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Mobs and madness

Rudy Guede gets 30 years for the murder of Meredith Kercher.

On appeal he incriminates Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, in contradiction of his own first testimony. This claim buys him a reduction of 14 years in his sentence.

Knox gets 26 years, Sollecito 25, on the basis of Guede’s evidence – and bungled police forensics.

After Knox and Sollecito have lost four years of their lives, the courts admit there was never any significant evidence against them and acquit them.

In Seattle a crowd cheers. In Perugia a crowd howls.

The British redtops are beside themselves. All gibber that Meredith Kercher has been “forgotten”. One puts a headline over Knox’s picture: “Meredith Who?”; as if these words come from her. One shows a photo of Knox, elated at getting her life back, and describes her as “grinning from ear to ear” – which, as we know, is something bad people do when they’re gloating over some undeserved gain.

Amanda Knox is home in Seattle. She has to live with the lingering ghost of a possibility that the Italians may yet demand that she go back. But at least she doesn’t have to worry about a European Arrest Warrant.

What an insane, vicious farce.

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9 comments to Mobs and madness

  • Actually on the basis of the more dispassionate articles I have read, I find it hard to think Knox is not guilty on a ‘preponderance of evidence’ basis.

    That said, perhaps there is indeed ‘reasonable doubt’ and thus maybe the conviction was unsafe and should indeed have been set aside… but that is far from saying she is ‘innocent’ and so I for one will *not* be wishing ‘Foxy Knoxy’ well.

  • Plamus

    For what it’s worth, on the western side of the Big Puddle, nobody really cares.

    I personally find the part where “they tried to involve Meredith in an orgy, and she refused, so they murdered her” a bit hard to buy, based on personal experience (not with Amanda Knox ). But hey, if dumb young girls (both Amanda and Meredith) want to get adventurous and be involved with fellows like Rudy Suede (google picture), they have to deal with the consequences – natural selection is a tough mistress.

  • Enquiring Mind

    Now that’s curious.
    I’m not quite clear as to what happens to the reduction of 14 years from Rudy Guede’s 30-year sentence for the murder of Meredith Kercher. Does Rudy get the 14 years added back on, or is it to be left off as a reward for false incrimination of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and for stealing 8 years of their combined lives?

    Maybe it could be an incentive to see if Rudy might oblige by incriminating someone else for the police to falsely accuse and put in chokey under false imprisonment – then bingo! – another 14-year reduction of sentence!

    And if it doesn’t get added back on, then does that indicate that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are still considered to be valid suspects for a part in the murder of Meredith Kercher, despite there being no apparent evidence or proof of that (and hence their acquittal)?

    Enquiring minds need to know.

    I know it is said that “the law’s an ass”, but this Italianate version of it has me completely baffled.

  • Tom Perkins

    There is no evidence of her guilt. Given what evidence there was of Guede’s guilt, if Knox had been involved, such evidence would still have been there to convict her convincingly.

    QED, she was not involved in the killing.

  • Mike Lorrey

    I recall a woman from my area who was assaulted while hiking in Scotland several years ago by a mysogynist nutjob with a history of assaulting women, who had just been released from the funny farm a week prior (because he was obviously disturbed to attack women, and it would be cruel to put such a person in jail / snark). Scottish law would not allow any mention of the woman, or of the perps prior offenses. Living here in the US, I blogged about his history, and some in Britain tried to get my blog shut down for “poisoning the jury pool” with the facts they werent supposed to know, because it would be prejudicial if jury members knew what a serial creep this asshat was. Sorry, but Brits have lost any rational attachment to the idea of justice.

  • James Waterton

    But hey, if dumb young girls (both Amanda and Meredith) want to get adventurous and be involved with fellows like Rudy Suede (google picture)/blockquote>

    OK. I see a young black man. What are you trying to say?

  • I had a similar thought, James, but I figured I must be missing something…

  • Paul Marks

    The magistrate in charge of the case has been prosecuted – for his crimes in other cases.

    The evidence against Miss Knox and her then boyfriend is, when one takes the above into account, weak – unreliable DNA evidence and a footprint that was never proved to have been bloody (the “bloody footprint” where the reaction that supposedely indicated blood, might have indicated lots of other chemicals).

    However, the evidence against Mr Rudy Guede is very strong. That is why he agreed to give evidence against these two people (in return for a reduced number of years in prison).

    Why is there so little attention paid to Mr Guede?

    Is it because he is black and people do not want to be smeared as racist?

    I do not know.

  • Chris Cooper

    Yes, it’s the physical evidence that’s conclusive: massive DNA evidence against Guede, minimal and contaminated evidence against Ms Knox.

    The other evidence against her mostly concerns her behaviour: supposedly turning cartwheels and being inappropriately cheerful soon after the murder, and so on; and then accusing Patrick Lumumba, who was later exonerated – but this accusation coming after police “questioning” that was actually prolonged interrogation under duress.

    I really didn’t follow the case much. I became interested in it when it was discussed at lesswrong.com, which is concerned with issues of rationality. I was attracted by the thread’s heading: “The Amanda Knox Test: How an Hour on the Internet Beats a Year in the Courtroom“.

    The burden of it: physical evidence must always weigh much more heavily than hopelessly subjective intuitions about people’s behaviour, their facial expressions, their history in unrelated areas (such as Knox’s rumoured sex life), and everything else thrown at her.

    More issues about courtroom rationality are raised by Mike Lorrey’s comment above:

    Living here in the US, I blogged about his history, and some in Britain tried to get my blog shut down for “poisoning the jury pool” with the facts they weren’t supposed to know, because it would be prejudicial if jury members knew what a serial creep this asshat was. Sorry, but Brits have lost any rational attachment to the idea of justice.

    Don’t US courts have equally strict rules against hearsay evidence and against jurors paying attention to anything they hear outside the courtroom?

    I suspect we’re going to have to revise such rules. First, they don’t seem rational anyway – a defendant’s long history of burglary convictions is highly relevant to the probability of his guilt in this particular burglary trial, and information from the wider world is sometimes true. Second, it’s increasingly hard to keep jurors from accessing the media during the trial – unless you imprison them in a hotel for the duration, which is done in major trials, but is pretty expensive (and oppressive). Perhaps these currently excluded sorts of evidence should be brought into court.

    Of course, there are many more questions that can be raised over other courtroom procedures. I don’t revere the grandeur and wisdom of Anglo-Saxon law (let alone other legal systems) in the way that some do. I’d like to see what it would look like with a bit of competition allowed to blow through it. And I’d be interested to hear how people with experience of commercial arbitration think it compares with the law.