Headsup: Interesting new information starting with this comment by Hopeful on the daffy Steve Moore, who, it seems, is still being led around by the nose by someone. He really should keep off the subject of zebras.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Gulp! Jane Velez Mitchell Has A Nervous RS and Then TWO Guests Who Think He Did It

Posted by Peter Quennell



A lively debate! CNN Headline News tonight around 7:30. No “I wuz beaten up by meanie policemen” claims this time by Sollecito.

Mistakes were made by all the speakers, but super-lawyer Wendy Murphy and the crime blogger Levi Page gave the case for guilt their best shot. Even the third commentator thinks the timing of the book is insane.

Wendy Murphy didnt know about the Meredith book, but it was published only in England and transgressed no Italian law. She did vigorously get across just how much evidence there is, and not for the first time. See her tough article here and tough interview here where she assesses Knox as dangerous.

Jane, Mignini is NOT in a ton of trouble and never was. No satanism, repeat, no satanism. Your senior CNN colleague Nancy Grace believed Knox did it. Your CNN colleague Drew Griffen set Mignini up. See here and also here.

There were no leaks - at least not by Mignini. He never leaks. There were no tabloids, at least not in Italy - the 2-3 were in the UK, and they affected no jury. There was no invented Foxy Knoxy - that was her own Internet presence.

He couldnt get his story out? But he maintained a code of total silence for four years - could THAT have been the problem? And Sollecito did NOT support Amanda’s alibi - he sold her down the river in a heartbeat when a policeman looked at him funny (kidding - just a little).

And what’s with your squealing, Jane?! He isnt THAT adorable. Not if you are at the wrong end of a knife.

Posted on 09/22/12 at 05:20 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, September 21, 2012

The Rather Strained Couric-Sollecito Interview: Reading Between The Lines (2)

Posted by James Higham





Katie Couric interviewed Sollecito, more briefly and frostily than expected, last Tuesday afternoon in New York. You can read the transcript here.

Sicily based blogger Welshcakes Limoncello commented on a summary of the interview I posted on my own website. “Do you think we will ever know the truth?”

It was a neutral statement, one so many must have made around the world when they considered the case in as much detail as the media allowed.  The short answer, for those who’ve gone into the evidence in as much detail as PMF, TJMK and dozens of others, including me have, is a resounding: “Yes, we do actually.  We are as sure as any court needs to be or has ever been, short of a signed confession.”

This is not an even playing field in the least.  The evidence points one way, the professionals in the field concur, the Kercher family who, one needs to remember, were neutrals in the sense of whoever emerged as the killers they’d be down on, have sat through every bit of evidence as it was presented and they concur.  Nineteen justices who reviewed the case concurred.

One can’t just sweep that under the carpet, claiming there was “zero evidence”, not when that time and effort when into gathering and considering it all, not when consideration of the evidence presented filled hundreds of pages.  Just what are people trying to pull, claiming there was “zero evidence”?

And the defence – it hasn’t chosen to attack pieces of evidence [around 130 pieces of it] which they know they can’t attack.  They picked on two main pieces in the appeal and failed to establish either, except in the minds of Zanetti and Hellman,  the appointee who came in when the original trial judge was replaced.  Would he risk his reputation and hundreds of pages of scathing consideration of Hellman and Zanetti if there was zero in it in the first place?

I mean, at what point doe blind denial cease and the cumulative weight of evidence win the day?  Not cherrypicking two pieces of evidence and the judges refusing to hear the rest.  I mean cumulatively – all of it.

And cumulatively is the only way to approach this case – what the totality of evidence, not the cherrypicking, points to.  The weight of that evidence, from the DNA to the false alibis and the phone calls, would be sufficient to put anyone away, let alone the Supreme Court view that there was most certainly more than one killer, a point Sollecito, in his Couric interview, does not pooh-pooh.  Wasn’t that interesting?  He hopes the Kerchers will one day find the killers.

Not only was Sollecito forgetful of what had already been given as evidence but he has shown himself an inveterate liar.  When you accuse someone of being a liar, as a certain commenter at Orphans of Liberty is wont to regularly accuse me of, being asked to produce his evidence of that and then dropping into assertion and ad hominem with no evidence whatever, the outcome is not one of life and death.

In Sollecito’s case, it is – the death of Meredith Kercher.  So, I’ve accused him of being a liar.  Where is my evidence?  See this post by the Machine of April 2009.

There comes a point when one wonders why most who are still supporting Knox and Sollecito are doing so.  One can understand the family and close friends doing so against all the evidence but not people like that professor at John Jay University who made the same assertions, minus evidence and relied on his learned credentials to convince. 

Minus evidence, minus evidence – it has to be repeated over and over.

[Below: a previous interviewee who was more in Katie Couric’s class]

Posted on 09/21/12 at 08:25 PM by James Higham. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dr Galati: Here On American TV Tonight Raffaele Sollecito Apparently Commits Felony Defamation

Posted by Peter Quennell



Right now, Raffaele Sollecito, an Italian, is swanning around the United States with the apparent sole purpose of making his home country look bad.

As he is still accused of murder and other felonies until the Supreme Court signs off on the case, and accused felons are normally never allowed to enter the US by Immigration, it seems Sollecito could be here in the US illegally.

This video above was recorded from the Anderson Cooper news program on CNN at 8:45 pm tonight.

Here Raffaele Sollecito claims to have been abused and threatened by interrogators and claims that the same thing happened to Amanda Knox. He implies that he held out for hours, and that Knox was interrogated for 10 hours.

This seems to our lawyers precisely the same kind of invented malicious claim against interrogators which has resulted in both Amanda Knox and her parents being sued for felony defamation (calunnia) by police officers present when she was interrogated.

We know that both Sollecito’s own father Francesco AND HIS LAWYER Mr Maori have just indicated on national Italian TV that Sollecito was lying when he made this and other claims in his book. He has zero evidence to prove it, and he cannot point to anyone who abused him.

Sollecito had more than four years at trial and appeal and on national TV and privately with his lawyers to lodge such charges of abuse - and yet he never did. Not once did he ever advance them even though they might have got him off.

He did not even mention it in his nationally televised interview in Italy soon after he was released. He had to come to America to start making it - as blackmail, to make the Knox forces get him a resident visa?  .

What do we believe really happened?  This is from our July 2009 post on Sollecito’s many alibis.

Sollecito was asked to return to the police station on 5 November to answer some more questions. He was at that time confronted with telephone records that proved that he and Amanda Knox had lied previously.

So for his third alibi, which now cut Amanda Knox loose and implicated her, Sollecito claimed that he was at his apartment all evening, and that for part of the evening Knox was out, from 9 pm to 1 am.

In my previous statement I told a load of rubbish because Amanda had convinced me of her version of the facts and I didn’t think about the inconsistencies…..

Amanda and I went into town at around 6pm, but I don’t remember what we did. We stayed there until around 8.30 or 9pm.

At 9pm I went home alone and Amanda said that she was going to Le Chic because she wanted to meet some friends. We said goodbye. I went home, I rolled myself a spliff and made some dinner.”

He goes on to say that Amanda returned to his house at around 1am and the couple went to bed, although he couldn’t remember if they had sex.

How did things proceed from there? Did Sollecto or his lawyers claim that he had been tricked or abused into a “confession” ? No…

This third alibi was undercut by Amanda Knox when she took the stand and testified. She stated that she was with Sollecito at his place all night.

It was also contradicted by the forensic evidence presented by the prosecution: the four separate pieces of forensic evidence that placed him in the cottage on Via Della Pergola on the night of the murder.

This third alibi was also undermined by the telephone records and by the data taken from his computer.

Sollecito claimed that he had spoken to his father at 11 pm. The phone records showed that to the contrary, there was no telephone conversation at this time, though Sollecito’s father had called him a couple of hours earlier, at 8.40 pm.

Sollecito claimed that he was surfing the internet from 11 pm to 1 am. Marco Trotta, a police computer expert, testified that the last human interaction on Sollecito’s computer that evening was at 9.10 pm and the next human activity on Sollecito’s computer was at 5.32 am.

Sollecito said that he downloaded and watched the film Amelie during the night. However, Mr Trotta said that the film had been watched at around 6.30 pm, and it was earlier testified that Meredith returned to the cottage she shared with Amanda Knox at about 9 pm.

Sollecito claimed that he had slept in until 10 am the next day. There was expert prosecution testimony that his mobile phone was actually turned on at 6.02 am. The Italian Supreme Court remarked that his night must have been “sleepless” to say the least.

This alibi was undermined by the eyewitness Antonio Curatolo, the watcher in the park above the house, who testified that he saw Sollecito there.

From 2007 to 2011 Solleceto was rather notorious for NOT reaching out to Amanda Knox during trial and appeal and for NOT fully supporting her alibi. He has never retracted the statement that she was absent from his house from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am on the night Meredith was murdered.

This may be giving the Knox-Mellases some grins. They despise Sollecito, and they know full well of his treachery toward Amanda during trial when his own lawyer Bongiorno repeatedly blamed Knox (scroll down). They are presumably appalled at his loose lips and dishonest book which mess with her own prospects. . 

the book’s title is a living lie. There is nothing honorable about him. And he is acting treacherously and cowardly toward his own country.

Posted on 09/20/12 at 05:24 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Rather Strained Couric-Sollecito Interview: Reading Between The Lines (1)

Posted by Hopeful





Raffaele’s physical appearance was okay. He was groomed and dressed well. I alternately felt sorry for him and grossed out by him when I sensed he was lying from a cunning script.

He has taken a page out of Amanda’s playbook by using English instead of his native Italian with a translator, so the audience will identify with him and so he can buy time to formulate safe answers. He wants to show off to Amanda that he is as quick to master language as she is.

Katie Couric definitely put him on the defensive. Her maturity and restraint honed over years of interviews gave her the advantage. It must be so hard to smile and remain polite when you harbor suspicions you’re talking to a liar and stonecold killer. Her civility and training stood her in good stead.

She didn’t reveal too much disgust, but some slipped out. She did poke and prod for hard truth as much as possible within the limited format.

I think the biggest clue to Raffaele’s dishonesty was his refusal to denounce Meredith’s killer, Rudy Guede. Had he not been part of the violence or obstruction of justice against Meredith, he would have the moral high ground to express natural horror rage and resentment against this killer, a killer whose act has also destroyed Sollecito’s life.

If he were totally innocent, Raffaele would want only to name and shame Guede and howl for the harshest punishment. If Guede had gotten me involved in such a nightmare I would blame him without regret and with no game-playing or fear of his lies. The fact that Raf does not dare to anger Guede and refuses to judge the known killer who has dropped Raf into a living hell is a sign of some perverse obligation to Guede, fear of Guede, or guilty knowledge or some unnatural response.

He refuses to denounce Guede, while he revels in his coverup for Amanda. This suggests he is part of the crime.  He denounces prison loudly enough! He seemed to want to say that prison serves absolutely no purpose at all, incarceration accomplishes nothing. This is simply a reflection of how much he hated prison, not how little he deserved it.

His big glory seems to be bucking his family, and rejecting their good advice, while professing to understand they are blinded by love and concern for him.

His tone is condescending. No, he will spare his family nothing. He prefers to turn his back on their best interests (which would be to have a son who could earn a solid living and eventually help his father in old age or sister, has Raf ever thought of success as a gift he can give them? No, it seems he wants drama and destruction and waste).

While his book claims Dr. and Sister Sollecito were begging him to reveal the truth regardless of whether it hurt Amanda or not, he turns his back on them and on truth completely. His desire is to honor a wildcat female who used him and cost his father and sister everything.

What a mockery of real honor. He’s ready to save Amanda a prison sentence no matter how big a liar he must become or how much terror he brings to his family or expense and stress on them. His childish and mistaken attitude was that Amanda loves him, Amanda is all that matters.

Thus he becomes a foolish and destructive ennabler, saving Amanda from the natural results of her own bad acts that would finally teach her something real. He wants to rescue her and his vanity since she reflects his romantic choice and he doesn’t want that criticized.

He will rescue her at cost of destroying the family who has truly loved him and stood by him, even though he has so many unresolved issues with them. I think this is because he has not felt strong enough to stand up to his family in the normal teenage years of establishing boundaries, usually through mild rebellion.

His fear of losing his father since he was motherless, or their overbearing powerful personalities (doctor and policeman) left his growth undone at the normal time. He is still a child. But his role in this crime has become a way out for him.

Raf is in hog heaven. He can emigrate from Italy to the U.S. for survival reasons that his folks must understand, since they assure him they don’t want him in prison. This is his way to get others to boot him to where he wanted to go all along. (Munich wasn’t far enough, and he was soon back home dejected.)

His biggest joy seems to be deceiving the police. His sister’s biggest mistake was doing shady stuff to help this ingrate brother, and his father will learn the same lesson.

It’s really sad because Dr. Francesco Sollecito Senior deserves better than this from his only son. Raf wants to lower the bar on their expectations of him. In that he has succeeded. His main goal is to disappoint his father and compromise his sister since he cannot compete with their workplace achievements and no longer has a mother to protect.

Raffaele took another page from Amanda by giving a lengthy and ambiguous answer to the question, “What would you say to people who still think you are guilty?” He never gets around to categorically denying he killed Meredith! Instead he harps on the media having deceived the public.

Of course the fog of nonsense is his own and Amanda’s.

Posted on 09/19/12 at 10:08 PM by Hopeful. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Questions For Sollecito: Katie Couric, Push Back Against Sollecito’s Bluster And False Facts #2

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[The vastly more talented person, Meredith, who the smug and odious Sollecito still stands accused of killing]


Kermit has suggested some very tough questions in the Powerpoints post directly below.

Here are ten more of the possible dozens of unanswered questions that Katie Couric and other media interviewers of Sollecito should ask him, and we invite readers to suggest more questions in Comments below. 

II should be recalled that all three suspects were brought to trial on the same body of evidence. Judges at Guede’s trial court, his first appeal court, and the Supreme Court of Cassation have all ruled that the evidence showed that it was impossible for him to have attacked Meredith alone.

Despite contradictory efforts by the defenses in the Sollecito and Knox appeal to make credible two possible sets of alternative killers, both attempts descended into courtroom farce. Right now, all of the considerable body of evidence still points ONLY at the three originally charged.

Several context points from the previous post below with this same title should be reiterated here.

1) Sollecito was NOT finally acquitted at the end of 2011; as all the media have been wrongly parroting. He still stands accused until the appeal process fully plays out - and in some similar cases, that has taken years. As he is still accused of a murder and other felonies he might be in the United States illegally.

2) The investigation and crime-scene analysis resulted in a very powerful case at trial, the trial judges’ reasoning was brilliant and precise, and they showed NO media influence, NO satanic theory, NO desperate prosecutor, NO rush to judgment, and NO hint that it had all been inspired by Knox’s and Sollecito’s quirky behavior, or by a misinterpretation of the effect of drugs.

3) Knox and Sollecito were convicted at trial based on clashing alibis, autopsy evidence, blood evidence, footprint evidence, cellphone evidence, computer-use evidence, eye-witness evidence, and so on and on. In the UK and US any ONE item might have been enough. They both refused to be fully cross examined at trial. Knox was only partly examined, about her false charge of murder against Patrick Lumumba, but even so she did herself harm.

4) A bizarre and suspect last-minute change of appeal judges resulted in a bizarre and suspect court management, a bizarre and suspect DNA consultancy, a bizarre and suspect appeal verdict, and a bizarre and suspect appeal sentencing report - which in enormous detail has been dissected by the Chief Prosecutor of Umbria, Dr Galati, in an appeal to the Supreme Court and shown to have broken Italian law in a large number of respects.

5)  The entire officialdom of Perugia holds a pro-guilt view. Dr Galati holds this view. Relevant officials in Rome all hold this view. Probably 95 percent of the interested Italian population hold this view. The vast majority of Italian journalists hold this view. The Rome-based foreign reporters all hold this view.  A large if unknown fraction in the UK and US populations hold this view. Behind the scenes in the NYC media, a majority seem to hold this view. Hillary Clinton and the ambassador in Rome hold this view. Knox’s and Sollecito’s lawyers at trial in 2009 seemed less than firm believers in their innocence. Both families have acted as if they KNEW there was guilty involvement all along.

While Sollecito did not take the stand during the trial or the appeal, he did make a number of voluntary written statements entitled “Notes on a Prison Journey” which were edited and given to the media by his lawyers. These notes have been meticulously translated into English by the PMF translators and are available here.  They don’t show him in an innocent light.

With so many questions unanswered, it would be unconscionable for any good reporter or network to allow Sollecito to promote his book and case one-sidedly on their nationally-syndicated talk shows without answering some tough questions. Keeping in mind that a talk show is not the best place to debate forensic evidence and other intricacies of the case, we offer these ten example questions in other areas, which with Kermits questions below should start to get to the core of what Sollecito did and didn’t do on the night.

1. The Kercher family has asked that people involved in the case keep a low profile out of respect for their daughter Meredith. What effect do you think your loud promotion of this tendentious book deal will have on the Kerchers?

2. Did your publisher, Simon & Schuster, express any concern that you might yet be convicted of this murder, if the Supreme Court rules in March that you were improperly acquitted? And that if Italian officialdom is smeared, they may risk charges of calunnia?

3. You were the person closest to Amanda Knox in the days before the murder. Why did you write that Amanda was “detached from reality?” What in your view is her psychology? Is she loyal to you? And do you always see eye to eye?

4. You and Amanda were among the last people to see Meredith alive. Did you hear Meredith’s conversation with Amanda, if any, before she left to have dinner with friends? If so, what was said, and in what tone?

5. That afternoon you claim the two of you merely smoked a little marijuana but both suffered mental black-outs. Amazing. Medically very unusual. At what time precisely did you both stop remembering, and at what time did you both start remembering again?

6. If neither of you can remember what happened that night, how can you be so sure you and Amanda had nothing to do with the murder? How in that light do you account for highly incriminating forensic and computer and cellphone and eyewitness evidence? 

7. Inconsistencies between Amanda’s account of what she found at her cottage the next morning, and what you said you saw when you got there, make the story seem made up. For example, you wrote that the first thing you noticed - you said that you remembered this particularly well - was one of the bedroom doors was wide open, the window was broken and the room was a mess. But Amanda wrote that the door was closed and the break-in wasn’t discovered until you conducted a search of the house. Why don’t your stories match?

8. Both of you have described how, after Meredith didn’t answer, you tried to kick down her bedroom door. It was easily pushed in later. Were you surprised that you were unable to break it down, despite having taken eight years of kickboxing lessons?

9. Were the police wrong to arrest you after you specifically and quite readily told them that Amanda had persuaded you to lie to them, and to say that she’d been home with you all night when you had consistently maintained that she wasn’t?

10. Rudy Guede, the man confirmed convicted by the Supreme Court of Cassation of murder and a sex crime, in complicity (“in concorso”) with two other people, says that you were the other two people there. Guede is eligible for parole later this decade. Do you think that his parole should be denied? Did the Supreme Court get it wrong? Is Guede the sole killer, and if so how?








Posted on 09/18/12 at 08:01 AM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Powerpoints #18: Katie Couric Interviews Raffaele Sollecito! We Already Have A Sneak Preview!!

Posted by Kermit





Click here if you have Powerpoint or the Powerpoint Viewer program loaded. If not here is Powerpoint Viewer.

We are not really too surprised that Sollecito caves, as we observe the Sollecito camp increasingly panicked now by the appeal of Dr Galati, Still, thanks a lot Katie insiders! Thanks a lot Sollecito-camp insiders! 

And a great job on the couch, Katie Couric. You managed to winkle out the truth and respect the REAL victim even if Raffaele seemed a little tongue-tied…

Posted on 09/16/12 at 07:50 PM by Kermit. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Overviews on PowerpointThose who were chargedRaff SollecitoCrime hypothesesThose officially involvedReporting on the caseSollecito book hoaxesSollecito team
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Friday, September 14, 2012

Questions For Sollecito: Katie Couric, Push Back Against Sollecito’s Bluster And False Facts #1

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





Last Monday at 3:00 pm in the ABC TV1 studio on West 66th in New York city, Katie Couric launched a one-hour talk-show which will run five days a week. Next tuesday she will interview Raffaele Sollecito.


Who is Katie Couric?

In the fifteen years leading up to 2006, Katie Couric was a lively, bright and often very funny morning-show compere on NBC’s Today show . In 2006, she switched to CBS, to become the first woman to anchor the evening news. She also did a number of interviews for CBS’s 60 Minutes airing on Sunday nights.

In those years, she cultivated the broadest range of interview styles of anyone in American TV. Many of her interview questions are sympathetic puffballs. Her own husband died of cancer in 1998 when he was 42 and she 41, with two daughters not yet in their teens, so she relates unusually well to guests who have had tragedies in their own lives.

At other times, though, she can be as tenacious as a tiger. In 2008 she did a series of interviews with Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential candidate, in which Palin looked far from ready for prime time. Palin and John McCain, the presidential candidate, lost the election to Barack Obama and Joe Biden by a substantial margin.

Some still blame Couric for asking Palin the few “gotcha” questions which stumped her, though in general it is accepted that Couric helped to show up somebody too misinformed, strident and shoot-from-the-hip to be a president-in-waiting. A recent movie version confirmed this.

So which Couric will viewers see weekdays on ABC? The puffball thrower, or the tiger? Almost certainly a bit of both, for ABC hope it is this danger and uncertainty in Couric’s interviews that will drag millions of viewers in daily. 


The Sollecito interview next tuesday

For Katie Couric, this represents a good opportunity - she could really make news here - and maybe something of a risk. The risk comes only if she is briefed only by the Knox-Sollecito PR people and the book agents and book publishers that handle Sollecito.

She may leave her millions of viewers only dimly aware of Sollecito’s true legal status, and presuming that both Sollecito and Knox are off the hook, and that there is “no evidence”, and that those meanie Italians have done something really nefarious.

All of the media reports on Sollecito and Knox this past week that said “they were acquitted” have it seriously wrong.

This is merely the interval between the second act (the first appeal of 2011) and the third (the Supreme Court appeal 0f 2013) which will start playing out on 23 March. There could be several more acts to come, maybe including a complete repeat of the first appeal, which the Supreme Court has not hesitated to insist on before.

Meanwhile, Sollecito’s correct legal status under Italian law (along with that of Amanda Knox) is that he still stands accused of murdering Meredith, until the Supreme Court signs off on a verdict.

The risk for Couric is that if she does only a puffball interview, and allows herself to be snowed by the dishonest PR and in effect turned into yet another shill, she could come down on what could soon emerge as the losing side, and helped build sympathy for a killer. 

We just saw the perfect example of this. A senior psychology professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, less than 10 minutes walk from ABC’s west-side studios, swallowed the PR line on Knox and Sollecito without the slightest checking. You can read his sorry story here and here.

Since then, only an embarrassed silence.

This is a 20 point road-map of the Perugia case for the Couric people and any new readers that her show sends to TJMK and PMF. Post (2) will have some really tough questions, which Sollecito can be expected to flunk.  With luck, these posts will turn Couric & company into tigers. Enjoy the hot seat, Sollecito.


1. Sollecito is not the real victim in this case

While Couric’s predecessor Oprah was snowed by the PR 18 months ago, she did to her credit remember Meredith, and closed with a huge photo of her that lingered. This is the real Meredith as an in-memoriam post described her. 

Meredith really hit the ground running in Perugia. She had dreamed of it for a long time.

She bonded immediately with her two nice Italian flatmates, who were both working in town, and soon with the neighbors downstairs. Within days she had an “instant crowd’ of the girls from Leeds and other UK universities.

She liked the house, liked the clubs, liked walking Perugia, liked the culture and the fun festivals in Perugia. Her first encounters with her new boyfriend downstairs, an Italian musician, were said to be shy and sweet.

And she was focused and already working her tail off. She had won a well-funded Erasmus grant and although she wanted to work a little, she had no worries about money.

She arrived with an excellent command of Italian after two years of hard study at the European Studies school in Leeds, and at the Università per Stranieri she was clearly going to excel.

She was also studying politics and economics at the main university, which was very close, and she seemed set to go very far. her eyes were already on the powerful international bodies in Brussels.



2. Italy’s excellent justice system is very pro defendant

Prosecutors have to jump through more hoops than any other system in the world. Major errors and framings of innocent parties never make it through to a final guilty verdict. Please read here and here.

Proportionally Italy has only one-seventh the murder rate of the US and proportionally less than one-twentieth of the prison population of the US. Hardly a justice system out of control. .


3. Meredith’s murder was a cruel and depraved act

Although a key trial session on the barbaric 15-minute struggle with Meredith was closed to the public Italians know how cruel and depraved it was and how it HAD to have involved three attackers.


4. The case was well investigated and well prosecuted

The investigation and crime-scene analysis resulted in a very powerful case at trial as that long series of Powerpoints brilliantly summarises

The judges’ reasoning was brilliant and precise and showed NO media influence, NO satanic theory, NO desperate prosecutor, NO rush to judgment, and NO hint that it had all been inspired by Knox’s and Sollecito’s quirky callous behavior after Meredith died - that behavior by the way suggested they enjoyed toying with the police until they were finally arrested.

They were convicted based on clashing alibis, autopsy evidence, blood evidence, footprint evidence, cellphone evidence, computer-use evidence, eye-witness evidence, and so on and on. Quirky callous behavior (which did happen) was barely on the radar at trial.


5. Knox and Sollecito were never cross examined at trial

Had they been, they would almost certainly have collapsed almost instantly - as Couric hopefully will find out.

Instead, the defendants made repeated unchallenged statements to the court, as the Italian system allows, many highly self-serving, and when Knox took the stand only to explain why she fingered Patrick Lumumba, prosecution questions were highly hedged by prior agreement.

These are among the many dozens of open questions (more for Sollecito in our next post) which the defendants have still never confronted.



6. This was no lone wolf crime by Rudy Guede alone

After a fatuous failed attempt by a defense attorney to have a tall athletic staff member climb through Filomena’s bedroom window the defenses NEVER EVER argued that Guede acting alone could have done it.

They simply ignored the evidence of a rearranged crime scene in that bedroom and at appeal introduced TWO conflicting witnesses Mario Alessi and Luciano Aviello to try to show other people were involved. Both collapsed under examination.


7. Investigative and prosecution staff performed just fine

Curt Knox’s campaign and American media have carried out what looks to us like the real frame here, that of claiming (only in English) that the police and investigators and prosecution were corrupt or incompetent or driven by Satan.

NONE of this conspircacy theory is believed by anyone in Italy who knows about it. Police and investigators and prosecution had every chance to explain themselves (in Italian) in the court and newspapers and on TV. Read here and here and here and here.


8. The “guilty” trial outcomes convinced more than Italians

With few exceptions Italians continue to regard Sollecito and Knox as guilty. No wonder he is so desperate to get out of the place. He was never ever very popular there, and prior to Meredith’s murder he came across like a perverted loner with a drug habit who needed constant supervision by his father.

In 2008 when Sollecito was being transported to Verona University for an entrance exam in virtual reality (which he failed) he was yelled at by an angry crowd when the police van stopped at an autostrada service area for a restroom break. He was bundled back in and the police van took off in a hurry. 

The entire officialdom of Perugia holds a pro-guilt view. Umbria’s chief prosecutor Dr Galati holds this view. Relevant officials in Rome all hold this view. Probably 95 percent of the interested Italian population hold this view. The vast majority of Italian journalists hold this view. The Rome-based foreign reporters all hold this view.  A large if unknown fraction in the UK and US populations hold this view.

Behind the scenes in the NYC media a majority seem to hold this view. Some of the publishers who were offered the books hold this view.  Hillary Clinton and the ambassador in Rome seem to hold this view. Many lawyers and even judges who read here hold this view. Even Knox’s and Sollecitos lawyers at trial in 2009 seemed less than firm believers in them.

Even some who knew Knox and Sollecito from way back in childhood in their home towns were unsurprised when they were first arrested and locked up in November 2007.


9. Both families face trials for attempted subversion of justice

While suggestive of a belief in their offsprings’ guilt rather than probative, both families are charged with attempts to subvert justice.  Knox’s parents are being sued by the police interrogators who they claimed without evidence had abused her. (Mignini is not one of them, as he was not there.)

Charges against the Sollecito family (five of them) are more serious and are being brought by the Italian state. Read here and here and here.


10. A change of appeal judges may have been engineered

The highly qualified senior criminal judge in Perugia Judge Chiari was slated to preside over the appeal. He was mysteriously yanked at the last moment and reported angry, and instead two ill-qualified civil judges with questionable impartiality (they each had something to gain from a not-guilty verdict) presided over the appeal.

[Below: Katie Couric during a break in one of the 2008 interviews with Sarah Palin]




11. The appeal sentencing report’s quality is appalling

Our Italian lawyers say this is the most amateurish sentencing report in a murder case they have even seen. Please read here.


12. The independent DNA report’s quality is appalling

There a strong internal hint that the grandstanding American academic Hampikian might have been involved in its creation. Please read here.


13. The prosecution has lodged a very strong Supreme Court appeal

The chief prosecutor of the province of Umbria, Dr Galati, was himself until last year a deputy chief prosecutor at the Supreme Court in Rome. His expertise and credibility at this level outclasses that of all the other lawyers on the case combined. Please read here.


14. More trouble ahead for the families and defenses in other cases

Please read here. The key cases from the point of view of an outcome for Sollecito and Knox are the investigations into Alessi and especially Luciano Aviello who claimed that bribes were offered in his prison for testimony favorable to Sollecito. 

That Judge Hellmann chose not to pursue that stunning claim, which could have thrown the appeal trial, is one of the points of Dr Galati’s appeal to the Supreme Court which if accepted could result in a new appeal trial.

It could also result in Sollecito’s lead lawyer Giulia Bongiorno (who is reputed to dislike him) having to take herself off the case.


15. Sollecito did a much derided interview in Italy

This was late last year after the appeal verdict. That much-watched one-hour interview with Sollecito seems to have totally bombed. Sollecito gave little away, and sounded smug, narcissistic, whiny, and sophomoric.

He probably convinced nobody of his innocence and reinforced the suspicions of those who are pro-guilt. He is said to come across 5 to 10 years below his real age, and that certainly is what happened here. After that one interview, other Italian networks were not exactly lining up for more of the same.

There are of course many excellent pro-guilt commentators in Italy, including Garofano, Sarzanini, Benedettelli, Giuttiari, and Castellini, Dont hold your breath hoping the little coward is ever put face to face with them.


16. No lawyers or media lawyers now publicly support RS

The probable problem is that they have actually got to grips with the translated court documents. Even Knox legal advisors Ted Simon and Robert Barnettt have long been silent. Please read here and here and here.


17. Several who did speak out for him looked like PR shills

Geraldo Rivera of Fox cable TV was one who bizarrely spoke out, and Jane Velez Mitchell of CNN Headline News was another. So was Joe Tacopina of ABC News, who also soon disappeared.  So was Lis Wiehl. So was John Q Kelly.


18. Several good media lawyers speak out against him

In the USA Nancy Grace, Wendy Murphy, Jeanine Pirro, and Ann Coulter have all stated that they perceive guilt. Please read here and here and here and here.


19. Public relations hoaxes in attempt to help defendants

While suggestive of a belief in their offsprings’ guilt rather than probative, campaigns for both defendants have run under the Italian radar what amounted to hoaxes to mislead the American and British publics. Please read here and here.

Agents and ghost writers and publishers for the pro-Sollecito and pro Knox books also seem to fall into this category. Please read here and here and here and here.


20. Bigotry and xenophobia should be no part of any campaign

Huge strains of bigotry against Italians and black people and xenophobia against Italy have always been kept on the boil by Curt Knox’s defense campaign. Oprah Winfrey didnt realise, and she ended up in the absurd position of supporting probable white killers while pointing only to Rudy Guede, a black man, and smearing Italy.

Curt Knox’s hatchet men have made a considerable industry out of ridiculing the Italian police and the prosecution - but only in English. As explained here the police for the most part are the Italian equivalent of the FBI and considered among the finest in the world.

There were always several prosecutors at least on the case throughout the entire process, and they all followed the letter of the law. The impugning of Italian officials by falsely accusing them of crimes as Curt Knox’s campaign often does is itself a crime under Italian law.

Italians and Italian-Americans and Italian officials and black people everywhere deserve very much better than this. Katie Couric seems ideally suited to finally assert a balance and a return to decency, legality, and justice for the true victim, Meredith, and her loving family.

She should use this interview to nail Sollecito and hammer a stake through the PR campaign’s heart.

***

Next post: questions we recommend that Katie Couric put to Raffaele Sollecito.


Posted on 09/14/12 at 06:41 AM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA In Meredith’s Room Could Be Definitive Proof Of Guilt For New Appeal Jury

Posted by James Raper





Have you followed our series on the hapless independent DNA consultants Conti and Vecchiotti?  And our series on the hapless appeal judges Hellmann and Zanetti?

And our series on their formidable nemesis, Umbria’s Chief Prosecutor, Dr Galati? Who may very well convince the Supreme Court to throw out all of their work?

This post explains why their work probably deserves to be thrown out as it applies to Sollecito’s DNA in Meredith’s room, which still lacks an alternative non-damning explanation for it being there, and which could see him back serving his term in Capanne or Terni Prison before too long. 

I want to start this analysis with the following verbatim quote taken from John Follain’s Death In Perugia.

“Comodi asked Vecchiotti about the alleged contamination of the bra clasp: “Is it possible for [Raffaele’s] DNA to end up only on the bra clasp?”

“Possible”, Vecchiotti said.

Comodi insisted: “Probable?”

“Probable”, Vecchiotti retorted.

Anyone who has read the Conti-Vecchiotti Report will be amazed by Vecchiotti’s above reply under cross-examination by Prosecutor Comodi. This for the simple reason that the said report did not at all evaluate the “probability” of any contamination of the bra clasp. It merely did not rule out contamination.

The Conti-Vecchiotti report with regard to the bra clasp: “It cannot be ruled out that the results obtained derive from environmental contamination and/or contamination in some phase of the collection and/or handling of the exhibit.”

On any level of understanding, if one can not rule something out then that makes it possible. But it certainly does not make it probable.

Worse was to come, with the conclusion of Hellmann-Zanetti, that contamination was probable. This though was not so surprising in as much as Hellmann-Zanetti had already indicated in their reasoning underlying the need for an independent report that they would accept the independent experts’ conclusions.

Which they did, apparently accepting Vecchiotti’s above statement on oath as definitive and which, as we can see, they appear to subsequently improve on, since the circumstances referred to below were not mentioned in the Conti-Vecchiotti Report.  From Hellmann-Zanetti:

In the opinion of this Court contamination did not occur during the successive phases of treatment of the exhibit in the laboratory of the Scientific Police, but even before it’s collection by the Scientific Police.

Note that (1)  the suggestion is that contamination occurred when there was no video recording (thus permitting free speculation), (2) the word “probably” is omitted here seemingly making it a definite occurrence, and (3) “even before” does not exclude contamination when the Scientific Police were there, but the circumstances described below make it, in the opinion of Hellmann-Zanetti, even more probable, it seems. Again from Hellmann-Zanetti:

..it is certain that between the first search by the scientific police, directly after the discovery of the crime, and the second search by the police, on the 18th December, the house at villa della Pergola was the object of several other searches directed towards seeking other possible elements useful for the investigation, during which the house was turned topsy-turvy, as is clearly documented by the photographs projected by the defence of the accused, but actually made by the Scientific Police. And, understandably these searches were made without the precautions that accompany the investigations of the Scientific Police, in the conviction that at that point the exhibits that needed to undergo scientific analysis had already been collected. In this context it is probable that the DNA hypothetically belonging to Raffaele Sollecito may have been transported by others into the room and precisely onto the bra clasp………..the fact that [this] is not an unusual occurrence is proven by studies cited by the expert team and also by the defence consultants……..

So Hellmann-Zanetti are talking about the ordinary police investigators being primarily responsible.

As the Vecchiotti quote at the beginning of this post is not put in any context, it is impossible for me to know whether she was referring to the Scientific Police as seen in their videos or whether she was alluding to other recorded searches, say, by the ordinary police, but which were not on video.

What we know of the police searches is as follows. From the Massei trial sentencing report:

While forensic activity was still in progress (Note: it having been going on since the 2nd) “the house was accessed on November 4th 2007 involving, accompanied by staff from the Perugia Police Headquarters, the three occupants and housemates of the victim.

The days of November 6 and 7 were taken up by the search activity of personnel from the police headquarters of Perugia….on November 6” (Note: the day after conclusion of the Scientific Police activity) “no-one entered Meredith’s room other than the three performing the search. On November 7 there was another entry into the house “for the problem of the washing machine, to collect the clothes; but I (Napoleoni) know that they did not go into the other rooms…..

They wore gloves and shoe covers….

Massei also records that Profazio stated that whilst he was aware from Stefanoni that the bra clasp had not been collected, nevertheless he had not seen it on the 6th and 7th.

As we know, the Scientific Police returned to the house on the 18th December specifically for the purpose of collecting the bra clasp (the first thing they did) and using luminol, and in addition to this being on video the defence lawyers were watching the live recording outside. It was observed by the defence lawyers at that stage that the mattress was in the living room and that articles had been moved around (topsy-turvy) in her bedroom.

From the above it might be reasonable to conclude that it was not only the Scientific Police who took the photographs but that it was predominantly they who had already moved items around and taking - it not having been demonstrated to the contrary (because not on video) - such precautions appropriate to their field of expertise (or at least such as may be determined from the videos).

However the point is, of course, what entitles Vecchiotti and Hellmann-Zanetti to talk about probable contamination at all?

Incidentally, pause here to notice that Hellmann-Zanetti give no credence to environmental contamination, in the sense of DNA floating around on specks of dust, by virtue of not mentioning this at all.

