Err, yes, this works

Amanda Knox: I feel stranded and trapped since new guilty verdict
American tells Guardian she has no escape from being marked as a criminal after re-conviction for murder of Meredith Kercher

Given that the definition of a criminal is one who has been convicted in court this sounds about right really.

33 comments on “Err, yes, this works

  1. Fine. So she not allowed to be upset about labelled a convict after being convicted. But it’s probably OK to be upset if she didn’t actually do anything to warrant being convicted right?

  2. What I can’t understand about this case (well, the appeal, at least) is why it all revolves around DNA on the handle of a kitchen knife, in the kitchen that the two accused use every day. Well, yes, officer, there may well be traces of my DNA on my kitchen knife. Because it is _my_ kitchen knife. I use it to cut up food.

  3. SE,

    There are a lot of arguments about DNA evidence, not just on the knife.

    See here for a (obviously very partisan) discussion:

    http://www.injusticeinperugia.org/Prosecutionscase.html

    I don’t know – but if any of these counterclaims are right, it looks like the Italian prosecutors made accusations without evidence, and then couldn’t back down without looking maliciously incompetent.

    The definition of “criminal” is an interesting question, though. I had thought the definition was “a person who has committed a crime”, but of course there is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, so you could argue about whether somebody who committed a crime is *actually* innocent until convicted, or merely *presumed* innocent – incorrectly – until convicted.

    And then of course there are *unjust* laws and the people who break them, where some people think that even though the person might *technically* be a criminal, they’re not really. That’s tricky, because of course criminals might think certain laws are unjust that you don’t.

  4. SE,

    There are a lot of arguments about DNA evidence, not just on the knife.

    See here for a (obviously very partisan) discussion: http://www.injusticeinperugia.org/Prosecutionscase.html

    I don’t know – but if any of these counterclaims are right, it looks like the Italian prosecutors made accusations without evidence, and then couldn’t back down without looking maliciously incompetent.

    The definition of “criminal” is an interesting question, though. I had thought the definition was “a person who has committed a crime”, but of course there is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, so you could argue about whether somebody who committed a crime is *actually* innocent until convicted, or merely *presumed* innocent – incorrectly – until convicted.

    And then of course there are *unjust* laws and the people who break them, where some people think that even though the person might *technically* be a criminal, they’re not really. That’s tricky, because of course criminals might think certain laws are unjust that you don’t.

  5. Surreptitious Evil – “What I can’t understand about this case (well, the appeal, at least) is why it all revolves around DNA on the handle of a kitchen knife, in the kitchen that the two accused use every day”

    Because they have no other evidence? Mind you, the alleged killers of Stephen Lawrence was convicted for a similarly tiny spot of blood. No one is lobbying against that. It is the Jill Dando case all over again.

  6. There has been a extensive PR campaign mounted by the family and supporters of Knox which has muddied the waters of this case quite substantially.
    What is undeniably true though, is that despite pressure brought to bear by the American government and the intense media scrutiny, Amanda Knox has been prosecuted and found guilty twice by a court of law.
    Her motivation may have been unclear, the exact circumstances of what exactly took place known only to her and her fellow conspiritors, but her known actions prior to and after the murder of Meredith Kercher do not speak to me as the actions of an innocent falseley accused.

  7. It’s a real difficulty when you’ve a photogenic victim & a photogenic suspect. Why didn’t one of them have the decency to be plug ugly? We’d know what to believe, then.

  8. bloke in spain – “It’s a real difficulty when you’ve a photogenic victim & a photogenic suspect. Why didn’t one of them have the decency to be plug ugly? We’d know what to believe, then.”

    They did. Rudy Guede is about as ugly as you would want.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudy_guede#Italian_criminal_procedure

    He also left a bloody handprint on the bedding under the corpse and has a history of breaking and entering while using a knife. Guede also got his sentence cut from 30 years to 16 years for saying Knox and her boyfriend did it. Even though his original statement said that an Italian did it.

