Saul Kassin: An Example Of How The Knox Campaign Is Misleading American Experts And Audiences

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.

[Everything in this post applies equally to the ludicrously inaccurate claims of ex FBI “mindhunter” John Douglas in his books and lobbying at the State Department.]

[Below: Dr Jeremy Travis the president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in NYC]

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Excellent.  Time and again this has to be restated and restated.  Shall post on it.

Posted by James Higham on 07/10/12 at 06:13 PM | #

There will always be someone such as Saul Kassin who is either too busy or too lazy, and is just the self serving epitome of aggrandizement that his uninformed scribblings suggest.

There will always be idiots who fall for the kind of lies which are Knox’s stock in trade of course.

Also and equally obvious are the Knox supporters who are only able to retain information provided it is the same content and length as a bumper sticker.

All they do is scream “Innocent-Innocent” without bothering to read anything other than comic books, thereby proving Italian justice right and Saul Kassin wrong.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 07/10/12 at 06:41 PM | #

I always encourage people to be proactive. It only takes a few moments to write an e-mail. Here are the contact details for the “Distinguished Professor”:

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Please let him know that he has got numerous facts wrong and that he has been manipulated and misinformed by the person or people he has relied on for his information. I wouldn’t like him to make a fool out of himself in public again. It really is very embarrassing.

Posted by The Machine on 07/10/12 at 09:23 PM | #

The Machine….......nice work on this, but a shame you weren’t challenged by the utterings of an intelligent man with a great reputation in his chosen field. What was Saul Kassin thinking when he made these comments ?

Posted by Smacker on 07/10/12 at 09:42 PM | #

Kassin should read or listen to AK’s own statements instead of relying on hearsay.  He makes so many mistakes that it’s tough to enumerate them all.  You’ve done a great job in outlining them in a way that he ought to be capable of helpfully responding.

It was abundantly clear from AK’s court testimony that she knew at the time she signed her 01:45 declaration that she had been asked to remember the events of the night of Meredith’s murder, supply those details to the police, and then to affix her signature.

That act of desperation, which Knox variously blamed on ‘frustration’, ‘imagination’, or ‘confusion’, sealed not only her own fate but also led directly to Patrick’s arrest.  The only plausible reason for her to have done this would be to distract the police investigation as she had already been doing for four days.  As such, it points directly to guilt.

Posted by Stilicho on 07/10/12 at 09:55 PM | #

The Machine’s got it goin on! Thank you for the clarity, the renunciation of Curt’s false claims.

Yes, poor Kassin, another dupe of the Knox confabulists.

Kassin first worked on the John Kogut case with his false confession theory. Kogut was tried with two accomplices for rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl. Kogut was involved in Satanic stuff. He served 18 years of a 33 to life term, then was released, his conviction overturned due to some DNA testing.

Within two months of his release he helped a roommate engineer a home invasion on an ex-girlfriend. Kogut was promptly thrown back into prison on that charge.

Kassin should know better than to read a book by its cover, he’s an accomplished academic. He should have investigated Amanda’s own words as Stilicho said, not relied on hearsay or the prejudiced versions spouted by defendant’s family.

A felon will say anything to get off the hook or to engage sympathy. Kassin has put himself on the Karen Pruett level.

Posted by Hopeful on 07/11/12 at 12:14 AM | #

The Machine….......nice work on this, but a shame you weren’t challenged by the utterings of an intelligent man with a great reputation in his chosen field. What was Saul Kassin thinking when he made these comments ?

Posted by Smacker on 07/11/12 at 01:17 AM | #

Devastating report on a “distinguished” professor of psychology at a criminal justice college whose carelessness in gathering data is matched by his recklessness in repeating it publicly.

Bring on Bottom the Weaver & put the ass’s nole on Dr Saul Kassin’s head.  Midsummer Night’s Nightmare for the foolish professor. And three cheers for The Machine.

Curious to say, I find it plausible to imagine that at some point, smartly enough, one of the policeman cuffed Amanda on the back of the head, as if to say, Wake up, girl! Come clean!

That doesn’t make it a fact but I find it hard to image that Amanda, for all her fluent dishonesties, would dare to implicate the police like this, under trial.

