Friday, July 03, 2015

Rome Shocked - Seems Drafting Of Fifth Chambers Report With Poss Illegalities Not Even At First Base

Posted by Peter Quennell

The Illegalities

These are described in the Maori charges document and explained further in our post below.

In summary, Judge Marasca in his 27 March court ruling and 29 March Corriere interview illegally threw out the March 2013 First Chambers rulings. Plus he illegally accepted the appeal arguments on the evidence which he should not have.

He cannot do that in the sentencing report itself without reprisals being guaranteed.

The Tweet

Our first alert today was this tweet by the most reliable Italy-based reporter on the case.

Andrea Vogt “@andreavogt: Italian legal code (Art. 617) requires Cassation court to issue reasoning after 30 days. #AmandaKnox case due April 27. Why the delay?

The Rumor

On checking, word appears to be spreading in Rome that the Fifth Chambers may not even have got to first base.

On April 27 a draft of the report should have been filed with the Cassation Registry. But it apparently isnt even there yet.

The Code

Here are the relevant rules for the Supreme Court.

1. The Original

Art. 628 CPP

1. Conclusa la deliberazione, il presidente o il consigliere da lui designato redige la motivazione. Si osservano le disposizioni concernenti la sentenza nel giudizio di primo grado, in quanto applicabili.

2. La sentenza, sottoscritta dal presidente e dall’estensore, è depositata in cancelleria non oltre il trentesimo giorno dalla deliberazione.

3. Qualora il presidente lo disponga, la corte si riunisce in camera di consiglio per la lettura e l’approvazione del testo della motivazione. Sulle proposte di rettifica, integrazione o cancellazione la corte delibera senza formalità .

2. The Translation

1. Subsequent to the deliberation, the president or the director appointed by him draws up the motivation report. They observe the provisions concerning the judgment in the first instance, as applicable.

2. The judgment, signed by the President and by the writer, is lodged at the Registry no later than the thirtieth day after the deliberation.

3. If the president has done this, the court will meet in closed session for the reading and approval of the text of the motivation. On the proposed rectification, integration or cancellation the court shall act without formalities.

What To Expect?

The only legal and face-saving way out? Admit error, and if there are real grounds, refer the appeal back down to the Florence court.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/03/15 at 03:13 PM in Appeals 2009-2015Cassation 2015Cassation critiques


Back to the Nencini court we go if there are real grounds, to do with the law? Judge Nencini may have his wish. Amanda Knox may be there. 😊

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/03/15 at 04:32 PM | #

This is beginning to look extremely interesting!

Posted by Odysseus on 07/03/15 at 04:47 PM | #

Stunning, and not so stunning.

If it was a report which would end my career, I’d find no reason to put a rush on it either.

Pardon my ignorance, but if the Cassation verdict is invalid, or the report simply never comes, wouldn’t it simply go to another Cassation panel?  Why back to Judge Nencini?  Seems sketchy to throw the case out entirely, and then later decide just to defer it back down.  Wasn’t his report in April 2014 quite detailed?  I can’t imagine this scenario comes up much at all.

Would court open with the line: ‘‘Nice to finally meet you, Amanda’‘

Posted by Chimera on 07/03/15 at 04:52 PM | #

I hate to say “I told you so.” but it was somewhat of a forgone conclusion. These people will duck and weave and blame anyone but themselves. Interesting. Knox of course and her a sodomites living in their dream world will just laugh this off. Hope Bongiorno is worried as well she should since this sets a very dangerous precedent.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 07/03/15 at 05:06 PM | #

Hi Chimera

Actually it only gets sent back to Nencini (maybe even by Marasca) for a quick rework IF any of the RS and AK appeals validly criticise aspects of his law.

Watch for the length as well as the response to Art 628 if/when Marasca does cough up the report.

These reports are rarely very long, even the complex dismembering of Hellmann was only 74 pages long.

