Torture And The Illusion Of The Double Jeopardy “Guarantee”

Assuming, without deciding, that she’s innocent the term “torture” would not be an exaggerated characterization of what Amanda Knox must be experiencing.  Imagine being so young and having something horrible like that happen to your roommate, only to wind up in the dock for years on end.

Italy has its legal processes and we have ours.  Reaching “closure” is problematic in each – which is all right on one level, because it’s more important to get it right than it is to resolve important disputes hastily.

Still, however necessary it may be, it’s a terrible ordeal for everyone involved.

One extremely misleading part of the CNN article must be addressed, however:

Knox may be ordered to return to Italy for the retrial, to be heard in an appellate court in Florence.

If she refuses, the Italian government could appeal to the U.S. government for her extradition.

But even if it does, Knox still not might end up before an Italian court.

U.S. officials might reject such a request because it violates the U.S. legal principle that a criminal defendant can’t be tried twice on the same allegation, said Joey Jackson, a contributor for HLN’s “In Session.”

Italy lacks the absolute prohibition present in U.S. law preventing authorities from retrying a criminal defendant who has been acquitted of a charge.

“We have principles that are well-founded within our Constitution, one of which is double jeopardy,” Jackson said. “So as a result of that, I think it would be highly objectionable for the United States to surrender someone to another country for which justice has already been administered and meted out. So I don’t think or anticipate that that would happen.”

This is wildly inaccurate and portrays a devotion to the principle of “double jeopardy” that doesn’t exist in the US.  Put succinctly and truthfully, prosecuting officials as a group in the US can get around the double jeopardy proscription of the constitution any time they feel like it, while of course paying it an exceptionally cynical lip service which the courts are only too happy to echo.  There are many examples of this, well known to criminal defense practitioners, and even cursory legal research will reveal it.

Criminal prosecutions, accordingly, can chew up enormous swaths of a person’s life – decades – however unfounded they may be, and illusory proscriptions against double jeopardy do not impede this result in the slightest.  This is apparently true in Italy; and it’s true in the US.  Denying that is either too ignorant to merit extended discussion, or outright misrepresentation or lying.

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48 Comments

Filed under Media incompetence/bias

48 responses to “Torture And The Illusion Of The Double Jeopardy “Guarantee”

  1. Heaven forbid that she should end up there again – the Italian legal process is like the Dickensian representation in Bleak House or Little Dorrit of the British Victorian system – so slow that she could end up there for years again. Would she not end up in court in the Province of Perugia? Doesn’t appellate court in Italy remain in the Province where the crime was committed? If it’s at the regional level it would be somewhere in Umbria.

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  2. The English translation of the Italian Supreme Court report which explains why Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito’s acquittals were annulled can be downloaded from the Perugia Murder File website:

    http://www.perugiamurderfile.org/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=599

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    • Maybe you could explain to me and my few readers why you feel so strongly about the Amanda Knox case. I’m interested. I’ll be fair.

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      • Hi, JMRJ, if I may, and speaking for myself. There are so many reasons I feel strongly about the, excuse me, case of the murder of Meredith Kercher. It appeals to me on many levels, intellectually, spiritually, professionally. And I believe that Knox and Sollecito are guilty of sexually aggravated murder.

        It may be that people who get involved, on both sides of the debate, are the type who feel strongly about many things. The type that cares about causes, be it the environment, progressive or conservative values, the types that just comment on blogs or, are activists for their cause(s). The danger occurs when they lose their objectivity and display biased thinking.

        Having studied both sides, I feel there are people who genuinely believe in the guilt or innocence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. I dislike generalizations about either side, but am sure they have commonalities 🙂

        It might even be that lawyers of the defense oriented persuasion are more inclined to believe in the innocent victimhood of ‘young’ people (as if such do not commit crimes) but I don’t know your reasons, of course.

        However, since you admit to not knowing much about the case, or the Italian legal system, in your blog https://strikelawyer.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/ , that you relied on ‘occasional news report and-mostly the Hellman court decision that acquitted Knox and Sollecito then you ought to know this particular translation you read was written by a group of Knox sympathizers who aren’t even professional translators. No wonder you found “the translation is awkward” though I guess it did not prevent you from forming an opinion, which is your right. However, and since you state you are a lawyer, then I find it astounding you no where tell us where you read the original trial reports by judges Matteini, Micheli, and Massei that sentenced Knox and Sollecito, or the Supreme Court decision that overturned the Hellmann acquittal. Since you want to be fair and all, shouldn’t you at least read those decisions as well, before you know for sure? As most of us on the other side do?

        I also find it interesting that you state that evidence was planted, after the decision to prosecute was made, and that “I thought the case that the main prosecutor, Magnini (sic), is a psychopath was pretty strong, but I’d be interested to see anything you have suggesting otherwise.” Seriously? OK, that’s your opinion, just as it is the opinion of many that the case that Amanda Knox is a psychopath is “pretty strong”.

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        • Well, first, I think I did read the Massei report or at least parts of it. I thought it was terrible as legal reasoning and evaluation of evidence. But at the same time, I admit that I have a defense orientation. I am much more inclined to afford the benefit of the doubt to innocence than large numbers of other people, including most lawyers, and even including many criminal defense lawyers. It would probably do no good to suggest that that is simply because I reason through these things more dispassionately and correctly than other people, nevertheless I think that is the case.

          Second, once you have reached evidentiary conclusions that are, as we lawyers say, “dispositive”, it’s a waste of time and often counterproductive to continue on to endless digressions over less important evidence, which by definition at that point doesn’t mean anything. This is the category into which reading all the other stuff you refer to falls.

          Third, I did not say that evidence was planted. I said there was enough likelihood that evidence was planted that you look elsewhere for evidence that isn’t so potentially tainted. Several people on both sides have said, for example, that but-for the idea of a “staged burglary”, they would have to conclude that AK and RS are innocent. If that is true then they must conclude that AK and RS are innocent because the staged burglary idea is demonstrably one conjecture among many supported by the same evidence. Similarly, if the Sollecito DNA on the bra clasp either turns out not to be his DNA or if it was present due to contamination or was planted, then coupled with the discredited “staged burglary” idea the remaining evidence, such as I am aware of anyway, is not strong enough to make the matter of AK’s and RS’s guilt worth discussing. Is it still possible that they are guilty? Of course. AK has been and always will be a logical suspect, because her roommate was murdered in the apartment they shared. But since no reliable evidence really points unequivocally to her guilt, the chances are overwhelmingly that she is simply an extremely unfortunate girl that such a terrible thing happened in such close proximity, resulting in a lifelong pall of worldwide suspicion. This is terribly unjust, but perhaps there is a weird symmetry at work: the cruel hand that was dealt AK’s roommate has also in some sense partially murdered her. What bothers me about that is that a key component of it is the complete inability of so many people to distinguish between suspicion and proof, between feeling and rationality. One of my fellow bloggers recently wrote that reason was, is, and always will be the slave of the passions. I like him and his writing very much – and often pray that he is wrong. Suspicion is, or at least generates, a feeling. That is all. The problem occurs when the benign and wonderful power of reasoning is used, or rather misused, simply to validate the feeling.

          Now if you’re aware of some important item of evidence that I have overlooked by all means bring it to my attention. Bidding me to trudge through 20,000 pages of stuff, very little of which matters and that which does we have already discussed, is not a reasonable position. I might as well say to you that you should go to law school for three years and pass a bar exam and practice law for 10 years or so before you can offer an opinion. It would just be a silly and argumentative thing for me to say.

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          • No, I don’t want you to “trudge through 20,000 pages of evidence” but I am not sending up clay pigeons for you to shoot down either, thank you very much. Start with themurderofmeredithkercher.com , follow the links and if you have any questions, get back to me. Seeing as how you “reason through these things more dispassionately and correctly than other people” I’m sure you’ll come to your own conclusions and don’t need me to convince you otherwise. Seeing as how you haven’t met Mignini but still state he’s a psychopath, perhaps you can say what leads you to conclude that, and I can say likewise for Amanda Knox?

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            • Man, if they are really clay pigeons that I could shoot down that should tell you something.

              As far as Mignini is concerned, feel free to quibble or rebut:

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giuliano_Mignini

              I don’t see how it helps anything to smear innocent people with tawdry and salacious tales augmented by the power of official accusation. If you’re reasonable you have to concede that that is at least a possibility here. If you’re reasonable and fair minded and knowledgeable about criminal prosecutions you would have to concede that it’s so likely we just shouldn’t go down that path at all unless something else, some reliable form of evidence, surfaces.

              If AK is innocent we’re just inflicting a terrible torture upon her. It’s too bad the Italian Supreme Court has elected to do the whole thing all over again on the same proof, which by any sane measure isn’t enough to give the guilt scenario serious consideration.

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              • There’s a reason my daughter’s high school teachers don’t allow her to use Wikipedia as a resource, but if your education didn’t get that far, my sympathies.