    But for some reason the Italian justice system continues to believe Guede and thinks Knox did it. Guede is now out on day release.

  9. Andy – “What is undeniably true though, is that despite pressure brought to bear by the American government and the intense media scrutiny, Amanda Knox has been prosecuted and found guilty twice by a court of law.”

    If law courts have proven anything, it is the existence of witchcraft.

    “Her motivation may have been unclear, the exact circumstances of what exactly took place known only to her and her fellow conspiritors, but her known actions prior to and after the murder of Meredith Kercher do not speak to me as the actions of an innocent falseley accused.”

    OK, Let’s consider what is not in dispute:

    After his fingerprints were found at the crime scene, Guede was extradited from Germany where he had fled a few days after the murder; … He told the court that he had gone to Via della Pergola 7 on a date arranged with Kercher after meeting her the previous evening. … He said Kercher had let him in the cottage around 9 pm.[58] Sollecito’s lawyers said a glass fragment from the window found beside a shoe-print of Guede’s at the scene of the crime was proof that he had broken in.[59][60]
    Guede said that he and Kercher had kissed and touched, but did not have sex. He then developed stomach pains and crossed to the large bathroom on the other side of the apartment. Guede said he heard Kercher scream while he was in the bathroom, on emerging, he had found a shadowy figure, holding a knife, standing over Kercher, who lay bleeding on the floor. Guede said the man fled while saying in perfect Italian, “Trovato negro, trovato colpevole; andiamo” (“Found black, found guilty; let’s go”).[57][58][60][61]
    The court found that his version of events did not match the forensic evidence, and that he could not explain why one of his palm prints, stained with Kercher’s blood, had been found on the pillow of the single bed, under the disrobed body.[60][62] Guede said he had left Kercher fully dressed.[63] He was found guilty in October 2008 of murder and sexual assault, and sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment.[64]

    So we have a single man with a history of breaking and entering who was undeniably present, who undeniably was present when Kircher was murdered and has been actually convicted for the murder. This looks a simple crime.

    Now consider what possible set of events could have involved all three of them. A kinky group sex thing gone wrong? I would think that is almost the only possible option. But really? I don’t know what American students in Italy get up to, but do you really think that is likely? More likely than a single serious criminal broke in, and then raped and murdered Kircher?

    Notice that Guede leaves forensic evidence everywhere. His finger prints, a bloody hand print, people see him and so on. What does Knox leave? Not a bloody hand print that is for sure. Again this is not in dispute:

    The defence pointed out that no shoe prints, clothing fibers, hairs, fingerprints, skin cells or DNA of Knox were found on Kercher’s body or clothes, or in Kercher’s bedroom.[156][157] The prosecution alleged that all forensic traces in the bedroom which incriminated Knox had been wiped away by her and Sollecito.[158][159] Guede’s shoe prints, fingerprints, and DNA were found in the bedroom, his DNA was found on Kercher and her clothing, and his skin cells were inside her body. Guede’s DNA mixed with Kercher’s was in bloodstains on the inside of her shoulder bag, and on the left sleeve of her bloody sweatshirt

    I am impressed by any DNA clean up that leaves Guede’s but removes everyone else’s. The only DNA found was the boy friend’s and that was on the bra clasp – it was probably the result of contamination.

    This case is absurdity piled on absurdity. I have no problems with photogenic Americans going to prison. But there ought to be a case against them.

  10. AK has just lost her appeal against conviction. Why was she convicted? Maybe because her DNA was found mixed with the murdered girl’s blood in several places at the crime scene. Maybe because she gave several conflicting accounts of her actions during the critical time. Maybe because her boyfriend-for-a-week denied her alibi. Maybe because her DNA was on a knife with the murdered girl’s DNA in the kitchen at her boyfriend’s flat. Maybe because someone cleaned up the crime scene and her other flatmates were all out of town. Maybe because she gave evidence against an innocent man to divert the investigators away from her.

