Sunday, April 07, 2013

Tip For The Media: In Fact Knox Extradition Is Likely To Be Readily Granted

Posted by James Raper

[[Above: a plane landing at Florence airport; most under arrest arrive via Rome airport]

This is the latest in our many posts nailing the myths perpetrated by the pro-Knox campaign,

We can already see that there is an attempt to generate a new myth in the media and on the internet.  This is that it is unlikely that Amanda Knox would be extradited to Italy. Talking heads appear by the dozen on US TV channel networks to say so. A plethora of internet articles add up to the same. They are all wrong, take it from me.

However the fact that the subject is even under discussion is an indication that the implications of the Italian Supreme Court’s annulment of the Appeal verdict are sinking in, in some quarters at any rate. I am sure that what Ted Simon says for public consumption is very different from the advice which (assuming he has been asked) is rendered privately to Amanda and her family. If not then the family is being seriously misled as to Amanda’s prospects of avoiding extradition.

There is, of course, an extradition treaty between the United States and Italy and it seems that the main issue as to whether extradition could take place would be Double Jeopardy.

Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Professor of Law, has written a good piece.  Sensible articles like this have been a long time in coming but even he gets some of it wrong and cannot resist creating a little air of uncertainty.

“Ms Knox would likely challenge any extradition request on the ground that she was already acquitted by the lower appellate court, so any subsequent conviction would constitute double jeopardy.

That is when the real legal complexities would kick in, because Italian and American law are quite different and both will be applicable in this trans-national case involving a citizen of one country charged with killing a citizen of another country, in yet a third country.

America’s extradition treaty with Italy prohibits the US from extraditing someone who has been “acquitted”, which under American law generally means acquitted by a jury at trial. But Ms Knox was acquitted by an appeals court after having been found guilty at trial.  So would her circumstances constitute double jeopardy under American law?

That is uncertain because appellate courts in the US don’t re-try cases and render acquittals (they judge whether lower courts made mistakes of law, not fact). Ms Knox’s own Italian lawyer has acknowledged that her appellate “acquittal” wouldn’t constitute double jeopardy under Italian law since it wasn’t a final judgement - it was subject to further appeal, which has resulted in a reversal of the acquittal.

This argument will probably carry considerable weight with US authorities, likely yielding the conclusion that her extradition wouldn’t violate the treaty. Still, a sympathetic US State Department or judge might find that her appellate acquittal was final enough to preclude her extradition on the ground of double jeopardy.”

“Final enough”?”¦.hmmmmm. That doesn’t seem very legal language to me. And given the Italian three tier system how does one determine when an acquittal is final enough, other than at the end of it? Of course, if in doubt, the State Department or judge could read all the published court judgements in the case. That would help.

On the other hand, perhaps Dershowitz should read the 1984 Extradition Treaty between the USA and Italy more carefully.

Article VI states -

Extradition shall not be granted when the person sought has been convicted, acquitted or pardoned, or has served the sentence imposed, by the Requested Party for the same acts for which extradition is requested.

The Requested Party, in the case of a request for extradition from Italy, will of course be the United Sates.  Clearly this is no bar to extradition in the case of Amanda Knox as there has been no judicial process against her in the USA regarding the murder of Meredith Kercher .

And for the avoidance of doubt jeopardy Article I states - “The Contracting Parties agree to extradite to each other, pursuant to the provisions of this Treaty, persons whom the authorities of the Requesting Party have charged with or found guilty of an extraditable offense.” So an offense shall be an extraditable offense only if it is punishable under the laws of both Contracting Parties by deprivation of liberty for a period of more than one year.

(There are other circumstances under the treaty when extradition will not be granted, but these do not apply to Knox. They concern political and military offences.)

Furthermore the 1984 Extradition Treaty recognizes (as do all such treaties) the validity and fairness of the contracting parties’ respective judicial systems. Such treaties would not be possible otherwise. The USA has already extradited its citizens (when it had to) to countries where, as here, an appeal acquittal has been overturned on further appeal, the original conviction has been re-instated, and the process then continues to another appeal. This is in recognition of the fact that in some systems the State has a right of appeal as well as the accused. What’s wrong with that?

