Sunday, January 2, 2011

Amanda Knox and Prosecutorial Abuse

One of the few things both sides of this case agree is that it breaks your heart. If you take a look at the 3 pictures for the 3 articles you are immediately struck. The picture for the first article shows Amanda in her first year of prison: a joyful kid full of life and spunk, a mischievous little girl flirtish looking at the camera. She's so obviously full of hope, she can't imagine that everything won't work out in the end. You can see in those eyes the sort of girl to run off to Italy on a whim and immerse herself in the language, the people the culture for the sheer joy of discovery and adventure. Probably the same way she rock climbed right before the incident or climbed trees a few years before that. People were offended, but I think jealous is a better word. How dare she make it to 20 with that profound childlike joy fully intact?

The picture for the second article is the same girl experiencing fear. There is a hunted look in her eyes. She is still in denial that Mignini would be able to keep her in his box for decades but no denial about his intent. The carefree girl is gone replaced with a murder suspect trying to navigate the minefield of being a prisoner within a system that really does intend her harm, made all the worse by the careless errors of the carefree girl of the first picture. The first Amanda was immature the second picture is no longer a child but not yet a woman.

The picture for this article is shocking. The eyes are dead, passive all hope has been extinguished. Those are the eyes of an old woman ready to pass from this life to the hereafter they should not be the eyes of a girl the age of a college senior. Its hard to know whether there is anything left to save in that girl anymore, or just enough left to bury. 3 years of prison has destroyed her. All I can see: hopelessness, depression, fatalism.

When I started this series I just figured I'd grab a picture form 2008, 2009 and 2010 respectively. When I saw what they looked like I had trouble not bursting into tears, a maudlin emotionalism that is totally unlike me. Life should do this to people over decades, or better yet not at all. To be able to see the eyes and the face change in pictures which show no sign of aging, to see this happen to someone deliberately so quickly, is devastating. It really bring home the monstrous evil of what's going on in Italy, and since American prisons are worse here as well. Early in the life of this blog I wrote a piece (link) on the mechanism of real and false guilt and how church discipline was used to create this sort of effect, the analogy being to real imprisonment; in the case of that piece in a 1930s Soviet Prison. I think back on that piece now, in the one sense how apt the analogy is in the haunted looks I've seen in the people I've worked with tossed out of their communities for being gay or being disobedient wives or starting to question whether the leader was really right. But the real thing is so much worse than the analogy.

The justification offered for killing Amanda's soul and leaving behind a zombie is of course is the picture to the left of this text. Meredith Kerecher died slowly of exsanguination probably in pain, probably in fear. It was a brutal death of by all accounts a talented girl, delightful girl loved and cared for by many. Meredith probably fought for her life at the end that's why the blood smears are everywhere, she died in combat, she died fighting she died with a ferocious desire to live. Her 2007 picture will always be this. The horror of her death is compounded by the knowledge that she died young enough to fight like she did. She loved her life and she had so much to live for.

And in 2007 there were people looking at this Meredith picture that were probably worried about a reoccurrence. They were probably worried about public fear. When Sonia Marra was murdered in Perugia in 2006 the police hadn't charged anyone, and rumors were starting in the University for Foreigners about a serial killer targeting students. The police wanted to make damn sure this didn't happen again, they wanted to reassure the public that Italian police work would be swift. But they couldn't find a motive and Meredith on the surface wasn't doing anything that was likely to get her killed.  There were some signs pointing to this murder being domestic violence and one of her roommates acted suspicious, offended the police and told some lies. So they fixated. 

And then steps in a prosecutor who likes to play way over the line. Its important to stop here and point out that the fact this guy is a highly questionable character is not in dispute. Douglas Preston's Monster of Florence, about the Monster of Florence Murders (1968-85, well before Knox was born) talks about Mignini's villainy. His response was to engage in an illegal wiretapping operation against the police and journalists investigating for which he has been tried and convicted (link). Allegations of abuse swirl around him.

And even in the Knox case there have been substantial misconduct. For example Mignini has tried to charge Americans in Italian courts for activities performed in the United States, i.e. without any jurisdiction, and activities absolutely protected by the First Amendment:
  • He filed criminal defamation charges agains a newspaper, the West Seattle Herald for reporting that Mignini is seen by many locals as inadequate and mentally unstable (link)
  • He convicted (in absentia) Joe Cottonwood a California carpenter for calling Mignini a bully (link), its hard to do more then point out the irony of a DA filing criminal charges against someone for calling them a bully
  • Slander charges against Amanda Knox's parents for quoting her sworn testimony (this BTW was the charge that got me off the fence regarding Amanda Knox) (link)
He also has further tried to get around the protections against perjury in Italian law protecting defendants by filing a separate slander charge against Amanda Knox for her sworn testimony in her defense.

So understanding this background, lets try and get inside Mignini's head in early Nov 2007. He's an experienced investigator, with a weak case against someone he is sure is guilty and is a serious flight risk. Her parents are on their way and while Amanda might not understand how much danger she is in, they will, and poof she will be back in Seattle. Once that happens he certainly isn't going to be able to get enough to extradite. Worse her alibi, Raffaelle, has money and might just follow Amanda back to the states for a few years, or head to Australia or even if he stays in Italy might be very hard to arrest with Amanda to tie him to the crime. So he's under immense time pressure and responds by conducting a series of illegal interrogations, the Italian equivalent of failing to Mirandize them, and then arrests them. He still doesn't have enough but he arrests them so he can hold them. Italy does not have the notion of right to a speedy trial so once arrested he can hold them for a year.

And immediately his problems worsen because the physical evidence isn't confirming his theories. Neither is the witness testimony. There is lots of blood but not much in the way of bloody footprints. The knives they find don't either have the right kinds of evidence or don't match the wounds. Psychopathic sexual killers have histories of working their way up to rape murders. We should see evidence of things like animal abuse, spousal abuse, sexual assaults on Amanda and Raffaele's criminal record, but they don't have a criminal record for anything remotely violent, or really much at all.

