Amanda Knox Trial

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hotnewrelease
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Amanda Knox Trial

Postby hotnewrelease » Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:57 pm UTC

Below I'm not at all implying that Amanda Knox or her boyfriend are in particular innocent. I'm just questioning the use of evidence and general methods by the prosecution. I'm not so much interested in 'do you think she's guilty/innocent?' but the means of trying suspects in court. That is, I'm not saying 'clearly the prosecution was wrong because she's innocent,' but 'the methods of prosecution are questionable because they're bizarre.

(for a quick review, see display of prosecutor versus defense evidenciary arguments, which is consistent with everything I've read on nytimes, etc.)

I won't attempt to analyze the more ambiguous parts, but just point out what I think were odd ways for a legal system to proceed:

First bizarre part:
The prosecution's 'motive' for murder: Knox and her boyfriend were drunk and high, so they (naturally) coerced the victim Meredith into a sex game, which went sour, so they killed her with a knife. This explains how she was found raped and stabbed. Later they caught up with a man who lived downstairs whose DNA matched a vaginal swab of the victim, so they added him to the sex game.

How could one possibly establish this as the course of events if the only non-defendant witness is dead? Maybe they're more likely to have killed her if they were drunk and high, and into sex-games. But this wasn't shown at all. Conversely, if I suppose they killed her, it does not follow that they were drunk and high and into sex games. While this might be dismissed as an image mechanism, I think it crosses a line when it's shown as a cartoon video to a jury.

Second bizarre part:
Part of the evidence against the defendants: A broken window. Which suggested that the defendants broke the window to stage a break-in. That is, a part of a crime scene that doesn't fit the picture is described by saying 'well, obviously they did that to throw us off the trail!'

Third weird, weird part:
Videos of the crime scene show, among other odd things, kicking a window in for no obvious reason.

Just saying, none of the above should fly, period. Legal systems will always have flaws, but I think those flaws should be inherent in the notions of subjectivity, conflicting needs for order and liberty, etc. Not . . . the need to kick in windows.

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Diadem
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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Diadem » Sat Dec 05, 2009 5:48 pm UTC

Could you maybe link to an article that explaisn what this is all about? I've never heard of Amanda Knox before.

It appears to be an Italian murder case? Wikipedia seems to have an article on it, but at 4 pages it's rather stiff read for a brief introduction.
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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Dobblesworth » Sat Dec 05, 2009 5:53 pm UTC

Meredith Kercher was a British exchange student living in Italy in 2007. She was founded murdered with multiple knife wounds as mentioned. Prime suspects from the get-go were an American friend of hers out there Amanda Knox, with her housemates as accomplices. Murder trial in Italy has just finished with Knox and the-other-guy convicted and getting 20+ year sentences each.

Decent base article to navigate off the news of the guilty verdict here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8394750.stm

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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Diadem » Sat Dec 05, 2009 5:58 pm UTC

I'm reading the wikipedia article now. A very strange case indeed.

If I understood correctly, the victim was found raped and murdered, and they found traces of sperm from a guy named Rudy Guede. Then later on they also arrested Knox en Sollecito, who according to the police were also present, but they don't have much against them except circumstancial evidence? Is that correct?

It's a strange case.

But this is Italy. Their justice system ... is kind of bad. Italy is really an anomaly in the Western world.
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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Gelsamel » Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:06 am UTC

hotnewrelease wrote:Second bizarre part:
Part of the evidence against the defendants: A broken window. Which suggested that the defendants broke the window to stage a break-in. That is, a part of a crime scene that doesn't fit the picture is described by saying 'well, obviously they did that to throw us off the trail!'


They must have done it! Evidences X, Y and Z all point directly to them! And evidences A, B and C which suggest they didn't do it is just MORE proof that they did it because they are clearly evidences of their attempt at misdirection, but we know better!
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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Pansori » Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:43 am UTC

Diadem wrote:I'm reading the wikipedia article now. A very strange case indeed.

If I understood correctly, the victim was found raped and murdered, and they found traces of sperm from a guy named Rudy Guede. Then later on they also arrested Knox en Sollecito, who according to the police were also present, but they don't have much against them except circumstancial evidence? Is that correct?

