TJMK/Wiki Translation Of The Marasca/Bruno Report #3 Of 7: Dismissal Of Appeal Claims, Nencini Scope

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Overview Of The Post and the Series

The purpose of the series was summarised in Post #1.

With this post we are about 3/4 of the way through the judgment and here Marasca and Bruno push aside both some of Knox’s and Sollecito’s grounds of appeal and also Judge Nencini’s chosen scope.

This is done in a manner remarked on by Catnip as curiously pedantic and dogmatic. It is based largely on innuendo and a noticeably weak grasp of the real facts - for example the jailbirds Alessi and Aviello were DEFENSE witnesses and hardly a weakness of the prosecution case.

The evidence discussed is cherrypicked and the bar for “beyond a reasonable doubt” is set way higher than judges who normally handle murder cases (as the Fifth Chambers and these particular judges do not) would ever espouse. The exhaustive six-step review process prior to the 2009 trial is totally ignored.

Translation was by a professional translator with extensive finalization by Machiavelli with some help from the Wiki team of the judicial terms used and the accuracy of the English relative to what is in the report.

Our further critiques will be posted separately in Comments and other posts. Please consider this pre-final. Suggestions for improved translation are welcome. The PDF version to go on the Wiki will be the final. 


1. Logical and exposition reasons call for an immediate examination of the preliminary matters advanced by the defenses.

In fact, these are issues of prejudicial relevance, since they are potentially capable of influencing the subsequent developments of decisions which, even if devoid of substantial definitiveness, could nevertheless have a decisive effect, at least in relation to the remand back to the lower court and postponement of the present consideration.

First of all, we will address the issue of constitutional legitimacy of the combined provisions of articles 627 par. 3, and 628 par. 2 of the code of criminal procedure, for supposed violation of the principle of reasonable length of the judicial process in light of article 111 of the Constitution; also the request to delay judgment until the decision of the European Court for Human Rights, subjected to an appeal submitted by the defense of Amanda Knox complaining about coercive treatment to which the aforementioned was supposed to have been exposed by the investigators during the preliminary investigations; also to the multiple requests of Raffaele Sollecito’s defense to refer examinations to the United Sections of this Supreme Court [a panel of all Chambers] about matters of particular relevance to their capability to generate interpretative alternatives in the case law of this Court.

2. All the requests are clearly unfounded.

2.1. Unfounded, first of all, is the restated issue of constitutional legitimacy of the laws that rule judgment by the courts after Supreme Court remand. And in fact, the motivating report of the previous [a quo] judge [Nencini, ed.], who, with the preliminary court order dated 30 September 2013, has considered the matter as clearly unfounded, is irreproachable. To the arguments brought forward [by the judge] in relation to the first matter – an illustration of how the dynamics of the relationship between a judgment of annulment on legitimacy grounds, and a replacement judgment by the lower judge after remand, are guided by a progressive narrowing of the thema decidendum [matter], which, serves to preclude an extension ad infinitum of the trial process – this can be added: the effect of the progressive delimitation of the res iudicanda is followed by the judiciary as a possible result not only of the rescinding [annulling] judgment, but also of the requirements of article 628, par. 2, of the procedural code, according to which in all cases the sentence of the appellate judge can be challenged only in relation to reasons not concerning points already decided the Court of Cassation, or for failure to abide with the requirements of article 627, chapter 4 , of the code of criminal procedure, according to which “the appellate judgment by the court following Supreme Court remand cannot reopen the issue of nullity, even absolute, or inadmissibility, decided during previous trials or during preliminary investigations.”

Thus legitimacy jurisprudence is prohibited to extend as far as non-usability, since it is considered as an expression of a general principle of the decree which tends to confer definitive status to the decisions of the Court of Cassation (Section 5, n. 10624 dated on 12 February 2009, Barbara, Rv. 242980; Section 5, n. 36769 dated on 03 September 2006, Caruso, Rv 235015; Section 1, n. 22023 of the 18 April 2006,  Marine, Rv. 235274; and, about preliminary judicial review, Section 6, n. 47564 of the 14 November 2013, Tuccillo, Rv. 257470; contra, Section 3, n. 15828 of the 26 November 2014, Rv. 263343).

It is thus perfectly acceptable to affirm that the legislative [parliament] has designed a procedural module with a progressive foundation (principle of so-called “progressive ruling”), which can be viewed – in a slice of time – as “concentric circles”.

Furthermore, the previous court – in the instances described in the appeal document signed by the lawyers Ghirga and Della Vedova – had already had the opportunity to take care of this matter, declaring it inadmissible on the basis of argumentations that the current defensive explanations doesn’t seem capable of rebutting, since they do not proffer arguments that could possibly promote a different deciding conclusion.