Since he's made an arrest he has to reassure the public that's he's done the right thing. Mignini starts planting false stories. For example he focuses the media on how Amanda's copy of Harry Potter was found at the cottage and not at Raffaele's place disconfirming her alibi, except it was found at Raffaele's place confirming her alibi. He leaks a false photo. Just to give you some idea of the effect of false evidence I played this the way he did. Notice how the "blood" on the photo on the left of the bathroom is pink, well its a chemical from the forensic team. The actual bathroom showed no signs of blood at all, except for a few drops in the sink, everything you see here would have been invisible to a human eye. Putting it next to the shot on the right which has actual blood misled you. I fell for the same trick when I first saw the photo. And he published these photos opposite stories of Amanda talking about not noticing the blood in the bathroom, when shown this picture makes her look like a total liar. Dozens of these propaganda stories were planted.

That's the sort of thing a prosecutor who is trying to inflame the public against a defendant who can't prove his case would do. Stories of non existent comics, stories of non existent bloody footprints making a path. Lying by 12 minutes about when the postal police arrived and then planting a story based on this time shift about Amanda trying to create an alibi after the police got there. Lets not brush over this because this is not a point in dispute, Mignini orchestrated a public campaign of defamation using a mixture of false and true information into an emotionally agitated Perugian population. No one denies this attack campaign of disinformation occurred, the only point in dispute is why.

What I would argue is he did so to try and create a political environment which led witnesses to make maximally incriminating statements against Amanda and Raffaele. We know that 31% of Republicans believe Obama is a Muslim. Essentially using the logic:

a) Being a Muslim is bad thing to call someone
b) Obama is bad
c) Hence Obama is a Muslim

Using a similar sort of technique many witnesses will tend to shave their answers in the direction of public opinion. In other words he needed to create incriminating evidence, so he creates an environment where it shows up.  Moreover the media starts paying for witnesses to give stories and suddenly witnesses start popping up after months who heard Amanda running down the stairs, saw her across the street at crucial times, saw her shopping for bleach (but not buying it) the day after the murder. Who can possibly survive this sort of orchestrated disinformation? This is very similar to how George W Bush organized a campaign of disinformation to intimidate America's intelligence agencies to misrepresenting the state of Iraq's nuclear weapons program (see Plame affair).  
Of course the problem has been this case generated more publicity than Mignini anticipated. The way he expected it to work was that he gets this swarm of evidence and Knox confesses. Or he gets the conviction against Knox and her version is discredited. He never expected a media counteroffensive.

One has to remember in reading this case in 2011 the question is not
  • Is Amanda Knox someone who acted suspiciously and thus the police were justified in investigating?
That would have been the correct question on Nov 5, 2007, but rather the correct question today is:
  • Has Amanda Knox been proven beyond a reasonable doubt to have engaged in a premeditated conspiracy to kill Meredith Kercher involving two other people with elements of the crime understood and known?
And the answer is not remotely. To demonstrate this just consider the following questions:
  • What lethal acts do we know for certain that Amanda Knox performed?
  • What lethal acts do we know for certain that Raffaele Sollecito performed?
  • What lethal acts do we know for certain that Rudy Guede performed?
And this is why this case has so much heat. From the start the prosecution has attempted to conflate those two statements. Some people want to pretend that we are ready to answer the beyond a reasonable doubt question "yes", because it is no longer possible to just conduct an investigation. Either Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede were the killers, and the only killers, without substantial mitigation, or this case just is never going to be solved. So if Meredith is going to have "justice", by which they mean throwing 3 more kids away; they have to pretend that the evidence says far more than it does.

To put this another way, as a result of prosecutorial abuse we now have a situation where:
  • Amanda Knox had done some suspicious stuff before and after the murder.
  • Had there been a decent investigation we might had found out why.
  • But there wasn't a decent investigation.
  • So we are left with the fact that based on naive speculation she most likely either had something to do with the murder or is covering for someone who did.
  • Probably having something to do with a killing is a far short of being proven to have been a primary in a murder beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • The person who made the wrong choice to arrest quickly and use public pressure to force a defendant into talking, was not Amanda Knox.  She should not be punished by being denied justice because Mignini picked an ineffectual strategy.  
To support the trial verdict is to end 2 kids lives on firmly believing that more likely than not they had something to do with it. We can speculate on whether Amanda and Raffaele are actually guilty, we should not speculate on whether they should have been found legally guilty, the answer is an absolute unequivocal no.  In the USA generally any evidence collected from abuses, like illegal searches are considered "fruits of the poisoned tree" and tossed out. In an American trial that would have happened to virtually all of the evidence against Amanda Knox. Essentially all the charges against her stem from early interviews of herself and Raffaele which were illegal. Their trial was an abomination and an insult to justice.

Having a prosecutor engaging in rampant prosecutorial abuse doesn't prove you are not guilty in a moral sense, the reason he engaged in these abuses was because he was positive she was guilty. So the question then becomes given a fallacious trial, and a screwed up investigation can we go on to argue that not only should Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito be found legally not guilty but in fact are actually innocent? The answer is yes, those very same illegal statement from her earliest detention show convincing information about her state of mind which tend to disprove murder and that discussion of state of mind will be the topic of our next post.

I'll close by commenting, I usually just whine about various news items. I don't usually even mention causes that raise money, but if you think enough is enough in this case: Amanda's Defense Fund helps both of them.
____

33 comments:

Logan said...

CD Host - It appears that you've ventured far into FOA territory. Bravo! the more one peels back the layers of this onion, the more shocking the core appears to be.

This case is the first 21st century case in the sense that ordinary individuals across the world are able to review substantial pieces of evidence and draw their own conclusions,share their insights across social media platforms, and debate and advocate for their particular viewpoint. The capacity for legal systems to run roughshod over the rights of suspects/defendants has been diminished by the unrelenting gaze of the entire world. That is a least one positive outcome of this horrifying ordeal.

billy ryan said...

The best article that I have read about this sad case in a long time

I understand how you interpreted the three pictures.But if enough honourable people like yourself join together to fight this terrible miscarriage of justice and Amanda is released into the arms of her wonderful family,she is a great girl and she will recover and go on to be an inspiration to a lot of people

CD-Host said...

billy ryan --

Thank you

Logan --

I agree. This prosecution's case just gets worse and worse, the more I learn. There are so many different aspects of this case which are questionable, any one of which should result in a not guilty verdict.