    Who knows ?

  11. I suspect that her repeated lies to the police may have played a role. Ho yuss, officer, it was that big, black coffee-bar owner from across the road; I swear on my mom’s grave it was. What: his alibi holds water? Well then it was …..

  12. She was convicted, appealed and released. I don’t understand why there has thus been another trial. It is double jeopardy surely?

    If someone has been released on appeal, that should be the end of it.

  13. Double jeopardy doesn’t apply in murder cases here in the UK anymore, or in Australia. I guess Italy is throwing away it’s civil liberties just like us.

  14. @ Ian B
    In Italy, the prosecution are allowed to appeal to the Supreme Court against the decision of the Appeal court on grounds of law or process. No decision in a case of this severity is final until the Supreme court endorses it.

    The trial just concluded is the two defendants appeal against their conviction, after their earlier, successful appeal was annulled by the Supreme Court because of faulty logic and misapplication of the law.

    This may seem strange but no doubt Italians think UK / US criminal procedure – plea bargains, no automatic right of appeal – is strange.

  15. Plea bargains are a profound corruption of the system. I don’t know how common they are here- I have been under the impression that they aren’t- but they have destroyed American justice. It should be a criminal offence itself for anyone to offer one to an accused person.

  16. But if the given definition is someone who has committed a crime then it becomes a different matter.

    The victims of the Moscow show trials, most witches and Galileo cease to be criminals and Hitler, Blair, Clinton, Fred West etc become ones.

    Milosevic, who was poisoned because the “court” had been unable to find any actual evidence against him remains innocent in either case.

  17. So Much For Subtlety:
    Now consider what possible set of events could have involved all three of them. A kinky group sex thing gone wrong? I would think that is almost the only possible option. But really? I don’t know what American students in Italy get up to, but do you really think that is likely? More likely than a single serious criminal broke in, and then raped and murdered Kircher?
    Amanda Knox had a nickname ; Foxy Knoxy, which she didn’t earn without good reason. She had a very vigorous sexual relationship with Sollecito and they were both drug users, heavily into weed.
    The claim that Guede acted alone was debunked with forensic and circumstantial evidence. Sollecito was also interested in knives almost to the point of obsession according to some witnesses.
    There was evidence of a clean up after Guede left, and Knox and Sollecitos conflicting alibis only make clear who was responsible.
    So Much For Subtlety:
    I am impressed by any DNA clean up that leaves Guede’s but removes everyone else’s. The only DNA found was the boy friend’s and that was on the bra clasp – it was probably the result of contamination.
    Knox’s DNA was found co-mingled with Kercher’s blood in five places in the bathroom, hall, and site of the staged break-in, and her profile was found in Luminol footprints the same size and shape of her feet.
    Knox also blatently lied to the police afterwards to delay the discovery of Kerchers body and then accused an innocent man of the crime in order to deflect suspicion away from herself.
    Whether you believe that Knox is innocent or guilty. You cannot deny that there is substantial circumstantial and forensic evidence pointing to her involvement.

  18. There are a number of sites that go through the evidence in detail. I have to say, and bearing in mind that they’re obviously partisan, the evidence against Knox doesn’t look very convincing.

    Unfortunately, every time I’ve tried to post the links here the comment has vanished, presumably into the spam bin. Maybe a search for “injusticeinperugia” will work.

  19. This case is very different to most others in that there is nothing cut and dried.
    There is no smoking gun, no incontrovertable evidence or witnesses that absolutely remove all doubt about what occured. No admission of guilt by the persons accused. Nor is there any clear cut motivation by the guilty parties.
    It has not been helped by the PR campaign waged on Knox’s behalf or the salacious reporting by American and Italian newspapers. Less still are aspects of the Italian prosecution which has not covered itself in glory.
    Yet, after following this case on and off from the beginning I am still convinced of Knox, Sollecito and Guedes guilt.
    The forensic evidence has been tested to destruction and has held firm, implicating all three. The circumstantial evidence is not so clear cut but only points to the guilt of those accused (and found guilty). But what really nails it for me are the actions of those three, all of whom misdirected, obfuscated, lied and were incapable of giving a consistent, coherent picture of what they were doing leading up to the murder, and credible reasons for their actions afterwards.
    The Italian courts tried this case twice, and both times found them guilty.