It cannot be ignored that the criminal trial is, constitutionally, aimed at the acknowledgement of the material truth by means of a cognitive progression, excluding possible errors in procedendo or in iudicando, medio tempore occurring, to reach its final purpose, in terms of approximation as close as possible to that objective, [20] rendering back to the community a result commonly intended as “judicial truth”, that means truth found procedurally (rectius, the one which has been possible to verify by means of the ordinary gnostic and inferential instruments at disposal of the judge). All of this, within the ineluctible contexts of the procedural formalities, which represent, obviously, the maximum expression of juridical civility and the prestigious spirit of a centuries old process of advancement of procedural knowledge typical of the Italian juridical culture.

And when one deals with, as in this case, matters of particular evidence in absence of direct proof, or of reliable technical-scientific contribution, or of pertinent and usable declarative contributions – the judicial truth, detached from factual reality, ends up being a mere fictio iuris, considering the limits and the ordinary subjectivity of the instruments of human knowledge, commonly depending on a reconstructive and re-elaborative process a posteriori.

So, it is precisely in this circumstances that the respect of standards is most necessary, representing an unswerving parameter – objective and privileged – for the verification of correctness and adequacy of the cognitive process of the judge during the pragmatic approach to the material truth.

And the Judge of the legitimacy is, in fact, called to attend to the aforementioned verification with cognitive powers only ab extrinseco, meaning that they are limited to a mere external check of the formal correctness, congruency and logical coherence of the set of explanations justifying that cognitive progression, without any possibility to observe the real demonstrative importance of the evidential elements used in it.

And furthermore, such pursue of finalization will have to comply with the constitutional principle under article 111 of the Constitution about reasonable length of a trial process intended to develop through phases and predetermined sequenced articulations.

The pursue of that ultimate purpose (seeking of the material truth) – particularly in trials of particular delicacy like the one examined here, of such difficulty in carrying out of procedural activities, and technical investigations of particular complexity – has therefore to be related to the necessity of a judicial reply of a length as short as possible, for the obvious necessity of respect for the value of the subjects involved and of the ineluctible claim for justice both of the victims and the community.

2.2. The request of Amanda Knox’s defense aimed at the postponing of the present trial to wait for the decision of the European Court of Justice [sic] has no merit, due to the definitive status of the guilty verdict for the crime of calunnia, now protected as a partial final status, against a denouncement of arbitrary and coercive treatments allegedly carried out by the investigators against the accused to the point of coercing her will and damaging her moral freedom in violation of article 188 of penal procedure code. [21]

And also, a possible decision of the European Court in favor of Ms. Knox, in the sense of a desired recognition of non-orthodox treatment of her by investigators, could not in any way affect the final verdict, not even in the event of a possible review of the verdict, considering the slanderous accusations that the accused produced against Lumumba consequent to the asserted coercions, and confirmed by her before the Public Prosecutor during the subsequent session, in a context which, institutionally, is immune from anomalous psychological pressures; and also confirmed in her memoriale, at a moment when the same accuser was alone with herself and her conscience in conditions of objective peacefulness, sheltered from environmental influence; and were even restated, after some time, during the validation of the arrest of Lumumba, before the investigating judge in charge.

2.3. Finally, denied also is the request from Sollecito’s defense seeking to obtain referral to the United Sections of this Court of matters related to the evidential value of scientific results acquired in violation of international protocols which contain specific prescriptions meant to assure the genuineness of the sampling and the analysis; also related to the standards of evaluation of expert testimony during the trial process under strong media exposure; also related to the usability of accusative declarations reported in the verdict that had been acquired according to article 238–bis of the procedure code.

These are, clearly, matters of particular weight, of some agreed relevance for purposes of defining the present judgment, but of dubious capacity to generate potential jurisprudential contrasts. Anyway, interpretative tangles are checked out here which this Court could not ignore, with the pertinent conclusion having binding effectiveness within the purpose of defining the present proceeding.

3. Having thus stated, the main topic of the present proceeding can now be approached, the leitmotiv of the claims of the contestants, revolving around a prejudicial claim of inobservance, on the part of the [Florence] appeal judge, of the dictum of the [2013] annulment ruling by this Court and the principle of law established within it.

The investigation requested to this Court is only apparently simple, considered that the ratio decidendi of the annulment ruling is founded on the finding of a manifest illogicality of the rationale supporting the appealed judgement; a finding which consists – and specifies itself – in the observation of a violation of the principles of completeness and of non-contradiction.

