Monday, October 03, 2011

Amanda Knox vindicated

Thank God she's coming home. This entire case has been a travesty.

For me, the primary lesson of this outrageous episode concerns a conflict of archetypes. For as long as I can remember, citizens of the United States have either flattered or amused themselves with the belief that Americans are sexually prudish and innocent, especially when compared with Europeans. Europeans (we have long told ourselves) are far freer, far more knowing, far more experimental, far more worldly, far more tolerant, far sexier. Think Mary Pickford in her petticoat versus Sophia Loren in her slip -- Marie Osmond versus Laura Antonelli -- the all-American corn-fed farm girl in pigtails versus the topless countess walking her ocelot in St Tropez.

Those stereotypes remained lodged in our minds before, during and after the sexual revolution. We've told this story to ourselves so often that it comes as a shock to realize that Europeans have a very different narrative lodged in their heads -- a story about sexually rapacious Americans who pose a threat to the virtuous sons and daughters of the homeland.

Amanda was the victim of a psychological (or literary) construct of which she, like most other Americans, was previously unaware. Of the case itself, I can only repeat the words published here on December 4, 2009:
Rudy Guede has already been convicted in the death of Meredith Kercher. Nothing links him to either Knox or Raffaele Sollecito. If he were part of a conspiracy, why would he not lessen his sentence by testifying against the others? To this day, he insists that Knox was not present. (Frankly, the evidence against Guede might not have held up in an American court.)

The case against Knox is laughable. No genuine physical evidence links her to the crime. None. Neither is there any eyewitness testimony against her.

I'll say it again: An American woman has been convicted of murder despite a complete lack of forensic evidence or eyewitness testimony. There is no evidence that more than one person committed the crime. Another person, unconnected to her, has already been convicted.

The entire case rests on the twisted imaginations of the investigators, who formed their bizarre theories early on, and who refused to rethink their presumptions even after Guede came to their attention.
The prosecutor actually put these words into Knox's mouth as she allegedly assailed Kercher:
“You are always behaving like a little saint. Now we will show you. Now we will make you have sex.”
It is ludicrous to presume that any American would talk this way. This piece of dialogue was purely imaginary -- an example of bad screenwriting which should never have been allowed in any courtroom.
Judge Claudia Matteini suggested that Knox and Sollecito had been seeking to "experience extreme sensations, intense sexual relations which break up the monotony of everyday life..."
The judge is obviously a sexual fantasist. Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini (under indictment for misconduct in another case) is another sick fantasist with a history of seeing inane Satanic conspiracies everywhere. This deranged freak actually believes that Amanda Knox was involved in some form of devil worship, even though no evidence indicates that she ever took any interest in any form of occultism, and no evidence links occultism to this crime.
At the very end, the prosecutors seemed to go even madder:
Why are italian lawyers calling amanda knox “satanic” and “lucifer-like” – is it because their evidence has fallen apart?
Defenders for Raffaele Sollecito spent most time rehabbing Amanda Knox’s character after she was called she devil, Nazi, dirty etc. They have alibis until 9:20 p.m. Murder probably happened around 9 p.m. Lawyers say no reason to believe this was group attack, point to Rudy Guede and the grave evidence against him, indicating lone killer.
Ugliest quote of entire trial: ‎”Amanda was muddy on the outside and dirty on the inside. She has two souls – the clean one you see her before you and the other … She is borderline. She likes alcohol, drugs and she likes hot, wild sex.” (By civil attorney Carlo Pacelli, representing falsely accused bar owner Patrick Lumumba, who employed Knox as barmaid.).
The astonishing thing is that Amanda was not (by modern standards) any kind of erotomaniac. She is a studious, ambitious young woman who knows several languages. Alas, she served as a blank screen onto which many Italians projected their sick anti-American fantasies.
It’s official, Amanda Knox is a witch of deception and a Nazi, according to the prosecution. She’s survived three days of insults as well as nonstop pandering to convicted murderer Rudy Guede. How careless were the Italian cops who collected the evidence against Amanda and Raffaele Sollecito? See Injustice in Perugia’s fascinating video.
Many, both inside and outside of the U.S., seem to be under the impression that fundamentalist religious mania exists only in this country, especially in our depraved southern states. But the disease has also made its presence known in Italy. Anyone who has (for example) read Paolo Apolito's book about the bizarre events in Oliveta Citra in 1985 will know that Italy is not immune to outbreaks of mass weirdness. Mignini's thinking was colored by a reactionary subculture every bit as bizarre as anything you'll find in Mississippi.

