K/S’s head?

Paddy, the Kerchers simply wanted justice not revenge and to propose that a death penalty would somehow ease their pain or even the score just deflates their dignity and the memory we have of Meredith.

You are absolutely right in saying that Meredith’s death was cruel, callous and inhumane. For those reasons alone we have to ensure that as a society we arise above the depths of depravity.

You say: ” Do unto others as you would they do onto you “

I say: ” Do unto others as though YOU were the others.”

Posted by Chan on 06/07/10 at 08:22 AM | #

@Chan
Your comment “Again, I totally agree with you. However, a trauma doesn’t last for 2 years and nor is it the cause of lies and convenient memory lapses.”

I have to disagree here a trauma can last a life time. And I am not talking about with AK for I have never believed in her stories of forgetting this or that, but could remember other things that would suppose to help her out.

I do believe in the death penalty and don’t believe it should go on for years and years. We need the laws of the old days where they did public hangings etc. Maybe then there wouldn’t be so much crime in the world.

But here in the USA a person who kills pretty much gets a slap on the wrist. A life isnt worth but 20 yrs and if the person who committed the crime doesn’t get in trouble while in prison can be out in about 12 yrs.

I also think prisoners should be fed bread and water maybe a plate of beans and should be out busting rocks or some kind of hard labor.

Instead they are getting 3 meals a day, they are getting free education, and the life of Riley basically they have a gym etc.

As a single mom my first concern is taking care of my son to make sure he has something to eat each day there has been nights I didn’t eat just so there was food for him. We still dont get 3 meals a day.

If convicted of murder especially a brutal murder like Meredith’s then hang the person/persons if it involves a child and a person is found guilty be it female or male hang them get these so called people out of the system and out of society.

if its drug related like selling etc then put the person to hard labor for the rest of their lives.

If we started this I bet the crime rate around the world would drop to about 90% the first yr.

Posted by jasmine1998 on 06/08/10 at 05:56 AM | #

@jasmine1998:

yes indeed, there are traumas and then there are traumas… i think we i agree that Knox was hardly ‘traumatised’ in the clinical context and i also agree with you that she has selective memory.

I respect your opinion; you want the death sentence and bread and water for all murderers. If 12 years in prison is a mere slap on the wrist then you are one tough cookie. Bread and water? to what end? Prisoners in Australia have aged pre-maturely solely on the quality of the food served. Hardly high cuisine.

Hard labour? Prisoners fight amongst themselves in order to get jobs to relieve their boredom. In any event, most jails have work programmes from making number plates to road signs.

Killing murderers doesn’t cleanse society of crime otherwise Texas would be the safest state in the US; it isn’t !

I don’t pretend to know the answer, but remember, ’ .... but for the Grace of God, there go I’.

May I wish you and your son all the best; hang in there,

take care, ok ?

Posted by Chan on 06/08/10 at 07:56 AM | #

Regarding the death penalty. I am not sure that I am in favour or against, but see that there are theological arguments for it.

In ancient India, where there is a theological belief in karma and reincarnation, the death penalty is enforced so that the perpetrator of a serious crime receives their punishment now, so that they don’t have to suffer for it in a later life - a pay now rather than pay later system. In effect it is an act of mercy upon the person.The death penalty has its roots in the old testament - an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

Regarding the Judao/Christian origins of the death penalty, I did some research and I copied these from a website:

Genesis 9:6

“Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.”

These words are spoken by God. The verse does not only express an permission, but it is a command. And it is interesting to see that the first edict of a legal character is concerning the death penalty. God wants the death penalty for murderers and the reason is clearly declared: “for in the image of God has God made man.”(5) One who murders destroys the “image of God” in a fellow man and thereby commits an indirect attack on God himself.


These verses can be seen as the foundational explaining why the Bible sets forth the capital punishment as an edict, namely that man is unique and has a value that surpasses everything else in creation. To the Christian faith the death penalty is first and foremost a concern for the human value. God has created the death penalty as a sign, a proof, of the high and divine value of mankind, and that value is based on God’s love for mankind.

If we paraphrased and brought Gen 9:6 into our secularized society it could look something like this: “One who takes another person’s life, has forfeit his own right to life, because man has an inviolable value.”

