My first thought upon hearing of the exoneration of Amanda Knox was of what Meredith Kercher’s family and friends must be going through.
For all the recent American news stories proclaiming a miscarriage of justice for Amanda Knox, it was a young woman named Meredith Kercher who fell victim to a murderer’s knife.
There can be little doubt that the trial of Amanda Knox for the murder of Meredith Kercher was a mess.
There can be little doubt that no one, sans the murderer(s), will ever know definitively what happened the night Meredith Kercher was killed.
I’ve followed the trial, conviction, and now exoneration on appeal of Amanda Knox mostly because the coverage has been such an over the top example of sexism and sexual repression. Knox isn’t the only woman to face that shit, but if I had a dollar for every time some report on the case mentioned “she-devil” I’d be able to afford living abroad for a year to study Italian. The coverage and the behavior of the prosecution were disgusting.
Not that I think justice has now been done.
I’m uncomfortable with the fact that Knox initially tried to cast blame on her employer, a black man named Patrick Lumumba. Knox claims that police physically assaulted her and that she did not make those statements willingly. As with most of this case, the truth is elusive, but I'm not one to give the same police who messed up every angle of this case the benefit of the doubt. What I do know is that if I had a dollar for every time a black man was blamed for a crime and then later found to not have a damn thing to do with it I’d be able to afford to study abroad for a year in Italy.
With so much of this case left tainted and tangled in rumor, stereotype, and stigma what can we learn from this?
We can learn that convictions by juries, no matter where they take place, are not always accurate.
We can learn that the death penalty requires a certainty that legal cases rarely, if ever, provide. Knox did not face the death penalty in Italy and, now that she is heading home free, we would do well to note that there are Americans on death row with the same kind of flawed convictions…those folks have the misfortune of facing a legal system that errs on the side to the verdict, justice be damned.
We need to acknowledge that, had Knox been convicted in America, the appeal would not have been the same...she would not have been able to retry the case here, only appeal on legal errors. So, if you cheer Amanda Knox being set free you should also mourn our own system where the things that led to her exoneration would have been barred from appeal.
We can learn that sensational bullshit, police brutality, and sexism benefit no one.
Meredith Kercher is dead.
The police have a case with more questions than answers.
Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito are free after years of incarceration.
Rudy Guede, who was convicted of sexual assault and murder in the case and incriminated Knox and Sollecito in exchange for a reduced sentence, will go free in 16 years.