  20. “The forensic evidence has been tested to destruction and has held firm, implicating all three.”

    I’m always interested in hearing the other side of the story. So what forensic evidence was there to connect anyone but Guede to the murder?

    “But what really nails it for me are the actions of those three, all of whom misdirected, obfuscated, lied…”

    Examples?

  21. Leaving aside the questions from the trial, it will be interesting to observe what the US’s reaction will be to any Italian request for extradition.

    Especially in the light of the aggressive pursuit of British citizens against whom the allegations often seem flimsy or misapplied because of the apparently one-sided nature of the treaty.

  22. As much as her conviction seems really really unsafe, it’s not double jeopardy. Her conviction was overturned on appeal, but in most jurisdictions (the US included), the verdict of an intermediate court either way can be overturned by a superior court.

    In the US, only acquittal in the initial trial (by a jury) or in the highest court is final.

    That said, the US still won’t extradite her – the trial process and conviction is just too third-world. The US has a history of not extraditing in these cases, even to a nominally civilised country like Italy.

  23. The only way she gets extradited is if she joins a tea party group or makes an unflattering documentary about Obama.

  24. Robbo – “AK has just lost her appeal against conviction. Why was she convicted? Maybe because her DNA was found mixed with the murdered girl’s blood in several places at the crime scene.”

    I don’t believe this is true, would you mind providing a source? But if it is, she lived with Kircher. Presumably her DNA was all over everything.

    “Maybe because she gave several conflicting accounts of her actions during the critical time.”

    After four days of hostile questioning in a language not her own I am hardly surprised. But you will agree that this can be read several ways? You beat a false confession out of someone, and you have to go back and beat another one out of him, well, it ain’t evidence of guilt.

    “Maybe because her boyfriend-for-a-week denied her alibi.”

    After hours of hostile police questioning. Which he later took back. Police can get a lot of people to confess to a lot of things.

    “Maybe because her DNA was on a knife with the murdered girl’s DNA in the kitchen at her boyfriend’s flat.”

    A microscopic spot. Which was almost certainly due to the lab contaiminating the scene. The State pathologists said in the trial that this knife was not the murder weapon anyway.

    “Maybe because someone cleaned up the crime scene and her other flatmates were all out of town.”

    They cleaned up the crime scene and yet missed Guede’s bloody handprint? And foot print? And DNA all over Kircher’s body? What sort of magical clean up is this? That only gets Knox’s and no one else’s?

    “Maybe because she gave evidence against an innocent man to divert the investigators away from her.”

    Again beating a false confession out of a girl is evidence of the flaws in the case, not the strength of the case.

    “Who knows ?”

    Indeed.

    dearieme – “I suspect that her repeated lies to the police may have played a role. Ho yuss, officer, it was that big, black coffee-bar owner from across the road; I swear on my mom’s grave it was. What: his alibi holds water? Well then it was ….”

    So the police bully a confession out of a stupid girl, then they have to go back to bully another confession out of her, and somehow this is proof she is guilty? That is an interesting approach. Surely if she had guilty knowledge she could have done better than that. Ditched the boyfriend or the other Black guy.

    Andy – “Amanda Knox had a nickname ; Foxy Knoxy, which she didn’t earn without good reason. She had a very vigorous sexual relationship with Sollecito and they were both drug users, heavily into weed.”

    She is a young girl. I would hope she had a vigorous sex life with her boyfriend. If I vaguely remember when I was that age I was certainly trying to. That doesn’t mean she was into group sex with some random Black guy. They called her Foxy Knoxy after the charges – it is an invention of the British tabloids. And while I despise people who smoke weed, in my experience it does not make you a murderer.