I would disagree with you on this being the first 21st century case. The first (as I call it) Web 2.0 case was Sco v. IBM. That case there was a substantial interplay between the internet and the broader public. The public wasn't just analyzing the evidence you had people who could contradict various claims made by SCO self disposing and others, like myself, who could point to factual statements predating the trial from primaries contradicting statements in SCO filings. All that was being collected and disseminated first on /. and then quickly on a new site called groklaw.

There were some amazing moments like where SCO filed this entire argument based on a book from the early 1960s as evidence and the author of that classic book (whom everyone assumed was dead since) came forward with "that's not how it happened".... or the project manager who had represented SCO at a crucial meeting stepped forward to contradict their statements about what SCO's intent had been years earlier.

I wish that were happening here. Right now the FOM are doing a pretty good job in assembling information supporting the prosecution, though they heavily censor. Nothing remotely like that is happening for the defense. Part of the problem is that FOA is American not Italian, I've never been to Perugia.

One area where I think web 2.0 techniques would be helpful is an analysis of all the various statements of the prosecution. This comic is about X. This type of DNA match implies a Y probability of Z.....

But that doesn't seem to be happening. What does seem to be happening is this is turning into a political cause. I'm thinking of erecting a "You are not forgotten" memorial to the 2 of them in Princeton.

beau336 said...

This is a great article. I totally agree with you. I have done so much research on this case and all I saw was a huge miscariage of justice. Just like you said about the false reports that were leaked out about Amanda buying bleach which was not true, and they even did a test with luminol and it came back negative for bleach. I am not going to lie,but this really upsets me what they are doing to Amanda and Raffaele, and just like Billy Ryan said we need to keep fighting until they are released,and back home to their wonderful family's. I know I will not stop until they are free.

CD-Host said...

beau336 hi, welcome to the blog. For lurkers, Beau runs Amanda Knox & Raffaele Sollecito are innocent This is a terrible miscarriage I'm halfway through my next piece on the how to evaluate evidence when faced with a ludicrous prosecutor's theory of the case.

I agree with the articles on your blog. I'll add you to the links in the first article.

Andrew Lowery said...

"Right now the FOM are doing a pretty good job in assembling information supporting the prosecution, though they heavily censor. Nothing remotely like that is happening for the defense. Part of the problem is that FOA is American not Italian, I've never been to Perugia."

Really great take on this case CD. Here are a few sites that do assemble information for the defense. The first 2 are in Italian. There are numerous face book pages and blogs as well - all of which can be found by perusing the sites below.

www.amandaknox.it (Italiano)contains translations of articles by FBI Agent Steve Moore (ret) and Dr Mark Waterbury on the forensics and DNA analysis of the case.


http://friendsofamanda.org/home_ital.html (Italiano)
FOA in Italian has been gathering and disseminating info about this fiasco for a long time now; there is a wealth of important information available there.
The site is available in 5 languages - all of which Amanda speaks fluently - so hopefully soon she will be able to read them herself. :)

www.injusticeinperugia.org
Injustice in Perugia is Bruce Fisher's site and, next to FOA, it's the best resource for information about this tragedy on the web.

You probably knew all this already but I thought I'd throw these sites out there again in case anybody dropped in and wanted to learn more. Again - great blog.
best,
andrew

wald1900 said...

What a great blog. Sometimes it takes a new perspective to call out the “obvious” - this malicious fun has crushed two young lives.

Mignini’s smear campaign against the 2007 version of Amanda Knox was vicious and cruel. It’s important to remember, however, that he did not work alone – he was aided every step of the way by the press. Amanda Knox was arrested on the morning of November 6, 2007. On November 7, 2007, the British tabloid “The Daily Mail” posted the following three articles about the case:

Murdered Meredith: Flatmate's 'crazy' boyfriend poses with a meat cleaver and bleach
Lumumba: The popular and gentle bar owner willing to help anyone
YouTube video of 'FoxyKnoxy' drunk while at university

I could go into the details of each article, but the headlines give you a pretty good idea of the content. Over the course of three short days, she went from being an honors student at the University of Washington who had worked triple jobs to save up the money to study abroad to “Foxy Knoxy”, a privileged, self-centered, reckless, anti-Semitic American whore.

This theme of Amanda’s pernicious character was established the day after her arrest, and has been repeated and reinforced in virtually every article published by The Mail since. Of the 217 articles published in the Daily Mail from November 7, 2007 to December 26, 2010, no less than 119 refer to Knox as “Foxy Knoxy” in the headline.

Having laid the groundwork for generic character assignation on November 7, the Daily Mail picked up the pace on November 8 by informing its readers that Knox was a liar. In an article entitled “Meredith: Foxy Knoxy 'brought strange men back to the house'”, Daily Mail subscribers learned that in the prosecutor’s indictment (leaked to the press one day prior to the actual court hearing) the policed claimed “that Knox has displayed an "unscrupulous tendency to lie constantly to investigators".

This theme that Knox is a liar has become part of the legend. Nowhere is this more evident than in the continued insistence that Knox kept changing her story. The reality is that with only one exception, Amanda Knox’s story has remained the consistently same. This exception occurred on the morning of November 6 when the police coerced from her the “confession”. Later, after she’d regained her composure she wrote a letter essentially repudiating the document she’d signed earlier. Expressed in the words of a terrified child desperate to declare her innocence, yet equally desperate not to further antagonize her tormentors, her retraction is simply heartbreaking.

This Kafka worthy confession and its subsequent retraction represent the only case where Amanda’s story "changed". In the Daily Mail article of November 9, 2007 entitled “Foxy Knoxy 'held Meredith down during deadly sex attack'”, say police” the fact of her confession and retraction was characterized in the following quote “Knox, whose website contained a sinister story about a girl being drugged and raped, has already given police two different accounts of what happened”. From that day to this, the fact that she confessed and then immediately retracted it has been reported over and over again as “she lied” and “she keeps changing her story”; as if words extorted from a human being through torture have credibility, and so, should be a legitimate standard by which the victim’s honesty can later be measured.