It's a strange case.

But this is Italy. Their justice system ... is kind of bad. Italy is really an anomaly in the Western world.


Basically that is right. Guede claims he had sex with the victim, but then had to run to the bathroom because he became sick. While he was in the bathroom the girl was murdered. When he came out he said he saw an Italian man who basically told him that because he is black he would be blamed for the murder. Guede also claimed to have heard Knox's voice. Instead of calling the cops Guede left the apt, and went partying not only that night, but the following evening.
I am conflicted on whether or not I feel Knox had a part in it, though I am leaning on that she may have some kind of knowledge on what happened that evening.

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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Gelsamel » Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:09 am UTC

He went and partied...?

Most would ring the police if they didn't believe the man, if they did then most people would get the hell out and try to keep low or establish a quasi-alibi. Of course, that doesn't mean he didn't, this would only be your "typical" reaction (I'd imagine) so it's not unthinkable that someone might party for two nights straight after seeing someone they just had sex with dead (although it seems less likely than someone going home or calling the cops).

Who claims that the man made that statement? (Capped net, can't check the link) Is that something that only Guede says happened? If so it could be a preemptive race card pull, a bit of "If you think I did it you're a racist just like those others that would've tried to pin it on me"+"My actions were consistent with someone who didn't murder the person because I feared the racism of the cops".

To be honest from what has been said in this thread it seems like this case has as many holes in it as the start of any Phoenix Wright case...
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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby joek » Sun Dec 06, 2009 9:52 am UTC

The sentencing was almost as strange as the trial. Guede opted for a 'fast-track' trial, which apparently means shorter sentence. Knox and Sollecito had a 'normal' trial (or, at least, normal for Italy). They were all, as far as I can tell, convicted of the same thing. Guede got 30 years, Knox 26, and Sollecito 25. Does someone have a source explaining this better than BBC news did?

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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby ThomasS » Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:19 am UTC

Analyzing the validity of a complex court case is hard. Analyzing it from outside the jury box is much harder. Analyzing the validity of a court case in foreign country with a foreign legal system is harder yet. Analyzing a foreign court case when one of the parties has hired a PR company begins to border on the absurd.

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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Bluggo » Sun Dec 06, 2009 1:55 pm UTC

I have not followed that case much - frankly, I found the way in which the media dealt with it quite disturbing - so I have no real opinion about it.

But perhaps I can answer this:
joek wrote:The sentencing was almost as strange as the trial. Guede opted for a 'fast-track' trial, which apparently means shorter sentence. Knox and Sollecito had a 'normal' trial (or, at least, normal for Italy). They were all, as far as I can tell, convicted of the same thing. Guede got 30 years, Knox 26, and Sollecito 25. Does someone have a source explaining this better than BBC news did?
After the murder, Guede fled to Germany: this, if I remember correctly, was one of the main reasons why he did not get the "generic extenuating circumstances" discount from his sentence. The others got it, mostly because of their young age and because they had not been convicted before.

As for Knox, she falsely accused Patrick Lulumba, a bar owner: she actually got 25 years for the murder, and one additional year for that.


Also, about Diadem's post:
Diadem wrote:But this is Italy. Their justice system ... is kind of bad. Italy is really an anomaly in the Western world.
Actually, our justice system is one of the few things - along with, for example, healthcare and primary instruction - which work quite well, all things considered. If anything, its main fault is that it is really slow; but overall, it is impartial and fairly trustworthy.

We have our faults, obviously, but it is hardly fair to say that Italy is "an anomaly in the Western world": after all, we weren't the ones who sentenced to death a mentally retarded inmate.
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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby joek » Sun Dec 06, 2009 3:01 pm UTC

Bluggo wrote:I have not followed that case much - frankly, I found the way in which the media dealt with it quite disturbing - so I have no real opinion about it.

