Italy Defends Amanda Knox Conviction

Italy insists Amanda Knox's conviction and 26 year sentence for murdering her roomate is fair.

Some think she has a good chance on appeal. Others say she was the victim of anti-Americanism and never stood a chance.

Washington Senator Maria Cantwell has problems with the verdict. [More...]

“I am saddened by the verdict and I have serious questions about the Italian justice system and whether anti-Americanism tainted this trial. The prosecution did not present enough evidence for an impartial jury to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Ms. Knox was guilty. Italian jurors were not sequestered and were allowed to view highly negative news coverage about Ms. Knox. Other flaws in the Italian justice system on display in this case included the harsh treatment of Ms. Knox following her arrest; negligent handling of evidence by investigators; and pending charges of misconduct against one of the prosecutors stemming from another murder trial.

The New York Times reports appeals may take years.

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    I don't want to be a homer (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by Steve M on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 06:01:16 PM EST
    but it seems like a very sketchy conviction to me.  The arguments for her guilt all seem to be Nancy Grace-style "she acted strangely with the police, so she must be guilty" stuff.

    There may be a world where innocent people always comport themselves like Mr. Spock and do nothing more than recite the straight story to police, with utter confidence that the truth will set them free, but I don't think it's our world.

    Even then... (none / 0) (#37)
    by sj on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 01:32:59 PM EST
    ... "some would say" that the person was too emotionless and should have been more distraught.  It seems that unless the individual in question behaves the same way that an observer imagines they would comport themselves criticism is inevitable.  

    One must be hysterical, but logically consistent; consistent but not be memorized; calm but not emotionless.  And withdrawn, well, that's a sure sign of guilt.


    But maybe (none / 0) (#38)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 01:41:43 PM EST
    they shouldn't do cartwheels in the police station.

    It's not what I would do... (none / 0) (#39)
    by sj on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 01:43:57 PM EST
    ... but it isn't exactly evidence of guilt.

    It's a "local" story, so we've probably (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Inspector Gadget on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 06:03:08 PM EST
    heard more about this for two years than most other parts of the country. The evidence certainly didn't seem convincing enough to me.

    We convicted the Au Pair in our courts and sent her back to England shortly afterward.

    From what I've read, (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Zorba on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 06:32:42 PM EST
    it would seem that there is much, much more than a "reasonable doubt."  The forensic evidence appears to be very weak, the prosecutor has some grave problems of his own, and the presentation of the evidence to the jury was extremely prejudicial.  Does Italy follow the Napoleonic Code, does anyone know?  Heaven knows, we have our own problems with the court system in this country, but the whole Knox case seems particularly egregious.  

    The Corte d'Assise is an Italian court composed of two professional judges, Giudici Togati, and six popular judges, Giudici Popolari.

    Might be the worst wrongful conviction ever (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by heineken1717 on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 10:20:23 PM EST
    I'm obviously going out on a limb there given all the wrongful convictions we know about, but this one is truly unbelievable.

    The victim had Guede's DNA all over her dead body.  There wasn't a speck of Amanda Knox's DNA on her body.  There is no possibly way on god's green earth that a 20-year old could have figured out the scientific knowledge required to clean up all of her DNA and yet leave all of Guede's.  It's just not physically possible, and that means without a doubt she is 100% innocent.

    She claims she was coerced (none / 0) (#2)
    by MKS on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 06:02:16 PM EST
    into giving false statements to the police during very long interrogation sessions.  Those false statements were held up as contradictory to other statements later made by her, putting her in a very bad light.

    The chief prosecutor, as profiled on 60 Minutes months ago, was said to be very arbitrary, wrongly targeting people on gut instinct a' la George Bush.  He wasn't the lead prosecutor at trial, from what I gather.


    It wasn't just (none / 0) (#7)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 08:24:16 AM EST
    she gave a story to the police because she was scared and then changed it - her story changed many times over the course of the investigation, inclduing the fact that she affirmatively (falsely) accused someone else of the crime (for which she was found guilty of defamation). Andher original statement was pretty detailed, inclding describing about how she heard the victim's screams in the next room - not something someone would normally say if pressure just got to them and they just blurted out a confession to get the cops off their backs.

    Her criminal defense attorneys, and those of her co-defendant, were supposed to be very good. (and if the evidence was so bad, why didn't her defense team do a better job in convincing the jury?) As for Sen. Cantwell to say there there wasn't much evidence, apparently she didn't realize that over 200 pieces of evidence introduced and over 100 witnesses took the stand. And apparenlty the jury found enough of it to be credible.

