Saturday, January 8, 2011

Evidence and the very unlikely

OK strange question, how much evidence would you need to prove that an human alien hybrid killed Meredith Kercher?  Assume that were the prosecution's theory.  Assume they had picked someone up and they believed that person was a human alien hybrid.  Assume they were using his alien traits to explain evidence, like he had been able to get through the window because hybrids can jump 12 feet easy, he hadn't left any evidence because hybrids can make their fingers not secrete oils....  This was the prosecution's theory and you as a juror had to rule on the case.  What sort of standard should you hold them to?  You might stay that's a really stupid question, and your reaction is precisely where I want your head at, so bear with me please.

Is it impossible that human alien hybrids exist or just very very unlikely?  You might say impossible.  OK what if there were families of human alien hybrids known to exist, towns which people could visit full of them.  Some had undergone analysis in various biological laboratories and the results were public.    You even knew people, who had met some and see them change shape.  Then you might say, "well then yes I'd believe in them".  In other words, its not impossible its just a question that there is nowhere near enough evidence to believe in something so unlikely.  Very much like Russell's Teapot.  There are lots of good reasons to believe that an animal like the platypus didn't exist, when it was first described and for several years there were debates when it was discovered if it was a fraud or a fluke.  But the evidence overwhelmed the skepticism.  And I think that this is a similar case, you don't really mean "impossible" what you mean instead is highly improbably, that is to say something for which you are going to need lots of high quality evidence.

So given any murder there is a certain percent chance it was done by a human alien hybrid.  There is a certain chance it was done by random quantum effects.  There is a certain chance is it done by a monkey like The Murders in the Rue Morgue.  Those are doubts in any case, they just aren't reasonable doubts, because they are so unlikely.  But remember this situation is different, this is the prosecutor's theory.   Which means the prosecution not only has to prove the crime but because they are using this theory to explain away the counter evidence like the 12 foot jump via. the alien hybrid theory they actually have to provide enough evidence to justify the existence of alien human hybrids.  And of course you are beginning to see where I'm going; while Mignini and Massei's theories may not seem up there with alien human hybrids they are still incredibly unlikely.  So lets work this hypothetical a bit before jumping back to the main case.

There is one more condition.  Maybe even a tremendous amount of evidence doesn't cut it.  The possibility that the pieces of evidence correlate and thus all or most of it is together wrong, that your analysis is wrong, that my analysis is wrong vastly overwhelm the likelihood of those scenarios.  One of the things that will strike you immediately if you read old trials is the sorts of scenarios that are considered likely or unlikely.  Something like an insect disease leading to a local significant shift in a particular insect population (like a bee) leading to a crop failure if it is considered at all, and not in that language, would be treated as unlikely while witchcraft or direct divine intervention are likely explanations for this natural phenomena.  Its hard to account for these variables but they exist with most evidence.     The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, bu Kuhn talks about how science deals with the incredibly unlikely.  Once it shows up it provides it disproves the paradigm of probably, which requires a paradigm shift, and that shift is undertaken only when the evidence becomes truly overwhelming.

Just to put this in perspective lets do a quick through experiment.  Assume you have to decide between just two options A and B (with B being guilty).  Assume that you have pieces of evidence each of which is 70% accurate and fully independent, to help in picking between A and B.  If A and B are equally likely, and your standard of evidence was more likely than not you would just count up the evidence and side without whatever letter had more "evidence" behind it.  For most everyday decisions even 2 pieces of evidence would be 90% and thus good enough.   If OTOH you standard was "beyond a reasonable doubt" say 98% and A and B were still both equally likely, you would only need to go up 4 pieces of evidence.  So this 70% evidence is great stuff for making day to day judgements.

But what if A and B weren't equally likely?  Assume that B were something like a human alien hybrid conjecture and A were something like "drug killing, gang killing, robbery, x-boyfriend, honor killing combined" in other words a grab bag of the alien human hybrid didn't do it.  Lets say that the one in ten billion murders at most are caused by an alien human hybrid. So to meet the reasonable doubt standard we would need B to be 500 billion times more likely based on evidence alone than A.    Which is to say if we have to pick between A and B we are often going to pick A even when most evidence points to B. If it were a pure 70/30 shot then it would take about 23 pieces of non correlating evidence each agreeing,  to make the odds less than 1 in 500 billion.

