By Amy Alkon
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from Advice Goddess Blog.
Andrew Gumbel On The Amanda Knox And Raffaele Sollecito Trials And What Passes For Justice In Italy
My friend Andrew Gumbel, a thoughtful and meticulous journalist who spent five years as a correspondent in Italy, co-wrote Raffaele Sollecito’s book about his trial and Amanda Knox’s. At LA Review of Books, Gumbel takes on “the Nightmare of Italian Justice” that is and has been the trials of Amanda Knox and Sollecito:
ANYONE FOLLOWING THE BYZANTINE TRIALS of Amanda Knox, the American exchange student accused with her onetime boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito of murdering her roommate in Perugia, will have noticed that criminal justice in Italy doesn’t work the way it does in other countries. First they were guilty, then they weren’t, now they are again. In the United States, this is commonly referred to as double jeopardy and is barred under the Constitution. In Italy, it’s pretty much business as usual.
When the pair was first arrested, more than six years ago, they were left to rot in jail and for months — in Sollecito’s case in solitary confinement — before charges were brought. They didn’t qualify for bail because bail does not exist in Italy. The prosecution regularly leaked information to the media but did not formally share its investigative findings with the defendants or their lawyers until the summer of 2008, by which time the public was broadly convinced they were no ordinary college students, but rather, depraved sex addicts who had forced the victim, 21-year-old Meredith Kercher, into a satanic orgy before brutally stabbing her to death.
To this day, it remains doubtful whether evidence ever existed to substantiate such a scenario.
The case went to trial with the prosecution refusing, despite repeated requests, to hand over the raw data on which it based its forensic analysis. The data was crucial because the prosecution claimed it had found traces of Kercher’s DNA on the tip of a kitchen knife believed to be the murder weapon (Knox’s DNA was on the handle), and traces of Sollecito’s DNA on a torn bra strap recovered from the crime scene. Neither claim would survive independent scrutiny.
That scrutiny, though, did not come until after Knox and Sollecito had already been convicted.
…The latest developments in the case are, if anything, more perplexing still. The principal forensic evidence against Knox and Sollecito was thrown out on appeal, along with much of the eyewitness testimony, after it was shown to be false, unreliable and, quite …read more