I’ve made quite a big deal of this because in your blog, you suggest that she “told some lies”. While I liked your blog quite a bit, I have to admit that I bristled at this. To call someone a “liar” is a big deal. It evokes an immediate, negative visceral reaction in those who hear the accusation. Liars are unreliable. Liars are sneaky. Liars are bad! I don’t like liars. Neither does anyone else. Mignini knew this as well as the editors of The Daily Mail, and they’ve used this knowledge to help create the Amanda Knox we see in the photo from 2010.

wald1900 said...

What a great blog. Sometimes it takes a new perspective to call out the “obvious” - this malicious fun has crushed two young lives.

Mignini’s smear campaign against the 2007 version of Amanda Knox was vicious and cruel. It’s important to remember, however, that he did not work alone – he was aided every step of the way by the press. Amanda Knox was arrested on the morning of November 6, 2007. On November 7, 2007, the British tabloid “The Daily Mail” posted the following three articles about the case:

Murdered Meredith: Flatmate's 'crazy' boyfriend poses with a meat cleaver and bleach
Lumumba: The popular and gentle bar owner willing to help anyone
YouTube video of 'FoxyKnoxy' drunk while at university

I could go into the details of each article, but the headlines give you a pretty good idea of the content. Over the course of three short days, she went from being an honors student at the University of Washington who had worked triple jobs to save up the money to study abroad to “Foxy Knoxy”, a privileged, self-centered, reckless, anti-Semitic American whore.

This theme of Amanda’s pernicious character was established the day after her arrest, and has been repeated and reinforced in virtually every article published by The Mail since. Of the 217 articles published in the Daily Mail from November 7, 2007 to December 26, 2010, no less than 119 refer to Knox as “Foxy Knoxy” in the headline.

Having laid the groundwork for generic character assignation on November 7, the Daily Mail picked up the pace on November 8 by informing its readers that Knox was a liar. In an article entitled “Meredith: Foxy Knoxy 'brought strange men back to the house'”, Daily Mail subscribers learned that in the prosecutor’s indictment (leaked to the press one day prior to the actual court hearing) the policed claimed “that Knox has displayed an "unscrupulous tendency to lie constantly to investigators".

This theme that Knox is a liar has become part of the legend. Nowhere is this more evident than in the continued insistence that Knox kept changing her story. The reality is that with only one exception, Amanda Knox’s story has remained the consistently same. This exception occurred on the morning of November 6 when the police coerced from her the “confession”. Later, after she’d regained her composure she wrote a letter essentially repudiating the document she’d signed earlier. Expressed in the words of a terrified child desperate to declare her innocence, yet equally desperate not to further antagonize her tormentors, her retraction is simply heartbreaking.

This Kafka worthy confession and its subsequent retraction represent the only case where Amanda’s story "changed". In the Daily Mail article of November 9, 2007 entitled “Foxy Knoxy 'held Meredith down during deadly sex attack'”, say police” the fact of her confession and retraction was characterized in the following quote “Knox, whose website contained a sinister story about a girl being drugged and raped, has already given police two different accounts of what happened”. From that day to this, the fact that she confessed and then immediately retracted it has been reported over and over again as “she lied” and “she keeps changing her story”; as if words extorted from a human being through torture have credibility, and so, should be a legitimate standard by which the victim’s honesty can later be measured.

I’ve made quite a big deal of this because in your blog, you suggest that she “told some lies”. While I liked your blog quite a bit, I have to admit that I bristled at this. To call someone a “liar” is a big deal. It evokes an immediate, negative visceral reaction in those who hear the accusation. Liars are unreliable. Liars are sneaky. Liars are bad! I don’t like liars. Neither does anyone else. Mignini knew this as well as the editors of The Daily Mail, and they’ve used this knowledge to help create the Amanda Knox we see in the photo from 2010.

wald1900 said...

What a great blog. Sometimes it takes a new perspective to call out the “obvious” - this malicious fun has crushed two young lives.

Mignini’s smear campaign against the 2007 version of Amanda Knox was vicious and cruel. It’s important to remember, however, that he did not work alone – he was aided every step of the way by the press. Amanda Knox was arrested on the morning of November 6, 2007. On November 7, 2007, the British tabloid “The Daily Mail” posted the following three articles about the case:

Murdered Meredith: Flatmate's 'crazy' boyfriend poses with a meat cleaver and bleach
Lumumba: The popular and gentle bar owner willing to help anyone
YouTube video of 'FoxyKnoxy' drunk while at university

I could go into the details of each article, but the headlines give you a pretty good idea of the content. Over the course of three short days, she went from being an honors student at the University of Washington who had worked triple jobs to save up the money to study abroad to “Foxy Knoxy”, a privileged, self-centered, reckless, anti-Semitic American whore.

This theme of Amanda’s pernicious character was established the day after her arrest, and has been repeated and reinforced in virtually every article published by The Mail since. Of the 217 articles published in the Daily Mail from November 7, 2007 to December 26, 2010, no less than 119 refer to Knox as “Foxy Knoxy” in the headline.

Having laid the groundwork for generic character assignation on November 7, the Daily Mail picked up the pace on November 8 by informing its readers that Knox was a liar. In an article entitled “Meredith: Foxy Knoxy 'brought strange men back to the house'”, Daily Mail subscribers learned that in the prosecutor’s indictment (leaked to the press one day prior to the actual court hearing) the policed claimed “that Knox has displayed an "unscrupulous tendency to lie constantly to investigators".

This theme that Knox is a liar has become part of the legend. Nowhere is this more evident than in the continued insistence that Knox kept changing her story. The reality is that with only one exception, Amanda Knox’s story has remained the consistently same. This exception occurred on the morning of November 6 when the police coerced from her the “confession”. Later, after she’d regained her composure she wrote a letter essentially repudiating the document she’d signed earlier. Expressed in the words of a terrified child desperate to declare her innocence, yet equally desperate not to further antagonize her tormentors, her retraction is simply heartbreaking.

This Kafka worthy confession and its subsequent retraction represent the only case where Amanda’s story "changed". In the Daily Mail article of November 9, 2007 entitled “Foxy Knoxy 'held Meredith down during deadly sex attack'”, say police” the fact of her confession and retraction was characterized in the following quote “Knox, whose website contained a sinister story about a girl being drugged and raped, has already given police two different accounts of what happened”. From that day to this, the fact that she confessed and then immediately retracted it has been reported over and over again as “she lied” and “she keeps changing her story”; as if words extorted from a human being through torture have credibility, and so, should be a legitimate standard by which the victim’s honesty can later be measured.