Is all of this likely to change on account of Amanda Knox?

Imagine, for a moment, that Knox fights the request for extradition through the US courts and secures a landmark decision from the Supreme Court that the request is a violation of double jeopardy. At a stroke the US government will be forced to negotiate a raft of new unequal treaty rights and obligations with a number of foreign states that will feel insulted, nonplussed and humiliated by the slight to the reputation of their judicial systems. Some may refuse to do so, and this will more likely disadvantage the USA than the other way around. It would create an enormous mess in US relations with such states.

I don’t think the Supreme Court would be that daft. It’s just not, given the circumstances, a runner.

Neither would the State Department, for the same reasons, be that daft. It is under a treaty obligation, the extradition papers being in order, to (a) grant the request or (b) if the request is challenged in the courts, to hand the matter over to the Justice Department for it to be pursued there on behalf of the Requesting Party.

The reality is that if Knox’s fresh appeal were to fail and the conviction were to be upheld finally by the Italian Supreme Court, then her opposing an extradition request from Italy through the US courts would be an exercise in futility, and an extravagant waste of legal costs that would cut deep into the alleged $4 million for her book.

There would be nothing left for her after that, and after paying off Marriott and numerous other creditors waiting in the wings.


The new appeal might this time last only a few days, and not be not spread out over a year which was Hellmann’s deliberate intention - advantaging the defense (it was done for Bongiorno and the DNA consultants) to the immense disadvantage of the victim’s family (there was no way they could afford to fly to Italy for an average of two saturdays each month).

Sollecito’s father has just said that he and his son fully intend to attend the appeal trial. Sollecito’s book already in many places slyly sells Amanda down the river. The dumbest legal advice she could now be given is : “Dont attend the appeal trial”. That would allow Sollecito’s father and his lawyer Bongiorno to walk all over Amanda Knox. .

Coupled with James’s impeccable arguments that if they want her back they are going to nab her anyway, our betting is that she is not a no-show. She’d also be best served to put off the book and ABC interview.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/07/13 at 02:58 PM | #

If she (and Sollecito) attends the Appeal and the guilty verdict is upheld would they be able to put her in jail immediately or would it have to wait until the final SC decision?

Posted by thundering on 04/07/13 at 03:40 PM | #

Yummi has warned me that Knox’s not appearing at least for the first session of the appeal is pretty close to contempt of court.

Remember Knox got ZERO proactive support from the US Embassy and State Department largely due to her ADMITTED use of drugs and the fact that the trial was a very fair process. 

So Italian authorities could issue an arrest warrant at any moment from now on, though they are likely to give her every opportunity to make her own way back.

If found guilty at end of the appeal, she would be eligible for immediate imprisonment.  But her lawyers might negotiate for some sort of parole probably based on her agreeing to stay on in Italy.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/07/13 at 03:57 PM | #

I could care less. I am just interested in seeing Justice being delivered!

However, I am curious whether the new evidences (e.g., books and interviews) can be technically part of the appeal process.

Anyway, AK should find an Italian cell far better than her present prison. If she is interested, she could have studied something during the prison period and acquired some intellectual qualifications (if possible). At least, RS passed some exam while in prison,  I understand.

As I said, I am not asking for the pound of flesh, I am just asking for Justice! Perhaps I am asking for too much.

It does not appear that she has developed any remorse or sense of responsibility (I am often wrong though!) but she can perhaps get some reduction in her sentence if she can present personally some mitigating stories. Any story, however, need to be somewhat coherent!

Posted by chami on 04/07/13 at 04:03 PM | #

So if she is there at the Appeal when the verdict is given (and the verdict is ‘guilty’) she could be taken straight to prison or have to stay in Italy pending the SC?

Her lawyer, CDV, said on a news clip she wouldn’t be attending the appeal???

Posted by thundering on 04/07/13 at 04:04 PM | #

Bet your life there will be some lunatic judge in the US who will issue an injunction.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 04/07/13 at 04:53 PM | #




AK’s chance of finally avoiding a guilty verdict are small to non-existent.