My sense of problematics here doesn’t make it a fact, doesn’t mean I am right & well do I know it.

We do well not to underestimate Amanda Knox who’s clever enough to be half a step ahead of many of her associates & friends.

None of which is to detract from The Machine’s report here, which is important. Our thanks.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 07/11/12 at 01:52 AM | #

Wouldn’t it be something if Dr. Kassin is quoted repeating such foolish lies in Knox’s upcoming book!  I’m actually looking forward to hearing more stupidity from Kassin, should he be paid to do more interviews in support of Knox. 

He’s such an easy take-down on this topic, and the perfect poster child for why you would never want to stake your name on talking-point press releases, no matter how much they are paying you for your opinion.

Posted by Fly By Night on 07/11/12 at 02:02 AM | #

Hi Ernest. You find it hard to imagine that Knox would falsely implicate the police?

Remember that those charged do it all the time, almost reflexively, and she was already in a deep hole trying to find a way to explain why she had falsely implicated her kindly employer Patrick at 1:45 am.

Even Judge Hellman gave her no break on the grounds of her claim and he sentenced her to three years.

She does get three more shots at trying to make her claim fly with a judge though with nearly two dozen witnesses against her the odds seem very long. . 

First and second, Knox and both of her parents still face separate calunnia trials for making the hitting claim, and Knox will seriously need to get on the stand and point to the officer to win at those two trials.

And third, Knox has appealed to the Supreme Court to get her felony conviction reversed (for which she has already served the three years). Again, Knox will need to point to the officer to hope to win that appeal.

You are taking bets?!

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/11/12 at 03:17 AM | #

Great breakdown of this interview, Machine.

Regarding False Claim 3: She was interrogated from 10:00pm to 6.00am.

Doing the math this adds up to 8 hours.  Later in the interview, John Curley, the interviewer refers to this and ADDS 4 MORE hours making it an even 12 hours and Kassin doesn’t bother to correct Curley’s error…(of Kassin’s error of 8, of course)

We’ve seen this many times before in the media and it’s just wrong.

Thanks again for keeping it real.

Posted by Tara on 07/11/12 at 05:18 AM | #

Although I haven’t had time to fully look into Prof. Kassin’s work, it seems valuable on the face of it. False confessions are a reality and can corrupt justice.

However, in this case, Prof. Kassin has not looked seriously at the facts. It is an embarrassing interview to listen to.

Lately, I have been learning about the corruption of research into smoking-disease links by Big Tobacco money, which flowed freely to most any prominent scientist who was willing to work and testify for the industry. One does wonder if something similar is happening here.

Posted by Earthling on 07/11/12 at 07:38 AM | #

Kassim is foolish to take ‘their’ crooked word for the facts to base his views upon. Tut, tut, Mr Distinguished Professor. Is it fair to apply professional standards to a teacher, I ask myself. I want to be fair.

Interpreter hostile to AK? That’s a new one to me from any source besides the usual suspects’ informal insinuations.

More Black Noise.

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

Hi Peter &
No, I’m not taking bets. I have always taken seriously her false witness against Patrick L., her part-time employer. Unscrupulous & dangerous to the last degree.

As to the police charge, I merely thought it plausible that at some point in the inquiry an impatient policeman (or woman?) might have given her a simple cuff at the back of the head—nothing hard or painful but “encouraging.”

Posted by Ernest Werner on 07/11/12 at 02:54 PM | #

Hi Ernest. Yes it seems that not a few would like to pick her up and shake her. An understandable impulse.

Interestingly, Edda did seem to feel the same way initially, and was clearly exasperated with Amanda here.

Curt also showed exasperation with her - but that was when Amanda seemed about to spill the beans in front of an open microphone at Capanne.

It seems all the Knox foces are exasperated at the HOT video and must now fear they have a lifetime ahead of trying to keep bottled the genie.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/11/12 at 03:42 PM | #

Here is a prediction.

I predict that this web site will one day be source of total vindication of the True Justice we seek. 

Also it would be well for the people who proclaim the innocence of Knox and Sollicito including both of these killers, to always remember that we will never stop for as long as it takes.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 07/11/12 at 04:47 PM | #

The Machine correctly suggested that Dr Kassin get a lot more acquainted with the official sources. It still seems absolutely amazing that he did not do so before he so amateurishly leaped.

