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Rome Court Overturns Acquittal of Amanda Knox
ROME — Italy’s highest court on Tuesday ordered a new trial in the sensational case of Amanda Knox, an American exchange student accused of murdering her 21-year-old roommate, Meredith Kercher of Britain, in 2007.
The judges’ announcement that earlier acquittals had been overturned was greeted by a shocked silence in the courtroom here.
The ruling by the Court of Cassation means that the case against Ms. Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, will be reheard at a new appeals court in Florence either later this year or in 2014. The two were initially convicted in a trial that divided public opinion internationally but were acquitted on appeal 18 months ago. Prosecutors then challenged that acquittal.
The decision opened a further tangled and dramatic chapter in a long-running case whose youthful protagonists, sometimes lurid detail and courtroom spectacle has fascinated many people in the United States, Britain and the rest of Europe.
Ms. Kercher, a 21-year old exchange student at the University of Perugia, was killed in her bedroom on the night of Nov. 1, 2007. Her half-naked body was found under a duvet, her throat slit.
Ms. Knox, then 20, and Mr. Sollecito, then 24, were arrested days later and convicted of murder in December 2009 in a lower court in Perugia. Both were sentenced to 25 years in prison for the crime, and Ms. Knox received an extra year for calumny after she falsely accused another man of committing the murder.
When the convictions were overturned on appeal, the two were released in October 2011. But in 2012, Italian prosecutors and lawyers for the Kercher family filed an appeal with the Court of Cassation, whose rulings are final. Ms. Knox’s lawyers appealed against the accusation of calumny, but the ruling on Tuesday upheld the charge.
A third man, Rudy Guede, an Ivorian residing in Perugia, was tried separately and sentenced to 16 years.
The ruling on Tuesday did not call for the rearrest of the two defendants. Carlo Dalla Vedova, Ms. Knox’s lawyer, said she was unlikely to return to Italy for a retrial. “The psychological stress of the case has been heavy. I don’t think that she’ll come,” he said.
In a statement issued by her media advisers within minutes of the announcement, Ms. Knox said it was “painful” to receive the court’s ruling “when the prosecution’s theory of my involvement in Meredith’s murder has been repeatedly revealed to be completely unfounded and unfair.”
No matter what happens, my family and I will face this continuing legal battle as we always have, confident in the truth and with our heads held high in the face of wrongful accusations and unreasonable adversity,” the statement said.
Giulia Bongiorno, a lawyer representing Mr. Sollecito, said in a telephone interview: “The battle continues. In this trial we always had to climb up the mountain.”
“We feel greatly confident; we know that Raffaele is innocent; and we also know this is not a conviction,” she said.
Ms. Bongiorno said she did not believe that Mr. Sollecito would be sent back to prison, as he had been acquitted on appeal.
A lawyer for the Kercher family was jubilant.
“This is marvelous,” said Francesco Maresca, the Kercher family lawyer. “I am very happy. I had faith in the Court of Cassation. I was sure it would annul the acquittal.” He added: “This ruling gives justice the chance to re-establish the truth. No matter what’s said, more than one person committed this crime.”
Mr. Maresca said the Kercher family had not traveled to Rome for the latest hearings because Arline Kercher, the victim’s mother, was unwell.
Mr. Dalla Vedova, Ms. Knox’s lawyer, said his client was in Seattle and had stayed up waiting for the outcome until 2 a.m. local time. “She was sad. She believed the nightmare was over,” the lawyer said. But a day of hearings on Monday about the case “went on for so long, it became clear that there was going to be further harassment against this young girl.”
Ms. Knox “is ready for a new trial, she’s gone through this before. She’s ready to fight,” the lawyer said.
(More at link)
- Can they make her go back and stand trial? I would think as an American citizen she couldn't be forced back once she had already been released.
- R1 - I saw something about that this morning. The Italian courts could ask for her to return for trial. If they ask and she does not comply, the Italians could ask for extradition. It is not likely the US will comply with the request as it would violate our "Double Jeopardy" laws. If it goes that route, she would basically be forced to stay in the US for the rest of her life OR have to be diligent on travel only to places without extradition treaties with Italy.
- They could still try her in absentia
- Italy is one fucked up place. This was the Catholic Church vs the Slut trial.
- Diane Sawyer is already got a 2-hour ABC News Special on how this poor, sweet, innocent young woman is being so unjustly treated!
How dare they try a pretty American white girl for murder! The View will dedicate every other show to seeking "justice" for poor Amanda.
ABC World News and Good Morning America will be her personal PR team for the next year and a half.
- Hey R4, you're constant bullshit on "the Catholic Church" is out to get this poor angel of a girl has become tiresome.
It was tolerable the first few times you posted, now it's just trolling. Give it a fucking rest and head back to your mommy blogs or MichFest forums.
- Those of you who are so certain she is guilty -- what's the evidence?
- I don't think she was so innocent.
I think maybe lying about the other guy, makes it hard for me to think she is innocent.
- R6, this is Datalounge. We don't support the criminal Catholic corporation here. So fuck off.
- Apparently because she is a non-virgin white american girl? That's the only thing that seems consistent in the messages.
