Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Amanda Knox farce continues. Sigh.

I have often said I could never be a trial attorney. They do things weird in trial court. They don't always read statutes or check case law before acting. Motions that should win get denied for no reason. It's kind of the wild west down there and I wouldn't make it long before I would hurl a statute book at someone. I need things to be right while the district court needs things to be fast.

But there is one place I would be even less successful: Italy. Holy cow, is that country's criminal justice system a mess. And so perfectly willing to trash a young woman's life for all times just because, well, because you don't like the look of her.

That's all the Amanda Knox case comes down to, you know. There's no evidence against her. Not one single shred. But in Italian courts, apparently that's just proof that you're guilty because obviously you cleaned up! (While magically managing to leave the actual killer's trail of bloody footprints untouched. Impressive and clear evidence that you are cold and calculating.)

And then in Italy, when there's no blood found, that's clear proof that there is blood! And a knife that absolutely couldn't be the murder weapon based on its size becomes the clear murder weapon! And the speck of biological material on that knife becomes not starch from bread but DNA of the victim! And in Italy, there's no such thing as an interrupted burglary where the burglar (whose DNA and bloody footprints are all over the crime scene, btw) kills a resident who comes home while he's still there. No, obviously that doesn't happen but drug-fueled sex orgies turned murder committed with total strangers do!

So when an appellate trial in Italy, which is a trial with a jury unlike our appeals, hears all the evidence (again, unlike our appeals where facts can't be litigated), comes back with a finding not just that Amanda Knox and her sad former boyfriend are not guilty but are officially  innocent, it shouldn't surprise us at all that the higher appellate court in Italy can say totally innocent means they must be tried again! I couldn't work in a system that tolerated this kind of nonsense.

But I have to believe in the end, this will ultimately go away and sanity will prevail. I just have to because I might go insane otherwise. Here in the US, we eventually saw the error of our West Memphis Three ways, right? So surely some power in Italy will finally acknowledge the painfully clear truth that is there for anyone who can see: that Rudy Guede and Rudy Guede alone killed Meredith Kercher while Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito had absolutely nothing to do with it. Honestly, anyone who continues to cling to the prosecution's fantastical theory of prosecution at this point is just delusional.

There are two tragedies here. First, obviously, that Meredith was murdered in such a horrible and brutal way. The second tragedy, though, is that her murder has been exploited and twisted and manipulated into this ridiculous, world-wide tabloid sensation that has destroyed two innocent people's lives while allowing the actual killer to get a greatly reduced sentence. And no matter what transpires in this latest legal twist, there will be a percentage of the world's population who continue to believe that Amanda (and therefore poor Raffaele) were involved in this crime, were there, know something at least, or flat-out committed it. They will have to carry that for the rest of their lives thanks to one insane prosecutor and a country that loves a crazy, conspiracy theory.


Minneapolis criminal defense lawyer said...

Agreed - this has gone too far, and become so sensationalized, it's tragic. Amanda Knox has gone through a hellish young adulthood, and I can only imagine how much of this is due to a prosecutor's unwillingness to let it rest.

S said...

Poor Raffaele, too. He's the real schmuck in all of this. He only got caught up in it because a prosecutor and investigator decided they didn't like the way Amanda looked. Now he's the one who is in actual jeopardy of incarceration. All she has to do is stay away from Italy (or any country that would send her to Italy). But that poor guy is stuck.

A Voice of Sanity said...

From "The Fatal Gift of Beauty" by Nina Burleigh

The modern American religion of science was tested in the trial and found dispensable by the judge and jury. The jurors could hardly have cared less about the mysterious, invisible chemical substances that proved and disproved blood on the knife and in the footprints. In some sense the substances and what they purported to reveal were as real or unreal as the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist. You either believed or not. They went with another sort of criminal analysis and used the science testimony only as a kind of "possibility" indicator. Thus, the judge could write in the final sentencing report, that even though TMB (the blood-detecting chemical) had indicated there was no blood in footprints, and even though the low-copy-number DNA (material amounts considered below most courtroom standards of proof) on the knife made the material evidence dubious, it was still certainly "possible" that blood had been there, and that the big kitchen knife had been at least one of an unknown set of other knives used to kill Meredith.

It is easy to say that the jury, the judge, and maybe even Mignini were wrong to ignore modern science, but they had their reasons for doing so, reasons that may in fact be as valid as our own faith in it. As Hamlet reminded the rationalist Horatio, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

On the afternoon of November 2, 2007, Magistrate Mignini found himself in the presence of inexplicable evil. In his worldview, evil is a primary force, and it is made manifest in many forms. In America, we might explain evil as the product of child abuse and mental illness. For Mignini, and others, there are older, other ways of explaining the vilest acts of men.

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