On June 18, 2013, the Italian Court of Cassation (Supreme Court) in Rome released its 74-page Motivation report to the public. The headlines on two continents screamed “Sex Game Gone Wrong” and I was shocked to see that specter once again raise its ugly head.
There has never been any proof whatsoever that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were involved with the rape and murder of Amanda’s roommate, Meredith Kercher. Meredith died in brutal home invasion in 2007, killed by a local thief, Rudy Guede, in the apartment she shared with Amanda and two young Italian women. Meredith (British) and Amanda (American) were students in a study abroad program at the two universities in Perugia. They had been in Italy less than two months. Amanda’s boyfriend, Raffaele (Italian) was dragged into the fray as collateral damage in order to deprive Amanda of her alibi.
Only the Perugian prosecutors have ever pushed the theory of a sex game in which Meredith was stabbed to death because she would not comply. There never has been any concrete, irrefutable evidence of such a deed and there never has been any concrete, irrefutable evidence that Amanda and Raffaele were involved in any way in this crime.
The only place this scenario exists is in the fevered imaginations of a powerful prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, and his accomplices.
And the tabloid press, of course, who jumped on the word “sex” like the fleas on a dog. The press was absolutely delighted to get the “Sex Game” ball back in their court and they will play it as long as they are able; at least for the next two years as lawyers prepare for the upcoming appeal.
The Motivation is currently being translated but, according to several of my Italian sources, “it reads as if written by the prosecution” and “for all intents and purposes this is a blueprint for a conviction.” So, if this proves to be true, then the Supreme Court agreed with the prosecution and discounts the DNA evidence that exonerates Amanda and Raffaele. They believe that a Sex Game happened and they have dismissed the appalling collection and processing of the Knife and Bra Clasp, the tainted evidence used to tie the students to this heinous crime.
How is anyone to trust such a system? How have the Italians endured under such a system? Many times my Italian friends have explained that “when our system works, it works well.” I shudder to think that this may not be one of these times. That someone in the halls of justice only sees this case as an opportunity to poke a stick at the United States using Amanda, an innocent young woman, who has nothing to do with Guantanamo Bay, the Cavalese Cable Car Disaster or foreign policy.
The appeal court in Florence will host this next trial and supporters of these innocent young adults are left with the unsettling knowledge that justice may not be what these judges are looking for. That they may be looking only to save face. But perhaps, and this is only a fervent wish, perhaps what the appeal court will do is compel a complete independent review of all of the evidence, including the infamous pillow case and the computer hard drives (if they still exist), and then close all legal loopholes to the Perugian prosecutors forever before they send the case back up to the Supreme Court.
I take hope from this excerpt from the motivation:
“…an examination by means of which it will need to be ascertained whether the relative ambiguity of each piece of evidence can be resolved, since in an overall assessment, each piece of evidence is to be added to and integrated with the others.”
One can only hope that the Italians do mean to find justice for Meredith Kercher and her family, but not at the expense of her innocent friends. One can only hope that this case before the Italian court is not a political football.
One can only hope that the Italians will prove to the rest of world how well their legal system does work.