Curt Knox and Bruce Fischer (and Doug Preston? he is usually furtively in there somewhere) may have done him the same “favor” that they have for other good experts they bamboozled - painted a big calunnia target on his back. No vacations for him in Italy any time soon.

Here is some suggested reading for Dr Kassin in addition to what the Machine suggested.

Peter Hyatt posted analyses of Amanda’s various statements which show that far from being coerced as Dr Kassin claims, she made them very eagerly - and they frankly reek of guilt.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/11/12 at 05:37 PM | #

Good suggestions, Pete.

I’d also suggest that Prof. Kassin really investigate the facts of this case before he goes shooting his mouth off anymore. There are plenty of resources here. I’d also suggest he read Follain’s detailed book or the Massei report. Otherwise, he really doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

This is hardly a case of a poor defendant with few resources. I’m sure there are many more worthy people who could use Dr. Kassin’s help.

A shame, really. Knox sucks people in and leaves them high-and-dry. I hope the fact that this interview was recorded back in October and we haven’t heard any more from the good Professor means that he’s moved on to more worthwhile pursuits.

By the way, I mentioned the Big Tobacco issue above not to imply anything about Dr. Kassin, but merely to suggest a similar media strategy by the pro-Knox people to the Big Tobacco PR effort. “Doubt is our product,” said the CEO of Brown & Williamson, and it would seem that the Knoxers have taken that to heart. No amount of proof is enough for them. Put a small dent in one piece of evidence (cancer-tobacco link; the double-DNA knife), and suddenly all the evidence is in question. Suddenly, tobacco is a totally safe product. Suddenly, Knox is pure and innocent. Interesting.

Posted by Earthling on 07/11/12 at 06:26 PM | #

Hi Earthling. Actually the world has heard plenty more from the “good professor” on Knox since last October. He seems to be building quite an industry. 

For example Dr Kassin made his analysis of Amanda Knox’s “forced confession” the subject of a keynote address at a conference on global justice and human rights at John Jay College (which coincidentally is about a mile as the crow flies from where I live) just one month ago.

Here is the program for the conference and his keynote presentation (in front of the John Jay College president) is listed on page 31.

It seems very bad for the great John Jay College as a whole that a member of the faculty could make unsubstantiated claims at their global conference. Replete with many smears of the Italian professionals who he did not ever check with to see if he had got it right.

The college is presumably on summer break right now, but it will be interesting to see how the faculty and trainees in future scrutinize him. I know one of the professors there, and she told me most of the trainees are tough seasoned professionals before they sign in.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/11/12 at 07:30 PM | #

I encourage everybody with a Twitter account to send a tweet to John Jay College to complain about Saul Kassin repeatedly misinforming the audience of his presentation about Amanda Knox’s interrogation. He has brought the college into disrepute. Please send your tweets to:


Posted by The Machine on 07/11/12 at 08:34 PM | #

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I have a very hard time believing that any serious academic (and Dr. Kassin appears to be one) would not take a few hours to research a case before putting his reputation on the line unless he had good reasons to do so.

Considering that both recorded court sessions and translated judges’ reports are easily available online, even a perfunctory search would have revealed that the Knox-Mellas propaganda he was served was a crock of nonsense. Since I doubt it that he lacks common sense and basic critical thinking skills, I expect that he may have been offered some incentives to take this particular position and regurgitate these poorly researched “facts.” 

It is shameful in any case, but the alternative to having being recruited by the PR machine is stupidity and laziness.  I wonder how his university and department feel about having their names associated with this case in this manner.

A question for Peter and everyone: could we maybe compile some letters to send to Dr. Kassin’s Department Head and the John Jay President, that perhaps Peter could mail on behalf of TJMK? That way we wouldn’t bombard them and perhaps they would pay more attention to if it came from an established website rather than a number of anonymous posters.  I would be happy to compile the document if there is interest in it and forward it to Peter for mailing.

Posted by Vivianna on 07/11/12 at 08:51 PM | #

Hi Vivianna,

It’s a good idea to send a formal letter to John Jay College on behalf of TJMK to complain about Saul Kassin using the college to misinform people about Amanda Knox’s interrogation.