                There’s a different prosecutor now, who just convinced the Florence Court to reject her appeal. Since no one’s convinced them she’s innocent I guess she’ll have to take her chances.

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          • It is all very well for bloggers to base their opinions on partial readings of the Massei Report, but if you want to bring up your law degree every once a while then say the evidence is ‘unconvincing’, I ould suggest you read the entire nearly 400 page report, since that has the evidence I found conclusive. But what do I know? Even though I actually read it?

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            • Man, nice to see you over here again.

              I know this might be frustrating, but I’m not going to read 400 pages on this. At least not any time soon. I mean, if someone wants to hire me to do it, maybe…

              But it really shouldn’t matter that much. You say the evidence convinced you, tell me what the evidence was that did it. I’ll believe you.

              But just so you don’t waste my time or yours, I do not accept DNA found anywhere in the flat belonging to Amanda Knox to be probative of anything, no matter where specifically it’s found or what it might be allegedly “mixed” with. So don’t waste your time with any of that.

              I do not believe Amanda Knox’s footprints anywhere in her own flat prove anything, so don’t bother.

              I do not believe anything in any “confession” is reliable unless very reliable corroborating proof shows it to be true or shows it to be a lie of an inculpatory nature.

              I do not believe there is sufficient evidence to support the idea of a “staged” break in. Either a break in or a staged break-in are just a couple of possibilities among others. I am open to reconsidering that belief if there is something everyone commenting here but you has missed that would make it more likely, but I caution you you’re up against Jessie and if she couldn’t convince me I doubt you’ll be able to.

              I do not accept the infamous “bra-clasp” as evidence of anything because uinder ordinary US chain of custody rules it would never be admitted, and also because I do not believe Sollecito’s DNA’s presence on the clasp in fact came about as a result of his participation in Meredith Kercher’s murder. Don’t waste your time with this one either.

              Other than those things, I’ll give any arguments you make a fair hearing. That’s what we do over here at Lawyers on Strike.

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  3. Jessie

    Is a thread now developing where bringing up this case would not involve Knox-jacking some other subject? You know how much I wanted to talk to you about this case back in the day. Which I mean as a compliment — I refuse to discuss this case online with pretty much anyone because both sides are so firmly entrenched in their teams.

    It’s very hard to summarize the case to anyone who isn’t at least familiar with the basics, but I’ll try to give you some gist. You’ve got the “guilters” and the “FOAKers” (short for Friends of Amanda Knox, who believe she is completely innocent and was framed by a corrupt system).

    According to the guilters, Knox and Rafaellle Sollecito helped Rudy Guede sexually assault Meredith Kercher and then slit her throat. (In many of these scenarios, Knox is the ringleader either because she and Sollecito were seeking sexual thrills or because Knox was jealous of Kercher. Guede’s guilt is not disputed.) Afterwards, Knox and Sollecito staged a burglary, effected a partial clean-up, and returned the murder weapon to Sollecito’s cutlery drawer, all in an effort to pin the murder solely on Guede.

    On its face, this is a tough story to swallow, but guilters believe everything coming from the mouths of prosecutors and police is pure gold. Superficially, the strongest argument in their favor would seem to be that Knox did indeed tell police — twice — that she was in the house when the murder happened and it was her boss who did it. The boss was jailed for two weeks until other evidence cleared him of the murder.

    According to the FOAKers, Knox and Sollecito did not leave his apartment the night of the murder. They generally deny there is any evidence at all to support the prosecution’s case. This is nonsense. There was quite a lot of evidence, but they don’t rebut it; they just deny its existence completely.

    FOAKers generally portray the Italian system as akin to Iranian, inflate the role of one of the prosecutors (Mignini, whom they portray as delusional), and then they wonder why Italians think they’re assholes. If you hear the phrases “four years in an Italian prison,” “straight-A student from a Jesuit school,” or “these cops break the Mafia,” you’re probably talking to a FOAKer.

    They dismiss Knox’s statements to the police as a false confession, brought about by 40-50 hours of interrogation, except they’re constantly increasing the length of that interrogation, even though it was provably only about two hours. (They get the lengthier hours by adding up either all the time she spent talking to police, all the time she spent anywhere near police, or just making it up.) The interrogation was not taped.

    Part of the difficulty in discussing this case is there are quite a lot of evidence points. By picking out even a few to get us started, I’m automatically skewing the discussion, but bear that in mind and here goes:

    Statements to police: Knox and Sollecito initially had a lot of trouble giving police a coherent story about what they were doing the night of the murder and the morning after. The specifics of this can get tortuously detailed, but eventually Sollecito told police that he left Knox in town around 8:30 and she returned to his apartment around 1 a.m., saying, “In my previous statement I told a load of rubbish because Amanda had convinced me of her version of the facts and I didn’t think about the inconsistencies.”

    Knox is then questioned again on this basis, at which point she says she was present in her own apartment while her boss (later cleared) committed the murder. And then — the piece the FOAKers won’t tell you — the next day, she gives police a written statement reiterating that version of events. FOAKers claim she immediately retracted the false statement, but that’s not true.

    DNA: Police pull a knife from Sollecito’s cutlery drawer because it looked especially clean. They say it has small amounts of Knox’s DNA on the handle and Kercher’s DNA on the blade. A bra clasp from the victim has a larger amount of Sollecito’s DNA. The knife did not have enough to perform a second test; the bra clasp did. (The clasp was not recovered for a number of weeks, although that’s fairly irrelevant, given that DNA testing is often successfully performed on items much older that were not necessarily preserved.)

    Burglary: Police immediately believed the burglary was staged, even before they knew a murder had taken place. The window was 12 feet from the ground. The rock inside the room weighed nearly 20 pounds. There was no sign anyone had crawled through the window. The room had been tossed, with belongings strewn everywhere, but nothing stolen — in short, what someone who’s watched a lot movies might think a burglary looks like. I believe this is the strongest evidence on the prosecution side and it’s impossible to square with the defense theory that Rudy Guede burgled the house and murdered Kercher when she came home. (Guede was acquainted with the boys who lived downstairs and had expressed attraction to both Knox and Kercher. He lived near Sollecito. None of the parties had any significant criminal record, though guilters inflate Knox’s noise citation in the States and FOAKers inflate suspicions about Guede. All of them smoked pot and Sollecito was a pretty experienced stoner who’d dabbled in harder drugs.)

    Victim’s bedroom: Kercher’s body was found partially unclothed and covered by a blanket. Her bra had been removed after the murder because the outline of it was visible in blood. The blanket had been placed over her after the murder because there was very little blood on it. Based on the blood pattern on the floor, her body appeared to have been moved after she had either died or at least become incapacitated.

    Two pieces of evidence that are not talked about as often, but factor more heavily in my own theory about the case: All the doors in the apartment could only be locked with a key. Kercher’s bedroom door was locked at the time her body was discovered. Her key was never found. Knox’s lamp was found on the floor of Kercher’s bedroom.

    Since this is getting long, I think I’ll leave this for now as a starting point. There’s quite a lot I’ve left out, including some points I consider important but require an overview first. I may or may not stick to only responding to you, John. I guess it depends on whether both sides come through and start going apeshit with their talking points. It is a much more complicated case than most Americans are aware of, in part because, as I mentioned before, everyone seems to want to root for their own home team. I still believe that if Knox had been prosecuted in the US, Americans would be convinced of her guilt and, if Jodi Arias had been prosecuted overseas, Americans would be convinced of her innocence.

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    • Jessie, nice to see you again. First, you might read this:

      https://strikelawyer.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/

      That’s pretty much where I left off with the whole AK thing.

      But let me deal with a few of the things you bring up, some of which are related to the content of that link.

      First, confesstions. They are not especially reliable, by which I mean that sometimes they are true and sometimes they are not. When it becomes a matter of dispute later as to what was said or the circumstances or anything else, as far as I am concerned the whole confession issue has degenerated into he-saidshe-said crap.

      That is not the position of most people, or of the law in general, or certainly of law enforcement which treats confessions like they are the holy grail of the case they actually prosecute, even though they well know that, for just one example, they get dozens of false confessions on just about every high profile case.

      In any case, in my opinion AK’s confession, or alleged confession, or whatever is useless as a truth finding mechanism.

      Moving on. My reading of the appeals court report was not that they didn’t have enough DNA to retest the knife, but that there was never any basis to find that the victim’s DNA was on the knife at all. Admittedly, this could be two different spins on the same fact, but you wind up in the same place: without the victim’s DNA on it, there isn’t even any reason to believe that it was the murder weapon. With the victim’s DNA on it, of course, it is extremely strong evidence implicating both AK and Sollecito, but the point is academic. At best, we don’t know.

      Again, my understanding is that the appeals court could not verify that Sollecito’s DNA was on the bra clasp either, so even with all the contamination issues the bra clasp still wouldn’t matter.