But perhaps I can answer this:
joek wrote:The sentencing was almost as strange as the trial. Guede opted for a 'fast-track' trial, which apparently means shorter sentence. Knox and Sollecito had a 'normal' trial (or, at least, normal for Italy). They were all, as far as I can tell, convicted of the same thing. Guede got 30 years, Knox 26, and Sollecito 25. Does someone have a source explaining this better than BBC news did?
After the murder, Guede fled to Germany: this, if I remember correctly, was one of the main reasons why he did not get the "generic extenuating circumstances" discount from his sentence. The others got it, mostly because of their young age and because they had not been convicted before.

As for Knox, she falsely accused Patrick Lulumba, a bar owner: she actually got 25 years for the murder, and one additional year for that.

Ah, thankee.

Also, about Diadem's post:
Diadem wrote:But this is Italy. Their justice system ... is kind of bad. Italy is really an anomaly in the Western world.
Actually, our justice system is one of the few things - along with, for example, healthcare and primary instruction - which work quite well, all things considered. If anything, its main fault is that it is really slow; but overall, it is impartial and fairly trustworthy.

We have our faults, obviously, but it is hardly fair to say that Italy is "an anomaly in the Western world": after all, we weren't the ones who sentenced to death a mentally retarded inmate.

This is true. Texas would be uncivilised anywhere in the world though. You can't judge the whole of the USA on it.

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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby psyck0 » Sun Dec 06, 2009 3:29 pm UTC

It's every bit as valid as judging Italy based on one case in which they convicted one of your citizens and you didn't like it.

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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Bluggo » Sun Dec 06, 2009 3:38 pm UTC

joek wrote:You can't judge the whole of the USA on it.
Agreed, although in that case the US Supreme Court refused to halt the punishment, so it seems to me that the State of Texas was not the only party involved here.

But I did not mean to snipe at the USA: I only wanted to point out that, while there is nothing wrong with criticizing the fairness of a given trial, there is plenty wrong with blanket statements such as "Italy is an anomaly in the Western world".

That's all, really: while I disagree with U.S. policy on many points (which probably would be rather offtopic here), I value U.S.'s many contributions, and I would not dream to insult it or to object to its status as a free, democratic, modern nation - and I would appreciate it if the same courtesy could be extended to Italy.
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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Diadem » Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:30 pm UTC

Bluggo wrote:and I would not dream to insult it or to object to its status as a free, democratic, modern nation - and I would appreciate it if the same courtesy could be extended to Italy.

But that is the thing. Italy is neither free nor democratic nor modern.

Freedom is press is severely limited. Most media are owned by Berlusconi and even the ones that aren't have to be very careful with what they write. Many other civil rights are severely limited as well. Italy is more free than China, of course, but of the Western nations it is most definitely the least free.

Democratic? Not as long as Berlusconi remains in power. Again, compared to China you're not doing so bad. But of the Western nations Italy is the least democratic.

Modern? Italy is the most conservative nation in the Western world. The church has a lot of power, and on issues like abortion, euthenasia and gay rights its word is law. And they score pretty low on emancipation as well. You said your legal system is pretty good, but wasn't it Italy where a few years ago a judge ruled that it was impossible for a woman wearing jeans to be raped? Sorry, Italy is not a modern nation.
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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Mungo0 » Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:49 pm UTC

I've never thought of Italy as having a good justice system, like Diadem's pointed out.

I suppose a way to determine whether they broke the window to 'misdirect' the police was to see which side the glass from the window was. If the glass was on the inside, then it's probably legit. Otherwise, if it's on the outside, that implies it was broken from the inside, and was an attempt as 'misdirection' Even so, if they really were trying to lay red herrings, the glass would be on the inside, due to their state of being drunk and high. Come on, do you seriously believe that people who were high and drunk, who tried to coerce Meredith into sex games then stabbing her, would have the mental power to think about which side of the wall the glass would be lying on in order for it to look like a real break-in? Save time and do it from the inside.

That's my theory on the second weird thing, anyway. Feel free to point out flaws.

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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Bluggo » Mon Dec 07, 2009 6:18 am UTC

Diadem wrote:But that is the thing. Italy is neither free nor democratic nor modern.