It would seem that the notion that a speck of dust, with Sollecito’s DNA attached, floated into the room and landed bang on a tiny hook, somehow adhering to it, is improbable to even them. It is transfer by manipulation (  tertiary transfer, about which more later) - basically that someone must have stepped on or touched the bra clasp or hook - about which they are talking and as a result of which they deem contamination to have probably occurred.

Without that probability -  that is if it remained only a possibility - then the case for direct transfer (directly from the owner of the DNA to an object), rather than tertiary transfer (where the DNA is collected after direct transfer and transferred to another object), would not be undermined as the more probable scenario. This is because, in this context, no-one can rule out possibility, “ possibility” being firmly rooted in the abstract.

What Hellmann-Zanetti think entitles them to talk about the probability of contamination are, and as it transpires only are, the precautions which they say were not followed in collecting and handling the exhibit and for which they suppose the non-scientific police were most likely responsible.

Compliance with these, they say, “guarantees” the reliability of the result. They refer to the Do’s and Do Not’s of successful crime scene management as listed by Conti-Vecchiotti and taken from guidelines from the Louisiana State Crime Police Laboratory, from the U.S Department of Justice, and more relevantly from Evidence Manuals from the New Jersey State Police, Missouri State Highway Patrol and North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.


There is a predominance of American references but they do also refer to the Good Practice Manual for Crime Scene Management promoted by ENFSI (European Network of Forensic Science Institutes). From Hellmann-Zanetti -

Regarding above all the identification of a genetic profile in an exhibit, it is important that the entire procedure be followed with complete observance of the rules dictated by the scientific community, which are not, to be sure, juridical rules (it is not a law of the State, as Dr. Stefanoni observed), but which do represent a guarantee of the reliability of the result. And since these rules also contain precautions necessary in order to avoid possible contamination, one can understand that the respect of these precautions cannot simply be assumed, but must be proven by anyone who bases his accusations on this result.

Rules and guidelines are not quite the same thing, still less are there standardised guidelines dictated by the scientific community, but let’s not be pernickety. What compliance with the guidelines does, of course, is reduce the risk (the “possibility” and yes, if there are elements supporting it, “the probability“) of contamination, not guarantee that there is not contamination. As any expert in the field will concede, contamination is always possible.

Conti-Vecchiotti listed, apparently, some 54 examples of breach of the aforesaid guidelines. Significant among these (because we know of them and the most was made of them) are the following listed by Follain in his book Death In Perugia-

1. The team failed to put on new gloves after bagging each sample ( probably, as with 2 below, accounting for the great majority of the examples, and Stefanoni admitted this did not happen every time).

2. Items were handled by more than one person without changing gloves (again, as above, admitted).

3. There was a smudge on one of the fingertips of one of the gloves which touched the clasp, so the glove was dirty.

4. The officer who picked up Meredith’s bra clasp passed it to a colleague before placing it back on the floor and then bagging it.

5. Stefanoni’s gloves were smudged with blood and split over her left index when she picked up a sample ( this need not detain us since it is an irrelevant and highly speculative and prejudicial observation, if not entirely erroneous, based on what can be seen from the video).

6. The officer filming the police video walked in and out of Meredith’s room without changing his shoe covers.

7. No security corridor was created for internal access with anti - contamination criteria between the various environments.

8. The initial position of discovery on the floor of the clasp was not the same after 46 days.

The idea of a security corridor which, given the confines of the cottage, and particularly the access to Meredith’s room, would mean, for instance, placing planks on the floor, is a good one, and obviously not followed in this instance though not actually a specific recommendation (though it can be inferred) in any of the guidelines referred to by Conti-Vecchiotti. It would have reduced the risk of carrying DNA into Meredith’s room on the soles of shoe covers.

The alleged breaches were not, of course, outlined in the Conti-Vecchiotti report. They were only mentioned in oral evidence accompanying the showing of the crime scene video in court.

Hellmann-Zanetti, in their report, mention two specific cases only, 3 and 8 above. In respect of “the smudge” they acknowledge, interestingly, that there is an unresolved issue of interpretation as to whether this is a shadow or prior staining! But why even posit a prior staining when it is obvious that the operative had to finger the fabric of the clasp (which was “dirty”) in order to pick the clasp up and show it to the camera? What was the dirt and what was the meaning of this in the context of a transfer of Sollecito’s DNA to the hook? They neither discuss not evaluate. They simply accept Conti-Vecchiotti’s observations as being pertinent and damning without question.

In contrast to Hellmann-Zanetti Massei does discuss and evaluate the probability and the logistics of contamination, with regard to the bra clasp. In fact he spends quite a bit of time on the subject. But before turning to that, let’s have a brief look at the subject of DNA transfer and then remember what Stefanoni (as quoted by Massei) says on the subject.

Primary transfer might occur between a subject (such as myself) and an object. I touch or sneeze over it. Secondary transfer could occur if the said object was moved and “placed” against yet another object so that my DNA is transferred from the first to the second object. Tertiary transfer could occur if someone touched my DNA on the first object and then touched the second object. There are three steps there but one can imagine scenarios with four or perhaps more such steps but with the inherent limitation that the quantity of DNA being transferred is going to reduce with each such step.

It is obvious that when the prosecution produce DNA evidence they are going to argue primary transfer by the accused and just as equally obvious that the defence are going to try and argue contamination, i.e that the presence of their client’s DNA is the product of secondary or tertiary transfer.

Stefafanoni said that secondary or tertiary does not happen unless (1) the DNA is in a substance which is still fresh and reasonably watery after primary transfer, not dried, and/or (2) there would have to be more than mere touch but friction, or at least pressure, as well. Whilst there could be isolated exceptions in practice this makes a lot of sense to me as a layman but in addition I also note that she was not contradicted, at the trial, by any of the defence experts, nor has she been contradicted by Conti-Vecchiotti in their report.


Returning to Massei.

Sollecito was at the cottage 3 or 4 times prior to the murder though on each occasion with Knox. It is thus possible that he left his DNA somewhere there. There is no evidence that he was ever in Meredith’s room before the murder. Thus, if he was not involved in the murder, one must hypothesize that his DNA from somewhere else in the cottage was transferred into Meredith’s room and onto the bra clasp by someone other than him.

Apart from the clasp there was only one other place where his DNA was to be found, mixed with Knox’s DNA, which was on a cigarette stub in an ashtray sitting on a table in the kitchen. From Massei, my numbering:

(1) Certainly, it can be observed that every single place in the house was not tested, and one might think that Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA might have been located in some other places. One can consider the possibility that his DNA from some other place that was not found was transferred onto the bra clasp, but this would have to have been done by someone manipulating the object.

(2) But simple contact between objects does not transfer DNA. Amanda’s and Raffaele’s DNA were both found on the cigarette stub, not just one of them, transferred by the other. It is also important that the bra was the one that Meredith was actually wearing, and the clasp was found under the pillow which was under Meredith……. At this point it should also be mentioned that the piece of bra was (then)  found under a small rug in Meredith’s room [which protected it] ……….

(3) It is also observed that the small rug did not show itself to be a good transmitter of DNA. Underneath it there was a sock, and analysis proved that on this sock there were only DNA traces of Meredith. Also the circumstance by which DNA was found on the (tiny) hooks - so on a more limited and rather less absorbent surface than the material attached to them - tends to exclude that Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA could have landed on the hooks, precisely on the hooks, by contamination or by transfer from some other unspecified object.

(4). …….any transfer of DNA from the surface of the rug under which the small piece of bra was found would imply that between the two objects there was more than simple contact, touching of each other, but an actual pressure exercised on the rug under which the piece of bra lay. This hypothesis was set aside after Dr. Stefanoni reported …….. the deformation of one of the hooks was the same. Vice versa, if some pressure had been exerted on top of it, if in one of the police activities someone had stepped on it—then that deformation would not have remained identical; but the small piece of material and the hooks and eyes had the same form, the exact same type of deformation …….. she additionally stated that, having seen the small piece of bra in the early hours of November 3rd rather quickly, the images of it taken on that occasion allowed her a more prolonged and attentive observation, enabling her to declare that the deformation had remained unmodified and unchanged, as did the side on which it was set on the floor.

(5) Objects were moved, necessarily moved, but every object that was in a room, if it was not actually taken away, remained in the same room, without ever moving to another room, or being taken out of the room and then back in. The only parts of the house through which operators from the various places all passed were thus the living room and corridor. One might thus assume that some DNA of Raffaele Sollecito that had been left somewhere in the living room or corridor was moved, and ended up on the hooks. Such a movement of DNA and its subsequent repositioning on the hooks would have had to occur either because one of the technicians walking on the floor on which the DNA was lying hit it with his foot or stepped on it, causing it to end up on the hooks, or because by stepping on them, he impressed onto them the DNA caught underneath the shoe-cover he had on in that moment.

But these possibilities cannot be considered as concretely plausible: to believe that, moving around the house, the DNA could have been kicked or stepped on by one of the technicians, who in that case would have been moving about, and to believe that this DNA, instead of just sticking to the place it had been kicked or stepped on by (probably the shoe, or rather, the shoe-cover), having already been moved once from its original position, would then move again and end up on the hooks, seems like a totally improbable and risky hypothesis.

(6) …..and more importantly, none of the operators, after having touched some object which might have had Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA on it, then touched the hooks of the small piece of bra so as to make even hypothetically possible a transfer of DNA (from the object containing Sollecito’s DNA to the gloves, from the gloves to the hooks). In fact, none of the operators during the search of November 6th and 7th even took note of that little piece of bra, and thus in particular no one picked it up.” [Note that this observation is a direct contradiction of the unproven suspicion that this had in fact occurred - Massei had, of course, also watched the crime scene videos, seen the relevant clip and heard the argument.]

(7) Movement of objects, in particular of clothing, may have induced the movement of other objects, and this is what the Court considers to have occurred with respect to the piece of bra which was seen on the floor of Meredith’s room on November 2nd-3rd and left there. Deputy Commissioner Napoleoni, referring to the search of November 6th, has declared that she recalled the presence of a bluish rug; one can thus conclude that this rug was looked at during the search and entered into contact with the operators making the search, and like other objects, was moved from its original position, but always remaining on the floor of the room; during this movement it must have covered up the piece of bra (which was on the floor of the same room and yet was not noted during the search), thus determining by its own motion the accompanying motion of the small piece of bra, making it end up where it was then found during the inspection of December 18th: under the rug, together with a sock, in the same room, Meredith’s room, where it had already been seen. So it underwent a change of position that is, thus, irrelevant to the assertion of contamination.

Now, whatever one makes of Massei’s observations, he has at least considered, on a plausible level, the dynamics of secondary and tertiary transfer, generally and in this case - unlike either Hellmann-Zanetti or Conti-Vecchiotti. Furthermore, and in consequence, he concluded that contamination was simply not probable.

We should also recall the following words with regard to second and tertiary transfer, in the quote from Hellmann-Zanetti above…………”the fact that this is not an unusual occurrence is proven by studies cited by the expert team and also by the defence consultants….”

What studies? Unfortunately Hellmann-Zanetti do not elaborate on these studies, and the proof therein allegedly contained, nor can we see them cited in the Conti-Vecchiotti report!

This leads me to the suspicion that Hellmann-Zanetti are trying to pull the wool over our eyes here. Yes, certainly secondary and tertiary transfer is not an unusual occurrence but the circumstances as to when this is likely, or not, is not discussed, let alone evaluated. It seems to me that this is not unimportant and the omission is surprising.

What Conto-Vecchiotti actually say about the subject in their report is mind-boggingly amateurish, trite and misleading. So much so that one doubts that they are really experts.

The relevant section about contamination (such as it is) in Conti-Vecchiotti is under the heading “Notes On Inspection And Collection Techniques”. Reading this I note, in the second paragraph, being in, it would seem, Conti-Vecchiotti’s own words:

The starting point is always Locard’s Principle according to which two objects which come into contact with each other exchange material in different forms. Equally the same principle scientifically supports the possibility of contamination and alteration [of the scene] on the part of anyone else, investigators included, who comes into contact with the scene.


Far from being just a starting point Locard’s Principle seems to be all that Conti and Vecchiotti know about the transfer of DNA.

For what it is worth Edmond Locard established an early crime lab in 1910 ( being a fan of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories) and wrote many articles as a result. However he never actually wrote any words approximating to “with contact there is an exchange of material” (which is not exactly a law of physics in the same manner as the laws of motion are) nor did he mention anything concerning a principle.

What he did write was “It is impossible for a criminal to act, especially given the intensity of the crime, without leaving traces of his presence.”  Sherlock Holmes would have said the same.

Incidentally it is science that supports a principle, and not the other way around. I would have expected Conti-Vecchiotti to know that.

I have surfed the internet for articles on the subject of tertiary transfer and there does seem to be “a lack of published data on the topic”, to quote one site I found.

Furthermore if they existed one might expect to find that they are referred to by the scientists in the FOA camp, but again I do not see these or that those that are referred to, eg by Halkides, add anything to what has already been discussed above.

Which leaves the “probability” element of contamination undemonstrated. Whatever the opportunities for contamination that there may have been arising from breach of guidelines (contentious in some if not all cases) these remain hypothetical whilst the probability of contamination remains undemonstrated.

But for Hellmann-Zanetti, conveniently, there is no need to demonstrate anything, because of the following:

Now, Prof. Novelli and also the Prosecutor stated that it is not sufficient to assert that the result comes from contamination; it is incumbent on one who asserts contamination to prove its origin.

However, this argument cannot be accepted, insomuch as it ends up by treating the possibility of contamination as an exception to the civil code on the juridical level. Thus, one cannot state: I proved that the genetic profile is yours, now you prove that the DNA was not left on the exhibit by direct contact, but by contamination. No, one can’t operate this way.

In the context of a trial, as is well known, it falls to the PM who represents the prosecution before the court (the terminology is used in Art. 125 of the implementing provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure), to prove the viability of all the elements on which it is based, and thus, when one of these elements is completed by a scientific element represented by the result of an analytic procedure, the task is also to prove that the result was obtained using a procedure which guarantees the purity [genuinità] of the exhibit from the moment of collection right through the analysis.

…….. when there is no proof that these precautions guaranteeing that the result is not the fruit of contamination were respected, it is absolutely not necessary to also prove the specific origin of the contamination.

The use of the word “absolutely” is interesting, as if this was the last word on the matter, and any evaluation is to be declined.

Now I sense the presence of a premise which is already a conclusion. This being that because there are (as Hellmann-Zanetti hold) breaches of guidelines, then the DNA result is unreliable for that reason.

As it happens, this is exactly what Conti-Vecchiotti say. But as it stands this is an unargued proposition. For this to be a valid deduction “for that reason” should be explained by the inclusion of another premise which we can at least accept as true - “A breach entails that the possibility of contamination cannot be excluded”. Then we can formulate a simple deduction, though it would be unsound until we can answer the question “Does the possibility of contamination render the result unreliable?”

A scientist may explain what “unreliable” means to him. But I want to answer the question in juridical terms, and this can be done quite simply.

Any element of evidence in juridical proceedings is weighed only by the probability that it represents the truth. The possibility that it does, or it does not, is simply to be discarded as having no weight either way. Accordingly, for the purpose of the argument, and for any proceedings in court, it cannot be accepted that the possibility of contamination renders the result unreliable. Whether it is unreliable or not has to be looked at in a different way, according to the balance of probabilities.

Getting back to the quote, I would say that both Hellmann-Zanetti and Novelli are right, and they are also both wrong.

Hellmann-Zanetti are of course right in that the burden of proof remains with the prosecution with regard to all elements.

And the way Prof. Novelli puts it is somewhat incorrect, but only because he is a scientist and not a lawyer.

That the burden of proof remains with the prosecution does not alleviate the defence of any burden with regard to an issue such as contamination.

There is also an issue to be discussed as to whether the burden on the prosecution is to demonstrate non-contamination beyond a reasonable doubt or merely that contamination is not probable.

Let’s start with whether there is any burden on the defence.

There is a general principle to which even criminal proceedings are subject. “Onus probandi incumbit ei qui dicit, non ei qui negat.”  My Latin is not great but roughly translated “the onus of proof is on he who says it, not he who denies it.”

Dr Galati, in his Supreme Court Appeal Submissions, puts it this way (more forcibly than I would) -

In other words, if a piece of circumstantial evidence must be certain in itself, and if therefore even scientific proof must be immune to any alternative-explanation hypothesis, this does not alter the fact that this hypothesis ought to be based on reasonable elements and not merely abstract hypothetical ones. And if the refutation of a scientific piece of evidence passes via the affirmation of a circumstance of fact (being the contamination of an exhibit), that circumstance must be specifically proved, not being deducible from generic (and otherwise unshareable) considerations about the operative methodology followed by the Scientific Police, absent demonstration that the methods used would have produced, in the concrete, the assumed contamination.

I do not myself think it is realistic for the defence to have to prove a specific contamination path from point A to point B. That would be unrealistic. But certainly if the issue of contamination is to be raised the defence must go beyond an abstract hypothetical explanation that in the event, as is the case here, is devoid of known origins for the contamination. (Save for the trace on the cigarette stub, so that if that was the source there would be Knox’s DNA mixed in with Sollecito’s on the clasp). Otherwise how is the prosecution to respond? With what level of proof?

Should it be beyond reasonable doubt? How Hellmann-Zanetti would wish! “Beyond reasonable doubt” is the standard to be applied to the prosecution’s case in its entirety, to any attribution of culpability for the crime to the accused. It is not parcelled out to each and every element.

The correct standard to apply to an element such as contamination (as it is for any piece of circumstantial evidence) is “the balance of probability having regard to other elements”. The alleged breaches of crime management guidelines are in themselves only circumstantial, requiring, for any weight to be attached to them, corroborative or supporting elements as to which, as I see it, there are none. So the correct question is: Is contamination probable or not? (This is not to exclude that there may sometimes, somewhat rarely, be circumstances where it can be proved beyond reasonable doubt)

So we are back to probability again. It is a battle (if at all)  of probabilities and we must not confuse what is possible with what is probable, however much our eyes are opened to what is possible.

That it is such, is tacitly acknowledged by Hellmann-Zanetti when they argue that Sollecito’s DNA being on the bra hook but not on the fabric of the clasp is improbable. My response to that would be to say that it is far more probable than that there was contamination of the hook.

The absence of any argument as to probability may have been a thought that popped into Vecchiotti’s head when she retorted “probable” (feeling a bit sick about the answer afterwards I hope). However that she could make that assertion does not fill one with much confidence when considering that she also maintains that there were errors in Stefanoni’s interpretation of the electropherogram result, even whilst accepting that Sollecito‘s profile was there, not least because his Y chromosome was as well.

Don’t expect Conti and Vecchiotti to be re-invited if there is any replay of the appeal trial.

Posted on 09/11/12 at 03:43 PM by James Raper. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Crime hypothesesSmoking-gun postsPublic evidenceSollecito's alibisDNA and luminolTrials 2008 & 2009The Massei ReportAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann critiques
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Thursday, September 06, 2012

Dissecting The Hellmann Report #5: Their Obfuscation of Time of Death and Of Legal Blameworthiness

Posted by Cardiol MD



[View down on Meredith’s very well-lit house from the apartment above witness Madame Nara Capezzali’s]


Surreal Documentary Context

We have a very surreal situation on our hands. One perhaps without legal precedent. As previously in this series the legal document being analysed here is the Hellmann-Zanetti appeal report. 

1) No main media in the US or UK have put that appeal report into English or done any serious legal analysis.

2) Nor have they translated the original trial report by Judge Massei or done any serious analysis of that.

3) Nor have they translated the tough and detailed appeal to the Supreme Court by the Chief Prosecutor of Umbria, Dr Galat, which was summarised and analysed by Yummi here. The meticulous PMF translation team should complete its translation soon.

4) None of the books on the case at present bring the legal developments up to the present or get into the details of the very tough Galati appeal.

Meanwhile the Knox and Sollecito teams are racing to get out their books in the US, with media interviews being scheduled, presumably in the hope that this vacuum of hard facts described above continues and they can fill it with their own kind of PR spin.

Of course none of this impinges on pending legal events in Italy where interested Italians have a radically different and more informed view. Except only to make sure everything is done correctly and firmly to the letter. 

As usual, Knox and Sollecito are coming across as if they are on a different planet. Not one good lawyer seems to be explaining things to them, or even be of top of things for that matter.


On Hellmann-Zanetti on Time of Death

In this series, my previous posts explained the distortions and illogicalities in the Hellmann-Zanetti appeal report in the passages on the calunnia (false blaming of Patrick), witness Curatolo, and witness Quintavalle, and also the seeming prejudicial language used throughout. 

Vital reading in advance of this post is Considering The Sad And Sensitive But Also Crucial Subject Of Meredith’s Time Of Death by my fellow lawyer James Raper.

He explained the difficulties of being precise about Meredith’s time of death, and he commented on Hellman-Zanetti as follows.

The first point to note here is that Hellmann misinterprets the first Court’s findings. He ignores the fact that the first Court did determine a TOD between 11pm and 11.30 pm as probable based on the pathology alone, and gave reasons for this.

None of the expert testimony is rehearsed, let alone re-evaluated by Hellmann.  He proceeds merely to discredit the reliability of the witnesses as to the other elements such as the scream etc.

One recalls that Nara Capezzali says that she heard a scream sometime between 11 and 11.30 pm. That there was a broken down car and the breakdown driver came and went between perhaps 11 and 11.15 pm.

As mentioned earlier his hypothesizing about the other elements leads him to a TOD of not later than 10.13 pm although this time seems a very random one based on what he presents. He talks in this section about Guede’s statement that he arrived at the cottage at 9 pm.

One suspects that if Hellmann could have fixed the time of death at 9.15 pm or 9.30 pm then he would have done so as either time would be a get out of jail free card for Knox and Sollecito.  He did not, but he got them out of jail nevertheless with his hypothesizing - here and elsewhere in his report.

So perhaps not surprisingly Dr Galati in his appeal to Cassation devotes nearly 3000 words to taking apart Hellmann-Zanetti’s arguments on Time of Death, under these 4 headings:

  • Defect or manifest lack of logic in the sentencing report
  • The intercepted chat [Guede on Skype]
  • Meredith’s mobile phones
  • The testimony of the three women [Capezzali, Monacchia, and Dramis]

Hellmann-Zanetti is politely but explicitly excoriated. In Dr Galati’s summarising of his own arguments he states this:

The claimed timing of the death of Meredith Kercher demonstrates a manifest illogicality in the reasoning, contains an unfounded assessment, and is manifestly in contrast with other court documentation of the case.

The internal and external inconsistencies of Hellmann’s statements on the topic constitute [yet another] violation of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Here are some examples of H/Z’s flood of reasons-to-doubt AK/RS’s guilt listed under Time of Death and not specifically mentioned in previous Dissections [my emphases]:

  • Capezzalli “…was not able to pinpoint an exact time…”
  • “…the source of those [the scream and other] noises is not certain at all….”
  • “…Monacchia’s testimony does not allow the time of the scream to be pinpointed at 11:30 PM, rather than at 11 PM or even before.”
  • “…she heard a loud scream of a woman, of which she could not however locate the source with certainty.”
  • “The witness was not more accurate about the time, she could not connect it to objective data, but in her first testimony [verbale], when she presented herself to the investigators (the transcript of November 8, 2008 used for the indictment) she mentioned [aveva indicato] ʺ… at about 11 PMʺ. Monacchia’s statements therefore increase the ambiguity, as circumstantial evidence, of Capezzali’s statements instead of resolving it.”
  • “Dramis, in fact, said that she went to sleep at around 11‐11:30 PM, and that she woke up later (without being able, however, to specify how much later, while not excluding that it could have been 11:30 PM) due to the noise of quick footsteps, but she could not specify their direction, nor if they were produced by one or more persons, and she also noted that such events are not at all uncommon in this place….. We find ourselves, therefore, confronting a piece of circumstantial evidence (scream and footsteps) [which is] extremely weak for its ambiguity, since it cannot even be placed with certainty in time.”



On Hellmann-Zanetti on Blameworthiness of Defendants.

As an example of a possible tendency under any legal system, Canadian law has already strayed-away on this subject, over a period of about nine years, and was only recently brought-back only by an Appellate ruling. So attempts to derail Italian law on this issue may be inevitable:

Canadian criminal law aims to maintain proportionality between the stigma and punishment attached to a conviction and the moral blameworthiness of an offender, in R v. Martineau (1990) the Supreme Court of Canada held that it is a principle of fundamental justice under sections 7 and 11(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that a conviction for murder requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt of a subjective foresight of death. In so doing, the court effectively declared sections 213 and 229(a)(i) and (ii) of the Criminal Code of Canada lacking in constitutional muster.[7]

Section 213(a) provided that a conviction for murder would lie for any killing that was “objectively foreseeable as a result of the abominable nature of the predicate crimes…inter alia…coupled with intentional infliction of bodily harm”.[7] . This largely equated with a Canadian form of felony murder, though it is technically closer to constructive murder in other jurisdictions.[8] .

Nevertheless s. 229(c), which provides for a form of constructive felony murder in situations where “an accused for an unlawful object did anything knowing that it was likely [on an objective standard] to cause someone’s death” is still operative, as confirmed in a 1999 appellate court decision”

Common-Law ‘Malice’ has historically required that an accused “knew, or ought to have known that the relevant act was wrong.”

In that “ought” lies an escape hatch.

What we believe as to the blameworthiness of these three offenders is obvious - they were committing a premeditated felony-sexual-assault using means which were foreseeably lethal, and actually were lethal.

Hellmann-Zanetti have already made clear what their blameworthiness opinion would be, although they have evaded reaching the issue by arguing reasonable doubt that two of the offenders were involved in Meredith’s murder, and deserve no blame for it whatsoever.

A legal issue which may eventually need to be addressed is whether a conviction for murder requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt using a subjective foreseeability of death standard or using an objective foreseeability of death standard.

If a subjective foresight of death were ever applied to a found-guilty AK & RS, they could plead that they just didn’t foresee that pricking Meredith’s neck with those knives could kill her; it was just a prank. For example “we were only hazing her; anyway, we were either mentally-ill or drugged or just plain dumb.”

If an objective foresight of death finding were ever applied to a found-guilty AK & RS, who were obviously committing a felonious assault using foreseeably lethal means, Meredith would get True Justice.

Posted on 09/06/12 at 09:33 PM by Cardiol MD. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Saturday, September 01, 2012

My Rock Tribute To Meredith And Her Family And How It Came To Be

Posted by Timo Rusanen



Meredith´s message seems to me one of universal love, of getting along to help to make the whole planet better. As with others I know of mixed race, she seems to have been extremely smart, very ambitious in a broad selfless sense, upbeat and positive and funny, and I would imagine a very fair and loyal person to get to know. It seems to me she was a popular and charismatic leader, without ever really trying.

What is so interesting to me is that her life and adventurous and positive attitude are becoming something of a universal beam of hope. See the female voice that comes through in the book “Meredith” that Mr. Kercher wrote. Her life and intentions have become something of a universal good example and should become more-so as the years move on.  Maybe there will be more movies and books and poems and songs inspired by her, as well as websites like this which for the support of victims and their families and friends are so badly needed now.

I hope that no-one has been made scared now to go abroad or mix with others for any reason if they do want to go. Meredith followed her life adventure and loved travel and mingling with people not necessarily like herself, and so should we all.

I have sung and played rock music since my teens. I started playing the guitar and began to sing at an early age. I once had a high school rock band in the United States when I was a student there. I now have a band in Europe here and we continue to cut records.

I have lived outside Finland for most of my life. It turned out that I have something of a gift for languages and speak a few very well. My M.A.degree is in English philology, literature and philosophy, and I also did American studies while living in Berlin, at the John F. Kennedy Institute of the Free University of Berlin.

I have lived in the United States which I love. I was at high-school near Cincinatti there. I found New York City is great fun and has a certain kind of European feel to it. Los Angeles has another feel to it, more like the wild wide America of the west, yet at the same time it is on the Pacific coast where you can feel closer to Hawaii and Japan. Many Mexicans are there too. Hola, que pasa?! Funny people, Mexicans, I found them nice. People seemed mostly friendly in Los Angeles and the House of Blues is a great venue for rock music, I saw a great concert there.

My so-called American parents are not living anymore but I was close to them and I communicated with them until shortly before they sadly passed away, within some 4 years of each other. My own mother also passed away just before that, and two other relatives also passed away then. We had 3 funerals in 4 months at the time when my mother died, so I know about sadness and loss.

While I was there at school a friend of mine was shot to death by his so-called friends. Shot as if it was a sort of pass-time, just fun because they had the gun. I went to the funeral, and it was surreal and sad beyond words. There he was in the open coffin and we his school-friends were there grieving, trying to understand. Meredith´s funeral must have been extremely sad as well. Nothing is sadder than the funeral of a very promising young person who died an unnatural death.

I have lived in Germany. If you want to take care of some work matter fast, do it with Germans. But don´t work with them for a longer time, you may never understand German logic! Overall Germans are almost surprisingly polite and nice. Hard working people. They achieve a great deal.

I was also in England. London is a great dream-like city of the world. Meredith got to know it very well well herself, not only growing up there but in her tourist-guide job in the historical parts of the city. If you go to London you can encounter smart funny people not unlike her.

I was also in France. The French are great people and very nice. They certainly know fashion and fragrances. Life seems to be lighter in France. The French seem to float upon life, it´s like there’s only one life so c´est la vie! The French smile a lot. They seem very aware of little things too, like how to make even their mundane experiences interesting or nice. The Parisian arrogance seems to make Paris what it is and some people seem to belong totally to Paris, it is hard to imagine them somewhere else. If you meet French people in their homes, they really make you feel at home.

Have you ever seen Paris from the Eiffel Tower at night in the summer in warm weather? The lights of the city from there? Try it, its awesome! It´s almost an aeroplane-like view. Paris has an ancient Europe touch to it, there are some ultra modern things and yet at the same time you can feel something from the Middle Ages in parts of Paris.

Also I was in Sweden. I used to know many Swedish-speaking people so I know Swedish rather well. I have worked in Stockholm for a while years ago and played some music there. Swedes are nice people for sure.

I was also in Italy. I would love to see Rome again. Everyone I know loves Italy and Rome. Years ago I went to Rome, Milan, Venice, Naples, and the deep south of Italy too. I met Italians who invited me into their home to eat spaghetti and it was noisy and fun. I have never yet been to Perugia though. To me Italy is mystical and even mythical. There was an Italian TV series called “Il segno del comando” a long time ago playing in Europe. I watched it and it made Italy seem very exciting. Someone ought to make a great movie on the basis of that TV series. I can see why Meredith loved Italy. The Italian way of life is really cool and nice.

I was in Somalia in north Africa on and off for a long time. My parents worked in Somalia for 10 years. Somalia had been a colony of Italy, so I met some Italians there while I was visiting. Also some Italian girls with their families there, they were great fun and very pretty. Some Somalis know the Italian language. The war in Somalia ended all development work there. Canadians, Belgians, Dutch, English, Americans, etc, were all working there, as well as Scandinavians. Sadly, they all went away when the war began.

I helped my father to build a school for crippled children with some Canadians in Mogadishu which is the capital of Somalia, People were doing great work there and were disappointed, the Scandinavians especially disappointed, when the war ended those good projects. I played a gig there with Somali African musicians outside a city in a desert bush area. The dance-hall was like from some movie.  There were ostriches running around there by the hall, long white curtains in the wind by high open windows and doors in that clean nice dance hall. Hundreds of people were there. One of the nicest gigs I ever played.

Meredith could well have worked in Somalia later in some task, supposing the war ever ends some day.Had Meredith lived, she could have helped a lot organize the recovery. The Italian language is still needed in Somalia a bit in that work, and her education might have been suited in general for some vital task there in development work.

I met people from India and Pakistan though I have not yet traveled there. They have a lot to teach us over-busy Europeans and Americans. Indian and Pakistani people have ancient wisdom and cultures and despite appearances from affair they are naturally peaceful people. If you meet them in Europe, they stand out for their calm. Indian and Pakistani women are among the most beautiful women in the world, their women do tend to be. Meredith was said to be very eye-catching in a way that her photos dont quite convey.

I found it very fulfilling making this track above. I cant do too much to make it all come right, but I can do this. I think about making more records, it´s easy to plan but to make a record is hard, another thing. I am not looking for a recording deal due to my other career, but if a record label VIP liked my stuff, my songs in general and the Meredith songs, I would of course not say no. This song was made in the studio of Gerald Klöpfer. He owns his own coolly-decorated recording studio. If I get the chance to travel to his studio again and if Gerald has the time, I would go back there and work more. Gerald is pretty good in his craft.

I have always been strongly averse to violence, by anyone against anyone for any reason. I will go to the refresher course of the army in Scandinavia if they call me, as the army is about protection and existing as a frontline unit of a society, not about violence as such. But think of this: Suppose there was a war, any war in any country, and nobody went to fight in such a war. No armies would be needed anymore. Violence is not good for anything.

A long time ago in Scandinavia some guys in a certain city tried to beat up myself and my band members using baseball bats. Police had to line-up as a sort of passage-way for us to get out of the dance-hall after the gig and into a car. It remains unclear why that happened. Maybe there was some kind of jealousy about our band being the ones asked to play.

During my student days in Finland I was attacked in my student dormitory room. Two guys came at me with kitchen knives, after they knocked on my door. I had never seen them before, and they tried to stab me with the kitchen knives. I fought them off. Police could not have done anything, I think, so I did not report it though maybe I should have anyway. The attack was planned by an ex-girlfriend, it seems she and her new boyfriend planned it and sent the guys, organized them, and paid them. The attack was a bit similar to the way that the knife attack on Meredith happened.

I still worry over the ex-girfriend, she actually swore that she will kill me in one way or other. I happen to know this for sure as she told me at the end of our relationship: “You will not live a long time.” She tried to stop my outside activities and slow my whole life, even my music playing. I suspect it all started because the love went bad and she wished she had gone earlier into a relationship with another guy and it seemed to her too late then. I should have ended it before all this happened but I did not get the picture right away.

I love to be with women, they are so cool and wonderful to be with usually, they are simply heavenly to share the world with. It always amazes me that people try to win by hurting each other mentally or physically. It always amazes me how people have to prove themselves and feel better than others due to envy, violence, or mental or physical cruelty. If people have to live together in dormitories, sometimes they will get into arguments about trivial matters and act foolish. The badness of some people always amazes me and upsets me when I think about it.

Marriages fail, friends betray you, your girlfriend betrays you, you might have to end a relationship because it has gone bad, it can not be repaired. People then act hurtfully far too often. But then on some other days you meet good people and that makes you feel quite alright. While Meredith´s death was a shock, I saw right away how such cruel things can happen even between university students in thier home. We do not yet know exactly what happened and I feel sad for her and for her family for still not knowing about it all.

Your friends pull you down, often your friends pull you down. Sometimes strangers too. We shouldn’t let them.  People say we have to help others, we do have to help others, but first and foremost we must take care of ourselves. To make our own journey. Sometimes you also meet people who radiate goodness, there are also good people in the world. Those people can make you feel there is a good purpose. Meredith had a good purpose: universal love and being positive and making a difference in the world. Isn´t that something we are supposed to remember every day in our lives?

Meredith´s message of all of us getting along and working for all is growing now in the world, and hopefully it will go on forever. We should remember her family always. They worked hard to help her become what she was, and we should send them our good thoughts and blessings. Only they know the true pain of it and how much was lost to the world.

Don´t ever forget Meredith or what happened to her here. As her sister Stephanie mentioned, the true victim of the incident has already been forgotten sometimes. Her legacy matters, and here I have tried to play my part.

Posted on 09/01/12 at 09:21 AM by Timo Rusanen. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Seems A Sudden U-Turn For The Better In The German-Italian Economic Relationship

Posted by Peter Quennell





This has been a tense time for both leaders. Just a few days ago nasty words were surfacing in the media on both sides.

But quite suddenly things are looking up. Ms Merkel praises Mr Monti and Italy just got the best price for its bonds since March.

Still the deep insecurities persist. Hard to see such a fine people so down.

Posted on 08/30/12 at 05:01 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in The wider contextsItalian context
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Friday, August 24, 2012

Giulia Bongiorno Loses A High Profile Case Watched All Over Europe And May Soon Lose Another

Posted by Peter Quennell





Crime fascinates Italians but unfortunately (or fortunately) there isnt that much of it in Italy.

The real national pasttime is soccer as the thousands of YouTubes and Google images and news reports and hundreds of blogs attest. The case Giulia Borngiorno has just so publicly lost concerns the coach Antonio Conte (image below) of the crack Turin club Juventus. 

The Juventus coach Antonio Conte is set to miss the whole of the Serie A season with the defending champions after losing his appeal against a 10-month ban over a match-fixing scandal.

Conte, who led an undefeated Juventus to the Italian title in his first season in charge, was banned on 10 August for failing to report two incidents of match-fixing in the 2010-11 season when he was coach of Siena.

The Italian federation (FIGC) said in a statement on Wednesday that Conte, whose hearing was heard on Monday, had lost his appeal.

Giulia Bongiorno seems to have a tendency to be a sore loser. La Gazetta del Sporto quotes her “the dog ate my homework” excuse thus:

Giulia Bongiorno said — “We were not given the opportunity to defend ourselves to the full. This is a violation of constitutional rights which go far beyond these issues. Negotiating sentences is becoming very attractive for those who falsely turn state’s evidence,” said Giulia Bongiorno, Antonio Conte’s legal representative.

“If you examine Carobbio and find him not credible, and if you take one of his crutches away (the charges regarding Novara v Siena, Ed), the other one will collapse too, because Conte is being charged with the same thing for Siena v AlbinoLeffe. Carobbio is a bit like Jessica Rossi at the Olympics, and the only clay-pigeon missed is Novara v Siena. And our intention was not to obtain a reduction in the sentence, if it had been we would have negotiated.”