It should be noted that a number of posters from PMF and TJMK have contacted individuals and organisations using their real names. However, I’d rather someone send an e-mail under a pseudonym or send a tweet then do nothing at all. Michael Wiesner’s YouTube video was removed after posters from PMF and TJMK complained about it to the head teacher of his school.

Posted by The Machine on 07/11/12 at 09:08 PM | #

Hi Vivianna

Sure, I do intend to write to the college president on paper. I did already tweet our Twitter followers and emailed many reporters and the president of the school (Jeremy Travis) which is the apex police and justice school in the US.

We here understand the implication of Machine’s post immediately, but too many think the trials of Knox are over and she was framed and the meanie Italians are chastened. So a formal paper letter would be good as the matter does need some framing.

Especially to explain that Knox STILL stands accused and a very tough appeal has been lodged with the Supreme Court, and to explain the power of the other evidence. 

This is reminiscent of the other group in NYC (CPJ) that went to bat for Frank Sfarzo. Kermit was really “cooking with gas” on that one:

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/11/12 at 09:50 PM | #

It really does begger belief that people still fall for the Knox camp party line.

One thing that does disturb me though, do they really fall for it?
Or do they know it’s wrong but still go along with it?
It has to be one or the other, and in the case of the latter - why?

Posted by Black Dog on 07/12/12 at 05:33 AM | #

Nice work.

I’ll add that Kasin has followed a well-trodden path to fame:

1) Invent a field
2) Proclaim yourself a world-expert in that field
3) Seek out opportunities to talk to the media
4) Leverage your notoriety to:
    a) get lucrative expert witness gigs
    b) get people to write books with (for) you
    c) get more opportunities to appear in the media
    d) get more notoriety
5) Repeat step 4

Posted by brmull on 07/12/12 at 08:39 AM | #

Hi brmull.

Now they will all be doing it… oh! they already are. Check the Carpet-baggers link in our right column. We have more posts on this growing group that need to be included there.

Like Bruce Fischer, Saul Kassin stupidly puts his own employer at severe legal risk.  It was a smart move legally by Pepperdine University to toss Steve Moore over the side.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/12/12 at 05:00 PM | #


I agree with much of what you say, except “Invent a field.”

Unfortunately, there is a long and sad history of extracted, false confessions in the law enforcement area, from the Inquisition onward.

What Kassin is doing is even worse than “inventing a field.” He’s hijacking it to his own purposes. To, as you say, gain notoriety and possibly extra perks or compensation in his career.

It’s extremely sad. Unfortunately, if he has tenure, the university he works for cannot really do much because of First Amendment rights. He could say that Martians came down and tortured Amanda into her confession, and probably get away with it.

I admire the Machine and I think the best thing he has done is to publicly expose Kassin’s absurdities. It’s the only way to win, in my humble opinion. Just like we finally exposed the tobacco companies lies and propaganda.

I firmly believe that the best (and really only) remedy for “bad speech” is more speech, and better.

Posted by Earthling on 07/12/12 at 06:52 PM | #

Hi Earthling.

All agreed. Saul Kassin would have been paid for sure, of course, for his submission to the appeal court which Fischer crows about.

If he has opened the way to calunnia charges for himself and John Jay College, permanent tenure if he has it would not trump his getting fired for that.

We have seen something similar in the DNA field in this case.

Mostly honest experts, mostly on the government payroll - and then some of those getting paid for the assignment set out to bamboozle novice judges like Judge Hellman.

Dr Galati is appealing against Hellman’s introduction of the “independent DNA experts” report of course as well as what they did and didnt do.

It’s unlikely Saul Kassin will be employed again by Curt Knox after this though he sure built a house of cards.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/12/12 at 08:52 PM | #

Dear Saul

I was horrified to read excerpts from a statement, made by yourself, about the Amanda Know case.

It appears you have failed to do the most basic of research regarding this case and have merely spouted rhetoric that has been passed to you by a suspect in the murder and a conglomerate seeking to gain financially from the crime. As a scholar, you have discredited yourself, your qualifications and the establishments at which you studied. I have an MA(hons) in psychology and I specialised in criminology. It is most basic methodology to cross check statements made by suspects, particularly those who show strong sociopathic tendencies alhough this would be impossible to state definitively without proper interviewing and testing.