      I thought the case that the main prosecutor, Magnini, is a psychopath was pretty strong, but I’d be interested to see anything you have suggesting otherwise. I can tell you that any psychopathic cop or prosecutor with an agenda can easily steer an investigation and prosecution to conform with the agenda. The people who don’t have an agenda – well, they don’t have an agenda, so they are vulnerable to just going along, and once things get going full speed no one wants to get in the way of the freight train. That’s just the nature of the way these things work.

      The staged burglary? Assuming it was staged, there’s no evidence I’m aware of as to who staged it. Maybe Guede did. This would make more sense if he really wasn’t the serial burglar he’s been portrayed as, but couldn’t be ruled out even if he really was. Of course, it could have been AK and Sollecito too. But the point is we don’t know.

      And perhaps there are reasons to believe that it was not a staged burglary. Perhaps something else was going on. Or perhaps it was a real burglary.

      You bring up an interesting fact about locked doors and keys, but I don’t know where you’re going with it. There wouldn’t be anything precluding Guede, acting alone, from locking that door with the victim’s key, which as you point out was never found.

      Now, my conclusion had been not that AK and b/f were proven innocent, but that there was virtually no reliable evidence from which guilt could be concluded. But you throw in that the lurid, leopold-loeb type guilt scenario, while possible, is extremely unlikely as compared with the Guede did it alone scenario, and you couple that with the Mignini stuff, and it certainly does begin to look like a cop-prosecutor gone career-crazed wild exploiting a terrible crime to put flesh on the bones of his fantasies.

      And that is a scenario that is also much more likely than the lurid tale. So I come down pretty firmly on the innocence side here based on the evidence, or lack of it. I can’t say for absolute sure, though, and I’d be interested in your response, because I guess this case is coming up again soon.

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    • Holly

      In the interest of disclosure, I will state that I have been reading at a “guilter” site for the last 6 months–I’m sure everyone knows which sites I refer to–and am fairly convinced of the guilt of Knox and Sollecito. I have lurked some at FOA sites as well, but do not find them at all convincing. They are too sure that Italy’s legal system, as you’ve noticed, is akin to that of Iran’s. That is a starting point with a predetermined conclusion.I accept of course that I could be mistaken, and in truth I wish I were. No one wants to believe that another person is capable of murder, and I would be fine with it if someone could convince me that Knox is not a killer, that it was Rudy alone. I am an American, and a fan of the city of Seattle, after all. People from Seattle aren’t supposed to do these things. But that leads me to my point/question–you, and many others maintain that the scenario put forward by the prosecution is not plausible, or “hard to swallow.” Why is that? Now, if I knew Knox since she was 2, or 10, or 14, and thought she was a great kid, of course I would not believe the case against her. But I don’t know her or Sollecito. I assume that you do not either. A terrible murder was committed, a young woman lost her life. Things like this happen in the world, Why is it so hard to believe that these particular people were involved, that they were the 1 in a 100,000–or whatever the number i–young people who commit brutal murders? And that they wouldn’t act exactly (or close to) as the prosecution described?

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      • Gosh.

        I almost feel this is not a good thing to post about. I don’t want anyone’s murdered daughter becoming a talking point on my watch.

        However. Dragging innocent people through hell doesn’t help things. So in the end we just have to be rational to be compassionate, to soberly distinguish truth from falsehood as best we can.

        I don’t see any compelling reason to believe either AK or RS are guilty here and I don’t know why you do, other than you have never been on the receiving end of a criminal prosecution, you have never experienced the phenomenon of innocuous facts being spun into a lurid tale of evil and guilt with you as the star in the play.

        There’s an Occam’s Razor aspect to this. Guede is a sufficient explanation for the dead body. Why is it necessary to add anyone else if nothing really points to it?

        And there’s the rub: nothing really points to it. Not DNA, not shoeprints, not “confessions”. It’s all spun after the fact. The before the fact known quantity is that AK was the victim’s roommate and that is enough for people to be suspicious, and then they look to have their suspicions confirmed, which is just what the officials did here and a sober analysis proves that.

        Italy’s justice system has done a good job transcending the passions around this so far. But we’ll see, I guess.

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  4. Jessie

    Ok, so you have the gist of this already. Though reading either just the appeals decision or just the original decision is bound to skew your perception. Balancing that off with the original decision, the “Massei report,” would provide more information. The appeals court opted to examine key pieces of evidence. One of the questions before the Supreme Court was whether the appeals court erred in doing that and, of course, the Supreme Court ruled that they did.

    But I think you and I can safely agree to not even bother with the legal aspects since neither one of us understands the Italian rules of evidence or procedure anyway. I just wasn’t willing from the start to assume that the Italian system is inherently flawed and I think a lot of FOAKers (or even casual American viewers) made a mistake in doing that. Not only because Italy is a modern Western democracy, but it reinforced some of the worst stereotypes about Americans, who are way to quick to say, “Well, we don’t do it that way here!” As if, naturally, it should be done no other way. The fact that they can’t even see the exceptionalism in their thinking is embarrassing.

    Anyway, what’s always been more fascinating about this case is less about which aspects of the court process were proper under Italian law than trying to figure out WHAT THE HELL ACTUALLY HAPPENED. I agree none of us knows for sure and that has to be the basis of any conjecture from the start, but ending there would pretty much end the conversation.

    So, back to the evidence…

    I agree the confession (which was really a false accusation, not a confession) doesn’t necessarily mean much, but it is strange when combined with all their statements to police over time. Everyone who knew Kercher was interrogated for long periods of time — one of the British girls was flown back to Italy to be interrogated all over again. So Knox wasn’t subjected to anything the others weren’t and yet she and Sollecito were the only ones unable from the start to provide a coherent statement about where they were and what they were doing on the night of the murder and the morning after.

    That’s what caused police to suspect them. Not because Knox stretched in the police station or because he rubbed her arm and kissed her while police were in the apartment. That was just media-driven crap. They simply could not provide an alibi that made any sense and they kept changing it over the course of a week. It’s not proof of guilt, but it’s cause for suspicion that they knew something they weren’t saying.

    Finally, Sollecito tells police that he went along with Knox’s story without considering the inconsistencies of it and says he left her in town at 8:30 p.m. and she returned to his place about 1 a.m. (She found out she didn’t need to go to work at 8 p.m. The murder occurred some time between 9 p.m. and midnight.)

    Then they bring in Knox and she makes this false accusation after about two hours. That’s not hard to believe. What’s odd is that she voluntarily gave them the same statement in writing the next day and then maintained it for two weeks. She never did clear her boss. Police let him go when they got proof of his alibi.

    So taken in combination, their statements to police are strange and the FOAKer party line that they gave the same story to police until they browbeat Knox into a statement she immediately retracted is just not true.

    To tip my hand, I think their stories to police in that final interrogation were the outline of the truth and that she would have told them the whole story that night had she been able to remember who actually killed her roommate. Unable to remember, pressed by police about her boss, and with the interpreter (yes, there was one present) telling her that trauma might have made her forget, she went along with accusing her boss.

    I don’t accept the knife as evidence at all. Not even because of the DNA questions, but it’s just implausible. For the knife to make any sense as the murder weapon, we’d have to believe they intentionally brought it to the house at some point, cleaned it extremely meticulously, and then — the clincher — put it back in the cutlery drawer to make supper with it. Totally implausible. And the cops’ reason for picking it up was weak. Intuition? It looked real shiny? Weak. I reject the knife.

    The bra clasp is harder to reject. I have no idea if it’s admissible as evidence in either the US or Italy, but there was a lot of Sollecito’s DNA on the bra clasp for whatever reason.

    Mignini’s role has been inflated throughout US coverage of the case. He was the prosecutor on-call the night of the final interrogations. Knox gave her statement at about 1 a.m. Mignini was brought in about 5 a.m. to take a written statement. He’s given interviews to the press in all three countries and says he was not allowed to ask Knox any questions, but she repeated to him the story she had given earlier with remarkable consistency. He was neither the head of the investigation nor the lead prosecutor and after the initial conviction his role faded out. The prosecution never claimed the murder was part of a Satanic ritual, which is usually what gets pinned on Mignini.

    The burglary is key. If it was not staged, Knox and Solleito are certainly innocent. But the evidence it was staged is compelling. First, the difficulty of throwing a 20-pound rock through a fairly small window 12 feet above. The window had two sets of shutters and the damage to the inside shutter certainly looks like the rock was thrown from inside the room. There’s the difficulty of scaling a 12-fout sheer wall and then climbing through a broken window, all without leaving any marks, fibers, or biological traces. And then tossing the room like a B-movie without actually stealing anything. Police immediately became suspicious because burglars don’t generally just throw clothes around the floor with small valuables in plain sight.

    While it’s reasonable to assume Guede would not stage the burglary himself and that Knox and Sollecito are the only reasonable staging suspects, the mistake I think the guilters make is to assume the only reason for staging a burglary would be to cover up their own involvement in a murder.