This is the most public case Bongiorno has lost since the Andreotti mafia-connection appeal in 2002. She was on the defense against Prosecutor Dr. Sergio Matteini Chiari.

This is the same Dr. Sergio Matteini Chiari who as the highly competent head of the Umbria courts’ criminal division was first nominated to preside over the Sollecito-Knox appeal.

Giulia Bongiorno, who did some very odd things during the trial and appeal to ensure winning, at least one of which is being investigated, is also the powerful head of the justice committee in the parliament.

Is that the mother of all conflicts of interest or what?! We know of no parallel in any other country and it seems highly unconstitutional. Nevertheless, despite all the caution of the Italian justice system, this conflict is allowed to persist.

In November 2002 Prosecutor Chiari won his prosecution appeal, and the ex-PM Mr Andreotti was sentenced to 24 years (later reversed by the Supreme Court).

Giulia Bongiorno was widely reported as collapsing in court at the verdict, and seemed to take it very hard.

Fast forward to 2010.  Suddenly Giulia Bongiorno is about to face Dr Chiari once again, as a judge in what was to be a very tough appeal. Under UK and US law, she would have had to be the one to step aside, or not even take the case back in 2008.

But she didn’t step aside.

Instead, all of a sudden, lo and behold, her nemesis back in 2002 is yanked off the 2011 appeal trial, and seemingly demoted to head the childrens’ branch of the court. Meanwhile, labor judge Hellmann is in effect promoted, into being the lead judge in the murder appeal.

Who made the call from Rome that fixed this suspicious judge rearrangement? Rumors around Perugia suggest that maybe it was made or inspired by the head of the justice committee in the parliament. 

True or not, the seriously out-of-his-depth labor judge Hellmann joined the seriously out-of-his-depth civil judge Zanetti - and produced an appeal verdict and reasoning the chief prosecutor of Umbria Dr Galati sees as a complete fiasco.

Contending with the myriad illegalities of this reasoning is for Dr Galati like shooting fish in a barrel. Bongiorno may soon be facing yet another big loss if Cassation accept his prosecution arguments.

As they say, always be careful what you wish for. Wishing for Hellmann might have been a bridge too far.



Thursday, August 23, 2012

DNA Proof 40 Years After A Cowardly Murder Shuts Down A Fact-Fogging Campaign For The Murderer

Posted by The Machine



[Above: the murder victim Michael Gregsten and Valerie Storie who survived]

Relevance to Meredith’s case

You maybe thought journalists, politicians, human rights campaigners, lawyers, writers, filmmakers and celebrities campaigning on behalf of someone who evidence strongly suggested was guilty was peculiar to Meredith’s case?

Think again. Exactly the same thing has happened more than a few times. This is one. The UK’s notorious A6 murder of 1961.

On the evening of 22 August 1961, Michael Gregsten, a government scientist, and his girlfriend Valerie Storrie, a laboratory assistant, were sitting in his car next to a cornfield in Berkshire, just west of London, when a masked gunman tapped on the car window. He demanded Gregsten’s wallet and Storie’s handbag.

He then forced Gregsten to drive 60 miles to Deadman’s Hill at Clophill in Bedfordshire where he shot the scientist twice in the head, killing him instantly. Next, he raped and shot Ms Storie five times. She survived the attack, but was left paralysed from the waist down.



[Above: Convicted murderer James Hanratty and his campaigning father]

Trial and evidence

James Hanratty, a petty thief, was arrested after cartridge cases from the murder weapon were found in a London hotel where he stayed the night before the murder. Valerie Storie picked out Hanratty at an identity parade from her hospital bed and she also made a voice identification of him. 

At the trial at Bedford Assizes, James Henratty changed his original alibi that he was staying with friends in Liverpool on the day of the murder and said that he had gone to Rhyl, in north Wales, and stayed two nights in a boarding house. The jury didn’t believe him and James Hanratty was found guilty of murdering Michael Gregsten.

The families of the victims (one dead, one crippled for life) expressed relief that a unanimous verdict was reached.

Hanratty was hanged at Bedford Prison on 4 April 1962. The day before he was hanged, he told his family: “I’m dying tomorrow but I’m innocent. Clear my name.” 

The pressure for an appeal

After James Hanratty was hanged, his father launched a campaign to clear his name. A number of high-profile public figures lent their support to the campaign, including John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and prominent politicians David Steel and Norman Fowler.

In 1971, a hundred MPs signed a petition demanding a public inquiry. The Conservative government refused to open such an inquiry.

Three years later the Labour Home Secretary, Roy Jenkins, commissioned a report from Lewis Hawser QC who sat in secret and came to the conclusion Hanratty was guilty.

In 1999, the case was sent back to the Court of Appeal. In March 2001, Hanratty’s body was exhumed and DNA tests were carried on it to see whether his DNA matched DNA traces found on Valerie Short’s knickers and her handkerchief that was found wrapped around the gun.

DNA tests confirm a right verdict

Forensic scientists from the Forensic Science Service (FSS) found that there was a perfect match and concluded that the DNA found on these exhibits was 2.5 million times more likely to belong to Hanratty than anyone else.

A report from the Daily Mail.

James Hanratty was guilty of the notorious A6 murder for which he was hanged, sensational scientific evidence has revealed. A DNA sample taken from his exhumed body has been matched by forensic experts to two samples from the crime scene.

They now believe that there is only a 1-in-2.5million chance Hanratty was innocent.  The results of the tests, released to Hanratty’s defence team, are a crushing blow to campaigners who have insisted he was not guilty.

In 2002, James Hanratty’s conviction was upheld at the Court of Appeal and a bid to take the case to the House of Lords was rejected. Lord Woolf, the Lord Chief Justice, who with two colleagues - Lord Justice Mantell and Mr Justice Leveson - considered the posthumous appeal, said the DNA evidence established Hanratty’s guilt “beyond doubt”.

Lord Woolf for the Supreme Court on 10 May 2002:

We have already stressed the importance of looking at a case such as this in the round. The grounds of appeal are of differing significance and although we have dealt with them individually it is also necessary to consider them collectively in asking ourselves the critical question is the conviction of James Hanratty of murder unsafe either on procedural or evidential grounds?

As to the evidential issues they all ultimately relate to the single issue which dominated the trial and this appeal, the identity of the killer. In our judgment for reasons we have explained the DNA evidence establishes beyond doubt that James Hanratty was the murderer.

The DNA evidence made what was a strong case even stronger. Equally the strength of the evidence overall pointing to the guilt of the appellant supports our conclusion as to the DNA.



[Above: journalist campaigners Paul Foot and Bob Woffinden]

The 40-year media campaign

Forty years of excruciating hell for the families and friends of the victims, one dead, one crippled for life .

Investigative journalists such as Bob Woffinden and Paul Foot wrote articles and books about the case, stubbornly certain that James Hanratty was innocent and that the case was a miscarriage of justice.

Paul Foot was a highly-respected campaigning journalist who worked for Private Eye, the Daily Mirror and The Guardian. However, his reasons for believing that James Hanratty was innocent were flimsy to the say the least.

From the BBC obituary for Paul Foot:

Beyond his obvious triumphs, Foot sometimes got it terribly wrong.

The Hanratty affair is a case in point. Twenty-five-year-old James Hanratty was hanged in 1962, after being found guilty of killing scientist Michael Gregsten and raping and shooting his mistress Valerie Storie.

Foot’s interest began in 1966 and, for the next 34 years, he consistently and eloquently demanded justice for Hanratty.

The case was finally reopened in 2000 and, after Hanratty’s body was exhumed, so DNA samples could be scraped from his bones, his guilt was proved beyond doubt.

The main crux of his argument for innocence was that James Hanratty was in Liverpool and Rhyl on the day of the murder. There were no positive identifications of Hanratty, just a couple of people who claimed that they had seen a man who looked like him.



[Above: John Lennon and Yoko Ono with Hanratty’s parents]

A report of John Lennon’s involvement.

On Side One of John & Yoko’s “Live Jam” album (recorded on 15th December 1969) Yoko can be heard to shout “Britain, you killed Hanratty you murderer!”, she then chants Hanratty’s name throughout the opening bars of Don’t Worry Kyoko.

As the [1960s] progressed, the view that Hanratty had in fact been the victim of a gross miscarriage of justice began to gather momentum, another man was even seen to confess to the murder on British Television in 1967. Together with Hanratty’s parents, John and Yoko discussed the idea of making a film to back the campaign for an enquiry and this was announced at an Apple press conference on December 10th 1969.

The one and only public screening of the 40-minute colour result was eventually shown in the crypt of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church, London on 17th February 1972.

29 years later DNA evidence from the exhumed body of Hanratty was said to prove that he DID commit the murder, although it has been argued that the retained evidence may have been cross contaminated in storage.

Supporters of James Hanratty have come out with the predictable excuse that the DNA evidence must have been contaminated. However, the forensic scientists who worked in the case said this highly unlikely and pointed out that they had found no other DNA profiles on the two exhibits.

Implications for PR campaigns

The DNA tests carried out by the FFS that finally provided definitive proof that James Hanratty killed Michael Gregsten and raped and shot Valerie Storie more or less stopped the bandwagon dead in its tracks.

But there had been for decades almost fanatical and very vociferous support for someone who’d been unanimously convicted of murder, many of whom stood to gain, though it didnt have too much effect except to have the case looked at and found solid twice.

James Hanratty’s supporters claimed that he had no motive, that the police framed him, and that the DNA evidence was contaminated by the government’s experts. NONE of this was proved. Unless there is actual proof of dastardly plots and contamination, these claims against the authorities are unfruitful and unfair.

The most important lesson to be learnt from the A6 murder case is that a bandwagon of journalists, politicians, human rights campaigners, lawyers, writers, filmmakers and celebrities being absolutely convinced of someone’s innocence does not make him or her innocent in fact.

Even intelligent and well-intentioned people like Paul Foot and David Steel can mistakenly believe a killer is innocent and shrug off the pain the victims’ families must feel.

Implications for Curt Knox’s campaign

There are a number of parallels to the campaign against justice for Meredith. The families of the victims for one were put through years of hell, the real evidence was wildly distorted, and many good justice professionals and reporters were impugned. .

Hopefully the judges at the Italian Supreme Court will order a new appeal trial early next year, and the new tests the prosecution requested at the appeal on the remaining sample from the large knife can now be carried out.

Professor Novelli testified that it is possible to extract, amplify and attribute DNA with just 10-15 picograms of DNA using cutting-edge technology.  Conti and Vecchiotti extracted approximately 100 picograms of DNA from the blade of the knife.

Sollecito seemed to know there could be incriminating DNA evidence on that knife, and Knox had an extreme reaction not yet accounted for in an innocent way when she was shown a drawer full of knives.

There is enough DNA for more than one test. If Meredith’s DNA is indeed identified once again, the already strong case against Knox and Sollecito can be closed once and for all. And Curt Knox’s PR will be gone.


[Below: the then Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf]

Posted on 08/23/12 at 04:39 AM by The Machine. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedSupreme CourtPublic evidenceDNA and luminolAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann 2011+Other legal processesOthers elsewhere
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Monday, August 20, 2012

Dissecting The Hellmann Report #4: The Contortions To Dismiss Witness Quintavalle

Posted by Cardiol MD



[Above: Images of Mr Quintavalle’s Conad store; he serves at far left, his cashier serves at far right]


Scroll down here for previous posts in this series.

Mr Quintavalle owns the Conad franchise at the lower end of Via Garibaldli, about halfway between Meredith’s place and Sollecito’s. Judge Massei in his trial sentencing report had stated this about Mr Quintavalle on page 83:

This Court deems that the testimony of Quintavalle is reliable. It was discovered that Inspector Volturno did not ask Quintavalle if, on the morning of November 2, he saw Amanda Knox in his shop.

He was asked – so Quintavalle recalled - about purchases made by Raffaele Sollecito. Mr. Quintavalle did not say anything about having seen Amanda Knox on the morning of November 2, 2007 in his shop because he was not questioned about this and because, as indicated by Quintavalle himself, he considered this fact to be insignificant.

This post exemplifies how the Hellmann-Zanetti web of deception uses a flood of reasons-to-doubt in its attempt to discredit Massei’s conclusion that Quintavalle was a reliable witness. Remarkably, the judges did not even recall Mr Mr Quintavalle, and mostly they work from the brief summary of his testimony in Massei’s report and little else.

Quintavalle’s testimony is key to the guilty verdicts against Knox and Sollecito, and contrary to Hellmann-Zanetti’s improper purpose; therefore they proceeded to systematically “disprove” Massei’s conclusion, stating this on page 39:

Indeed, Quintavalle asserts that she left without having purchased anything.

Verbatim from the hearing of March 21, 2009:

The Hellmann report here proceeds to selectively quote the hearing-transcript in a manner contrary to the usual and customary English-language meaning of “verbatim”. It may be that Hellmann-Zanetti meant to indicate that only the words they did quote were verbatim, and that their ellipses indicated innocent omissions. However the effect of their omissions is not innocent.

…If they had asked me…also because, I repeat, I, when the young lady came into my store, I did not see her leave with anything, because when she passed by and passed by again, when she left and I saw her, out of the corner of my eye I saw her leaving, I did not see that she had a shopping bag or anything in her hands.

PRESIDING JUDGE [PRESIDENTE]: You are speaking of the morning of November 2?

ANSWER: The morning of November 2. I don’t know if she bought anything, I don’t know. My cashier doesn’t remember if she bought anything, I am not able to say whether she bought something or not…”

If one wanted to maintain that perhaps Quintavalle is wrong, because she actually did purchase something, it would be correct to observe that if he could be wrong on this point, and also about the clothing she was wearing, then he could also be wrong about the identification of the young woman [giovane] as Amanda Knox.

Finally, the testimony of the witness Quintavalle does not seem reliable, and, in any case, represents an extremely weak piece of circumstantial evidence.”



Examples of Hellmann-/Zanetti’s flood of Reasons-to-Doubt [That AK/RS are Guilty] :

From Hellmann-Zanetti pages 39-43:

Quintavalle

Another piece of evidence [uno degli elementi] on which the Court of first instance based its conviction of guilt is represented by the testimony of the witness Quintavalle, owner of a grocery store in Corso Garibaldi, not far from Sollecito’s house but also just a few minutes from via della Pergola: he in fact asserted that he saw, early in the morning of November 2, a young woman enter[sic] his store after having waited for it to open, whom he later recognized as Amanda Knox.

According to the prosecution (and to the Court of first instance), this circumstance proves that, contrary to the alibi she gave, she did not sleep at Sollecito’s house until late in the morning, but went very early to Quintavalle’s store, as she urgently needed to acquire a cleaning product suitable to clean the house in via della Pergola of her own traces and those of Raffaele Sollecito, before the police could intervene and take samples, since it was inevitable that sooner or later the alarm would be given because of what had happened.

In reality, even under the assumption that the circumstance is true, this would be a weak piece of circumstantial evidence, incapable in itself of proving guilt even presumptively; but in any case this Court holds that the testimony of the witness is not very reliable, in particular in what concerns the identification of the early‐morning client with Amanda Knox.”



(1) Reason-to-Doubt #1:  “…INCAPABLE IN ITSELF of PROVING guilt even presumptively….”

The reader is being steered away from a level of doubt that is beyond-reasonable, and towards the territory of reasonable-doubt-that -AK/RS-are-Guilty. 

“INCAPABLE IN ITSELF” improperly isolates the issue from all the other considerations which should simultaneously-be-taken-into-account.

“PROVING” improperly implies an inappropriate standard of ‘certainty’.

….this Court holds that the testimony of the witness is NOT VERY RELIABLE, in particular in what concerns the identification of the early‐morning client with Amanda Knox.

Logically “not very reliable” does not exclude “reliable” but Hellmann-Zanetti presumably don’t intend to concede that Quintavalle is reliable; this betrays Hellmann-Zanetti’s extreme bias and determination to exclude Quintavalle’s damning identification of [their client?] Knox.

Later on page 38:

In fact, he presented himself to the police only a year later, following intense urging by a young apprentice journalist…..”

This is a misleading reference to Antioca Fois; see Massei page 84:

He later spoke about having seen Amanda Knox because a young man who used to live above his shop, who he knew, Antioco Fois, had just graduated and had become a freelance reporter for the newspaper Giornale dell’Umbria. When he passed him, he would sometimes ask: “But do you know anything? Did you see something? Did you hear something?”

So one day Quintavalle told Fois that he had seen Amanda Knox on the morning of November 2; later he decided to go to the Public Prosecutor’s Office because Antioco Fois convinced him that this fact might be important.

So the “intense urging” was more like friendly exchanges with Quintavalle’s neighbour, a former lodger.


(2) Reason-to-Doubt #2:  “In fact, he presented himself to the police only a year later….”

Readers are invited to mistrust Quintavalle because he belatedly told this to the police for an untrustworthy reason, steering them further away from a level of doubt [with regard to Knox/Sollecito guilt] that is beyond-reasonable, and further into territory that is reasonable-doubt of their guilt.

Later still on page 38:

Now, what actually happened more than a year before Quintavalle presented himself to the police is absolutely not irrelevant, for the purpose of evaluating the reliability of the witness, especially from the point of view of the genuineness of his memories and the exactness of the identification.



(3) Reason-to-Doubt #3:  “absolutely not irrelevant, for the purpose of evaluating the reliability of the witness”

This double-negative statement further invites Readers to regard Quintavalle as unreliable because his memories are false, and his identification of Knox is too inexact. Steering Readers yet further into a level of doubt of Knox’s guilt that is reasonable-doubt.

Yet further down on page 38:

…..this was a witness who – taking into account what he himself explained – took a year to convince himself of the precision of his perception, and the exactness of the identification of Amanda Knox with the girl that he saw, although he was able to appreciate the relevance of his testimony already in the days immediately following the murder.



(4) Reason-to-Doubt #4: “..took a year to convince himself…”

From Hellmann-Zanetti page 36:

…..took a year to convince himself of the precision of his perception, and the exactness of the identification of Amanda Knox with the girl that he saw, although he was able to appreciate the relevance of his testimony already in the days immediately following the murder.

Repetition of reader-invitation to regard Quintavalle as unreliable, because his perceptions are not precise enough for Hellmann-Zanetti, and his identification of Knox was too inexact even though he knew at that time that his testimony was crucially relevant.

The reader is being steered even further away from belief that Knox and Sollecito are guilty towards the territory of reasonable-doubt-that -AK/RS-are-Guilty. 

Are we there yet? Is there reasonable-doubt-that-AK/RS-are-guilty NOW?!


(5) Reason-to-Doubt #5: “Quintavalle cannot maintain that…”

Near the bottom of Hellmann-Zanetti page 38:

...from the testimony of Inspector Volturno at the hearing of March 13, 2009, it turned out that Quintavalle and his employees and other shopkeepers in the area were shown photographs of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox, and were asked in particular to mention any possible purchases of cleaning products on the part of the couple, as this was a precise focal point of the investigation. Thus, Quintavalle cannot maintain that he did not mention what he saw on the morning of November 2 to Inspector [53] Volturno because he did not think it was a relevant circumstance.

Readers are yet further invited to mistrust Quintavalle, because his failure to “mention” everything he had seen, and his idea of “a relevant circumstance” were unacceptable to Hellmann-Zanetti. 

That’s already five reasons to doubt on the first Quintavalle page alone.

See also Hellmann-Zanetti page 42:

....according to Quintavalle’s own statements – he only caught a glimpse of the girl, first out of the “corner of his eye” and then from a bit nearer for a few moments, but never from the front (verbatim from the hearing of March 21, 2009: “Yes, then she entered, I saw her let’s say like this, three quarters left, three quarters of the left side. I didn’t see her from the front…”

And Hellmann-Zanetti page 43:

“....when she left and I saw her, out of the corner of my eye I saw her leaving,”

Hellmann-Zanetti are now reduced to semantic quibbles about Quintavalle’s use of words to describe his visual-angle-of-view when he looked at Amanda Knox’s face.

But see Massei page 83:

This young woman remained impressed in his memory because of her very light coloured eyes, azzurri [light blue]. …. she could have been 1.65 to 1.67metres tall. Her face was bianchissimo [very light skin colour] and she apparently was about 20-21 years old.

And see Massei page 84:

...it is worth observing that the witness gave a precise description of what he saw on the morning of November 2 and also provided a description of certain physical features of the woman he saw (light blue eyes and pale face) which, together with the unusual time, may well have fixed in his memory what Quintavalle said he saw.

So by selective omissions of the contents of the Massei Report, based on the 4-dimensional observations of the Massei trial hearings, Hellmann-Zanetti use a 2-dimensional record of the Massei Proceedings, and semantic quibbles about Quintavalle’s angles of visual observation, to discredit Quintavalle’s testimony.

Even though Quintavalle - who the Hellmann-Zanetti jury never even saw - had testified convincingly at trial that it was Amanda whom he saw in his shop at opening-time on November 2, 2007, and he had held up well under cross-examination.

Enough already? Isn’t this a contorted flood of Reasons-to-Doubt-That-AK/RS-are-Guilty?  Do you now believe that Quintaville is an unreliable witness?

If you now believe that Quintaville is unreliable, then Hellmann-Zanetti will have accomplished their mission.


[Below: Conad is at right and School for Foreigners at back. RS’s place maybe 500 meters behind, up the hill]


Posted on 08/20/12 at 04:07 AM by Cardiol MD. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those who were chargedAmanda KnoxThose officially involvedPublic evidenceThe timelinesThe witnessesAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann critiques
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Thursday, August 16, 2012

An Overview From Italy Of The Galati-Costagliola Appeal To The Supreme Court Of Cassation

Posted by Machiavelli (Yummi)





1. About Dr Galati

Dr Giovanni Galati is the Procurator General of Perugia, and one of the two magistrates at the highest function currently working in the Region of Umbria.

Until early 2011 he worked in Rome as a Procurator General at the Supreme Court of Cassation in Rome. His life and career had nothing to do with Perugia. A native of Calabria, he spent the last and most important part of his career in Rome, and moved to Perugia only quite recently.

Working as a deputy chief prosecutor at the Supreme Court of Cassation, he developed an expertise as a “cassationist” magistrate. That means specialized in legitimacy issues, and in this role he handled several high profile cases. Among them was the recent one of Salvatore Cuffaro, the former governor of Sicily, now in jail.

Cuffaro was convicted for having favored the mafia and was sentenced to seven years. The governor was found guilty by the appeal court, but Galati impugned the sentencing by the Supreme Court on one specific aspect: while he agreed Cuffaro was guilty, he considered there was only evidence of common crime, while the lower courts failed to provide the legal requirements for proof of the aggravating circumstance of the mafia-related kind of crime.

In Galati’s opinion, Cuffaro was still corrupt and a criminal, and the difference may seem like a minor detail. His conclusion was not to overturn the verdict, but only to reduce the aggravating circumstance and shorten the prison term. Galati made the point and won, the Supreme Court cut one and a half year off Cuffaro’s prison term.

One thing to note is that the majority of Galati’s recourses are appeals in favor of the defendant. The Prosecution General, the office that brings cases to the Supreme Court, deals with procedure and legitimacy issues. Its aim is to ensure consistency and quality of work of the criminal courts.

It does not deal directly with the merit of evidence, but in fact, since the assessment of the evidence is a matter of internal logical consistency and consistency with trial actions, as well as respecting of procedure and of Supreme Court jurisprudence, the scrutiny of the lower court’s process obviously indirectly involves an assessment of the quality of evidence, and on the quality of the lower court’s reasoning on all factual points.

Giancarlo Costagliola was of course the lead prosecutor for the Hellmann-Zanetti appeal.


2. About the appeal

The Galati-Costigliola appeal is a 112-page document, with citations in an appendix to each chapter remanding to trial documents (technically the cited documents have to be considered included in the submission). The Supreme Court of Cassation however will have the entitlement of going through the whole trial documentation.

The Galati-Costagliola Appeal to the Supreme Court immediately looks different in quality and content from the previous court documents that we have seen up to now on the case. As we read it in Italian, it looks well written (except for a few grammar mistakes in the Latin parts) and stylistically homogeneous.

It dedicates extensive parts to the philosophy of law, and it includes several quotes of Supreme Court jurisprudence in the introductory and conclusive chapters.

It is an unusual appeal. Contrary to most appeals submitted by Galati as Procurator General, this one does not raise objections simply on parts of the sentencing, conclusions, or points of reasoning. Instead it attacks the verdict in its entirety. It attacks indeed all logical points and conclusions, including the part about calunnia, for which Knox was found guilty. And it goes even beyond.

Besides disputing the single points on the merit, it contains an explicit and more general attack on the whole appeal court’s approach to the case, against the general quality of their reasoning and their handling of trial and procedure, as well as against even their behavior even before the beginning of the trial discussion. There is an introductory part, and one conclusion part, which are dedicated to this kind of general criticism toward the entirety of the judges’ work.

At the beginning the document presents the summary of the ten reasons for appeal which, in Galati-Costagliola’s opinion, fatally affect the legitimacy of the judgment.

The ten questions of merit are the following:

1.  The illegitimacy of Hellmann’s admission of new expert witnesses (Vecchiotti and Conti). The appointing of new experts violates the code. Galati-Costagliola clearly explains why, using both Supreme Court jurisprudence and Criminal Procedure Code. It addresses and shows the multiple instances of lack of reasoning in Hellmann’s explanations on the point, the “contradictory nature of reasoning” and its “manifest illogicality” in light of the law.


2.  The failure to acquire elements of evidence. Galati-Costagliola focuses specifically on the rejection of witness testimonies, above all 1) the refusal to again hear the witness Aviello, and 2) the refusal of new tests on the knife. These decisions were taken in violation of Articles 190, 238 paragraph 5 and 495 paragraph 2 of the Criminal Procedure Code, and in violation of Article 606 (c) and (d) of the Criminal Procedure Code. There is manifest illogicality of the judgment on the point.


3.  The establishing of the unreliability of the witness Quintavalle. The method declared to assess reliability of the witness violates the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court on the topic, and the insufficient reasoning violates Article 606(b) and (e) of the Criminal Procedure Code.


4.  The establishing of the unreliability of the witness Curatolo. The reasons expressed are illogical, prejudicial, and violate the Criminal Procedure Code.


5.  The claimed timing of the death of Meredith Kercher demonstrates a manifest illogicality in the reasoning, contains an unfounded assessment, and is manifestly in contrast with other court documentation of the case. The internal and external inconsistencies of Hellmann’s statements on the topic constitute a violation of the Criminal Procedure Code.


6.  The genetic investigations: coverage of this topic in Hellmann’s sentencing report demonstrates deficiency in the reasoning, and inconsistency and illogicality [Article 606(e) Criminal Procedure Code]


7.  The analysis of the prints and traces (stains) demonstrates deficiency in the reasoning, and a contradictory nature and illogicality in the reasoning [Article 606(e) Criminal Procedure Code]


8.  The presence of Knox and Sollecito at Via della Pergola on the night of the murder: misrepresentation of the evidence presented is demonstrated and illogicality of the reasoning [Article 606 paragraph 1(e) Criminal Procedure Code]. Violation of procedural rules and illogicality of the reasoning [Article 606 paragraph 1(b) and (e) Criminal Procedure Code] are demonstrated.


9.  The staging of the break-in (simulation of a crime): demonstration of deficiency in the reasoning and manifest illogicality of the same [Article 606(e) Criminal Procedure Code]


10. The exclusion of aggravation in the calunnia offence: the contradictory nature or manifest illogicality of the reasoning is demonstrated, also defects resulting from internal and external inconsistence with the court documents of the case: starting with the declarations by Patrick Diya Lumumba, and those by the accused, Amanda Knox, and the contents of the conversation between the latter and her mother on 10 November 2007 [Article 606(e) last part, Criminal Procedure Code].

However, the ten reasons listed above are not all of Galati-Costagliola’s arguments. Their explanations cover the core (80%) of the Hellmann-Zanetti sentencing document. But even before entering into these reasons on the merit, Galati-Costagliola make a preliminary point, a “premise” to the whole document.

The “premise” takes twenty pages and this alone is telling about the gravity of the criticism Dr Galati is going to make throughout the whole appeal document.  The premise warns the readers (the judges of the Supreme Court) that in fact there is a problem of quality pervading the whole of Hellmann’s and Zanetti’s work which affects deeply their reasoning and conclusions on multiple occasion and in multiple concurring ways.

He makes clear that his criticism of Hellmann is methodological, and he points to the trial as a whole from the roots, far beyond the single topic of errors exposed in the appeal.

The “premise” of preliminary points, a short essay in itself, has its own summary of six points, each one to explain a typology of recurrent error committed by Hellmann and Zanetti. In the premise Galati explains four of the types of error, while the last two are discussed in the further chapters together with some of the points on the merit.

These are the six types of error:

1.  One error “of method” affecting the logical process is the “petitio principii”, which Galati-Costagliola addresses as a recurrent, structural and pervasive method of reasoning used by Hellmann-Zanetti.

It is “begging the question”, a kind of empty circular reasoning. This is demonstrated in several chapters and points. For Hellmann-Zanetti’s reasoning, Galati-Costagliola reserve the names “paradoxical”, “disconcerting”, “useless”, “circular”, and worse in this same tone.


2.  The failure to apply the inferential-inductive method to assess circumstantial evidence. This is a key point based on jurisprudence and is in fact a devastating general argument against Hellmann-Zanetti:

The appeal to Cassation’s jurisprudence on the circumstantial case originates from the fact that the Assize Appeal Court did not deploy a unified appreciation of the circumstantial evidence and did not examine the various circumstantial items in a global and unified way.

With its judgment it has, instead, fragmented the circumstantial evidence; it has weighed each item in isolation with an erroneous logico-judicial method of proceeding, with the aim of criticizing the individual qualitative status of each of them ..


Dr Galati accuses the appeal court of focusing on the quality of some pieces of circumstantial evidence, instead of their correlation to each other as the Supreme Court always requires. .

The appeal judges, in actual fact, deny that the probative reasoning and the decisive and cognitive proceeding of the court is to be found in the circumstantial evidence paradigm of the hypothetico-probabilistic kind, in which the maxims of experience, statistical probability and logical probability have a significant weight.

The court must reach a decision by means of the “inductive-inferential” method: it proceeds, by inference, from individual and certain items of data, through a series of progressive causalities, to further and fuller information, so arriving at a unification of them in the context of [13] the reconstructed hypothesis of the fact.

This means that the data, informed and justified by the conclusions, are not contained in their entirety in the premises of the reasoning, as would have happened if the reasoning were of the deductive type … (..) A single element, therefore, concerning a segment of the facts, has a meaning that is not necessarily unambiguous.

Dr Galati cites and explains further:

The Perugia Court of Appeal has opted, instead, precisely for the parceled-out evaluation of individual probative elements, as if each [14] one of them must have an absolutely unambiguous meaning, and as if the reasoning to be followed were of the deductive type.

This error emerges from the text of the judgment itself, but the gravity of the error committed by the Court in its decision derives from the fact that even the individual elements had been acquired by the cognitive-decisioning process in a totally partial manner, isolating the sole aspect that allowed the recognizing of doubts and uncertainties in the element itself..

So Galati-Costagliola concludes – and this by now is obvious – that the Hellmann-Zanetti court followed a “deductive only” paradigm on pieces in isolation, instead of the “inferential-inductive” paradigm prescribed by Supreme Court requirements (1995).

Moreover, Hellmann-Zanetti applied a deductive paradigm of assessment only to some cherry picked aspects of the single isolated pieces of evidence, overlooking other qualities of the single piece (an example – my own – is the possible “contamination” of the bra clasp found on the floor in the murder room.) Ordering an assessment of the quality of any element as if it was a proof in isolation from the rest of the evidence is itself unlawful.

But Hellmann–Zanetti also picked out of the evidence one aspect alone, for example it points to the theoretical possibility of contamination by touching from gloves, but does not consider the negative check results from the possible contamination sources. The interpretation of X-DNA from the bra-clasp by Vecchiotti in the conclusion is worded as if to ignore the results on the Y-haplotype, and so on.

So even single aspects/qualities of isolated items are further isolated from other aspects by Hellmann-Zanetti, and are assessed without looking for a relationship to the context. This is a core violation of the basics of jurisprudence in cases based on circumstantial evidence.


3.  Refusal to acquire documentation as evidence: the definitive Guede verdict. Hellmann-Zanetti refused to acquire the documentation and to consider it a piece of evidence, without any backing from procedure jurisprudence and without providing any justification.

By doing this the Hellmann court was again violating the legal boundaries. The Galati-Costagliola appeal considers this as one more type of violation, the refusal to attribute any kind of probative value to the definitive verdict on Guede, thus violating Article 238 of the Criminal Procedure Core, and bringing up a manifestly illegitimate justification. The violation is quite egregious under the code.


4.  Failure to assess and to weight key elements, among which is Knox’s written “memoir”. This is a severe violation of article 237 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The usability of Knox’s “memoir” as well as its probative value were already established by the Supreme Court itself, and it was admitted into the process. Hellmann-Zanetti fail to provide the slightest logical explanation for changing the established assessment and disregarding that evidence.


5.  The failure to acquire possibly important pieces of evidence. Galati-Costagliola are focused mainly on two points: 1) the knife, and the refusal of having it further tested for DNA; 2) the refusal to hear Aviello after his retraction of his claims.

We know that, while the testimony of Aviello might be just not credible because of his proven unreliability, and while some may argue that thus his testimony was not “decisive”, the testing of DNA found on the knife would be a piece of evidence for sure.

But the Procurator General points out that the refusal to hear Aviello is part of a severe violation, because the Hellmann motivazioni accepts his retraction statement, considering it thus reliable, but throws out some parts of it and refuses to hear him as a witness.

So the Galati-Costagliola appeal statement includes quotes of some shocking lines from Aviello’s interrogation, to show the heavy nature of it that cannot be thrown out without assessment

A twisting of words - like “cutting-edge” which becomes “experimental” in Hellmann’s reasoning - is the illogical justification for Hellmann-Zanetti forbidding a further DNA test. The motivation is obviously bogus, and Galati backs the point with quotes from Novelli’s tehnical explanation.


6.  Galati-Costagliola address a pervasive violation, claiming it recurs multiple times in the document: a violation of a kind called “misrepresentation of the evidence”.

This is when the judge omits aspects of the pieces of evidence that would contradict their conclusion, expressing an obvious cognitive bias. The appeal describes this violation in different chapters (5,6,8) as occurring in the process of assessing different pieces of evidence, including witness reports, wiretappings, and other items.



3. My own assessment of the Galati appeal

As you can guess from the summary above, the appeal is rather strong, and explains many heavy implications in Italian jurisprudence so that it would be difficult for the Supreme Court to reject it. 

Difficult not only because the kind of objections raised by Galati-Costagliola are devastating to Hellmann’s legitimacy (in fact it’s even more, they tend to form a picture of manipulation of the trial); and not only because Hellmann’s verdict appears to be devastating to jurisprudence generally, so much so that it would become impossible to rule on guilt in many other cases; and not only because a verdict that puts together the conviction for calunnia (a felony crime with malice) and the acquittal for murder, has a contradiction on a macro-level.

But also diificult because the same office of Cassation has already issued another definitive verdict, on the Rudy Guede case. They acknowledged that Guede did not act alone, and the Supreme Court themselves even obtained independently some elements of evidence of this, which had not been considered by the previous judges.

Accepting Hellmann-Zanetti and rejecting Galati would equate to cancel Guede’s verdict. It would require a re-write of the entire process from scratch.

Galati-Costagliola shed light on many points in good order, so I tend to be optimistic and confident in the strength of the appeal.

However I also believe there could have been something more, to make it even more strong. There are a few points – in my opinion - still missing, which I would have added. Four points that I miss are the following:

1.  There is no mention about the analysis – or the lack thereof - of Knox’s lies, aka the inconsistencies in her story, her “mop-shower” alibi version, what she told prior to her false accusation. There was a partial analysis of this area of evidence in Massei, who only mentioned her lying about her behavior before Meredith’s closed door.

But a lot more could have been brought out, so many contradictions and so sharp, to demonstrate that her recollection was entirely fictional. The entire topic disappeared in Hellmann’s logic and Galati-Costagliola does not hit on the point. I think this obliteration of key evidence should have been a battlefield for the appeal, I think it could have been linked to the error of misrepresentation of the evidence.


2.  Galati-Costagliola misses one point of criticism on the bathmat footprint assessment. It does make a point objecting to the manifest illogicality of Hellmann’s reasoning on the footprint analysis. But there is one point more where it could hit, one external inconsistency that could have been highlighted:

Hellmann-Zanetti’s illogical reasoning on the footprint is based on a false assumption. Not only it has no basis in the acts of evidence but it is proven false. It is that Hellmann excludes Sollecito on the basis that the print was “inked” by stepping on a flat surface (proven false), and attributes it to Guede, on the opposite assumption that it was produced by immersion. I note that Galati does not address directly this introduction of false premises.


3.  The appeal deals only partly with the Vecchiotti-Conti report controversy. It points to Hellmann’s contradiction on “contamination” of the knife and their failure to indicate any path for any contamination in general. But it does not say much about the bra clasp (it implies however that Sollecito’s DNA was found).

Vecchiotti’s report is unacceptable when it comes to the DNA chart: it acknowledges that Sollecito’s DNA was on the clasp after all when it comes to the Y-haplotype, but in the autosome-chromosome analysis attempts to create confusion by applying principles that are incompatible with Supreme Court guidelines on evidence analysis. Also Vecchiotti desecends into inconsistency and shows her real cards when she attempts to figure out contamination paths for how Sollecito’s DNA had arrived on the clasp.

However, I think the SCC might have all the material on this point in the attachment documents from Galati.


4.  One missing point important to me is that Galati-Costagliola does not point out the prejudicial and racist stance declared at the beginning and at the core of Hellmann’s reasoning.