Ah but happens if I have good quality evidence?  Say 98% evidence like a videotape of my alien human hybrid or a repeatable blood sample that shows him his cells producing a silicon based sugar.  1 piece of evidence for reasonable guilt if A and B are equally likely and only 6 for human alien hybrid.   So its a linear factor of 4.    So if you think one of the pieces of evidence is overwhelming, certainly not as good as a video of the crime.  Go ahead and count it twice.

But here is where it gets tricky notice I keep saying independent.  What if they are not?  Well if they are even slightly dependent on one another that doubles the amount of evidence, moderate and I'm up around 100 pieces of the alien human hybrid.  And If you think about it that feels about right.  You would probably need about 100 anecdotes to believe this murder was committed by an alien human hybrid.  That is to say you believe this evidence correlated about 50% there is some overlap.

Ah....  but you might say.  "Wait a minute, CD!  Nothing in the Meredith Kercher murder theory is as unlikely as an alien human hybrid.  People get into squabbles all the time and someone ends up dead.  Domestic violence is frighteningly common not uncommon".  And you would be right.  You would also be rewriting the prosecution's theory of the case.  And boy is it tempting.  Their theory of the case is tremendously stupid.  It requires us to believe multiple highly low probability things.

Its hard to know exactly what is needed to prove the case and what is rank speculation.  But just starting on a particularly bad part of the report:
Meredith Kercher, returning home around nine in the evening, and without
anything in mind other than having a rest (the night before, Halloween, she had
stayed up very late) and doing some studying. Like her English friends, she thought
she had a class at 10 the following morning, and would not have had any intention
of acquiescing to the demands, held to be of an erotic-sexual nature by what has
already been observed, of whoever entered her room.
Besides, she felt attached to Giacomo Silenzi, with whom she had just started an
intimate relationship, and she was serious young woman with a strong
temperament.
  1. How would you know what's on her mind as she is returning home?  What do you think you are writing a novel?
  2. Do we really know enough about Meredith's sex life to know whether her 10:00 am class would or would not have had any impact on whether she wanted to have sex.  Heck there would have been many many years without sex if I had to wait till days I could sleep in till noon.
  3. How do you know she felt attached with Giacomo Silenzi?  We know she had just started  boffing the pot grower downstairs.  Maybe she just liked his pot?  Maybe she liked his availability.  Maybe she liked the fact that Amanda and Laura had both wanted him and she just wanted to be queen bee?
  4. And even the statements themselves, "serious young woman with serious temperament" -- Who is dating a pot dealer and helping him grow the stuff
  5. Most people when striking up a conversation with a girl hint around the erotic sexual part a bit.  It might not have been entirely clear.  
And on and on and on goes the rank speculation needed to make this murder work out.   And mind you this is key.  This is paragraph is the evidence that Meredith wouldn't have opened the door and thus someone else let Rudy in.   The fact that someone else let Rudy is the evidence that Amanda had to fake the break in.  Amanda having to fake the break in is one of the key pieces of evidence that Amanda is the murder.

Reading this "evidence" does it sound sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Meredith didn't say:
  • sure come on in lets smoke some weed and then I gotta go to class or 
  • sure my boyfriends away I'd love to play tonight
    or maybe going with different theory, a food theory
  • you know I'm already getting sick of pastas, stracciatella I'm totally in the mood for some boiled cabbage, maybe some chips.  I'd love some company!
We are talking a guy who played basketball outside her school and hung with her boyfriend.   This is called the Massei conclusions report, perhaps the Massei wild guesses report would be more fitting?  So lets assume its 80% likely that Meredith didn't open the door herself for Rudy and assuming she didn't open the door that its 80% likely that Rudy had someone let him and given that 80% chance that the someone had to be one of the 4 girls that no one else had a key to a rental apartment that they had had made over the last decade  and 80% that given all this Amanda would have realized she needs to fake a break-in....  well the whole scenario then is only 1 in 3.  And the same way the evidence adds the rank speculation takes the odds down and down and down.  And by way of example, if I used 60% for that the chances would have been just 7.75%.

