American Views of the Amanda Knox Verdict

 

 

Cornelius Edmund Sullivan

 

New York-

Before the TV interviews, the movies, and the books, describing the return of the vindicated college girl, it would be useful at this point to understand how the not guilty verdict has been received in the United States. The excellent Italian Insider article “Knox acquittal rocks Italy” of October 8, 2011, by Philip Willan, addressed the results in Italy and the affect that the verdict may have on the Italian Justice System.

 

There are two opinions that are widespread in the US. On TV news shows, commentators and legal experts say, first, the evidence in this trial would not stand up in an American court, and secondly, having said that, they go on to say it appears that Knox was there and probably knows what happened. Justice may or may not have been served and many questions remain.

 

The US legal system is based upon citizen’s rights guaranteed by the Constitution, like freedom of assembly, free speech, freedom of religion, and the right to a fair trial. It is a fair trial by a jury of one’s peers. Juridical rights have been articulated and amplified by public awareness, the Salem Witch Trials, the Civil Rights Movement, and the active ACLU, the American Civil Liberties Union. Popular TV, like the “Perry Mason Show” from the sixties, and “Law and Order” today, have made habeas corpus, change of venue, double jeopardy, and Miranda rights part of everyday speech.

 

If a suspect is not “Merandized”, read his rights, all of the proceedings may be thrown out, “You have a right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can and will be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney.” The defense may argue for a change of venue if a fair trial and impartial jurors may not be found in a particular location due to excessive adverse publicity. Both of these could have changed the original Knox trial. She was interrogated in a foreign language, I am told, for fifty six hours with out sleep. This signifies a naiveté on her part that looks like arrogance. The publicity was excessive and unreasonable. Even recently a lawyer, an officer of the court, said that Knox was a “she devil”. Was she on trial for being a “she-devil”? Sounds like a witch hunt.

 

It is not proper for me to offer personal opinions on the case. I am not a legal expert and am only a distant follower of the details of the case. I wish to present a broad cultural view of the events. I have noticed that people make up their minds about guilt or innocence right away. The puzzling facts are then made to fit into the scheme of what they have already decided. A stranger, a drug dealer confessed to the murder of Meredith Kercher. A police investigator has said that a you don’t have to look too far for motive with a young male, sex, and drugs. He said that Knox’s motive was never made clear. The body was covered by a blanket. Murderers do not do that. Those who care for the victim do. He speculated, and reaffirmed that it is just speculation, that Knox might have had a motive to cover up a life style of sex and drugs.

 

Sentiment will predominate in the movies and books, but mysteries will remain. The enduring story, as Mr. Willan has suggested, will be a look at the Judicial System in Italy. Americans are split on guilt or innocence and each person is certain of his own conclusions.  They are in agreement that what they have seen is something very different from the criminal justice system that they understand so well.

 

O.J. Simpson was acquitted of Murder in LA on October 3, 1995, Knox on October 3, 2011. If any reader is in jail, you might consider scheduling your review hearing for October 3rd, Acquittal Day.  I should not trivialize such a serious matter. When a trial becomes media entertainment what the defendant is wearing becomes the story. A young woman was murdered, her family is devastated. The decisions of justice systems are imperfect but we must, in our fallen humanity that is capable of murder, continue to hope. “Time is the justice that examines all offenders.” -Shakespeare.  

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