Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Thoughts on the exoneration of Amanda Knox…


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.

Sigh.

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.

And justice?

***cue crickets***

7 comments:

MG said...

I can't believe you are so sure this was a miscarriage of justice. There were jeers outside the courthouse after the verdict because the rest of the world sees things differently. No one outside close contact with the legal proceeding­s can fairly judge if Amanda Knox and Sollecito are guilty or not, yet one thing is certain, this verdict has been swayed by a media campaign supported by people who have no such informed knowledge yet seemingly supported it simply because Amanda Knox is a fellow American. Disgraceful! Since when is that a qualificat­ion for innocence? Is this the American version of justice, pressuring a court with a media circus to get a biased verdict? Not suprising from a country that greviously harms others around the world with impunity, yet gets all self-righteous and indignant when when another country dares hold Americans to account for it. And equally sickening is the US media frothing at the mouth to offer book deals, films, chat show appearances and the rest of it, all on the back of a dead girl brutually murdered. Even if Knox is innocent, she should decline such things soley out of respect for her so-called 'friend.' Whatever happened to moral decency is the USA? I'm not sure I will be able to watch the brainless welcoming cheering crowds that are sure to greet her arrival in the USA without throwing up.

Shark-fu said...

MG...
My post explores how justice was denied in this case, not how Amanda Knox is innocent.

Read it again after your blood pressure levels a bit.

scotlandprincess said...

The Guardian has been writing some articles that do a pretty good job of delineating that ambiguity. The case caught my attention because I studied abroad in college, and I too partied too hard and made some dumb decisions regarding guys and drinking at times, so there has been this "there but for the grace of God" element in there for me.

I've personally always thought she was involved in some way, but whether or not there was intent to murder, or it was just some roommate feud gone too far, will never be figured out.

I think it was good that they kept the conviction for defamation, and sometimes I wonder how that whole debacle would have played out in an American court.

In prison or out of prison, she'll pay for this her whole life, and the rest of it is up to God.

MG said...

My blood pressure is fine, but thank you for your thoughtful concern.

Well in that case you should agree with me, as I am not saying Amanda Knox is guilty but pretty much the same thing as you are saying but from a different angle, that of automatic exoneration by an over patriotic American media and public. Re-read it again after your umbrage has cooled a bit.

Charles Seabrook said...

Speaking as one who once upon a time was set to become a lawyer, I recall puzzling over the facts of a certain case and mentioning this to a very experienced lawyer who was supervising me, and he remarked that you will very rarely ever know exactly what occurred.

Miss Trudy said...

Interesting post and also, interesting comments from readers. I don't know what to think of this case. It has been all too strange. I do know, however, that the parents of the murdered young women will probably never feel that justice has been made for them. I can only begin to imagine their heartbreak and anger, and it is scary to think of parents and family to have to live with that the rest of their lives. As for Ms Knox, whatever her role in the murder was (if any), this case received such scrutiny that she will probably never live it down either.

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, the percentage of whites accused of a crme, going to trial and found "not guilty" is lower than the percentage of blacks found "not guilty".