…and the Juvenile Penitentiary
…and the Juvenile Penitentiary
On a brighter note, I went on my first ever photo safari yesterday.
It’s interesting that this week dedicated to love should be the same week that a hate campaign is established on Facebook. It consists of photographs of various individuals, supposedly Perugian, holding placards reading Perugia Vi Odia (“Perugia Hates You”). They mimic a photograph I posted to my own website and Twitter account that professes Raffaele’s and my innocence to the Italian people despite the latest guilty verdict handed down by the Florentine Court of Appeals on January 30th.
The hate campaign was quickly reported in Perugia Today, an online publication also responsible for coining La Maledizione Amanda (“The Amanda Curse”) in a number of its articles, a term referring to the bad publicity Perugia has received due to the prolonged scandal that is the Meredith Kercher murder case, publicity which the publication attributes directly to me. The article claimed the hate campaign hoped their message would reach me and perhaps prompt a response.
Usually I don’t respond to hateful messages and rather let them speak for themselves. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last time, that I’ve received hateful messages from proud, irrational people. Proud, because their sentiment is automatic defensiveness against legitimate criticism. Irrational, because criticism of the Meredith Kercher murder case scandal usually has nothing to do with these individuals personally and the hate they feel is the expression of irrational emotional investment that is based on impression rather than objective evidence.
There are two reasons I bother to acknowledge these messages of hate in particular. The first is because these individuals claim to represent the feelings of Perugia as a whole. The second is because, while their disagreement with my declaration of innocence is implied, what these individuals choose to explicitly express is not a judgment, but a feeling that is irrelevant, if not impedimentary, to judgment. This is, unfortunately, not a surprise.
Nothing is more expected than to be told I am hated because hate reflects the nature of the Meredith Kercher murder case scandal. Hate, in addition to pride, is one of the few things that can explain the prosecution’s biased investigation and persecution of Raffaele and me despite a distinct lack of objective evidence incriminating us and a distinct abundance of objective evidence incriminating a single, separate person: Rudy Guede. Whether they mean to or not, these Perugia Vi Odia people, who bear their emotions on placards, are helping me and the world to understand what has really happened in this case.
Colpevolisti (“guilters”) lose their credibility once they reveal that their stance is founded upon irrational emotion rather than objective evidence. Justice cannot be expected to result from thinking tainted by pride and hate.
I know for a fact that not everyone in Perugia hates me or believes I’m guilty. My family and I have received tremendous support from many Italians and Perugians in the form of verbal and written messages of sympathy and solidarity, legal and linguistic assistance, generous hospitality, and friendship.
Ironically, Perugia Vi Odia simply reminds me of the part of Perugia they don’t represent. My love extends to the clear-headed, compassionate, and generous Perugia that my family and I came to know throughout my wrongful persecution and imprisonment at the hands of certain proud and hateful authorities, empowered by certain proud and hateful individuals.
Perugia, ti voglio bene.
It has been claimed that, in this most recent round of closing arguments and in interviews since the latest guilty verdict, Raffaele and his defense attorneys have finally betrayed their resentment and started to put distance between him and me legally and personally.
This is not the case. Actually, Attorney Bongiorno’s closing arguments and Raffaele’s latest statements pinpoint and attack a fundamental weakness in the prosecution’s case against both Raffaele and me that has been ignored for far too long: Raffaele is not a slave.
The prosecution’s case relies upon the idea that the brutal murder of Meredith Kercher hinges upon me: that only I could have facilitated access to her; that only I could have had motive to instigate the assault and plunge in the knife. As for Raffaele, because he had only just met Meredith and had never met Rudy Guede, the prosecution tried to depict him as both predisposed to violent sexual fetish and absolutely subservient to a dominant female companion. They cited his habit of carrying a pocketknife (which did not correspond with Meredith’s stab wounds), his Japanese comic book collection (which included girl-power Sailor Moon), an incident at school when he was caught viewing porn, and the one Marilyn Manson song on his computer. Because he was present and supportive of me in the immediacy of the discovery of the murder and because my surviving roommates had described us as piccioncini (“lovebirds”—a far cry from the dominatrix/slave), the prosecution assumed and pursued the theory of Raffaele’s unquestioning devotion/obsession with me.