Freedom is press is severely limited. Most media are owned by Berlusconi and even the ones that aren't have to be very careful with what they write. Many other civil rights are severely limited as well. Italy is more free than China, of course, but of the Western nations it is most definitely the least free.

Democratic? Not as long as Berlusconi remains in power. Again, compared to China you're not doing so bad. But of the Western nations Italy is the least democratic.

Modern? Italy is the most conservative nation in the Western world. The church has a lot of power, and on issues like abortion, euthenasia and gay rights its word is law. And they score pretty low on emancipation as well. You said your legal system is pretty good, but wasn't it Italy where a few years ago a judge ruled that it was impossible for a woman wearing jeans to be raped? Sorry, Italy is not a modern nation.

I do not want to derail this thread, so I created a new thread in SB to continue this branch of discussion.
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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Vo2max » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:58 am UTC

The reporting slants here are of course very nationalistic; here in the UK the tone of the reporting has long been that it was a matter of course that Knox would be found guilty. Our radio stations occasionally carry reports from the US, and some of our reporters were amazed that the US coverage was so pro Knox (carrying sympathetic interviews with her family members and such like.) It comes as a bit of a surprise to hear criticism of the Italian justice system, but of course we get the same rubbish reporting when a British person is tried anywhere overseas: family members telling you what a nice person they are, xenophobic 'knowing' comments about how obviously the other country's justice system is primitive compared to ours. Par for the course.

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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby DJOuk » Mon Dec 07, 2009 1:44 pm UTC

Vo2max wrote:The reporting slants here are of course very nationalistic; here in the UK the tone of the reporting has long been that it was a matter of course that Knox would be found guilty. Our radio stations occasionally carry reports from the US, and some of our reporters were amazed that the US coverage was so pro Knox (carrying sympathetic interviews with her family members and such like.) It comes as a bit of a surprise to hear criticism of the Italian justice system, but of course we get the same rubbish reporting when a British person is tried anywhere overseas: family members telling you what a nice person they are, xenophobic 'knowing' comments about how obviously the other country's justice system is primitive compared to ours. Par for the course.


I do feel there was a disparity between the reporting, which did seem to lean towards a conviction, and the actual evidence. The majority of the coverage, and therefore my perception of the trail, seemed to focus on personality. It was often mentioned that she was seen doing cartwheels after being arrested. Smiling and laughing with prison officers and her lawyer. Wearing colourful and fun t-shirts and so on.

Her personality seemed to be a key issue for the prosecution. None of which is evidence of guilt. In fact the main evidence seems to have been the knife which had Knox's fingerprints on the handle and Kercher's dna (the dna sample was too small to be called 'blood') on the blade. Seems a bit weak. Especially considering they shared a house and therefore everyone's fingerprints could have been on the handle..

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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Diadem » Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:15 pm UTC

The evidence does seem very weak. They shared a household. Any DNA evidence is thus almost per definition unreliable. Of course there'll be dna of her all over the places, she lived there. And her involvement does not seem required to explain what happened. They already have this Guede guy. Occam's Razor seems to apply. So we have a case that can easily be explained without her involvement, where she has no motive, and where the evidence against her is very dubious and circumstancial. I don't see how guilt can be proven beyond reasonable doubt, given all that.

By the way, I am not American. I don't give a shit about her nationality :)
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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Lewton » Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:36 pm UTC

Diadem wrote: I don't see how guilt can be proven beyond reasonable doubt, given all that.


Exactly... Some people (and some courts) seem to forget it's innocent until proven guilty

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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Dobblesworth » Mon Dec 07, 2009 6:18 pm UTC

I'm a bit perturbed by the nickname bandwagon of "Foxy Knoxy" that is going about. I wonder when we'll be seeing The Sun & The Daily MFail pull out "Gazza Gary" McKinnon. I don't know, maybe it trivialises the whole affair and cries out "she had this awesome rhyme of a nickname from her sahhhcur-girl days, quid pro quo she's innocent ya bunch-a Italanians!"

Addendum - oh my, and it does this as well, heh.

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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Dibley » Tue Dec 08, 2009 12:12 am UTC

Lewton wrote:
Diadem wrote: I don't see how guilt can be proven beyond reasonable doubt, given all that.