Other parts are maybe more outrageous and more directly offensive to other people and other intelligences, but the racist Hellmann’s reason to me is the most disgusting.

It is a shame that a judge of the Republic is allowed to write things like this. Hellmann-Zanetti write that it is itself “unlikely” – it would require a very special proof – that Guede and Knox/Sollecito could have just met and done something together because they are “different”, while Sollecito and Knox are “good fellows”

Hellmann-Zanetti could have legitimately used the argument that it was likely for Guede to have committed a crime alone because he had a police record. They could have used this argument, but they did not use it. Their wording was totally different. I think we can guess what the reason is why they didn’t use this argument. It would have been extremely weak.

There is a logical connection between a theoretical break in and the theft in the law firm; this logical connection is equal to (in fact much weaker than) the logical connection between a staged break in and a roommate. But there is no logical connection between crimes like a theft of a laptop in an apartment and assaulting, torturing and killing a woman: thousands, in fact hundreds of thousands, of common thieves, in Italy, do not rape and do not kill anyone.

You cannot use the criminal record of Rudy Guede as a basis for claiming it is “likely” that he could commit a crime of this kind alone. That’s why Hellmann-Zanetti didn’t use it.

Instead, they used prejudice, the racist card: instead of trying to explain why it was likely that Rudy could have done it alone, they decided to claim that it was unlikely that they would find themselves together, because they are “good fellows” (and “different”).

As you can understand, this has nothing to do with Rudy’s criminal record.

By the way, Hellmann-Zanetti know that Knox had been knowing Guede long before she became friends with Sollecito, they already knew that Knox and Guede have been seen together on more than one occasion in more than one place, and even that Guede in fact attended the cottage and was friends with other people in the cottage. In fact they knew Guede and Knox used to attend the same places, house, roads and pubs.

They also knew that both Sollecito and Guede attended Piazza Grimana and the drug circle (which is the square in front of the school where Amanda had her language classes), that they lived 150 meters from each other, walked every day the same road; and ate at the same bars.

It was also known that not only Guede alone, but both Knox and Sollecito had questionable aspects in their personalities, so that these 20-years olds were not exactly expressing a profound stability in their lives.

They knew details like: leaving university, abandoning a job after one day, public disturbance fines, drunk parties, pouring beer glasses on the heads of unknowns, flirting with clients, relational problems with roommates and other girls, bringing several men at home causing arguments with roommates, collecting violent porn, heavy drug abuse over the years, knife collecting, a possible suicide mother, a lonely childhood and introverted character under the attention of a college director, memory voids.

Nobody is perfect. These details do not mean someone is guilty of anything. But what exactly is, in Hellmann-Zanetti’s mind, the “difference” of these personalities that makes these two be so obviously “good fellows”, as opposed to Guede, to the point that it is “extremely unlikely” that they can be found together, despite the fact that they attend the same places every day?

Who can tell me what is the possible reason of this difference?

Maybe there could be a relation with the fact that in Italian “good fellows” – “bravi ragazzi” means, in the subtext “ my family” as opposed to the other who is an outsider.

To my eyes this reasoning of Hellmann-Zanetti turns them into individuals who deserves no respect, they gain with this the most justified contempt, they should be treated like pigs: they practically wrote “they can’t be around together with Guede because they are our friends” while “he is out”.

Two bastards dirtying my country by wearing the robes of judges. I find this disgusting. It is unfortunate that Galati-Costagliola overlook this point.



4. The Galati appeal: my final thoughts

It is not possible to understand in depth the 10 points of merit from my short summary, which in fact is just a list. By reading them, I think they show their inner logical strength. I found only one weakness, that is in one of the sub-sections of point 5, where Galati-Costagliola discuss about Guede’s skype call.

I feel it’s remarkable that I couldn’t find any other questionable point (I am rather severe).

Reason 8 appears made of several points each with a different topic. They didn’t seem especially important to me as pieces of evidence, however they exist and are part of Galati-Costagliola criticism of Hellmann’s reasoning.

Reason 9 is effective but I would have used much more extensively the elements of evidence available and place them in line before the judge’s faces. Galati-Costagliola prefer to direct their objection to the inconsistence of Hellmann-Zanetti.

The part where Galati sounds more outraged is Reason 10, about the Calunnia. In this part in fact Hellmann sounds most “FoA” and offensive. In fact I think I have never read before a Cassation recourse so scathing as the Galati-Costagliola document seems to be on the Hellmann’s report.

Reading through the whole Galati document in Italian, you come upon expressions addressing the lower court’s work (repeatedly) with terms like “grave error” and “grave behavior”, you find also “disconcerting shallowness”, or the accusation of “ignoring the law”.

In the C&V report section Galati-Costagliola have some sarcastic lines such as: “how is it now they suddenly have become experts?”. In other parts you read the word “prejudice” or “obvious bias”, some of the parts of the Hellmann-Zanetti report are called “offensive” and “gratuitous”, and you also encounter the term “insinuation”.

Galati-Costagliola devolve significant attention to their method error in logic called “petitio principii”.  Now, in the traditional scholarly logic, there is a list of thirteen kind of typical “logical errors” divided in three groups: the errors of the kind “fallacia in voce” (due to misusing words in their meaning concepts) , “fallacia in re” (about getting facts wrong in the direct logical use of them) and “fallacia in deductione” (error in inference process): there are four types of “fallacia in re” and five types of “fallacia in deductione”.

The “petitio principii” (implicit circular reasoning) is one of the five types of “fallacia in deductione”.  Galati-Costagliola focus on this and on another case of “fallacia in re” called “corax”, but in fact in Hellmann-Zanetti there are also severe cases of logical errors of other kinds of “fallacia in deductione” and of the kinds of “fallacia in re”. Which may not matter too much.

This was my final thought.  I hope this can help readers to gain a rough idea of what the Galati-Costagliola Appeal to the Supreme Court looks like, its structure, its kind of arguments, and assess its qualities.

If the Supreme Court of Cassation accepts the appeal, I would consider the battle for justice in this case as won. I know that the Kerchers may need to see the end of the whole process. But to me, the fact of having the Galati-Costagliola appeal means itself half victory achieved.

This document, as you know, was issued by the highest magistrate in Umbria and what will remain in history is the forcible assertion that Knox and Sollecito are murderers beyond any doubt as expressed by Dr Galati in this document and elsewhere, as well as his outrage for the disgusting Hellmann-Zanetti trash-verdict.

This stance will never go away.

Posted on 08/16/12 at 04:03 PM by Machiavelli (Yummi). Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Italian justice v othersThose who were chargedAmanda KnoxRaff SollecitoAppeals 2009-2015Cassation 2013Florence 2014+All the nefarious hoaxesNo-evidence hoax
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Meredith Would Have Been So Proud Of The Beautiful Smart High Achieving Olympics In Her Home Town

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



So we are being told by those who knew her.

She would have been so proud, with the sheer diversity oif the show, with more nations than ever winning medals even though so many of them are on shoestring budgets, with the UK medal count third in the golds and fourth overall.

With all the women athletes on the tv screen seemingly for more than half of the time - the first Olympics where men and women had an equal number of events. And with audiences that went wild with applause over great performances quite regardless of where they were from.

She would have been so impressed with the amazingly smooth management, the diversity of venues picked in part for their sheer beauty, and the giant high-tech disco that was the Olympic Arena in the awesome opening and closing ceremonies.

And she would have laughed too. The British as usual were very funny. Meredith had a much exercised sense of humor. She would have seriously cracked up at the secret agent queen.

We could see where Meredith was born, in many of the aerial shots of London - in the lively cultural neighborhood right behind the London Eye, the giant ferris wheel on the south bank - before her family moved south to outer London. 

Asking around what would have appealed the most to her, we are told: “Of the events probably the gymnastics and the Tai Kwon Do, and also the equestrian events. And of the music at the closing, probably the Spice Girls and Brian May of Queen”.

No good video yet of Brian May and the late Freddie Mercury (whose origins also were in exotic India), but take it away, Spice Girls! Top: the UK TV version. And here: German TV with sharp sound.

Posted on 08/15/12 at 03:51 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer EnglandThose officially involvedVictims family
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Giuseppe Castellini Speaks Up For A “Kind Homeless Man Of Many Aspects”

Posted by Jools





Giuseppe Castellini (above) is the editor of the Journal of Umbria in Perugia. Throughout the case he and his various reporters have done amazing, fearless work.

Today he writes movingly about the sad passing in prison of the honest and brave free spirit Antonio Curatolo, who had been charged during the appeal on a minor eight-year-old charge, apparently at someone’s insistence.

Our lives crossed on the path of the tragic murder of Meredith Kercher. And, somehow, we were no longer separated. Even though, rather than crossing paths, in time they’ve run parallel courses. Up to Friday, when death took him away, at the age of 56. And in his passing we (I speak in the plural because the same sentiment is felt by Francesca Bene, Luca Fiorucci and Antioco Fois, the colleagues who have been following the Meredith case and who met him), we feel deeply saddened.

Antonio Curatolo was no saint. But he had his candour, his naturalness, his humanity and his inner rectitude. Sometimes, I felt he was perhaps dissociated. The homeless romantic and anarchic that reads a lot and has a self-taught culture, living on the edge of society by choice, but who “struggles along” not always in a limpid way. A stray cat, clever and naïve at the same time. Tough and kind, profoundly honest, and at the same time illicit.

I remember when we were informed that a homeless man told someone (who then informed us) that he had seen on the night of the murder Amanda and Sollecito in the Piazza Grimana in Perugia, when as usual he was reading while sitting on a bench in the piazza. The story is well known: Amanda and Sollecito are at the edge of the basketball court, and Raffaele sometimes gets up and leans over the guard rail.

An important testimony, because they had said they were asleep at that time. I remember the contact, the meeting, making him repeat continuously until he was exhausted, what he had seen. Trying to make him contradict himself, to see if what he was saying was true.

A good relationship was born in those days. We spoke about other things apart from the Meredith case, things in general. We got to know each other, we talked about our lives, so many things. And, eventually, it was not very difficult to convince him to tell the investigators what he had told us.

Even though we had to insist (with him, but also with the other witnesses that we found) on surpassing that anti-State Italian mentality in which everyone goes about his business, and that if you rather trust the State you’ll end up in trouble. He testified, and since his testimony was very important (he was defined by the media, with a bit of exaggeration, the “super-witness”), he was “grilled” very thoroughly. 

But he essentially repeated the same story. So much so that the defence teams of Amanda and Raffaele, in the end they stirred in the direction of Curatolo maybe having seen the two youngsters, but not on the night of the murder. His version fully convinced the GUP Judge Micheli (who pointed out that no one could dare question his story because of the mere fact that Antonio had chosen an unusual way of life) and also convinced the judges of the First Instance trial.

Not those judges of the appeal, though, according to whom all the witnesses - especially if found by journalists – were either mythomaniacs, or were prompted to exaggerate by the suppose desire at all costs for a journalistic scoop by reporters (showing, if I may say so myself, a strong cultural retardation of the judges and a very provincial point of view - far from the reality – toward the print press and, more generally, media).

Antonio, as mentioned, was not a saint. His relationship with drugs not only bears witness to his admission that he was a heroin addict, but also the legal troubles related to possession of drugs with intent to sell. An accumulation of small penalties that brought him under house arrest and in prison. Although he proclaimed his innocence. The last time I saw him, some months ago, was when I met him in the street and I accompanied him to the small flat he had rented in Corso Cavour. To complete the house arrest penalty, he told me.

But seeing him enter into that small apartment, after seeing him in the cardboard houses that he was building here and there, gave me the sad impression of a little bird entering a birdcage.

In short, I loved him, despite some aspects of his life. When I saw him we smiled. And they were smiles of men sincere with each other. I had affection for him. His sins, I’m sure, have been forgiven.

May the earth of the grave rest lightly on you, Antonio.


Posted on 08/14/12 at 07:27 PM by Jools. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Public evidenceThe witnessesReporting on the caseV good reportingThe wider contextsPerugia context
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Thursday, August 09, 2012

Correcting Saul Kassin’s Massively Inaccurate Description Of Amanda Knox’s So-Called Confession

Posted by brmull




Conflicts between Kassin’s academic and court personas

Saul Kassin is a psychologist with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. He tries to advance the notion academically and in court that many confessions are coerced by the police and thus false.

In writing about American cases of confessions, Kassin would normally be very sure to interview all the parties to the confession. Police would not simply be sidelined, and the confessor’s tale would not be the only narrative he pays attention to. His academic pieces would normally be peer-reviewed and any claims which were questionable would be examined by the academic peers or the readership.  False claims by Kassin could result in criminal complaints and civil lawsuits.

It is quite clear from online postings that Saul Kassin was taken on as a hired gun for the Knox defense in the Knox/Sollecito trial in Perugia. He was being paid NOT to simply be academic and objective, he was being paid to give the police witnesses and prosecution as hard a time as possible.

Although he seems to have flown to Perugia at one point he definitely did not encounter let alone interview even one police officer, even one prosecutor or even one judge. He made no visit to the questura where the Knox questioning took place. He doesnt speak or read Italian so he would not be able to get to grip with original evidence.

He does not reveal if and when he interviewed Amanda Knox herself. She makes no mention of any meeting with Kassin in her book. Kassin was definitely not in court in mid-2009 when Amanda Knox was cross-examined for two days on the witness stand about her false allegations against Patrick Lumumba. Her stint on the stand was regarded as a disaster for her by most of those present.

Conflicts consequentially plaguing Kassin’s academic judgments

During the Hellmann appeal in 2011 [subsequently annulled by the Supreme Court in 2013] Kassin started to use his academic standing and ostensible objectivity to propagate to American and later global audiences his hired-gun take for the defense. He had still not interviewed anyone in the Perugia police or prosecution.

He never made clear that his description of Knox’s interrogation was already UNIVERSALLY discredited in Italy - and that even Knox had admitted that the police treated her fairly. He never explained what peer review process his many pieces went through. Not one police officer or prosecutor in Perugia was contacted by any peer reviewer seeking confirmations. This suggests either that there was no peer review or it was unethically cooked in some way.

Our own peer reviews of Kassins proliferating claims

One month ago my fellow poster the Machine took apart ten claims which Saul Kassin made last year in a Seattle radio interview. As the Machine showed, every one of those claims fall apart once one refers to official documents and the more objective case books and websites. 

Another post one month ago by my fellow poster Fuji showed that Amanda Knox is NOT likely to issue false confessions in the heat of an interrogation moment.

That is Kassin’s key claim here, and in effect Fuji used Kassin’s own “science” against him.

Then we were warned by a John Jay colleague critical of Kassin that he had repeated these same spurious claims live on television - and that Kassin had made even more wrong claims in a keynote speech to a conference of the elite John Jay College in June in New York, in front of an influential international audience.

And he did so again in a paper, possibly peer-reviewed, which the respected journal American Psychologist has placed online. This post provides the truth on the Knox-related claims at the front and back ends of that American Psychologist paper.

Saul Kassin still appears to want to argue that Amanda Knox was convicted ONLY based on a false confession (as the Machine and numerous posts on TJMK show, she wasn’t - and in fact, Knox didn’t even confess) and he now makes almost 50 erroneous assertions about the case.

You can see highlighted in the first box-quote below those misleading and erroneous passages of PR shill Kassin which I correct in the second box-quote below.

(1) SAUL KASSIN’S ORIGINAL VERSION WITH WRONG STATEMENTS HIGHLIGHTED


As illustrated by the story of Amanda Knox and many others wrongfully convicted, false confessions often trump factual innocence. Focusing on consequences, recent research suggests that confessions are powerfully persuasive as a matter of logic and common sense; that many false confessions contain richly detailed narratives and accurate crime facts that appear to betray guilty knowledge; and that confessions in general can corrupt other evidence from lay witnesses and forensic experts—producing an illusion of false support. This latter phenomenon, termed “corroboration inflation,” suggests that pretrial corroboration requirements as well as the concept of “harmless error” on appeal are based on an erroneous presumption of independence among items of evidence. In addition to previously suggested reforms to police practices that are designed to curb the risk of false confessions, measures should be taken as well to minimize the rippling consequences of those confessions…. 

Meredith Kercher was found raped and murdered in Perugia, Italy. Almost immediately,  police suspected 20-year-old Amanda Knox, an American student and one of Kercher’s roommates—the only one who stayed in Perugia after the murder. Knox had no history of crime or violence and no motive. But something about her demeanor—such as an apparent lack of affect, an outburst of sobbing, or her girlish and immature behavior— led police to believe she was involved and lying when she claimed she was with Raffaele Sollecito, her new Italian boyfriend, that night. 

Armed with a prejudgment of Knox’s guilt, several police officials interrogated the girl on and off for four days. Her final interrogation started on November 5 at 10 p.m. and lasted until November 6 at 6 a.m., during which time she was alone, without an attorney, tag-teamed by a dozen police, and did not break for food or sleep. In many ways, Knox was a vulnerable suspect—young, far from home, without family, and forced to speak in a language in which she was not fluent. Knox says she was repeatedly threatened and called a liar. She was told,  falsely, that Sollecito, her boyfriend, disavowed her alibi and that physical evidence placed her at the scene. She was encouraged to shut her eyes and imagine how the gruesome crime had occurred, a trauma, she was told, that she had obviously repressed. Eventually she broke down crying,  screaming, and hitting herself in the head. Despite a law that mandates the recording of interrogations, police and prosecutors maintain that these sessions were not recorded. 

Two “confessions” were produced in this last session,  detailing what Knox called a dreamlike “vision.” Both were typed by police—one at 1:45 a.m., the second at 5:45 a.m. She retracted the statements in a handwritten letter as soon as she was left alone (“In regards to this ‘confession’  that I made last night, I want to make it clear that I’m very doubtful of the verity of my statements because they were made under the pressures of stress, shock, and extreme exhaustion.”). Notably, nothing in the confessions indicated that she had guilty knowledge. In fact, the statements attributed to Knox were factually incorrect on significant core details (e.g., she named as an accomplice a man whom police had suspected but who later proved to have an ironclad alibi; she failed to name another man, unknown to police at the time, whose DNA was later identified on the victim). Nevertheless, Knox, Sollecito, and the innocent man she implicated were all immediately arrested. In a media-filled room, the chief of police announced: Caso chiuso (case closed). 

Police had failed to provide Knox with an attorney or record the interrogations, so the confessions attributed to her were ruled inadmissible in court. Still, the damage was done. The confession set into motion a hypothesis-confirming investigation, prosecution, and conviction. The man whose DNA was found on the victim, after specifically stating that Knox was not present, changed his story and implicated her while being prosecuted. Police forensic experts concluded that Knox’s DNA on the handle of a knife found in her boyfriend’s apartment also contained Kercher’s blood on the blade and that the boyfriend’s DNA was on the victim’s bra clasp. Several eyewitnesses came forward.  An elderly woman said she was awakened by a scream followed by the sound of two people running; a homeless drug addict said he saw Knox and Sollecito in the vicinity that night; a convicted drug dealer said he saw all three suspects together; a grocery store owner said he saw Knox the next morning looking for cleaning products; one witness said he saw Knox wielding a knife. 

On December 5, 2009, an eight-person jury convicted Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito of murder. The two were sentenced to 26 and 25 years in prison, respectively. Finally, on October 3, 2011, after having been granted a new trial, they were acquitted. [Actually they still stand accused - and facing a tough fact-based prosecution appeal] Ten weeks later, the Italian appeals court released a strongly worded 143-page opinion in which it criticized the prosecution and concluded that there was no credible evidence, motive, or plausible theory of guilt. For the four years of their imprisonment, this story drew international attention (for comprehensive overviews of the case, see Dempsey, 2010, and Burleigh, 2011).1

It is now clear that the proverbial mountain of discredited evidence used to convict Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito was nothing but a house of cards built upon a false confession. The question posed by this case, and so many others like it, is this: Why do confessions so often trump innocence? ...

Third, it is important to realize that not all evidence is equally malleable or subject to corroboration inflation. Paralleling classic research indicating that expectations can color judgments of people, objects, and other stimuli that are ambiguous as opposed to those that compel a particular perception, forensic research indicates that ambiguity is a moderating condition. Asked to report on an event or make an identification decision on the basis of a memory trace that cannot be recovered, eyewitnesses are particularly malleable when confronted with evidence of a confession (Hasel & Kassin, 2009). This phenomenon was illustrated in the case against Amanda Knox. When police first interviewed Knox’s British roommates, not one reported that there was bad blood between Knox and the victim. After Knox’s highly publicized confession, however, the girls brought forth new “memories,” telling police that Kercher was uncomfortable with Knox and the boys she would bring home (Burleigh, 2011). ... 

In recent years, psychologists have been critical of the problems with accuracy, error, subjectivity, and bias in various types of criminal evidence—prominently including eyewitness identification procedures, police interrogation practices, and the so-called forensic identification sciences,  all leading Saks and Koehler (2005) to predict a “coming paradigm shift.” With regard to confessions, it now appears that this shift should encompass not only reforms that serve to minimize the risk of false confessions but measures designed to minimize the rippling consequences of those confessions—as in the case of Amanda Knox and others who are wrongfully convicted.


(2) MY REPLACEMENT VERSION WITH CORRECT FACTS AND CONTEXT NOW INCLUDED


On November 2, 2007, British exchange student Meredith Kercher was found sexually attacked and murdered in Perugia, Italy. The next day, 20-year-old Amanda Knox, an American student and one of Kercher’s roommates, became a person of interest, along with Meredith’s downstairs neighbors and several of her other acquaintances. Interviewing close contacts is a cornerstone of police work. Two of Meredith’s close English friends, who were so scared they couldn’t sleep alone, left Perugia in the immediate aftermath of the murder. Everyone else stayed on.

Months before arriving in Perugia, Knox received a citation for a noise violation when a going-away party she’d thrown for herself in Seattle got out of hand. One of the officers described it as a “scene from Baghdad.” Within about three weeks of moving into the cottage in Perugia, Knox was ejected from a nightclub for pouring her glass on the head of a disc jockey.

It’s often said that Knox had no motive to kill Meredith, but it was Knox’s claim of drug use which indicated a possible motive: a drug-fuelled assault. There are various others, though a motive is not actually required for conviction. In crime scene videos from the day Meredith’s body was discovered, Knox can be seen outside the cottage glancing furtively around. Still, it was not this and other odd behavior, but rather the many conflicting witness statements by Knox and her new Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, that led police to believe Knox was involved and lying when she claimed she was with Sollecito at his home continuously on the night of November 1.

Police interviewed dozens of witnesses in the days after the murder, some more than once. All witness statements were written down and signed for, not recorded. The police interviewed Sollecito for the third time beginning at 10:40pm on November 5. Knox later testified that she voluntarily accompanied her boyfriend to the station, because she didn’t want to be alone. The police did not summon her. To the interviewers’ surprise, Sollecito repudiated his earlier alibi when shown phone records, and now said Knox had left his apartment for much of the evening. Some time after 11:00pm the police asked if they might interview Knox. An interpreter was called and by 1:45am Knox had given a signed statement that she had witnessed the sounds of her employer, bar owner Patrick Lumumba, murdering Meredith at the cottage.

In that statement she acknowledged that she had been given an interpreter, and that she herself was now officially a suspect. Knox later testified that she was treated well. She was offered snacks and drinks during the interview and afterward. Made aware that she could not be interrogated without a lawyer, but still anxious to put out as much information as possible, she then requested a chance to make a spontaneous statement without any questioning. Dr Mignini, the magistrate on duty, was called from his home, and she gave a statement in front of him very similar to her witness statement from hours earlier. He asked no questions.

Knox and the police gave different accounts of how the 11:00 to 1:45 am interview was conducted. Police said Knox was told Sollecito now no longer confirmed her alibi and he had called her a liar. She now had no alibi. Sympathetic to her because Knox was freaking out, the interpreter urged her to try to remember at least something.  Shown a text she had sent to Lumumba at 8:35pm saying “See you later. Have a good evening!” she was asked to explain this. The police describe how Knox started to cry and burst out, “It’s him! It’s him!”

Both Knox’s witness statement at 1:45 a.m and her voluntary suspect statement at 5:45am were written out in Italian and translated back to her before she signed. After Knox was formally taken into custody at midday on November 6, she asked for paper and wrote a slight modification of her earlier statements, adding: “In regards to this ‘confession’ that I made last night, I want to make it clear that I’m very doubtful of the verity of my statements because they were made under the pressures of stress, shock, and extreme exhaustion.”

Lumumba was arrested along with Knox and Sollecito. Knox and her mother held out on his non-involvement for weeks, but he was eventually determined to have a solid alibi. Another man, Rudy Guede, was identified through a hand print in Meredith’s bedroom. Knox appeared to have substituted Lumumba for Guede in her statements, and several details of the crime in her so-called confession were later corroborated by witnesses.

Because police had not needed to provide Knox with an attorney at the impromptu witness interview after 11:00, the Supreme Court ruled that statement inadmissible in the murder case against her. However both statements were ruled admissible in court for the purpose of establishing the crime of defamation against Patrick Lumumba. Knox’s November 6 letter was also ruled admissible.

Guede, the man whose DNA was found on the victim, told a friend while he was still on the run that he had found Meredith stabbed and that Knox had nothing to do with the murder. However, in the same conversation, which was recorded by police, he speculated that Knox and Sollecito might have been at the cottage. In a letter dated March 7, 2010, while his sentence was awaiting final confirmation by the Supreme Court, Guede wrote that Knox and Sollecito murdered Meredith. He reiterated this claim as a witness during Knox and Sollecito’s appeal.

Forensic police from Rome concluded that a kitchen knife found in Sollecito’s apartment had Knox’s DNA on the handle and Meredith’s DNA on the blade. Sollecito’s DNA was on the victim’s bra clasp in Meredith’s locked bedroom.

Several eyewitnesses came forward. Three neighbors testified that they heard a disturbance around 11:30pm in the vicinity of the cottage. A homeless man who at appeal admitted heroin use was reading a newsmagazine at the basketball court near the cottage. He testified that he saw Knox and Sollecito four or five times that night. An Albanian, a possible drug dealer. who the Massei court deemed unreliable after the Micheli court accepted him, said he had seen all three suspects together, and that Knox had accosted him with a knife. A grocery store owner testified he saw Knox at his shop early on the morning after the murder.

The conflicting alibis of the two were never resolved during trial. On December 4, 2009, an eight-person panel consisting of two professional judges and six lay judges found Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito guilty of murder aggravated by sexual assault, simulation of a burglary, unlawful carrying of a knife and, in Knox’s case, criminal defamation of Patrick Lumumba. The two were sentenced to 26 and 25 years in prison, respectively….

Knox’s mother later described her daughter as “oblivious to the dark side of the world.” Knox herself wrote that, on the night of the murder, she and Sollecito were talking about his mother’s suicide. She told him her philosophy was “life is full of choices and that these choices are not necessarily between good and evil, but between what’s better and what’s worse.”...

Results of our own peer-group analysis

Kassin asserted that the witnesses in this case imagined “new memories” unfavorable to Knox because of her highly-publicized confession. He referenced an experiment in which an unknown actor walked into a classroom and stole a laptop. The students were asked to try to identify the thief from a line-up. Two days later, the students were told which person in the line-up had confessed. Many changed their minds when told of the confession, although in truth the thief was never in the line-up at all.

Obviously this contrived scenario has nothing at all to do with Amanda Knox or people who had met her.

In his book, Meredith, the victim’s father John Kercher recalls his daughter complaining about Knox’s poor hygiene and how she brought home strange men several weeks before the murder. Numerous witnesses recounted specific anecdotes of Knox’s sharp-elbowed and offputting behavior. Her circle of friends quickly diminished only to Sollecito.

Really, could all these be “new memories”?

Psychologists studying eyewitness testimony, interrogation techniques and false confessions need to be circumspect. Even DNA testing, considered the best of the forensic sciences, requires a thorough understanding of circumstances in order to be interpreted correctly.

Kassin’s continued stonewalling and legal risks

I really wonder who agreed to publish him. I work in a science-based field. When I first learned Kassin had been recruited by Curt Knox’s hatchet men as a PR shill, had been put directly in touch with Knox herself, and had been provided with pre-selected reading materials, I wrote to ask him why he hadn’t disclosed all this to his readers.

Still no reply.

It’s true that numerous talking heads have exaggerated their qualifications and concealed their conflicts of interest and financial stakes when speaking in support of the defense. Judge Mike Heavey abused his oath of office to try to sway the process.

What’s different about Kassin is that, using his John Jay College aura, he has corrupted the scientific record with misinformation.

And he has done this, at least in part, with the goal of misleading an Italian court.  These dirty tricks are especially dangerous because most people, including judges, expect that what’s stated as fact in prominent academic journals is objective and true.

Kassin looks to us nothing like an academic here. He looks instead like a defense hired gun who (only in English and only in America) has repeatedly falsely accused police officers of serious felonies in how they questioned Knox as a witness.

If even a single complaint is lodged in Italy and Kassin cannot prove his 50 or so seemingly-spurious and very damaging claims, he could find himself facing years in an Italian prison for attempted obstruction of justice.

Kassin’s peers need to press him for the truth once and for all, and to stop him using his academic mantle illegally and academically unethically as a cloak for a sleazy defense campaign.


Thursday, August 02, 2012

Dissecting The Hellmann Report #3: How Zanetti & Hellmann Bizarrely Try Discredit Witness Curatolo

Posted by Cardiol MD



[Stone steps Meredith and all three accused maybe used on the night; left and at bottom, where witness sat]

Under the first post in this series dissecting The Hellmann Report, one of our percipient commenters suggested this:

The next portion in the series should likely be about the witnesses, I hope, and there we can marvel at Hellmann’s discourses on the functioning of the human memory.

Was our commenter ever right!

On page 32 of the PMF English language version of “Sentence of the Court Of Assizes Of Appeal Of Perugia (Presided Over By Dr. Claudio Pratillo Hellmann)” this is written:

The presence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in Piazza Grimana between 9:30 PM and 11:30 PM on November 1 was, in fact, reported solely by the witness Curatolo, whose reliability this Court very much doubts for the following considerations.

In the first place, the deterioration of his mental faculties, from his way of life and his habits. revealed by his answers before this Court in the course of his testimony (hearing of March 26, 2011) resulting from his way of life and his habits

Realisation of what Hellmann/Zanetti were “constructively” doing there stunned me. They are exposing both a lack of logic and prejudice against a witness.

A necessary logical preamble to my realisation goes as follows:

    1. Massei had stated that Antonio Curatolo’s declarations have “been established to be reliable” [MASSEI p.358 of 397 [28th of 42 total Curatolo references]].

    2. Hellmann/Zanetti stated that “..this Court does not recognise the statement made by the witness Curatolo as credible… [Hellmann/Zanetti p35 of 95 [5th of 18 total Curatolo references]]

    3. In American common-law appellate courts do not rehear the facts of the case. Appellate courts focus on questions of law, NOT on questions of facts as their trial-courts do.

    The American appellate judges don’t presume to supersede the people who were there, and who watched the witness’s demeanour and surrounding activity, in 4-D (3-D + Time), with sights, sounds, cadences, pauses, pronunciations, intonations, and yes, …smells, in addition to, and supplementing, the 2-D pieces of paper, containing only the words they apparently spoke, but not containing the way they spoke them, let alone the scene before the court.”

    The American appellate judges want only to know whether the law was applied accurately.

    Those American appellate courts overrule a trial court decision only if a very important legal error was made in the trial court.

    In some cases, the American appellate court judges might believe that the outcome of the trial court should have been different, but if no legal errors were made, they will not overrule the lower court.

    The American appellate judges make their decisions based only on legal arguments of how the law should be applied and interpreted.

    Our learned English & Welsh Common Law (E&W) correspondent has explained to us that E&W law permits Appellate introduction of fresh evidence, which could include new evidence re rain and buses, although Massei had already considered evidence on those subjects.

    E&W Law would not have allowed Appellate re-examination of Curatelo.

    4. As we all know, and have discussed in some detail, Italian law is significantly different but Dr Galati is apparently outraged by the conduct and Motivazione of Hellmann/Zanetti.

    Dr Galati has lodged a strongly-worded Appeal of Hellmann/Zanetti’s verdict, alleging that the scope of Hellmann/Zanetti was illegal and that they tried to run a whole new appeal trial.

    Galati indicated in the appeal to Cassation that the Hellmann/Zanetti reveals “contradictoriness/contrariness and demonstrates manifest illogicality in the grounds for the judgement/reasoning report”…

    See also my previous post on the definition of “unreliable” [in the Hellmann Report] with reference to the witnesses Antonio Curatolo.

Although I can identify no specific reference by Dr Galati to the specific issue re Curatolo I wish to address, this one should have been included:

    i. “the deterioration of his mental faculties”, apparently between Curatelo’s testimony at the Massei hearing of March 28, 2009, and Curatelo’s the Hellmann/Zanetti hearing of March 26, 2011.

    ii.Suppose Curatolo’s faculties really did deteriorate during those 2 years; maybe he was injured in an RTA, had a stroke, or developed a dementia.

    What on earth has that got to do with Curatelo’s testimony back in 2009? It’s possible that Hellmann/Zanetti were implying that Curatolo’s “deterioration” was part of a continuum, and that as bad as he was, in their opinion, in 2007, 2009, and 2011, he had been, and still is steadily getting worse.

    If that is their implication they would be committing 2 cardinal errors of logic – the interpolation error, and the extrapolation error.

    Of course, giving their words their plain-meaning, Hellmann/Zanetti could be implying acceptance of the Massei’s statement that Curatolo’s 2009 testimony was reliable – but they obviously do not intend to imply that.

    iii. Maybe Hellmann/Zanetti can get away with dismissing Curatolo’s testimony to Massei “presuming to supersede the people who were there, and who watched the witness’s demeanour and surrounding activity, in 4-D (3-D + Time), with sights, sounds, cadences, pauses, pronunciations, intonations, and yes, …smells, as well as the 2-D pieces of paper, containing only the words they apparently spoke, but not containing the way they spoke them, let alone the whole scene before the court. ”

    I hope not, but with this “deterioration” allegation, there is no apparent (even an inadmissible one) professional expert opinion in evidence, and with Hellmann/Zanetti’s gratuitous cause-and-effect theory: “resulting from his way of life and his habits ”, Hellmann/Zanetti overstep, and reveal their ignorance, arrogance, and incompetence.

    Finality, in Anglo-American common law, is the concept that certain disputes must achieve a resolution from which no further appeal may be taken, and from which no collateral proceedings may be permitted to disturb that resolution.

    Does Italian law really allow this 2-years-later Appeal-rehash of witness testimony and criticisms, on the grounds that the witness’s memories have faded since he first testified? I hope not.

    Isn’t it normal for memories to fade with the passage of time?

    Does that fading justify dismissal of the original testimony?

    A principle of Anglo-American Common Law deeply embedded in it - Finality - would be out-of-the-window if lawyers could just keep repeating their questions until the witness gives them what they want.

Between their substitution of “certainty” for “reasonable-doubt” and their would-be eternal-postponement of finality Hellmann/Zanetti could shoot their legal system out of the courts.

Hellmann/Zanetti’s treatments of Curatolo’s testimony, alone, is a disaster. They should be thrown-out.

Hellmann/Zanetti’s subtext seems to be that Curatolo is merely an ignorant, illiterate, bad smelling, unkempt, dirty, ugly-old-tramp, daring to testify as to what he observed, to the detriment of two knowledgeable, educated, sweet-smelling, tidy, clean, attractive, young, innocent children.

Isn’t it far more certain, Hellmann/Zanetti seem to think, that the testimony of Curatolo is false testimony, and that the false testimony of these charming young children is not really false testimony because the Devil Prosecutors made-them-say-it.

If I analysed that whole section it would be very long.

If you are not yet familiar with them,  you should read in conjunction with this series the posts by one of my lawyer colleagues on TJMK. James Raper, explaining the strength of the prosecution case and how hard it is to challenge legitimately.

See here and here. Also here by another of my lawyer colleagues, SomeAlibi.


[Below: witness said he and perps sat on benches at left; Meredith’s house far left, steps far right]

Posted on 08/02/12 at 06:34 PM by Cardiol MD. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

In Terms Of Medals Won Per Population Per Capita Italy Is Right Now Coming First At Olympics

Posted by Peter Quennell





The two frontrunner countries - the US and China - have overall each won about twice Italy’s current tally of medals.

Japan also has won several more. However, Japan’s population is more than twice the size of Italy’s, the US’s population is more than 5 times, and China’s population is more than 15 times.

Some 27 countries have so far won medals, out of 204 countries competing.

Right now Italy is ahead of France, South Korea, Russia, North Korea, Australia, Britain (host country), Romania, Brazil, Hungary, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Rankings do change almost daily, but Italian athletes are off to a pretty nice start.

Posted on 07/31/12 at 04:49 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in The wider contextsItalian context
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Friday, July 27, 2012

Heads-Up To The Amanda Knox Forces: A Case Showing How Closely The US and Italian FBIs Co-operate

Posted by Peter Quennell



Meet Doctor Mark Weinberger.

That report about his arrest in Italy was broadcast in 2009. We last posted on him here.

Weinberger was apparently a wildly successful doctor who ran a sinus clinic in Indiana and lived a wildly affluent lifestyle a few milers north outside Chicago. In 2004 he disappeared off his large yacht which was then anchored at a Greek marina, and for six years his (very impressive) wife Michelle presumed he was dead.

In the meantime she had found out that he had actually been running a huge fraud, scamming health insurance and the US government via false billing and unnecessary surgery (often botched) for many millions. And that far from being left comfortably off, she was financially wiped out.

In 2006 in absentia she divorced Weinberger and started over.

In 2009 Weinberger was captured in the Alps by the Italian equivalent of the FBI and returned to the United States as soon as his extradition was requested. In perhaps 99 percent of all US-Italian extradition cases, the fugitives are handed over by both governments very promptly. This sure wasn’t any exception. 

