Thursday, June 30, 2016

New Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi Might Ultimately Be The One To Push Justice Reforms Through

Posted by Peter Quennell

Prime Minister Renzi, previously a popular mayor of Florence, was elected on a promise to force justice and economic reforms through.

He is now being buffeted on two fronts: by Euro-skeptics and Euro-separatists, and by an invisible coalition of MPs and bad guys who really dont want those reforms to go through.

To fully understand why the justice reforms are bogged down this is a vital read though perhaps a bit harsh and in another post we will qualify it a bit.

In large part the problem is within Mr Renzi’s own Democratic Party in the Parliament which Mr Renzi is not deft at handling.

Mr Renzi’s party still leads in the polls, but the relatively new Five Star Movement is gaining fast. It stands for honesty in public life above all else.

Virginia Raggi of the populist, Euro-skeptic Five Star Movement was a relatively unknown lawyer just a few months ago.

In a landslide, she has just beaten Mr Renzi’s candidate for mayor of Rome. 

Mr Renzi, who has worked hard on Angela Merkel to get all possible EC breaks,  had previously announced a referendum of Italy in October to see if he can get the Italian electorate to force his reforms through.

He has said he would resign if the vote does not go his way.

If he fails and he does resign, an election could put Five Star in power, and Virginia Raggi could be a top leader in Parliament. (in Italy, wearing two hats is allowed; see Giulia Bongiorno as the classic case.)

In fact she could even end up as Prime Minister - which could result in female leadership in Germany (Merkel), England (May), the United States (Clinton) and Raggi in Italy.  Norway and Poland have female prime ministers too, and Scotland has one in effect.

Well over half a billion people of the western world. Women often manage in an effective inclusionary style, which is maybe what we could use more of right now.

Given the growing post-Brexit “monkeys-are-running-the-zoo” perception in other EC countries, more EC Exits soon dont seem in the cards.  Though they are very much for interactive democracy, Five Star is unlikely to stick Italy with a referendum on the EC any time soon.

But on those reforms Ms Raggi would not be encumbered with a partially-corrupt party she would have to fight. Her effecting of the reforms could have Italy riding high morally and economically in Europe and the world.

Dramatic stuff. A tragic pity Meredith misses all this.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/30/16 at 12:10 PM in Justice systemsItalian systemThe wider contextsItalian context


Rudy Guede files for review of his sentence

Update to The Murder Of Meredith Kercher Wiki

“For The Press June 30, 2016:

Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera reports

that Rudy Guede’s attorneys Thomas Pietrocarlo and Monica Grossi, will be filing an appeal against his definitive sentence in the court of Assizes of Appeal in Florence.

This appeal will be based on Art. 630.1 of the Italian penal code, which allows a review when the basis of the sentence is in conflict with another finalized judgment. This focuses on “the conflict of judgment” among the ruling that acquitted Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox, which accepts he did not act alone, and the one with which he was sentenced.”

Who knows how it will end, but, it is not yet over by a long shot.

Posted by Ergon on 06/30/16 at 08:27 PM | #

Thanks Ergon

He has new lawyers of course. A longshot I would think? Cases are rarely re-opened after Cassazione signs off. Guede’s case was closed off by Cassazione, and the Bruno-Marasca Report didnt give him any obvious breaks.

He has long seethed that the other two got off, especially Sollecito who he hates, and may see it as a plus if their participation gets reaffirmed or their case gets reopened in the same way too.

Sollecito and Knox both rant at him in turn.

Macchiavelli told me a while back that the voting out of Renzi’s government could change things in the case a lot. He considered the emergence of Five Star as good news at the time, a matter of key judicial support.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/30/16 at 08:35 PM | #

54% of Italians polled were against an Italexit the other day.

A way to surprise Americans is to list what benefits they get from the federal government to which most of their taxes are paid.

It’s actually pretty long but they dont realise that because it does not come direct. Half the states get back more than they pay in.

The EC is in the same boat.

Wales is a net beneficiary of EC aid but it voted to get out. Now it is being realised that theres no way to simply replace the three hundred million pounds each year.

In a keynote speech at Swansea University backing the Remain campaign, Mr Jones said: “In this current funding period 2014-2020 Wales will receive £1.9bn of structural funds. £150m of that is helping fund a new metro in South Wales.

“£85m is being invested to upgrade the A55 and the A40. £90m is helping extend Superfast Broadband right across Wales.

“But much more than that, it is giving a fresh start for thousands of people having a tough time in their lives. “Maybe they didn’t get the grades they needed in school, fell in with the wrong crowd or suffered health problems.

“European funding has paid for new skills and new hope for those people. “Some 220,000 people across Wales have had the chance to improve their skills through new qualifications.

The list of those who will lose grants is growing long, and loud wails have begun. The next to vote in a referendum will do so in light of that list.