Marasca seems to have a lot to ‘splain. Unless he blinks.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/03/15 at 05:49 PM | #

Hi Grahame

I think the sleepless nights of all on the defense teams began way back at the end of March.

Even their reactions were “huh?!” They all knew Marasca was wrong on the law.

RS father Francesco Sollecito is quoted today as saying a day or two ago (before this news above broke) that the Maori complaint doesnt matter, the pair are home free.

But he’s really got to watch his step now, and lawyers and judges fear the CSM more than his money and influence can overcome.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/03/15 at 05:56 PM | #

In an interesting response to Andrea’s above tweet, Hugo wrote this:

“617 applies to Cassation, where the rules are different because the court can correct itself, apparently. The 30-day deadline under 617.2 is for delivery to the clerk’s office, not publication. After that, under 617.3, Cassation can meet in closed session to discuss and if necessary to revise or even delete the judgement.”

However, as so noted above, the judges have not even started writing the report! As I see it, their March public statement is to be voided and the case will be remanded back to Nencini.

Posted by Johnny Yen on 07/03/15 at 06:47 PM | #

This just in:

“Sollecito’s lawyer Giulia Bongiorno revealed her client would wait for Italy’s top court to give the reasoning behind the acquittal, expected later this year, before taking a decision.”

Read more:

Posted by Johnny Yen on 07/03/15 at 06:55 PM | #

Oh my goodness, what a mess. Italian justice really needs to get its act together. What a horror for Meredith’s family. My thoughts are always with them. How they have been traumatized and re-traumatized by this whole proceeding. May they someday find peace. RIP Meredith Kercher. You didn’t deserve this—any of it.

Posted by Earthling on 07/03/15 at 07:17 PM | #

Ok..with all the recent news and the perceived fright of the court, this is looking like a circus. Such an unbelievable display of incompetence and disregard for the Kercher Family.
I can picture the dysfunctional dithering of the Judges and the growing insecurity of AmandaKnox.

Thanks, Peter Q

Posted by Tina on 07/03/15 at 09:19 PM | #

I would council against calling this a system wide problem unless we are really sure that is what it is.

To call it that when it isnt is discouraging and disempowering and makes people give up and go away when they can easily win.

There are indeed some problems system-wide, but if Italy wants them to go away (as polls show they do) the reforms are a right move.

I think this is way, way smaller than that, and the fact that Marasca seems to be stuck suggests corrective forces are already in play.

He may already be looking for a way out. He knows if the illegalities remain, the First Chambers and CSM will not sit still.

By the way, the President is chairman of the CSM and Florence whose court is being labeled incompetent is the PM’s home town.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/03/15 at 11:04 PM | #

The Fifth Chamber have not registered the draft report within 30 days, as they should have. I understand it still has not been done.  Avvocato Bongiorno blithely told the DAILY MAIL it “would be out later this year.”

Question:  How does she know?

I get the Fifth Chamber might want to sit on the report and defer it for as long as they can.  However, what mechanism allows them to do this?

Has the united chamber discussed the new precedent with them?

Has Fifth Chamber been given a waiver to ignore the time limits?

Sure, Micheli took 22 months (?) in the MOF/Narducci case.  However, that involved 20 defendents.

What I don’t get is how Fifth Chamber has the power to defer their report virtually indefinitely.  This cannot be so.

In the interim we have Amanda Knox’ second calunnia trial in September, although I daresay she will successfully get it adjourned to manana.

Posted by Slow Jane on 07/03/15 at 11:36 PM | #

Hi Slow Jane

Good comment. Good questions. I doubt really Marasca will sit on it too long though, now that two deadlines have been missed and the Maori document is out there.

Besides, he did promise it in 90 days. 

However on this:  “In the interim we have Amanda Knox’ second calunnia trial in September, although I daresay she will successfully get it adjourned to manana.”

I am not so sure. It is much more possible that we will see a release of the charges embedded in a damning broad picture, as against Maori. This is the Florence court, after all. The one feeling impugned and fired up.