It is an established jurisprudential rule that, in presence of such reasoning for an annulment, derived from a deficit in the reasoning, the new appeal judge [giudice di rinvio] is tasked with the comprehension of the whole body of evidence, which he is expected to revisit [22] in full freedom of conviction, without any bound, being only supposed to produce, as a result, a reasoning deprived of those flaws of manifest illogicality or manifest contradiction which caused the annulment of the first appeal verdict. In the case law of this Court of Cassation there is, in fact, the recurrent statement “following an annulment for incorrect reasoning, the new appeal judge is prohibited from basing the new decision on the same arguments considered illogic or inconsistent by the Court of Cassation, but he is however free to reach, on the basis of different argumentations from the ones claimed in the Supreme Court therefore integrating and completing the ones already issued, the same judicial result of the annulled ruling. This because it is an exclusive task of the courts of merit to reconstruct the resulting facts from the trial findings, and to assess the signification and value of the relative sources of evidence”. (among others, Sect 4, n. 30422 of 21 June 2005, Poggi, Rv. 232019; Section 4, n. 48352 of 29 April 2009, Savoretti, Rv 245775).

A problem – suggested with appreciable discretion within the new reasons [of appeal] in favor of Knox – appears when, as in this case, the Court of Cassation has entered in the merits, going beyond the institutional limits assigned to it, such as when for example it offers a range of causal alternatives for the murder and assigns to the judge the task of picking, within that predetermined numerous clausus, the one most appropriate to the case at bar. There’s no doubt, in the opinion of this panel, that in such peculiar event the new appellate court cannot consider itself either bound or influenced, because of the aforementioned clear problem of this institutional kind, that, for what was stated before, exists between cognizance of legitimacy and cognizance of the fact, the latter being the exclusive prerogative of the judge of merit. In this regard the Supreme Court has already given its contribution, stating that the new appellate judge cannot be influenced “by evaluations possibly over-stated by the Court of Cassation in its argumentations, since the spheres within which the respective evaluation are carried out are different, and it is not the task of the Court of Cassation to put its conviction before the judge of merits in regards to those matters. After all, in those cases where the Supreme Court possibly focus its attention over some specific aspects from which the lack or the contradiction of reasoning emerges, this doesn’t mean that the new appellate judge would be tasked with a new judgment only on the specified points, because the judge retains the same powers which originally belonged to him as a judge of merits in relation to the identification and evaluation of the trial data, regarding the point of the verdict affected by annulment” (Section 4 n.30422/2005 cit.). In the same sense it was stated that “… possible factual elements and assessments contained in the annulment ruling are not binding for the new appellate judge, but are considered exclusively as a reference point in order to position the complained-about error or errors, [23] and therefore not as data imposed for the decision requested of him; moreover, there’s no doubt that, after the ruling of annulment for incorrect reasoning through the indication of specific points of deficiency or contradiction, the powers of the new appellate judge cannot be restrained to the examination of the single specified points, as if they were isolated from the rest of the evidential material, but he must also carry out other acts of evidence-finding on which results his decision has to be based, providing the reason for this within the judgment report” (Section 4, n. 44644 of 18 October 2011, defendant F., Rv. 251660; Section 5, n. 41085 of 3 July 2009, defendant L., Rv. 245389; Section 1, n. 1397 of 10 December 1997 dep. 1998, Pace, Rv. 209692).

All of this is the background to a reiterated doctrine of this Court of Cassation, consolidated to the point of constituting a ius receptum, according to which “the powers of the new appeals judge are different depending on if the annulment has been ruled for violation or erroneous application of the criminal code, or for absence of manifested illogicality of reasoning, since, while, in the first hypothesis, the judge is bound to the law principle expressed by the Court, without changing the evaluation of the facts as they were found by the appealed verdict, in the second hypothesis, a new examination of the evidential compendium can be carried out, without repeating the same incorrect reasoning of the annulled order. (among the others, Section 3, n. 7882 of 10 January 2012, Montali, Rv. 252333).

3.1. As we will see, the appeals judge [Nencini] was influenced on many points by the suppositions of factual aspects emerging within the annulment judgment, as if the convincing and analytic evaluations of the Supreme Court were unavoidably converging in the direction of affirmation of guilt of the two defendants. Being misled by this error, the same judge encounters clear logic inconsistencies and obvious errors in iudicando, which need to be challenged here.

4. Meanwhile, it can’t be ignored, on a first summary overview, that the history of these proceedings is characterized by a troubled and intrinsically contradictory path, with the only fact of irrefutable certainty being the guilt of Amanda Knox regarding the slanderous accusations against Patrick Lumumba. On the concern of the murder of Kercher, the declaration of guilt of Knox and Sollecito, in first instance, was followed by a ruling of acquittal from the appeal Court of Assizes of Perugia, consequent to an articulated evidential integration [the Conti-Vecchiotti report, ed.]; the annulment by this Supreme Court, First Criminal Section; and finally the judgment, on appeal, of the Court of assizes of Florence, today considered under a new Cassation appeal.