In sum pro-exit parties could use a winner to hope to follow suit. Otherwise an England divorced from Scotland, Wales and Northen Island could be last.

There are a few articles in English on the Italexit possibility, all written before the British voted out and the turmoil began.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/30/16 at 08:40 PM | #

Knox and company will of course ignore this in the hope that it might go away. It won’t because we will keep on digging for as long as it takes.

Karla Hamolka for example, tried to move back to Quebec but people found out who she was and that she was a murderer and forced her to move since they didn’t want their children anywhere near her. This fate, at the very least, is Knox future because as long as it takes we will make sure that justice for Meredith is served one way or the other.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 06/30/16 at 09:27 PM | #

The law students and attorneys at Viterbo who are filing the petition will have made sure there was a sound legal principle when lodging the appeal.  Certainly, Guede has a lot of public sympathy in Italy at the perceived inequality of justice.

It’s as though the ‘Doctor’s boy’ was always expected to get off.

Posted by Slow Jane on 07/02/16 at 08:53 AM | #

M5S was born as a protest party, and as such likely won’t have much effect in Italy. After Mani Pulite a new political class was introduced- also known as the 2nd Republic (Prodi, Berlusconi, D’Alema, Fini, etc., and even judge DiPietro, who was minister in Prodi’s first government and later founded a political party) but ultimately these figures and governments only tweaked Italian politics. There was a strong push to develop a two party system, but it ultimately didn’t work as planned.

All this said, the strength of M5S is it’s ability to get other involved who may not otherwise be involved. Raggi is a young lawyer, born in Rome when I was there as a high school student. Does she have the chops to manage an unmanageable city? Time will tell.

There are 3-4 things Rome desperately needs:

1) 3 concentric ring subway lines that travel the perimeter of the historic district, the middle of the suburbs built in the late 1800s- early 1900s, and a third to complement the G.R.A. and tie the out suburbs together. Concentric ring subways will help alleviate traffic congestion that necessarily bottlenecks in Rome’s center.

2) Bury the car traffic parallel to the Tiber and made the roads flanking the Tiber a park/ river-walk with flea market style seller stands. There used to be a Porta Portese flea market in Rome, a very large one, but this type of thing works better distributed along a pleasant walk.

3) Charge more for museums, monuments and churches. Rome needs capital for infrastructure and this is an easy way to do it. In Milan they’ve started charging to enter the Duomo. They can do this in the many historic center churches.

4) Curb gentrification of the historic center, and the creation of ghettos in the suburbs. Very difficult to do without hands-on government management of property, but with the influx if immigrants, avoid the creation of ghettos is an absolute necessity. Otherwise it will take a generation or two to integrate and that will help no one.

Posted by Olleosnep on 07/02/16 at 01:27 PM | #

I vote Olleosnep for mayor of Rome!

The four point manifesto couldn’t be denied by anyone who has visited that beautiful city.

I’ve been lucky enough to visit some stunning places in my life. Barcelona, Moscow, Beijing, New York and Chicago to name but a few. New York remains my favourite because I’ve never felt more at home anywhere in my life. Playing guitar with a vagrant called Lief in Central Park will stay with me until my last breath.

But for sheer beauty and architectural brilliance, I’ve never seen anywhere quite like Rome. It is truly breathtaking and the place is a living, breathing history book. If you haven’t been there, I would urge anyone with the wherewithal to book up soonest. You will not be disappointed.

As for Guede, a normal human emotion is to feel some sympathy for him given the way he appears to have been stitched up in comparison to his accomplices.

Lest we forget though, this lowlife participated fully in this horrific act and defiled poor Meredith as her life ebbed away. He is an animal who deserves no sympathy. There is no redemption for such as he in my book. I’m very much an advocate of the death penalty in cases where there is absolutely no doubt that a person is guilty.

I would shed no tears if Guede met his end on the point of an assasin’s knife. He deserves no less.

Posted by davidmulhern on 07/03/16 at 07:57 AM | #

To David..OK but not until he spills the beans about everything that went on that night in particular the bitch Amanda Knox and that whining crawling slime ball Raphael Sollecito. Redemption can’t come soon enough for these sub human trash.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 07/04/16 at 07:57 AM | #

Opinion polling in other EC countries which might have gone the way Britain has (or may have!) shows all of their populations now fancy the idea less.

They still have their EC beefs but for now its war by other means. Italy has backed sharply away.

And in Italy, where sentiment against EU budgetary and monetary constraints is running high, a poll by IPSOS Mori for the newspaper Corriere della Sera showed a big majority (46%-28%) in favor of staying in the EU.

Added: It’s suggested that one or more Italian banks could soon collapse in face of EC rules preventing the government helping. That could change things.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/04/16 at 07:01 PM | #

@davidmulhern: you wrote

“I’m very much an advocate of the death penalty in cases where there is absolutely no doubt that a person is guilty”, me too.