So you go through the Massei report counting conjectures.  How many of these 80% do you need to make the case.  20, 100,1000?  At 20 its less than 1% likely that things came down the way Massei speculates.  At 100 you are around the one in ten billion we used as a  placeholder for the human alien hybrid.  That's the power of compounding.    It doesn't sound crazy because it is a huge collection of more likely than not theories strung together.  But just multiple them out and you get something incredibly unlikely.  To prove this kind of a sequence, in practice you would need to:
  1. Collect evidence
  2. Construct a fixed single sequence sequence
  3. Collect evidence independent of your evidence in step (1) to confirm / disconfirm your sequence
otherwise you need an astronomical amount of evidence to show you aren't just fitting a conjecture to the facts rather than confirming a conjecture with facts.

The fact is Massei has no idea what happened, because an investigation was never done (see my article on prosecutorial abuse as to why it was never done).  They think they probably have the right people and the rest of the report covers:

a)  Stuff they did investigate
b)  Wild conjectures to tie those scattered pieces of evidence into a case.

And he does hit his conjectures to the facts at hand.  In the pages on the stab wounds and their order he has a high quality autopsy and thus lots of facts he has to fit to.  On the what Meredith was thinking as she approached her door he has essentially none so he is free to assert anything he wants.

There certainly is enough to indict Amanda based on the Massei report, but to convict?  Play a game.  Read the Massei report.  Each time you hit a piece of evidence cancel out 2 conjectures of his, which is being really generous with the evidence.  And that's not counting the fact of how silly some of the conjectures are.

And then there are places where the evidence is just wrong.  I'm not an expert on DNA, one can see extensive evaluation of the evidence all over the web and I don't have the background to know enough to evaluate it.  But this line is different:
Encase forensic analysis software determined, for such time period, that the only files created (last created) or written (last written) were generated, automatically, either by the computer’s operating system or the Firefox web-browser within its own cache: being files generated at regular intervals.
I'm going to get a bit techie for this paragraph, explain how this is total nonsense, feel free to skip it as just an example.  I'd like you if you are on a mac or a linux box to open up a terminal right now and type the phrase man touch.  If you are stuck on a windows box here is what you would have seen link.   Touch is a program designed to change timestamps because it is such a common activity.   Changing those dates are standard Unix activities, I have tons of scripts that modify those dates to things other than their defaults that run on my machine; for example when I push data to the TIVO I script changes to mtime so that it sorts the way I want it on my TV.   Mac's internally have 5 timestamps they associate with files: createDate, contentModDate, attributeModDate, accessDate and backupDate. accessDate implements atime, attributeModDate implements ctime and contentModDate implements mtime. The fsCatalogInfo attribute for a file in objective-C (the default language for system's programming on an Apple) has those five as variables (i.e. for example fsCatalogInfo.createDate), which is to say this is not some deeply hidden attribute, Apple invested money in making these timestamps alterable because programs need to do that so frequently.    Other than those 5 attributes there is no place any time information is stored about file manipulation.    You can in 3 seconds have a file on your mac that was last modified 10 years before you owned the computer, heck before it was created as far as the filesystem is concerned.  And there is no secondary record of these changes.   With an average user timestamps are obviously good evidence.   By definition average users are people who think about how to work their computer not how their computer works.  But Raffaele is a computer science graduate who is doing a degree in genetic programming, he's spending all day thinking abut how computers work.  For him,  the timestamp mean nothing more than the times he choose to assign to files.   He's probably 10x the programmer I am, I'm way over the hill, he's in his prime.  If this were Amanda's computer I'd think "determined that the only files created" was too strong I'd weaken it to something like "indicates that most likely the only files created".    For Raffaele's I'd say "a weak easily modifiable record which at the time of analysis showed..." is a fair characterization. [note added 1/12/11: Rose below translated from Italian what they actually used.  I'm leaving this unmodified for continuity, but the actual forensic method was much less reliable than the one I assumed they used]