An objectively wavering process, the oscillations of which are the result of glaring failures or investigative “amnesias” and of culpable omissions in [24] investigating activities, which, had they been carried out, would have, probably, allowed from the start the outline a framework, if not of certainty, at least of reassuring reliability, in direction of either the guilt or the non-involvement of the current appellants. Such scenario, intrinsically contradictory, constitutes a first, eloquent, representation of an evidential set of anything but “beyond reasonable doubt”.

4.1. Surely, an unusual media fuss about the crime, caused not just by the dramatic modalities of the death of a 22-year old woman, so absurd and incomprehensible in its genesis, but also by the nationality of the persons involved (a USA citizen, Knox, accused of participating in the murder of her housemate who was sharing a foreign study experience with her; an English citizen, Meredith Kercher, killed in mysterious circumstances in the place where she likely used to feel most safe, her home, and additionally the international implications of the case itself, prompted the investigation to suffer from a sudden acceleration, which, in the spasmodic search for one or more culprits to be delivered to international public opinion,  surely didn’t help the search for substantial truth, which, in complex murder cases like the one examined here, has an ineluctible requirement both for accurate timing, and also the completeness and accuracy of the investigation activity. Not only that, but also, when – as in this case – the result of the search is greatly based on the results of scientific examinations, the antiseptic sampling of all the elements useful to the investigation – in an environment provided of the appropriate sterilization, so to shield it from possible contaminations – constitutes, normally, the first cautionary strategy, itself the vital prelude to a correct analysis and “reading” of the retrieved samples. And if the key part of the activity of technical-scientific research consists in specific genetic investigations, whose contribution in the investigative activity emerges as more and more relevant, the reliable parameter of correctness can only be the respect of standards imposed by the international protocols which outline the fundamental rules of procedure of the scientific community, on the basis of statistic and epistemological observation.

The rigorous respect for such methodological standards provides a reliability, conventionally acceptable, in the assembled results, firstly related to their repeatability – that is the possibility that those findings, and those alone, would be reproduced by an identical investigative procedure 0in identical conditions, according to the fundamental laws of the empiric method and, more generally, of experimental science, that since Galileo has been based on the application of a “scientific method” (typical procedure meant to obtain knowledge of “objective” reality, reliable, verifiable and sharable; by common knowledge this consists, on one hand, in the collection of empiric data in relation to the hypothesis and theories to be confirmed; on the other hand, in the mathematical and rigorous analysis of such data, that is associating – as stated for the first time by aforementioned Galileo – “sensible experiences” with “necessary demonstrations” that is the experimentation with mathematics.

4.2. As we will see, all of this is basically missing in the current judgment.

Not only that but, the media attention, besides not helping the search for the truth, has produced further prejudicial feedback in terms of “procedural diseconomy”, generating undue “noise” (in the IT meaning) , not so much from the delay of the availability of witness testimony from certain persons (considering that from this point of view it is anyway just a matter of verifying the reliability of the corresponding declarative contributions), but because of the introduction into the trial of extemporary declarations by certain detained subjects, of solid criminal caliber [defense witnesses Alessi and Aviello], surely intent on self-serving mythomania and judicial attention-seeking behavior capable of assuring them a media stage, including on TV, so breaking at least for one day the grayness of their prison regime. And by the way this was a common instance of claims from “fetchers” of truths collecting within the prison environment unworthy confidences between co-inmates during the routine yard time. Clearly not commendable situations, which, also, had had the outcome of assuring – for the first time during the appeal – the active participation in this case of Rudy Guede (when he was summoned during the first instance judgment, he invoked his right to not respond; p. 3): [he’s] a key element in this case, even if unshakably reticent (and has never confessed), a bringer of half-truths differing from time to time.

Rudy Guede is the Ivorian citizen who was also himself involved in the Kercher case. Tried separately with a separate judgment, as a co-participant to the murder, he was sentenced, at the end of an abbreviated trial, to the penalty of thirty years imprisonment, reduced on appeal to sixteen years.

Our mention of him is to make it worth introducing the second, irrefutable, certainty of this trial (after the one concerning the responsibility of Knox for the crime of calunnia), that is the guilt now under irrevocable ruling, of the Ivorian as the author – participating with others – of the murder of the young English woman.

The finding of guilt of the aforementioned was reached on the basis of genetic traces, definitely attributable to him, collected in the house in via della Pergola, on the victim’s body and inside the room where the murder was committed.

4.3. The same reference [to Guede] also raises two relevant points of law, highlighted by the defense: one concerning the usability and the value of the aforementioned irrevocable verdict in this proceeding; the other related to the usability of the declarations - in terms less than coherent and constant – produced by Guede within his own trial, which may involve the current appellants in some way.

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters on 10/06/15 at 08:37 AM in


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