Exactly... Some people (and some courts) seem to forget it's innocent until proven guilty

Both "innocent until proven guilty" and "beyond reasonable doubt" are catchphrases from the American legal system. Italy does not follow the American legal system. Can anyone verify whether or not they have equivalent rules?

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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby DJOuk » Tue Dec 08, 2009 8:51 am UTC

Some worrying extracts from a Guardian Article

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/06/amanda-knox-meredith-kercher-trial-perugia

Not that what they heard in court was all fact. The presiding judge, Giancarlo Massei, made a broad interpretation of what constituted evidence. Witnesses were allowed to repeat hearsay and to give their subjective assessment of people's attitudes and emotions. This was particularly important for Amanda Knox, because a key element of the prosecution's case was that her apparent lack of emotion after the discovery of her flatmate's corpse was an indication of her hatred of Kercher, and that her hatred of the British student had led her to murder her.


The defence maintained that the traces of DNA linking Kercher to the supposed murder weapon were inconclusive. The British student's bra clip, which bore a trace of Sollecito's DNA, was not bagged by police until 45 days after the initial forensic inspection. And no evidence of any kind was produced to show Knox had been in the room where Kercher's half-naked body was found.

The room did, however, contain an all-important clue – one which was not there. In Kercher's bedroom there was not a single fingerprint belonging to either Knox or her boyfriend.


This is obviously one article and the people deciding the verdict obviously had two years worth of information but all that seems very dodgy. Allowing the Jury to listen to speculative and subjective evidence. The key sample of DNA being found on a item which in the UK would be inadmissible in the courts as it had not been kept from contamination, and no evidence of Amanda Knox being in the same room. Just what evidence did they have other than "she's a bad apple".

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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Diadem » Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:44 am UTC

For those interested in this case: Amanda Knox and her (ex-)boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito have been acquitted of all charges in the appeals trial. The article I have here doesn't mention if this verdict is final, but it looks like she's on her way back to the USA as we speak, so I guess it is.

My original source is in Dutch, so not much use for this forum. Google news has 5050 sources for the story though, and I never know which one to pick. What newspapers are considered reputable? Anyway, link from a random one:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... rcher.html
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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Dauric » Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:19 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:For those interested in this case: Amanda Knox and her (ex-)boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito have been acquitted of all charges in the appeals trial. The article I have here doesn't mention if this verdict is final, but it looks like she's on her way back to the USA as we speak, so I guess it is.

My original source is in Dutch, so not much use for this forum. Google news has 5050 sources for the story though, and I never know which one to pick. What newspapers are considered reputable? Anyway, link from a random one:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... rcher.html



Thing is she's returned to the U.S., and even though the Italian prosecution may ask for a retrial, they'd have to extradite her from the U.S., which is unlikely given how thoroughly the Italian police cocked up the case and the evidence in the first place.
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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Eyat » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:10 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:
Thing is she's returned to the U.S., and even though the Italian prosecution may ask for a retrial, they'd have to extradite her from the U.S., which is unlikely given how thoroughly the Italian police cocked up the case and the evidence in the first place.


I was wondering about that. Is it considered poor form for the a country to fight extradition? Even/especially with the reasons of "wait double jeopardy is actually built into your legal system?" and "you are attempting to (re?)convict her with THAT?!" I know people have to follow the laws of the land they are in but once they are acquitted and leave do they have to be turned back over so the prosecution can take another shot at it? Though I imagine she would fight it as hard as she could regardless.

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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Роберт » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:36 pm UTC

Eyat wrote:
Dauric wrote:
Thing is she's returned to the U.S., and even though the Italian prosecution may ask for a retrial, they'd have to extradite her from the U.S., which is unlikely given how thoroughly the Italian police cocked up the case and the evidence in the first place.


I was wondering about that. Is it considered poor form for the a country to fight extradition? Even/especially with the reasons of "wait double jeopardy is actually built into your legal system?" and "you are attempting to (re?)convict her with THAT?!" I know people have to follow the laws of the land they are in but once they are acquitted and leave do they have to be turned back over so the prosecution can take another shot at it? Though I imagine she would fight it as hard as she could regardless.