Sollecito’s book trial was pushed into 2016 but the charges are out - we posted them - and that is not a calunnia-level case, it is somewhat less.

And Knox will have three trials going on involving her: the calunnia #2 trial, the Oggi trial and the trial for her own book.

This will sooner or later reach a tipping point and the publishers and Amazon will realize they have two liabilities on their hands.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/04/15 at 12:24 AM | #

What sort of a mess could the SC make of a case that might not be as open and shut as this one?

These courts deal with mafia cases on a regular basis; how could they make such a dog’s arse of this?

Posted by Smacker on 07/04/15 at 12:36 AM | #

Yes, this whole debacle has to come to a head.

The reverberations will be rocking Italy for years to come.

As well as book publishers and tv companies who facilitated the evasion of justice of two serious criminals, there are the judges who were open to, shall we say, ahem, deals.

Thanks to the case following on from MOF via Mignini, Knox has been bolstered by the support of influential pro-Preston anti-Mignini factions.

It is incredible how far-reaching the effects will be following the collapse of the entire defenses’ case when it comes, as surely it will.  Bongiorno and Vedova must be as nervous as Pompei in an earthquake.

Did they pull it off their one desperate last long shot in the dark?  No doubt they break out in a cold sweat in the blue hours of the night.

Mass arrests of corrupt officials are surely in the pipeline.  No doubt Guede has some explosive “further evidence” on the backburner for when he comes out.  The proceeds from WTBH and HB will be sequestered from HarperCollins and Simon & Shuster; as Proceeds of Crime.

Knox’ whole tissue of lies will fall apart like a hideous bloated corpse floating around in the sea headed for crags and torrents, just as soon as the courts come back from summer holidays.

Yeah, let’s get the popcorn in, as we wait for the tide to turn and find its shore.  AK and RS up the creek without a paddle.  All bridges burnt behind them.

Edda and Curt will forever wonder which of them gave Amanda the rogue gene.

And not a moment too soon. 

It’s good news week!

Posted by Slow Jane on 07/04/15 at 01:00 AM | #

Smacker: “These courts deal with mafia cases on a regular basis; how could they make such a dog’s arse of this?”

No no no, this is the Fifth Chambers, which doesnt handle mafia or murder. Its more like the Hellmann court than the First Chambers, which does handle mafia and murder, very well - and three times previously on this case did a terrific job.

Its obvious now. Bongiorno judge-shops. She judge-shopped successfully for Hellmann instead of Chiari with who-knows-what argument she laid on Chief Judge De Nunzio back in 2010.

Here she judge-shopped for any whole chambers of judges, other than the First Chambers, where she lost both the 2008 and 2013 appeals. 

This move to another chambers of the same case is extremely rare, perhaps unique, not least because it is illegal for one chambers to shrug off the earlier rulings of another.

Marasca stands to be disciplined if his report breaks the law.

And the sub-systems seem easy to fix. The First Chambers could write into all new referrals down to lower courts: “Report back to us, not those guys over there”. And it would take a one-line change in the code to prevent the Bongiornos ever trying this again.

Meanwhile, as Slow Jane says just above, Bongiorno is almost certainly sweating it out at nights.

The walloping of Maori would have left her feeling walloped too and she could still both fail her client and face discipline herself.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/04/15 at 02:33 AM | #

A Logical Syllogism:

1. Bruno, the spokesman for the Maresca court of SCC was quoted as having said that the trials had “not many certainties beyond the girl’s death and one definitely convicted.”

It was then stated that the Court had found Knox/Sollecito to be Not Guilty of murdering Meredith Kercher.

2. This statement can be justified only by substituting “Absolutely Certain, Beyond Any Doubt Whatsoever” for “Beyond Any Reasonable Doubt” (BARD).
Such Certainty requires an Audiovisual Record of the Defendants committing the murder.