On 7/3/16, Hopeful wrote

“Thank goodness for substance abuse which removes felt guilt, though the victim lies dead on the floor.”

Beautiful, as usual, Hopeful. Knox benefits from any substance which masks the properly-human feeling of responsibility, though Knox’s victim lies dead on the floor.

Does punishment ‘do any good’? If deterrence is a good we may never know whether that good is effective in deterring other, different murderers - discussing whom is to discuss a separate question.

How many murderer’s, penalized by a death sentence, reasonable doubts having been carefully removed by full application of davidmulhern’s checks and balances, have not been deterred by their penalty?

Posted by Cardiol MD on 07/04/16 at 10:14 PM | #

Impressive police work by Rome Police. Sad case.

19-year old student Beau Solomon arrives in Rome from Wisconsin and is apparently robbed and killed for his credit cards. His body was thrown in the Tiber. A suspect is already being held.

Murders are not so common in Italy though there have been a few cases of students killed, as often by foreigners as Italians, since TJMK was launched.

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Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/05/16 at 05:12 AM | #

Hi davidmulhern and Cardiol

The sheer senseless brutality of many crimes certainly sways many in the capital-punishment direction.

But see this editorial in the New York Times 3 days ago. It explains how easily those checks and balances get trashed by a few over-ardent/bloodthirsty prosecutors.

The Prosecutors Who Aim to Kill


JULY 2, 2016

One kept a paperweight model of an electric chair on his desk. Another boasted about being named the “deadliest prosecutor in America” by the Guinness Book of World Records and mocked defendants with intellectual disabilities. A third was dragged from the courtroom when jurors who acquitted six defendants he had charged with shooting police officers said he approached them and reached for his gun.

These men are members of a very small club: five prosecutors who together are responsible for about one of every seven death-row inmates nationwide.

Even as most states have moved away from capital punishment, the practice continues to be used in a tiny fraction of counties, and under the leadership of specific prosecutors, according to a new report by the Fair Punishment Project at Harvard Law School.

The prosecutors are Joe Freeman Britt in North Carolina, Robert Macy in Oklahoma, Donnie Myers in South Carolina, Lynne Abraham in Philadelphia and Johnny Holmes in Texas. Of these five, only Mr. Myers remains in office. But during their tenures, each either secured dozens of death sentences personally or led offices that won hundreds. And each, in his or her way, embodies the vindictive, idiosyncratic nature of state-sanctioned killing.

The five prosecutors also share a disturbing tendency to break the rules to win. Mr. Macy — the one who pulled a gun on the jury — won 54 death sentences during two decades as Oklahoma County’s district attorney. But courts overturned almost half of them, and they found him guilty of misconduct in one-third of them. Three people he sent to death row were later exonerated.

In 2002, a federal appeals court said that Mr. Macy’s persistent misconduct “without doubt harmed the reputation of Oklahoma’s criminal justice system.”

Mr. Britt was found to have committed misconduct in more than a third of the 38 death penalty cases he had won; Mr. Myers, in nearly half of his 39 wins. Another prosecutor said of Mr. Myers, “Virtually the only time you see him in the courtroom is when he’s trying to kill people.”

Most revealing, the frequency of death sentences sought and won in these prosecutors’ counties dropped dramatically after they left office. During Mr. Holmes’s 21-year tenure, which ended in 2000, juries in Harris County, Tex., sentenced 201 people to death, almost one a month. Since 2008, the average has been about one a year.

The report identifies eight more recent or current prosecutors who have sought the death penalty far more than their colleagues around the country. And many of their records are rife with misconduct. As long as the death penalty remains legal, people like this will find their way into positions where they have the power to make life-or-death decisions.

The United States is one of the last developed countries to continue killing its citizens in the name of the state, but it is misleading to talk about the death penalty as an American phenomenon. As the report shows, capital punishment today is driven largely by individuals in a few locations. That is, the rate of death sentences has less to do with the crimes of the people being prosecuted than with the men and women doing the prosecuting.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/05/16 at 12:15 PM | #

Hi Peter
Yes, I did read “The Prosecutors Who Aim to Kill” by THE NYT EDITORIAL BOARD on JULY 2, 2016.

The existence of rogue prosecutors cannot be denied, nor can that of rogue defenders, and corrupt judges; incompetence and negligence also exist.

Fortunately, as the Fair Punishment Project reports wrt the death sentences they studied:

“...courts overturned almost half of them.”

So existing checks and balances worked not to overturn more than half of the death sentences.

The less-than-half of the death sentences that were overturned benefitted the defendants using the checks and balances I support (which will certainly also let many murderers escape, because of the level of certainty that I argue in favour-of).