    None of this is remotely evidence against her or evidence of anything except a rather quaint Puritanism that says if a girl likes sex with her boyfriend she must be depraved.

    “The claim that Guede acted alone was debunked with forensic and circumstantial evidence.”

    What forensic and circumstantial evidence?

    “Sollecito was also interested in knives almost to the point of obsession according to some witnesses.”

    Strange there is no evidence of it at all. Guede has been repeatedly caught breaking in with knives and threatening people with them. Solecito does not even seem to have any except in the kitchen. Again a smear, not evidence.

    “There was evidence of a clean up after Guede left, and Knox and Sollecitos conflicting alibis only make clear who was responsible.”

    Evidence of a clean up exists only in the minds of the Italian state which is lamely trying to explain why Guede’s blood was all over the scene and none of anyone else’s was. What sort of clean up could they possibly have done, without anyone else noticing, that would have removed all of K&S’s DNA but left Guede’s bloody handprint?

    “Knox’s DNA was found co-mingled with Kercher’s blood in five places in the bathroom, hall, and site of the staged break-in, and her profile was found in Luminol footprints the same size and shape of her feet.”

    Evidence?

    “Knox also blatently lied to the police afterwards to delay the discovery of Kerchers body and then accused an innocent man of the crime in order to deflect suspicion away from herself.”

    When she came back the next morning – the morning after the murder – she saw signs of a break in and called the police. How is that lying? The police are so incompetent they beat the wrong confession out of her. How is that proof of anything?

    “Whether you believe that Knox is innocent or guilty. You cannot deny that there is substantial circumstantial and forensic evidence pointing to her involvement.”

    Actually yes I can. There is no evidence at all she is guilty of anything.

  25. “Amanda Knox had a nickname ; Foxy Knoxy, which she didn’t earn without good reason.”

    Apparently she got that when she was aged 8, playing football.

  26. NiV – “Apparently she got that when she was aged 8, playing football.”

    What a slut! Must be guilty.

  27. @SMFS:
    The evidence is covered in detail at the website
    themurderofmeridethkercher.com/The_Evidence

    You will also find many of the court’s documents in Italian and English.

  28. Robbo – “The evidence is covered in detail at the website”

    So the claim is that Guede, Knox and the Italian boyfriend decided that they would rape and murder one of their room mates as part of some sex game? Despite none of them having a criminal record before except for Guede?

    This in itself is bizarre and utterly unrealistic.

    But OK. Someone held Kircher from behind while Guede stabbed her four dozen times. But did not get any blood over any of his/her clothes? How precisely does that work?

    What is more, they were able to hold her body close, not only without getting her blood on her (and it would have been spraying all over the room) but without being stabbed themselves. Which is kind of hard unless Guede is very good with his knife. A frenzied stabbing is, obviously, rather frenzied.

    Kircher did not put up a fight. No wounds were found on Knox or Solecito except for the rumour of a scratch on Knox’s neck. That immediately in itself dispells the prosecutions claims that there must have been multiple attackers. If there were or not, she did not inflict any injuries. Presumably after being beaten, throttled and raped, she did not have much fight left in her. So no need for another attacker.

    The traces of Knox’s DNA are irrelevant. They are not found in large amounts. They are traces. Which is not unusual if she lived there. Most were in the bathroom where you would expect to find tiny amounts of blood. Again the police seem to assume they are such great cleaners that they can clean up their own blood but not Guede’s.

    They are seriously claiming that the fact that someone listened to an MP3 song at half five in the morning proves that they did not smoke some dope, have sex and then sleep in until 10:30? News to me.

    In other words there is still no evidence against them at all.

  29. Maybe Tony Blair did it.

    He lives in Italy a lot of the time, is unlikable, has never produced an alibi, has a wife who would drive you to sex with others and there is no evidence against him either.

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