    Which brings us to Kercher’s locked bedroom door. Sure, Guede could have done that, but the odd thing about the door is it had no fingerprints. Not just no usable ones, but none at all. It was completely clean, when doorknobs are usually useless for fingerprints because they contain so many. Combined with other oddities — blood streaks partially wiped away, a large bloody footprint on the bathmat but no footprints leading to the mat — police concluded there had been a partial clean-up. (Incidentally, police did not claim that Knox and Sollecito even attempted, let alone managed, to clean up their own DNA and leave Guede’s.)

    There is some additional evidence Guede did not act alone. Guilters will usually point to the extent of the injuries on the victim, which the prosecution also claimed. I think this is fairly weak. It’s too easy to think of brutal murders that were carried out by one person. It’s much harder to think of murders in which someone who otherwise had no access to the scene staged a break-in, partially cleaned up, and then stuck around to remove the victim’s bra and cover her with a blanket — both of which had to have been done at least half an hour after the murder (probably longer given no blood on the blanket or underneath the bra). Intruders just don’t stick around that long and have very little motive to do such things.

    It’s also hard to believe that Guede’s first response to seeing a girl he was known to have a crush on would be to rape and kill her. He didn’t have any record of break-ins per se, but he was known to show up at his friend’s homes and just sort of….not leave. He was suspected of breaking into a place and going to sleep there, but the incident wasn’t investigated and it didn’t involve breaking in to steal. He had no violent history.

    So I’ll leave it there since this is getting long again. By now, you probably can tell more or less where I’m going with this. The guilters acknowledge the evidence, but they make a leap with it that’s unnecessary to explain the evidence and, I think, much less plausible than other scenarios.

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    • Jessie, first off I agree with you not only that the Italian system seems to be doing very serious work on this that is deserving of respect and not derision, but also that the US system has no bragging rights. If you’ve ever read the post entitled “Introduction” you’ll know what I mean.

      Second, I’m not really sure I can tell where you are going with this, but I’m all ears.

      Third, I don’t know enough about DNA analysis to have a strong opinion about the bra clasp, but the appeals court used experts who said that there was insufficient reason to believe that Sollecito’s DNA was on it. Be that as it may, the most important thing about the bra clasp was that it wasn’t even collected as evidence until after an agenda to prosecute Knox and Sollecito was in place. That’s critical. After the agenda develops evidence gets twisted and stretched and sometimes out and out fabricated because the agenda drives the evidence and not the other way around. That happens here, and I’m sure it happens in Italy, too. Indeed it certainly happened here: remember that the police originally had shoe prints in the apartment that they said belonged to Sollecito but later had to concede belonged to Guede?

      Fourth, why wouldn’t Guede stage the burglary? If he really wasn’t the serial burglar he’s been made out to be it’s just as logical that he would do that as Knox and Sollecito. If he is the serial burglar he is made out to be that makes it less likely that he would do it, but you still couldn’t rule it out. He might not think of himself as a known serial burglar, after all, even if he is one.

      And, it might not have been a staged burglary or a staged anything. Maybe Guede was in a rage and tossed around the stuff before or after the murder and threw the rock through the window after he left, kind of a violent puncuation point.

      Fifth, the half-assed attempt to clean up doesn’t help resolve the real question of whether Guede did this by himself or whether AK and RS were there. But surely Guede might wipe the door knob clean, right?

      AK was a logical suspect from the beginning because she was Kercher’s roommate. The proximity and opportunity that goes with that, by themselves, are tempting for investigators because it’s so easy to point the finger in that direction, and from there any little corroborating proof you can come up with is going to make the case look really strong. It’s like fingering the husband when the wife is dead from a homicide. Statements from police and prosecutors that they really didn’t regard AK as a suspect until she wasn’t able to give a consistent story are, frankly, not credible and you shouldn’t believe them.

      However and why-ever Guede did this – and I think his guilt is basically not in question – could simply be that he’s a strange guy and something of a drifter and she somehow pissed him off. Most killings are pretty much senseless anyway.

      So basically I think the overwhelming likelihood is that Guede did this by himself and that AK and RS are innocent. And that most people would think the same thing but for the suspicion fueled by official accusation and scandal sheets, except if you’re going there I would say there must be something else to it!

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      • JMRJ,

        It is nice to see someone who is at least approaching this with an open mind. The first thing is that it is really difficult for someone who is trying to understand this trial to get a good understanding from the media reports. I have participated in the efforts to collect, translate, and summarize the actual court transcripts and I can tell you with certainty that if you sat down and read them you would conclude that Amanda Knox is guilty. The evidence discussed in the media is a tiny fraction of the evidence against Knox.

        I will give you an example. Currently we are in the process of translating the footprint experts. One item of evidence that I was aware of that rarely gets discussed was a bloody shoe print belonging to a female shoe found on a pillow under the victim’s body. This shoe print is in Knox’s shoe size.

        As someone who was interested in the case I was always aware that this evidence existed and that two police experts said it was a women’s shoe in Amanda’s size while the defence expert stated it was Rudy’s shoe making a smaller print because of the surface. It is not unusual to have a defence expert disagree with the prosecution expert and you just have to judge which is more credible. In this case it is not even close. Typically you expect to start off believing the prosecution expert and then after cross-examination you feel less confident. With this testimony the confidence in the testimony actually increased during what was a futile cross-examination.

        The same two experts stated without a doubt that three people were present based on the different footprints. The defence never managed to offer any evidence that would bring this finding into doubt. Again this is never mentioned in any of the discussions on the evidence.

        Another item that rarely gets discussed is Knox lying to the police to delay the discovery of the body. I don’t believe I have seen this reported in the media once yet there were two police officers and three witnesses who all testified that she did. Lying to the police to keep them from finding opening Meredith’s door shows that she knew what was behind that door.

        The luminol traces rarely get discussed. Luminol revealed feet compatible with Knox and Sollecito in the hallway between Meredith and Amanda’s room. The defence accept that these are footprints made in blood but they argue that you can’t be certain when they were made. The defence argue that Knox could have made those bloody footprints some other day. The appeal court found that a reasonable position and the Supreme court did not. I think most people would fall into the latter camp.

        I could bore you with dozens of additional examples of evidence that establishes Knox’s guilt but which the average person does not know about but nobody really wants a novel for a post. Suffice it to say there is a reason “Guilters” are passionate about this cause. We are the people who have read all 20,000+ pages of transcripts and we know what they contain. The idea that someone is able to kill someone and then escape justice because she hired a PR firm to manipulate what people know if offensive.

        I found your reference to us as entrenched was somewhat glib given the circumstances. If the transcripts did not contain what they contain we would not have the positions we do. The evidence is what it is and while the side that claims Knox is guilty works away translating documents so that they can be read by anyone what does the side that defends her do? That should in itself be enough to tell you who is interested in having the truth known.

        If you are interested in the case I invite you to come and read. We have all the available transcripts and are posting translations as soon as they are available. We also have summaries of the contents of most of the evidence all of it being referenced to the trial testimony. If you do this guaranteed you’ll have no doubts about what the verdict should be.

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        • I’ll try to get some time later to look at your site.

          Just in general, though, I don’t think much of any footprint evidence tending to establish guilt. It is somewhat more legitimate in creating doubt about guilt, because for the most part you can’t be too sure about it. In other words, you get one footprint expert saying it’s the defendant’s and the other saying it’s somebody else’s, you can’t conclude it’s the defendant’s but you can say you’re not sure and the default is, of course, innocence.

          I didn’t say anyone was entrenched, I think that was the other commenter, Jessie. I understand there are strong opinions and emotions connected with this, so I try to just be rational.

          It seems to me the idea that there had to be more than one assailant is based upon conjecture. It may be that the evidence fits better with more than one assailant – not that I’m conceding that, mind you – but even if that’s true you have to do better than that to establish that fact.

          The “staged burglary” idea is a conclusion. The facts are that there was stuff tossed around a room and a window was broken apparently by a rock. That does not necessarily add up to a staged burglary, or a real burglary. In the absence of something independent pointing in one direction I don’t see any conclusion at all to be drawn from those facts. How about this: Guede thought better of going out the front door where he might be seen and thought he might escape out the window but abandoned the plan. Or maybe not. It just leads you nowhere.

          Contamination is not the main problem with the bra clasp DNA; deliberate tampering is. You’d like to think that almost never happens, but you’d be wrong.

          I hope that’s enough to get you started.

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          • Footprint evidence as a means of identification is different then footprint evidence as a means of exclusion. You can’t say that Amanda Knox was in Meredith’s room but you can say that someone other than Rudy was. There is no way to confuse a women’s size 7 shoe with a men’s size 11 shoe. This by itself ends any debate on a single attacker.

            You also failed to address that the defence have accepted that the Luminol prints belong to Knox and that they were made in blood. This has been accepted by both sides and is no longer in debate. The issue is only is it reasonable to believe that the prints that match Knox and Sollecito were made on a different occasion and thus not related to the murder. The answer is no given the short period of time Knox lived at the cottage and the lack of a specific incident to point to where Knox might have had occasion to make footprints in blood.

            The staged burglary is not conjecture. Are you actually a lawyer? I don’t think that you are because you’d know that evidence like this is used all the time in the United States. There burglary was staged.