    As I've been saying all along, we need to wait for the jury's reasoning to be made public so we can see what they were thinking.  And remember - all the prosecutor needed was a majority of jurors - he didn't need a unanimous verdict, so it would be pretty easy to convince 5 of 8 people, especially when a co-conspirator in already in prison.


    Yeah (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Steve M on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 10:09:28 AM EST
    but of course, calling him a "co-conspirator" is sort of assuming the conclusion.

    I suspect the jury's reasoning will make it even clearer that this was an absurd conviction.  This speculation about how "an innocent person wouldn't make up a story like that" is exactly what I mean when I talk about Nancy Grace stuff.  None of us are this young girl and none of us has the slightest idea what it's like to be accused of murder and hauled in for questioning.  A lot of people might do weird or irrational things under those circumstances without being guilty of murder.


    True (none / 0) (#9)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 10:30:46 AM EST
    But on the other hand, none of us were sitting in the jury box for a year and heard and saw all the evidence, so we only got snippets of what happened from media exceprts and her family (who obviously also have a bias). Which, again is why I said we need to see their reasoning.  I think it's a bit arrogant for people on a blog who don't really know that much about the case, or the Italian judicial system, to proclaim that she's completely innocent and this is the greatest miscarriage of justice ever.

    If it's arrogant (none / 0) (#10)
    by heineken1717 on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 10:49:10 AM EST
    then just explain how a 20-year college old could be in the victim's room, stab her repeatedly, and either:

    (a) not leave a trace of DNA, or
    (b) clean up all of her own DNA while not touching Guede's DNA

    all while she was "high and drunk" according to the prosecution.

    That's not a "snippet" or "family bias," those are the undisputed facts of the case.  Or am I being arrogant?


    Explain (none / 0) (#12)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 10:53:07 AM EST
    How not one piece of DNA was in there when she lived in the house?  I find that odd....

    That's not the case (none / 0) (#14)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 11:12:46 AM EST
    The DNA evidence is only from the immediate crime area (victim's body and blood smears). It's absurd to think they would test for her DNA in the bathroom since she lived there.

    Other legal blogs have covered this story with more indepth analysis.


    DNA cna travel (none / 0) (#15)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 11:24:14 AM EST
    I'm not saying the evidence was or wasn't faulty.  I'm saying there's more to this story than her DNA not being there. But to find no DNA in the roommate's room is pretty odd. People lose hair, it gets picked up on shoes or bare feet, it floats and lands on clothes.  

    My guess is if someone did a DNA search on what's on your person right now, we'd find a whole host of things.


    links please? (none / 0) (#25)
    by heineken1717 on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 12:13:44 PM EST
    I've been looking for other blogs discussing this and this and haven't found anything.

    Here you go (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 04:50:27 PM EST
    Google search returned this list - Seattle area focused. Simple Justice (link on TL sidebar) has a good article, too.

    thanks! (none / 0) (#54)
    by heineken1717 on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 06:14:04 PM EST
    I've never been in my roommate's bedroom. nt (none / 0) (#24)
    by heineken1717 on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 12:12:59 PM EST
    Maybe arrogant (none / 0) (#11)
    by Steve M on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 10:50:27 AM EST
    but the forensic evidence speaks for itself.  Just because you or I might not have heard every little piece of circumstantial evidence (although you seem very well-informed about the circumstantial evidence that supports guilt) doesn't really change that.  In fact my entire explanation for the verdict is that the jury seems to have bought into all this Nancy Grace crap.

    Maybe I'm arrogant but I expect to be vindicated.


    Maybe (none / 0) (#13)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 10:58:28 AM EST
    But for the 80th time - we need to see the jury's reasonings. I don't know any more about the evidence than you do, but I know we all know a heck of lot less than the jury. You also must know the defense presented the argument that the forensic evidence was faulty - the jury just chose not to believe it.  It's not like it was hidden from them. THAT is what's important.

    And, as you know, DNA and forensic evidence (or lackthereof) IS circumstantial evidence.


    5 of 8? (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 11:38:11 AM EST
    Simple majority--just like an election?  Just like a political decision??

     The more I learn, the worse the verdict appears....


    The verdict (none / 0) (#19)
    by Grey on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 11:58:31 AM EST
    this confirms it (none / 0) (#20)
    by heineken1717 on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 12:03:24 PM EST
    Dumbest jury ever?  One of the clowns said, "It was hard to envision Knox doing this," she said. "But it is possible. ... We can all drink too much, then get in a car and drive."

