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  1. #141
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
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    Apr 2014
    Amanda Knox could face extradition to Italy if highest court upholds murder conviction over killing of Meredith Kercher next week

    Amanda Knox’s judicial rollercoaster ride faces fresh political uproar as she awaits what may be her final trial in a six-year legal battle.

    Italy’s highest court is about to consider once again what to do about the murder of Meredith Kercher, a 21-year-old British student stabbed to death in Perugia, Italy, on 1 November 2007.

    American Amanda Knox, now 27, and her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 30, stand convicted of Meredith’s murder.

    Knox’s never-ending trials over the brutal killing of her housemate have dominated headlines all over the world.

    And next week a greatly-anticipated ruling could open the door to a whole new legal battle over Knox’s potential extradition from the US.

    This decision, which could be made on Wednesday, will have significant global consequences because if Italy decides to definitively confirm Knox’s conviction and prison sentence, it would seem the US will have little choice but to extradite her.

    Knox - whose engagement to childhood friend and Seattle-based musician Colin Sutherland was reported last month - has already said she would have to be dragged “kicking and screaming” back to Italy.

    Attempting to live a normal life since returning to Seattle, Knox started working as a freelance journalist reporting for her local paper, the West Seattle Herald, last year.

    Many factors will contribute to the final decision and issues outside of the trial, like a pregnancy or timing in relation to the upcoming American election, could also play a role.

    But according to legal experts the final decision could ultimately hinge on relations and agreements between Rome and Washington DC.

    The case has been long and complicated, with a series of drawn-out rulings, appeals and reversals that are common in the notoriously slow Italian justice system.

    Knox and Sollecito were convicted of Meredith’s murder in 2009, then freed on appeal two years later because of doubts about the strength of the evidence.

    Both Knox and Sollecito have always maintained their innocence.

    That acquittal was then thrown out of court in 2013 because the appeals court was ruled to have been inconsistent in its assessment of the evidence.

    A year later, after a retrial, the pair were again found guilty of murder, with Knox sentenced to 28 and a half years in prison, and Sollecito to 25 years.

    Under Italian law, that decision will not be considered final unless it is upheld by the court in its ruling this week.

    That is why Knox has been able to live freely in the US, even though she is currently considered guilty of murder in Italy.

    Sollecito is also free in Italy right now, but would be arrested immediately if the conviction were upheld.

    If it does not uphold the conviction, the court could also decide to send one or both defendants back to trial, but it does not have the power to acquit Knox or Sollecito outright.

    Even if their convictions are upheld, nothing will happen immediately.

    After the court releases its legal rationale for the decision – which could take up to 90 days – the Italian minister of justice would then have up to six months to determine whether to demand Knox’s return from the US.

    If such a request was made, the US would technically have to abide by it under the strict terms of an extradition treaty between the countries.

    Steve Clemons, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and foreign policy expert, said: “If the Italian supreme court sustains the conviction, it will be nearly impossible for the US – despite the political uproar that will occur among those who believe she is innocent – not to extradite her to Italy.

    “Emotions may run high, but in the end the relations between Italy and the US are deep, strategic, complex, and are designed to respect each other’s laws, even in controversial cases.”

    It is far from clear on what grounds the US government could ultimately challenge a legal request.

    Double-jeopardy - or being tried twice for the same crime, which is prohibited in US law - is a term that does not apply to the Italian judicial system and legal experts flatly reject that argument.

    They say Knox and Sollecito are not being tried multiple times for the same crime - they are still being tried for the same crime almost eight years after it happened.

    Under US law, if an extradition request is made, it would be looked at closely by the State Department and then the Justice Department, and would then have to be approved by a US court, where Knox could appeal the extradition.

    The State Department is yet to comment on whether it would send Knox back to Italy, but legal experts suggest any extradition would take a long time, if it was enforced at all.

    But if the courts approve of the request, the final decision rests with the US secretary of state, John Kerry.

    For now, we wait until March 25 to see if the Italian high court will decide to uphold the latest conviction or throw the case back into the system.


  2. #142
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Amanda Knox murder conviction overturned by Italy high court

    ROME (AP) - Italy's highest court on Friday overturned the murder conviction against Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend in the 2007 slaying of Knox's roommate, bringing to a definitive end the high-profile case that captivated trial-watchers on both sides of the Atlantic.

    "Finished!" Knox's lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova exulted after the decision was read out late Friday. "It couldn't be better than this."

    In a rare decision, the supreme Court of Cassation overturned last year's convictions by a Florence appeals court and declined to order another trial. The judges declared that the two did not commit the crime, a stronger exoneration than merely finding that there wasn't enough evidence to convict.

    In a statement issued from her home in Seattle, Knox said she was "relieved and grateful" for the decision.

    "The knowledge of my innocence has given me strength in the darkest times of this ordeal," she said, thanking her supporters for believing in her.

    Experts have said such a complete exoneration is unusual for the high court, which could have upheld the conviction or ordered a new trial as it did in 2013 when the case first came up to its review on appeal.