It's hard to say. We have an extradition treaty with Italy, but we have one with Poland and Switzerland etc and they never gave us Roman Polanski.
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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Dauric » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:38 pm UTC

Eyat wrote:
Dauric wrote:
Thing is she's returned to the U.S., and even though the Italian prosecution may ask for a retrial, they'd have to extradite her from the U.S., which is unlikely given how thoroughly the Italian police cocked up the case and the evidence in the first place.


I was wondering about that. Is it considered poor form for the a country to fight extradition? Even/especially with the reasons of "wait double jeopardy is actually built into your legal system?" and "you are attempting to (re?)convict her with THAT?!" I know people have to follow the laws of the land they are in but once they are acquitted and leave do they have to be turned back over so the prosecution can take another shot at it? Though I imagine she would fight it as hard as she could regardless.


A relevant example may be Roman Polanski who has been living in France and traveling most of Europe without being extradited to the U.S. for an underage sexual assault charge.

IANAL, but I believe that even with extradition treaties, actually following through on an extradition is more of a courtesy to the requesting country than an actual legal requirement of the country where the person is at.

In this case though I don't think the objection of the U.S. would be (as much) about Italy's retrial process as much as is "Your police made the Keystone Kops look like CSI, mishandled evidence and violated your own procedures for handling evidence such that any attempts to retry the case would be done entirely on 4-year old hearsay."
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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Belial » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:10 pm UTC

Yeah, I think even with treaties, extradition can be denied on the basis of suspicion that, for example, the person being extradited will be tortured, executed (if the extraditing country doesn't condone capital punishment), or not given a fair trial.

The first two reasons are why a lot of countries, even those with treaties, refuse to extradite certain people to the US. Because we're too barbaric to be trusted with them. The last one is why Roman Polanski is free, I believe, and it's also why Knox's extradition would likely be denied. In Polanski's case I think it's bullshit, but in Knox's it's spot-on.
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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Arancaytar » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:29 pm UTC

Eyat wrote:
Dauric wrote:
Thing is she's returned to the U.S., and even though the Italian prosecution may ask for a retrial, they'd have to extradite her from the U.S., which is unlikely given how thoroughly the Italian police cocked up the case and the evidence in the first place.


I was wondering about that. Is it considered poor form for the a country to fight extradition? Even/especially with the reasons of "wait double jeopardy is actually built into your legal system?" and "you are attempting to (re?)convict her with THAT?!" I know people have to follow the laws of the land they are in but once they are acquitted and leave do they have to be turned back over so the prosecution can take another shot at it? Though I imagine she would fight it as hard as she could regardless.


Technically, it wouldn't be double jeopardy since the appeal is counted as a continuation of the same trial. This theory is used in most of the EU as well as Canada. However, the original point about cock-ups stands.
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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Lazar » Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:14 pm UTC

Yeah, it seems that most nations, while being opposed to double jeopardy in principle, consider an appeal by the prosecution to be okay. Here in the US, it's ingrained in us that an acquittal at any level is final.
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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Diadem » Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:40 pm UTC

Lazar wrote:Yeah, it seems that most nations, while being opposed to double jeopardy in principle, consider an appeal by the prosecution to be okay. Here in the US, it's ingrained in us that an acquittal at any level is final.

In the US the prosecution can't appeal? I never knew that.

That's... weird. How do you guys avoid blatant mistrials by incompetent juries or judges?
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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Mittagessen » Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:55 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
Lazar wrote:Yeah, it seems that most nations, while being opposed to double jeopardy in principle, consider an appeal by the prosecution to be okay. Here in the US, it's ingrained in us that an acquittal at any level is final.

In the US the prosecution can't appeal? I never knew that.

That's... weird. How do you guys avoid blatant mistrials by incompetent juries or judges?


