Déjà Vu: U.S.A. vs Italy ‘Double Jeopardy’ Extradition Fight on Horizon as Italy’s Highest Court to Rule in Amanda Knox Case

AMANDA

Italy’s high court set to rule on Amanda Knox case

Italy’s highest court on Wednesday took up the appeal of Amanda Knox’s murder conviction, more than seven years after the American was accused in the brutal killing of her British roommate in Perugia.

The decision is likely to spark a U.S. versus Italy extradition battle that would call into play the American legal system’s “double jeopardy” rule.

“To date, the high-profile legal saga of Knox and Sollecito has produced flip-flop guilty-then innocent-then guilty verdicts, polarizing observers in three nations.”

The court will consider the fate of a “very worried” Knox, according to her attorney, as judges decide whether the former undergraduate student’s convictions and 28 ½-year sentence should stand. The court also will decide on the 25-year sentence of Knox’s ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, who was also convicted in the murder of  21-year-old British student  Meredith Kercher.

“Knox has been portrayed alternately as a victim of a botched investigation and shoddy Italian justice, or a promiscuous predator who falsely accused a Congolese bar owner of the murder.”

Kercher was found dead Nov. 2, 2007, in the apartment she shared with Knox in the idyllic hillside town of Perugia, where both women were studying. Her throat was slashed and she had been sexually assaulted.

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“Amanda is innocent.”

— Luciano Ghirga, attorney for Amanda Knox

Suspicion quickly fell on Knox and Sollecito, who were arrested in the days after the murder. The couple denied involvement and said they had spent the evening at Sollecito’s place watching a movie, smoking pot and making love.

They were found guilty by a trial court in Perugia in 2009, but freed in 2011 after an appellate court overturned the convictions.

They found themselves back in an appellate court after the Court of Cassation vacated the acquittals in 2013 in a harsh rebuke of the Perugia chief appellate judge’s reasoning.

APTOPIX Amanda Knox_Cham

“Some legal experts say the U.S. Constitution’s ‘double jeopardy’ ban on being tried twice for the same offense after an acquittal would stand in Knox’s favor, and that U.S. courts would frown on her having been tried in absentia.”

To date, the high-profile legal saga of Knox and Sollecito has produced flip-flop guilty-then innocent-then guilty verdicts, polarizing observers in three nations. Knox has been portrayed alternately as a victim of a botched investigation and shoddy Italian justice, or a promiscuous predator who falsely accused a Congolese bar owner of the murder.

Now, Italy’s highest court could decide to confirm the convictions, throw out the convictions and order a third appeal trial or, less likely, it could overturn both convictions without ordering a retrial, which would be tantamount to an acquittal.

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“Others argue the very existence of an extradition treaty implies that the United States accepts the Italian justice system, strengthening the case for extradition.”

A decision by the judges to confirm the convictions would then raise questions of extradition for Knox since she is free in the U.S. That verdict would then divert attention from Italy’s judicial process to a matter of diplomatic ties.

According to Business Insider, some legal experts say the U.S. Constitution’s “double jeopardy” ban on being tried twice for the same offense after an acquittal would stand in Knox’s favor, and that U.S. courts would frown on her having been tried in absentia.

Others argue the very existence of an extradition treaty implies that the United States accepts the Italian justice system, strengthening the case for extradition.

If Italy were to make an extradition request, it would likely be granted, Julian Ku, a professor of international law at Hofstra University, told The New York Times.

U.S. State Department officials say they are monitoring the case, Business Insider reports.

Knox, who has maintained her innocence throughout, was awaiting the ruling in her hometown of Seattle. She is “worried, very worried,” said her attorney…(read more)

Fox News

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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