I would expect a person of your stature to have utmost faith in the researchers who are obviously doing your work for you. I would expect those researchers to cross check personal statements from a suspect with court documents. In this instance these checks have clearly been omitted. I would also expect suspect statements to be cross checked with other witness statements, interviews being carried out personally (or by more competent researchers/ undergraduates?) when possible.

For a man of your experience and understanding of the nature of the beast to have been manipulated by the subject, it bodes poorly for the educational gains expected for your students. I gained my degree from the University of Dundee, I am proud to state that, as we were taught proper investigative research methods. Always using human subjects. I recommend you enquire about a prospectus and further your own studies.
Yours in great disappointment,
Amanda McCartney

Posted by Hijacked Nickname on 07/12/12 at 10:10 PM | #

Agreed, Pete. Theses experts’ testimony support a possible (once convicted) murderer, now provisionally acquitted. The DNA “independent” experts, the forced-confession expert (so-called). It is reminiscent of the bought-and-paid-for “independent scientists” who have, over the past 60 years, called into question the good science implicating tobacco in lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease, etc. In that case, it was a huge public health scandal of the most dire sort. In this case, it is being used to support an accused murderer. A very different scale, but the same techniques, in my opinion. (These techniques are also used to question global climate change, by the way. These PR people know what they are doing.)

Posted by Earthling on 07/12/12 at 10:21 PM | #

I’ll tweet @JohnJayCollege too.  Good idea.

Posted by James Higham on 07/12/12 at 11:13 PM | #

OK, 140 limit meant I wrote:

@JohnJayCollege: Saul Kassin 10 false allegations in Knox case - did not check source material - shoddy scholarship - please investigate

Posted by James Higham on 07/12/12 at 11:20 PM | #


When I said Kassin invented a field for himself, I should have said, invented a *scientific* field.

We’ve uncovered abundant evidence over at PMF that the “science” of false confessions is not science at all. In fact Kassin isn’t qualified to testify as an expert witness in his own state, according to a Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling last year.

Posted by brmull on 07/13/12 at 09:23 AM | #

Thanks James

We’ve been told of various emails and tweets to John Jay and they will be alert to the fact now that there is an issue. The letter to John Jay College will frame it fully.

We dont know what was said in Dr Kassin’s presentation to the conference last month as it is not online but that and his submission to Judge Hellman would have done potentially most harm. Fischer’s site was crowing about him of course and yet again Fischer has misled someone into deep trouble.

Dr Galati knows about this now and it could factor into both the Supreme Court appeal as more evidence of an attempt by Curt Knox to subvert justice and into the personal calunnia woes of Curt Knox and Amanda Knox and Edda.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/13/12 at 12:56 PM | #

Hi brmull.

Right. That part of Dr Kassin’s field (I presume he has others) has a long way to climb back to anything approaching a real science in the eyes of judges and juries here since its terrible abuse in the notorious US pre-school (kindergarten) cases.

I presume Dr Kassin isnt qualified to testify in Italy either? As Dr Galati knows about this now, and Judge Hellman seems to have ignored him, how much harm has he and Curt Knox and Bruce Fischer done to the Amanda Knox cause over there?

Looks to me quite a lot. Hopefully Curt Knox and Ted Simon and Robert Barnett now insist Bruce Fischer take his extremely stupid site down. It is absolutely riddled with calunnia and made-up “facts”.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/13/12 at 01:08 PM | #

More on false claim 3.

Mr Mignini also argued (mildly - he did not want to upset his friends at the Supreme Court) that the Supreme Court decided wrongly to disallow Amanda Knox’s first written statement and he quoted Article 374.

In the current appeal the Supreme Court may reverse that, and allow that very damning statement to come back in.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/13/12 at 02:27 PM | #

Excerpts from Saul Kassin’s error-ridden keynote presentation last month at John Jay College are posted below. In another post, we will be taking apart each of the statements labeled untrue (31) or misleading (11).


On November 2, 2007, British exchange student 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. [untrue]

Knox had no history of crime or violence and no motive. [untrue and untrue]

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 [untrue] and lying when she claimed she was with Raffaele Sollecito, her new Italian boyfriend, that night.

