Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Knox Team to Appeal Conviction And 3-Year Sentence For Framing Patrick Lumumba

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above: the Supreme Court of Cassation]

Appeals against Judge Hellman’s rulings must be lodged in Rome by 18 February.

Now Reuters is reporting a Knox-team appeal apparently announced by David Marriott. The Knox team probably had little choice but to lodge this seeming long-shot of an appeal.

Judge Hellman’s ruling left her “half pregnant” facing a hard-line and unbendable Supreme Court and it left her mom and dad more vulnerable in their own trial for calunnia for claiming in a UK interview that Knox only “confessed” in fingering Patrick because of duress.

Explanation of calunnia

The charge of calunnia (art. 368) has been commonly translated as “slander” in the English/US media. This translation is incorrect, however, as calunnia is a crime with no direct equivalent in the respective legal systems.

The equivalent of “criminal slander” is diffamazione, which is an attack on someone”Ÿs reputation. Calunnia is the crime of making false criminal accusations against someone whom the accuser knows to be innocent, or to simulate/fabricate false evidence, independently of the credibility/admissibility of the accusation or evidence.

The charges of calunnia and diffamazione are subject to very different jurisprudence. Diffamazione is public and explicit, and is a more minor offence, usually resulting in a fine and only prosecuted if the victim files a complaint, while calunnia can be secret or known only to the authorities. It may consist only of the simulation of clues, and is automatically prosecuted by the judiciary.

The crimes of calunnia and diffamazione are located in different sections of the criminal code: while diffamazione is in the chapter entitled “crimes against honour” in the section of the Code protecting personal liberties, calunnia is discussed in the chapter entitled “crimes against the administration of justice”, in a section that protects public powers.

Judge Hellman essentially contradicted Cassation’s ruling on Guede which agreed strongly that Guede and two others did it (Judge Hellman of course went for the very tenuous lone wolf approach which Judge Micheli and Judge Massei both shot down in some detail) which had many lawyers in Italy doing double-takes. 

Knox in fact fingered Patrick when she was merely a witness who had not even been invited to Perugia police headquarters for the evening and who had volunteered for the questioning.

The interrogators have all claimed she was under no duress except the duress of hearing that Sollecito in the next interrogation room had just called her a liar and destroyed the latest of her various alibis.

Then she had several weeks (as did her mom) to move to spring a devastated Patrick from an adjacent wing in Capanne prison, but of course she didn’t.

Her lawyers never lodged a complaint against the claimed duress and on the witness stand at trial in mid-2010 the prosecutors actually got her to admit that she was treated well.

Key at this stage may be that Knox cannot use her natural advantages of being young and rather dopey and of being able to speak up in court at any time, not under oath or cross-examination, which she used twice in front of Judge Hellman (with lusty sobs and tears for herself and no caring for Meredith).

Cassation works like Supreme Courts elsewhere in Europe and the United States They receive the written appeals and then months or even years later hold very brief hearings, and then almost immediately issue a ruling. It looks to us like the case almost certainly gets bounced back to Perugia - and a new judge - for re-working.

Judge Hellman may have found Patrick’s highly aggressive lawyer impossible to overrule, and he would have been wildly unpopular in Italy to leave Patrick without even his small settlement. If Patrick’s lawyer does not somehow react to this appeal it will be a surprise. He may have the opportunity for rebuttal.

This case has thrown up a lot of possibilities for shortening the Italian process in murder cases and leveling the playing field in favor of victims and families. We’ll round up and post ideas for such reforms already being pushed in Italy by reformers such as Barbara Benedettelli.

Reforms might include no right to defendant statements in court without the possibility of cross-examination, the limiting of judges’ scopes in first appeals, and no jury being required for those appeals.

But everybody sure appreciates those judges’ and juries’ written statements. A precedent the whole world could use.


How can I translate in English “gli avvocati battono cassa” ? Or perhaps they have to prove to be as good as miss Giulia ….

Posted by ncountryside on 02/07/12 at 03:11 PM | #


BBC report today http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16926057 is very balanced and dispassionate. I hope the Supreme Court will also take a similar view. Only danger is that sometimes truth gets buried in the piles of papers. The papers arrive in special trunks and are seldom opened. The case must have generated at least 10 trunks of papers…

In an earlier article, BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15043002 mentioned very clearly the Knox team paid the independent experts. I find this strange that this was permitted or is legal.

A woman did what a woman had to, the best way she knew how. To do more was impossible, to do less, unthinkable.  —Dirisha, “The Man Who Never Missed”

Posted by chami on 02/07/12 at 05:07 PM | #


This is not permitted and is not legal. Obviously.

Posted by ncountryside on 02/07/12 at 05:57 PM | #

@ncountryside the google translator says that means lawyers beat box

Posted by mason2 on 02/07/12 at 07:21 PM | #

battere cassa

This idiom means to be after money, to be looking for money.

battere = to beat

cassa = chest (cash box by extension)

“La cassa” also refers to the check-out or cash-desk in modern usage.

So the lawyers are drumming on the money chest!!

Posted by Tiziano on 02/08/12 at 12:38 AM | #

@Chami - I found that reference to the independent experts a bit odd, but I don’t think BBC was referring to C&V.  My impression is that they may be referring to the clowns they hired to misrepresent the evidence (Steve “the former FBI agent,” Ciolino, etc.).

Posted by Vivianna on 02/08/12 at 01:00 AM | #

gli avvocato batono cassa. “Lawyers fighting fund” according to my google gadget translator.