This seem to be a disparity between Common Law and the Code Civil. As far as I understand it in Common Law jurisdictions the prosecution is supposed to "just" try to convince the judge of their viewpoint while in Code Civil jurisdictions the court is supposed to actively investigate the facts of the case (inquisitorial system vs. adversarial system). You could make the case that if the prosecution loses in a Common Law jurisdiction it's their own fault while in a Code Civil jurisdiction there is no alternative to an appeal if the judge wasn't inquisitorial enough. In theory an incompetent judge should have a lot more potential to cause damage in a Napoleonic Code jurisdiction than in the US/UK, although the possibility of getting screwed because you can't afford that star lawyer is greatly diminished.

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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Malice » Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:37 am UTC

Diadem wrote:
Lazar wrote:Yeah, it seems that most nations, while being opposed to double jeopardy in principle, consider an appeal by the prosecution to be okay. Here in the US, it's ingrained in us that an acquittal at any level is final.

In the US the prosecution can't appeal? I never knew that.

That's... weird. How do you guys avoid blatant mistrials by incompetent juries or judges?


Voir dire and elections (and/or careful appointments)? The US prefers to err on the side of "shoot, that guilty guy got away" instead of "shoot, zealous prosecutors were able to retry that innocent guy over and over again for decades".
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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Tirian » Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:59 am UTC

Diadem wrote:
Lazar wrote:Yeah, it seems that most nations, while being opposed to double jeopardy in principle, consider an appeal by the prosecution to be okay. Here in the US, it's ingrained in us that an acquittal at any level is final.

In the US the prosecution can't appeal? I never knew that.

That's... weird. How do you guys avoid blatant mistrials by incompetent juries or judges?


The wikipedia page is pretty good. One thing that we can do is to try the defendant in a different venue on a marginally related set of charges. You'll see this in high profile acquittals like OJ Simpson (where he lost in civil court for wrongful death) or the police who beat Rodney King (who lost in federal court for failing to protect King's civil rights). Evidently, double jeopardy can be overlooked in outright fraud, like bribing a judge, because the defendant was never "in jeopardy" the first time.

Mostly, we just let people go. *shrug* Looking over the whole system, I think we've got a far bigger problem with improper convictions than with improper exonerations.

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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:01 am UTC

Did the Italian police ever identify the interpreter they claimed was in the room when Knox was interrogated until she confessed? Or was that a fabrication?

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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby buddy431 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:38 am UTC

On a lighter note, I like how the Daily Mail Posted the Wrong Story, saying she had been found guilty. While it's entirely reasonable to write up multiple stories ahead of time, it's a little disturbing (though not too surprising, given the source) that they even had supposed reactions from Knox. Who cares if what we write is true, as long as it sells, right?
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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Garm » Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:07 am UTC

Malice wrote:
Diadem wrote:
Lazar wrote:Yeah, it seems that most nations, while being opposed to double jeopardy in principle, consider an appeal by the prosecution to be okay. Here in the US, it's ingrained in us that an acquittal at any level is final.

In the US the prosecution can't appeal? I never knew that.

That's... weird. How do you guys avoid blatant mistrials by incompetent juries or judges?


Voir dire and elections (and/or careful appointments)? The US prefers to err on the side of "shoot, that guilty guy got away" instead of "shoot, zealous prosecutors were able to retry that innocent guy over and over again for decades".


Unless you're in Texas or Georgia.
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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:10 am UTC

buddy431 wrote:On a lighter note, I like how the Daily Mail Posted the Wrong Story, saying she had been found guilty. While it's entirely reasonable to write up multiple stories ahead of time, it's a little disturbing (though not too surprising, given the source) that they even had supposed reactions from Knox. Who cares if what we write is true, as long as it sells, right?


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Garm wrote:Unless you're in Texas or Georgia.


Unless you can show me that Texas/Georgia has a higher conviction rate for murder than the rest of the US, I am going to have to disagree.

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Re: Amanda Knox Trial

Postby Garm » Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:16 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
Garm wrote:Unless you're in Texas or Georgia.


Unless you can show me that Texas/Georgia has a higher conviction rate for murder than the rest of the US, I am going to have to disagree.


Just a throw away line referencing Troy Davis and Rick Perry's executions record.
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