My lawyers today deposited in my absence a letter I wrote to the Court declaring my innocence and further explaining why the prosecution’s and civil parties’ accusations are impossible.
I have been informed of the need to correct a statistic quoted in my letter to the Court. The National Registry of Exoneration has assessed that:
26% of all DNA exonerations contained false confessions.
Of those exonerations, 78% were homicide cases.
Separating homicide from all other types of cases, 62% of exonerations involved false confessions. Over 6 in 10 persons wrongfully convicted of homicide falsely implicated themselves and/or others.
Thank you, Professor Saul Kassin. I’m sorry to all for my misunderstanding.
How can anything be harder to conceive than those personal declarations I agonized over while in prison awaiting judgment which would define the course of my life?
There were different challenges then. There was prison, where nothing is safe or private, where I was distracted by being constantly on guard against abuse. There was the overarching and debilitating anxiety of being unjustly persecuted and torn from my life’s course. There was having to sit patiently through the vortex of closing arguments which heard seemingly endless, unsubstantiated pronouncements of my supposed psychopathology and evil. I cautioned myself against protesting too much, for fear of offending the authorities, as well as against protesting not enough, for fear of seeming insincere and resigned to guilt. There was to consider that every word I said would be scrutinized by minds with their own agendas. There was to consider that what I wore, how I did my hair, what gestures or facial expressions I made, were going to be under an even harsher scrutiny which would taint the message I was attempting to convey. Would the fact that I’d become near-sighted in prison affect the court’s reading of me, because I couldn’t make eye-contact with their pupils? But would wearing glasses be construed as a stunt to get attention? Then, afterward, I wouldn’t be going home to the safety and support of my family and friends, but always back into the cold custody of the very authorities I was defending myself against.
I had thought that was long over. That the mistakes and lies had been revealed. That my innocence had been acknowledged. I thought I was safe.
Back then, there was little I could do to further defend myself. I had already testified to what I had really been up to the night of the murder and what really happened during my interrogation. Even after painstaking consideration of what I should make sure to remember to say, all I could do was stand up and let the words come. To protest. To beg. To show them who I was, whose life was at stake.
From the outset my lawyers assured me I’m my own best defense. I’m no lawyer or forensic expert, but I’m sincere, and clearly not the type of person who would torture and murder anyone.
Now? I decided not to go back to Italy for fear of being wrongfully imprisoned once again. The prosecution has proven ruthless in their irrational pursuit of me. The cost of that choice was losing my own best defense before this new appellate court which had been instructed by the Court of Cassation to find me guilty. I haven’t been there to see their faces, to gauge their reactions to the further developments in the case. I’m both blind and invisible.
From the safety and privacy of my own home, what can I say? How can I say it? What could ever stand in as substitute to me standing before them, beseeching them to see reason in my own voice, with my own eyes?
The facts. Logic. It should all come down to the facts and logic. After six years, I’ve picked up a bit of the method of all those lawyers, and I can’t just leave it all up to them. The court must know, everyone must know, that I can’t draw a free breath until justice is served.
I wrote the court a letter. I protested, I begged. I hoped to show them who I was, whose life was at stake. I wasn’t there to beseech in my own voice or see it register in them with my own eyes. But it was all I could do.