The joke that calls itself Italy’s court of cassation

In its “motivations report” in the Knox-Sollecito case, Italy’s supreme court seems to have parroted uncritically a long list of assorted assertions by the prosecution. The SC completely ignored the fact that most of those claims were demolished during the trials held in 2011 and 2009. It’s quite a shameless litany of known lies. One would think that the reasonable way for the top court to argue againt the appellate court’s ruling would be to pick on the weakest links in its reasoning.

Instead – having swallowed the prosecution’s appeal hook, line and sinker – the SC attacked even those conclusions that were unquestionably sound. It claims that a homeless drug addict who messed up critically important dates and who was in prison on drug dealing charges in 2011 was still a reliable witness. (This second-guessing of the two judges and six lay persons who actually saw and heard the witness is astounding by itself. The whole opinion is an exercise in second-guessing the eight-member panel of the appeals court, rather than checking for legal irregularities.)  The SC demonstrated a strong grasp of physics claiming that if a window is broken from the outside, all the broken glass must fall outside too. (If you did not detect the sarcasm, try breaking a window and see, or recall the last time your place was burglarized.)

On top of that, the court managed to break the basics of European law as well. It insisted that conclusions from another trial, in which thee defendants were not represented, be binding on this case – going against the right to face one’s accuser. It also said that contamination in DNA testing must be proven – which is scientific nonsense of course but legal nonsense as well, placing the burden of proof on the defense. In any decent court in a decent country, defense only has to prove that the lab broke basic rules to have DNA results thrown out. It’s pretty much axiomatic and here we have a country’s top court denying it. Once again, it must be the result of uncritically incorporating a highly polemical prosecution appeal into the final judgment. So much for quality and independence.

Perhaps the SC’s clerks are simply lazy. Perhaps some of the judges were too close to the prosecution – it’s an incestuous little world over in Italy. Perhaps no one cares much about the content of motivations reports except for two-three bits insiders know to be important. Anyway, Italy’s top criminal court has shown to the world they cannot be taken seriously as jurists and cannot be trusted to make a sensible argument – but can be incredibly biased. It’s judicial porn as someone said. And, I should add, it’s pretty demented.


  1. Great post. Everyone assumes that if something happens in a courthouse it is justice, but it’s not. Italy is Behind all countries including Russia for Human rights violations per eur Commission 4 Courts

  2. Excellent post. Now we know corruption goes all the way to the top in Italy’s judicial system. It’s pathetic that they can even consider perjured testimony as reliable. Bias is more than obvious in Italy. There is no sound reasoning to any claim in this latest motivation.

    • I’m going to write about one interesting parallel between the Navalny case in Russia and the Knox-Sollecito case. It’s about the impact of findings from a different trial, where the defendants were not represented.

  3. Innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? This SC court is a PROVIDING a showcase
    For wannabe writers of pulp fiction. The SC threw out the facts as they favored immaginative peices of creative and bad pulp fiction. It is posturing in order to save face for for
    Criminal lawbreakers: the cops, the prosecutors, the forensics teams, their detectives and the heads of all of the above. The whole trial has entered into the realm of an amalgamation of In the Name of the Father, Catch 22, Kafka’s The Trial and Sartre’s No Exit. Shamelessly hiding the facts that put the real killer and criminal Rudy Guede in prison, while trying to put the blame on two innocent kids who didn’t know him. they are supporting a set of witch trial theories that helped sell a false and fictional story to millions. The list of laws broken by these government sanctioned criminals is very long, and they really hope to snowball reality so that it is unrecognizable so they can cover up their own crimes. Bravo Italy! Welcome to the Middle Ages. good luck forgetting About the Age of Reason. Its going to do you a lot of good.

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