    Um, excuse me? Because we can all drink and drive, this means Amanda Knox took a knife and slit her roommate's throat?

    If this isn't overturned, Obama needs to institute a boycott of Italy. Not kidding.


    No (none / 0) (#22)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 12:04:47 PM EST
    the dumbest jury ever was the one that sat on the OJ Simpson criminal trial.

    both juries were dumb (none / 0) (#26)
    by heineken1717 on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 12:15:58 PM EST
    but the OJ jury went with the reasonable doubt that the evidence was planted. The Knox jury said no reasonable doubt even though there is no proof she was even in the room. If that isn't reasonable doubt, everyone is guilty of murdering Meredith.

    Yes (none / 0) (#21)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 12:03:30 PM EST
    But under Italian law, only a majority is required for a criminal conviction.

    Interesting that it was unanimous.


    Under Italian law (none / 0) (#27)
    by Grey on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 12:17:39 PM EST
    Knox also gets an automatic appeal.  Two levels of appeals, in fact.

    She may well be innocent, I have no idea, but I'm not so keen on excoriating an entire system based on one conviction and it really irritates me that we're bellyaching it on lack of evidence when we do the same thing, here, practically every day.  No system is infallible.


    Thank you (none / 0) (#29)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 12:20:56 PM EST
    To add (none / 0) (#30)
    by Grey on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 12:25:14 PM EST
    The first automatic appeal allows for the entire case to be retried (not sure what happens on the second layer) so, if the evidence is that flimsy, it's quite likely the conviction will be overturned.

    And good for her if that's the case (none / 0) (#32)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 12:39:17 PM EST
    But 19 total triers of fact have already seen and heard the evidence so far, so it will be interesting to see what happens next.

    this is the best description of the case I found (none / 0) (#28)
    by heineken1717 on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 12:17:46 PM EST
    You're okay with coerced admissions (3.50 / 2) (#16)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 11:32:13 AM EST
    as long as they are detailed and make sense?

    Wow, that is a pro-prosectuion stance.  Do you take the same position regarding the prisoners at Gitmo too?  


    You have absolutely no idea (none / 0) (#18)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 11:46:43 AM EST
    it was a coerced confession.  What a ridiculous statment.  Of course that's what she and her attorneys said - would you expect anything else?  And of course, the prosecution will say that she was honest and and couldn't live with the guilt, so blurted it out and then realized she should have kept her mouth shut.

    even if it weren't coerced (none / 0) (#23)
    by heineken1717 on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 12:11:37 PM EST
    it would have been iadmissible in an American courtroom. The document was not in her native language, and she was questioned for 14 hours without a lawyer.

    Anyone who defends this sham conviction would change their mind in an instant if it were their own daughter. What a joke this is.

    And before you retort with "you'd change your mind if the victim was your daughter," BS, they already have the killer in jail, plus the victim's mother couldn't even say she was sure Knox was guilty.


    And that's the point (none / 0) (#31)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 12:38:16 PM EST
    This wasn't in an American courtroom, so to expect the rules of evidence and procedure to be that of what we do here is also ridiculous.

    And since Knox wasn't under oath when she testified (also unlike American courts - defendants do not testify under any kind of oath), she's not really held to the same standard as everyone else, right? She also lied that she didn't know the third man (the one in prison right now), even though a witness saw them together.  then she said she wasn't friends with him, but had only seen him 3 times.

    Oh, and she speaks fluent Italian....


    While I am in general agreement (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 12:54:44 PM EST
    that we don't know what the jury knows and therefor should withhold judgment, your last sentence is factually misleading, albeit I don't think it's intentionally so:
    Though she had an interpreter next to her, the American spoke in fluent Italian, which she mostly learned in the year and a half she has spent in jail.
    Her "fluency" was obtained months or years after her interrogation.

    My bad (none / 0) (#34)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 12:59:23 PM EST
    Every article I saw had her speaking in fluent Italian when she testified.  

    Still doesn't change the fact that we don't know if the confession was coerced (and the other handful of story changes and false accusations against others).


    Agreed. (none / 0) (#35)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 01:01:38 PM EST
    More about the "coerced" confession (none / 0) (#36)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 01:20:55 PM EST
    It was inadmissible in trial, but prosecutors produced another note written by Knox, by which the prosecutors say, she reaffirmed her confession.

    More interesting stuff about her from Clindt Van Zandt, former FBI profiler.


    So, you are opposed to coerced confesssions (none / 0) (#40)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 02:18:12 PM EST
    I think being questioned 14 hours without lawyer is de facto coercion.....