Weinberger began to lose the first of numerous civil suits a year ago, and on wednesday he pleaded guilty to 22 criminal charges in federal court.

His prison term is set at ten years.

One moral of the tale apparently still not learned by Steve Moore and Bruce Fischer and their hapless ship of fools, so desperate for approbation, is this: much or most of the time it is the fine Italian equivalent of the FBI that they are misrepresenting and defaming.

In the past two weeks alone, we have seen new ramblings by Saul Kassin and Nigel Scott (engineered by Bruce Fischer) that to any informed lawyer are quite crazy. Kassin and Scott clearly didnt have the slightest idea WHO they were defaming or accusing of crimes.

Or how much more determined thier defaming makes the Italian FBI and other law enforcement agencies and the courts to give Amanda Knox (or Curt Knox or Edda Mellas) no special breaks.

The daffy Steve Moore first introduced this confusion way back here.  And of course Bruce Fischer, Curt Knox’s hotheaded chief hatchet man, sustains it up to this day.

Eighteen months ago, Chris Mellas (whose business in Seattle is doing well) sensibly recommended from Perugia that the Knox campaign should finally acquire some cool heads and some REAL experts, and toss the trouble-making grand-standers they had acquired over the side.

Perhaps predictably, Curt Knox (whose business in Seattle is doing badly) reacted red-faced and steaming, and shot this seemingly quite smart idea down. So the abrasive, misleading, very amateur campaign goes on.

***

Added. We are now told that Frank Sforza and David Anderson are in Seattle, and Sollecito will be there soon, to actually jack up the level of defaming in the RS and AK “we were the victims” books being written.

Wow. THAT is Curt Knox’s end-game?l He ran that one past Chris Mellas?  It seems universally believed in officialdom in Rome and Perugia that Curt Knox KNEW all along that Amanda did it. Apparently with good evidence.

What will he do if they charge him?
 


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dissecting The Hellmann Report #2: How Judges Zanetti And Hellman Tilted The Legal Playing Field

Posted by Cardiol MD





The Calunnia section of the Hellmann Report is about 4 pages in a 94 page document and it covers the Knox framing of Lumumba.

The Calunnia section was used in the first post of my series (“Dissecting The Hellmann Report #1: Highlighting Representative Examples Of Its Many Bizarre Quirks” ) to demonstrate the weaknesses typical of the whole report

Following publication of that post, it was kindly brought to our attention that the contributions of Assistant Judge Zanetti were so extensive - the report is said to be argued and written throughout in his style, and far from Judge Hellmann’s - that it should be called The Hellmann/Zanetti Report.

Post #1 exemplified, among other defects, some Orwellian DoubleThink from Hellmann/Zanetti:

Early in Calunnia, on Report page 22, Hellmann/Zanetti attribute Knox’s inconsistent, and incriminating, often illogical, falsehoods and behaviours, to Knox’s confusion caused by prosecutorial oppression, from which, by unspoken implication, guilt cannot be inferred, Hellmann/Zanetti informs its readers.

However, on page 23, still in Calunnia, Hellmann/Zanetti admonishes the reader not to infer any implication of guilt from the Knox falsehood that was the very subject of Calunnia, because the falsehood “is in fact not at all logical”.

The two relevant passages, using very convoluted language, “constructively” argue:

  • Firstly, that if Knox uttered any falsehoods (including illogical falsehoods) it was because of prosecutorial oppression, is not evidence of guilt, and,

  • Secondly, that if Knox uttered any illogical falsehoods, with or without prosecutorial oppression, it was because Amanda would not say anything illogical if it was easier to tell the truth than to tell something illogical, and is also not evidence of guilt.

Among the specific defects in the Hellmann/Zanetti Report, exemplified in its Calunnia section were the Report’s ploy of flooding the discussion of each evidentiary element with real and imagined reasons-to-doubt the significance of each element.

Report #1 also mentioned the issue of whether Meredith did scream just before she died, and if so when Meredith screamed.

Hellmann/Zanetti’s endemic use of the word “certain” revealed a biased perspective, as if “certain” (as in “beyond doubt”), is Hellmann/Zanetti’s equivalent to “beyond a reasonable doubt”.

This post in my series, “Dissecting The Hellmann Report #2”, focuses on the whole Report’s constructive substitution of “certain” for “beyond a reasonable doubt”:

First we take into account a semantic quirk: In the English language the word “certain” is used in multiple senses. In the Italian language, its Italian-equivalent the word “certo” is used in a much narrower sense.

Generally, when absence-of-doubt is intended, a verb-sense is used e.g. “It is certain”. In contrast when a figure-of-speech-sense is intended an adjectival or other modifier-sense is used e.g. “…a certain smile…”.

The Hellmann/Zanetti English translation-draft uses both of these senses.

It uses the figure-of-speech sense 12 times, but where the absence-of-doubt sense is constructively intended, it uses forms like “certainly” (41 times), “certain” (36 times), and “certainty” (11 times), for a total of 88 times.

Other ways of expressing certainty are also used.

Judge Zanetti is the one who made “opening statements” variously reported to have been “…nothing is certain except the death of Meredith Kercher.”,  or “… the only fact that is objectively certain, indisputable and that has not been discussed is the death of Meredith Kercher”. 

Neither version of Judge Zanetti’s “opening statements” appears in the Hellmann/Zanetti English translation-draft, although the draft does include references informing the reader that the report contains an error (see footnotes 2 & 3 in the draft, on pp 18 & 19)

The Chief Prosecutor, Dr Galati, both in his Appellate Brief for the Supreme Court and in his oral statement at his press conference, excoriated Judge Zanetti for his start-of-trial remarks:

The second-level [first appeal] judges appear to have shown “a sort of prejudice” with the “infelicitous preamble of the judge [the author], who is supposed to be impartial”, when he declared that “nothing is certain except the death of Meredith Kercher”, which to the others [Mr Galati and Mr Costagliola] is nothing more than “a resounding preview/forecast of the judgement” and a “disconcerting” affirmation.”

Here are some examples, emphases are mine :

Page 12 – “It is clear that if, for the sake of argument, the DNA found on the clasp is actually Raffaele Sollecito’s, this [piece of] evidence, while yet remaining such, is of particular significance: and the same can be said for the DNA found on the handle and on the blade of the knife seized at Raffaele Sollecito’s house, provided it is certain that this is actually one of the weapons used by the aggressors.”

Hellmann/Zanetti’s 1st explicit use of the idea of certainty, in the printed document, using a qualified “provided it is certain”

Pages 16-17:

...About the footprints, they observe that those recovered from the inside of the residence reveal the presence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito at the scene of the crime. These are prints that in the scientific view cannot be classed as usable for positive comparisons but, however, are useful for negative comparisons, in the sense that, based on these prints one cannot reach a certain identification [23] but one can, however, arrive at a certain exclusion on the basis of the compatibility, or not, of these prints with a specific subject.

The Scientific Police (Inspector Rinaldi and Chief Inspector Boemia) were able, thus, to exclude that the footprints could be attributed, in contrast to the shoe prints, to Rudy Guede, while they were judged compatible with the characteristics of Amanda Knox (imprints recovered from her room and from the corridor) and of Raffaele Sollecito (imprints recovered from the small mat in the bathroom and in the corridor).

Hellmann/Zanetti here argue that the idea of ‘certainty’ is asymmetric (my paraphrase), it may not justify certain inclusion, because of its mere compatibility, but it may justify certain exclusion because of its incompatibility. 

This is valid and historically well-accepted; Massei had already said so.

Pages 20-21:

And so, the re‐examination of the outcomes from the first instance trial, and the subsequent acquisitions [of evidence] during oral argument in the current appeal, do not confirm the hypothesis that more than one person was necessarily involved in the crime.

This hypothesis, as appears from a reading of the December 22, 2009 judgement, was shaped by substantially accepting all the arguments presented by the Prosecution and in particular holding the following items to be certain:

– that the DNA, recovered by the Scientific Police from the bra‐clasp in the murder room, be attributed to Raffaele Sollecito and that this DNA had been left behind precisely during the occasion of the murder; [28]

– that the DNA, recovered by the Scientific Police from the blade of the knife seized in Raffaele Sollecito’s house, be attributed to Meredith Kercher and that it had been left behind during the occasion of the murder;

– that the wounds present of the body of Meredith Kercher, by their number and their directions, as also by their various characteristics (length of wound, width, etc.), could not have been occasioned by a sole aggressor but by multiple aggressors;

– that the absence of defensive wounds on Meredith Kercher’s hands and arms confirm the necessary participation of more than one person in the aggression; – that the ingress into the interior of the via della Pergola apartment had been allowed by the only person who, in that moment – apart from Meredith Kercher – had the means of doing so, that is to say, by Amanda Knox, the Court of Assizes of Appeal having held that the ingress through the window, by means of breaking of the glass, was no more than a mise‐en‐scène to falsely lead the investigations towards unknown authors of an attempted theft.”

Hellmann/Zanetti here lay a reasonably neutral factual-foundation, before launching their attack.

Page 30. re [42] Defense-witness-statements of Alessi, Aviello, Castelluccio, De Cesare, Trincan:

….If these testimonies cannot be considered as evidence in favour of the present accused, this does not mean, however, that they can be considered – as argued by the prosecution – as circumstantial [evidence] against them. That these witnesses decided to report such circumstances, hypothetically in favour to the accused, either spontaneously or solicited by others is of no importance; it is certain that there is no evidence to maintain that it was the present accused, (who did what?) arrested a very few days after the event and, therefore, held in prison for years, to plot such a plan, so that the unreliability of [43] these witnesses cannot be considered as confirmation that the defendants provided a false alibi.

Hellmann/Zanetti here slip-in an unnecessary, incomplete, assertion to protect the false alibi. It was already obvious that those witnesses were brought-on in defensive desperation to distract, and didnt seem important to the issue of the false alibi, one way or the other.

[Added: Cardiol edit of 7 Aug. 2012: Until the translation by PMF of the first half of Galati’s Appeal reached me on 6 August after writing this, most of us did not realise that Hellmann/Zanetti had improperly omitted, selectively & deliberately, Aviello’s statements which in fact are crucially important, not only to the issue of the false alibi, but also to the issue of AK/RS’s very guilt. Therefore I retract the “didnt seem important” above.  Hellmann/Zanetti’s “slip-in” seems deliberately incomplete, to protect their own criminal misconduct.]

Page 49:

3. Taking into account that none of the recommendations of the international scientific community relative to the treatment of Low Copy Number (LCN) samples were followed, we do not accept the conclusions regarding the certain attribution of the profile found on trace B (blade of knife) to the victim Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher, since the genetic profile, as obtained, appears unreliable insofar as it is not supported by scientifically validated analysis;

Hellmann/Zanetti here buy into the questionable DNA testimony (“not supported by scientifically validated analysis”) of Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti, whose consultancy is called ‘illegal’ in the Supreme Court appeal of Chief Prosecutor Dr Galati.

More to follow in the next posts in my series. 

If you are not yet familiar with them,  you should read in conjunction with this series the posts by one of my lawyer colleagues on TJMK. James Raper, explaining the strength of the prosecution case and how hard it is to challenge. See here and here.

Also here by another of my lawyer colleagues, SomeAlibi.

Posted on 07/24/12 at 06:35 PM by Cardiol MD. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedThe prosecutorsSupreme CourtAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann critiques
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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ominous Development For Sollecito And Knox: A DNA Conviction Based On A Tiny Sample Of DNA

Posted by The Machine



[Burgess, image below, murdered Yolande Waddington and, above, Jeanette Wigmore and Jacqueline Williams]


There is a HUGE dagger hanging over Sollecito and Knox. A UK case resolved this week indicates why.

New tests on the DNA sample on the large knife found in Sollecito’s house which the independent DNA experts refused to do, and the judges failed to re-order despite a strong prosecution request, could result in Knox and Sollecito being ultimately convicted and secure Knox’s extradition to serve out her term.

Lawyers consider it a dead certainty that the Supreme Court will order those tests -  that is if they dont throw out the entire Hellman/Zanetti judgment for illegal scope, or throw out the DNA report for illegally having been ordered in the first place.


(1) Summary of the UK case

David Burgess this week was convicted in Reading of murdering Yolande Waddington, 17, some 46 years after the crime was committed, thanks to all the advances in DNA technology. Back then, he was already convicted of killing Jeanette Wigmore and Jacqueline Williams.

Burgess is the latest person in Britain to have been finally found guilty of murder years after his crime was committed. Nat Fraser, Gary Dobson and David Norris had been convicted of murder this year after evading justice for a number of years.

In September 2010, Thames Valley Police reviewed the case and with advances in DNA techniques finally gathered the evidence which resulted in Burgess being convicted of Yolande Waddington’s murder.

Forensic experts obtained a partial DNA profile from the blood samples using a new technique called MiniFiler. It differs from previous methods as it can obtain information from smaller pieces of DNA. This is ideal for older cases where samples have degraded over time.

According to the manufacturer’s website

[The MiniFiler kit] increases your ability to obtain DNA results from compromised samples that previously would have yielded limited or no genetic data. This means cold cases can come off the shelf for re-analysis and new, challenging samples have a better chance of delivering interpretable results.

When David Burgess attacked Yolande, he left blood on a number of Yolande’s items, including her hair band and comb. Tests showed the chances of the DNA found on the comb and hair band not being Burgess’s were not more than one in a billion.


[Below: David Burgess then and now who had taunted the police a year ago to “prove it”]




(2) Here are the implications for RS and AK

It puts the 46-day delay (caused by the defenses) in retrieving the bra clasp into perspective.

It’s not the first case of somebody being convicted of murder decades after the crime took place on the strength of DNA evidence. Ronald Castree was convicted of murdering Lesley Molseed 32 years later.

It also highlights the arrogant negligence of the DNA consultants Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti who had refused to carry out ordered test on the knife for flimsy reasons (“the technology is experimental” when it wasn’t) that no US or UK court would have accepted. They had been specifically instructed to do the tests if possible by Judge Hellmann.

At trial in 2009 it was accepted that Amanda Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of the knife sequestered from Sollecito’s kitchen. There still is no argument about that.

And a number of independent forensic experts - Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Francesca Torricelli and former Caribinieri General Luciano Garofano - had all confirmed that Meredith’s DNA was found on the blade.

Even Greg Hampikian, a forensic expert who argues Knox is innocent, concedes that Meredith’s DNA was definitely found on the blade.

Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti didn’t know that Dr Stefanoni analysed the traces on the knife a long six days after last handling Meredith’s DNA. Contamination couldn’t possibly have occurred in the laboratory after so long a gap.

At the appeal, Professor Guiseppe Novelli testified that there are a number of laboratories that now have the latest accepted technology to carry out a new test on the remaining DNA on the knife.

The fact that Judge Hellmann denied the prosecution the opportunity to present evidence to the contrary was a violation of the procedure code. Italian law states the following:

If new evidence about a point is admitted, evidence a contrario proposed by the opposing party must always be admitted too.

Dr Giovanni Galati has now argued in his appeal to the Supreme Court that Judge Hellmann should have allowed a new test to be performed because the technology is NOT experimental but cutting edge. Summary here:

The second [point concerns] the decision to not allow a new forensic investigation requested by the prosecution at the end of the ruling discussion. In the appeal to Cassation it is written that the Appeal Court’s rejection reveals “contradictoriness/contrariness and demonstrates manifest illogicality in the grounds for the judgement/reasoning report”.

As remarked at the top, if the entire judgment or the DNA report are not thrown out for illegal scope, Judge Hellman’s refusal to allow the prosecution’s request to allow a new test on the knife will be the main reason why his verdict will be revoked.

Under Italian law RS and AK still stand accused until the Supreme Court signs off. Anyone who is concerned with the truth and justice and what Meredith stood for and the good name of Italy will want to know whether the remaining DNA on the knife is Meredith’s.

If Meredith’s DNA is identified on the knife it should make conviction and extradition a slam dunk..


[Below: ViaDellaPergola’s video first posted 18 months ago and still relevant]

Posted on 07/21/12 at 04:51 PM by The Machine. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Public evidenceDNA and luminolAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann 2011+Cassation 2013Other legal processesOthers elsewhere
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Friday, July 20, 2012

Dissecting The Hellmann Report #1: Highlighting Representative Examples Of Its Many Bizarre Quirks

Posted by Cardiol MD



[Above: Judge Hellman. At bottom: Judge Zanetti, who may have written the sentencing report]


Milan and Rome are the main venues for Italy’s important business trials. Those in Perugia are small and relatively obscure.

In contrast Perugia handles very important criminal investigations for the central government when there are conflicts of interest in Rome. So Perugia was handed the very sensitive and politically explosive investigations into Rome politicians siphoning funds from the 2006 winter Olympics construction and the 2010 earthquake damage reconstruction.

This explains why Dr Galati the chief prosecutor for Umbria was transferred from the Supreme Court in January 2011 where he had been a deputy chief prosecutor and why he has a high profile throughout Italy. And why Judge Hellman, a business judge, is almost unknown outside Perugia who at times seems a little cranky with his lot in life. His co-judge Massimo Zanetti, also little known, handles civil trials.

Read in Italian, Dr Galati’s Supreme Court appeal against the Hellman/Zanetti appeal verdict which is some pages longer than the Hellman & Zanetti report, is absolutely scathing. (The team will have the PMF translation ready soon.) Dr Galati seems almost offended to be facing what he seems to see as a childish and legally inferior piece of work.

Dr Galati takes Hellman & Zanetti apart at three levels, as the Perugia media summarised at his press conference five months ago.

First, that the scope is illegally wide for an appeal judgement. Second, that the DNA report by Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti (which concluded with innuendo rather than firm findings) was unnecessary at the appeal level and should never have been commissioned. And third that Hellman & Zanetti are out of order in their subjective interpretations of trial evidence their appeal court mostly didnt look at, and trial witnesses their appeal court never saw.

As a lawyer in the common-law systems of the US and UK I have read plenty of equivalent arguments by judges which logically and legally and objectively almost always hit a very high plane.

On the Hellman & Zanetti report I have to agree with Dr Galati. This seems a dismally inferior piece of work.   

To me this document reads like the work-product of a naïve freshman law student in appellate procedure class submitted with no reasoned presentation of facts and evidence as a defendant’s brief, instead of as the official report of a Regional Court Of Assizes Of Appeal submitted in the name of the Italian People with a sober presentation of Facts and Evidence and a reasoned Explanation of Conclusions.

In my view and surely Dr Galati’s it deserves no more than an F.

The Hellman/Zanetti report is emotional and hyperbolic, but it is neither persuasive nor professional. Its faults are so densely packed that any TJMK series fully analyzing them would need more space than posting of the full Hellmann/Zanetti Report.

The calunnia section alone (2,447 words long) to do with Knox’s framing of Lumumba has more than 50 dubious statements. It is also short enough to demonstrate here the weaknesses typical of the whole report, despite this section’s secondary bottom-line significance.

The very first line of this section (beginning on page 21 of the PMF translation) typifies the tone of the whole Report.

The “spontaneous” declarations rendered by Amanda Knox on November 6, and the …….

Note Hellmann & Zanetti’s contemptuous use of quotation marks here. 

On the same page Hellmann & Zanetti begin a paragraph thus: “According to the hypothesis of the prosecution…”, but then don’t go at all to state the real hypothesis of the prosecution.

Instead, Hellmann & Zanetti glide smoothly into preposterous ‘straw-man’ sophistry in which he attributes to the prosecution his own speculative and prejudiced conclusions, instead of the hypothesis the prosecution did submit:

Amanda Knox, at that point exhausted from the long interrogation, and above all demoralized by having learned from the people interrogating her that Raffaele Sollecito had, so to speak, abandoned her to her destiny, denying the alibi [30](Motivazione page number) that he had offered her up to then (having spent the whole night together at Sollecito s house), supposedly resorted to a final defence effort, representing more or less what actually happened in the house at via della Pergola, but substituting Patrick Lumumba for Rudy Guede in the role of protagonist: one black for another, to quote the Prosecutor.

This Court does not share the hypothesis of the prosecution.

Actually this (Hellmann & Zanetti) court misrepresents the hypothesis of the prosecution as argued above.

...exhausted from the long interrogation, and above all demoralized” These do not need further comment.  They are Hellmann & Zanetti’s own biased edits, disguised as prosecutors’ hypotheses.

...having spent the whole night together at Sollecito’s house…”  Here Hellmann & Zanetti seem to blithely assume the truth of Knox’s disputed alibi, but is probably merely repeating what her alibi was not “blithely” assuming it to be the truth. If so he should have used the proper quotation marks. 

So do Hellmann & Zanetti sympathise with Knox’s demoralization at the denial of her false alibi?  How do they explain the apparent conflict between ‘more or less what actually happened’ and ‘spent the whole night together at Sollecito’s house’?  See later.

…representing more or less what actually happened in the house at via della Pergola…”  Here, Hellmann & Zanetti begrudgingly seem to acknowledge that Knox was present in the house at via della Pergola, but later will disavow any guilt on Knox’s part, except for her calunnia offence.

Continuing on the first page of his report’s calunnia section, Hellmann & Zanetti state:

The obsessive length of the interrogations which took place day and night and were conducted by several people questioning a young and foreign girl, who at that time did not understand or speak the Italian language well at all, ignorant of her own rights and deprived of the advice of a lawyer, to which she would have been entitled since she was……

...obsessive length…” This seems too obviously inappropriate to need further comment. The interrogations themselves were actually quite short.

...took place day and night… ” This is factual, but hyperbolic; included for both dramatic implication and dramatic inference.

...young…”  Youth is a mitigating factor in Italian law, so Hellmann & Zanetti’s reference to Knox as ‘young’ is not an irrelevancy, but they do allude to the youth of the persons involved over three times more frequently than Judge Massei did.

...foreign…” This is also relevant because Knox was not fluent in Italian, although an interpreter was provided.

…ignorant of her own rights…”  This is true in almost all criminal cases, but there are no signs here that Knox’s rights were trampled on.

…deprived of the advice of a lawyer, to which she would have been entitled…”  She was only a witness at this point so a lawyer was not required under the Italian code.

My understanding is that Knox was in fact informed that she had the right to the advice of a lawyer, was offered such advice, but declined it. So “deprived” again smacks of the Hellmanian or Zanettian hyperbole-for-dramatic-effect.

There are many other dubious statements in Hellman & Zanetti’s calunnia section. Here are a couple of typical ones:

….Amanda Knox, who had no reason at the beginning to be scared, entered into a state of stress and oppression as a consequence of the interrogation and the way it took place.

The dispute, yet to be resolved with a reasoned explanation by the Hellmann & Zanetti Court, was whether Knox and Sollecito were guilty or not guilty.

Here, Hellmann & Zanetti have already assumed Knox’s plea of Not Guilty to have been proven, though they have offered no reasoned explanation for such assumption.

Guilty or Not Guilty, Knox actually did have every reason to be scared, merely because normal Discovery-Procedures can be scary; other members of the group of Discovery witnesses were scared too. (I use “Discovery” in the sense of legal disclosure, including but not restricted-to the discovery-of-Meredith’s-body.) 

If Guilty, Knox had additional real reason to be scared.

It is in fact not at all logical to assume that Amanda Knox, if she had actually been an accomplice [concorrente] in the crime, could hope that giving Patrick Lumumba’s name……could have somehow benefited her position….

Hellmann & Zanetti’s sophistry consistently requires the reader, elsewhere, to attribute Knox’s inconsistent, and incriminating, often illogical, falsehoods and behaviours, to Knox’s confusion caused by prosecutorial oppression. Some of those falsehoods were used by Knox very obviously in the hope of benefit to Knox. 

But now, Hellmann & Zanetti inconsistently require the reader to believe that it is not at all logical to assume that Knox could hope to benefit from one of her falsehoods.

But of course Knox could hope to benefit from one of her falsehoods.

Elsewhere in its Calunnia section (page 22 of the translation) Hellmann & Zanetti had already argued, that

….the fact that the caresses, simple signs of tenderness between two lovers, could have been a way of comforting each other…..

Here, Hellmann & Zanetti are deceptively implying that lovers comforting each other, having (only) an innocent construction, excludes the existence of a factor additional to love, namely that of a guilty-pair afraid of exposure as a guilty-pair.

The potentially most incriminating issues in this case are whether Meredith did scream just before she died, and if so when Meredith screamed.

The Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito “innocentisti” members know this, but they avoid focus on it in order to minimize attention to those issues, as crucial as they are.

A key focus-avoidance ploy is to confuse the issue by isolating each element of evidence from every other element and flood discussion of each element with real and imagined reasons-to-doubt the significance of each element.

By doing so, perception of the location of Reasonable Doubt, in the mind of the designated Finder(s)-of-Fact, may be displaced so far away that they conclude that Guilt cannot be reached, and that the Defendant(s) are Not Guilty beyond a doubt that is a Reasonable Doubt.

This defense ploy is being employed more and more in criminal trials, and is much employed in Meredith’s case, or as it has become, Amanda Knox’s case. The Supreme Court of course will totally ignore such legal nonsense.

The first-ever documented references to Meredith screaming just before she died came from the mouth (and hand in the case of her notes) of Amanda Knox herself.

Hellmann & Zanetti do not, at first, seem to doubt that a scream was heard by witness Capezzali that night.

However, they introduce the issue of scream under the Heading Time of death, which they characterize as “extremely weak for its ambiguity, since it cannot even be placed with certainty”, as if lack of “certainty” is way-below reasonable doubt (as in “required to reach a guilty-verdict beyond-a-reasonable-doubt”), obfuscatingly merging them into each other.

Hellmann & Zanetti then cast doubt on whether any witness(es) heard any-scream-at-all that particular night and/or time, because he supposed (innocent) screams were to be heard there on many nights and at many times.

Hellmann & Zanetti stated that their Court had “no real reason to doubt” that a scream occurred at night in the general vicinity of Meredith’s house NOR to suspect that witnesses who testified that they had heard a scream had not heard a scream.

What Hellmann & Zanetti claim that they do doubt is that the scream witnesses testified to having heard occurred at a sufficiently specified definite time, or that the scream they said they heard had actually occurred on the night of Nov. 1-2, 2007, and that even if such a scream did occur it is not “certain” that the scream was Meredith’s scream.

Hellmann & Zanetti’s use of “certain” reveals a biased perspective. It is as if “not certain” is now Hellmann & Zanetti’s equivalent to “not beyond a reasonable doubt.

A well-known saying goes “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck – it’s a duck.”

Applying the evidentiary-item-isolation-ploy to that saying, multiple doubts are introduced as to each item, with the intended result of promoting enough doubt to exclude it, too often successfully.

This could be called the Ugly Duckling Effect, after H.C. Andersen’s Fairy Story – here Hellmann & Zanetti seem to want us to conclude that Amanda Knox is a swan, and is not really an ugly duckling.


[Below: Judge Zanetti at left probably wrote the report that Judge Hellman may not have liked]

Posted on 07/20/12 at 09:05 AM by Cardiol MD. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedThe prosecutorsSupreme CourtAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann critiques
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Thursday, July 19, 2012

This Formidable Prosecution Appeal To The Supreme Court Is Placed On The Agenda Next March

Posted by Peter Quennell





The Associated Press once again reveals its strong systematic anti-Italy bias in reporting the scheduling of the appeal.

Its headline on the report it sent out to thousands of its owners the media outlets reads “Amanda Knox Case: Acquittal Appeal Set For March By Italy”

Huh? That is the guts of the thing?

Well, hardly.

First, defense chances are slim, as there is no question that Knox did point falsely to Lumumba. On tape she even admitted that to her own mother, and her various explanations on the stand at trial simply dropped her in it some more.

That defense appeal could be dismissed in a sentence or two. It is simply grandstanding.

And second, vastly more importantly because this could lead to a complete retrial back in Perugia the AP headline and story should have fully explained the real 80,000 pound gorilla in the room.

This is the appeal that the Chief Prosecutor for Umbria Dr Galati has filed. The Associated Press has never told the global audience either what is in the prosecution appeal or precisely who Dr Galati is. Not even a hint.

Dr Galati was a Deputy Chief Prosecutor at the Supreme Court and is one of the most powerful and experienced in Italy. Why was he not quoted in the AP’s story?

Here is the real story of his appeal that the Associated Press doesn’t seem to want the global audience to know. First posted here back on 14 February when Dr Galati called his press conference on the appeal. 

Italian lawyers are already remarking that Dr Galati’s appeal as summarised below is as tough as they ever get.

In their view the Hellman report reads more like a defense brief than a balanced appeal-court outcome in a murder trial. Both judges were put on the case on mysterious instructions from Rome, suggesting that the minister of justice had perhaps been leaned on - the judge pushed aside was extremely annoyed.

Both Judge Hellmann and Judge Zanetti, while undeniably good judges in their own fields (business and civil), are vastly less experienced at criminal trials than either Judge Micheli or Judge Massei. The entry in the Italian Wikipedia describes them thus.

Although the Assize Court of Appeal was to be chaired by Dr. Sergio Matteini Chiari, Chairman of the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal in Perugia, in circumstances not well understood Dr. Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, who chairs the Labor Chamber of the Court, has been called on to preside over the appeal court,

The judge to the side of the main judge, Dr. Massimo Zanetti, came from the Civil Section, and both had had limited experience with criminal trials both rather remote in time (only the cases of Spoleto and Orvieto).

Judge Hellmann’s announcement of the verdict on the night was very odd, suggesting he had been outnumbered and was embarrassed. Remarks he made the next day seemed to confirm that. The weak sentencing report is said to be not his work, and was written by Judge Zanetti.

The Supreme Court of Cassation could insist on a complete new appeal trial or a partial new trial in Perugia if it accepts any of Dr Galati’s arguments at all. His appeal statement appeal is in three tiers, and a reversal could be ordered at any tier..

1. The Hellmann Court’s wide scope was illegally far too wide

Italian judicial code is very clear on this. They MUST stick to just the appealed items and not wander all over the map. Judge Zanetti was quite wrong at the start to declare that everything was open except the fact that Meredith had been murdered. 

2. The DNA consultancy by Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti was illegal

Defenses had every chance to attend the Scientific Police testing the first time around. It was a slippery dodge to skip those tests and then slime them. They had every opportunity at trial to throw aspersions. They are not meant to shop around.

3. There are many problems of wrong logic, evidence, and witnesses

The Massei trial sat through weeks and weeks of skilled prosecution presentations of the evidence including the forensic evidence and the many witnesses. The Hellman court got to see almost none of this and heard mostly from the defense.

This translation is from Umbria24 by our main poster ZiaK.

Meredith case: the prosecution appeals to Cassation: the acquittal verdict should be “nullified”.

For the Chief Magistrates of the [Umbria] Prosecution, “it was almost exclusively the defence arguments which were taken heed of”

By Francesca Marruco

The first-level conviction verdict was “complete and thorough” while the verdict of the second-level is “contradictory and illogical”.  For this reason, the General Prosecution of Perugia asks the Cassation to revoke or invalidate it.

“We are still extremely convinced that Amanda and Raffaele are co-perpetrators of the murder of Meredith Kercher” said the Chief Prosecutor of Perugia, Giovanni Galati and the Deputy Chief Prosecutor, Giancarlo Costagliola.

Verdict that should be revoked

“The second-level verdict should be annulled/revoked….  There are precise reasons for revoking it”, Mr Galati went on to say. In the Hellman reasoning report on the verdict with which the second-level judges acquitted the ex-boyfriend and girlfriend “there are so many errors, and many omissions. There is inconsistency in the grounds for judgement, which brings us to nothing.”

“It is as if they had ruled ex novo [anew] on Meredith’s murder” added the Deputy Prosecutor, Giancarlo Costagliola, “basing their decision solely on the arguments of the defence.”

“Normally the appeal judge evaluates the reasoning procedure of the first-instance judge and compares it to new elements. But this one missed that out altogether: there is no comparison between the checks carried out in the first and second instances. Only what was carried out during the appeal was evaluated.”

Only defence arguments were taken heed of

For the magistrates, in fact, the second-level judges “took heed, almost exclusively, of the arguments of the defence consultants or the reconstruction hypotheses that were largely to the benefit of the defense theses”.

The prosecutors who authored the appeal [to Cassation] also criticized the “method used”. “The first-instance verdict”, they wrote, “was summarized in just a few lines”,

“The verdict [which we] challenge completely ignored all the other aspects which corresponded with the accusation’s hypothesis, all the aspects which, on the contrary - as was seen in the reasoning report of the first-instance verdict - had been rigorously pointed out and considered by the Assizes Court [trial court] in its decision.”

“In examining the individual [items of] evidence, the challenged sentence has fallen into consistent procedural error in the weaknesses and evident illogicality of the grounds for its decision.”

Prejudice by the two appeal judges

For the General Prosecution magistrates, the second-level [first appeal] judges appear to have shown “a sort of prejudice” with the “infelicitous preamble of the judge [the author], who is supposed to be impartial”, when he declared that “nothing is certain except the death of Meredith Kercher”, which to the others [Mr Galati and Mr Costagliola] is nothing more than “a resounding preview/forecast of the judgement” and a “disconcerting” affirmation.
 
The ten points of the appeal

The reasons for the appeal to Cassation which Perugia’s General Prosecution presented today against the acquittal verdict of Amanda and Raffaele are based on ten points of the second-level verdict.

The first is the lack of grounds for the decision, in the decree of 18 December 2010, to allow the forensic testimony/expert witness in the appeal judgement.

The second, in contrast, concerns a contrary decision: the decision to not allow a new forensic investigation requested by the prosecution at the end of the ruling discussion. In the appeal to Cassation it is written that the Appeal Court’s rejection reveals “contradictoriness/contrariness and demonstrates manifest illogicality in the grounds for the judgement/reasoning report”.

The other points deal with the decision by the Appeal court of Assizes of Perugia to not hear the witness Aviello, also the definition of “unreliable” [in the Hellman Report] with reference to the witnesses Roberto Quintavalle and and Antonio Curatolo, also the time of death of Meredith Kercher, also on the genetic investigations.

As well as the analyses of the prints and other traces, also the presence of Amanda and Sollecito in via della Pergola, also the simulation of a crime [the staged break-in], and also the exclusion of the aggravating circumstance of the crime of “calumny”.

Missing assumption/acceptance of decisive evidence

In the appeal to Cassation there is also mention of the “missing assumption/acceptance of a decisive proof”

In other words, of that proof [presented at trial court] which consisted of “the carrying out of the genetic analysis on the sample taken from the knife by the experts appointed by the Court during the appeal judgement, who did not carry out the analyses of that sample, thus violating a specific request contained in the [orders given to them] when they were assigned to the expert-witness post”

“In the second-level [Hellman] verdict”, the magistrates said, “the judges sought to refer to this in their own way, by speaking of an “experimental method” by which these tests/checks could be carried out.

But this is not the case”, said Deputy Chief Prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola: “Dr Novelli [the prosecution’s DNA consultant at appeal] spoke of cutting-edge technology, not of experimental methods”.

Posted on 07/19/12 at 10:45 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedThe prosecutorsSupreme CourtAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann critiquesCassation 2013
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Friday, July 13, 2012

Timely Repeat Of Post Of Jan 2011 Rebutting Kassin’s Substantive Claim Of Forced Confession

Posted by Fuji




This was first posted on 12 January 2011 (see 30+ comments under that post).  It shows in effect that EVEN IF the timeline on the night of Knox’s “confession” in which she actually blamed Patrick Lumumba resembled Saul Kassin’s fantasy timeline there is no sign that Amanda Knox is one of the very few with the “right” psycho-sociology to cave quickly under police interrogations.

My original post pre-dates by some month Dr Kassin’s erroneous, self-serving claims to Seattle radio and CBS 48 Hours, and by over a year his misleading KEYNOTE address (scroll down) to the John Jay College global conference last month (see page 31 of the program).

We don’t know yet when Saul Kassin’s submission to the Hellman court via Amanda Knox’s lawyers was made, or the nature of its impact on judges and jury, if any. Dr Kassin is welcome to try to explain all of Amanda Knox’s other “confessions” as described here. Also to try to explain all of Sollecito’s “confessions” as described here.

Meredith’s case is absolutely riddled with fabricated false myths. 

They are now found by the hundreds on some misleading websites, and they simply make experienced law enforcement and criminal lawyers laugh. 

For example “Police had no good reason to be immediately suspicious of Knox simply because the murder occurred at her residence”.  And “The double-DNA knife is a priori to be disregarded as evidence, because no murderer would retain possession of such a murder weapon.”

One of the most strident and widespread myths is that Amanda Knox’s statements to the Perugian investigators on 5 and 6 November 2007, placing her at the scene of Meredith’s murder, are to be viewed as the products of a genuinely confused mind imbued with a naïve trust of authority figures.

The apparent certainty with which many of Amanda Knox’s most vocal supporters proclaim that Knox’s statements are actual “false confessions” as opposed to deliberate lies is not supported by even a cursory reading of the pertinent academic literature regarding false confessions.

What actually are “false confessions”?

Richard N. Kocsis in his book “Applied Criminal Psychology: A Guide to Forensic Behavioral Sciences” (2009), on pages 193-4 delineates three different kinds of false confessions:

First, a voluntary false confession is one in which a person falsely confesses to a crime absent any pressure or coercion from police investigators….

Coerced-compliant false confessions occur when a person falsely confesses to a crime for some immediate gain and in spite of the conscious knowledge that he or she is actually innocent of the crime….

The final type, identified by Kassin and Wrightsman (1985), is referred to as a coerced-internalized false confession. This occurs when a person falsely confesses to a crime and truly begins to believe that he or she is responsible for the criminal act.

The first problem facing Knox supporters wishing to pursue the false confession angle as a point speaking to her purported innocence is epistemological.

Although much research has been done on this phenomenon in recent years, academics are still struggling to come to terms with a methodology to determine their incidence rate.

The current state of knowledge does not support those making sweeping claims about the likelihood of Knox’s statements being representative of a genuine internalized false confession.