Armed with a prejudgment of Knox’s guilt, [untrue] several police officials interrogated the girl on and off for four days. [untrue]

Her final interrogation started on November 5 at 10 p.m. [untrue] and lasted until November 6 at 6 a.m., during which time she was alone, without an attorney, [misleading] tag-teamed by a dozen police, [untrue] and did not break for food or sleep. [untrue]

In many ways, Knox was a vulnerable suspect—young, far from home, without family, and forced to speak [untrue] in a language in which she was not fluent. Knox says she was repeatedly threatened and called a liar. [misleading] She was told, falsely, [untrue] that Sollecito, her boyfriend, disavowed her alibi and that physical evidence placed her at the scene.

She was encouraged to shut her eyes [untrue] and imagine how the gruesome crime had occurred, [untrue] a trauma, she was told, that she had obviously repressed. [untrue] Eventually she broke down crying, screaming, and hitting herself in the head. Despite a law that mandates the recording of interrogations, [misleading] 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.”[misleading]  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.”). [misleading]

Notably, nothing in the confessions indicated that she had guilty knowledge. [untrue] 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 [misleading] ; she failed to name another man, unknown to police at the time, whose DNA was later identified on the victim). [misleading]

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 [misleading] or record the interrogations, [misleading] so the confessions attributed to her were ruled inadmissible in court. [untrue] Still, the damage was done. The confession set into motion a hypothesis-confirming investigation, prosecution, and conviction. [untrue]

The man whose DNA was found on the victim, after specifically stating that Knox was not present [misleading], 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 [untrue] ; 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.


The story of Amanda Knox illustrates just how innocence can put innocents at risk. [untrue]

Immediately after Meredith Kercher was found murdered, her English roommates left Perugia [untrue] ; her Italian roommates obtained lawyers [misleading].

Yet Knox, naıve to the risk and exhibiting no consciousness of guilt [untrue] , wanted to stay to help police. [untrue] Knox’s mother described her daughter as “oblivious to the dark side of the world” (Rich, 2011). Even later, in court, on the day of her first verdict, Knox fully expected to be acquitted (Burleigh, 2011).


In the case of Amanda Knox described earlier, the prosecutor theorized in the wake of her coerced confession that Knox was motivated by money or personal envy of her British roommate.

Two weeks later, the rapist [untrue] whose DNA was found in sperm and other biological matter at the crime scene was apprehended. Yet rather than reconsider Knox’s confession in light of this contradictory evidence, the prosecutor spun a new and wholly unsupported theory of the crime [untrue] : that the rapist, Knox, and her boyfriend had come together and killed the victim as part of a satanic sex game (at trial, he redacted the satanic part but still referred to Knox as a “she-devil”) [untrue]


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. [untrue] When police first interviewed Knox’s British roommates, not one reported that there was bad blood between Knox and the victim. [untrue] After Knox’s highly publicized confession, however, the girls brought forth new “memories,” [untrue] telling police that Kercher was uncomfortable with Knox and the boys she would bring home (Burleigh, 2011).


As illustrated in the two-trial ordeal [untrue] of Amanda Knox and Rafaelle Solecito—where court-appointed DNA experts at her second trial [untrue] flatly contradicted the original results (Povoledo, 2011)—even DNA testing, considered the best of the forensic sciences, is subject to judgment bias when samples are too small or when complex mixtures are analyzed (Dror & Hampikian, 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.[untrue]

Posted by The Machine on 07/16/12 at 01:10 AM | #

ALL of Saul Kassin’s quoted sources are linked in one way or another to the Curt Knox “public relations” campaign. Most of those sources we have taken down in past posts. Examples here.

The Machine identified at least 31 untrue statements and 11 misleading statements by Saul Kassin in the keynote.

It seems Kassin did not read any of the objective books, did not go to Italy, presumably does not speak Italian, did not read any evidence or court testimony in the original, did not interview any of those justice professionals he slimed and smeared and impugned.

Also like a coward he gave them zero opportunity to come back at him with their perspectives before opportunistically racing onto TV and into print and in front of a major conference.