If she waits for this axe to fall she will lose critical years to detention or to evasion.

AK’s worst-case scenario is to have her guilt finally-confirmed in a year or two, be extradited to Italy, and serve-out, say, ten years more in prison, by which time she will be 40-ish years old.

RS’s ‘Honor’ will not be so binding that he won’t have ratted on her, in the meantime.

She is already a convicted-felon, which limits her reputation, and severely limits her geographic-mobility.

Her best-case scenario is to be exonerated completely in a year or two, recoup her own, and her family’s accumulated debts, and make mucho $$$s as a celebrity author and interviewee.

The latter scenario is so unlikely, and the former so possible, and so likely, that she should expect what she would perceive as a final ruination of her life.

What is her optimal choice?

How about AK admitting her guilt, and voluntarily going back to prison in Italy?!  Now!

This choice would be so redemptive that she would accrue far more credit than if she had never committed her crime in the first place; her Notoriety would be transformed into Fame.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 04/07/13 at 06:21 PM | #

Was having a bad day today, thanks James, feel much better after reading your post! Meredith had at least 60 of her years taken away so 25-30 years each for AK & RS, minimum of 15 to be served, which is still not enough, 6 years for Curt & Edda should suffice, closely followed by 4 years for each of the other shills. Hoping they pay a heavy price for all the pain they have caused. As for the reported $4 million, I take it that sum is minus tax, not to mention the whopping PR bill, can’t be much leftover. Is is also true that if (when) the guilty verdict is final, the Kercher’s can make a claim for the book money? I’m 100% sure they’d do something nobel with it, unlike Curt.

Posted by Urbanist on 04/07/13 at 09:57 PM | #

I would like to believe it because in my estimation a verdict of guilty followed by extradition would be only just.  It is Amanda (as I believe) who conceived this monstrous rape at knife-point, although much assisted by Raffaele Sollecito.

But the pair of them (she & Raffele, I mean) have after all served four years in prison & been held in suspense for much longer, overall.  In that sense they have paid a price—maybe not “our” price, but a price.

Given that Amanda’s book will not be further delayed, despite Peter’s expectation—my gosh, it’s even called “Waiting to be Heard.”  How long is she to be kept waiting?

Given that her media splash is very considerable, thanks to the whole shrewd earlier publicity campaign, we may suppose that her many American supporters would resist any further action against her.

And given that governments are responsive to public opinion, can we suppose without further ado that Amanda will be sent back & convicted & made to serve more years in prison?  Much as I would like to believe James Raper, I can’t take it for granted.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 04/07/13 at 11:35 PM | #

James, I agree Knox would find the U.S. State Department ready to extradite her if she were convicted. Attorney Ted Simon struggled for years to keep Ira Einhorn the unicorn killer away from his due justice, but Simon eventually lost and Einhorn was nabbed in France and returned back to a U.S. prison.

Cardiol mentions Raf may rat on Amanda. It’s possible Chris or Curt or Edda will one day be tempted to do the same thing. Or Curt’s second wife, Cassandra, or her maturing daughters. Amanda might have spilled the beans to mom and dad in a moment of exhaustion in a private conversation who then let their spouses know, sworn to secrecy.

Keeping such an explosive secret that’s “worth” so much may become impossible. Edda’s or Curt’s new spouses might one day get tired of all the anguish and legal expense. They could use the tiniest piece of the puzzle to emotionally blackmail Edda or Curt for more money or more marital freedom or to justify a divorce. Cassandra could say, “I’m outta here. My girls deserve peace. Amanda’s a bad influence, we didn’t sign up for this. Go spend all your money and free time on her legal card tricks if you want to, Curt, we’re through.”

I doubt Edda could keep a horrendous secret for long, she may have told a priest. She owes Chris a lot now if she told him secrets. Now he’s a threat.

Edda might enjoy feeling powerful by owning secrets Amanda withheld from Curt but confided to Mommy, and then she told Chris as a way of boasting and venting. The Knox family might have seen items in the cottage that only they would recognize the significance of. Didn’t Curt go there to get Amanda’s rock-climbing gear and junk she had left in her room after police tape came down? I bet they burnt every piece of that stuff once home.

