UPDATE: Amanda Knox declared guilty in Italian court
UPDATE Jan. 30
Amanda Knox was declared guilty of murder in an Italian court today in Florence. Her one time boyfriend Raffaelle Sollecito was ordered to surrender all his paperwork. The court said that Amanda Knox was in the U.S. "illegally" and signaled that they would seek her extradition to serve a 28 1/2 year sentence.
Raffaele Sollecito, Knox’s former boyfriend, was also found guilty Thursday.
Italy’s Supreme Court will need to ratify the decision before the country asks for Amanda Knox’s extradition to Italy.
Lawyers for American student Amanda Knox warned jurors not to overlook mistakes made by investigators as deliberations began here Thursday in Knox’s new appeal of her conviction for the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher.
“We are anxious about your verdict,” lawyer Luciano Ghirga told the judge and jurors moments before they filed out to consider the fate of Knox, 26, and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 29.
Prosecutors have called for sentences of 26 and 30 years for Sollecito and Knox, the exchange student from Seattle who shared a house in the Italian town of Perugia with Kercher, then 21, who was found partially naked in a pool of blood with her throat slashed.
In his final summing-up, a second lawyer representing Knox, Carlo dalla Vedova, lambasted what he called “mistakes” made by forensic investigators. Losing his customary cool, he said, “Italian sentences don’t depend on probability, but on certainty.” DNA found on a knife in Sollecito’s kitchen and attributed by prosecutors to Kercher could not be verified, Ghirga said.
Initially arrested and convicted of the murder, Knox and Sollecito spent four years in jail before being acquitted on appeal in 2011. However, Italy’s highest court overturned the acquittal and ordered a new appeal, saying the first was riddled with “shortcomings, contradictions and inconsistencies.”
Amanda Knox released this statement in response to the verdict:
Amanda Knox issued the following statement about the Italian court upholding her 2009 murder conviction.
First and foremost it must be recognized that there is no consolation for the Kercher family. Their grief over Meredith’s terrible murder will follow them forever. They deserve respect and support.
I am frightened and saddened by this unjust verdict. Having been found innocent before, I expected better from the Italian justice system. The evidence and accusatory theory do not justify a verdict of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Rather, nothing has changed. There has always been a marked lack of evidence. My family and I have suffered greatly from this wrongful persecution.
This has gotten out of hand. Most troubling is that it was entirely preventable. I beseech those with the knowledge and authority to address and remediate the problems that worked to pervert the course of justice and waste the valuable resources of the system: overzealous and intransigent prosecution, prejudiced and narrow-minded investigation, unwillingness to admit mistake, reliance on unreliable testimony and evidence, character assassination, inconsistent and unfounded accusatory theory, and counterproductive and coercive interrogation techniques that produce false confessions and inaccurate statements.
Clearly a wrongful conviction is horrific for the wrongfully accused, but it is also terribly bad for the victim, their surviving family, and society.
West Seattle's Amanda Knox will hear today if an Italian court will declare her guilt or innocence in this, the third trial she has faced since the murder of her roommate in Perugia, Italy in 2008. Whatever the court says Knox will not return to Italy.
Article 6 of the 1983 bilateral treaty with Italy states that she will NOT face extradition since she was already tried and acquitted once. Given our constitutional protection against double jeopardy she's likely safe. Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz however explained in an article in the Wall Street Journal that she is in "uncharted waters" regarding "transnational law" and that treaty.
He notes that it is uncertain whether the second verdict, in which she was acquitted, would constitute double jeopardy since it was not a final judgement, but in fact subject to further appeal. He suggests that this might have influence on the U.S. State Department and would not violate the treaty.
Even if found guilty, her case would likely be appealed again to the Italian Supreme court, and the legal wrangling would go on, perhaps for years.
Dershowitz points out that Knox may still face a civil suit from the family of Meredith Kercher. In a civil trial all this required is proof by a preponderance of evidence.
A video of a panel that explored her innocence was posted in 2011. You can watch that video here:
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