The previous verse, Gen 9:5, says: “And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.”

Here God gives another reason for the death penalty, namely “accounting”, in this context it means retribution. God “demands” death for one who sheds blood and, according to the following verse “mankind” is supposed to fulfil this demand. It is the high value of mankind, created in the image of God, which motivated the retribution. To be created in the image of God means that mankind is the object of God’s concern. Accounting and retribution from the one who has killed has its source in God’s beating heart that cares for the victims of crime. A society without the capital punishment denies this love.

Posted by Vedantist on 06/08/10 at 12:11 PM | #

Fortunately, we have left a lot of commands by god, as they appear in the Old testament and other holy books, for what they are: outdated rules that made sense when they were applied by tribes in ancient times, but by now we have developed alternative ideas on how to deal with murderers.

I am against the death penalty in all cases, although I do not condemn somebody who kills out of self defense or revenge for an atrocity they were the victim of.

In all cases, a modern and human judicial system should be able to punish in a way that most benefits society.

I support life in prison under a sober regime for those that kill innocent people.

Main reasons why I am against the death penalty are:
- governments should not set negative examples, because by doing so, they cannot take society to a more enlightened level and therefore stagnate progress;
- studies have shown that nations and states where the death penalty is in effect, are not safer than nations/states that do not apply the death penalty
- the cost of having inmates on death row and all the administration and operation costs that come with it, is higher than the cost of having the same number of inmates serving life under a sober regime;
- the proven risks of killing innocent people: numerous U.S. inmates have been released the past few years after the latest DNA technology has proven their innocence.

Posted by saskia on 06/08/10 at 01:42 PM | #

Seems that it is starting to be uncomfortable over there:

Posted by Patou on 06/08/10 at 04:52 PM | #

@Nell,

RE: “Spending taxpayers money on something you consider “waste” is not an excuse to kill anybody in my eyes. It is cruel and inhumane.”

Just my opinion, but I feel it is more cruel and inhumane to lock someone up for their remaining time on earth than it is to euthanize them.  If I had the choice between lethal injection and spending the remainder of my days behind bars, I’d choose death anytime, hands down.

Also, please note that I specifically stated “1)If it is PROVEN beyond any doubt that a person took another’s life for any reason other than self defense or defense of another person” and I do not mean a verdict based only on circumstantial evidence.  I feel that protecting innocent society from one who given the opportunity might select another victim is far more important than preserving the life of one who would likely kill again.

Further, I can’t see someone like Joran van der Sloot being rehabilitated by any measure.  People like that are “dead” already.

Posted by Mo-in-Mass.,USA on 06/08/10 at 07:11 PM | #

6/8/10
Vedantist,
I agree with you. The death penalty is God’s plan, a form of love to value the human. thanks.

Posted by Hopeful on 06/08/10 at 08:23 PM | #

Not sure where to post this but it is a link to an article detailing a crime that took place in the US which struck me for its similarities.

Apologies if someone else has already brought this to your attention.

Posted by pensky on 06/09/10 at 02:53 AM | #

Hello Mo,

“Also, please note that I specifically stated “1)If it is PROVEN beyond any doubt that a person took another’s life for any reason other than self defense or defense of another person” and I do not mean a verdict based only on circumstantial evidence.  I feel tat protecting innocent society from one who given the opportunity might select another victim is far more important than preserving the life of one who would likely kill again.

Further, I can’t see someone like Joran van der Sloot being rehabilitated by any measure.  People like that are “dead” already.”

As I said, there is no perfect judicial system in the world. Many people all over the world have been executed being innocent (and then it was considered “proven” that they were the perpetrators). Therefore I absolutely reject the idea of applying the death sentence. I agree with Patou and her/his point of view. Murderers, rapists etc. who are likely to re-offend should never be released from prison to protect society from them.

Regarding van der Sloot, I agree, he probably cannot be rehabilitated. I hope that after his fulfilment of the sentence in Perú, he gets extradited to the USA for the extortion of the victims family and sits the rest of his life in prison.

Posted by Nell on 06/09/10 at 11:02 AM | #

Oh, sorry. I just saw that it was actually saskia who wrote the post regarding the death penalty and not Patou. I was referring to her post published the 06/08/10 at 12:42 PM. My mistake.

