Amanda Knox (yet again)


Amanda Knox (yet again)

Monday, February 27th, 2012

I’ve written two posts about the case of Amanda Knox. For one of them I read two books on her case and concluded that she was innocent of the murder of Meridith Kercher or at least that there was certainly no significant evidence against her. Finally the Italian courts agreed and freed her and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito on October 3rd or 2011. Amanda and Raffaele had spent almost 4 years in prison. Here is a link to the Amanda post if interested.

Now the prosecutors of the case have decided to appeal the case to the Italian Supreme court. Click here to read the short article in the New York Times. Of course given the glacial rate at which the Italian justice system seems to move it may be another year or two before we see the results of this appeal.

I’m not sure that the U.S. justice system allows for an appeal of an innocent verdict. Perhaps some reader who is more familiar with criminal law in the U.S can leave a comment. In any case they obviously can in Italy. In a related article I read the while most Americans think that Amanda is innocent, most Italians feel just the opposite. This is interesting since the evidence, should anyone take the time to investigate it, seems to clearly to point to her innocence. But perhaps it is part of the “bella figura” concept raised to a national level. The only conversation I had about Amanda was with a small group of Italians. I said that I thought that she was innocent and one of my friends, to my great surprise, said that he thought just the opposite. I was shocked since he was trained as a lawyer although he doesn’t practice law. I explained in my best Italian that I’d read two books and found no supporting evidence. His was response was, “but Hillary Clinton put pressure on the Italian government to try to help secure her release”. What! Wait a minute, Hillary is not on trial here, Amanda is. Hillary’s actions have nothing to do with the life of a college student accused of murder. So it was, I think,  a wound to the national pride, Italians felt that they were made to look bad, they felt that their, and the world’s, image of their justice system, had taken a beating. I had read that when the appeal verdict was read at the court in Perugia that the crowd outside chanted “Vergogna!” – Shame. I had thought that was “shame on the courts for having originally sentenced an innocent pair to prison but now I’m not so sure. Perhaps it was shame on the courts for releasing the pair and overturning themselves. A blot on the national pride. I’d really like to get a comment from an Italian on this. Perhaps I’ll have that conversation again when I return to Bologna.

Now Amanda has received a book deal for almost 4 million dollars. Her parents are over a million in debt due to all of the legal expenses throughout the ordeal so presumably that’s where some of the money will go and I’m happy that Amanda will have at least some compensation for the years she spend in an Italian prison.

By the way, I have heard people say that they fear going to Italy because of this case but keep in mind this case is certainly an anomaly.   You really have nothing to fear from Italy. We certainly have lots of cases of injustice here as well and sometimes they result in the wrong person being executed. At least the Italians don’t do that!

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6 Responses to “Amanda Knox (yet again)”

  1. Scott Says:

    Great perspective, particularly from your friend the Italian lawyer. And I thought conspiracy theorists were only in this country.

  2. Joe Says:

    You must be talking about the idea that Hillary tried to influence the outcome of the trial. I have no idea if this has any basis in fact but would not be surprised if there were not some attempt to influence the process in such a high profile case in a foreign country. In fact I would guess that our government does that all of the time, especially when it seems that there seems to be such a shaky case against an American citizen. It’s like that kind of joke about “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that someone is not out to get you”.

  3. Anna Says:

    I don’t know how this Italian lawyer would know if Mrs. Clinton tried to intervene. Perhaps that’s another crazy, unfounded rumor going around. I always assumed that if the State Department did anything, it would be after the appeal verdict, thus allowing the Italian judicial system to work it’s way through the case. I, too, have read a great deal about this case, and from what I’ve read the prosecution almost always appeals the appeal. That’s just standard procedure in the Italian court. Also from what I’ve read, it is mostly a formality to be sure that all proper procedures were followed. Our judicial system is very different from theirs, so it is hard for us to comprehend why and how they do what they do. In any event, I hope that Amanda is able to move forward with her life, and I eagerly await her book.

  4. Joe Says:

    Anna

    What you say about any potential intervention makes sense. I doubt that the appeal will go anywhere since the evidence was virtually nonexistent to start with and the initial prosecution seemed to be more a matter of overeager prosecutors than anything else. I too am looking forward to her book. Thanks for the comment.

    Joe

  5. Boo Says:

    “for having originally sentenced an innocent pair to prison but now I’m not so sure.”

    The cries of “shame” had nothing to do with embarrassment but were expressions of outrage that the “two rich kids” had got off, while the poor black man had paid the price. Italians have a keen sense of justice and profound suspicion, often justified, of the legal process.

    No one knows what happened to the Meredith, however there was a strong sense in Italy that a US PR campaign, combined with high-paid lawyers, had “bought” their freedom, not helped by the Hollywoodisation of the attractive Knox and the abuse heaped on the Italian system from the US (where, lest we forget, poor black men are regularly fried on the flimsiest of evidence).

    For what it’s worth – and I’ve looked at the “evidence” too – I don’t think Knox necessarily committed murder, but equally there’s enough to point that she knew more than she let on, not least fingering another black man – quite a coincidence in racially homogenous Italy – and letting him linger in jail for TWO WEEKS before he was able to clear himself. The whole duress thing does not stack up – and this is also largely what condemned her in the eyes of the Italian people. In the end Knox probably got something like she deserved – four years for aiding and abetting/ manslaughter. In that sense, the system worked. Just a shame she’ll now cash in.

    I’ve lived in Bologna for four years and it’s a great city. Italian culture is far more complex and richer than I ever imagined when I moved here. The cliches are all true, but the truth behind them far more complex. If you’re interested in reading more about Italian culture I’d recommend the books of Bepe Servegnini – I think I’ve seen them at the Fetrinelli International on Via Zamboni. Good luck with the language – it’s a bit like I said about the culture… Socially you may be interested in the English/Italian language swop in the big Irish bar also on Via Zamboni. Tuesday nights I think.

  6. Joe Says:

    Boo,

    I disagree with much that you said about Amanda. Let’s get down to the most basic part of it. Your statement that “there’s enough to point that she knew more than she let on”. I’d prefer to deal in facts rather than speculation when condemning someone. I’m curious about how you came to that conclusion – what are the facts behind it. It’s too long a conversation to debate here but I’d really like to meet you when I am in Bologna. It should be an interesting conversation. Beyond that I’d be interested in your experiences there over the last 4 years. I’ll contact you when I get there in April.

    Joe

    P.S. I went to the Tandem Learning meeting at the pub on Zamboni when I was there last fall and am planning to go when I’m there this spring.

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