3. In Fact, the Guilt of Knox/Sollecito is so overwhelming beyond any reasonable doubt, that a Motivazione, justifying Bruno’s statements can never be submitted.
How can Absolutely Certain Beyond Any Doubt Whatsoever be plausibly argued ?

Posted by Cardiol MD on 07/04/15 at 06:15 AM | #

If such a report is released, it may look something like this:

1. Knox said she was at the house with Lumumba, and later at Sollecito’s apartment.  Sollecito said he was at a party, then at his apartment with Knox, then that she was out while he was on the phone/internet surfing.  These stories are very contradictory, and we aren’t certain where they were.

2. Knox’s lawyers say that the crime scene is restricted to Meredith’s bedroom.  Filomena’s room was supposedly broken into.  Therefore, Filomena’s window being smashed is related to any break in (or staged break in), and hence irrelevant to the crime at hand.

Essentially, there had been an earlier break in which was irrelevant to the murder.

3. Any and all false alibis alleged by the prosecutor are either irrelevant, since defendants have the right to lie (even before being arrested), or because there was some unsubstantiated brow-beating.  Who did it is irrelevant, because people need to get on with their lives.

4. The double-DNA knife is irrelevant to the crime, because the experts (Conti & Vecchiotti) say the samples are too small to test.  Therefore the results the police got when they actually did test the knife should be inadmissible.

5. The ‘‘bloody’’ footprints in the hallway may be irrelevant as well.  For all we know, Knox and Sollecito may just enjoy walking around the house with bleach on their feet, and that is what the luminol reacted to.

6. The prosecution says their forensic evidence is clean.  The defence is contaminated.  There is a huge contradiction here.

7. Prosecution witnesses claim that Meredith and Knox didn’t get along.  Knox says they were friends.  That is a big contradiction.

8. Prosecutors say that the scratch on Knox’s neck is a wound from the attack.  Knox claims it is a hickey.  Considering her boyfriend has a knife fetish, the cut may be irrelevant, and is at least a major contradiction.

9. There is no videotape of the crime, no witnesses inside Meredith’s room, and no one has confessed to it.  Therefore, ‘‘reasonable doubt’’ does not exist.

10. The trial court of Giancarlo Massei is very inefficient.  It took them a year to hear all the ‘‘evidence’‘.  We reviewed the summaries submitted in just 2 days.

11. The prosecution didn’t call any witnesses for this procedural appeal.  Therefore, they must not have had much of a case to begin with.

12. Cassation (First Chambers), ruling is not binding on us.  Because we (Fifth Chambers), are a Court of Cassation, our ruling is final.

13. We were here to see if Knox and Sollecito should be definitely convicted.  We can’t definitively convict them because they aren’t already definitely convicted.

14. Give us a break.  This is a lot to sort through.

Seriously though: I bet all 5 judges are wishing they could go back in time and just uphold the Nencini rulings.  It would avoid this headache.

Posted by Chimera on 07/04/15 at 08:32 AM | #

In defence of Knox and Sollecito no end of immoral, underhand slime bags have crawled out of the woodwork!  They have upheld lies, added to those lies with lies of their own, ruined whatever reputations they may once of had and ultimately wrecked their careers. All on behalf of two immature, talent free, unintelligent, evil murderers! 

I hope that when this situation rights itself, each and every one of these idiots is forced to walk the hall of shame.  If anyone of them wishes to redeem himself he should do the decent thing and confess all now.  After all, we have the ever dignified Kerchers forever in the background showing how you should behave!

Posted by MHILL4 on 07/04/15 at 11:20 AM | #

Could Judge Marasca have engineered this? If it walks and quacks like passive aggression chances are, it is. Do consider:

(1) He is a stickler for doing the right thing and nearly became Prosecutor General in Naples, lost to him only because of dubious political ties way back.

(2) He clearly did not want the verdict the majority made him swallow, but was outvoted (that majority voting rule has pluses and negatives).

(3) He gave an interview to Corriere right after quite openly saying the Fifth Chambers was flouting two laws.