The vindication of Amanda Knox comes not long after the release of the West Memphis Three. Taken together, these cases demonstrate that Western society is finally starting to understand the dangers of falling back into the brutish irrationality of Medieval thinking. We have come to the edge of the cliff and we are pushing our way back to safety.

Then again...

The continuing popularity of Perry, Bachmann and the Tea Party reminds us that we remain haunted by monsters of the unconscious.
I have been fascinated by this case for some time. Im not as sure as you that Knox is innocent. I know there is no reliable forensic evidence tying her to the crime. But to me it is odd that there is actually no evidence that she ever entered that room. Wouldnt you expect some evidence of her to be in the room since she lived in the house?

There is reason to believe that someone staged a break in. That someone might have been Guede, but he doesnt seem to have had a good motive to stage a break in. There are also some very odd statements, implicating people with alibis. When those statements where made, she knew that it was a murder case. Me personally, I would stick to the truth in a murder case. The stakes are just too high.

Sollecito called the Carabinieri and reported a break but asserted that nothing had been taken. The investigating authorities found this odd because several rooms were still locked and hadnt been entered. How did he know?

Nothing here is conclusive and perhaps that the key point. But both Sollecito and Knox have clearly changed stories or flat out lied on several occasions.

I wouldnt let the issues about the prosecutor worry too much. Its true the prosecutor has made absurd statements and has impaired credibility. But the judges in the case made it clear they dismissed some of his more fanciful statements. They didn't believe the rubbish about satanism, and they didn't think immorality was relevant. They just thought Knox was lying.

Ah, the sick twisted minds of those raised in a Catholic culture.
Makes you wonder how many of Knox's accusers were boinked by their parish priest.
I'm glad Knox was acquitted. I wonder what, if anything, the US would have done if she had been locked away again. I get scripts of Prison Break running through my head.
The whole thing was outrageous. I hope she becomes exceedingly wealthy and the healing begins.

Living well is the best revenge.
Mike, that type of prejudice is indefensible. I'll be blogging further about THAT.
Joseph tells the acquittal of the accused, and Amanda Knox is due to the lack of forensic evidence, and as if hit by a bias of the accusers mediaval Amanda and showing the following sentence "It is ludicrous to presume That Would Any American talk this way "because only American girls is just pure and chaste! . Only the Europeans are vulgar! Joseph wrote that the trial of Amanda Knox is guilty only of prejudice mediaval Italians who go hunting for witches in the Middle Ages as not telling the truth.
In Italy, people have many more problems than the case of Amanda Knox, corruption, nepotism and not at all happy to be Represented by politicians thieves and scoundrels who rob
every day, but the case of Amanda Knox seems an acquittal due to the pressure of big business chauvinism and promise a large income to his return to exclude the fact that she is acquitted good for her. In Perugia, a girl is dead and the only culprit is a black guy that has good lawyers.The bias of the writer is like that of Italian Catholics hated, but the shadow of no milionarie business milliardario that is not seen nel caso di Amanda Knox then we all go to protest on Wall Sreet only because we are pure and good!
I didn't follow the case very closely but I never thought they had a plausible story line or a shred of evidence to demonstrate their story line. How she was convicted in the first place is beyond me. I guess it was just Knox paying for the sins of our country with Iraq, Afghanistan and the whole "entitled" and "spoiled" Americans mind set some Europeans seem to harbor.

What surprises me is that it has only been 4 years since she first got convicted and went to prison. Seems like much longer than that.
I really hope they didn't abuse her horribly while she was in prison. That had to be a hard 4 year stretch no matter how they treated her.

It just isnt so clear cut. There is no motive. However there was also no alibi. The only alibi was that the lovers claimed to spend the night together. However Sollecito's initial statement was that he could remember whether he was with Amanda or not. He also claimed to have used his computer to watch cartoons and Amelie with Amanda. However there was no activity on his computer between 9.10pm on Nov 1, and 5.32am the next morning. They also switched their cell phones off in roughly the same time frame. Both of them. They switched them back on at 6am.

I dont see proof that they murdered that kid. However I cant see anything which exonerates them. I guess its about burden of proof.

I guess I am less sympathetic cos in her "confession" she pinned the murder on her boss at a local bar, a black guy called Lumumba. He was arrested and only released when a Swiss businessman heard about his arrest and came forward to say he had been drinking in his bar with him in the bar at the time.