I'm nitpicking the timestamp paragraph,  because that is one where I'm not quoting other experts.   I know for a fact that Massei is indicating that something that is only likely as an absolute certainty.     This is at least for me a perfect example of the basic problem with the Massei report, it replaces possible with likely, likely with almost certainly true and almost certainly true with tautologically true.  He takes weak evidence and argues that it shows things way beyond what it does in fact show.  Please google everything in these two paragraphs, check that everything I'm saying about timestamps is absolutely true.  Everyone does this with the inconsequential, "I'm sure I put gas in the car" as shorthand for "I'm usually pretty good about filling it once it gets below half full, and 3 days I remember it was less than 1/2..."  But if my job depended on it, I'd go out and check the car and  I'd still fill it up just in case the gas gauge wasn't working right.  If someone's life depended on it, I'd try and fill it and I'd make sure to have a spare gas container in the trunk.  And that's the level of certainty I would want before locking someone away for a quarter century, beyond a reasonable doubt.   And that is what the law requires.

 And then ask yourself did the forensic analysis really determine what happened on that computer or did it just provide a fallible piece of evidence about what happened on that computer?  And if it didn't then Raffaele can be telling the truth about what he and Amanda did during the time of the murder.  This little forensics was considered a major blow to their alibi.    And while you are thinking about that, read the report for yourself and go find yourself a dozen example like this of these unbelievable leaps of pure conjecture.   In the end there is one key question you absolutely must be able to answer before taking the awesome responsibility of destroying 3 children:
  • 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 I have yet to hear an answer to that question.

_____

See also:

  • A similar argument was made by Raffaele's attorney's in his appeal (link), translated in the comments to this post here.  

23 comments:

Logan said...

Hey CD Host:

I just read your latest post. I do want to engage you on it in more detail, but I simply don't have the time right now. I want to say preliminarily, prima facie, the arguments are well constructed. However, I want to work through some of your probabilities. Also, Computer science is not my area of expertise, so I want to find corroborating evidence. Nevertheless, your overall conclusion appears unimpeachable: the prosecution's theory of Meredith Kercher's murder is possible but so improbable that it requires a mountain of corroborating evidence to justify conviction. There is no mountain of corrobating evidence. It is therefore probable that the prosecution's theory of the case is incorrect. I'll go one step further. It is very likely that Amanda Knox and Rafaelle Sollecito were wrongly convicted.

CD-Host said...

Logan --

Yes you understand the argument. I'd say its a virtual certainty they were wrongly convicted because even if Massei is 100% correct in his theory the evidence needed to support Massei is not present.

Patrick King said...

While I certainly agree that there is a lot of conjecture in the judge's motivation for conviction and in the prosecution's case, I'm also seeing a fair amount of conjecture or perhaps value judgment in your response. Are you suggesting that a woman dating a pot dealer CANNOT be a serious young woman?

Certainly the prosecution has fallen into the "if not black then white" trap as far as this case goes. We must shine a light on their error, not duplicate them in the other direction.

CD-Host said...

Patrick --

You are making a good point, point well taken that I was being too judgmental regarding her boyfriend. . I hate to use the word "serious" they way they are using it. Certainly there are people in the marijuana business that are very serious. But in general I think given the fact that Meredith decided to:
* study in a well known party town
* decided to have an affair on her real boyfriend Patrick Cronin with the drug grower downstairs, though it seems like they had jointly decided
* moved into a house with lots of drugs

etc... tends to make me think that Meredith was not nearly as straight laced as PMF / Truejustice / Massei portray her.

Drug dealers killing one another over money is about 1000x more common than multiple party sex crimes. I would have wanted to take a much closer look at Giacomo Silenzi, and figure out if Meredith only got ripped off for her rent money. We know there were other murders in Perugia involving knives and overkill that were prostitution / drug related. I think they fixated on Amanda so quickly that they didn't look hard enough at what Meredith was up to.