The prosecution has sustained this theory for years even when, to begin with, the case was convoluted and objectively baseless, especially against Raffaele. An unreliable trace of Raffaele’s DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp. A partial bloody footprint on a bathmat that more closely corresponds with Rudy Guede’s footprints. The unreliable testimony of a homeless, heroin-using serial witness who claims to have seen Raffaele and I in Piazza Grimana between 9-11:30 p.m. the night of the murder. That’s the entire case against him.
In a recent email exchange, Raffaele expressed his frustration to me: “I don’t want to be punished for, nor have to continue to justify, those things that regard you and not me. Obviously the evidence demonstrates both of our innocence, but it seems that for the judges and the people this objectivity is of no importance.” The point being that the prosecution’s case is founded upon unreliable and irrelevant circumstantial evidence that most often has nothing to do with Raffaele at all. As tenuous as the case is against me, it is illogical and unfair that Raffaele should be held legally answerable for it. No judicial panel in their right mind can determine guilt beyond a reasonable doubt for Raffaele based on the objective evidence specifically related to him that the prosecution presented in court.
Raffaele’s experience of surviving injustice, documented courageously and honestly in his memoir Honor Bound, has been uniquely traumatic and desperate. Part of that struggle has been having to come to terms with the fact that his judicial system has disregarded him as an individual who is capable of self-determination and owed the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise.
Raffaele has plenty of reason for resentment, but not against me. The only reason he has been dragged into this is because he happens to be my alibi. He is collateral damage in the unreasonable, irresponsible, and unrelenting scapegoating of the prosecution’s grotesque caricature that is “Foxy Knoxy”.
To everyone who has expressed concern and support for my family and me:
Thank you. Despite this terribly difficult and bewildering time, I’m so comforted by your words of support, by your outcry for justice and search for the truth, by your belief in me.
Please know that, after going through this persecution for years, I’ve developed a store of inner fortitude. It’s a feeling of steadiness despite the storm, kind of like earning your sea-legs. I hold onto that steadiness, but that doesn’t mean I know what to do. I’m still in shock. I don’t know what the future has in store for me, what I will and will not be able to do. It’s hard to even know what I’m up against, what could be motivating this verdict that’s so clearly wrong and unfounded. Because of this, it’s hard to know what I, or anyone, can do. I hope that people who know the case and who know the justice system will step up and testify as to how this is happening and what we can do about it, not just for my sake, but for the sake of other wrongfully convicted, and for our society. I hope journalists will give them the opportunity to voice themselves.
In the meantime, I’m grateful to everyone for the love, compassion, understanding, friendship, support, generosity, and empathy you’ve shown me. It makes a world of difference.
First and foremost it must be recognized that there is no consolation for the Kercher family. Their grief over Meredith’s terrible murder will follow them forever. They deserve respect and support.
I am frightened and saddened by this unjust verdict. Having been found innocent before, I expected better from the Italian justice system. The evidence and accusatory theory do not justify a verdict of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Rather, nothing has changed. There has always been a marked lack of evidence. My family and I have suffered greatly from this wrongful persecution.
This has gotten out of hand. Most troubling is that it was entirely preventable. I beseech those with the knowledge and authority to address and remediate the problems that worked to pervert the course of justice and waste the valuable resources of the system: overzealous and intransigent prosecution, prejudiced and narrow-minded investigation, unwillingness to admit mistake, reliance on unreliable testimony and evidence, character assassination, inconsistent and unfounded accusatory theory, and counterproductive and coercive interrogation techniques that produce false confessions and inaccurate statements.
Clearly a wrongful conviction is horrific for the wrongfully accused, but it is also terribly bad for the victim, their surviving family, and society.
UPDATE – 6 February 2014
The Nencini Verdict. In original Italian. 30 Jan 2014.
To my visitors, commentators, and subscribers,
You are immensely appreciated. Thank you for enriching the content of this site with your knowledge and views. The purpose of this site is to offer 1st source documentation, empirical evidence, and resources surrounding the Meredith Kercher murder case, raise awareness of other miscarriages of justice, and promote discussion of differing views to help anyone and everyone get to the bottom of the truth. I believe we all benefit from everyone’s ability to pinpoint specific objects of inquiry, criticism, and reflection.
None of the views we express are above peer review. Our choice to express them and how to express them also acts as evidence of our state of mind, our awareness of objective evidence, our biases, and our intentions toward each other.