And Amanda wrote so many notes and journals. She probably stores the notebooks at Edda’s house in the closet in big plastic bins or a locked trunk for security or a rented self-storage unit away from both parents’ homes, but who is to say someone highly motivated hasn’t peeked? I guess she has hauled that out of storage to consult for her book, the papers may be strewn everywhere, flying off the bus she rides to her UW creative writing class.

Posted by Hopeful on 04/08/13 at 01:27 AM | #

Do you really think she would leave something as important as this lying around for others to find ? But I suppose her family must feel ashamed of her .

Posted by aethelred23 on 04/08/13 at 02:28 AM | #

There is absolutely no legal basis for refusing to extradite Knox if she is definitively convicted. Other people have been extradited in exactly the same circumstances. Knox’s only hope is to convince the politicians that she’s some sort of a special case deserving of a reprieve from the State Department.

Posted by brmull on 04/08/13 at 04:48 AM | #

Perhaps it is fear of extradition that is behind this petition, asking Obama, his Attorney General Eric Holder and the entire US Congress to “save Amanda Knox from a retrial” in Italy:

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 04/08/13 at 04:52 AM | #

I do think Knox has writings that would reveal things to those who know this case and know her so well. I imagine they are in “code”, disguised as fiction, or poems which say a lot under the veil of poetic form, or maybe in the form of drawings. She may have gotten careless and forgot to destroy a few things in all the turmoil of her return home. Chris Mellox complained once of her many books and notebooks in Perugia after she was imprisoned. Others were having to manage her stuff for her, it was not in her hands as prisoners find out.

I meant that I believe her secret will one day slip in some unexpected way, and I do think she might have let some dangerous things slide in whispered conversations to her mom or even Madison to find relief and an ally. People talk. She’s such an inveterate liar she might have the confidence to tell herself that she could always deny it later, if someone tried to tell on her. If she’s puffing on (marijuana? who knows?) “cigarettes out the window” of her Chinatown lodgings as the newspaper reported, or drinking with friends at night she might get sloppy. Truth is very powerful and finds a way to reveal itself. Plus we know Knox loves to tease with snippets of truth that tantalize and confuse her adversaries. That’s her game.

If she did reveal things to her mom or dad, I believe Edda would be the one most likely to spill to her husband. Curt can keep his mouth shut better, he’s very closed down and guarded and now extremely cautious, but there’s always the passive-aggressive slip where Curt might reveal something by “accident” to Cassandra. Amanda has learned to be more like Curt in public restraint, but she has too much of Edda in herself as well.

No, I don’t think Knox penned a clear “I killed Meredith and here’s how we did it”, but to the initiated or to family who know her and the case so well, her hints in writing or speech might be quite obvious. She may still have her jail journals packed in suitcases from the flight home. Where did she put them, in James’s apartment? Where did she pull the diaries out to re-read before writing her book? on a desk at his apartment? At least she has privacy there. Did she take them to New York to meet her ghost writer? I don’t know. Would she entrust them to Madison? To Deanna? To DJ? what a burden to place on a friend. They might be stashed in the trunk of someone’s car, or maybe she re-wrote them on a computer to save electronically. Would that be riskier or safer? All the jail writing is a deep part of her most important life experience, she won’t part with it. She may think she was careful to keep it deceptively innocuous, safe enough to keep on the premises or under her bed. Would that remind her too much of the cot in Capanne or feel good and familiar? Does James have space or care where she stashes stuff in his place?

Posted by Hopeful on 04/08/13 at 06:58 AM | #

It would appear that Knox was fastidious in keeping records. The diary that Knox kept in Italy was seized on the day of her arrest. It was found, that the pages from early October had been ripped out (Follain p.143) It would be interesting to know, up to which date. Obviously, the diary was incriminating. When did she rip the pages out? The cottage was locked down from 2 Nov and she would not have had access to the diary at that time. My guess is that the pages were destroyed on the morning of the 2nd. Flushed down the toilet? Now that’s ironic!