            I noticed that instead of addressing the issue of why Knox lied to delay the discovery of the body you skipped that and jumped straight to accusing the police of planting evidence. That is an absurd statement to make. You honestly think it is reasonable to suppose that a massive 50+ person conspiracy to frame Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito is a reasonable thing to suggest?

            [Ed. note: comment edited for civility]

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            • – I assume Knox’s footprints could be found all over the place. She lived there. All the luminol would tell you is that there is blood where the footprint is, not when either occurred.

              – You’ve lost the point on the “staged burglary”. The actual evidence doesn’t unequivocally point to either a burglary, or a “staged” burglary. Insulting me won’t change that.

              – Conclusory assertions that “Knox lied” don’t mean anything. What did she say that was allegedly a lie?

              – The documented cases where police planted evidence are legion. Ruling that out ab initio indicates a closed mind.

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            • Please see my comment below about your alleged size 7 shoe. Your information is incorrect. There was no size 7 shoe print. All shoe prints set in blood belonged to Rudy Guede.

              A note on the luminol: the luminol stains tested negative for blood. Bathroom cleaners remain much longer than bleach and they will trigger luminol. Any of the women that took a shower at anytime before the murder could have tracked those footprints around on the floor. The luminol evidence is useless.

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            • There is no evidence of a staged burglary. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that Guede committed the crime. It is logical to conclude that he entered through the window that was broken. Please don’t post up your PMF talking points to prove staging. Please provide real proof that the scene was staged. Glass on clothes won’t cut it. You need more. If you suggest that there was no glass outside, please provide photographic evidence. Of course that is not possible because the police failed to investigate the break-in properly.

              Did you see the guy in the documentary climbing that wall yesterday? The show was poorly dine but the wall climb made it worth watching. Did you notice that he left no marks on the wall? Did you also notice how easily he climbed the wall? You will see that it was very easy to prepare the window for entry while standing on the top rung of the lower window. Of course your group has been shouting for years that it was too high to do that. You were wrong, just as you are about the alleged woman’s shoe print in the murder room, and the luminol.

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              • Bruce, one suggestion. You’re conceding too much on the whole “burglary” thing. You have evidence that might be consistent with a burglary, a “staged” burglary, or perhaps dozens of other things. The whole “burglary” idea is police/prosecutor spin, not fact.

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              • JMRJ,

                You wrote: “You’re conceding too much on the whole “burglary” thing”

                When the topic is possible staging it is not unusual to focus on the possibility of a burglary. It is also a key factor in the entire case. If the crime scene was not staged, then Amanda and Raffaele are innocent, period. The staging accusation was a must have for the prosecution. Without it, they had no case.

                When looking at the crime scene as a whole, it is logical to conclude that Meredith’s attacker (Rudy Guede) entered through the window. There is no signs of staging in Filomena’s room. The evidence shows that the window was clearly broken from the outside and the rock was not 20 pounds as suggested in a post here. I have high resolution photos of the rock if you are interested.

                We also have the stolen money as a factor leading to the logical conclusion of a burglary. Rudy Guede was on a crime spree at the time. This is also a factor when analyzing what happened.

                There will always be speculation. The only person that knows what happened in that cottage on the night of the murder is Rudy Guede, and his story has changed so many times that we will never hear the truth from him.

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            • ” There is no way to confuse a women’s size 7 shoe with a men’s size 11 shoe.” Oh yes there is. There were eight shoe prints found in Meredith’s room. Six were Rudy’s, no doubt. The prosecution argued that one partial – that’s the key word, partial – print on the pillowcase was Amanda’s. As it was partial, they could not take a simple heel to toe measurement. The prosecutor’s attribution was shown to be wrong by prof. Francesco Vinci, whose presentation left no doubt it was Rudy’s shoe print.

              “You also failed to address that the defence have accepted that the Luminol prints belong to Knox and that they were made in blood.” This is simply wrong. Knox’s appeal for the 2011 trial asked the court to admit that the traces shown as potential blood by a Luminol test were not blood. It is well-known that Luminol is only a presumptive test with a high percentage of false positives. The prosecution’s expert admitted in 2009, that all Luminol-detected traces were treated with TMB and showed no presence of blood. (Until then, she had withheld this crucial fact from the defense.) The combination of the two presumptive tests means that, in all likelihood, the Luminol positives were false and the prints were not blood at all. A decent investigator would have either concluded that, or sent the samples for a confirmatory test. The police expert skipped a definitive blood test and tried to hide the exculpatory TMB test. In the absence of complete testing, “no blood” is by far the more probable conclusion.

              “You honestly think it is reasonable to suppose that a massive 50+ person conspiracy to frame Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito is a reasonable thing to suggest?” To anyone familiar with wrongful convictions, there’s nothing unreasonable about it. There’s one or two people with a strong agenda and the rest follow them, sometimes internalizing the agenda, sometimes reluctantly, for fear of getting fired or disciplined. This happens every and then in Russia, a country I’m well familiar with, whose criminal justice system is similar in many ways to Italy’s but completely dysfunctional.

              It might be interesting to recall that one of the prosecution’s experts, the pathologist Dr. Lalli, went against Mignini’s line and stated there was only one murder weapon, a pocket knife, and that the time of death was much earlier than the 11:30 put forward by the prosecutors to tie it to the scream “heard” by Nara Capezzali.

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        • McCall, your post is full of misinformation. I will highlight one piece of evidence to show readers here how you often misrepresent the facts of this case.

          Here’s the the truth about the shoeprints on the pillowcase. You are only looking at Rinaldi’s analysis which turned out to be incomplete and wrong.

          From IIP.org:
          There were a total of five shoe prints found on the pillowcase. The prosecution’s expert only found two shoe prints on the pillowcase. Forensics expert Francesco Vinci identified all five by highlighting the fabric using a process called Crimescope. None of these shoe prints represent a woman’s shoe size 37. The prosecution’s expert found one partial shoe print on the edge of the pillowcase. It was that shoe print that was said to be a woman’s shoe. The truth is, there were three partial shoe prints. All three partial shoe prints match the tread pattern on Rudy Guede’s shoes.

          http://www.injusticeinperugia.org/footprints-04.html

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      • Jessie

        So, I see the partisans have shown up….I think you’ll get an idea of what I mean by “entrenched.” Neither side will ever change their minds. You could show the FOAKers a videotape of Knox committing the murder and they’d ignore it; you could show the guilters a videotape of someone else committing the murder and they’d claim Knox was in the background controlling it via ESP with her mind.

        Anyway, I didn’t mean to be coy. I thought I’d tipped my hand already. I’ve read just about everything pertaining to this case and I don’t believe Knox committed the murder, but I think she was in the house when it happened and that she and Sollecito altered the scene in an effort to “spike” her innocence. That’s pretty common from innocent people who fear being accused of something. And it would explain all the solid evidence.

        There was one footprint that was initially attributed to Sollecito and turned out to be Guede’s, but I don’t think it suggests the police fabricated what’s turned out to be a dizzying number of evidence points. Sure, it’s possible all of these agencies colluded to frame them, but that would have required a major undertaking, involving numerous people across multiple agencies, all of whom have kept their mouths shut for six years. That doesn’t seem very likely.

        Really, the very first suspects were the boys who lived downstairs, in particular Kercher’s boyfriend. Since women are much more likely to be assaulted or killed by a partner, that’s a logical first step — the husband is usually fingered because the husband is usually the culprit. But it also contradicts the idea that police just scooped up one roommate and her boyfriend at random and decided to pin the whole thing on them. Just reading through Knox and Sollecito’s statements, it’s pretty clear why the police began to suspect them. It doesn’t mean they did it, but it’s clear why they drew suspicion….and it wasn’t cartwheels and kisses.

        Your rage theory about the break-in is interesting…I hadn’t considered that one…. There’s a couple obvious problems with it though. Where did he get the 20-pound rock? He kills someone, then runs outside, finds a big rock, runs back inside, starts randomly trashing one — but only one — of the other bedrooms, breaks a window, partially cleans up, removes Kercher’s bra, covers her with a blanket….all for no particular reason while risking being caught at any moment? Not real plausible.

        And, again, Guede wasn’t a serial burglar. None of them had a criminal history (other than pot-smoking and Knox’s noise ticket). Certainly nothing of the magnitude of this crime, which is part of what makes it so puzzling. If it had been a domestic violence situation, I think your rage theory would make a lot of sense, but in the situation as it is, I don’t think it makes any sense at all.

        Guede’s guilt isn’t in question, but, by your logic with the DNA and overall investigation, it really should be. If you think they might have framed Knox and Sollecito, then why not believe Guede was framed as well? That was a sticking point for the Supreme Court. If the DNA is unreliable for Knox and Sollecito, then shouldn’t it be thrown out for Guede too? (In a lot of public discussions, some racism creeps in at this point. It’s so easy to believe that a young black guy would act like a violent animal because we’re virtually brainwashed to think senseless violence is just what black men do, no explanation needed.) But, really, if the evidence is good enough for Guede, then it’s good enough for Knox and Sollecito too.