I’ve made quite a big deal of this because in your blog, you suggest that she “told some lies”. While I liked your blog quite a bit, I have to admit that I bristled at this. To call someone a “liar” is a big deal. It evokes an immediate, negative visceral reaction in those who hear the accusation. Liars are unreliable. Liars are sneaky. Liars are bad! I don’t like liars. Neither does anyone else. Mignini knew this as well as the editors of The Daily Mail, and they’ve used this knowledge to help create the Amanda Knox we see in the photo from 2010.

bobm said...

Why is the U.S. State Department not demanding justice for a U.S. citizen and why is the media not proclaiming the innocence of Amanda Knox when six months into the trial of first instance the defense realized that it had not been afforded full discovery? Dr. Stefanoni had lied about the knife DNA sample size for the better part of a year; Dr. Stefanoni had lied when she stated that luminol revealed footprints had not been tested for blood (test results were negative); Dr. Stefanoni had withheld DNA testing information; Dr. Stefanoni is still withholding testing information. In lieu of this deceitfulness, one would expect the court to order an independent review of the questionable DNA results; instead, the court refused the request for review and actually used the highly suspect DNA results as convicting evidence.

Why is the U.S. State Department not demanding justice for an American citizen?

Why is the media not proclaiming Amanda Knox's innocence?
.

Patrick King said...

I don't know why the State Department is not publicly doing more to aid Amanda Knox, but in fairness, the US media is across the board, up in arms about what's happened to her.

CBS has done 2 excellent 48 Hour Mystery programs about Amanda Knox. Fox News has run many interviews with FBI agent, Steve Moore who explains Knox' innocence. Good Morning America has had Amanda's parents, her lawyer and Steve Moore on to talk about the errors in this case. Oprah has hosted Amanda's parents and friends.

I can't think of a single American media giant who hasn't weighted in on the errors of Italian justice in the case of Amanda Knox. There is not a law enforcement specialist, lawyer or scientist who has come forward for any other reason in this case but to defend Amanda Knox.

In my opinion, the US media is doing an outstanding job exposing the injustice in this case and the errors of the prosecution.

I must say that with the exception of Senator Cantwell of Amanda's home state of Washington, the US Government has behaved with cowardice and blatant disregard for an American citizen in a remarkable case of injustice. We all have to face that our government is exclusively interested in business. When we travel to foreign countries, we have nothing to rely on but ourselves if problems occur.

CD-Host said...

Patrick and bobm --

I agree our country has done very little in supervising these treaties. Europeans have the same feelings about our justice system. Italians in particular are very upset about Italian nationals and their treatment in the US. The USA has a terrible record when it comes to obeying Vienna convention responsibilities about notifying foreign government when we arrest their nationals.

I'm starting to think for anything over a year or two maybe being tried in the country and then deported for punishment back to the home country might make sense. Would you all be OK with sending people who commit serious crimes in the US back to their home countries never to return? I'm not so sure that Europeans wouldn't go for this too.

CD-Host said...

wald1900 --

I understand the objection. This is a tough case in a lot of ways. AFAIKT most FOA believe that Amanda Knox is 100% innocent and did nothing wrong.

Most FOM believe that Amanda is 100% guilty and that Italians are being gentile with her and they seem to visceral delight in the cruelties inflicted on her.

I don't take either position.
1) I don't take delight in the punishment of just about any prisoner. I think for the good of society we have to engage in cruelty towards others whom we are unable to help; but I don't try and pretend that what we are doing by imprisoning or killing people is not cruelty and is not in and of itself an evil. The glee expressed on FOM sites at watching Amanda's life being taken from her is revolting.

I hope given the number of people involved is that this comes from a place of just being completely clueless about what prison is like.

2) I don't think she has been proven to have committed a murder.

3) I do think she's lying. Now I think she's fighting for her life and that Mignini has put her in a position of lie or die. So I don't hold that against her. God bless her, she should do what she needs to do to live without apology.

But if you ask me do I believe that her story is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Not at all. I think there is more to the story. And had Mignini not put her in an impossible position we would have gotten that truth.

4) The fact that I think she had probably had something to do with it is far short of she has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt to be a primary. And that is the standard the Italians claim they met and I disagree with.

I'm going to advocate for her, because I think what's happening to her is evil, because the prosecutorial abuse is so clear cut because it exposes the sorts of abuses that happen in many trials, and this has a pool of interested people.

Hope you will stick around regardless of the fact that I'm only willing to go 80% of the way. You certainly are welcome to stick around. As Logan said in the very first post, this is a case where they more you learn the more you lean towards Amanda.

wald1900 said...

Absolutely I’ll stick around! I have enjoyed your posts on the Kercher murder tremendously, and appreciate the sense of dispassionate deliberation that you consistently bring to the discussion. What is important is that people of good conscience surface and explore their differences with a spirit of honest inquiry. Had the people who mattered taken this approach in November 2007 Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito would not be in jail right now.

I am curious though! Why exactly do you think she’s lied about something?

bobm said...

Patrick King said "the US media is across the board, up in arms about what's happened to her."

Maybe, but they fail to trumpet how discovery was denied, how Dr. Stefanoni lied, withheld testing information, and is still withholding testing information. This is criminal action; this is a total abuse of basic human rights; this is injustice!

And to realize that Massei's court of first instance went along with this by refusing an independent study of the evidence and then used that 'manufactured'/'planted' evidence to convict Knox/Sollecito proves that Massei had a mission to find the young defendants guilty, no matter what.

CD-Host said...

Why exactly do you think she’s lied about something?

Its funny I've spent the entire day getting called a Knox groupie on Statement Analysis. There is a lot I don't believe her on.

I don't believe she doesn't remember as much as she claims she doesn't. Her comments about her poor memory I don't believe. My speculation is that she did that under pressure, the police trying to force her to stay stuff.

Her memory may have gotten worse though 3 years later because:

a) time has passed
b) she has repeatedly made up stories
c) she has pretended not to remember

2) I think she knew Meredith was dead when she "searched" the house after the fake robbery. Her search doesn't make sense. Or the story about her believing the robbery is a lie. My guess is she already knew Meredith was dead.