With that in mind, I wanted to clarify some of my housekeeping methods for this site. I receive notice of many more comments than make it to the discussion board, and there have been differing views expressed about my motivations for allowing some comments and not others. Here I will attempt to describe the qualifications I generally have in mind.
I delete all spam.
I delete any comment that requests information that doesn’t correspond with the post and subsequent discussion. For instance, if you’d like to ask me about WordPress or inform me of a technical or material problem or lack on the site, please contact me at [email protected]
I receive enormous quantities of messages of support and encouragement. I’m so grateful for your well wishes, but if I posted them all, the discussion boards would be flooded and difficult to follow. I do take them all to heart.
I do allow what some would define as controversial commentary. I do so because I believe it is important to not be reticent about certain arguments and allow, as stated above, differing views so that they may be peer reviewed. I do not determine whether or not to allow a comment based on whether or not I agree with it.
I’m sorry for the technical difficulties I’ve had with my RSS feed. I’m learning as I go along and will fix it asap!
thank you, everyone,
To everyone who can speak Italian and/or has the patience to decipher Google translations, here are the transcriptions of the Kercher’s attorneys’ and my attorneys’ closing arguments. These occurred on the 16th and 17th of December 2013, respectively.
16 Dec 2013 - Closing arguments by civil attorneys E. Vieri Fabiani, Serena Perna, & Francesco Maresca for the Kercher family. Original Italian.
17 Dec 2013 - Closing arguments by defense attorneys Luciano Ghirga & Carlo Dalla Vedova for Knox. Original Italian.
Thank you again to everyone who is taking the time to look into this case.
For everyone’s convenience, I’ve started taking notes on these closing arguments, starting with the civil attorneys for the Kercher family. I haven’t made it all the way through (it’s emotionally difficult), but here, so far, are the arguments of this civil party:
Guede was definitively found guilty of having committed murder with accomplices. There is no reasonable alternative for who Guede’s accomplices might have been.
Knox was definitively found guilty of having committed slander. The slander is connected to the murder. It is further proof of her involvement because it was an attempt to lead the investigation astray.
Sollecito’s claim that his DNA on the bra clasp was the result of contamination is phoney. The contamination doesn’t exist.
Sollecito always carried a pocket knife with him, and he did the night of the murder. It was just never found.
Even if there’s the minimal chance that the DNA on the blade isn’t Meredith’s, it is the DNA of someone whose throat was cut with the knife.
Knox knew that the violence was perpetrated by a person of color. She accused Lumumba instead of Guede because she wanted to lead the investigation astray from her companion and his apartment.
Knox knew that Meredith screamed.
Knox knew that Meredith’s throat had been cut.
Knox knew that there was blood everywhere and that Meredith’s body had been covered.
The independent review of the forensic evidence is not the principle proof of guilt because it is subject to diverse interpretation.
The principle proof of guilt is the congruence of the circumstantial evidence.
There is no valid and reasonable alternative to the evidence of guilt.
The motive is irrelevant because the will to murder has been amply demonstrated.
The claim that Guede committed the murder alone is not sustainable.
The criminal act occurred after the consumption of drugs. A light drug is enough to diminish one’s inhibitions.
Knox does not share the same sensuality as Meredith. Knox takes sex to the extreme.
Knox and Sollecito needed to consume drugs.
The murder was committed by more than one person because so many wounds were inflicted against Meredith in the seconds that the assault lasted.
Knox, Sollecito, and Guede are persons of strong criminal capacity when their inhibitions are dropped, even if they don’t seem so.
They didn’t comprehend what brought them to commit such a horrible act such that they removed it from their minds and convinced themselves that they didn’t commit it.
Here is the English Translation of my defense’s closing arguments.
Please look into Judges for Justice, a new organization founded by my friend Judge Michael Heavey. Judges for Justice advocates for the sake of the wrongfully convicted thanks to the collective efforts of concerned judicial professionals.
Happy New Year!
Cassandra Stubbs, Guilty Until Proven Innocent?, ACLU, 22 May 2012
Robert Lewis, Guilty Until Proven Innocent, WNYC, 17 Sep 2013
Natalie Swaby, Washington Man Exonerated After Decade in Prison, KTVB.com, 24 Dec 2013
Bert Burykill, Guilty Until Proven Innocent, VICE, 27 Dec 2013