What a hack.  Anyone who thinks Kassin “solved” the case should read these posts to see not only what he got wrong but how much he left out:

We will have posts taking apart the Hellman Report soon. Hellman is a business judge who made copious errors. His appointment was at very short notice and thoroughly annoyed the judge he replaced.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/16/12 at 03:18 PM | #

Machine: Good job identifying untruthful and misleading statements in Kassin’s paper. Below are some random comments. Thanks.

“Two weeks later, the rapist [untrue] whose DNA was found in sperm and other biological matter at the crime scene was apprehended.”

I did not think that sperm had been identified at the crime scene.

“Notably, nothing in the confessions indicated that she had guilty knowledge. [untrue]”

What does Kassin say about the fact that Knox said Meredith had screamed? This was on Nov 5th, well before any of the subsequent two witnesses who heard a loud scream the night of the murder had come forward. How did Amanda know four days after the murder about Meredith’s loud scream? That indicates “guilty knowledge.”

“She [Amanda] was told, falsely, [untrue] that Sollecito, her boyfriend, disavowed her alibi and that physical evidence placed her at the scene.”

Where is Kassin going with this? Is he calling all the police liars, when they said that before 11 pm on Nov 5th, Raffaele remarked that he had told the police “a sack of shit” and that Amanda had actually been away from his flat the night of the murder? Is he really? Calunnia charges may not be far behind for the good professor. More significantly, is he really staking his professional reputation on contradicting an entire police force, Italian or not? Wow. He’s some sort of conspiracy nut.

Posted by Earthling on 07/16/12 at 09:53 PM | #

I really like Earthling’s take. Amanda shows guilty knowledge by things she said about the scream, and Raf admitted he told the police a crock, was he coerced in this or cracking under guilt and telling the truth, like Amanda partly did with her “I was there” with boss Lumumba.

@Rhodes, I agree with you that Curt Knox hires people who may not truly help the Knoxsters. I recall attorney Paul Simon, the expert in international law and extradition, how Simon did little good for his famous client The Unicorn Killer. Ira Einhorn killed Holly Maddux then fled the USA to France. Simon bought him a bit more time but not much before he was extradited from France to serve a life sentence. Simon claims the dreadful Robert Durst as a client, too.

Kassin is in a new and untried “science” called false confessions, which as Peter points out has insufficient data to verify much with certainty. Kassin spoke up for the horrid John Kogut. See Kogut’s miserable background on or

It seems everyone Curt Knox uses may be suspect.

I also agree with comment that Kassin may have inducements to speak for Knoxgate that we’re unaware of.

Posted by Hopeful on 07/16/12 at 11:35 PM | #

I listened to the interview again and was wondering if Kassin had the slightest clue what was going on when Knox sounds deeply sorry for herself in the misleading segment played at the start.

The Italian system allows spontaneous statements from the defendants whenever they choose to speak up. The whole court comes to a screeching halt and the lawyers all get very tense..

At trial in 2009 Knox’s first spontaneous statement was about her bunny vibrator. She didnt want the folks to think it was a sign of bravado that she left it lying around. She said it was just a joke.

The court proceedings were pretty fraught at the time - and Knox only had her vibrator on her mind? What would Kassin have made of that?

Throughout trial in 2009 she was frequently flippant and spaced out and turned up once wearing this.

What would Kassin have made of that?

At the appeal in 2011 she was now done over to come across more like a nun. At the start Knox stopped the court to offer a stern 10 minute statement about “poor little me-me-me”.

It caused the Kercher family lawyer Maresca to get up and walk out and with zero mention of Meredith was widely regarded in Italy as a bomb.

And then once again (like Groundhog Day) she came out at the final session with yet another tack. The weepie played in the interview that seems to have broken Kassin’s heart.

Knox was never ever put under full cross examination and her stint on the stand at trial in mid 2009 was very carefully rule-bound by the defense. Nevertheless she sure sounded weird.

Knox is far from the only defendant in Italian court history to play the spontaneous statement card. But probably the only one that Kassin listened to was that trial-and-error’d last.

He may have reacted very differently and more objectively if he had tuned in throughout 2009. Oh and what if Kassin had been present for this?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/18/12 at 06:26 AM | #
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