Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The El Bizarro Defense: “It’s Unfair To Use The DNA They Didn’t Manage To Scrub Away Against Them”

Posted by Cardiol MD

Remember the twins who appealed for mercy at their trial for murdering their parents? On the grounds that they are now orphans?

There is something of that reminiscent here. The defenses of Knox and Sollecito seem to be trying to exclude evidence that they themselves tried to destroy, essentially on the grounds that their destructive attempts failed to destroy all of it, and left behind only some of it.

Their argument boils down to whether the disputed DNA evidence is more unfairly prejudicial than probative. The faux forensic experts who are arguing in the media that this disputed DNA evidence would not ever be admitted in US or UK courts are in fact totally mistaken.

It is my opinion that because it was the defendants’ deliberate conduct that nearly succeeded in extinguishing all their DNA, any US and UK courts would insist to admit this highly relevant evidence, and let the participants duke out its fairness, in open court, in front of a jury.

That is what the only relevant court in Meredith’s case, the Perugia appeals court, is now doing.

DNA evidence may be “only circumstantial” but that is as with most of the evidence in this case. Meredith was murdered - that’s a fact - but no one saw who did it except the killers.

Judge Hellman designated his selected Expert Reviewers with such alacrity that I think he had already thought it all out.  Judge Hellman is being prudently responsive to the legal and political pressures bearing down on him, and knows the ruling also calls the defendants’ bluff.

As Tom in the post below and others are pointing out, the review is limited to a very partial review of the DNA evidence, and what is not to be reviewed is by far the most significant.

The possibility of more residual blood at the blade/handle junction is thought-provoking. Sollecito’s obsession with knife-ownership suggests that his knife, the murder-weapon, would be top quality, probably with a handle/blade junction, pretty, but vulnerable to seepage into it.

Also, the knife-wielders significantly, even deliberately, stayed away from the well-known neck-blood-vessels, the Jugular Veins, and the Carotid Arteries, on both sides, focusing their neck-stabs on the area of the Larynx, as if they had some medical knowledge of what they were doing - but not enough.

The blood-vessel they did cut - the right superior thyroid artery - is a branch-of-a-branch of the better known blood vessels, but very close to the larynx. They didn’t know, or care, enough to anticipate the lethal consequences of cutting so small an artery in that particular location, so near to the airways.

I agree with others that Judge Hellman may also be innoculating himself by heading off a possible adverse ruling of the Supreme Court in Rome, which must be restricted to Procedural/Legal issues.

The defence lawyers sem to be submitting, probably against their own better judgement and advice, to the FOA camp’s insistence for additional review. I also believe the defendants will bitterly regret this insistence.


Hi Cardiol,

It’s ominous for Raffaele Sollecito that there will be no further tests on his computer. It seems Judge Hellman accepts that Sollecito’s third and last alibi is false. Amanda Knox also doesn’t have an alibi despite three attempts. Lying repeatedly to the police will be always considered a clear indication of guilt.

Posted by The Machine on 12/23/10 at 04:07 PM | #

Hi Cardiol,

Great post! Between The Machine, Tom and you - you guys have wrapped it up with a bow!

One question since I’m not a lawyer. Could you please explain this sentence a little more fully?

“Their argument boils down to whether the disputed DNA evidence is more unfairly prejudicial than probative.”

Does this mean that the defense is arguing that inconclusive DNA suggests the presence AND the clean-up of their clients and is therefore unfairly prejudicial?

Thanks in advance!

Posted by bedelia on 12/23/10 at 04:41 PM | #

Hi former bad girl

Me : “Their argument boils down to whether the disputed DNA evidence is more unfairly prejudicial than probative.”

You: “Does this mean that the defense is arguing that inconclusive DNA suggests the presence AND the clean-up of their clients and is therefore unfairly prejudicial?”

Yes, the DNA does suggest the presence of their clients, and the clean-up by their clients.

This is very, very, strong evidence against the Defendants i.e Probative-of[tending to prove] their guilt.

I say they are constructively arguing that:

1.  The DNA is inconclusive, and that

2.  Because of its alleged inconclusivity it is unfair to introduce it.

I know that legalese can be as clear as mud; please tell me if this clarifies mine.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 12/23/10 at 08:18 PM | #

Merry Christmas, former bad girl ,

A little more explanatory stuff:

The more Probative an item of evidence is, the more Prejudicial [Damaging to the Defendants’ Case] it is.

A U.S. Judge is required to exercise his discretion as to the relative balance between Probative and Prejudicial and decide whether the probative value “is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, misleading the jury, or by considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence.”

For example, suppose the Prosecutor wants to enter evidence that the defendant had been found guilty of another murder, previous to this one. That would be substantially damaging to Defendants’ Case, but not strictly Probative of whether they did this particular one.

In such a case a U.S. Judge should conclude that this evidence is Unfairly-Prejudicial and exclude it from This trial-as to-whether-they-did-This-murder. [But it could be introduced later, at sentencing, if they’re found guilty of this one.]

Posted by Cardiol MD on 12/24/10 at 05:47 PM | #


Thanks, Cardiol. OT but speaking of blood, the words “Buon Sangue” embroidered on a baseball cap are the photo cover of Jovanotti’s 2005 album.  I knew sangue meant blood, I figured buon meant good, but the phrase “buon sangue non mente”, or “Blood will out,” is the English idiom. It means your family history will eventually reveal itself in your character. The baseball cap reminded me of Chris Mellas.

Amanda takes as her unofficial motto the lyrics of Jovanotti’s song, “Fango”. She wrote out these words in blue ink: “Io lo so che non sola anche quando sono sola”... Jovanotti. It means, “I know that even when I am alone, I’m not alone”.

Researching Jovanotti today scratching the surface online I saw the “Buon Sangue” album cover. I was shocked to see another album cover of his. It has a photo of a human hand with palm showing and fingers stretched out, much like the hand Amanda traced and sent to Rocco Ghirlanda’s organization. The album with hand is titled, “Ragazzo Fortunato”, Lorenzo 1990-1995. (Lorenzo is Jovanotti’s real name.)

Jovanotti has made up his new name from American and Italian names. He called himself Joe Vanotti, but it got shortened to Jovanotti. He’s a modern day Italian rap singer with various musical styles mixed together. His song dedicated to his little daughter, entitled “A Te”, was very popular.

I found the Italian lyrics to “Fango” from which Amanda drew her motto, but couldn’t find an English translation. “Fango” means mud found in some area of Italy that is used to cure gout and rheumatic ailments, mud from some spring.

The thrust of the song “Fango” seemed to be that the only thing that is a real loss is the tragedy of becoming unable to feel, or to enjoy the beauty of nature and one’s senses and to retain one’s passion for living. This is perhaps an inaccurate summation.

Jovanotti’s a poet, very soulful and romantic. The Fango music video had waterfalls as a backdrop and a rushing river. Jovanotti sang as he sat on rocks near the mist. Water was flowing everywhere. He was in a green Army shirt and black pants and sang in an agonized way. Once he hit his forehead with his hand, then he raised both arms up in a worship gesture or to the sky. He wiped his hair back dripping from water.

Posted by Hopeful on 12/25/10 at 01:46 AM | #

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