RoseMontague said...

Thanks for taking an interest in this case. I even read one of your posts about Church Discipline. A pastor once told me his church was a save haven for sinners and if I wanted to visit a house of saints I would probably have to wait a few years.

It is hard to understand why this case was even prosecuted. The best clue that I have seen is the similar way the Sarah Scazzi/Sabrina Misseri case is playing out in Italy now. I am glad to see you take a common sense approach to the evidence and I look forward to seeing more of your posts.

CD-Host said...

Hi Rose welcome to the blog! Just so people know Rose is an editor for The Ridiculous Case Against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito which looks at the forensic evidence with a critical eye. Examining all the problems with the luminol evidence, missing blood evidence ... She presents tremendous evidence for how fixated the police got on Amanda early. For example this great report in Italian when they originally attributed a shoe print to Raffaelle Sollecito, and when they showed it didn't match... then it must match Rudy Guede. As for the case reference, here is an article by Barbie Nadeau
Knox's Grisly Successor
, I should mention Barbie is one who think that Knox is guilty.

Now that the into for lurkers is done. Thank you for doing the great work you have done! I notice a lot of the material on your blog is in Italian, are you Italian?

RoseMontague said...

Thank you for your kind words CD-Host. Ray Turner does the real work on that blog, I have helped with a few documents on occasion. I don't speak Italian but have several Italian/English speakers that help me out on occasion. Reading your post I was wondering if you saw the excerpt published from some additional appeal documents filed by Raffaele's lawyers regarding the computer activity shortly before the appeal hearing. The link is
HERE

CD-Host said...

Rose --

The kind words are well deserved.

No I didn't know about that that article from Raf's lawyers. Thanks! I linked that to the main article. Check to make sure I'm referring to it properly since I have no idea what it says. I don't know Ray Turner.

Patrick King said...

"I would have wanted to take a much closer look at Giacomo Silenzi, and figure out if Meredith only got ripped off for her rent money."

This point here is well made, CD. The ONLY piece of NUCLEAR DNA they have in this entire case is the sperm on the pillow case. This has never been tested and it was just denied testing again as the court "accepts" that it is "probably" Silenzi's. What? This is a SEX MURDER! How can they not test the only conclusive piece of evidence they actually have? Also, how does Silenzi fit into this? He introduce Amanda to Guede the one time they actually met, didn't he?

It seems very very suspicious that both the first court and the appeals court REFUSE to test this sperm stain. Who are they covering for?

RoseMontague said...

Yes,
Much of that link is related to your arguments. The new part (as translated and summarized by Broken_English @IIP is as follows:

"PAGE 6
The report of the consultants of the defense noted that to analyze the interactions in the Apple computer of Raffaele Sollecito occurred between 6pm November 1, 2007 and 8am of the following November 2 would FIRST have to examine the file "windowsserver.log" which records the history of the periods in which keyboard and mouse are disabled from the screensaver

(follows a long description of what is a screensaver)

--
(Here probably it's missing a page.)
--

PAGE 7
(This page begins with the History of the screensaver from 6am to 12am of November 2)
Translating into a language more "understandable" is clear that in the period between November 1, 6:26pm and 6:22am on November 2, the periods in which there is a certain lack of interaction ARE OF A MAXIMUM OF 6 MINUTES while all other periods are of interaction/potential no interaction, calling "potential non-interaction" an ACTIVE CONDUCT OF THE USER ON THE COMPUTER that, while not using the keyboard or mouse, uses the system by acting on its peripherals such as opening/closing the drawer of the CD/DVD and engaging in behavior incompatible with the absence from the place where the computer is located.

Mind you that from the analysis of this file [windowsserver.log] results that the screensaver was never switched off.

Instead the file "windowsserver.log" and the log file of the screensaver "com.apple.screensaver.0016cba1b0b7.plist" were completely ignored in the analysis of the Postal Police.