As noted by Richard A. Leo in “False Confessions: Causes, Consequences, and Implications” (Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 2009):

Although other researchers have also documented and analyzed numerous false confessions in recent years, we do not know how frequently they occur. A scientifically meaningful incidence rate cannot be determined for several reasons.

First, researchers cannot identify (and thus cannot randomly sample) the universe of false confessions, because no governmental or private organization keeps track of this information.

Second, even if one could identify a set of possibly false confessions, it is not usually possible as a practical matter to obtain the primary case materials (e.g., police reports, pretrial and trial transcripts, and electronic recordings of the interrogations) necessary to evaluate the unreliability of these confessions.

Finally, even in disputed confession cases in which researchers are able to obtain primary case materials, it may still be difficult to determine unequivocally the ground truth (i.e., what really happened) with sufficient certainty to prove the confession false.

In most alleged false-confession cases, it is therefore impossible to remove completely any possible doubts about the confessor’s innocence.

The next problem Knox supporters face is that, even allowing for an inability to establish a priori any likelihood of a given statement being a false confession, the kind of false confession which is usually attributed to Knox is in fact one of the LEAST likely of the three types (Voluntary, Compliant, and Persuaded, as Leo terms the three different categories) to be observed:

Persuaded false confessions appear to occur far less often than compliant false confessions.

Moreover, despite assertions to the contrary, Knox and her statements do not in fact satisfy many of the criteria researchers tend to observe in false confessions, particularly of the Persuaded variety:

“All other things being equal, those who are highly suggestible or compliant are more likely to confess falsely. Individuals who are highly suggestible tend to have poor memories, high levels of anxiety, low self-esteem, and low assertiveness, personality factors that also make them more vulnerable to the pressures of interrogation and thus more likely to confess falsely…

Highly suggestible or compliant individuals are not the only ones who are unusually vulnerable to the pressures of police interrogation. So are the developmentally disabled or cognitively impaired, juveniles, and the mentally ill….

They also tend to occur primarily in high-profile murder cases and to be the product of unusually lengthy and psychologically intense interrogations… ordinary police interrogation is not strong enough to produce a permanent change in the suspect’s beliefs.

Most significantly, there is one essential element of a true Persuaded False Confession which in Knox’s case is highly distinctive:

To convince the suspect that it is plausible, and likely, that he committed the crime, the interrogators must supply him with a reason that satisfactorily explains how he could have done it without remembering it.

This is the second step in the psychological process that leads to a persuaded false confession.

Typically, the interrogator suggests one version or another of a “repressed” memory theory.

He or she may suggest, for example, that the suspect experienced an alcohol- or drug-induced blackout, a “dry” blackout, a multiple personality disorder, a momentary lapse in consciousness, or posttraumatic stress disorder, or, perhaps most commonly, that the suspect simply repressed his memory of committing the crime because it was a traumatic experience for him.

The suspect can only be persuaded to accept responsibility for the crime if he regards one of the interrogators’ explanations for his alleged amnesia as plausible.

Knox did not in fact claim drug or alcohol use as the source of her amnesia - rather, she claimed to have accepted the interrogators’ attribution that this was due to being traumatized by the crime itself, and she offers no other explanation for her selective amnesia:

This is from Knox’s statement to the court in pretrial on 18 October 2008 with Judge Micheli presiding.

Then they started pushing on me the idea that I must have seen something, and forgotten about it. They said that I was traumatized.

Of course, Knox’s initial statement went far beyond being that of being merely a witness to some aspect of Ms. Kercher’s murder, as the interrogators at first seemed to believe was the case.

Rather, her statement placed her at scene of the murder during its actual commission while she did nothing to avert it, which naturally made her a suspect.

In other words, in the absence of any of her other testimony which indicated that she was only a witness to the murder, her own self-admitted rationale for providing a false confession was that she was traumatized by the commission of the murder itself.

Perugia judges will be familiar with all of the above and we can be sure that they brief the lay judges on the remote circumstances and incidences of false confessions.

If I were a Knox defense attorney, I would find it to be a far more fruitful line of argumentation to argue that she was simply lying, rather than claiming the supremely unlikely provision of an actual internalized false confession.

**********

First posted by Fuji on 12 January 2011.

Posted on 07/13/12 at 02:32 PM by Fuji. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those who were chargedAmanda KnoxCrime hypothesesThe psychologyAll the nefarious hoaxesKnox demonized hoaxKnox interrog hoaxKnox confession hoaxLeading pompous fraudsSaul Kassin
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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Saul Kassin: An Example Of How The Knox Campaign Is Misleading American Experts And Audiences

Posted by The Machine





It has happened again and again.

Seemingly good, well-qualified lawyers and experts in police science have repeatedly been made to surface to spout inanities and wrong “facts” put out courtesy of Curt Knox’s “public relations” campaign.

It seems that Dr Saul Kassin is yet another of these naive dupes.


Who is Dr Saul Kassin?

The Social Psychology Network website states that he is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the John Jay Criminal Justice College in New York City. The website outlines his impressive academic credentials which include a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut.

Curt Knox’s chief hatchet man Bruce Fischer, himself notoriously unqualified in every field relevant to the case who for a long time masqueraded pompously under a false name, claimed on his website that Saul Kassin gave help to Amanda Knox’s lawyers in Perugia.

Also that his work was presented to the court during the 2011 Hellman appeal.

Many may not know this but Sarah was instrumental in bringing Kassin in to analyze Amanda’s interrogation. His work was presented during the appeal..

The family had asked that we not release Kassin’s work to the public until they received clearance from the attorneys. I know I often state that this case is over but the attorneys rightfully want to keep everything professional until the Italian Supreme Court confirms Hellmann.

Last October, Saul Kassin did speak at length about Amanda Knox’s interrogation in an interview with John Curley on Radio Kiro FM.

In this post we’ll examine ten of the false claims which have long been circulated by Curt Knox’s campaign, with Bruce Fischer’s site as the central clearing house, and which were regurgitated by Saul Kassin in that interview.


False Claim 1: They brought her in for that final interrogation late at night.

No they didn’t.

Neither the police nor the prosecutors brought Amanda in for questioning on 5 November 2007. Amanda Knox herself testified in court that she wasn’t called to come to the police station on 5 November 2007.

Carlo Pacelli: “For what reason did you go to the Questura on November 5? Were you called?”

Amanda Knox: “No, I wasn’t called. I went with Raffaele because I didn’t want to be alone.”

Amanda Knox went with Raffaele Sollecito because she didn’t want to be alone. Kassin’s false claim is the first red flag that Saul Kassin is very confused or has been seriously misled when it comes to this well-documented and well-handled case.


False Claim 2: The so-called confession wasn’t until 6:00am.

No it wasn’t.

If Saul Kassin had actually read Amanda Knox’s first witness statement, he would have known that it was made at 1:45am. Knox had admitted that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed some time before this.


False Claim 3: She was interrogated from 10:00pm to 6.00am.

No she wasn’t.

According to the Daily Beast Amanda Knox’s questioning began at about 11:00pm.

Since Knox was already at the police station [in the company of Raffaele Sollecito] the head of the murder squad decided to ask her a few questions. Her interrogation started at about 11 p.m.

After Amanda Knox had made her witness statement at 1:45am, she wasn’t questioned again that evening. That was it.

However, Amanda Knox herself then wanted to make further declarations and Mr Mignini who was on duty on the night sat and watched while Knox wrote out her declarations.

Mr Mignini explained what happened in his email letter to Linda Byron, another who was factually challenged.

All I did was to apply the Italian law to the proceedings. I really cannot understand any problem.

In the usual way, Knox was first heard by the police as a witness, but when some essential elements of her involvement with the murder surfaced, the police suspended the interview, according to Article 63 of the penal proceedings code.

But Knox then decided to render spontaneous declarations, that I took up without any further questioning, which is entirely lawful.

According to Article 374 of the penal proceedings code, suspects must be assisted by a lawyer only during a formal interrogation, and when being notified of alleged crimes and questioned by a prosecutor or judge, not when they intend to render unsolicited declarations.

Since I didn’t do anything other than to apply the Italian law applicable to both matters, I am unable to understand the objections and reservations which you are talking about.

In Amanda Knox’s written witness statement, she explicitly states that she’s making a spontaneous declaration:

Amanda Knox: “I wish to relate spontaneously what happened because these events have deeply bothered me and I am really afraid of Patrick, the African boy who owns the pub called “Le Chic” located in Via Alessi where I work periodically.



False Claim 4: They banged her on the back of the head.

No they didn’t.

All the numerous witnesses who were actually present when Amanda Knox was questioned, including her interpreter, testified under oath at trial in 2009 that she wasn’t hit. She has never identified anyone who hit her and on several occasions confirmed that she was treated well.

Even one of Amanda Knox’s lawyers, Luciano Ghirga, confirmed that Amanda Knox had not been hit: “There were pressures from the police but we never said she was hit.”  He never ever lodged a complaint.


False Claim 5: All the other British roommates left town.

No they didn’t.

The police also told Sophie Purton that they needed her to stay on in Perugia on precisely the same basis as Amanda Knox. In chapter 19 of Death in Perugia, John Follain states that Sophie Purton was questioned by Mignini and Napoleoni in the prosecutor’s office on 5 November 2007.

Sophie had been counting on leaving Perugia to fly back home as soon as her parents arrived, but the police called to tell her they needed her to stay on; they would let her know when she could leave.



False Claim 6 : Amanda Knox stayed back to help the police.

No she didn’t.

This claim is flatly contradicted by Amanda Knox herself. In the e-mail she wrote to her friends in Seattle on 4 November 2007 she categorically stated she was not allowed to leave Italy.

i then bought some underwear because as it turns out i wont be able to leave italy for a while as well as enter my house

Knox actually knew on 2 November 2007 that she couldn’t leave Italy. Amy Frost reported the following conversation (The Massei report, page 37),

I remember having heard Amanda speaking on the phone, I think that she was talking to a member of her family, and I heard her say, No, they won’t let me go home, I can’t catch that flight.

It’s not the first time that the myth that Knox chose to stay behind rather than leave Italy has been claimed in the media. And incidentally, lying repeatedly to the police isn’t normally considered to be helping them.


False Claim 7: Amanda Knox had gone 8 hours without any food or drink.

No she hadn’t.

Reported by Richard Owen in The Times, 1 March 2009

Ms Napoleoni told the court that while she was at the police station Ms Knox had been ‘treated very well. She was given water, camomile tea and breakfast. She was given cakes from a vending machine and then taken to the canteen at the police station for something to eat.’

Reported by Richard Owen in The Times, 15 March 2009.

Ms Donnino said that Ms Knox had been “comforted” by police, given food and drink, and had at no stage been hit or threatened.

John Follain in his meticulous book Death in Perugia, page 134, also reports that Knox was given food and drink during her questioning:

During the questioning, detectives repeatedly went to fetch her a snack, water, and hot drinks including camomile tea.



False Claim 8: The translator was hostile towards Amanda Knox.

No she wasn’t.

Saul Kassin offers no evidence that the translator was hostile towards Amanda Knox and there is no evidence that this was the case. Nobody at the questura has claimed this. Amanda Knox’s own lawyers have not claimed this.

Even Amanda Knox herself has never ever claimed that Anna Donnino was hostile towards her although she had every opportunity to do so when being questioned on the stand.


False Claim 9: The translator was acting as an agent for the police.

No she wasn’t.

Saul Kassin offers no evidence to support this claim, which by the way in Italy is the kind of unprofessional charge that incurs calunnia suits. Do ask Curt Knox.


False Claim 10: The police lied to Amanda Knox.

No they didn’t.

The police didn’t mislead Amanda Knox. They told her quite truthfully that Sollecito was no longer providing her with an alibi, and that he had just claimed in the next interrogation room that that she wasn’t at his apartment from around 9:00pm to about 1:00am.

This also is the kind of unprofessional charge that incurs calunnia suits


Some Conclusions

Saul Kassin clearly hasn’t been directed to any of the official court documents like the Massei report, available in accurate English on PMF and TJMK, or the relevant transcripts of the court testimony.

Worse, he clearly hasn’t even studied Amanda Knox’s own witness statements before claiming to the media that they were coerced.

What he seems to have done is to fall hook line and sinker for the fantasy version of Amanda Knox’s interrogation which has been propagated in the media by Amanda Knox’s family.

He has then mindlessly regurgitated this false information in this interview. For somebody with Saul Kassin’s academic qualifications and educational background, it’s inexcusable that he gets so many facts wrong.

He needs to use much more reputable sources or, as so many other dupes before him have done, simply shut up. Of course, it would be professional for him to admit his mistakes.

He is welcome to do that right here.


[Below: Dr Jeremy Travis the president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in NYC]




Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Hands Of Time Video With Screenplay By Amanda Knox - A Confessional Obsession?

Posted by Fly By Night & Thundering





Amanda Knox rarely, if ever, mentions her ‘close friend’, murder victim Meredith Kercher. Perhaps out of her self-proclaimed desire to ‘move on with her life’.

So the recent Hands of Time (H.O.T.) music video The Mistral Blows which was posted on YouTube with a screenplay attributed to the Seattle native is nothing if not astonishing.


Whilst there is some discussion as to whether Amanda Knox wrote the entire screenplay, or a section of it, or whether the screenplay was created through a merging of several versions, the screenplay is clearly attributed to her in the credits that appear on the video.

Crediting Amanda Knox with the screenplay is repeatedly emphasized by H.O.T. themselves who posted multiple Twitter entries:


And this screenplay does Amanda Knox and her claims of innocence in the brutal murder of Meredith Kercher no favours at all. 

Although provisionally ‘acquitted’ at the trial of second instance, Amanda Knox still stands accused of a capital crime, aspects of which she seems compelled to continue to portray in her various writings. 

The hapless band H.O.T. might be well-advised to disassociate themselves from this endeavour and drop the video like a hot potato.  The more-so as they have already burnt their fingers, tampering with the so-far elusive Brand Knox, finding themselves ‘forced to remove [clips of Knox dancing in Capanne] from the file, after a sudden, unexpected and “very strange” last-minute opposition from Amanda’s entourage.’

They state with a hint of bitterness:


The result?  A compromise.  The image of Knox dancing with carefree abandon in Capanne Prison (easily retrieved from other internet sites) remains, but is obliterated by a large ‘censored’ notice.


The reasons to attempt to disappear this video or, at the very least, any identifiable links with Knox, are abundantly clear to anyone having followed this dreadful case over the last four and a half years.

1) The video is riddled with allusions to the crime itself and features an easily-identifiable Amanda Knox as ‘heroine’ or ‘victim’ as she may now prefer to be seen and depending on how you look at it.

2) Any pre-book-release publicity will potentially devalue the carefully branded and preserved Amanda Knox product.

A cursory look at the video demonstrates the depraved audacity of the writer, a person who simultaneously insists she was found innocent of the crime of murder and of which she still stands accused.

The video features a Knox look-alike – recognizable by her clothing - in a prison-cum-house of horrors.


 

It opens with the heroine sitting down, colouring pictures in a prison cell.  Amanda Knox was reported to spend time colouring pictures of her hands whilst in prison.


 

From there she leaves the cell and embarks on a journey through a range of horrifying experiences, until she finally flees the house but not the prison to which she is eternally condemned.

As she runs through the house of horrors she encounters:

1) Ghost-like figures lurching out at her hinting at the night of Halloween before the murder and the ghouls and demons of the house of horrors both in which the crime took place and in which she is forever imprisoned.

2) A tall, faceless black-haired figure dressed in black carrying an umbrella resembling Meredith Kercher dressed as a vampire on her last night alive, the red belt reminiscent of the fake costume blood and the actual blood spilled the night of the murder.


 

3) A faceless butcher figure dressed in a blood-stained apron holding a knife, who hands her a maggot-infested apple, reminiscent of the photograph of co-accused Raffaele Sollecito as posted on his Facebook page.  The apple is suggestive of the poisoned apple offered by the witch to the innocent Snow White –


 

4) Or a subliminal suggestion of Raffaele’s guilt in handing her the infested and poisonous apple ….. Remember: she claimed Raffaele may have pressed the murder knife with Meredith’s DNA into her hand whilst she was sleeping.


 

5) A figure tied to a chair covered in a red cloth hinting of the pools of blood and of Meredith unable to move to defend herself.  As she reaches out to lift the red cloth the bound figure screams, sending her running out down staircases and steps and out of the house.

In the same way, witness Nora Cappezzali heard Meredith’s desperate, blood-curdling scream, followed shortly afterwards by running footsteps out of the house of horrors and onto the steel staircase near her home.


 

The video ends with the Knox look-alike remaining in prison.  Both real and imagined.


 

H.O.T. suggest that the video and screenplay are a means of documenting the tale of the events in Perugia and, of course, Amanda Knox hopes to chronicle the nightmare in which she ‘innocently’ found herself.  In so doing, she inadvertently describes the crime and the images, sounds and memories that will seemingly not leave her alone.

Not only are there many references to the crime, but there seems as well a clear jealous obsession with Meredith, given the numerous references and comparisons to Kristian Leontiou’s video Some Say in which Meredith hauntingly starred.

The Knox look-alike emulates Meredith from the Some Say video both in her dress and appearance as well as in her actions.  She descends an old staircase, appears in doorways and through arches reminding us of the shots of Meredith and the church of the ‘Some Say’ video. 


   


 


 

Emulation is a form of envy.  Guilty or innocent, it seems Knox cannot exorcise her memories of the crime, and remains compelled to depict it in screenplays and short stories.  Knox is seemingly still jealous of Meredith which had proved her original undoing.  Here, in a bizarre reversal of reality, Meredith becomes the foreboding, frightening presence, whereas Knox is the shocked and terrified victim. 

At a time when a tough Galati appeal to the Supreme Court and a $4 million book deal are on the table, the memory of Meredith and the crime seem to haunt and obsess Amanda Knox who may reveal a deep-seated need to confess.  But while still accused, Amanda Knox cannot afford to engage in such obsessive, confessional activity.

Could this prove to be her final undoing?

Posted on 07/05/12 at 12:55 AM by Fly By Night & Thundering. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Crime hypothesesThe psychologyThose officially involvedAmanda Knox
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Friday, June 29, 2012

The Italian Supreme Court Grants Turin Prosecutors A New Trial In Another Case

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above and below: the still-accused (the same status as AK and RS) in temporary happier days]

Reversals of not-guilty verdicts like this one are handed down by the decisive Italian Supreme Court several times a month.

Franzo Grande Stevens, Gianluigi Gabetti and Virgil Brown had been charged in Turin with the white-collar crime of insider trading. They are rich powerful people who help the Agnelli family to control the carmaker FIAT.

Last December they were acquitted at their first trial. The prosecution did not even bother to lodge an appeal to the Turin appeal court - they took their appeal directly to the Supreme Court of Cassation in Rome. 

Now Franzo Grande Stevens, Gianluigi Gabetti and Virgil Brown get to have their day in court - all over again. Being rich and powerful was of no help.


Posted on 06/29/12 at 05:06 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Italian justice v others
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Italian Police Long Known As Among Europe’s Coolest, Now Also Being Remarked Upon As…

Posted by Peter Quennell





Among its very kindest.

It’s tough right now for Italian cops, going up against the rioting crowds and the illegal immigrants and the three mafias. But with their sustained pressure the mafias are fading, and the riots and immigrants may dwindle soon if and when light appears at the end of the economic tunnel. 

And those images are not what Italian police are best known for.

Above all else, they are cool. They officially work hard at being cool and high-profile and rather colorful, which is perhaps one reason why the Italian prison population is so very low. Their regular uniforms and their ceremonial uniforms tend to be eye-catching, and sometimes resplendent, and unless you’re Mr Berlusconi, their manner tends toward firm but agreeable, and sometimes quite funny. .

One can be doing 100 mph on an autostrada and a car will come by at 140 mph, with a police car on its tail which can exceed 200 mph. The second to last image below (above the… enough said) is of a Bugatti Veyron, which even in standard mode is powered by an engine of 1000 horsepower and has been clocked at close to 250 mph. (It also costs close to $2 million to private buyers.)

Now here is a report by John Hopper in the UK Guardian on the Italian police’s frequent warm side, and there are similar tales about the polizei on quite a few English-language and Italian blogs.

The financial crisis in Europe may have brought out the worst in certain bankers, but it seems to be bringing out the best in Italy’s police.

On Tuesday, and for the second time in less than a month, officers called to deal with a shoplifter were reported to have taken pity on the alleged thief and paid for the goods out of their own pockets.

The latest case arose when staff at a supermarket on the outskirts of Siena, in Tuscany, alerted police to a suspected robbery. The officers found a 27-year-old Egyptian and his 19-year-old brother who had apparently failed to pay for goods they had removed from the shop.

The police established that the older of the two was unemployed and had a wife and two children. Along with some pasta, he and his brother were found to have taken only milk, nappies and baby food. At this point, according to Corriere Fiorentino, the officers opened their wallets and paid the bill.

A similar gesture prompted a round of applause from shoppers at a supermarket in Milan after a 76-year-old pensioner, identified only as Angela, was found to have passed through the checkout without paying for a box of Tic Tac sweets worth 60p.

Sergeant Arturo Scungio said he and his patrol partner had caught up with the suspect near the shop. “She was trembling like a leaf and was clearly frightened by the uniform. From the way she was dressed, I realised she was not well off, that she was one of those who have difficulty making it to the end of the month. I told her what the law was and then I asked her how much pension she received.”

The old lady said that she was on €320 (£255) a month, adding: “I’ve always paid my taxes.” Scungio said that by the time they returned to the supermarket checkout, she was in tears.

The manager told them he did not intend to press charges. “I opened my wallet and paid the 78 cents owed for the Tic Tacs,” Scungio said.

Those humorless sad sacks who have attached themselves to Amanda Knox like leeches… Pity they’re so blinded to Italy’s rather cool reality. 



























Posted on 06/26/12 at 10:48 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedPolice and CSIThe wider contextsItalian context
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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

With Italy Pushing, There Are Increasing Bets On Europe Settling On A Growth Plan B

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above and below: the G20 meeting in Baja California and the Los Cabos resort]


At the G20 Summit now taking place on the Baja Peninsula Italy and France have just strongly pushed for the creation of Euro-bonds.

The rates for such bonds to be secured mostly by gold (mostly on deposit in the Federal Reserve Bank in New York - where a lot of Europe’s troubles began!) would reflect investors’ perceptions of the growth potential of all of Europe, not just Greece or Spain or Italy or Portugal or Ireland by themselves. 

A cheaper cost of capital across Europe would help to make the value equations start to come right. Far better than Germany’s imposed Plan A which is essentially austerity during a recession and nothing else.

In contrast the German economy is actually doing very nicely right now, with high growth and low unemployment and strong exports and huge swathes of capital moving into its rather strapped banks from the countries further south. Other things being equal, Germany could live with a “half pregnant” situation for quite a while.

But thankfully, there are two dark clouds on Germany’s horizon which may cause it to end its power trip.

First, Greece and Spain and Italy could all vote in radical-left governments within a year if austerity remains the entire mix. And second, the entire world could move into recession or even depression and then Germany would slow down along with everybody else.

Germany could do everyone a lot of good if it stopped the moralising and instead shared with all the other countries how its own extended growth came about.

It is worth reading the Wikipedia entry for Germany’s history of growth. Two post WWII concepts made a huge difference and still do.  Here they are in bold.

The Germans proudly label their economy a “soziale Marktwirtschaft,” or “social market economy,” to show that the system as it has developed after World War II has both a material and a social—or human—dimension. They stress the importance of the term “market” because after the Nazi experience they wanted an economy free of state intervention and domination. The only state role in the new West German economy was to protect the competitive environment from monopolistic or oligopolistic tendencies—including its own.

The term “social” is stressed because West Germans wanted an economy that would not only help the wealthy but also care for the workers and others who might not prove able to cope with the strenuous competitive demands of a market economy. The term “social” was chosen rather than “socialist” to distinguish their system from those in which the state claimed the right to direct the economy or to intervene in it.

Beyond these principles of the social market economy, but linked to it, comes a more traditional German concept, that of Ordnung, which can be directly translated to mean order but which really means an economy, society, and policy that are structured but not dictatorial. The founders of the social market economy insisted that Denken in Ordnungen—to think in terms of systems of order—was essential. They also spoke of Ordo-Liberalismus because the essence of the concept is that this must be a freely chosen order, not a command order.

This is in many ways the opposite of the tunnel-vision Washington Consensus which the IMF and World Bank and United States for far too long wrongly imposed on the world - and of which Euro-austerity is its devil spawn.

You can find a similar philosophy to Germany’s in Japan with the Keiretsu which saw it rocket up in the 60s and 70s, and which was picked up by the Little Dragons and China and finally all the middle-tier economies seeing recent strong growth.

Europe needs to further shore up and educate its manpower. That is a no-brainer. But its major growth breakout will only come if it tweaks and reinvents its millions of technical and managerial systems, just as Germany does. And if it demonstrates a very sharp nose for future value - as in fact Italy’s nimble entreprenuers already do.

It’s smart systems to create high value that you need, guys. Don’t let the over-intrusive and not-very-enlightened economists and central bankers and politicians tell you different. 




Posted on 06/20/12 at 04:41 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in The wider contextsItalian context
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Friday, June 15, 2012

In Trial For Killing Of 77 Norway Very Complexed About Whether Admitted Perpetrator Is Barking Mad

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above and below: this is the courthouse in central Oslo where Anders Breivik is currently been tried]


In Norway a judge and jury and those tens of thousands personally affected by the bombing and shooting deaths of 77 people, mostly in their teens, are trying to calibrate the personality of Anders Breivik.

The self-confessed killer has under Norwegian court procedures been allowed to say a lot about himself during his trial. And to mount a defense which in effect implies that he is the one who is normal, and that everybody else in Norway is either stupid or blind.

There is a sort of Catch 22 situation here.

If the judge and jury and those affected accept that Breivik really IS normal and merely a common or garden Nazi-type fanatic, he can only be sentenced to 21 years x 77 with the sentences to run concurrently. He could be out of prison at only 54.

Even Breivik has said that is pathetic and he would be joyously executed rather than be diminished like that.

But if they accept that he is insane, then he can be sent away to a prison for the criminally insane, and unless he in effect grows a totally new brain, he could be kept locked up for the rest of his natural life.

So if prosecution psychologists can prove him to be what the British like to call barking mad, he could get in effect the maximum time behind bars: life. But blame for a deed which most see as pure evil would in effect be dilute.

Breivik of course is trying very hard to prove that he is NOT mad. But he is not being helped by the testimony of either his mother or his father (who separated in great anger in London a few months after he was born) who have each thoroughly rejected his defense. His mother says he simply lies all the time, and his father says he should have committed suicide.

Nor is he helped by the 1517 page manifesto that he wrote (in English) and emailed to everybody in his address book a few hours before he set out on his attack. 

Dr Avner Falk lives in Jerusalem, Israel, and he is perhaps the most published in the world in the fields of long-distance psychohistory and political psychology. 

On his personal website Dr Falk has just posted this long and deeply researched essay exploring Breivik’s psychology.

Although of course the analysis was done 1/4 of the way around the world, it is difficult to read this essay without concluding that these really are the main facts about what is in Breivik’s head - and that he really is barking mad.

More scientifically, his psychology seems situated somewhere between borderline personality disorder and paranoid schizophrenic.

Dr Falk shows how Breivik may have got that way, and what was driving him to kill (don’t laugh, read the essay first: he became psychotically angered over repeated shows of lack of love by his father, who when Breivek was 16 cut him right off, and too much love by his mom, which Breivek thinks sissyfied him).

And why it would seem to be the safest thing to do to put Breivek away for life.   

So. Is any of this relevant to Meredith’s case? More below.






In Meredith’s case there also seems to be a sort of Catch 22.

First off, it seems that nobody holding any point of view about Knox or Sollecito can see the makings of a credible insanity defense.

One reason many dont want to go down that road is that Italian prosecutions are always facing long odds, and they fear that it could too easily at the end of the legal process leave the accused-perps off the hook and free to go, and to publish whatever they will.

Some fear the same could happen with a defense based on too much alcohol or psychosis-causing drugs.

But at the same time, many also believe that AK and RS were not the social and psychological paragons that many in the obfuscatory PR campaign have tried for a long time to make out.

Even those eager henchmen in Curt Knox’s campaign have had to turn cartwheels to explain why Knox did cartwheels and so quickly put so many people in Perugia right off her, or to explain why Sollecito was so friendless and so obsessed with violent comics and porn and always carried a concealed knife.

And yet despite that, a sort of stealth psychological defense DOES seem to have been mounted, and with Judge Hellman’s interim appeal verdict it does seem to have helped them to be provisionally sprung.

In a process a little reminiscent of the movie Groundhog Day where the “villain” has to keep repeating the same day over and over until he gets certain things just right, the public audience and the judges and juries were presented with several different Amanda Knoxes and Raffaele Sollecitos and the 2011 versions seem to have worked.

  • In 2008 the images that dominated were of two cold-hearted or hot-headed jealous abusers who had gone way too far in the remorseless 15-minute struggle with Meredith. Magistrate Matteini and Judge Micheli both firmly took this view, which was confirmed by psychological tests on RS and AK in Capanne Prison that concluded that Perugia would be safer if they stayed behind bars pending their trial.
  • The images that dominated the trial in 2009 was of a mild and slightly daffy Sollecito and a mostly milder and decidedly daffier Amanda Knox, strongly supported by their large and loving families spread out all around the court. That seems to some extent to have worked on Judge Massei, and RS and AK were rewarded with some years off their sentence for a supposed kindness to Meredith’s dead body. In the sentencing report, Rudy Guede became the somewhat villainous initiating attacker of Meredith on the night.
  • The image that dominated the appeal in 2011 was of two serious studious very normal bambinos falsely being tied together with an extremely villainous Rudy Guede, now a notorious drifter and drug dealer who carried knives. The accused in effect dressed in shades of grey, and there were never any smiles or jokes in court. Italian judges and juries and watching audiences have a reputation for leniency toward bambinos, and Judge Hellman’s report suggests that attitude did intrude.

The Italian Supreme Court doesnt usually get to set eyes on those who are appealing or (as in this case) appealed against. More often than not they calibrate a legal and psychological position about as hard-line as the investigating magistrate (Matteini) or the judges at the first level (Micheli and Massei).

Now Knox and Sollecito might not return to the court for any re-run of the appeal trial. But if they don’t, the original images of themselves, those advanced in 2008 which a clear majority of Italians still hold to, could be the version of their personalities that a second appeal judge and jury get to “see”.

Tough call for Knox and Sollecito and their tribes. Their Catch 22.

But either way, assuming a level playing field, a fair outcome seems reasonably assured.

*****

Below: a crowd of 40,000 gathered in central Oslo to sing a song “Children of the Rainbow”.

That is the song by Norwegian folk singer Lillebjoern Nilsen (based on Pete Seeger’s “Rainbow Race”) which Breivek claimed in his manifesto shows the decadence of Norwegian youth. 

Posted on 06/15/12 at 02:47 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Crime hypothesesThe psychologyOther legal processesOthers elsewhere
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Today And Tomorrow Are Really Key Days For The Italian Economy If Future Sums Are To Work

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: a demonstration against austerity, in Turin, one of several hundred in recent days]


The Italy central bank is selling a lot of bonds today and tomorrow to keep the government in business.

Today’s sale of 12-month bonds did not go well. It sold E6.5 billion of bonds at nearly 4 percent, almost double what it was charged just last month. And tomorrow’s sale of long-term bonds could be looking at interest rates so high that it puts real growth almost permanently out of reach.

In effect it could bake in youth unemployment up to 25 percent. The good news, if there is any, is that the disappointing sale today gave Prime Minister Monti a reason to light a fire under the parliament. 

talian Premier Mario Monti is urging lawmakers to accelerate passage of reforms to help the country escape the deepening debt crisis and assure international markets that the eurozone’s third largest economy will follow words with actions.

Monti addressed the lower house before a vote on anti-corruption measures, and the morning after meeting leaders of three main political forces to urge them to intensify the reform course.

Spain’s decision over the weekend to seek a bailout for its banks has heightened pressure on Italy. The Austrian finance minister suggested this week that Italy too will need a bailout, then backtracked under criticism.

Monti has firmly denied that Italy will need a bailout, and told lawmakers that Italy is on much better footing than a few months ago.

One thing going for Italy is that those bonds are largely purchased by Italians themselves. Savings have been flying out of Greece and Spain but Italians still seem optimistic at some level that their economy can get back to former heights

Mr Monti’s pruning and tightening of laws don’t seem a bad thing. His main growth-thrust idea for all of Europe, Italy included, is to press the pedal to the floor on rebuilding all the physical infrastructure. Angela Merkel might come around if that doesnt tank Germany’s own boom.

The notion that there should be a sort of skeleton Department of the Treasury or Ministry of Finance in Brussels to harmonize fiscal policies and oversee the banks seems to be taking hold.

Still only dim comprehension (as in the US) though of how the best kind of growth really works. Hint: economists and bankers are not the first professions one turns to, to find out all about that.

Posted on 06/13/12 at 05:24 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, June 08, 2012

A Case In Which The Accused’s Team Used A Psychological Condition Maybe Similar To AK’s Or RS’s

Posted by Grahame Rhodes





The wealthy Durst family develops tall buildings in Manhattan including the Bank of America tower in midtown and the new One Wold Trade Center in downtown which will soon reach 1776 feet high.

Robert Durst is one of the heirs of the founder of the Durst Organization who died in 1995 and his brother Douglas now runs the company with a cousin. Here is a brief summary of Robert’s early life from Wikipedia.

Durst grew up, one of four children, in Scarsdale, New York and attended Scarsdale High School. He completed his undergraduate degree at Lehigh University and attended graduate school at UCLA.

Durst reportedly witnessed his mother’s apparent suicide at age seven; she either fell or jumped off the roof of the Scarsdale family mansion.

According to Reader’s Digest, Durst underwent extensive counseling because of his mother’s death, and doctors found that his “deep anger” could lead to psychological problems, including schizophrenia.

Durst went on to become a real estate developer in his father’s business; however, it was his brother Douglas who was later appointed to run the family business. The appointment in the 1990s caused a rift between Robert and his family, and he became estranged. His earlier schizophrenia diagnosis was incorrect.

In 1982 a seeming dark side to Robert Durst began to appear. Also from Wikipedia:

In 1973, Durst married Kathleen McCormack, who disappeared in 1982. Her case remained unsolved for eighteen years when New York State Police reopened the criminal investigation.

On December 24, 2000, Durst’s long-time friend, Susan Berman, who was believed to have knowledge of McCormack’s disappearance, was found murdered execution-style in her Benedict Canyon California house. Durst was questioned in both cases but not charged.

According to prosecutors, he moved to Texas in 2000 and began cross-dressing to divert attention from the disappearance of McCormack.

Both the Kathleen Durst and Susan Berman cases remain open, and New York and Los Angeles police still work on them.

From the Galveston Texas Daily News here is a timeline for the movements of Robert Durst for late 2001 and early 2002.

Sept. 30 — A 13-year-old boy spots a man’s torso floating near the shoreline of 81st Street and Channelview Drive. Nearby, police find garbage bags containing human limbs, along with a number of items investigators later trace to an apartment house in the 2200 block of Avenue K.

Oct. 5 — Officials identify the body parts as the remains of Morris Black, a 71-year-old South Carolina native who lived at the apartment house.

Oct. 9 — Police arrest Robert Durst, 58, who lived in an apartment across the hall from Black. Durst is charged with murder and possession of marijuana, but leaves jail that night after posting $300,000 bond.

Oct. 16 — Durst becomes a fugitive when he fails to appear at a court hearing in his case. A grand jury indicts him on charges of murder and jumping bail.

Oct. 17 — A man in Mobile, Ala., rents a red Chevrolet Corsica, using the name Morris Black.

Nov. 30 — Police in Pennsylvania arrest Durst and charge him with the shoplifting theft of a small bandage, a sandwich and a newspaper.

Dec. 5 — Galveston detectives leave for Philadelphia, armed with a search warrant for the red Chevrolet Corsica police seized from the parking lot of the Pennsylvania grocery store where Durst was arrested.

Dec. 7 — A search of the car reveals numerous pieces of identification in the name of Morris Black, an undisclosed amount of marijuana, two handguns and about 80 bullets.

Dec. 17 — State District Court Judge Susan Criss issues a gag order in the murder case, barring officials, attorneys and potential witnesses from talking about the case.

Jan. 25 — Durst waives his right to an extradition hearing, agreeing to return to Galveston to face charges.

Jan. 27 — Durst arrives at the county jail.

New York Magazine adds this bit of color.

At the time of Black’s death, Durst was living as a deaf-mute woman known as “Dorothy Ciner” who communicated with the landlord via handwritten notes. During the trial he startled jurors by growling loudly like a dog and snorting like a pig.

Later, in prison, he became known for doing nude calisthenics in his cell.

In 2003 he was found not guilty of the murder of Morris Black. From Wikipedia:

During cross-examination, Durst admitted to using a paring knife, two saws and an axe to dismember Black’s body before dumping his remains in Galveston Bay. The jury acquitted him of murder.

Specifically he was found not guilty because the jury bought into the idea of a mental condition. CBS News describes how the jury saw it.

Is Durst a cold-blooded killer with a string of victims over more than 20 years? Or is he somehow a victim himself?

Last spring, Correspondent Erin Moriarty talked to Durst’s closest friends and the defense psychiatrist who examined him. The Durst fortune, valued at more than $2 billion, is in the same league as Donald Trump’s fortune. And it’s certainly more than enough for the best legal defense that money can buy.

His high-powered defense team - Dick DeGuerin, Mike Ramsey and Chip Lewis – say that early on, they had difficulty communicating with Durst. So they hired Dr. Altschuler, a well-known Houston psychiatrist, to find out why.