Posted by starsdad on 04/08/13 at 12:23 PM | #

I don’t comment a lot but this post by james (excellent piece) got me thinking. I subscribe to the theory that it’s likely that Knox and her former boyfriend will eventually be sentenced to more jail time. Something in the order of 20 years or a little less. I also think (like many others) that the new appeal will be restricted by statements from the supreme court. This will severely hamper the defense and will shorten the time until they are again facing the supreme court. A conviction at the appeal level will likely weaken the bond between knox and rafaelle. Rafaelle may come clean in a bid to lessen his jail time (although I don’t know if the supreme court is allowed to do this).

As to what Knox will do when her appeal fails I want to make a prediction. It may seem strange but I will wager that she will get pregnant. When her appeal fails more people (including media) will leave her side. As a result the family will become more desperate, money will run out and even in Seattle people will start wondering whether she isn’t guilty after all. It would be typically Amanda to try and save the day. She would gain a lot of sympathy as a struggling mother who is facing extradition and would once again be in the spotlight.

Since I don’t post a lot also a thank you to all those who post on this site. The contrast with other sources of information is striking and has made me aware of lack the truthfulness of information on the internet and other media. Keep up the good work.

Posted by carl on 04/08/13 at 02:21 PM | #

The innocenti, the Knox-Mellas clan, the Ted “whack a mole” Simons of this world and all the rest of the loonies that follow them are seriously in the do do and for want of stating the obvious they certainly know it.

After the appeal is reheard and they are indeed found guilty again they can hardly bleat on about corruption and evil satanic prosecutors and contamination etc. etc. etc.
Their position is simply untenable and extradition will be granted.

It is pathetic to see them appealing to President Obama and certainly a sign of a corrupt and dying campaign in it’s death throws.
Good riddance to them and we await justice for Meredith Kercher.

Posted by DF2K on 04/08/13 at 03:00 PM | #

“Other defendants who have been acquitted in other countries and then convicted on appeal have attempted to raise the double jeopardy principle to avoid extradition, without much success, said Mary Fan, a law professor at the University of Washington who specializes in cross-border criminal law.

The text of the treaty prevents extradition if the person has already been convicted or acquitted of the same offense by the “requested” country, which would be the United States in Knox’s case because Italy would be requesting extradition from the United States. Because Knox was never prosecuted or acquitted for homicide in the United States, the treaty’s double-jeopardy provision would not prevent Knox’s extradition, said Fan.

While the issue is rare in the United States, several courts have rejected the double jeopardy argument in similar cases. In 2010, a federal court in California found that a man who was acquitted of murder in Mexico and later convicted after prosecutors appealed the acquittal, could not claim double jeopardy to avoid extradition to Mexico. That court cited a 1974 decision from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, that reached the same conclusion with respect to Canadian law, which also allows the government to appeal an acquittal.”

Posted by James Raper on 04/08/13 at 03:11 PM | #

Remember all that unanimous love and support Knox was to have received upon debarking at Sea-Tac?  Her petition is struggling along to break the 5,000 signature mark.  To put that into perspective, there’s a petition to make SimCity2013 (SimCity V) a single-player off-line game with well over 10,000 signatures right now.

I truly doubt Americans want to coddle a vicious killer in their midst who did not pay for her crimes.  The petition nonsense supports my opinion.

Posted by Stilicho on 04/08/13 at 09:45 PM | #

Yes, usually Americans are very strict on vicious crime and on sex offenders in particular.

Posted by aethelred23 on 04/08/13 at 11:31 PM | #

Reviewing the informed comments of legal minds, I say this much: Yes, I should like to see Amanda sent back to Italy. (Better for her if she went on her own.)

Why extradition? Because of the sheerly senseless, vicious, cause-less nature of the crime. Drugs & alcohol are no excuse: Rape is rape & murder is murder.

Question for Peter or for anyone who might know: Have we reason to think that publication of Amanda’s book will be postponed beyond the announced April 30?

Posted by Ernest Werner on 04/10/13 at 09:41 PM | #

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