Posted by James Raper on 02/08/12 at 02:40 PM | #

To quote the opening sentence:
“Appeals against Judge Hellman’s rulings must be lodged in Rome by 18 February.”
No definite news on this lately & here it is, the 9th.

Instead, thanks to Peter, we have via the Guardian a report on the request for an appeal of Amanda’s conviction. She accused Lumumba of Meredith’s murder outright, calling him bad. She knew all the while that he had nothing to do with it although her retraction came only after Lumumba was cleared.

This is absurd on the face of it & from one perspective a piece of impudence on the part of Knox/Marriott. Why should the judiciary in Perugia spend ten minutes over the matter?

But every strategem has its sneaky purpose.
We are to see how ardently the Knoxes have believed in their daughter’s innocence.

As for David Marriott, he has once again managed to get Amanda in the news, internationally, & with photo—even as she succeeds in keeping a low profile.  She will be a victim once more when the appeal is rejected.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 02/09/12 at 06:02 PM | #

Well, 18th is Saturday and I believe it is rather common to submit the documents on the last day, in this case possibly on 17th afternoon.  Some details will certainly appear in public after the submission.

OTOH, Amanda has already filed her appeal (as it appeared from the press reports) and she has every intention to use the propaganda machine to her advantage. It has worked in the past and IT MAY EVEN WORK NOW!

I do not believe “Knoxes have believed in their daughter’s innocence”- but I do think that the strategy has been useful.

Even her keeping a low profile has a well defined useful purpose- but I am equally curious to know about the financial health of the family. I also feel that her lawyers may even say that “it is fine to file an appeal and it may even be ok to lose”. Of course you can blame the system in either case!

Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere.

Posted by chami on 02/09/12 at 07:09 PM | #

…. or, simply, her lawyers opened the counter battery fire ….

Posted by ncountryside on 02/09/12 at 07:21 PM | #

If AK tries to argue that she was manipulated by police into fingering Patrick, then does she have to actually prove that she was manipulated? Or is it enough to merely cast doubt on the claim (by police) that she wasn’t?

Posted by Spencer on 02/10/12 at 07:09 AM | #

News item Sunday evening internet NYTimes:
“...publishers… are vying this week for the rights to [Amanda’s] memoir, whose blockbuster allure comes against a backdrop of unsettling details…”

At long last news on the rumored publication of Amanda’s prison memoir, supposed to be worth big bucks thanks to the world-wide publicity of this college-girl atrocity so conspicuously marked by cruelty, senselessness, brutality, degradation. And false witness.

A token acknowledgement of “unsettling details” in publishing a Knox memoir (which is to be true in all particulars, as it goes without saying) just a week before the decisive deadline, February 18, after which the prosecution’s appeal of this case (vs the Hellman verdict) can no longer be filed.

See for yourself & evaluate:

Master stoke of timing on the part of David Marriott.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 02/13/12 at 01:46 AM | #

In retrospect, the Knox request for an appeal of the guilty verdict for Amanda’s wrongful accusation of Lumumba may be aimed at the publishers & talk shows, in part.

A slight holding-back on the part of those willing to sign her up is implied in the Times article. It is at least commonly recognized that the business before the Italian courts is as yet unfinished, hence questionable.

As to any last minute filing with the Supreme Court, suggested by chami above, I can’t think that’s wise or “rather common.” Could be that the various appeals are only announced publicly on the last or next-last day.

Five days left before the deadline & so far, no light.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 02/13/12 at 01:36 PM | #

Hi Ernest and Chami.

No appeals at all have been filed yet. Amanda Knox’s was merely announced. Italian media today are announcing that the prosecution’s appeal will soon be filed.

Supreme Court appeals are often held back to the last moment, to prevent the other side from making any last-minute adjustments to theirs.

The PMF team will translate the appeals when we have them. Skeptical Bystander tells me the Hellman sentencing report in English should be ready for posting this week.

The NY Times report on the Knox book marketing is on the front business page of the paper edition of the NY Times, and we’ll (yet again!) post on what a minefield this book constitutes.

The NY Times report does not explain that there are Supreme Court appeals still to come. The process is still only 2/3 over. Are the publishers being actively misled?

It seems so and this project will be put on ice by any publisher once the extent of the legal process ahead (including trials pending of Knox, her parents, and the Sollecitos) becomes clear (our job!).

Prospective publishers need to make themselves acquainted with the Italian legal concept of calunnia (criminal defamation) or they too might find themselves in an Italian court.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/13/12 at 05:17 PM | #

I think these documents goes on an on for hundreds of pages and only legal experts can figure out what it actually means. But that does not mean that they are written sloppily; rather the opposite- they are crouched in legalese. The appeals must be ready and they are just going through the “t"s and “i"s. Technicalities must be taken care of. And Peter is correct when he says that “appeals are often held back to the last moment, to prevent the other side from making any last-minute adjustments to theirs”.

NYT article does not clearly say whether the deal was inked. Otherwise it is just a show created to make a news. It appears that there was a meeting but nothing has come out finally - not yet, at least in public. I will be tempted to agree that it is nothing more than a “Master stoke of timing”.

Don’t you think that the deal is getting stale? It is already 5 months and still no deal? Movie deal is now quite cold and I do not think it can be warmed up again.

Let us just wait and see.

People tend to make rules for others and exceptions for themselves.

Posted by chami on 02/13/12 at 08:35 PM | #
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