        Don’t get me wrong. I think your central point is important and too easily forgotten in the era of Nancy Grace. White, middle-class Americans are way too trusting of the police and too quick to assume that any accusation of guilt is as good as a conviction. But flip it around in your mind for a moment and try to argue the guilter side of it, just to see where you get. I’ve never managed to make the leap to guilt, but there’s far too much to suggest they were in the house. And if they were, how COULD they tell the truth about it?

        It might not be what really happened, but it sure would explain a lot: Knox finds out she doesn’t have to go to work. She’s been experimenting a lot with drugs and sex (nothing unusual — that’s what college kids do). Sollecito had fond memories of his own experiences with drugs, so maybe this night off is a good opportunity to try something a little harder than weed.

        She (or they — I tend to believe Sollecito was not there, but the theory works either way) head to Piazza Grimana, a known place to score drugs and also a hangout of Rudy Guede’s. They head to Knox’s place across the street and proceed to get fucked up.

        Guede has a crush on Kercher and, with the sexual confidence common to drugs, decides to put the moves on her. She rebuffs him; he doesn’t stop; she starts screaming. He covers her mouth, nose and throat, strangling her (there were signs of suffocation and strangulation). She’s still fighting like a wildcat. He takes out a pocketknife and cuts her throat.

        Meanwhile, Knox — just as she told police — is cowered in the kitchen with her hands over her ears. Eventually, both she and Guede flee (which would explain those who heard multiple people running away).

        Knox returns to Sollecito’s apartment, where he — just as he told police — was smoking pot, eating dinner, and watching a movie. How long would it take to explain what just happened when they’re both high, she’s hysterical, and they don’t speak the same language? Would he even believe it at first?

        They return to the cottage and find the scene, at which point Knox is in hot water (granted, not as hot as being accused of murder in front of the whole world, but nobody knew then that’s what would happen). But letting someone in the door who attacks your roommate is a bad situation.

        Except she’s innocent. And the best way to make sure that’s clear would be to provide an alternate means by which Guede got in the house. There’s a logic to this even when one isn’t intoxicated and panicked. So they break the window and toss the room, figuring they can then just say Knox wasn’t there at all.

        This would explain almost all the evidence points. The only ones it doesn’t explain are the most implausible ones, such as the knife. For example, the bra clasp. By most accounts, these are nice kids. Wouldn’t Sollecito’s first instinct be to run to Kercher and try to help her? He always carried a knife. He cuts off her bra with it to try some kind of first aid, but she’s already gone and now his DNA is on her bra. He covers her with a blanket. By now, enough time has passed that the blanket doesn’t become soaked in blood.

        Calling the emergency number seems like it would be the logical thing to do, but I’m not convinced of that, especially if, due to trauma and intoxication, she couldn’t actually remember Guede’s name. She didn’t know him well and she couldn’t exactly call the police and say somebody just did this, but she doesn’t know who it was. And the more time passed, the more likely she could have been prosecuted for either letting Guede in the house and/or for not summoning help immediately. (As I understand it, both are crimes in Italy and Sollecito, whose sister was a cop, would have known that.)

        It explains their various statements to the police and the difficulties they had maintaining a coherent alibi. It even explains why, for example, when police brought Knox back to the cottage, she became hysterical in the kitchen — a full-blown panic attack with her hands over her ears. It explains virtually all the plausible evidence, but would not mean they’re guilty of killing anyone.

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        • I created http://www.injusticeinperugia.org. Of course I am a “partisan” but I do provide proof to back up my arguments. We work only with the facts.

          You are incorrect about Guede. The pro-guilt sites like to protect him because it makes Amanda and Raffaele look bad but the truth is that Guede was a serial burglar.

          http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/170053/Killer-of-Meredith-Kercher-s-crimes-were-ignored

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        • Whoa, Jessie. Well done.

          The only problem I see with your elaborate counter-narrative is this: it is not necessary to explain physical evidence of AK’s presence in the house, unless it explicitly and unequivocally points to her presence there at the time of the murder. She lived there. The same is true of evidence of Sollecito’s presence.

          The problem with the bra clasp evidence is that it strongly – perhaps not unequivocally or definitively, but strongly – points to his presence in the house at the time of the murder. And, if that’s not what it means, then the only alternatives are: a) it’s not really his DNA on the bra clasp; b) it is his DNA on the bra clasp but it got there by way of later contamination; or c) it is his DNA on the bra clasp and it was planted there.

          I don’t have the expertise to resolve (a). I note that expert testimony on the point was apparently in conflict, but others have indicated otherwise, at least to some extent. So let’s leave that one for now.

          I agree with the guilters that (b) is unlikely, but it’s more likely than they would like to admit given that the bra clasp was moved and not collected for about a month.

          I agree with the guilters that (c) is unlikely, but again it is much more likely than anyone would like to believe. And there are surrounding circumstances, such as the extreme high profile of the case and the involvement of psychopaths like Mignini in the investigation, that make it more likely than it would be otherwise. Certainly likely enough that in considering whether someone is guilty of murder it has to be discounted.

          As for the staged burglary, I just don’t buy it. I mean, it might have been a staged burglary, it might not have been, it might have been a lot of other things like, say, criminal mischief. It might have happened after the murder, or before, from the inside or from the outside. There’s just no way to know, and without a witness’ account of what exactly happened we’ll probably never know.

          I haven’t read AK’s or RS’s statements. Since they were taken by police engaged in an investigation looking for culprits, I would tend to disregard anything in them that seems suspicious. The suspicion comes from the minds of the scribners, not necessarily from anything objective being said.

          I also don’t know very much about Guede. If he had no history of violence I agree that it makes the whole thing look that much more anomalous. But obviously, there would be no equivalence in DNA proof between Guede and Knox because Guede didn’t live there. Knox’s DNA and footprints are bound to be everywhere.

          And now I’ll leave this for a bit and return later to make more of a study of your counter-narrative. I don’t think I know as much about other items of evidence as you do.

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          • I think it’s safe to say that forensic experts not related to the Italian police and prosecutors agree that DNA collection, handling and testing was flawed in many ways, suggesting the DNA results should be simply thrown away as they would be in countries with more stringent rules of evidence. The same applies to disclosure standards, as electronic data files (EDFs) have not been released by the police lab.

            As for Guede, I think it is safe to rely on the testimony that Hellmann and Zanetti cite in their acquittal – or, if you wish, in the Massei-Cristiani report as they describe the same facts. It is safe to say that Guede had broken into at least three buildings – a residence, a law office, and a kindergarten. He threatened Tramontano, the owner of the apartment, with a knife. He also stole a 40-cm knife from the kitchen in the kindergarten. I don’t think it’s fair to describe him as totally non-violent. Also, burglary ending in murder is a relatively common scenario.

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          • Jessie

            So, John, what if we assume for the sake of argument that the police did not frame anyone, that the evidence was put forth in good faith and was not deliberately misconstrued (misinterpreted perhaps, but not fabricated or deliberately misrepresented): How then would you explain the evidence in a way that is logical and still encompasses the evidence?

            I guess what I’m asking for is a more objective opinion. Because you’re assuming, a priori, that the police probably planted evidence. A good assumption for a defense attorney, but, for our purposes, it renders the conversation pointless because everything becomes unknowable, rather than rejecting or accepting evidence points on their own merits. Do you, for example, find it most likely that:
            (a) the killer broke into the cottage,
            (b) the killer entered by some other means and then staged a break-in,
            (c) someone other than the killer staged a break-in,
            (d) the killer entered by some other, unidentified means and trashed the room, not intending to create the appearance of a break-in,
            (e) someone unrelated to the murder happened to come along the same night/next morning and either trashed the room or broke in?
            (I tried not to word D and E unfairly, though I find both of those so highly unlikely as to not really be worth considering.)

            That kind of reasoning can be applied to a lot of the evidence. For example, though I don’t believe the knife had anything to do with the murder, the police forensics specialist made a rational argument for why it should be accepted. She maintained that because she was able to find a perfect DNA match to Kercher on the blade, a second test, while preferable, was not necessary to establish the presence of Kercher’s DNA on the blade.

            I can concede the logic of that position and still reject the knife anyway. Because (a) tests can be wrong and, even if only a small fraction of them are, that’s still a high enough chance to necessitate a second test; and (b) the implausibility of the rest of the knife-as-murder-weapon scenario. Thus I reject the knife without assuming anyone was dishonest in presenting it. I don’t think anyone planted DNA. I don’t think it was contaminated. I don’t think they were trying to frame anyone. I think the test just happened to be wrong, based on the totality of that particular piece of evidence.

            Unlike with the knife, there was enough DNA on the bra clasp for more than one test. That greatly reduces the likelihood of a false result. The guilters make two mistakes with that. First, they accept all the evidence uncritically, and then they fail to consider any possible explanation for it other than guilt. However, it’s no more logical to reject all the evidence uncritically or to fail to consider any other possibility than the defense narrative.