What kind of person puts someone they know in the frame for a murder? Even were she were innocent of murder, she commited perjury to incriminate an innocent party who had done nothing but help her.

Finally, what makes you think Italian prisons are worse than American one? I think thats a rather odd assumption. Im absolutely convinced the food is better in Italy.

Ok, Harry she is guilty. She didn't have an ironclad alibi to prove her innocence. No real person can positively account for every second of every day. Just not possible. We all go places and do things but can't prove that we did those things. It is called living.

Also, how can anyone not believe that a solitary male criminal could overpower a young woman, sexually abuse her and then murder her? Goodness, that happens every freaking day and quite frankly I find it strange to think that people are just so flabbergasted that a "black" man is the only person paying for a crime that he obviously committed. Like it really matters what freaking color a person is if they are indeed guilty of a crime. Completely ludicrous.

In order to actually believe the storyline as described by the prosecution you have to throw out common sense and be willing to believe, as many here in Texas do, that the prosecutor is always right and convict no matter how unlikely or preposterous, without merit, evidence or testimony. People need to get reacquainted with the concept of Occam's razor.
I think she is far from innocent. If she did not actually commit the murder, I believe she contributed to the conditions causing it (accessory), was present and was responsible for the presence of Guede. When young people do stupid things involving sex and drugs in another country (release of restraint), there can be unfortunate consequences. The thing I find most damning was that she was up so early in the morning with Sollecito buying cleaning supplies (receipts are part of the "circumstantial" evidence against her). Who does that after a party or night out? She didn't do it because she was a neat freak (judging by her roommate's prior complaints about her). She strikes me as an irresponsible piece of work being portrayed as a child by her defense and family. Maybe she will learn something from the experience (including jail) but celebrating her release seems inappropriate, especially given that the victim clearly did not deserve to die and does deserve justice, fully as much as Knox.
Greg, I am not saying she is guilty, I am saying that there were reasonable grounds for the original conviction and Italian courts are not Mickey mouse courts. In my (albeit unimportant) opinion, an American girl in Italy accused of murder has a much better chance of justice than a black american in Texas.

"Also, how can anyone not believe that a solitary male criminal could overpower a young woman, sexually abuse her and then murder her?"

I can believe it. In fact he would have found it very easy (he was a gifted basketball player). However how does the possibility equal proof that that is what happened?
As for reference to the prosecutor, well its true he is a clown. I just dont see how that proves she is innocent either. Sometimes people are prosecuted by dumbass prosecutors. That doesnt make them all innocent.

What I am saying is that there are numerous oddities in the account of events as presented by Sollecito and Knox which do not tally with evidence. They explain these by saying that there were bullied into lying and making up things by the Italian investigators. Ok, maybe. Maybe not. Me personally I cant imagine making stuff up during an interogation regarding a murder case. I would be afraid that might come back to haunt me.

And since there is very little to prove she is innocent, why not consider the (remote?) possibility that a murderess is about to make 10mn dollars doing the interview circuit and discussing her treatment at the evil Italian authorities.

Like anon above, I suspect she didnt actually use the knife but was responsible for Guede's presence. But I dont KNOW this. I am merely connecting dots in a way which makes sense to me.

Once again, I dont think the evidence proves she did it beyond all doubt. But I do know she has lied on multiple occasions and perjured herself to put an innocent man in jail. So forgive me if I dont consider her trial a travesty.

I am sorry I brought it up but the reality is that skin color has nothing to do with convicting people where I live regardless of what the statistics show. The problem they have is that the good folks of Texas love them some authority figures and believe what they are told. Also, while the justice system in this country is rigged to be beneficial to the wealthy it is doubly so here.

It really is about socioeconomic status here and understanding how to deal with the various law enforcement people and agencies. This is going to sound bad but in many cases people get sent to the clink when they shouldn't simply because they lack sophistication and funds.

The Knox trial and conviction was a catastrophe. I still have heard not one meritorious argument in favor of her confinement. As Joseph laid it out and as Dakinikat beautifully discusses the topic there is just nothing "there" to the case. Pure conjecture and misogyny and anti-American fervor.
I didn't spend much time following the case and only just now reviewed the affair on Wikipedia. But I have to say about to those who still want to insist that Knox was guilty--people will always believe what they want to believe. To take just one example from anon above:

The thing I find most damning was that she was up so early in the morning with Sollecito buying cleaning supplies (receipts are part of the "circumstantial" evidence against her).