- Italy has no "justice" system; it is renowned for saving face over finding truth. The Prosecutor in this case fell into hot water years ago with proclamations of he occult and devil worship being a motive in a high profile case; when it started to be questioned, he fell in disgrace and took matters in his own hands-- to the point where he was tampering with evidence and coercing people. He was made to look like a fool so when this high profile opportunity came around, he really wanted to get back into the forefront and regain credibility. The first trial was a sham; in the absence of evidence, he really played up the "American temptress" angle to these "pious Italian sensibilities." Can you imagine- no evidence but using "the sexual and tempting abilities of the American woman" as a prosecutorial technique? She will never be extradited; the American justice system has no compulsion to do so, especially in light of evidenced that is non-existent, tampered with, ill-gotten, or simply the delusions of a bitter old man.
- R7 DNA, alibis, Knox's written statements to police, Sollecito's diary, Knox blaming another and not recanting when she had plenty of time to do so. Etc and etc.
- I saw something on 48 Hours Mystery a couple of years ago. A murderer refused to return to the US, and the country he was in refused to extradite him back to the US.
So the police officer went over to the country, and essentially kidnapped him, and brought him back to the US.
Despite the fact that country rejected the extradition order.
- Apparently it isn't about extradition for trial, only for conviction.
[quote]"If the court orders another trial, if she is convicted at that trial and if the conviction is upheld by the highest court, then Italy could seek her extradition," Knox's lawyer, Carlo Dalla, Vedova said yesterday. It would then be up to the US to decide if it honours the request.
- R9 Please. Right.... the Catholic Church was out to get Amanda Knox!
- R11 PR nonsense.
If she is looking for an American-style justice system, I suggest she consider committing her next murder in the US.
I think her guilt is plain as day, and the only reason there is debate on the subject is that the American media loves a pretty white girl, and is creating 'doubt' where there is none.
She is pretty. I will give her that.
- It's all about the 20 people killed by the US military jet in Italy in 1998. The pilot and navigator were found not guilty by a US military court. (They were later found guilty of obstruction of justice for destroying video taken that day. One spent 4 months in US military prison. Nobody else involved in the crash spent time in prison.)
The Europeans, especially Italians, were outraged when the pilot was acquitted of negligent homicide and involuntary manslaughter and the charges against the navigator were dropped. They were flying at 350 ft. They weren't supposed to fly any lower than 2,000 ft. The pilot claimed he thought he was flying at 1,000 ft (which was against regulations anyway) and that his altitude-measuring equipment wasn't working. (How likely is that?) Of course, records of the flight were destroyed by the crew.
So when the opportunity presented itself -- in the form of an American girl living in an apartment where a murder was committed -- for Italians to stick their fingers in the eyes of the US, they happily did so.
And no, Fox won't be going back to Italy or to Europe. I dare say she doesn't care to. The US is big enough to travel around in.
- [quote]Ms Knox, 25, who is now living in Seattle, cannot be forced to appear in court and her lawyer said extradition could only be sought if the supreme court confirmed any conviction.
[quote]Rebecca Shaeffer, law reform officer for Fair Trials International, said: “There is a treaty in place between the USA and Italy that would allow Italy to request Amanda Knox’s extradition. However she will be able to argue, under the terms of the treaty, that her extradition is barred due to the principle of double jeopardy, since she has already previously been tried and acquitted of the same offence.“
- r4 is prejudiced against her because she's white and blonde.
- Even if the US refused extradition, I'm afraid of what happened at R13
That she would be kidnapped and sent back to Italy.
- R18 you're an idiot. The Kercher family hasn't even continued believing your nonsensical assertion that "her guilt is plain as day".
- R22 - Happens all the time
- The DNA evidence was found to be contaminated -- not only in the laboratory, but in videos. Video showing collection of evidence showed dirty gloves being cross contaminated. Evidence left lying around at the crime scene was found to have miraculously moved itself across the room. Police were shown walking all over the crime scene in uncovered shoes, contaminating footprint evidence.
Plenty of people who confessed to crimes in police custody were later proven innocent with DNA evidence. The Central Park 5, for one. They were coerced by the police to tell intricate stories implicating each other. None of their confessions were true.
Watch some of the true crime shows on tv. Police are often shown "interviewing" a suspect, asking him/her to recreate what they think might have happened at the crime scene. It's an old technique. "Who do you think did it? Who do you think was involved? We have hair samples. Was your friend maybe involved?"
- If Italy were to persist in demanding extradition, I believe the catholic church pedophile cases in the US would suddenly heat up and spend weeks at the top of the new cycle. Bishops and cardinals will be called to account for their behavior. The actions of the Vatican going back 30 years will be placed under a US media microscope.
- In America we let minorities like OJ and Michael Jackson, kill and molest because we know blacks can't do wrong things.
And women murder people and go free, if you're in Florida, where as Cunts on juries convict white men like Scott Peterson with no evidence, just because he's a cheat.
- Trying too hard, 27.
- News report at 11 am said the Italians will probably try her in absentia.
I wonder if her attorney is now concerned with what she may have said in the Diane Sawyer interview. They may not have been prepared to deal with this new event in the Italian court.
- Italy should be glad that major media outlets haven't delved too deeply into Benedict's role in the pedo scandals. And how about this new guy and his ties to South American fascism? Another sign that Italy loves fascists -- first Mussolini. Then the Vatican's silence during the holocaust.. Benedict was a Nazi. Now this new guy is an accomplice in The Disappearances.
I'd tread carefully. Hitchens may be dead but there are plenty who can take his place.