(4) He is the subject of chastisement from four directions that matter: colleagues on the First Chambers, peers on the CSM who decide on reprisals and his career; the Florence prosecution; and the Perugia prosecution.

(5) He could indeed sign off on a blatantly foolish report maybe on the lines of Chimera’s list above with a big wink to the good guys.

Open miscarriages of justice in Italy almost never happen and those that do remain much talked about. The English-language Wiki has been falsified on Andreotti: who did not emerge smelling like a rose.

The most ticked-off persons over the delay right now could be Judge Bruno along with his two craven colleagues. It would be nice to see him end up not smelling like a rose.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/04/15 at 02:51 PM | #

Happy Independence Day! Have a good 4th of July.

Posted by Hopeful on 07/04/15 at 04:37 PM | #

Curiouser and Curiouser.

Posted by JohnQ on 07/04/15 at 11:25 PM | #

just an interesting observation.

if you go to the Knox web site, hold your nose and cue her blog you will notice that there is little to no comment whatsoever for several days then there are about three or four extolling the Knox virtues of cleanliness and her obvious virginity second only to Mother Teresa.

Either Ground Report has nothing better to do that day or Knox is writing them herself. I suspect the latter. It is interesting to watch Knox slide down the razor blade of life. There is nothing concerning Italy either. Knox through the looking glass it would seem.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 07/05/15 at 12:11 AM | #

Even if Judge Marasca is exhibiting passive aggressive behavior towards his colleagues, I am wondering that since he is tied to the Fifth Chambers that he will be in hot soup no matter what he does?

Happy 4th to all. We are blessed with freedom of speech and religion, in which many countries do not have.

Posted by Vinnie on 07/05/15 at 07:27 AM | #


(3) “He gave an interview to Corriere right after quite openly saying the Fifth Chambers was flouting two laws.”

Interesting!  I didn’t see this!

Things look worse for the Fifth Chamber every day.

Posted by JohnQ on 07/05/15 at 11:12 AM | #

Hi Grahame

Always appreciated, these reports from the front. We suspect the Maori charges are giving the lawyers and therefore the families and perps very serious concern.

There is NO easy way to respond, without drawing attention to the document and risk being entangled in Maori’s case. I bet Bongiorno would to punch Maori in the face.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/05/15 at 03:10 PM | #

I see the news that the two are not yet home-free as they so jubilantly though is being repeated in numerous media threads. 

I guess the Daily Mail will be reporting it soon. Not the Guardian though, or most media in the US. We will work on that.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/05/15 at 03:12 PM | #

Hi JohnQ

Marasca didnt outright say “We are flouting two laws” as such but he didnt need to.

His statement 27 March and interview 29 March and dispositivo 30 March seems to have made every Italian lawyer realise that the Fifth Chambers was intent on doing just that.

This delay definitely suggests biffs and bangs going on among the panel and Marasca sitting on Bruno’s head.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/05/15 at 03:18 PM | #

@ Grahame Rhodes

You wrote,“Knox of course and her a sodomites living in their dream world will just laugh this off.”

I’m curious. Would you please define,“sodomites” in this context? Are you saying that that Amanda Knox isva sodomite and that sodomites are murderers? Are you saying that Amanda Knox is a sodomites and are you referring to her sexual orientation? I’m not interested in a debate.  I’m just trying to understand what you are saying.

Posted by JohnQ on 07/05/15 at 06:12 PM | #

Hi JohnQ

Grahame perhaps referred to this. There might - might - have been some pointers to that as a mode of humiliation. Even serious media and professionals remain a little bit curious about the pointers, I was asked about it on the phone the other day.

But its so far from being firm that we have kept away from it. Enough other nasty things were described to turn the jurors green at the closed-court sessions in 2009 that recreated the really barbaric attack.

Absolutely no way one man did it on his own - with two knives on opposite sides and marks on the body that “spoke” to the best crimescene experts in Italy.

