Injustice in Perugia, round three

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March 26, 2013 by AK

I was disappointed to hear that Italy’s Supreme Court had sent the Knox-Sollecito-Kercher case to another appeals court for reconsideration. (The SC’s motivations are not out yet.) Judge Hellmann, who presided in the second-level trial which freed the couple, did a very good job pulling apart the prosecution’s interpretation of evidence. A report by independent experts showed that DNA analysis performed by a Perugian forensic unit was botched and the “evidence” so obtained was meaningless. So much for the hard evidence. The other pieces of evidence, as Hellmann showed, ranged from inconclusive to irrelevant.

The prosecution’s evidence gathering seems to have been like throwing mud at the wall, hoping something will stick. A bad cop’s trick: pick a suspect and start digging up evidence; throw out what doesn’t fit and keep everything that might cast a slightest shadow of doubt on the defendant’s innocence. Sometimes no shadow at all: for instance, the prosecutors claimed that Raffaele was not at home during a certain period of time because there was no activity on his computer. Quite a conjecture, but it gets worse: there was another computer at his place that police took away for examination and ruined its hard drive, ruining even that dubious conjecture.

And yes, they picked the suspect before they had any evidence at all. Those Perugian cops first forced Amanda to sign a statement in a language she wasn’t really competent in (which statement was ruled inadmissible by the SC but nonetheless was the basis for the calumny conviction), and then decided, based on one detective’s deep psychological analysis, to start building a case against her. Raffaele – against whom no hard evidence ever existed at all, no DNA and such – had to be nabbed to destroy Amanda’s alibi. If I weren’t Russian, that might surprise me. But hey, it’s all so familiar from wrongful conviction chronicles at home. 

Amanda seems to have been introverted, bookish, socially unskilled and slightly autistic – the type that lives very much in her own world and whose introversion is mistaken for coldness or inhuman self-control. If you’re like that, you’d better try to be nice to people or they will burn you alive.


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