The “Three people he sent to death row [who] were later exonerated” show that the checks and balances required for the level of certainty I want were not implemented, unless exoneration is defined in the Knox sense.
(Hopeful on 07/05/16 :“Knox heads for exoneree conferences to be arm in arm with criminals who have been declared innocent on technicalities, in many cases.”)

The other side of the “rogue” coin is the unfairness a number of rogue defenders, of whom we have discussed quite a few, here on TJMK. Here’s one you posted on 01/07/16:

“Ethan Couch killed four and maimed a fifth for life while drunk-driving in Texas two years ago…..”

His “punishment” was 6 months probation after his defense’s psychologist “convinced the judge that the affluence of the family was somehow a primary cause of the killings.”

Even that sentence was favorably conditional; it could be reduced to 3 months by “good behavior”.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 07/06/16 at 12:39 AM | #

Judge Masipa has sentenced Oscar Pistorius to six years in prison for murder. Legal experts outside the courtroom think the verdict is shocking and that Judge Masipa was sympathetic towards Pistorius. He will be eligible for parole in two years.

Posted by The Machine on 07/06/16 at 04:55 AM | #

IMO, Judge Masipa mangled the legal aspects of the trial in the first place, but was duped by Pistorius to the end. What a disappointment she turned out to be.

Posted by JohnQ on 07/06/16 at 08:28 AM | #

Judge Masipa was stung about having her verdict criticised and overturned.  This is her way of saying ‘I am the Judge’.  Up yours.

Posted by Slow Jane on 07/06/16 at 07:19 PM | #

Knox in Dawndra Budd’s photo shoot:

The Good
*Photos are technically beautiful and artistic
*Knox does an Elizabeth Taylor in white slip
*Knox looks healthier, hair shiny
*Knox is attractive with dark hair, red lipstick

The Bad
*No smiles, no joy in the entire collection
*Knox has her eyes closed or hidden in all shots
(click on “See More” for a few pix with eyes open)
*Knox on ladder in water of Puget Sound. I call this one: Knox going up in smoke.
*Knox in water. Think Lady of the Lake meets Beast from Revelation.
*Knox in wires that mimic scribbled black ink pen
*Knox throws keys in bottle of water: threw away her youth, her freedom, now refuses responsibility
*“I know I’m not alone even when I’m alone” is her Italian message in bottle. Loneliness is real for her.

The Ugly (in its metaphor)
*Knox in blood red dress lies with closed eyes and white moth on her lips. She said Dawndra found it dead on her kitchen counter. Knox said she was game to use it as prop. This is visually pretty with the white moth contrast to deep red lipstick, but hideous in symbolism. Kiss of death, death on lips, moth as symbol of destruction or frailty, a creature of the night, death in her words or death will speak. Two dead things together: Knox and the dead moth. Moth to flame as in red lips.
*Knox calls dead moth a “corpse” in describing it. 

*Knox hangs by a single chain in red dress, again eyes closed. Chain from anchor.

Poem by Dylan Thomas came to mind: “though I sang in my chains like the sea” (Fern Hill)

Dawndra Budd uses clever techniques and vivid imagination to create quality photos but the photos depict nothing but sorrow and isolation and an inert Knox.

The only photo where she’s really smiling is one called Behind the Scenes. She’s in the water and a man dressed all in black with horrid tattoos on his calves is walking toward her.

Dark and disturbing, the photo sequence, and it’s perhaps no accident that she has image of glass (glass bottle) as echo of broken glass at cottage, and images of water for all the washing she did. Also tears in a bottle, crying.

The whole thing is despondent, a ghostly catwalk, yet she never moves except to swing her head like “No!”. Either she’s standing above water on the ladder unable to walk, or sitting with head on table gazing through glass bottle, or lying back on a big chain looking dead, or lying flat like a corpse with the moth on lips. She was more active in prison.

Now she has a July article in West Seattle Herald about Dr. Who and PTSD.

Go to Amanda Knox blog to see the photos.

Knox’s birthday is Saturday, July 9th.

Posted by Hopeful on 07/06/16 at 08:37 PM | #

PM Renzi’s prospects for himself and the reforms seem to be on the rise as Five Star experiences some disarray.

Virginia Raggi Mayor of Rome meanwhile seems to be having a terrible time.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/12/16 at 12:18 PM | #

Re the moth on the lips photo by Dawndra Budd, a moth was Hannibal Lecter’s calling card (or a moth chrysalis, I don’t quite remember). The poster for the film features a face with a moth on the lips. I apologise if this has been pointed out before. I haven’t had time to read everything. It seems like another example of gleeful clue giving. Remember her rendition of ‘Zombie’? It seems like she is revelling in allusions to death.

Posted by pensky on 09/12/16 at 04:44 PM | #

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