Now that doesn't necessarily mean murder. For example it was rent day and she might have taken Meredith's rent money before or after. Their are scenarios where the fake robbery is what led to a fight.... and we are looking at manslaughter.

I don't know.

I could keep going but those are 2 good examples of different types.

Charlie Wilkes said...

Excellent blogging. Your analysis of Mignini's thinking is very realistic. It is just how the authorities have behaved in any number of cases where they risk looking like fools.

Thanks for lending your voice and your intellect to this effort. We will get them out, in the end.

halides1 said...

CD,

I enjoyed your analysis of Mignini very much. If you are interested in the DNA aspects of the case, sciencespheres or my blog (viewfromwilmington.blogspot.com) might be to your liking.

ajx said...

I commend you for this most recent commentary on this unfortunate case. I applaud you for a genuinely Christian approach. Even if these two young people, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, were guilty of something, (and I am firmly of the opinion they are not,) the efforts of some people to incite cruelty and to encourage others to abuse them are entirely wrong -- to anyone, and more especially to Christians who endeavor to follow the approach taught to us by Jesus as set out in the gospels. Certain people simply refuse to see the well-documented problems with the prosecution case. They ignore the concerted attempt by the prosecution through the gutterpress tabloids to demonize and dehumanize Amanda Knox, in particular, in order to make it easy for them to be persecuted and wrongfully convicted. This is never necessary and, when it does happen, is evidence of a bad case that needs "help" to be persuasive. This sort of behaviour goes on all over the world. Christian outreach attempts to help many people in the third world who are persecuted in just this way. I have often been disappointed where mainstream Christianity fails to step up, courageously and vocally, to oppose this sort of behaviour in ostensibly civilized and modern democracies. Either we have faith in the infallibility of our own systems, which is simply not well-founded, or we are afraid to criticize our own. Even though modern democratic justice systems, including the one in Italy, generally work very well, bad decisions and wrongful convictions do occur. Where these occur because of the unfair tactics and behaviours of those who administer justice, it is our Christian duty to insist on correction, both redress for the wrongfully convicted and reform of the system to make it difficult, if not impossible, for such injustices to occur again in the future.

CD-Host said...

halides1 --

Welcome to the blog. I am interested in the DNA and I hear that this may be questionable as well. This seems to be the main argument pro and con and most blogs. I lack is enough background to have an intelligent opinion on tainted DNA evidence, so I'm not writing about it except in general terms but I'm very glad you are.

The computer example on Evidence and the very unlikely has convinced me that Mignini / Massei has no problem even on scientific topics in confusing likely with absolutely certainty. I'm sure the forensics guys were using something like File x-ray. I don't know Raffaele personally, but I can't understand how he let that pass. Maybe he's holding back on killing the computer forensics until he kills the DNA.


But I certainly would recommend your blog to people who do want to engage on the DNA aspects. The guilters put a lot of stock in the DNA evidence and it really is rather weak.

CD-Host said...

ajx --

There is no question regarding dehumanization. Michael from PMF threw a fit about a comment where I said that Meredith, was "worm food" nothing we can do will do the slightest bit to help her while the victims of Mignini, 3 kids and the others on other cases are still alive and still can be helped. To quote Marlene Dietrich, "When you're dead, you're dead. That's it." or more poetically Hamlet:
No, faith, not a jot. But to follow him thither with modesty enough, and likelihood to lead it, as thus: Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth to dust, the dust is earth, of earth we make loam—and why of that loam, whereto he was converted, might they not stop a beer barrel?
Imperious Caesar, dead and turned to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.
Oh, that that earth, which kept the world in awe,
Should patch a wall t' expel the winter’s flaw!
But soft, but soft a while.


He flipped out at my lack of compassion. Which is ironic. He's perfectly OK with the celebration of cruelty on his blog and thinks a decomposed body deserves more respect than the living.

And you are absolutely right in holding that the convicting the innocent is a grave injustice and one we should have no qualms about opposing.

ChrisUK said...

Having followed this case for three years, my approach has been not to look for evidence to try and prove AK innocent or to prove AK guilty but to try to get to the real truth of what went on.

As far as AK/RS directly killing Meredith is concerned, I am surprised that two young 'amateurs' who carried out a bloody and insane killing have been able to keep a demonstrable and abundant amount of 'blood' off their hands for so long and refrain from cracking and confessing and have kept their family and friends on board and divided public opinion - again for such a long time.

What these two young amateurs have failed to do is to show that they were not heavily involved in the killing in some way. My main reasons for stating this are:

a. The number of provable lies 'we were at a party' 'Meredith always locked her door' 'I'd never met Rudy (AK)' 'we didn't wake up till 10.00am' 'I was watching a movie after 9pm' . If you find yourself in any way 'attached' to a murder scene then even to tell a single lie is a major decision - not only do you immediately become a suspect, if you care about the victim you will not only not lie but you will be extreme in your efforts to supply any and every detail that could possibly help the investigation - in honour of the deceased.
b. The well-documented behaviour/reaction by both AK and RS. For me in particular a key area is their 'attempt' to open Meredith's door: we 'cracked' but it wouldn't open. For a truly innocent person, once the desperate need to get the door open was established, blind panic would set in - and two young people would break that door down - or at least rush into the street stop a car/passers-by to get help - or at minimum immediately call the police.
c. Motive - in a detailed interview after his release (Daily Mail) Patrick clearly described the whole dynamic of AK working for him and how Meredith (innocently) all but supplanted AK. This would cause a disturbing response in AK which would generate serious Queen Bee issues, spontaneous jealousy and rage and a lack of income which any drug habit needs. AK could look at it that Meredith 'stole' from her and so she was within her rights to steal back from Meredith.
d. RS opting for silence in the first trial - again out of compassion for the victim, anything to help the process of truth finding and justice would be pursued unless one seriously has something to hide.

My conclusion based primarily on AK note to police 6 Nov 2007:

AK at this stage and probably ever since has held onto the 'fact' that she did not directly kill Meredith but is using the 'confusion' tactic to acknowledge to herself and her accusers that pretty much everything else can be laid at her door.

ChrisUK said...

