Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Few Brief Points About the Amanda Knox Trial

1. The prosecutor in the case called Knox a "demonic, satanic, diabolical she-devil." Earlier he had, according to a defense attorney, suggested that Meredith Kircher's death was part of a satanic ritual. That being the case, it surely seems relevant that back in 2001 this same prosecutor "proposed that the suicide of a Perugian doctor was actually a murder committed by a satanic cult, practicing since the Middle Ages, that demanded human organs for their Black Masses." Perhaps the American press was not aware of this fact, but the Italian press should have raised it instead of allowing themselves to be led around by the nose.

2. In a year in which we have learned a lot about differences between the American legal system and those of France and Italy, here's one that hasn't gotten much attention: The issue of whether to believe the DNA evidence was settled cleanly and quickly (albeit four years late) by court-appointed independent experts. If this is a practice followed in the US, I have never heard of it. We rely instead on an adversarial system, where my expert is pitted against your expert and jurors are supposed to decide which one to believe. Perhaps we should give some thought to the possibility that this is not the most effective way of finding the truth.

3. If you're ever arrested in a foreign country, do what they told me to do when I was in the Soviet Union: speak English and don't answer any questions until someone from the Embassy arrives.

4. The inimitable Nancy Grace said she knew all along that the Italians would never convict someone as cute as Amanda Knox. What a horrible woman. There are some journalists who make the public better informed, and others who make it stupider. Guess which group I think Nancy Grace belongs to.

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