            To provide another example (only a handful of the evidence points have even come up so far in this thread), after her arrest, Knox was visiting with her parents. The visit was recorded and the conversation (later entered in the first trial) has become a prime example of how the two sides interpret the same thing very differently based on their prior assumptions.

            Her parents were reassuring her that the police were lying and they were counseling her to, basically shut up, stop saying anything because it was being used against her. Then Knox says, “It’s stupid. I can’t say anything but the truth, because I know I was there. I mean, I can’t lie about this. There is no reason to.”

            Nothing in the conversation provides context as to where she meant by “I was there,” so I’m sure you can imagine how this goes — one side insists “there” meant Sollecito’s apartment and the other side insists it meant her own apartment.

            Set aside for a moment that, yes, of course, we can’t ever really know for sure what anyone means when they say anything. Or that she could be using some kind of inside references and it might not have even referred to where she was on the night of the murder. I suppose in the grand scheme of things, both those are true, but there’s really no dispute that she was referring to her whereabouts at the time of the murder.

            Logically, she can’t possibly have meant Sollecito’s apartment. Because the absolute LAST thing her parents, lawyers, or any of her advocates would have wanted her to do is lie about being at Sollecito’s apartment — the very thing they were trying to convince everyone of. The statement makes even less sense if one believes she’s a murderer, in which case, she has every reason to lie about it, but would doubtless not be discussing it in such a way with her family.

            So excluding that she was speaking in non sequitur to the point of nonsense, it makes the most sense that she was referring to her own apartment. That statement makes a great deal of sense if she was present when the murder happened, but was not involved in it.

            My little theory may not be necessary to explain the evidence, but it does explain the evidence in a coherent and plausible way. Really, what I find most persuasive is Knox and Sollecito’s own statements. If I’m right, then they tried to tell the truth in a situation where the truth had become untenable.

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            • If you have a link to the AK/RS statements I’ll read them, but I doubt very much they can resolve anything. Too much goes wrong on both sides of the pond with these interrogations. For 20 years in the popular mind, all crimes get solved in the interrogation room of NYPD Blue. It’s not what you don’t know that hurts you, it’s all the things you know that just aren’t so.

              I don’t, and would never “assume” the police planted evidence. There has to be proof, at least circumstantial proof. There is, admittedly, always a circumstantial case to make: motive, opportunity, means. The police as a group always have them. But in this case the baseline circumstantial case is enhanced by the involvement of Mignini, a known weirdo, and – and this is critical – the delay and irregularities surrounding the collection of the bra clasp. By the time the bra clasp is collected, they were feverishly focused on making the case against AK and RS, no doubt about it. Strong motive to tamper, especially if the other evidence hasn’t clinched anything yet. So what you’re left with is an abysmal chain of custody violation suggestive of evidence tampering. That is not enough to convict anyone of evidence tampering, but it’s more than enough to completely discount the evidence that is suspected of having been tampered with.

              But then if you throw out the bra clasp and the knife – as you properly do – there isn’t any DNA evidence worth discussing other than that implicating Guede.

              The answer to your question about alternatives regarding the staged break-in is….yes, I have no way to form an opinion about which alternative is correct, although you might rule out (e) as implausible. But there are other alternatives – for example, someone other than the killer trashed the room, but it wasn’t in order to “stage a break-in”. In fact, what do we know about Filomena in all this? Her room was trashed, right? If there is something that makes the staged break-in more likely than any other alternative I wish you’d tell me, because I just don’t see it. Is it one possibility? Sure. But maybe Guede or somebody else trashed the room, maybe that’s what led to an argument and fight and murder. Positing a “staged break-in” as the best of a large number of possible explanations is conceding a huge amount to the prosecutor narrative, because it leads to “who would stage a break-in?”. Obviously, only someone who had access by other means would “stage” a break-in because they didn’t have to break in at all. That means roommate. That means Amanda. Or maybe Filomena. What’s the deal with her, anyway?

              Why is it seen as so likely that even if Guede is the sole culprit he had to break in? Didn’t he have friends in the same cottage? Didn’t he have some passing acquaintance with Meredith, at least through the friends or Amanda or whomever? Can’t he just knock on the door and get an answer and be let in, maybe even by Meredith, without arousing any suspicion at all? Why would he decide to climb in through the window if that is true?

              “I was there.” Yes, without context or amplification you don’t know what she meant. I would just leave it at that, and that does not mean that we never know for sure the meaning of what anyone says, it just means that in this instance we don’t know what she meant by “I was there.”

              Now, I have a defense orientation and I am much more skeptical of police and prosecutor narratives. But I don’t think my orientation colors my perception of this evidence at all. Then again, you know more about the evidence than I do. As you point out, we’ve only dealt with a few things here. So I’m still all ears. Did Filomena make a statement? I don’t know the answer to that. Maybe there’s something there that would make “break-in” or “staged” break-in more likely.

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        • Jessie,
          you wrote: ” Neither side will ever change their minds. You could show the FOAKers a videotape of Knox committing the murder and they’d ignore it”

          I know you are just trying to make a point about how passionate both sides are, but your comments are a bit over the top. If I ever see proof of any kind that Amanda and/or Raffaele had anything to do with Meredith Kercher’s murder, I will post it on the front page of injusticeinperugia.org telling the world we were wrong. Yes, there are always fanatics that cling to cases like this and they will never be swayed. Finding the truth is not their goal. There are many people posting online. The internet is an open playground where all are welcome to play. It is not accurate to assume there are two sides of the debate so everyone on each side supports each other. There are many independent voices out there that have no association with our organization or the organization Friends of Amanda (or FOAkers, if you are talking to the pro-guilt crowd).

          Our organization Injustice Anywhere only cares about the truth. We have 6 other cases we are currently working on, completely unrelated to the Kercher murder case. We are not “groupies” as the pro-guilt crowd likes to call us. We are an organization working to correct wrongful convictions.

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  5. Paul

    Interesting discussion As far as the fake breakin glass was found on top of the clothing strewn about. There was not one spec of dirt on the white outside wall or in the room despite the damp ground outside. A random mixed blob of Meredith’s blood and Amanda’s DNA in the breakin room was found. Jessie it was a 10 lb rock not 20ib still huge though. Not only was the break in staged but someone surely cleaned the bathroom. Only a few watery drips were found besides the partial print on the mat. Amanda’s bathmat scoot/wipe is an interesting way to deal with the mixed print in her room and any missing prints along the way.

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    • Okay, Paul, we have to face something. Amanda’s DNA being found in her own apartment means nothing since she lived there. It was bound to be all over.

      We have to face another thing. The busted window and strewn clothing suggests a break-in but it’s too consistent with other things to start talking about a “staged” break-in, or a real break-in, as if those were the only two possibilities. It might not point to a break-in at all. We have to live with that. The evidence only proves so much, and sometimes it doesn’t tell us much of anything.

      The footprint evidence, likewise, is meaningless unless there is also a way to prove that, say, it places Amanda at the scene at the time. I don’t think that’s possible with any of the prints that I know of.

      So while suspicion is understandable, I just don’t see any reasonable belief in guilt. The default is non-guilt. I suppose that doesn’t satisfy anyone, but I wish we could somehow become comfortable with a situation in which we might reasonably suspect something, but fairness demands that we discount our suspicions in the absence of any solid proof.

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      • Paul

        I avoided the mixed blood and DNA samples in the shared bathroom for your very reason. The random two isolated mixed blobs of blood and DNA from Meredith and Amanda in the bedroom belonging to neither girl is harder to explain. Nothing from Guede but a spot containing the profile of both girls? I do agree if Guede did kill Meredith he might have reason to stage a burglary,.however he left so much in the bedroom , there would have been a drop of something post murder in or on the way to FIlomena’s room. Amanda is making up stories like the shower and mat shuffle for some reason. She was not mistreated according to the interpreter Anna Donnino and implicated her boss after a 2/12 hour interview.This was after just learning Sollecito had withdrawn her alibi.

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    • There was no mixed blood anywhere, by the way.

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    • Paul, there are no photos showing glass on top of clothing. It needs to be noted that the room was compromised by Filomena before investigators inspected the room. She may have moved a few items in the room looking for her belonging, causing a piece or two of glass to land on top of clothing. The photos we have show no glass on top of anything so any glass would have been minimal. We also have evidence to show that the clothing was already on the floor. Filomena’s room was not tidy.

      There is white dust shoeprints on the floor and on clothing on the floor in the room where an intruder would have stepped while entering through the window. This evidence suggests that the clothes were already on the floor when the intruder entered.

      There was a recent documentary that showed a man climbing the wall. He left no marks on the wall after walking across the ground below. The wall is a rough muli-colored surface so any marks would be tough to see. It needs to be noted that investigators did not photograph the wall or ground beneath the window. The scene was very poorly investigated.

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  6. <<The random two isolated mixed blobs of blood and DNA from Meredith and Amanda in the bedroom belonging to neither girl is harder to explain.<<

    Yes, harder to explain. But still so terribly easy. They both lived there. Give that one up.