My conclusion based primarily on AK note to police 6 Nov 2007:

AK at this stage and probably ever since has held onto the 'fact' that she did not directly kill Meredith but is using the 'confusion' tactic to acknowledge to herself and her accusers that pretty much everything else can be laid at her door.

ChrisUK said...

Having followed this case for three years, my approach has been not to look for evidence to try and prove AK innocent or to prove AK guilty but to try to get to the real truth of what went on.

As far as AK/RS directly killing Meredith is concerned, I am surprised that two young 'amateurs' who carried out a bloody and insane killing have been able to keep a demonstrable and abundant amount of 'blood' off their hands for so long and refrain from cracking and confessing and have kept their family and friends on board and divided public opinion - again for such a long time.

What these two young amateurs have failed to do is to show that they were not heavily involved in the killing in some way. My main reasons for stating this are:

a. The number of provable lies 'we were at a party' 'Meredith always locked her door' 'I'd never met Rudy (AK)' 'we didn't wake up till 10.00am' 'I was watching a movie after 9pm' . If you find yourself in any way 'attached' to a murder scene then even to tell a single lie is a major decision - not only do you immediately become a suspect, if you care about the victim you will not only not lie but you will be extreme in your efforts to supply any and every detail that could possibly help the investigation - in honour of the deceased.
b. The well-documented behaviour/reaction by both AK and RS. For me in particular a key area is their 'attempt' to open Meredith's door: we 'cracked' but it wouldn't open. For a truly innocent person, once the desperate need to get the door open was established, blind panic would set in - and two young people would break that door down - or at least rush into the street stop a car/passers-by to get help - or at minimum immediately call the police.
c. Motive - in a detailed interview after his release (Daily Mail) Patrick clearly described the whole dynamic of AK working for him and how Meredith (innocently) all but supplanted AK. This would cause a disturbing response in AK which would generate serious Queen Bee issues, spontaneous jealousy and rage and a lack of income which any drug habit needs. AK could look at it that Meredith 'stole' from her and so she was within her rights to steal back from Meredith.
d. RS opting for silence in the first trial - again out of compassion for the victim, anything to help the process of truth finding and justice would be pursued unless one seriously has something to hide.

ChrisUK said...

3. For the period from 10.00am on 2 Nov 2007 the confidence and clarity return to AK's account: The next thing I remember was waking up the morning of Friday November 2nd around 10am and I took a plastic bag to take back my dirty cloths to go back to my house. It was then that I arrived home alone that I found the door to my house was wide open

4. There is one other thing that AK is confident and clear about I know I didn't kill Meredith. That's all I know for sure. And again All I know is that I didn't kill Meredith

5. One reason for such discrepancy between the 'clear' parts (my points 1 and 3) of the account and the 'confused' parts of the account is that the 'clear' parts are not incriminating and they can be verified easily (the defence and prosecution do not contest them) however the 'confused' parts cover a time period when highly incriminating evidence of AK's involvement in Meredith's death is out there - and it may well to be found or revealed by others in the forthcoming weeks. By not stating her actions as 'fact' during this key time period, AK cannot be accused of lying when others investigate her 'confusion' more thoroughly. At this point (the time of writing the note) AK would appear to be hedging her bets. She knows to what extent she was involved in the killing but is not prepared to specifically admit to anything whilst there is still a fair chance that others may only be able to prove a limited amount of her involvement. At this point she is having it both ways with the accusation against Patrick - 'confusion' means he will still be arrested and investigated which holds up the true investigation but admitting 'confusion' suggests she was not making an outright accusation so she retains some credibility for other statements which she does want others to believe.

6. Which leads us to the key statement:

All I know is that I didn't kill Meredith.

ChrisUK said...

Hi CD Host. I think the totally guilty or totally innocent standpoints don't add up. here's my analysis of AK note to police

1. This note was composed just 2 days after her email to her friends and family. The email was expressed in very definite terms and had the tone of clarifying her position and actions there is no confusion about the facts expressed even though one may expect some due to the recent trauma (just two days ago of experiencing the death of a flatmate). The note is of a very different nature and notions such as 'strangeness' and 'confusion' and 'doubt' and forgetfulness and marijuana-use have appeared.

2. They key time is 8.35pm on 1 Nov 2007. In the note to the police AK remembers and describes everything before 8.35pm with clarity and confidence:

On Thursday November 1 I saw Meredith the last time at my house when she left around 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Raffaele was with me at the time. We, Raffaele and I, stayed at my house for a little while longer and around 5 in the evening we left to watch the movie Amelie at his house. After the movie I received a message from Patrik [sic], for whom I work at the pub "Le Chic". He told me in this message that it wasn't necessary for me to come into work for the evening because there was no one at my work.
Now I remember to have also replied with the message: "See you later. Have a good evening!" and this for me does not mean that I wanted to meet him immediately. In particular because I said: "Good evening!"

After 8.35pm the fog descends in AK's account:

After that I believe we relaxed in his room together, perhaps I checked my email. Perhaps I read or studied or perhaps I made love to Raffaele. In fact, I think I did make love with him. However, I admit that this period of time is rather strange because I am not quite sure. I smoked marijuana with him and I might even have fallen asleep. These things I am not sure about and I know they are important to the case and to help myself, but in reality, I don't think I did much. One thing I do remember is that I took a shower with Raffaele and this might explain how we passed the time. In truth, I do not remember exactly what day it was,

'I believe' x 1
'perhaps' x 3
'I think/I don't think' x 2
'rather strange' x 1
'I am not quite sure/I am not sure' x 2
'I might . . . have' x 1
'I do not remember' x 1
A total of eleven uncertainties in six and a half sentences. The most notable being 'I think I did make love with him' (Her mother stated she was menstruating at this time) 'I do remember . . . I took a shower with Raffaele . . . I do not remember exactly what day it was . . .'

The post- 8.35pm fog then brings major confusion into AK's account of Patrick's involvement with Meredith's death: In my mind I saw Patrik in flashes of blurred images/ many hours of confusion/AK is mistreated by the police but understands the treatment etc etc

ChrisUK said...

Sorry my comments appear in reverse order. Please scroll down and read up

CD-Host said...

Hi ChrisUK --

Welcome to the blog! Good post. I tried to clean up your posts. Hope I got it close to right.