    The justices' reasoning will be released within 90 days.

    The decision ends the long legal battle waged by Knox and Italian co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito to clear their names in the death of British student Meredith Kercher, after they spent nearly four years in prison immediately after the murder only to be freed when they were first acquitted in 2011.

    The case aroused strong interest in three countries for its explosive mix of young love, murder and flip-flop decisions by Italian courts.

    Across the Atlantic, a spontaneous shout of joy erupted from inside the Seattle home of Knox's mother as the verdict was announced. Several relatives and supporters filtered into the back yard, where they hugged and cheered.

    Dalla Vedova said he called Knox to tell her the news, but said she couldn't speak through her tears.

    "She was crying because she was so happy," he said.

    Kercher, 21, was found dead Nov. 2, 2007, in the apartment that she shared with Knox and two other students. Her throat was slashed and she had been sexually assaulted.

    The Kercher family attorney, Francesco Maresca, was clearly disappointed by the decision.

    "I think that it's a defeat for the Italian justice system," he said.

    Kercher's mother, Arline Kercher, told Britain's Press Association news agency that she was "a bit surprised and very shocked."

    "They have been convicted twice so it is a bit odd that it should change now," she said.

    Knox and Sollecito were arrested a few days later after Kercher's death. Eventually another man, Rudy Guede from Ivory Coast, was arrested, tried and convicted of the murder in a separate trial and is serving a 16-year sentence.

    The couple maintained their innocence, insisting that they had spent the evening together at Sollecito's place watching a movie, smoking marijuana and making love.

    Knox and Sollecito were initially convicted by a Perugia court in 2009, then acquitted and freed in 2011, and then convicted again in 2014 in Florence after the Cassation court overturned the acquittals and ordered a new appeals trial.

    That Florence appeals conviction was overturned Friday.

    Knox had been convicted of slander for having falsely accused a Congolese man of the murder. That conviction was upheld by the high court Friday, but Knox has already served the three-year sentence in prison.

    Sollecito's lawyer, Luca Maori, called the young man with the good news from the steps of the courthouse.

    "You have your whole life ahead of you now, Raf" he told Sollecito.

    Speaking to reporters, he added: "He almost couldn't speak. Eight years of nightmare over."

    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    “There are some people who just do not deserve to live,”
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    “Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  3. #143
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Europe court orders Italy to pay damages to Amanda Knox

    Amanda Knox and her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted and then acquitted for the murder of Knox's roommate Meredith Kercher

    By Colleen Barry
    Associated Press

    MILAN — Europe’s human rights court on Thursday ordered Italy to pay Amanda Knox financial damages for police failure to provide legal assistance and a translator during a long night of questioning following the Nov. 1, 2007 murder of her British roommate. But the court said there was insufficient evidence to support claims of psychological and physical mistreatment at the hands of police.

    The European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg, France, said in its ruling that Italy hadn’t succeeded in proving that “the restriction of Ms. Knox’s access to a lawyer … had not irreparably undermined the fairness of the proceedings as a whole.” It ordered damages that Italy must pay Knox 18,400 euros ($20,000) in damages, costs and expenses.

    “Ms. Knox had been particularly vulnerable, being a foreign young woman, 20 at the time, not having been in Italy for very long and not being fluent in Italian,” the court noted.

    After more than seven years of legal battles and flip-flop decisions, Knox, now 31, was definitively acquitted of Meredith Kercher’s murder by Italy’s highest court in March 2015, but a damaging conviction for falsely accusing a Congolese bar owner of the murder was confirmed, leaving a cloud over her acquittal.

    It was during questioning in the wee hours of Nov. 6, 2007 that Knox accused Patrick Lumumba, the owner of a bar where she sometimes worked, of the murder. Knox’s defence had long claimed that the accusation was coerced. The court noted she had quickly and repeatedly retracted the statement, citing a hand-written statement on the afternoon of Nov. 6, 2007, another for her lawyers three days later and in a wiretapped call to her mother on Nov. 10, 2007.

    Knox’s defence attorney, Carlo Dalla Vedova, said the decision “is not a big surprise for me because the supreme court already said there were many mistakes. That is one of the reasons that invited us to tell Amanda to go to Strasbourg.”

    “For me this is a certification of a mistake, probably the biggest legal mistake in the last years in Italy, also because the attention that this case has had,” Dalla Vedova said. He said he was considering whether to challenge the standing conviction for malicious false accusations.

    “It is impossible to compensate Amanda for four years in prison for a mistake. There will be no amount. We are not looking for compensation of damages. We are doing this on principal,” he said.

    The sensational murder of 21-year-old Kercher attracted global attention, especially after suspicion fell on Knox, and Knox’s then-Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito. Kercher was found nude under a blanket, with her throat slit. While Knox and her former boyfriend were initially convicted in Kercher’s slaying and handed hefty sentences, both were eventually acquitted.

    An Ivorian immigrant is serving a 16-year sentence for the murder.

    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    “There are some people who just do not deserve to live,”
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    “Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

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