    And, since she was not fluent in Italian at that time, I assume that there were also language issues....


    So SHE says (none / 0) (#41)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 02:37:56 PM EST
    And there was also an interpreter (mediator) there at the time who said she was not "roughed up" by the police.

    And she still was doing cartwheels during this time in the police station.

    Again - YOU have no idea if her cofession was coerced or not.


    It depends on your standard for being coerced (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 02:45:08 PM EST
    If you need someone to be "roughed up" in order to find coercion, then perhaps.....

    I believe that 14 hours of questioning by itself is coercive....And, one doesn't need to rely on her story to determine the length of her questioning; the police's own records should show how long she was being questioned.  Do you have any reason to believe it was not 14 hours?  Do the Italian Police deny that?


    Which doesn't mean (none / 0) (#43)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 02:54:11 PM EST
    She was coerced. The defense tried that - 19 triers of fact throughout the process didn't believe her or that argument.  THAT's what matters.

    She and her defense team also are painting a picture here of a poor innocent girl.  Problem is, the evidence, her own stories, witnesses, etc. don't support that.

    Maybe when she writes her book we can hear more about it.


    So, your definition of coercion (none / 0) (#44)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 03:05:58 PM EST
    requires physical abuse....

    And, you do not think that 14 hours of interrogation is coercive?  Okay.  Different values, I suppose...

    19 different triers of fact?  Only one jury, though.  

     To Kill a Mockingbird   is a good example of juries gone wrong.   People driven by emotion can render all kinds of verdicts....Your reasoning is circular:  she is guilty because the jury says so.  The whole point is whether the jury was right....


    MKS you're right (none / 0) (#45)
    by heineken1717 on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 03:24:52 PM EST
    14 hours is of course coercive, and is therefore not admissible in American courtrooms.  Not to mention that the confession was written in Italian so she didn't even know what she was signing.  It's a joke of a confession.

    jbindc loves the Italian jury and thinks we should all bow to it, which is basically his way if ignoring the fact that there wasn't a fair trial nor is there any actual evidence worthy of conviction.

    I wonder what he would say if he were innocent and yet convicted by a jury?  "Well, I know I didn't do it, but the jury says I did, so I guess I'll just be quiet and stop complaining!"


    Who cares? (none / 0) (#48)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 03:55:06 PM EST
    Who cares what is admissible in American courtrooms - the trial wasn't in America.  But BTW - it wasn't admissible there either - what the prosecution intrioduced was ANOTHER statement Knox wrote where, it was argued, that she reaffirmed her confessions.

    What don't you understand?


    19 triers of fact (none / 0) (#49)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 04:02:11 PM EST
    Judges to determine if there was enough good evidence to arrest them and then to proceed to trial, and then the jury. All those people made determinations on the quality and strength of the evidence.

    And, as in America, if the jury says you are guilty, you are guilty in the eyes of the law. And again, since you did not sit through the year long trial with ALL the evidence presented, as opposed to just reading about it on line at "Free Amanda" sites, you (or anyone else here or in the media) are not really in a position to say the evidence was bad and she was framed.


    So, by analogy, if a judge (none / 0) (#53)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 05:21:01 PM EST
    here in the U.S. issues a warrant based on probable cause, or finds probable cause to go to trial after a preliminary hearing, that means the defendant is guilty?

    It appears, according to your representation, that different judges performed different functions....

    And, you create strawmen.  I never said she was "framed" or that she is even innocent.  From what I have heard and read, the case seems mighty suspicious--expecially the confession and the bizarre views and biases of the prosecutor.

    One more thought:  How many juries have found innocent people guilty of murder here in the U.S.?  Just because a jury says it's so, even here in the U.S., doesn't make it so.  That is the entire point behind further review.

    You do not seem very sympathetic to the views of this site.  


    Literally doing cartwheels? (none / 0) (#46)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 03:50:19 PM EST
    IIRC, she didn't know her roommate all that well. They had only recently arrived in Italy.

    What do you mean cartwheels?


    She was (none / 0) (#47)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 03:53:47 PM EST
    actually doing cartwheels (like cheerleaders do) in the police station after she had been taken there in the questioning of her roommates' death.

    And laughing (none / 0) (#50)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 04:02:44 PM EST
    when she was about to be questioned - it was a party for her in the police station.

    I hope that's on video (none / 0) (#52)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 04:52:39 PM EST
    but, maybe acrobatics is a calming thing for her. I'm reluctant to determine she's a murderer for that, though.