In terms of motive I think you need to be careful about reading your reactions into other people. I think its plausible given how blasé Amanda was about being arrested for murder she's not prone to panic at least in 2007. She used to display enormous confidence.

Which is not to say she's telling the truth or lying but rather that I don't want to judge too much from what I think my emotions would be. She and I provably don't agree on appropriate emotional reactions to many stimulus, ergo I can't reason that way.

a) I agree she's telling too many things unlikely to all be true. So yes I agree she was telling lies.

b) I find her story about what happened after she discovered the robbery to sound like total BS. That being said, I don't think she would panic and try and force the door. Remember she might have disliked Meredith and not be able to admit it. She might have cared if Filomena was hurt and not given a crap whether Meredith was hurt or not. That would be fully consistent with her described actions and something she wouldn't want to admit during a murder investigation.

So I'd agree some of this sounds bad, but I'd need a lot to be convinced I have a very good idea what happened exactly.

c) I don't think stealing a job is sufficient motive for a rape murder. But there is some evidence of Meredith trying to humiliate her. Targeting the pot growing music guy Amanda was fond of, Giacomo, the job.... Meredith may have been bullying Amanda for weeks. This is the sort of thing that had their been an investigation might have come up. As I basically say in this article, the problem with prosecutorial abuse is that it has left us guessing long after the guessing should have ended.

d) RS has been arrested for murder, of a woman who for for 3 weeks had lived with his girlfriend of two weeks. I don't blame him putting his interest above Meredith's.

CD-Host said...

ChrisUK --
(reply part 2)

First off there are 6 notes as far as I know composed between 11/5 and 11/6. The police had her produce statement after statement after statement. I'm not sure which one you are using.

That being said I agree she's seems to be vague about that time period. And while she's clear about after 10am she contradicts herself about what she was doing then as well.

As for Patrick.... I actually think the motive is a little different. I believe the police think Patrick was involved. They are interrogating her harshly, possibly hitting her at this point. I think she just saying stuff they want to hear while at the same time trying to distance herself from the statements. The kind of garbage you usually get from using torture. I hesitate to use the word "torture" because I don't think its likely the police were actually torturing her, but she is responding as if they were.

In this article I talk about the context. They needed to get something to arrest her with that night, because they were worried her parents would show up. So they pressing too hard. The result is they got a garbage statement.

Their might be elements of truth but she's actively distancing herself from it. And that's obvious to anyone. Yet the police still arrest Patrick...

ChrisUK said...

Hi CD-Host

To clarify.

1. The full note was published in The Telegraph (UK) 1:14PM GMT 22 Nov 2007

2. My opinion is that the 'confusion' expressed in this note is not genuine. It has the semblance of truth because Amanda is drawing on the frightening situation she has brought upon herself and the accompanying fears. One reason for my opinion is that the 'confusion' is turned on and off - it is not out and out 'garbage' from start to finish.

3. My point about Meredith's door is the attempt and failure to break down the door seems bogus - as in just for appearances.

4. I agree stealing a job is insufficient motive for rape and murder. The real reason I raised this will be in my final paragraph.

5. Raffaele's first provable lie, I believe was to a journalist BEFORE he was arrested. Claiming to have been at a party on the night of the murder.

6. With regards to Amanda's accusation of Patrick we will have to agree to differ - my opinion is, as stated earlier, that this note is not genuinely rambling and any 'confusion' is manipulated.

ChrisUK said...

part 2

Further points.

I think your analysis of the three photos is excellent. I was immediately struck at the time that the third photo was published what a strange sense there was about Amanda - both face and body language.

I think you are filtering too much through the Prosecutorial Abuse angle. Although I get the sense that the desperation to make the charge stick has caused action that gives concern, I don't think it is the truest angle to view this case from.

Okay, the version of events that I think most fit the facts and behaviours of all concerned is that Patrick's text to Amanda induced a jealous rage that prompted her to do a deal with Rudy by which access would be given to Meredith and her rent money in exchange for drugs. Rudy's visit (possibly made with a more violent 'friend')spiralled out of control resulting in Meredith's death. Amanda (aided by Raffaele) were horrified at what they had unleashed and attempted to cover up their involvement. Thus with regards to the note, in amongst the 'confusion' Amanda can say with certainty 'I know I did not kill Meredith'.

Finally, as a Christian, I believe the power of truth is shown again and again - and the lack of it causes terrible damage.

CD-Host said...

Hi Chris --

Rudy's visit (possibly made with a more violent 'friend')spiralled out of control resulting in Meredith's death. Amanda (aided by Raffaele) were horrified at what they had unleashed and attempted to cover up their involvement. Thus with regards to the note, in amongst the 'confusion' Amanda can say with certainty 'I know I did not kill Meredith'.

Totally possible scenario. Which makes her guilty of something like manslaughter. And that's a perfect example of the prosecutorial abuse. Without it, she can tell the truth confesses to her involvement, pleads to manslaughter and they Guede plus the other guy on the murder. Raffaele pleads to obstruction. Over and done, the system works.

My opinion is that the 'confusion' expressed in this note is not genuine. It has the semblance of truth because Amanda is drawing on the frightening situation she has brought upon herself and the accompanying fears. One reason for my opinion is that the 'confusion' is turned on and off - it is not out and out 'garbage' from start to finish.

The confusion may or may not be real. Remember her memories may be fuzzy due to things like drugs or stress from having witnessed a killing. For example I can remember things I saw on drugs 25 years ago (been a while), but if you asked me to reconstruct what was "really happening" sometimes I can sometimes I can't. Rainbows moving towards me quickly were really headlights from an oncoming car, but what caused the entire carpet to make a wave? On the other hand there is none of that distortion with current memories.

Does that mean I'm faking the confusion on those old memories?

ChrisUK said...

CD-Host

Good dialoguing with you. Got to take a break for a while but wanted to respond to your recent points.

The difference in our positions is

1) I think prosecutorial arrogance is only one of several factors which have hampered the truth coming out. Even before being interviewed, a very determined cover up seems to have taken place and prosecutorial aggression would be required to get at the truth.

2) I think faux drug use is being used to aid the selective confusion strategy. If you look closely a lot of very sane action appears to have gone on before and after the crime.

best for now