Actually, there were no such receipts introduced at trial (I had to look around to find that out, but I ask anyone asserting there was a receipt beyond claims in a tabloid that police claimed to have seen one to show evidence of one.) Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the cleaning supply evidence:

A Perugia shopkeeper testified that Knox had gone to his supermarket at 7:45 on the morning after the murder, at a time when she was, according to her account, still at Sollecito's.[97] The shopkeeper first informed police of his recollection months after the crime occurred at the prompting of a reporter who was his friend.[98][30] A worker in the shop testified that she had not seen Knox.[5]:286[58]:84

That Knox implicated Lumumba or made self-incriminating statements--statements, btw, that she recanted later that same day--seems at least partially understandable after a 14-hour interrogation without a translator or lawyer present with police who repeatedly asserted that they could prove her guilt. Of the initial interrogation, we do know this much from Wikipedia:

The Italian Supreme Court later found that Knox's human rights were violated because the police did not tell her of her legal rights, appoint her a lawyer or provide her an official interpreter and that her signed statement was inadmissible for Knox's and Sollecito's criminal trial.[41][53][54] However, the court allowed the statement to be used in the concurrent civil, calunnia trial in which Lumumba prevailed against Knox. Both trials had the same jury which heard Knox's confession.[55]

Again, it's extremely unfortunate that Knox implicated Lumumba. But Lumumba had called her on the evening of the crime to tell her not to come to work because of a lack of business--under extreme duress falsely accused people will often envision whatever alternative scenario they can think of that could possibly exonerate them. Maybe you or I wouldn't come up with a story like that under pressure, but it has certainly been known to happen.

As to Guede's involvement, we also know this from Wikipedia:

DNA matching Guede's was found both on and inside Kercher's body[31][63] and on her shirt, bra and handbag.[64] A bloody handprint found on a pillow under Kercher's back was also matched to Guede.[31][65]

That some here want to see Guede as the victim of a miscarriage of justice rather than Knox seems inexplicable, other than that some people enjoy invisioning her as a cold-blooded murderess.

This certainly doesn't mean that the Italian court system holds a candle to ours with regards to miscarriages of justice. The fact Knox was eventually acquitted while Troy Davis was executed proves otherwise.
Well, again, there's a parallel to the West Memphis Three case, where the entire case hinged on a "confession" by one of the three -- a slow-witted fellow under extreme police duress.

During the Weiner affair, I took a lot of heat for suggesting that people under pressure will confess to things that never occurred. But it happens all the time, for reasons both psychological and practical.

I do not see Guede as being the victim of a miscarriage of justice at all. If anything I think his sentence is way too short. I dont know how you got that impression I thought different.

I just dont see it as being quite as obvious that Knox and Sollecito are innocent. Rather it seems difficult to prove guilt. That is a different thing.

For example, Sollecito's computer was switched off from 9.15pm to 5:30am(from memory). Think about that. How many kids do you know who switch their computers off while they are at home from 9:15pm? How many students do you know who would get out of bed and switch on their computers at 5:30am after a night of love making and marujana? Being the suspicious type, I cant help but think that he did what I would do. Switched it on when he got home.

As for Lumumba, I would hope that if you are questioned by the authorities for murder, you would not respond by making up random allegations against people you know. Lumumba is very lucky he is not in prison for life. I cannot imagine doing that under any circumstances. But then I am not a teenage girl and I have never been accused of murder. I can imagine the possibility of confessing to a crime I did not commit, but I doubt in practice that could happen to me. I am probably far too much the curmudgeon to ever give the police a statement. But I cannot imagine stating that someoone else committed a crime.

Remember, in Italy, appeals are not based on the totality of the evidence but on its weakest element, or so a BBC new report I just read said. Apparently Italy has the very large number of successful appeals and a very low prison population - lowest in the EU per capita. I dont suppose thats cos their murder rate is the lowest, but it might be.


"I am sorry I brought it up but the reality is that skin color has nothing to do with convicting people where I live regardless of what the statistics show. The problem they have is that the good folks of Texas love them some authority figures and believe what they are told. Also, while the justice system in this country is rigged to be beneficial to the wealthy it is doubly so here. "

Im sorry. I had no idea you were from Texas. I dont back away from my comment, but I didnt mean to be rude. Im sure you are right, and it isnt racism but an excess deference to authority and wealth. However that doesnt make Texas top of my list of places to live. After all, the why doesnt really matter so much does it, not to the prisoner?