    <<however he left so much in the bedroom , there would have been a drop of something post murder in or on the way to FIlomena’s room. <<

    I don't follow you here. Did anyone go to Filomena's room after the murder? Or was it before? I suppose this is one of the big questions surrounding the "break-in". I don't know the answer. Neither does anyone else, it seems.

    <<Amanda is making up stories like the shower and mat shuffle for some reason.<<

    Assuming she is making it up, people make up stuff under the pressure of police questioning when they appear to be under suspicion and their roommate is lying dead in the next room. Often there is no good reason other than that. Confessions should be treated with a grain of salt, generally speaking.

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    • Paul

      There is no reason to find an isolated spot of mixed DNA and blood in the break in room.Could they have spit together in the same tiny spot? Possible. Then the other two possibilities Guede climbed the wall and came through the window without any evidence of the damp ground that night, or a fiber on the cut glass.Or he committed the murder and left his footprints and handprint In the bedroom but was able to stage the break in Filomena’s after with no evidence. The victim was moved after she was fatally stabbed,Clothing was removed after to stage or tell a story.Someone left Amanda’s desk lamp on the floor.The bathroom was cleaned or wiped down and the break in was staged. This all took some time , we do know that Guede knowingly left evidence in Meredith’s room so why bother with all the rest.

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  7. I guess by some analyses I would be considered a “FOAKer”. I do not presume to wrangle over the minutiae of the evidence with those here who are obviously much more familiar with it than I am. I offer instead a cultural perspective, having had a relationship with Italy and Italians for decades as well as having lived there with and among Italians almost exclusively – not as some removed ex-pat sipping Chianti with other in-comers. I speak fluent Italian and have experience of Italians of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds.
    I agree with what has been said about the unreliability of the supposed evidence against Knox and Sollecito. I was living in Italy when the murder occurred and was appalled by the salacious coverage as well as by the incompetent progression of the investigation. Inefficiency, bureaucratic chaos and legal lethargy are rife in Italy. The Italians even have a word for a characteristic of their culture that they don’t even deny – casino, pronounced “cazeeno”, not like a gambling venue. Casino means a mess, an alarming hodge-podge, an embarrassment, a functional failure……
    What John and others are saying about agendas leading investigations and the absolute feasibility of Knox having been picked as an easy target rings sadly so true. I read the first part of Knox’s book and had to stop because her description of how the police brow-beat her psychologically, lied to her and manipulated what she said was so familiar and plausible, and reminded me so vividly of my own experiences of the worst aspects of Italian culture and of the legal system there, that I began to be enraged.
    The amount of lying, rip-off and corruption in Italy, even at the most seemingly innocuous and daily level is quite astounding. Ask any native Italian and they will agree, but the Italian way is to mouth off in the piazza and in the doctor’s waiting room but to keep mum and not protest anywhere where it will actually make waves and interfere with one’s cosy routines. It is also about maintaining la bella figura, respectable appearances, saving face and avoiding getting one’s hands mucky with other people’s business – or one’s own. Consequently the most appalling frauds and injustices go unchallenged because Italians don’t want anything to prevent their getting home in time for cena, or that will have them seen as a trouble-maker. I was once punched in the face and flung into the stair-well of a packed bus in Florence by a deranged drunk just after I got on, and no-one, and I mean no-one lifted a finger to intervene, remove my attacker or even ask the bus driver to stop so they could call the police. And yes, this did occur around 7pm – far too close to that sacred aforementioned meal –time, dontcha know. Rather than a “western democracy” I would rather describe Italy as a backward, grubby little thug passing herself off as a sophisticated socialite with fake Dolce e Gabbana.
    Mignini apparently saw Knox as a chance to establish a bella figura, helped by a wordy and purple-prosed morbid media that makes HLN and Nancy Grace look like amateurs. Don’t forget that Mignini was heavily involved in the decades of shambles around the Mostro di Firenze, the so-called Monster of Florence who killed couples around Tuscany from the late 60’s to the mid 80’s. One murder occurred just outside a village where I later lived and the victims had been school-mates of friends of mine. Several dubiously indicted people were convicted of these crimes, and grave doubt later thrown on their convictions, much of this due to the wild machinations of Signor Mignini and his obsessive bloodlust. Did someone say psychopath? I don’t know if he has ever had a psych eval, but it wouldn’t surprise me. One cannot over-emphasize the extent to which the desire to present a bella figura permeates Italian society, from showing up smiling at church on Sunday with your husband and two kids even though you know full well he is screwing your hairdresser, to manufacturing a convenient high-profile resolution of a crime to distract from your past debacles…… Oh yes, very likely.
    And how marketable that a pretty girl should put herself right in the way of the freight train. Even more so than in the US, Italians are very concerned with how people look. Advertising and television shows are still populated with “sexy” girls behaving alluringly in a way that would cause outrage and screams of offensive representation in Northern European countries or the US. In Italy, portraying women only as sex objects in order to sell merchandise or ratings does not arouse any significant debate or raise many eye-brows. I have sat cringing with intelligent women watching such garbage and they have not been able to comprehend what my problem is. The main protagonist’s looks, the lurid and convoluted theory about a sexually debauched escapade gone wrong – perfect fodder for the drooling masses and an excellent vehicle through which the ill-starred prosecutor might regain some much-needed kudos.
    Also not to be underestimated is the fact that Knox is American. In the northern half of Italy, from where much of Italy’s international reputation for supposed sophistication and culture is derived, there is a pervasive disdain for and suspicion about anything that is not Italian. This sense of superiority applies to everything from food, clothing and personal hygiene to religious beliefs and family and societal values. Although on the surface many Italians might give lip service to being fascinated by foreign culture, particularly that of America, privately they are looking at outsiders with a puzzo sotto il naso – a bad smell under the nose. Amanda Knox was ripe fruit for causing a veritable stench from which the Italian public could recoil in horror. Guede could have been enough, confirming racist inclinations, but the added twist of a photogenic American and a crazed threesome was irresistible. Sollecito was an unfortunate but dispensable native casualty in the mix.
    No-one has referred to the fact that when Meredith Kercher was murdered, Amanda Knox had been in Italy for only about 6 weeks. Her knowledge of Italian was minimal. Even a native Italian would have been psychologically stressed into saying, being interpreted as saying and signing all sorts of things they didn’t mean under the kind of long interrogation and threatening treatment she alleges occurred. There are many ways that attempting to translate directly from English to Italian, as Knox with her crude knowledge of Italian at that time did, can lead to saying something very different from what is intended. Someone insisted that there was an interpreter – yes, an Italian, perhaps herself not familiar with the misleading nuances across the two languages. I taught English as a second language and encountered many Italian “English” professionals – Italians are among the worst English speakers in Europe, and even those teaching English are not necessarily reliable. I encountered some deplorable mistakes made by so-called English teachers, some negatively affecting my students’ school grades. Throw in an incentive or agenda to “understand” what someone is saying in a particular way and “translation” becomes complete distortion. Knox gives one classic example – the one that set off the whole false accusation of her boss. She had texted him what she thought was a translation of the generic no-fixed-date “See ya later” not realising that in Italian it means that you will definitely see that person later that day or evening. The police ran a mile with this one, bulldozing her into admitting to a supposed planned collaboration with him. John has already attested to the frequency with which people give false confessions, sometimes beginning to question their own memory and even sanity under the exhausting, confusing and sometimes physically abusive circumstances of police interrogation. Knox claims to have been slapped at least once by one of the officers.
    Italian police are brazenly corrupt and abusive. Setting people up appears to be a casual sport for them. In Italy the police can stop you when you are driving and check you out with no just cause. They simply stand by the side of the road and wave people down at random. These routine checks are an accepted part of life. But the boring job of flagging down people who aren’t doing anything wrong, on the off chance of catching the odd drunk, fugitive or illegal immigrant tempts officers into trying to spice things up. I was once stopped on what I assumed was a routine check only to be told the officer had seen me using my cell phone while driving. This was an outright lie, and used to authority-fearing Italians the officer was somewhat taken aback when I challenged him to check to see when the last call occurred – about an hour and a half before. No doubt this was a bluff that often pays off because, chances are, someone really was just on their phone. He became extremely flushed and flustered when I expressed my disgust at his blatant attempt to frame me and mentioned calling my lawyer. He then couldn’t wait to get rid of me, waving me on, making some comment about how “agitated” I was. My response was the Italian equivalent of “Ya think????”
    Amanda Knox’s description of how she responded to the police investigation reeks of naiive compliance and submission. Her accusers took advantage of that. For any person familiar with the real Italy – not the one on tourist websites or in your sister-in-law’s vacation snap-shots – Knox’s account in her book of how she became a pawn in a game of point-scoring, face-saving, media hype and public sensationalism-hunger is very believable. He demeanour and very obvious traumatic damage as a result of what she has endured appear to be genuine and sadly, permanent.

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