This analysis with the software ENCASE has examined only the files created, accessed, modified or deleted during the period mentioned ignoring the information from log files

--
(Here probably it's missing a page.)
--

PAGE 8
- severe alterations to the data occurred in the period following the seizure of computer (and before the acquisition of the hard disk) which led to the modification of the date for many files (over 520)

Based on the foregoing, it is considered necessary that these elements are evaluated by an expert appointed by the Court of Assizes of Appeal. We insists that a report is prepared on computer Macbook.Pro used by the accused in order to ascertain what were the real interactions in the period between 1 and 2 November 2007

RoseMontague said...

Sorry,
I deleted my modified post that was supposedly "too large" in contrast to the many Too Lows Stefanoni received. The first one looks like it "took" after all.

Rose♥

CD-Host said...

Rose --

Oh my, wow... I'm sort of speechless. You know that whole paragraph where I talk about how easy it is to change timestamps for any programmer. This is far far easier, any end user could do it. I'll show you.

The file they are talking about is
/var/log/windowserver.log
(if you are on a mac open a terminal and type sudo /Applications/TextEdit.app/Contents/MacOS/TextEdit /var/log/windowserver.log and you can see your own windowserver file. You can also change it freely using this command to whatever you like. Deleting or adding lines, modifying time stamps moving things. Go ahead and try.

That's not even secure. Wow! That's what they are going off of! I can understand how Raffaele was speechless, he's probably like "they are ignoring my alibi based on a low security log file that apps write to willy nilly, doesn't journal and can be easily corrupted with no meaningful security features at all!"

This trial is a joke. The more you learn the more disgusted you get. Rose, thank you! I made the assumption of thinking they had a made a subtle error not gross incompetence.

RoseMontague said...

I am not much of a computer expert but the Police damaging three laptops makes me suspicious. One could be a simple mistake, two could be incompetence, three stretches belief that it was unintentional, in my opinion. Raffaele's initial appeal points out that their computer consultant found one file the police missed. They used a program called Spotlight rather than the Encase used by the Police "expert".

"Indeed, searching with Spotlight in version 10.4.10 was
detected at least one file "Naruto ep 101.avi" which is not present in
advice of the police post, but whose date of last opening is Thursday 1 November 2007 at 21:26"


What did you think of the argument made by Raffaele's lawyers that the screen-saver logs might provide clues of computer activity during the time this murder may have occurred?

I am also curious if you have seen the first computer consultant report that tried to determine how the damage to these 3 laptops happened? I don't have a link handy but can e-mail it to you if you are interested. It is nice to find somebody that can explain things in terms a non-techie can understand.

RoseMontague said...

I see I forgot to point out that the appeal also mentions in regard to this Naruto file: "The date of their last (Tuesday, 6 November 2007 at 10:18:38) and last editing this file (Tuesday, 6 November 2007 at 13:28:09) corresponds to a period coinciding with the removal of the laptop from the home of Raffaele Dunning, during which activities are detected on that laptop witnessed by the file system logs."

If I am not mistaken this indicates the cops were doing some snooping around and looking at Raffaele's movie files even before their computer "expert" got a chance to damage/examine it, possibly altering the dates on this file as well as others.

CD-Host said...

Rose that's correct. Again the system log is low security if you are on a mac you can look at yours by doing: open -e /var/log/system.log

There shouldn't be system activity on a seized drive, standard procedure would be to remove it, ghost it and do any kind of work on the backup copy. The drive evidence should be considered corrupted or at least semi corrupted by police.

As far as the two programs:
Spotlight -- low end program provided by Apple standard for a wide range of searching tasks. The sort of thing any Apple user would know about.

Encase -- Expensive law enforcement program designed for semi-skilled workers to conduct basic forensics in an industry standard way.

What did you think of the argument made by Raffaele's lawyers that the screen-saver logs might provide clues of computer activity during the time this murder may have occurred?