By comparison John Douglas and Steve Moore look like low-IQ fools. They fell victim to the same brainstorms as the bungling Saul Kassin. Scroll down.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/05/15 at 06:42 PM | #

I have 3 comments/queries.

1. Is it possible that the court member of staff to whom Vogt addressed her enquiry misunderstood and thought the query related to whether the Motivation Report was ready? A draft would not, of course, be the same thing. Let the Groupies hang on to that hope.

2.  One would assume that in the event of the draft being lodged and the panel of 5 meeting to discuss and review the same, that whatever disagreement there was would have to be put to a majority decision. We cannot be absolutely sure what phase has been reached although I doubt that Vogt has messed up. But if we are in a panel discussion phase then the delay may be attributable to someone now holding the balance and sitting on the fence.

3.  Intriguingly art. 628.3 refers to a cancellation but it is unclear what this cancellation might be. This could possibly mean some text in the Motivation or even the whole thing which would render the verdict itself quite unsustainable. I am not clear as to what “the court shall act without formalities” means either.

Posted by James Raper on 07/05/15 at 06:44 PM | #

Hi James,

I’m no legal expert, but the translation as “the court shall act without formalities” might not be quite right…

The whole paragraph reads “3. Qualora il presidente lo disponga, la corte si riunisce in camera di consiglio per la lettura e l’approvazione del testo della motivazione. Sulle proposte di rettifica, integrazione o cancellazione la corte delibera senza formalità.”.

Which - for me (as a lay-person) should read “3. If the president so orders, the court shall convene in chambers in order to read and approve the text of the Reasoning Report. The court shall rule informally on (any) proposals for amendment, integration or annulment/cancellation.”

Does that help at all?

Cheers (from the sidelines)


Posted by Ziak. on 07/05/15 at 07:47 PM | #

Hi James

I think Andrea wasnt alone in saying the draft is not yet with the registry. She hasnt tweeted again. BTW the date was way before Maori got his date with a court.

I’d been thinking it was Marasca doing the sitting on the fence (or on Bruno’s head) but you make me think it could be that other judge.

I bet all five are reluctant to pick up the phone these days. The amazing shrinking court. They may emerge just inches high, and worse, with a daft report.

Bongiono seems to have managed a cleaner fix in pushing Chiari aside in 2010 but then she had to only fix one judge - and now that is coming unglued.

They should take lessons in judge-fixing from the US. Its easy here. “The check is in the mail” is quite overt.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/05/15 at 08:30 PM | #

Hi Ziak, thanks.

” la corte delibera senza formalità”?

The court can deliberate without observing any need for formality?

So, they don’t need to be polite or respectful to each other and Marasca can sit on Bruno’s head if he wants to?

Posted by James Raper on 07/05/15 at 09:45 PM | #

Pete, even in the UK all the silks (QC’s) and judges all know each other, and chances are they worked in the same chambers and share G&T’s in the same gentlemen’s clubs in the evenings.

Recusing themselves would mean nobody available to take the case.

So, for all the cut throat daggets and pyrotechnics in court, who knows if the case is won or lost because of being in or out of favour with the judge?

It is now clear Avv Bongiorno played a very clever hand by avoiding the First Chambers and steering the case to the Fifth.

These things they do.

Posted by Slow Jane on 07/06/15 at 01:38 AM | #

Maybe Bongiorno’s 5th is not quite the symphony she hoped for?


Posted by James Raper on 07/06/15 at 10:02 AM | #

Slow Jane

I would have thought that, if Bongiorno were to have steered the case from the First to the 5th Chambers for some sort of shifty legal advantage, it would defeat the legal duty of a barrister, (certainly in the UK), to act primarily as an officer of the Court, assisting it to ensure justice.

Thus, he should not engage in any legal manoeuvres that might give his client an unfair/unjust advantage.

Posted by Mealer on 07/07/15 at 10:26 AM | #

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