Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Amanda Knox: Reporter Judy Bachrach who has covered the Knox prosecution intensly for years asks, "How much does Italy owe Amanda Knox?" and answers "a lot."


STORY: "How much does Italy owe Amanda Knox? A lot," by Judy Bachrach, published by Vanity Fair, on April 3, 2015.

GIST: "When I arrived in Perugia, Italy, after the body of Meredith Kercher had been found, in what was described as “a lake of blood,” in November 2007, the air was thick with rumors.  “The investigation has been botched,” an Italian journalist informed me straight away.  As it turned out almost everything about the murder investigation that landed Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito behind bars for nearly four years was botched.........Now that the results of that botched investigation have been definitively voided, the question is: How much? How much does Italy owe two young people imprisoned for a murder in which there was no credible motive, no credible evidence, and no credible witnesses? The money question is not far-fetched. The families of both Knox and Sollecito have indicated they will seek damages. And why shouldn’t they collect after all they’ve been through? To cover her defense the Knox family mortgaged their house and drained retirement funds. Every year Italy pays around 12 million euros to those who have been imprisoned and then later exonerated, as CNN reported.  Even more to the point, as I observed for Vanity Fair, more than a year before Knox was convicted of killing Kercher, there was never a strong case against the American student. She was 20 at the time with no record of violence. And those in authority knew as much. Lacking hard evidence, their judgments were consistently stuffed with irrelevancies.........None of this vitriol was supported by the evidence. Here are the facts: Kercher’s bra clasp, initially supposed to bear Sollecito’s DNA, was allowed to languish at the crime scene for 46 days before it was collected as evidence. During that time, as footage of the scene indicates, it somehow managed to move almost five feet across the victim’s room. As evidence it was worthless. As one judge—a lone fair-minded dissenter in earlier days—observed: “It cannot be ruled out that the results obtained derive from environmental contamination and/or contamination in some phase of the collection and/or handling of the item.” The eyewitness whose testimony helped secure an early conviction for Knox and Sollecito—he claimed to have seen them out in a piazza on the night of the murder, at a time when they claimed they were together in Sollecito’s apartment (though he couldn’t quite remember what night that was)—was a homeless heroin addict. As a result of all this incompetence, vilification, and media madness, two patently innocent people lost their youth. For that, they deserve a lot of money—maybe not only from Italy. But it will never be enough. A kitchen knife police found at Sollecito’s apartment, which was presented as the murder weapon, supposedly bearing the DNA of both Kercher and Knox, was ultimately discarded as proof of the couple’s guilt when the test that initially identified Kercher’s DNA on the blade was shown to be invalid. The Perugia forensics team that went through the crime scene examining Kercher’s belongings didn’t, after collecting each item, always follow procedure by changing plastic gloves. ercher’s bra clasp, initially supposed to bear Sollecito’s DNA, was allowed to languish at the crime scene for 46 days before it was collected as evidence. During that time, as footage of the scene indicates, it somehow managed to move almost five feet across the victim’s room. As evidence it was worthless. As one judge—a lone fair-minded dissenter in earlier days—observed: “It cannot be ruled out that the results obtained derive from environmental contamination and/or contamination in some phase of the collection and/or handling of the item. For that, they deserve a lot of money—maybe not only from Italy; But it will never be enough."
 The entire commentary can be found at:
http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/04/how-much-italy-owe-amanda-knox?mbid=social_twitter
  
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
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The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
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Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;