Hey Harry,

I didn't mean to imply that you thought Guede was innocent--it was another comment from above, which upon rereading I now find so incoherent that I'm not even sure it implied as much. Nonetheless, I still think you are torturing the known evidence to try cast doubt on soundness of the acquittal. For instance, your latest argument:

For example, Sollecito's computer was switched off from 9.15pm to 5:30am(from memory). Think about that. How many kids do you know who switch their computers off while they are at home from 9:15pm? How many students do you know who would get out of bed and switch on their computers at 5:30am after a night of love making and marujana? Being the suspicious type, I cant help but think that he did what I would do. Switched it on when he got home.

Frankly, I may not be a kid anymore, but I sometimes turn off a computer that I left on earlier when I come home at night. And even more often, I'll turn on a computer if I wake up early or have a bout with insomnia, just so I can check out my favorite blogs and the like. I just don't see that as being incriminating evidence or establishing any sort of suspicious timeline.

And when you say this:

As for Lumumba, I would hope that if you are questioned by the authorities for murder, you would not respond by making up random allegations against people you know. Lumumba is very lucky he is not in prison for life.

I already said that I don't think you or I would have made such allegations, but then I tend to flatter myself on my stubbornness of will and contrarian streak. I do know that people do make such allegations under extreme duress. Remember that Amanda was a stranger in a strange land who could barely speak Italian and had spoken with Lumumba just shortly before the alleged crimed was supposed to have taken place. Given that context, I can see how Amanda's explanation for incriminating Lumumba, per Wikipedia, could have occurred:

She later claimed that she underwent a hostile interrogation of 14 hours, that she was struck and yelled at, denied food and water, and caused to make incriminating statements.[41] In the end she signed a statement in Italian saying, in part, that she had seen Patrick Lumumba (Knox's boss) and Kercher enter Kercher's room.[41]
Knox stated that during her interrogation the police asked her to imagine what might have happened at her flat had she been there,[42] and that she explained this vision of Lumumba at the crime scene in response to that question.[41][43]

I'm sorry, but this is what can happen when improper interrogations are allowed to take place. It's also the reason why many police departments now film interrogations.

What I don't get is that even you are coming to acknowledge that her guilt can't be established, and yet you seem terribly displeased that she was acquitted.
I can't believe any of the posters here swallow the hogwash from the tabloids and Mignini.

AK and RS didn't do it. Period. They got the culprit, Guede. Deal with it.

The Italian forensic team were not as good as they could be. However one of the conclusions of the investigating pathologist was that two knives were used in the attack. There were, I think, 49 separate stab wounds and cuts with two different blades. The conclusion the investigating judges came to was that there was probably more than one person involved in the attack.

One could choose to ask whether the Italian pathologist was mistaken. But if you believe that two blades were used in the attack you might well believe that there were two attackers. It seems a little odd to stop and get the other blade halfway through.

This is not to say that Amanda Knox is guilty. I don't know. What I do know is that a British family lost their daughter to a sexual attack and involved bleeding to death slowly having suffered 49 separate wounds. They don't know what happened to their daughter. But you can see there is reason to believe that someone involved in the murder has not been brought to justice.

Please don't get me wrong. Innocent people shouldn't rot in jail for crimes they did not commit. Me personally I don't know whether Sollecito or Knox committed any crime. However I just don't think it an obvious miscarriage of justice. It might be a miscarriage, but surely its not that obvious is it? Its not like there was any alibi. Tell me how you know within reasonable doubt she didn't do it? Knox might well be innocent. She might not be. If she was, why would I celebrate her going free? That's the thing about a burden of proof. Its a burden. Failure to meet it doesn't prove innocence. It merely fails to prove guilt.

If she is innocent, I'm sure she will be fine. She will reportedly earn some $10mn in the near term. She will only have to pay E18k of that in compensation for putting a black guy in the frame when interrogated. My problem is when I consider the possibility that she is guilty I find the prospect that she will make $10mn distasteful. And yes, I do know its my problem.

I guess I had better pray that she and Sollecito are innocent?

I must say, I appear to be in a very small minority of opinion. Whenever you are in such a minority there is an enhanced chance of being totally wrong. So be assured that I am not certain I am right. But its what I am thinking. I had better just deal.


I know I am obsessed, and no one else cares. Also I am grateful to people for fellow commentors for taking the trouble to debate this one with me. I was concerned about the sourcing for several of my prejudices so I went and did some googling. I strongly recommend this piece. It is a translation of the Judges report.

I havnt completed reading it but so far I have become more depressed rather than less so. To me the case did not seem as weak as the Knox PR seemed to suggest.

Apologies for the obsessive behaviour.

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