Posted by Nell on 06/09/10 at 11:12 AM | #

Saksia:“Fortunately, we have left a lot of commands by god, as they appear in the Old testament and other holy books, for what they are: outdated rules that made sense when they were applied by tribes in ancient times, but by now we have developed alternative ideas on how to deal with murderers”.


Certainly these commandments come from the Old Testament not the New Testament where Jesus did not teach an eye for an eye but love and compassion for all people including one’s enemies.

I read somewhere that these Old Testament directives of an eye for an eye were meant to limit acts of revenge to be in proportion to the original crime. This would be a step forward in a tribal society, where justice was up to the tribe to decide. Passions may lead people into actions that continually up the ante ie you killed one of our tribe, now we kill 5 of yours then you kill 10 of ours etc.

I agree we have a different society now and an organized justice system that aims to ensure appropriate punishment. However it seems that the focus in the modern legal system is to try to prove your case, whether defense or prosecution. I can see how this system would have been developed to protect falsely accused people. But the problem with the system is that the guilty are not encouraged to be honest and tell what really happened, because the focus is to escape punishment as we see so clearly in this case.

The western legal system leaves little room for honesty (though I am glad to see that Italy rewards honesty and there is a focus on rehabilitation). We know that only once someone has admitted to their wrongdoing, can they rehabilitate and become a functioning member of mainstream society again. Amanda and Raf’s family do them a big injustice in this sense. They are clans who see all members as extensions of themselves and whose identity is rooted in being members of a clan. The clan members must be defended at all costs, even at the cost of truth, because in defending that person they are defending the honor of the clan and therefore the honor of themselves.

Posted by Vedantist on 06/12/10 at 01:59 PM | #

Civil law, and its ancient origins in religious law, and the struggle of humans between selfishness and selflessness; these are things I spend a lot of time thinking about. Every society has to find a way to sanction its members’ worst tendencies, lest their selfish acts (be they theft, vandalism, rape, torture or murder) become accepted and go unaddressed, thereby threatening to unravel the codes of the society itself. The Vatican reserved the right to deal with “straying” members of its own hierarchy, in relocating paedophile priests, rather than hand them over to the civil authorities in the towns where children were victimised. (This is just one example where an ancient tradition crosses into modern headlines, and where religious and civil law intertwine.) Punishment, and monetary compensation demonstrate the society’s intolerance of the crime, but until and unless the perpetrators of that crime can internalise, can FEEL the anguish they have caused their victims, there can be no true redemption for them.
If Amanda Knox could sit in a room with Meredith’s weeping family, or could even bear to look at the images of her tortured, lifeless body and break down sobbing, i could find it in my heart to hope for her genuine rehabilitation.
As far as the arguments for and against capital punishment, I know that there have been psychopathic, serial killers who have asked, if not pleaded to be put to death. They themselves recognised the absence of a soul within thier own bodies. If you believe in the positive power of prayer (my housemate is a Buddhist, who chants both at dawn and at dusk, to overcome the illusory temptations of the material and for the benefit of humankind) then you must also accept the negative power of the evil thoughts a coldblooded psychopath continues to manifest from within the safe confines of his cell.
Hard not to see oneself as the center of the known universe, especially when Oprah agrees that you indeed must be more important than the Italian judicial system, not to mention incidental murder victims.

Posted by mimi on 06/16/10 at 12:04 AM | #

Mimi, you make excellent points.

Regarding rehabilitation, a case in point. In my town, just 6 weeks ago a young woman was brutally beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend. He repeatedly hit her head against a wall and left her in a pool of blood. When police came to his house a few hours later, he readily admitted to the crime and described how he killed her, and even told police where to find the laptop he had taken from the victim.

As shocking as the whole crime is, I actually feel empathy for him because he confessed to the crime. To me this is a sign of regret and remorse, placing the gravity of the crime above any selfish desires to escape punishment. I have hopes that he can reform because he was able to tell the truth. His mother, who describes herself as a “woman of faith”, expressed regret over the murder and sympathy towards the dead girl and her family. How different are these responses to those that we see from the accused and their families in this case.

Posted by Vedantist on 06/18/10 at 01:24 PM | #


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