Altschuler says he met with Durst almost on a weekly basis, and spent more than 70 hours examining him. His conclusion: Durst suffers from a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. It’s a fairly uncommon disorder that leaves a victim’s intellect intact, but limits his ability to interact socially.

“Emotion is very difficult to him. He doesn’t know what happy is,” says Altschuler. “He can feel it, but almost as if he were feeling it as we would feel fingers through a glove. It’s very dulled, at best, to him … His whole life’s history is so compatible with a diagnosis of Asperger’s disorder.”

The jury apparently bought it. They were convinced that Durst, in a panic, dismembered Black’s body.

Many people with Asperger’s self-diagnose themselves and learn to adjust and most have good lives and careers, many in computers and math-based professions. (Probably a coincidence but Knox’s parents are both in math-based professions, as is Chris Mella.) But some apparently do have flash rages when they yet again encounter in themselves an inability to connect or to win people over. So there are some murders that have been ascribed to this condition.

Both Knox and Sollecito may have had childhood trauma which their families, naturally, seem not too keen to have exposed. Or one or other might have been born wrong-headed.

Note how both of them in Perugia had isolated themselves from just about everybody else when Meredith died - Sollecito with his dark sullenless and Knox with her sharp elbows and brash, grubby, offputting ways.

Note Sollecito’s sordid history of beasty porn, and his knife fetishes, and violent manga comics and films, and lack of close friends, and endless drugs, and slow school progress, and attempted close supervision by a struggling father, and a loyal sister who he has left decimated and jobless without even a shrug.

Note how Amanda Knox seems to have tried all her life to be liked and has never understood why she is so often successful for just a short time. Note the reported riotous behavior off campus in Seattle, the shortage of school and college friends who speak up for her, the strange tale of her walking off the intern job in the German parliament, and the searching for love in all the wrong places

Note her willingness to let Patrick Lumumba rot in jail for weeks. Note how she bought hot underwear while giggling, and how she chose to miss the remembrance service for Meredith in favor of a pizza. Note how the prison tests in 2008 seem to have found both her and Sollecito to be continuing dangers. Note her flippant narcissistic demeanor at the trial, and her various bizarre statements.  Note her reported self-imposed isolation and odd deportment and hygiene while in prison.

Note how her sense of right and wrong seems to be completely at odds, comparatively speaking, with the rest of the human race. Note how she seems unable to exhibit any emotion, or take any responsibility for her actions, even when challenged directly and her veracity called into question.

Finally, note her seeming never-ending lack of empathy for Meredith and her family, observed and remarked on both when Meredith was found and at trial and in the months and years afterwards. Meredith came from a hard working loving family who encouraged her to work hard and gave her every break and certainly never brutalised her. She was talented and made friends easily because of her wonderful sense of humor and her positive view of life.

Meredith was the complete antithesis of Knox. Well adjusted, liked, highly intelligent, very diligent and disciplined,  and driven to succeed. A remarkable success story in process, whicht Knox seemingly could not even begin to relate to.

So are Robert Durst and either of the still-presumed-guilty perps in any way similar? Were either of them born wrong in the head or made that way by childhood trauma?

Or was a mental defense simply an easy way for the entitled but awkward Robert Durst to have got off the hook for a cruel murder, and one that the Hellman jury (and those in the FOA) subliminally bought into for Knox and Sollecito as well?

I leave it to you to decide.


[Below: Robert Durst’s missing wife, and a murdered Los Angeles friend]


[Below: Some new Durst organization buildings in New York including at center 1 WTC]

Posted on 06/08/12 at 04:09 PM by Grahame Rhodes. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Action On Dr Galati’s Appeal To The Supreme Court Today Moved Ominously Closer

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Italy’s Supreme Court of Cassation is the large structure at right background]


The ANSA news service is reporting today that Dr Galati’s appeal was formally accepted by the Supreme Court on 15 May.

The case has just been assigned to the First Criminal Division of the Supreme Court which is responsible for appeals involving murder. A hearing and outcome which could involve the appeal being punted back to Perugia to be done again properly might be expected in about seven months.

Still no word from Sollecito or Knox or their teams about the exceptionally tough appeal Dr Galati filed against Judge Hellman’s interim verdict releasing them. Our Italian lawyers are surprised that there has been no announcement of any new legal help.

Do the still-accused or their families understand what is about to hit them? Cassation appeals are considered very specialised and certain Rome lawyers make a good living doing nothing but handle them. 

Dr Galati was a deputy chief prosecutor at the Supreme Court and would seem to have the Knox and Sollecito teams who are inexperienced at that level thoroughly out-matched. If Knox fails to appear at any appeal trial re-run she would lose the advantage of personalising her own plight with the help of her flash-mob in the court.

In Italy there is enormous suspicion that politics and money played roles in bending the outcome the last time around. The prosecution clearly felt that, and there seems a good chance the full story will not remain hidden.

We also hear that the continued rabid postings of Curt Knox’s hatchetmen are increasingly under the microscope. No sign their campaign does anything but hurt. It sure put real resolve into this appeal.

Posted on 06/06/12 at 09:37 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Saturday, June 02, 2012

Andrea Vogt Reports First-Hand On The Earthquakes That Have Hit Italy’s Economic Epicenter

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Images here are by Andrea Vogt and one each Getty Images and NBC.]


Italy’s previous large earthquake in 2009 resulted in 308 deaths around L’Aquila.

A lot of the extensive damage to that town occurred because L’Aquila is an old city (one hour south-east of Perugia) which had not yet been braced or modernised to withstand severe earthquakes.

The two quakes that hit the province of Modena (map at bottom) in the past two weeks resulted in less than two dozen deaths, but in all other respects their damage has been far greater. They were more severe on the Richter scale than the L’Aquila earthquake and tremors were felt all over northern Italy and up into Austria.

And they struck right in Italy’s economic-exports heartland.

Car-makes Maserati, Ferrari and Lamborghini and the mortorcycle maker Ducati are all based right there and all of their plants temporarily had to shut down. Maserati and Ferrari are now owned by FIAT (majority owner of the US’s Dodge-Chrysler) which also saw other assembly plants hit.

Modena also produces cheeses which are heavily exported, and not far away are the plants of the exporters of textile, leather and jewelery fashion goods, of ceramics, of foods other than cheeses, and of Italian wines.

On-the-spot reports by Andrea Vogt with more close-up human detail than most others have appeared on a number of media websites. Excerpts from the report Andrea Vogt filed with Tom Kington which appeared on the Guardian website:

The Italian government said 8,000 people were left homeless, adding to the 6,000 already sleeping in tents and temporary accommodation after the first, 6.0-magnitude quake, which struck the same area in the early hours and killed seven.

The latest quake occurred at 9am when more factories were open – causing the higher death toll…. Some of the victims died in factories that had just reopened after suffering damage in the earlier quake.

“I saw dust and smoke coming up from the factories and warehouses on the edge of town,” said Cavezzo resident Maurizio Bruschi. “Many told themselves that the worst was over. But we keep getting hammered.”,,,

The quakes are a serious blow for one of Italy’s most productive regions, just as the country struggles to lift itself out of recession.  “Fear will paralyse Emilia now,” wrote Mario Calabresi, editor of the newspaper La Stampa. “Who’s going to be willing to go back to work in a big warehouse now?” he asked…

Convoys of fire brigades and ambulances clogged tiny roads east of Modena, many littered with downed electrical lines and fallen debris. In the tent cities instructions were written in Italian and Arabic for the benefit of migrants working in local factories.

Other residents set up tents in their gardens, or made plans to head to relatives or to the Adriatic coast, where some hotels were opening up rooms to evacuees.”

More below.



From the same report, a story of a priest who was one of those killed by the unexpected double whammy.

In Rovereto sul Secchia a priest, Father Ivan Martini, was killed by a falling beam when his church partially collapsed on him. He was visiting the church, which had been damaged in the earlier quake, to see if he could salvage a statue of the Madonna.

“He was brilliant, and very dedicated, especially to the inmates incarcerated in Modena, where he was the prison chaplain,” said fellow priest Father Carlo Truzzi.

Andrea Vogt also posted a more detailed day-by-day report on her blog the Freelance Desk after combing the stricken areas. Her description below is what happened to the collapsed ceramics plant you can see in the first image below. .

Just a few hundred meters away, workers and curious onlookers came to see what was left of the twisted blue steel of the Sant’ Agostino Ceramics plant. They stared, the silence broken only by the eery sound of ceramic tiles clanking down from high scaffolding into the knot of bent metal.  Two workers, Nicola Cavicchi, 35, and Leonardo Ansaloni, 51, died under the rubble as they tried to escape.

When Italy looses, we all really loose. Tough time to now have to pay for re-building.




Posted on 06/02/12 at 08:08 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Smug Killer Who Thought Perhaps He’d Escaped Justice Was Brought Down In The UK Today

Posted by The Machine



[Above and below: Arlene Fraser and husband Nat who today was again convicted for her murder]


Today at the High Court in Edinburgh Nat Fraser has been been found guilty for the second time of murdering his estranged wife Arlene in 1998.

He was originally was found guilty in 2003 and sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in prison. However, after a long appeal process, his conviction was quashed last year by five judges at the Supreme Court in London.

They sent the case back to the Scottish Court of Criminal Appeal, where the jurors have just taken approximately five hours to reach a majority verdict after a six-week trial.

It’s not the first time this year that someone in Britain has been finally found guilty of murder after initially escaping justice.

In January, Gary Dobson and David Norris were found guilty of murdering Stephen Lawrence in 1993 by a jury at the Old Bailey. Dobson had been acquitted of Stephen Lawrence’s murder in 1996 but the Court of Appeal quashed the acquittal. (The case against David Norris collapsed before it reached court.)

David Harvie the director of serious casework at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal, said:

The Crown is absolutely determined to ensuring that criminals are brought to justice for crimes they have committed, no matter the passage of time nor the legal complexities involved.

I have no doubts that Chief Prosecutor of Perugia, Giovanni Galati and the Deputy Chief Prosecutor, Giancarlo Costagliola are just as determined to ensuring that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are brought to justice.

The cases above are a reality check for anyone who assumes that Knox and Sollecito are innocent simply because they were provisionally acquitted. It’s a fact of life that killers are sometimes acquitted. It’s also a fact of life that for them things often come full circle.

And if anyone thinks that cases of people being convicted of murder after escaping justice don’t happen in Italy, they are seriously mistaken. Barbie Nadeau outlined the case of Angela Birikova, who was convicted of murder after being acquitted at her first trial, in a November 2010 article for the Daily Beast:

In the meantime, the Seattle native’s lawyers say she is anxious to get back to court. She has reportedly been getting to know a new cellmate, Moldovian native Angela Biriukova, herself a celebrity criminal in Italy. Dubbed the Black Widow by the Italian press, Biriukova was tried for murdering her wealthy older husband by stabbing him 16 times.

Her DNA was found on a cigarette butt near the corpse, but nowhere else at the murder scene. Unlike Knox, however, Biriukova was acquitted during her first trial. Knox might take comfort in what happened next: The prosecutors appealed and Biriukova’s acquittal was reversed—after being set free, she was convicted during the appellate process. Should Knox’s appellate trial yield the same dramatic reversal, it will be a stunning conclusion to a trial whose narrative has often sharply turned on twists of fate.

It should noted that there is considerably more undisputed evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito than there is against the various convicted killers that are mentioned above.

Apologist journalists like Nick Pisa and Nick Squires, and especially Michael Day, would do well to remember this, before glibly dismissing the case against the still-accused pair.


[Below: convicted killer Angela Biriukova who Knox reportedly made a friend of in Capanne]

Posted on 05/31/12 at 02:32 AM by The Machine. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Second Earthquake Hits Italy One Week Later With Reported 17 Dead

Posted by Peter Quennell

Posted on 05/30/12 at 12:02 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Meredith’s Leeds #3: Where The High-Achieving Meredith Spent Several Very Happy Years

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


There are many more videos about Leeds University posted here. Meredith posthumously received a degree from this fine university (collected for her by Stephanie) which is generally rated as on a par with the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and London and at least as serious. When she arrived in Perugia she hit a flying start and was already near-fluent in Italian. 

Posted on 05/26/12 at 02:24 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, May 25, 2012

Italy Works With Australia On A Complex And Possibly Precedent Setting Case

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above: Australian Broadcasting Corporation report from Brisbane posted 3 days ago]


Italy has the reputation of being among the more diligent of countries in respecting international law and conventions. So does Australia.

But now they find themselves in a strange kabuki dance fraught with international tension, courtesy of two divorced parents.

The image below with the faces disguised appeared yesterday on Facebook. It shows an Italian father and his four daughters on the coast near Brisbane in Australia. With one newspaper exception which could result in a heavy fine, no Italian or Australian newspapers are publishing their names.

The reason is that this is a battle over illegal child abduction and both countries have laws shielding the minors. The mother is an Australian who married an Italian in Italy and they had the four children there. When they were divorced the mother and father were awarded joint custody so the father would get to see his daughters half of the time.

Two years ago the mother took off back to Australia with the girls. The Australian authorities were starting to implement the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction which says cases must he handled speedily and the country of origin has sole rights over matters of custody.

The mother missed a court-ordered deadline of 15 May for a return of the children to the father who had flown to Australia to get them. They went into hiding but were tracked down by police to a house or hotel on the Queensland Sunshine Coast. 

It now appear that the four girls want to remain in Australia, and although under the Hague Convention they dont as minors have separate rights, majority Australian sympathy may be on their side. The mother has just made claims about the father which he has denounced and hence the image of himself and the girls below which he posted on Facebook.

The precedent is in whether the children should have a say, the resolution of which could affect future abduction cases world-wide.  Australia’s High Court will decide the case one way or another this August.

Here’s a past post on a remarkably similar case. Liam is still in Italy.



Posted on 05/25/12 at 04:48 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

World Media Are Noting The Earthquake Damage To Italy’s Priceless Historical Heritage

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above, the unity prime minister,  Mr Monti, inspects the damage]


This post explained why Italy has such bad earthquakes.

The two halves of the country are separating, and the Apennines are slowly sinking down down. Perugia is at almost dead-center of that mountain range. This post described why despite that, Perugia may be at somewhat less risk than neighboring towns.

Sunday’s earthquake hit approximately midway between Perugia and Venice, at the top right-hand corner of the earthquake zone. Seven deaths are reported, and cultural icons destroyed by the thousands.

Media have very widely reported the historical and cultural damage. This is from the report by Reuters.

San Felice Sul Panaro was just one town where the quake inflicted severe wounds on centuries of heritage, memory and tradition, in some cases erasing them.

“A thousand years of art has turned to dust,” was the headline in Monday’s La Repubblica newspaper.

The damage done to Italy’s artistic heritage was the greatest since a 1997 earthquake hit the central Umbria region and parts of the ceiling of the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi collapsed.

San Felice’s three main churches were in ruins and the town’s trademark Castle, La Rocca, was standing but wounded, perhaps fatally, by the 6.0 magnitude quake that hit Italy early on Sunday…

Started in 1332 by the Este family and enlarged in the following century, La Rocca housed a museum and was the town’s main tourist draw.

Only one of the castle’s four towers was left standing and a wide V-shaped crack in its brickwork suggested it too might fall.

Posted on 05/23/12 at 06:30 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Monday, May 21, 2012

My Review Of John Kercher’s Great Book “Meredith”

Posted by Jeffski1




Having just recently finished reading the excellent book by John Kercher “Meredith” i felt compelled to write a review.

From the start as John describer’s the first phone call he received while in a bank, that a young English woman in Perugia had been found murdered, to the desperate hours waiting for information regarding the identity of the victim, to the realisation that it was in fact Meredith, you can feel the pain and the despair in his words.

This book takes you on an emotional roller coaster of a ride, from laughter at some of the antics Meredith got up to as a child, to the chilling account of her brutal murder, then again on to the many personnel messages that John prints at the end of the book.

Messages from complete strangers to the family, a heart warming message the family received from a American woman, that will leave you in tears. And the many accounts of the lasting impression Meredith has left on all who had the pleasure to meet her.

You read for yourself how very close Meredith was to her whole family, that she worried constantly about her mother Arline’s health, that she kept in daily contact with her mother, how very close she was to her sister Stephanie, and that smile, that beautiful smile that we have all come to recognise and be ever so familiar with.

The bubbly out going personality, the witty intelligent young woman that John so proudly describes. It is so very very hard to understand, as John puts it, how anyone could do harm to such a person.

One of the things i found quite heart-warming and funny was that Meredith was always running late. As John puts it it was her trademark, when reading this you can imagine her running around in a mad rush.

The book covers quite extensively the trial, the verdict and also the appeal. You get a true feeling of all the pain, the agony, and the difficulties the family had, not only with there unbearable loss, but also their failing health, the long painful trips to Italy for the court hearings, John lays it all out.

It is a testament to the family’s steely determination for justice for Meredith, what they have had to endure over the last 4+ years. It is at times heart breaking to read, but also you will be so pleased to read thing’s about Meredith that have never been printed before.

Thank you, Mr Kercher.

Posted on 05/21/12 at 09:20 AM by Jeffski1. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryReporting on the caseV good reporting
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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lord Justice Leveson: In Fact MANY Press Errors Were Made In The Reporting On Meredith’s Case

Posted by Peter Quennell





The enquiry in London by Lord Leveson (above) is looking into press phone hacking and extreme coziness with politicians and police.

A few days ago, Lord Leveson’s lead lawyer grilled Martin Clarke, the Mail Online’s editor, about a story that briefly showed on the Mail Online website last October. It stated that the Hellman appeal court had confirmed that Knox was guilty.

Actually neither Martin Clark nor Lord Leveson’s lead counsel got it right - nor for that matter any other media in the UK. Judge Hellman had simply issued another INTERIM and PROVISIONAL verdict not yet ratified by the Supreme Court.

Under the Italian justice system,  Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito STILL stand accused of the crime, until the Supreme Court finally signs off. There is a very strong prosecution appeal now in front of the Supreme Court, and Judge Hellman’s not-guilty verdict will very likely be reversed.

As this has rarely if ever been correctly reported in the UK almost every interested British observer now has it seriously wrong. Take a look here at how the BBC got it wrong at great and effusive length.

It starts with this:  “For one family from Seattle, a four-year nightmare is over….”  The BBC didn’t even mention the four-year nightmare of Meredith’s family.

The myriad wrong facts in that BBC report were not simply technical mistakes on the same lines as the Mail Online’s. They were talking reports supplied by Curt Knox’s abusive and misleading PR campaign which the BBC then parroted in a pandering and highly unprofessional report. One revealing zero attempt at checking or balance.

Which, really was worse? A technical mistake by the Mail or a deliberate selling-out by the BBC?

As Mr Clarke observed on the stand, this is not an easy case for UK media to report. But newspapers and TV networks and their websites carrying resident reporters Andrea Vogt and Barbie Nadeau and the ABC’s Anne Wise (now yanked persumably for being too honest) and Richard Owens and John Follain of Rupert Murdoch’s London Times group always manage to get it right. So for the most part does the the freelance Nick Pisa who we also often quote.
 
In contrast the erratic Nick Squires and the erratic Michael Day of respectively the Telegraph and the Independent just two weeks ago reported very misleadingly - and no correction and apology has yet appeared.

If the Leveson enquiry wants to explore DELIBERATE media mistakes we have highlighted dozens on this site.

Posted on 05/17/12 at 02:53 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What Touched Me In John Kercher’s Excellent And Very Moving Book “Meredith”

Posted by Cardiol MD




Meredith

Our daughter’s murder and the heartbreaking quest for the truth

[Kindle Edition] John Kercher (Author)

Meredith Kercher was tragically murdered in November 2007, in Perugia, Italy. Since then, her murder and the subsequent trial have been a source of constant intrigue and media speculation all around the world, with the spotlight famously focusing on the accused, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. Now, Meredith’s father John speaks out for the first time and tells the world about the beautiful daughter he and his family so tragically lost.

This book is a celebration of Meredith’s life. It is also a father’s story of losing a beloved daughter, and the first account of the torment the family have suffered and their ongoing quest for justice.

About the Author:  John Kercher has been a full time professional writer and journalist for more than thirty years, during which time he has published several thousand articles and interviews for the British and overseas newspaper and magazine markets. He is the author of The Film Biography of Warren Beatty and has written 24 children’s annuals and edited several magazines. He holds a BSc degree in Sociology from London University and lives in Surrey.



Look at that subtitle!  John Kercher is a wordsmith paterfamilias thrust into marshaling words to convey feelings – emotions – thoughts – experiences for which there are no adequate words.

A subtext, which Mr.Kercher addresses only briefly, is the opposing army recruited to marshal words of obfuscation, using bias, distortion, innuendo, deceit, imagined reasons-to-doubt, sheer-blind-ignorance, and outright lies to protect the obviously guilty from the foreseeable consequences of their criminal recklessness.

Key points that Mr. Kercher does address in detail are quoted below, using his balanced, descriptive, objective, fact-based, evidence-based, non-argumentative words.  To me his book is the very model of what such a family should convey in its heartbreaking quest for the truth. 

I have selected to highlight below the parts which to me were most moving. Others may choose differently and I hope they will, in the comments and their own reviews.

I have referenced the quotes by their Kindle-Location-Numbers, but the Chapter-Sources should be the same as those of a Print-Version:

1.    Learning that “It was the DNA found on and in Meredith’s body that convinced Italian police of Guede’s complicity in her killing. However, Guede’s lawyer at the time, Vittorio Lombardo, was quoted as saying: ‘We know about the DNA, … But it does not mean that he is the killer.’  (Chapter 4 The Investigation: Kindle Location 1468-1469)

The author is establishing his tone of objectivity.

2.    Learning at Guede’s fast-track trial under Judge Micheli’ (which included a “pre-trial” of Knox & Sollecito), what a crucial part Meredith’s, Amanda Knox’s, Sollecito’s, and Guede’s DNA, and Footprints, played in the evidence surrounding Meredith’s murder. (Chapter 6 Suspects: Kindle Locations 1816-1834)

The author shows that his thinking is fact-based, in spite of the emotional-price.

3.    Learning the evidence presented to Judge Micheli of the staged break-in of Filomena Romanelli’s room, where Meredith’s blood was found to have been cleaned-up. (Chapter 6 Suspects: Kindle Locations 1834-1846)

Evidence-based, too.

4.    Being told of Judge Micheli’s receipt during Guede’s fast-track trial, of 10,000 pages of evidence, including the finding of Sollecito’s DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp. (Chapter 6 Suspects: Kindle Locations 1959-1982)

The author reminds the reader of the enormous amount of information-in-evidence available to the Court, but apparently not available outside the Court.

5.    Hearing Judge Micheli’s announcement in Italian (which the family had to have painfully translated for them) ruling that Guede was “guilty of complicity in Meredith’s murder,” and that Knox and Sollecito would stand trial on charges of Meredith’s murder and sexual violation. (Chapter 6 Suspects: Kindle Locations 2009-2015)

The author reminds the reader of the foreign-language dimension of the family’s ordeal; note the carefully-quoted phrase “guilty of complicity”.

6.    Not attending the Perugia Trial of Knox & Sollecito, before a jury including Judge Massei, beginning in early 2009, because of its projected length, in the Italian language, which they would not completely understand, and would be too distressed-by if they could completely understand.  (Chapter 7 The Trial: Kindle Locations 2137-2148)

A reeinforcing reminder to the reader of the foreign-language, distant country dimensions of the familys’ plights.

7.    Learning indirectly of the overwhelming evidence against Knox & Sollecito introduced at their trial, including only, but also both, Meredith’s and Knox’s DNA on the alleged murder-knife. This cumulative evidence rested ‘not only on the DNA evidence and the alleged break-in, but also on the conflicting alibis of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, which had changed on several occasions.’ (Chapter 7 The Trial: Kindle Locations 2149-2647)

Note the persistent use of “alleged”, “conflicting”, and “changed”. If both Amanda’s blood, and Meredith’s blood were found on the knife, but only their blood, the Author leaves it to the imagination of the reader the shock to come when Hellmann announces his imagined-reasons-to-doubt.

8.    Testifying at the trial: Asked whether Meredith would have fought-back against her attackers Stephanie said: ‘Absolutely. One hundred and ten per cent. Mez had a strong personality and, physically, she was very strong…She fought for her place here and she would have fought to the end.’  (Chapter 7 The Trial: Kindle Locations 2525-2550)

John Kercher wrote that, in response to a question he was asked about Meredith:  ‘I also mentioned that when she was seventeen years old she had trained in karate for a year, obtaining her third belt and that if attacked she would definitely have fought back’, and,

‘They asked me about whether she and Amanda had got on well, and I told the court that Meredith had often complained about Amanda Knox’s hygiene habits. At this point I looked towards Amanda, but once more there was no eye contact between us.’

The author quotes Stephanie’s testimony literally, but paraphrases his own with neutral words such as “mentioned”, and “told”. “often” is an understandable stretch, staircase-wit would substitute “repeatedly”, and “there was no eye contact” is powerfully descriptive.

9.    Not understanding the Verdict and Sentence when Judge Massei delivered his pronouncement “in an Italian I could not understand” but seeing the reactions of Sollecito, Knox, and her parents’ look of disbelief. (Chapter 8 The Verdict: Kindle Locations 2801-2805)

Still descriptive, and very powerful!

10.  Understanding from the interpreter sent by the British Embassy in Rome that the Massei Court had found Knox & Sollecito guilty of murdering their beloved Meredith and sentenced them to prison. (Chapter 8 The Verdict: Kindle Locations 2805-2810)

The author reminds reader how constantly the familys’ awarenesses are at second-hand.

11.  Reaching times for relief (KL 1731), exhaustion (KL 2831), for closure (KL 3728), and even for satisfaction, but not for elation (KL 2815), triumph or celebration(KL 2853).

Such balance!

12.  Reactions to the FOAK campaign from Seattle, the MSM one-sidedness, distortions and blind ignorance; the minor-celebrity status accorded-to Knox; internal family matters.  (Chapter 9 The Appeal: Kindle Locations 2946-3166)

Eminently-reasonable human-reactions.

13. Positive reaction-to, and understanding-of, Massei Report.  (Chapter 9 The Appeal: Kindle Locations 3167-3300)

Factual.

14.  Following from England the Appeal Proceedings before Judges Hellmann, Zanetti, and a 6-person jury. (Chapters 9&10: Kindle Locations 2946-3563)

Reminder of Family’s arms-length status.

15.  Reacting to Hellmann’s pronouncement that Knox & Sollecito were innocent, acquitted of Meredith’s murder, and walked free. (Chapter 10 Our Hope for Justice: Kindle Locations 3567-3573):

“I found the assertion that there had not been a simulated break-in astounding…”

16. (Chapter 10 Our Hope for Justice: Kindle Location 3632)

Human reaction.

17. “ Ever since the terrible day we learned of her death, my family and I have been convinced that more than one person had to have been present to overpower her.”  (Chapter 10 Our Hope for Justice: Kindle Location 3646)

Reminds the reader the family were convinced of this from the very beginning.

“For Judge Hellmann to refer to Knox and Sollecito as ‘two good youngsters’ sounds more like a defence summing-up, I thought ‘two youngsters’ would have been sufficient. (Chapter 10 Our Hope for Justice: Kindle Location 3656)

Judge Hellman completely forgot about the real victim.

Posted on 05/16/12 at 05:01 PM by Cardiol MD. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryHer familyReporting on the caseV good reporting
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Italy Continues The Search For True Justice In A 30 Year Old Case

Posted by Peter Quennell





Nothing if not tenacious, those Italian prosecutors and police - and Italian TV on which the victim’s family never stopped pressing.

This is the case of 15-year-old Emanuela Orlandi, a Vatican citizen, who disappeared in 1983.  At the time the Vatican was much in the news because of a banking scandal that spread to London and because of an attempt made on the Pope’s life.

The Vatican is back in the news now because finally it stopped blocking for unclear reasons the exhumation of a crime gang leader who for unclear reasons was buried under a Vatican basilica in Rome.  The exhumation has now been done and there were some extra bones and pending tests may show that they are Emanuela’s.

The New York Times says there are at least three theories that could explain the disappearance and probable murder of Emanuela.

In 2005, an anonymous phone call to a television program about the disappearance added a piece to the puzzle:

“To find the solution to the case go and see who’s buried in the crypt of the basilica of Sant’Apollinare,” an unidentified man said, referring to the tomb of the local mob boss, Enrico De Pedis, known as Renatino, who was gunned down in Rome in 1990.

The caller also implied that Emanuela had been kidnapped as a favor to Cardinal Ugo Poletti, who in 1983 was the vicar general of Rome.  Cardinal Poletti died in 1997, and Archbishop Marcinkus in 2006.

Questions remain about why Mr. De Pedis, a member of the Magliana crime gang, was buried in a church owned by the Holy See. His tomb is in a small locked room in a crypt under the church…

To lay rumors to rest that the Vatican had obstructed investigations into Emanuela’s disappearance, last month the Holy See agreed to the opening of Mr. De Pedis’s tomb.

Whether the police can now narrow down to a single theory we soon shall see. After 30 years they are still doing what they can for the real victim. And her family never rests.

Below: images of Emanuela’s brother Pietro, a Vatican protest, and the exhumation yesterday of Mr De Pedis.














Posted on 05/15/12 at 02:59 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Italian justice v othersOther legal processesOthers Italian
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Monday, May 14, 2012

Italian Court Rules American Museum Must Return An Illegally Exported Statue

Posted by Peter Quennell





Now everybody holds their breath. Will it be returned or not?

The valuable statue is now at the Getty Museum (above) on a coastal hilltop just north of Los Angeles. Ironically it is actually Greek, and was hauled out of the Aegean Sea by fishermen almost directly east of Perugia. It is so valuable because only very few Greek statues remain intact. 

Very doubtfull that the US federal government gets involved though the courts might. The Los Angeles Times and some Italian newspapers carry the story.

An Italian court has upheld an order for the seizure of a masterpiece of the J. Paul Getty Museum’s antiquities collection, finding that the bronze statue of a victorious athlete was illegally exported from Italy before the museum purchased it for $4 million in 1976.

Since 2005, the Getty has voluntarily returned 49 antiquities in its collection, acknowledging they were the product of illegal excavations and had been smuggled out of their country of origin. Hundreds of other objects were returned by other American dealers, collectors and museums.

In the wake of those returns, several American museums struck cooperative deals with Italy and Greece that allow for long-term loans of ancient art.

Most such repatriation claims have been settled without legal action. The dispute over the Getty’s bronze ended up in Italian court thanks to its complicated legal status — an accidental discovery in international waters off Italy’s Adriatic coast.

The statue was most likely lost at sea after being plundered by Roman soldiers in Greece around the time of Christ. (The government of Greece has never asked that the statue be returned there.)

In 1964, Italian fishermen found the statue snagged in their nets. They hauled it ashore in the small port town of Fano, buried it in a cabbage field and then hid it in a priest’s bathtub rather than declare it to customs officials, as required under Italian law.

Three brothers and the priest were convicted of trafficking in stolen goods, but an appeals court threw out their convictions in 1970, citing insufficient evidence. At the time, the statue was still missing, and its value was unknown.

 

Posted on 05/14/12 at 03:41 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Italian justice v othersThe wider contextsItalian context
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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Considering The Sad And Sensitive But Also Crucial Subject Of Meredith’s Time Of Death

Posted by James Raper





The following is a discourse on the time of death (TOD) arguments in the case.

These have been summarised but not analysed in depth yet on TJMK. A discussion on the pathology is not really everyone’s cup of tea, but the issue was examined in some detail by Massei and to some extent by Hellmann with somewhat differing conclusions reached.

The topic is relevant because Judge Massei used (inter alia) the expert’s findings to corroborate a TOD being after 11pm, more toward 11.30pm, whereas Judge Hellmann argued an earlier TOD as follows: “it is more consistent….to hypothesize that in fact the attack, and hence the death shortly thereafter, occurred much earlier than the time held by the Court of first instance, certainly not later than 10.13 pm”.

In addition to what is covered by the contents of these two Motivation Reports, there is an argument which is presented by the Friends of Amanda, and in particular Chris Halkides who I understand is, or was,  an Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of North Carolina. In fact he presents an argument put forward by Professor Introna (Sollecito’s expert) during the trial.

This argument is to do with the standard time for the stomach to empty from the start of a meal, and relating this to the autopsy findings and in particular that of the pathologist Dr Lalli who found that Meredith’s stomach was 500cc full but that there was no material to be found in the duodenum.  Halkides’ argument is that this demonstrates conclusively that Meredith was attacked shortly after her return to the cottage at 9pm and would have died shortly thereafter. The significance of this, if correct, is apparent in that it opens up, or at least it raises a doubt as to whether there is or not a verifiable alibi for Knox and Sollecito. 

Although Knox does not have an alibi from the time of Meredith’s return home at 9pm, there was human interaction, the last, on Raffaele’s computer at 9.15pm, and one might assume that they were together at that time.  But no verifiable alibi until one takes into account that Curatolo says that he first saw the two on Grimana Square around 9.30pm.

My area is the law, and I have no medical or scientific expertise, so I hesitate to go up against anyone who has, but nevertheless I will endeavour to summarise and rationalise the evidence, arguments and conclusions as presented by Massei, Hellmann and Halkides.

First a word about the digestive system.

Food, already masticated, passes through the esophagus to the stomach, where it is broken down by acids, from where it then passes to the small intestine from whence the body extracts the nutrients it needs.  The duodenum is that part of the small intestine right next to the stomach and it’s function is to dissolve the food “juice” further with enzymes before passing it on to the rest of the small intestine.

Judge Massei

Judge Massei considers the experts’ findings in the following areas to determine a likely time of death.

The first is temperature decrease, “taking the Henssge nomogram into account: rigor mortis; hypostatic marks” etc.

One can note that in fact rigor mortis and the hypostatic marks were not in the least bit helpful due to the 12 hour delay in the pathologist getting to examine the body.

That apart, nevertheless ……“These led Dr Lalli to conclude that death may have occurred between 21 hours 30 minutes, and 30 hours and 30 minutes, before the first measurement, and thus between approximately 8 pm on November 1st 2007, and 4am on November 2nd….The intermediate value also indicated by the mathematical reconstruction (26 hours prior to the first measurement) puts the time of death at approximately 11 pm.”

Just how one works out TOD on temperature decrease indicators, especially in the absence of a pathological examination earlier than that which took place here, is pretty technical.  I will not attempt to present the data (some of which is missing i.e Meredith’s actual body weight) or explain the mathematical models (so as to calculate body weight and the rate of cooling) (the Henssge nonogram appears to be one such mathematical model in graph form) that the experts used. 

Nearly all the experts, other than Professor Introna, whilst having marginal disagreements about data and formulae, were not in fundamental disagreement about the wide parameters of or even Dr Lalli’s conclusion of a TOD of approximately 11pm.

Professor Introna departed from the other experts to use an “ideal weight” and a specific formula to calculate the ideal weight, to produce a TOD of 8.20pm when of course we know that Meredith was still very much alive. Thus Massei ruled out ideal weight calculations as unreliable and used a median weight based on Dr Lalli’s guesstimates of Meredith’s weight (as used by the other experts) on first examination and at autopsy, though she was not actually weighed at all.

The second area is gastric emptying of the stomach.

It was acknowledged by all the experts that there is something like a standard period between the time that food enters the stomach and it then being processed through into the small intestine.  There was, however, some disagreement as to the parameters, ranging between 2-3 hours and 3-4 hours. One could therefore say 2-4 hours. Remember this.

Most of the experts agreed though that individuals are different, and there are variables leading to wide discrepancies including the type of meal eaten. A number of the experts heard said that the state of digestion was probably the most unreliable indicator as to the TOD.

All agreed that acute stress, psychological as well as physical such as an attack, would inhibit the digestive process.

I will not rehearse Professor Introna’s argument here as this, essentially, is the argument which Chris Halkides deploys, to which I will come in a moment.

It is fairly clear that Massei found the information as to body cooling time more convincing than information as to the state of digestion. However, as I understood it, the Appeal Court was going to be asked to re-evaluate precisely that. Did it?

Judge Hellmann

The Court of Assizes of first instance has acknowledged the difficulty in precisely fixing the time of death based merely on autopsy criteria. Since not all the accurate data is available, the time span within which the death of Meredith Kercher can be placed based on such criteria remains very widely outlined: between 9pm and 9.30pm of November 1st 2007, and the early hours of November 2nd.However, in reconstructing the sequence of events the Court of first instance assessed it was able to fix the time of death based on other elements, in particular the harrowing scream….

The first point to note here is that Hellmann misinterprets the first Court’s findings. He ignores the fact that the first Court did determine a TOD between 11pm and 11.30 pm as probable based on the pathology alone, and gave reasons for this.

None of the expert testimony is rehearsed, let alone re-evaluated by Hellmann.  He proceeds merely to discredit the reliability of the witnesses as to the other elements such as the scream etc.

One recalls that Nara Capezzali says that she heard a scream sometime between 11 and 11.30 pm. That there was a broken down car and the breakdown driver came and went between perhaps 11 and 11.15 pm.

As mentioned earlier his hypothesizing about the other elements leads him to a TOD of not later than 10.13 pm although this time seems a very random one based on what he presents. He talks in this section about Guede’s statement that he arrived at the cottage at 9 pm.

One suspects that if Hellmann could have fixed the time of death at 9.15 pm or 9.30 pm then he would have done so as either time would be a get out of jail free card for Knox and Sollecito.  He did not, but he got them out of jail nevertheless with his hypothesizing - here and elsewhere in his report.

I could just stop here because further discussion on the pathology itself would seem irrelevant as regards the appeal to Cassation, though it could really matter at a second appeal trial.

But here is a comment about Chris Halkides because some do say they find his conclusion convincing.

Chris Halkides

My summary of his argument.