I think he is absolutely right. OSX (the Mac operating system) is not a high security operating system. It doesn't offer good quality journaling of activity in a single place by default, it isn't designed for that. In looking at an OSX system, you start by understanding nothing is "beyond a reasonable doubt" but to make your best estimate; you want to use every sign of activity on the system and try and draw a picture from all the activity on the entire system looking at every log file. None of these files makes any claim to being comprehensive.

So for example I'd look at kernel.log to see if the machine had been slept:
/var/audit (not a log) contains various auditing messages, you can look at your latest via:
sudo praudit /var/audit/current

I'd be looking at places like
/Users/[raf's username]/Library/Mail, since most likely he kept his email on

encase likely isn't bad at this stuff.

As far as breaking 2 our of 3 laptops and corrupting the 3rd. That at the very least shows signs of gross incompetence. I'd suspect intent I think the forensics people should have been severely severely grilled. The court should be very very wary they are being lied to. Especially since breaking a laptop will in general not render the drive completely unusable you should still be able to get all or most all the information off it.

CD-Host said...

Patrick --

You are absolutely right about the sperm. Why isn't the defense doing this test themselves?

CD-Host said...

Rose --

I read the email you sent:

1) I'm not sure how hard it is to get a Toshiba BIOS. In general OEM's don't treat their BIOSes as serious IP for many years. It wouldn't shock me if Tohsiba would allow you to download it from their website or send you one for a few dollars. Certainly they would give it to law enforcement if asked.

2) The broken BIOS should have no impact on being able to extract information from the Hard Drive. Hard drives are standard there wouldn't be anything particular important in the Toshiba BIOS regarding the hard drive. So that connection makes no sense.

Its like saying "I don't have the same brand of orange drink as was in the cup holder so I can't drive the car".

3) I don't believe they examined the hard drive heads at all. That IMHO is a lie by the police, assuming the translation is correct. They are quoting though so this could be a misunderstand as well. What it, with say 99.999% assurance is not is accurate.

4) I'd like to know how they know about the "bad sectors"? Generally that means the drive is pretty much working. If it is dead, i.e. a head crash and there is another fried board that sounds like physical damage. For example if someone was in a car crash with the computer.

So assuming your translation is correct, I don't buy that document at all when it comes to the damaged laptop. That's scary because that's the first evidence I've seen for a genuine cover up rather than a prosecutor stepping over the line.

Patrick King said...

"You are absolutely right about the sperm. Why isn't the defense doing this test themselves?"

I don't know. Do they have access to it? The court has played this piece of evidence down considerably. In the US, the defense would have to have access to all evidence. Does it work the same way in Italy?

RoseMontague said...

Thank you CD-Host for looking at that material. It is good to have an opinion from someone that understands this technical stuff.
I saw earlier the news that one of the "super-witnesses", that fine and very believable gentleman of a park bench bum was in court today on charges of dealing heroin. The facts as presented seem to indicate they have taped him doing this in 2003. Interesting that they are just now getting to a little heroin dealer. I wonder about the ethics of putting someone on the stand that you know faces heroin dealing charges but neglecting to mention this to the defense team. Not a very credible witness it seems. LOL.

The case is beginning to unravel.

CD-Host said...

Hi Rose --

Thanks glad to help. You do great stuff on the chemicals which I don't know much about. I agree with you about the witness. I actually speculated the Mignini might have been leaning on witnesses like our homeless guy in my previous post.

Not mentioning to the defense that the prosecution had leverage is very bad stuff. That's another crucial piece of the case. Everything about this case smells really bad. Mignini is so far over the line. I have no idea how this plays out long term, but there is just too much evidence of prosecutorial misconduct to ignore. I really don't understand how anyone can be confident her guilt given the level of misconduct on so many different pieces of evidence.

CD-Host said...

Rose --

is anyone from your team reading Via della Pergola 7? Its an Italian book about the case from one of the original jurors.

RoseMontague said...

Is that the one from the school teacher AnnaMarie something? Do you have a link to that one. I would be interested in seeing it.

CD-Host said...

Yes though I can't understand what they are saying:
Interview.