The stomach was full (or at least had 500 cc of contents) and the duodenum had no material in it.  As the duodenum had no material in it then, Halkides deduces, the stomach had not started to release any part of the meal Meredith had consumed at Robyn Butterworths’ into the small intestine at TOD. Death stops the digestive process.

The contents of the stomach observed by Dr Lalli included some of the apple crumble eaten by Meredith and what appeared to be items, in a very advanced state of acidification, thought to be pizza toppings. Meredith and Sophie had eaten pizza at Robyn Butterworths’ home, followed by the apple crumble. In addition there was a small measure of alcohol in the stomach equivalent to a glass of beer.

They had started eating at about 6pm (some accounts e.g John Follain’s have it earlier at 5.30 pm) or maybe 6.30 pm, putting on a DVD to watch a film and finishing at 8 pm or perhaps 8.30 pm. The times here are an indication if anything and are not to be treated as completely accurate.

If it was 6.30 pm that Meredith began to eat then using the standard parameters discussed by Massei we have latest TODs of 9.30 or 10.30 pm for when material from the stomach should have started to enter the duodenum. Not later and certainly not as late as 11 or 11.30 pm.

That is Halkides’ argument in a nutshell. He argues that TOD is actually about 9.30 pm. If so it would have been impossible for Knox and Sollecito who were still at the flat at 9.15 pm and who were seen in the square at 9.30 pm to have committed the murder.

He has referred me to an article in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology about an experiment conducted on volunteers where the mean time (for 95 individuals) for gastric emptying of solids is 127 minutes, give or take, I think, twenty minutes either side.

Using the mean, to be pedantic, this would mean that Meredith died before she got home or at the latest immediately on arrival (6.30 + 2 hours 27 minutes = 8.57 pm.)

That article, incidentally, was published in 2006. It doesn’t seem to date that the results have been peer reviewed and verified and I would have thought that the experts who testified at the trial in 2009 would have been aware of it. So the data set out here may be suspect for a given individual and does not take into account variables excluding age, sex and body mass index which the research found to have no significant correlation.

In any event Halkides is quite happy to have a latest parameter of 3 hours, but no longer. Indeed that would be what brings us to 9.30 pm.

The problem I detect with his argument is twofold.

Firstly there is the uncertainty as to when Meredith began to eat at Robyn’s home (and since it was a two course meal, when she began to eat the apple crumble) and secondly Halkides’ argument is predicated on that two course meal being her last.

If the apple crumble was eaten at 8 or 8.30 pm then (adding on the 2 hours 27 minutes from the above research) it may still have been in her stomach at 10.27 or 10,57 pm, or later indeed (which Halkides has to concede) since the digestive time from the research is only an average.

So with a parameter of 3 hours we might just as well say 11 pm or 11.30 pm.

In addition to variables we could take into account inhibitors such as Meredith suffering acute psychological stress commencing…well…we cannot be certain when, can we?.

One can play Hellmann’s game and hypothesize to our advantage a number of stress situations on that fateful evening, starting quite early. No one has to accept Massei’s hypothesis of a Meredith on her own and in relaxed mode until about 11pm. Massei’s hypothesis here is in no way crucial.

Furthermore the hypothesis that Meredith actually ate a further snack on her return to the cottage does seem to have some basis in fact in that at the autopsy the pathologist found a mushroom in her esophagus. Mushrooms specifically had not been a topping on the pizzas baked at Robyn’s home. As to the alcohol in her stomach no alcohol had been consumed at Robyn’s home, only water.

It might sound a bit flippant for me to suggest it but it might be the case that Meredith, who was passionate about pizzas, had a beer and grilled a quick meal of pizza toppings from the fridge for herself which Halkides mistakes for evidence of the pizza still in the stomach.

That Meredith might still have been hungry might be because she had not, until eating at Robyn’s, eaten for a considerable time beforehand.

She had been partying all night Halloween and had gone to bed at about 4 am, rising at about midday, and then leaving not so long afterwards to be with her friends. Whether she had anything to eat at the cottage before leaving on the afternoon of the 1st, we simply don’t know.

Knox tells us in her e-mail to Seattle that she and Raffaele cooked and ate there, but she does not mention Meredith having anything to eat, and Meredith left before they did.

For some reason John Follain thinks Meredith did eat then, Paul Russell that she did not. I do not see how either could be sure. If it had been me I might have felt up to a nibble but not much more knowing that in a few hours I would be eating a meal with my friends.

It seems to me that it is quite possible that Robyn’s pizza had passed through the stomach, duodenum, and indeed perhaps most of if not the rest of the small intestine by 11.30 pm and that the apple crumble had not even begun to enter the duodenum.

Let us assume that Meredith actually started her pizza at 5.30 pm (according to Follain) finishing at 5.40 pm. As she was already hungry the stomach acids go to work straight away and the pizza passes at the earliest to the duodenum after two hours, spending a further three and half hours (as per literature) in the small intestine before passing to the rectum . A total of five and a half hours.

Thus the small intestine had disposed of it by 11.10 pm. There would however be an unlikely gap to the consumption of the apple crumble. Yet if the apple crumble was consumed after the DVD (watching the film The Notebook circa 123 minutes) then that would be around 8 pm, entering the duodenum three and a half hours later (possible) at 11.30 pm or at least it would be doing this but for the fact that Meredith was already the subject of a vicious attack inhibiting the digestive process.

I accept that I am not using uniform digestion times in this speculation (indeed I have deployed earliest and latest parameters at will) but nevertheless they are within the parameters accepted by the experts, and even, at a push, by Halkides as well.

The point is that this is a complicated topic and there are many imprecise details that do not allow for certainty but only probablilities, or in some instances, possibilities. This Massei, and to a certain extent Hellmann recognized.

Nobody can be precisely sure and so any other timeline or alibi must stand or fall on their own.

Posted on 05/09/12 at 07:11 PM by James Raper. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedPolice and CSIPublic evidenceThe timelinesTrials 2008 & 2009Massei prosecution
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Dr Galati: Seems One Of Curt Knox’s PR Operatives Who Has Been Bullying Meredith’s Father Online

Posted by Glinda The Good





Yet another example of Curt Knox’s abusive public relations campaign at work?

We have long heard that the PR run for Curt Knox by David Marriott in Seattle controls all the pro-Knox anti-Italy message everywhere. David Marriott unwisely claimed this, in fact, right after Amanda Knox returned to Seattle. See here.

The PR is said to abuse reporters who dont go along, reward those that do, and fan out nasty commenters around the web to post selling points under various false names. It presumably does that to make the movement look spontaneous and big. An expanding but questionable technique which goes by the name astroturfing.

Every month more evidence piles up, suggesting that online comment threads and forums are being hijacked by people who aren’t what they seem.

The anonymity of the web gives companies and governments golden opportunities to run astroturf operations: fake grassroots campaigns that create the impression that large numbers of people are demanding or opposing particular policies. This deception is most likely to occur where the interests of companies or governments come into conflict with the interests of the public. For example, there’s a long history of tobacco companies creating astroturf groups to fight attempts to regulate them.

After I wrote about online astroturfing in December, I was contacted by a whistleblower. He was part of a commercial team employed to infest internet forums and comment threads on behalf of corporate clients, promoting their causes and arguing with anyone who opposed them.

Like the other members of the team, he posed as a disinterested member of the public. Or, to be more accurate, as a crowd of disinterested members of the public: he used 70 personas, both to avoid detection and to create the impression there was widespread support for his pro-corporate arguments. I’ll reveal more about what he told me when I’ve finished the investigation I’m working on.

The Knox PR astroturfing operation now has Meredith’s father John Kercher and his fine new book in its crosshairs, and for some days it has been raining contemptuous abuse. .

Officialdom in Perugia and Rome and the Italian Supreme Court all seem to know that the Knox-Mellases KNEW Amanda Knox was involved in the crime against Meredith almost as soon as they arrived in Perugia, and that they have been trying to cover that up ever since.

The PR scheme had already swung into operation by then, but the Knox-Mellases made the fateful choice to stick with it regardless, instead of maybe more wisely switching off the PR and turning to a good American lawyer to spread the word instead. Curt Knox recently claimed, before Amanda’s “innocent” persona started to implode, that using PR was one of the best choices he ever made. 

This image above is of Seth Chandler, the managing director of Axolotl AB, a public relations firm linked to David Marriott’s which does the usual advertising, copy doctoring, social media campaigning, and so on. The image was captured online before it was hurriedly disappeared.

Seth appears to be the same chap caught red-handed the other day propagating the all-too-familiar FOA selling points while sliming the family of Meredith, who is the real victim here. Under an article on Worldcrunch which reported the imminent release of John Kercher’s book “Meredith” Seth Chandler was observed repeatedly posting that John Kercher (and others there trying to explain the truth) should simply STFU..

With only a couple of exceptions, real names of identifiable people are not used by the PR.  We’ve seen them, we’ve read them, but this appears to be only the second time (after “Bruce Fisher of New York”) that one of the anonymous PR operatives/contractors has been exposed for what and where he is. Perhaps we might expect a few more.

For four years in the US and the UK, with big money at stake, the operatives have bashed Italy, the Italian justice system, Italian culture, and the Italian law enforcement agencies involved in the case. The operatives have slimed the Scientific Police, the prosecutor Mr Mignini, the prosecutor Ms Comodi, the British press, the Italian press, the Kerchers’ lawyer Mr Maresca, and all the prosecution witnesses.  In various postings they have accused many of these people of crimes, an imprisonable felony in the US.

They have bashed the lay judges in the court because they wear their tricolour sashes routinely as a badge of office. They have claimed that this is an anti-American display. They have decried the Italian courtroom because behind the lead judge a crucifix hangs there.

The operatives have thrown mud at anyone they perceive as dangerously surfacing any hard truth about the case. Respected journalists have received exceptional abuse. Any perceived enemy not so much of Amanda Knox herself as the defense narrative of the murder and the legal processes can expect to get roughed up.

So it’s quite a game-changer when Seth Chandler, or “Seth C” as he now wants to be known, the managing director of Axolotl PR, is apparently caught red-handed telling John Kercher to STFU.  Seth Chandler has claimed as he tried to wriggle off the hook that “no one paid” him to say STFU, and that anyway PRs would never say such a thing. Really? But the abuse was right there in his name.

Seth Chandler also works for Electrolux. Its competitors are are Dyson, and LG. I wouldn’t imagine that he employs the same tactics for firms, though I haven’t yet checked his Amazon customer reviews.

Shame on Seth Chandler - and on Curt Knox, whose vile temper reverberates throughout this case and some increasingly believe sent Amanda Knox over the top.

Posted on 05/09/12 at 04:35 AM by Glinda The Good. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedAll the nefarious hoaxesAmanda KnoxKnox-Mellas teamMore of the same
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Friday, May 04, 2012

Dr Galati: Please Check Out What Looks Like A Mischievous Defense-Inspired Global Hoax

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Left, editor Chris Blackhurst of the Independent, right, editor Tony Gallagher of the Daily Telegraph]


1. Examine first some key happenings at the Knox/Sollecito trial

Throughout the trial which began back in January 2009 the defense teams often seemed down or depressed or distracted or floundering.

Reports surfaced in Italy that one or two of them might even have considered walking. Knox defense counsel Luciano Ghirga was reported as nodding off or distracted. Sollecito defense counsel Giulia Bongiorno was photographed seemingly showing some exasperation with Sollecito and at zero notice she missed several days in court.

Amanda Knox’s testimony over two days on the stand in June 2009 was widely seen in Italy as a disaster. From then on many in the court and throughout Italy believed this seemingly callous, evasive, forgetful girl had to have had a role in Meredith’s death.

Having failed to attend to observe any of the key forensic tests at the Scientific Police labs in Rome, the defenses were able to introduce some forensic witnesses who testified that there might, possibly, somehow, be contamination in the collection and tests which they chose not to witness, but they never came close to showing how.

By the summations in November 2009 both defenses seemed to be seriously floundering. 


2. Fast forward to Friday 20 November 2009

What happened on 20 November might well have made it the defenses’ very worst day.

On that day during their summation the prosecution BEHIND CLOSED DOORS devoted an entire day to reconstructing how Meredith died and the events in the few hours before and since.

The presentation was closed because Judge Massei had ruled in favor of Meredith’s family to close the court to the media when any upsetting material was being presented. For example the results of the autopsy had been presented in closed court.

This resulted in the Massei judges and jury receiving a much more disturbing picture than the Italian public and especially the foreign publics ever did.

The Italian media pieced together what had been presented behind the closed doors on 20 November and Il Messagero and several other Italian newspapers published it several days later. You can read a combined summary in this post here.

To our knowledge none of that summary of events ever appeared in the US or UK media, so the full impact of the reconstruction felt by the jury and to a lesser extent by the Italian public was never felt at all by the US or UK publics.

This excerpt is from that post:

We have left out the depiction of the final struggle with Meredith, which is extremely sad and disturbing. In the evidence phase this was testified-to behind closed doors at her family’s request and we have never posted anything from those sessions….

23:21 - Amanda and Raffaele go into Meredith’s bedroom, while Rudy goes into the bathroom.

23:25 - A scuffle begins between Amanda, helped by Raffaele, and Meredith. The English girl is taken by the neck, then banged against a cupboard. Rudy Guede enters and joins in.

23:30 - 23:45 Depiction in the timeline and computer simulation of a horrific struggle with Meredith

23:50 - Amanda and Raffaele take Meredith’s mobile phones and they leave the apartment. Guede goes into the bathroom to get several towels to staunch the blood, then puts a cushion under Meredith’s head.

That simulation video was a second-by-second depiction of what the crime-scene specialists from the Scientific Police in Rome had concluded, from the position of Meredith’s body in the room, evidence traces and the placing of various objects, and the many wounds described in the autopsy.

It was extremely difficult and laborious to get just right, and every tiny movement of the four that it depicts in three-dimensional space had to be able to stand up unchallenged - as they did.

The fight with Meredith took a horrific fifteen minutes. It only ended when she was lying bleeding on the floor, her hands grasping her neck. She was locked in her room to die, with her keys and phones removed to make sure she could not save her own life.

This was not a minute or two of hazing and a slipped knife. The evident intention was to see her dead - and in the reconstruction it required THREE ATTACKERS to explain all the evidence points.

The prosecution never entered the video into evidence so it could not be leaked to the public (the Sollecito family already stood accused of leaking one video)  but the effect on the jury seems to have been profound and the defenses could do nothing to blunt it.

The lone wolf theory was well and truly dead in that courtroom and a perception of three attackers was well and truly alive. The defenses did what they could in their summations but they were unable to shake the perception of a depraved three-against-one attack.

A few days later a verdict was announced. By a UNANIMOUS verdict Sollecito and Knox were found guilty.


3. Fast forward to the first-level appeal before Judge Hellman in 20011

Judge Sergio Matteini Chiari, the most senior judge in the criminal division, was appointed to preside over the appeal.

He was very experienced at presiding over murder trials and appeals. What happened next surprised many among the judges and prosecutors and Italian reporters and the Italian public generally. From the Italian Wikipedia:

Although the Assize Court of Appeal was to be chaired by Dr. Sergio Matteini Chiari, Chairman of the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal in Perugia, in circumstances not well understood Dr. Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, who chairs the Labor Chamber of the Court, has been called on to preside over the appeal court,

The judge to the side of the main judge, Dr. Massimo Zanetti, came from the Civil Section, and both had had limited experience with criminal trials both rather remote in time (only the cases of Spoleto and Orvieto).

Judge Hellman readily consented to the defense requests. First to re-examine several witnesses previously heard on the stand during trial (primarily Mr Curatolo) and two new ones (Alessi and Aviello) intended to show that Guede or Aviello’s missing brother could have attacked Meredith with unknown others.

And second to appoint two independent experts who would re-examine the DNA on the large knife found in Sollecito’s apartment and the DNA for which traces were collected in Meredith’s room and the methods used for processing them.

The examination of the witnesses seemed to end indecisively, but the vague suggestions of the independent consultants that there COULD have been DNA contamination - never proven - was accepted readily by Judge Hellman.

The reconstruction and the showing of the simulation which the trial jury sat through in later 2009 was not repeated by the prosecution at the first appeal in late 2011. Judge Hellman showed no inclination to sit through the full depiction of the day or the horrific 15-minute attack on Meredith.

So the explanation of all the evidence points in the room and on Meredith’s body was never solidly brought home solidly to Judge Hellman or his jury. In his verdict he overturned the outcome of the first trial, provisionally pending any Supreme Court ratification, and he handed Amanda Knox a three-year sentence for framing Patrick Lumumba.

Having refused to see the reconstruction, he could very torturously argue that the attack on Meredith could have been carried out by a single person. If he and his jury had actually watched the video, they could never have argued that.


4. Fast-forward to the grounds of Dr Galati’s appeal to the Supreme Court

The Umbria Chief Prosecutor’s grounds for appeal were spelt out by him at a new conference in Perugia on Monday 13 February 2012. The PMF translation team will soon have the full document ready in English.

The summary of the grounds for appeal below is translated from the Umbria24 report and to our knowledge NO English-language website except this one and PMF has ever reported what are the full grounds.

Meredith case: the prosecution appeals to Cassation: the acquittal verdict should be “nullified”.

For the Chief Magistrates of the [Umbria] Prosecution, “it was almost exclusively the defence arguments which were taken heed of”

By Francesca Marruco

The first-level conviction verdict was “complete and thorough” while the verdict of the second-level is “contradictory and illogical”.  For this reason, the General Prosecution of Perugia asks the Cassation to revoke or invalidate it.

“We are still extremely convinced that Amanda and Raffaele are co-perpetrators of the murder of Meredith Kercher” said the Chief Prosecutor of Perugia, Giovanni Galati and the Deputy Chief Prosecutor, Giancarlo Costagliola.

Verdict that should be revoked “The second-level verdict should be annulled/revoked….  There are precise reasons for revoking it”, Mr Galati went on to say. In the Hellman reasoning report on the verdict with which the second-level judges acquitted the ex-boyfriend and girlfriend “there are so many errors, and many omissions. There is inconsistency in the grounds for judgement, which brings us to nothing.”

“It is as if they had ruled ex novo [anew] on Meredith’s murder” added the Deputy Prosecutor, Giancarlo Costagliola, “basing their decision solely on the arguments of the defence.”

“Normally the appeal judge evaluates the reasoning procedure of the first-instance judge and compares it to new elements. But this one missed that out altogether: there is no comparison between the checks carried out in the first and second instances. Only what was carried out during the appeal was evaluated.”

Only defence arguments were taken heed of For the magistrates, in fact, the second-level judges “took heed, almost exclusively, of the arguments of the defence consultants or the reconstruction hypotheses that were largely to the benefit of the defense theses”.

The prosecutors who authored the appeal [to Cassation] also criticized the “method used”. “The first-instance verdict”, they wrote, “was summarized in just a few lines”,

“The verdict [which we] challenge completely ignored all the other aspects which corresponded with the accusation’s hypothesis, all the aspects which, on the contrary - as was seen in the reasoning report of the first-instance verdict - had been rigorously pointed out and considered by the Assizes Court [trial court] in its decision.”

“In examining the individual [items of] evidence, the challenged sentence has fallen into consistent procedural error in the weaknesses and evident illogicality of the grounds for its decision.”

Prejudice For the General Prosecution magistrates, the second-level [first appeal] judges appear to have shown “a sort of prejudice” with the “infelicitous preamble of the judge [the author], who is supposed to be impartial”, when he declared that “nothing is certain except the death of Meredith Kercher”, which to the others [Mr Galati and Mr Costagliola] is nothing more than “a resounding preview/forecast of the judgement” and a “disconcerting” affirmation.
 
The ten points The reasons for the appeal to Cassation which Perugia’s General Prosecution presented today against the acquittal verdict of Amanda and Raffaele are based on ten points of the second-level verdict.

The first is the lack of grounds for the decision, in the decree of 18 December 2010, to allow the forensic testimony/expert witness in the appeal judgement.

The second, in contrast, concerns a contrary decision: the decision to not allow a new forensic investigation requested by the prosecution at the end of the ruling discussion. In the appeal to Cassation it is written that the Appeal Court’s rejection reveals “contradictoriness/contrariness and demonstrates manifest illogicality in the grounds for the judgement/reasoning report”.

The other points deal with the decision by the Appeal court of Assizes of Perugia to not hear the witness Aviello, also the definition of “unreliable” [in the Hellman Report] with reference to the witnesses Roberto Quintavalle and Antonio Curatolo, also the time of death of Meredith Kercher, also on the genetic investigations.

As well as the analyses of the prints and other traces, also the presence of Amanda and Sollecito in via della Pergola, also the simulation of a crime [the staged break-in], and also the exclusion of the aggravating circumstance of the crime of “calumny”.

Missing assumption/acceptance of decisive evidence In the appeal to Cassation there is also mention of the “missing assumption/acceptance of a decisive proof”

In other words, of that proof [presented at trial court] which consisted of “the carrying out of the genetic analysis on the sample taken from the knife by the experts appointed by the Court during the appeal judgement, who did not carry out the analyses of that sample, thus violating a specific request contained in the [orders given to them] when they were assigned to the expert-witness post”

“In the second-level [Hellman] verdict”, the magistrates said, “the judges sought to refer to this in their own way, by speaking of an “experimental method” by which these tests/checks could be carried out.

But this is not the case”, said Deputy Chief Prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola: “Dr Novelli [the prosecution’s DNA consultant at appeal] spoke of cutting-edge technology, not of experimental methods”.

So Dr Galati, himself formerly a deputy chief prosecutor at the Supreme Court who for years handled nothing but Supreme Court cases and knows what constitutes a sound appeal argument, argued that Judge Hellman had made ten serious mistakes. (Aviello claimed in court that he had been bribed; instead of investigating, Judge Hellman very quickly move on.)

But even worse, that Judge Hellman had illegally vastly expanded the scope of the appeal. And he had illegally appointed the independent DNA experts.

Because of Hellman’s alleged sloppiness and overreach, the defenses now stood to lose EVERYTHING they thought they had gained - and had been so noisily jubilant about, especially to the media in the US. An arrogance not taken kindly to in Italy at all.


5. Fast forward to English language press reports of the past few days.

Nick Squires may have been the first to carry the report quoting unnamed sources in the Daily Telegraph.

Two prosecutors in Perugia, where Miss Kercher was murdered, face accusations of wasting 182,000 euros (£150,000) of public money by commissioning a controversial 3D video which purported to show how the murder unfolded.

The contentious video, which defence lawyers said was based on circumstantial evidence, showed Miss Kercher being held down and stabbed to death by Miss Knox and her two co-accused.

The Leeds University student and her alleged murderers were represented in the 20 minute film by animated ‘avatars’. It was played on a big screen to the judge and jury in the original trial in 2009.

The National Audit Office is now investigating the prosecutors, Giuliano Mignini and his deputy, Manuela Comodi, on whether the video was a necessary part of their case.

If found culpable they could have to pay the money back to the prosecutors’ office.

Really? Accusations? Wasting? Controversial? Purported? Contentious? Now investigating?

Note that Nick Squires didnt name his sources. He didnt explain why he claimed the video simulation was controversial. (It wasn’t at all controversial at trial in 2009.) He didnt seem to know who had made the accusations or how or when they had been made or to who. 

He failed to mention that the video was played behind closed doors, and that the defenses had no comeback to it. He said it depicted Knox, though in fact it deliberately didn’t. He didn’t explain that the depiction of the fight lasted 15 minutes. He didn’t explain that the depiction of three attackers was overwhelmingly convincing to Judge Massei and his jury.

Nick Squires’s report was nevertheless comparatively brief and restrained in contrast to that of Michael Day which came next. His very much embroidered version was published in the UK Independent.  The accusatory tone and serious charges in Nick Squires’s and Michael Day’s reports were then picked up without checking by a large number of American and European media outlets.

See the reports here and here and here and here and here and here and here .

Note that not one of these reports was checked out in Italy, and that all these reports slam Mr Mignini (yet again) and indicate that this was an OFFICIAL accusation of “wasting public funds”.  Many US reports wrongly state that the British audit office is investigating.

Michael Day claimed that “Agostino Chiappiniello has said he suspects the two of inappropriately spending €182,000 (£148,000) on a crude and cartoonish 20-minute video,” 

Really? Agostino Chiappiniello, did you tell Michael Day precisely that?

Michael Day then states that “In both trials [Mr Mignini’s ] interventions were notable for the outlandish motivations and personality traits he attributed to the defendants. He promoted the idea that the murder was the result of a sex-game that got out of control, despite having little or no evidence to support the theory.”

Really? Actually Guede and Knox and Sollecito were all CONVICTED of a sex crime at trial, because to their judges and juries that is what the evidence inescapably pointed to.

And Michael Day concludes with yet another misleading statement (see above on Dr Galati’s appeal for the correct facts which he seriously garbles here.):

Judges at the Cassation court may only overturn the first-appeal verdict on technical grounds. Thus, no new evidence may be introduced and the prosecution’s room for manoeuvre is limited. The pair could not be retried for the same crimes.

Really? But nobody is talking about the pair being retried for the same crimes. This does not arise. Under Italian law they STILL stand accused of the same crimes as they were before trial back in 2009 until the Supreme Court signs off on their case.


6. Fast-forward to the ITALIAN reports of the past two days

Translation by our main poster Jools from an Umbria24 report, posted on Wednesday, which tells a very different story. 

[There was several months ago]… a complaint from “a group of private citizens” who did not sign their names and surnames about an alleged misuse of public money….

No comment from the two prosecutors of Perugia, no comment on this news.

As we have learned the prosecutors have not received any legal papers regarding the investigation and they heard of the news from the press.

Who will pay? To decide if the expense was adequate for the State coffers will be the task of the prosecutor at the Court of Audits of Umbria.

Meanwhile if the Supreme Court were to overturn the judgment of the Perugia appellate court, the costs would be paid by the two accused [Knox and Sollecito].

If instead the Supreme Court were to confirm the acquittal, the bill for 182 thousand euros would be borne by the Italian State.



7. In summation

Quite a fizzle. The prosecutors are NOT quaking in their boots. They didnt even know about it.  And the full force of Italian justice does NOT have them under the microscope. 

  • The anonymous complaint was filed over two months ago.  Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
  • If the enquiry is actually pursued (not at all certain)  then it is Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito who could in fact be stuck for the costs (plus VAT) of producing the video. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
  • The Corte dei Conti is not the equivalent of a criminal or civic court, it is essentially an investigating tribunal. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
  • The Corte dei Conti has so far not accused anyone of anything, and it may never do so. It sure doesn’t seem to regard the matter as urgent. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
  • In fact it has taken over two months to, well… not even assemble the evidence or bother to get in touch with Mr Mignini or Ms Comodi. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.

On the same basis Judge Hellman could in theory be accused of incurring TWO huge cost over-runs.

  • One for running his appeal court only on saturdays to suit just one defense lawyer, when the overtime costs to Italy became huge - substantially more than the cost of the video. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
  • And one for (according to Dr Galati) illegally appointing the two DNA consultants - the costs of that investigation to Italy became much more than the cost of the video. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.

The reconstruction video is so powerful and accurate that it could,  if it is watched by the Supreme Court in Rome or a new appeal court in Perugia, be quite devastating to the defense of the two accused. This is because it depicts the full cruelty of the attack on Meredith - and it shows that THREE people had to have attacked her.

So who filed the anonymous complaint against Mr Mignini and Ms Comodi? And who used Nick Squires and Michael Day as puppets to make a private claim look official, and make that hoax go viral?  We are sure Dr Galati will have all the answers before many days go past. Calunnia charges might apply.

Someone must REALLY fear that Sollecito and Knox will be cooked if that video reconstruction ever gets shown again. Case closed? At one stroke.


[Below: Knox and Sollecito, who could be billed over $300,000 for the reconstruction video]

Posted on 05/04/12 at 02:08 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedThe prosecutorsAll the nefarious hoaxesThe Dr Mignini hoaxKnox-Mellas teamSollecito teamMore of the same
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Monday, April 30, 2012

Does ANY Competent Lawyer Actually Believe RS And AK Are 100% Innocent? If So, Then PROVE It

Posted by James Raper



[Above: Knox defense legal advisor Ted Simon increasingly seems to have some explaining to do]

After 3 days and growing, unfortunately no sign that pro-innocence lawyers (if any) want to respond.  Mr Simon? Mr Barnett? Ms Nancy Grace? (Well perhaps not you)

The Italian, US and UK lawyers who guide TJMK (of which I am one) look around and wonder: why are genuinely-convinced pro-Knox lawyers (if any) still not comprehensively answering all the open questions?

I contrast this with the various media talking heads who have offered drive-by comments without a really deep understanding of the facts of the case or Italian law.

In the law of all three countries, defense lawyers don’t need to KNOW either way whether their client is guilty or innocent. They don’t have to come out with a complete scenario to account for all the facts and point to innocence that would be the counterpart to my scenario (powerpoints - wait a few seconds to load) seemingly accounting for all the facts, which is still an unchallenged case for guilt.

But a comprehensive rebuttal would do the hard-pressed Sollecito and Knox factions a big favor, and provide a much-needed framework for the media (which is posting many incorrect legal claims), and make the Cassation appeal and the book-writing by Knox and Sollecito so much easier.

Consider the ups-and-downs of the defense legal teams on the case,

It was clear in 2008 that her lawyers absolutely didnt like Knox speaking out, offering different versions that between them made her look distinctly guilty. They didnt like the anti-Mignini campaign run from Seattle and they publicly said so - when Mr Mignini was attacked by a main speaker at an event at Salty’s they actually spoke up and publicly defended him.

In December 2008 NBC TV aired an excellent Dateline report. The main legal talking head, Ted Simon, explained that this was a really tough prosecution case to beat, and that whacking down individual points of evidence would not win the case in the public eye (justice would not be seen to be done) and that only a complete alternative explanation of the crime would do.

At trial in 2009 the defense teams did what they could with a torrent of facts and two unpredictable clients. The cross-examination of Amanda Knox on the stand mid-year in the context of Patrick Lumumba’s alleged framing must have seemed a real low-point for them, as she came across as rather flippant and chilling, and she said a number of things that all defense lawyers would probably prefer that she hadn’t.

Through the publication of Judge Massei’s report the defenses seem to have been faced with an uphill battle.

In 2011 an experienced criminal-case judge was initially appointed to preside over the first appeal. But quite suddenly, to the surprise of many in Italy and the alleged unhappiness of the judge himself, he was removed from the case, and Judge Hellman was appointed in his place. 

Defence counsel would of course have had no role in that surprise change of lead judges for the first appeal, but from Day One of the appeal (spaced out to one session a week by Judge Hellman to suit one of them) the defenses seemed much happier.

The prosecution were now on occasion publicly hinting that they were now stuck with the uphill battle. The defenses now seemed the side energized and confident. But please note these three things which suggest that they knew they were not all-powerful.

    1)  They appealed on very narrow grounds, essentially on some witness testimony and a small part of the forensic evidence, and they kept well away from the multiple alibis, mobile phones and computers, and forensic evidence in the hallway, bathroom, and Filomena’s room.

    2) They never argued that Rudy Guede was the lone-wolf killer in the case (the surprise preference in his report of Judge Hellman) and even put their own witnesses Alessi and Aviello on the stand to in effect try to prove otherwise.

    3) Knox legal advisor Ted Simon was reduced to arguing on TV that there was no evidence of Knox and Sollecito IN the bedroom, while never accounting for the mishmash of alibis or all the mixed-blood and footprint evidence just outside the door.

As Dr Galati’s appeal and public opinion in the three countries are showing, the defences may have mostly won the second battle, with Judge Hellman’s interim verdict and sentence (Knox was still sentenced to three years), but they seem to be falling far short of winning the war for the two clients.

Now the defences again face an uphill battle.

So here we go. An opportunity for any good pro-innocence lawyer to help to win the war for Knox and Sollecito. Forget the forensics for now. I offer these several dozen questions for you and/or Amanda Knox which, truthfully answered, might put many concerns to bed.

I will be happy to post here any real attempt at answering all of these questions by any qualified lawyer who is thoroughly on top of the case - or of course any attempt by Amanda Knox herself.   

    1. Why did you not mention the 16 second 12.07 phonecall to Meredith’s English phone on the 2nd November in your e-mail?  When explaining why you made this call, please also explain why it was to the English phone rather than Meredith’s Italian phone which you knew Meredith used for local calls?

    2. Why did you not mention this call when you phoned Filomena immediately afterwards?

    3. Why did you make so little effort to contact Meredith again after being told by Filomena to do so. Remember the logged 3 and 4 second phone calls?

    4. Why did you tell Filomena that you had already phoned the police when neither you, nor Raffaele, had.

    5. Can you and will you explain the contradiction between your panic at the cottage (as described in the e-mail) and the testimony of all the witnesses who subsequently arrived that you appeared calm, detached and initially unconcerned as to your friend’s whereabouts or safety?

    6. Why did you tell the postal police that Meredith often locked her bedroom door, even when it came to taking a shower, when this was simply not true, as Filomena testified?

    7. Can you and will you explain why you did not try either of Meredith’s phones at the cottage if you were indeed in such a panic about Meredith’s locked door?

    8. Can you and will you explain how you knew that Meredith’s throat had been cut when you were not, according to the witnesses’s testimony, a witness to the scene in Meredith’s bedroom after the door had been kicked in and, with the exception of probably a postal police officer or the ambulance crew, no one had looked underneath the duvet covering the body when you were there?

    9. What made you think that the body was in the cupboard (wardrobe) when it was in fact to the side of the wardrobe? Were you being flippant, stupid, or what, when you said that? Do you think it just a remarkable coincidence that the remark bears close comparison to the crime scene investigators conclusions, based on the blood at the scene, that Meredith had been shoved, on all fours, and head first,  at the door of the wardrobe? She was then turned over on the floor and moved again. How did you know that there was any position prior to her final place of rest?

    10. Will you ever be able to account for the 12.47 pm call to your mother in Seattle ( at 4.45 am Seattle time)? Do you remember this now because it was not mentioned in your e-mail nor were you able to remember it in your court testimony?

    11. Why do you think Raffaele told the police – contrary to your own alibi that you had spent the whole time with Raffaele at his apartment – that you had gone out at 9 pm and did not return until 1 am?

    12. Did you sleep through the music played for half an hour on Raffaele’s computer from 5.32 am?

    13. Were you telling the truth when you told the court that you and Raffaele ate dinner some time between 9.15 and 11 pm? Can you not narrow it down a bit more? The water leak occurred, you said, whilst washing up dishes after dinner. Why then did Raffaele’s father say that Raffaele told him at 8.42 pm about the water leak whilst washing up dishes?

    14. What was the problem about using the mop, rags, sponges etc already at Raffaele’s apartment, to clear up a water spill? Why was the mop from the girl’s cottage so essential and if it was, why not collect it immediately since it was just a short distance away?

    15. Why, when you knew that you were going to Gubbio with Raffaele on the 2nd November, did you not take a change of clothing with you, if needed, when you left the cottage on the afternoon of the 1st?

    16. Why did you need a shower at the cottage when you had already had one at Raffaele’s apartment the previous evening?

    17. If you had needed one again why not have it at his apartment, in a heated apartment, before you set off, or on your return, rather than have a shower on a cold day, in a cold flat?

    18. Why did you not notice the blood in the bathroom, and the bloody footprint on the bathmat, until after your shower? If the blood you then observed was already diluted and faded, how do you explain this?

    19. Do not ignore your blood on the faucet. In your own testimony you said that there was no blood in the bathroom when you and Raffaele left the flat on the afternoon of the 1st.  What is your considered take on this now? Did your ear piercings bleed when having that shower or drying afterwards? If so, why were you not perfectly clear about the matter in your e-mail?  But then again you said that the blood was caked dry, didn’t you?

    20. Why did Raffaele say that, on entering the flat with you, Filomena’s door was open and he saw the damage and mess inside, but you said, in your e-mail, that Filomena’s door was closed when you returned at 10.30 am? Did you subsequently look inside on that occasion, or not? It’s just that if you did, then why did you not mention the break in to Filomena prior to you and Raffaele returning to the cottage?

    21. You are a creative writer so please explain. What is the point of the word “also” in the following extract from your e-mail? “Laura’s door was open which meant that she wasn’t at home, and Filomena’s door was also closed”.

    22. In your trial testimony you mentioned shuffling along the corridor on the bathroom mat after your shower. From the bathroom to your room.  Because there was no towel in the bathroom. You had left it in your bedroom. Then back again. Why is this not mentioned in your e-mail?

    23. In your e-mail you stated that you changed for your shower in your bedroom, and then afterwards dressed in your bedroom. That makes sense. What you don’t explain is why, if you towelled and dressed in your bedroom, there was any need to shuffle back to the bathroom on the bathmat. Why not just carry it back?

    24. But why, in the same testimony, did you then change your mind as to where you had undressed for your shower? Not in your bedroom - saying so was a mistake you said - but you did not say where. Some people might think, uncharitably, that your change of mind was necessary to incorporate the double bathmat shuffle.

    25. Were there any things that you disliked about Meredith? Be honest because we know from her English friends and other sources that there were things that she disliked about you.

    26. Why are pages missing from your diary for October?

    27. Once again, and this time so that it makes some sense, please explain why you permitted the police, on your say so, to believe that poor Patrick Lumumba was involved in Meredith’s murder.  Clearly, had you been at the cottage you would have known that he was not, and had you not been there you could not have known that he was.



There are actually over 200 open questions on this site, and I can think of others, but I consider these between them to be the core several dozen that relate to the quirks,contradictions, omissions and inconsistencies in Amanda Knox’s own account and behaviour. Answer all of these and in the public eye Amanda Knox really could be home free.

Posted on 04/30/12 at 11:33 PM by James Raper. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedThe prosecutorsTrials 2008 & 2009The Massei ReportAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann 2011+Smoking-gun posts
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