'If there's no evidence against her, she's obviously guilty.'
For months we have waited for the Italian appellate court in Florence to provide its “motivations” for their startling decision to overturn the unanimous October 2011 innocent verdicts of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. The appellate court had the exact same evidence in front of them as did the court which exonerated the two, with the addition of several pieces of evidence that even further bolstered the innocence of Knox and Sollecito. But unimaginably, the Florence court (apparently at the behest of the Italian Court of Cassation) convicted them. And all it took was the suspension of natural law.
The motivation document (in Italian jurisprudence) attempts to explain the decision of the court. This document is in, and after hearing only the first assertion of the translated report, I can tell you that just that one argument has convinced me. Guilty is the proper verdict. I have never seen a more convincing, clear and irrefutable document. “Guilty” of a crime which still victimizes Meredith Kercher and her family. Guilty of a crime which is as old as mankind itself, and tears at the fabric of society: The court of Alessandro Nencini is guilty of Judicial Corruption.
The “motivation” document produced by Judge Nencini alleges that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were able to do something that no criminal in the history of mankind has ever before been able to accomplish: Selectively clean up their own invisible DNA, leaving only the DNA of the man they wished to “frame.” To do so, they obviously had to possess the power to see DNA with their naked eyes, know whose it was (something the first Italian court famously couldn’t do with microscopes), and remove only their own. And most importantly, they had to clean the DNA from a bloody room without leaving a mark where the blood had been disturbed. This is like removing the underlying primer coat from a car’s paint without disturbing the paint job itself. It’s like doing a heart transplant through a sweat gland. It’s like removing Jesus from DaVinci’s masterpiece, “The Last Supper,” without anybody noticing. Even Batman’s foes never achieved this level of sophistication. You have to give Amanda and Raffaele credit for ingenuity. Or the Italian court credit for imagination.
Here is a rough translation of the court's logic with my underlined comments.
"It has been much discussed, especially by the defense of the defendants, whether a “selective” clean-up of the crime scene is possible by the authors of the crime. This possibility was denied on the basis of the empirical impossibility of a “naked eye” to identify and select the singular traces, often invisible, to destroy. It was also excluded that someone in the cottage of Via della Pergola, on the night between November 1st and 2nd, 2007, after having committed the murder of Meredith Kercher, could “selectively clean” the traces left by the authors of the crime, destroying all of the traces of the defendants in question, and leaving at the crime scene all of those traces that would have lead investigators to Rudy Hermann Guede."
[Translation: Yes, we have heard for years that selective cleaning of DNA at a crime scene is an "impossibility," and people simply can't "see" DNA with the naked eye. We get that. But then how is it possible that Amanda and Raffaele's DNA weren't present at the place they killed Meredith?]
"The affirmation, if apparently agreeable theoretically, must be correlated with the case in question, of which there are certain peculiarities."
[Translation: Even if it's theoretically impossible, we must look at this impossibility in relation to this case.]
" It is peculiar, for example, that no traces of Amanda Marie Knox were found in the cottage of Via Della Pergola if not those which are refer-able to the murder."
[Translation: It is peculiar that no traces of Amanda Knox were found in the cottage in which she lived. That would be peculiar if the statement was true--but it's not. There were many traces of Amanda in the cottage--that were admitted into evidence. Just none in the victim's room where the murder occurred. How he can get away with that lie is a mystery.]
"The Court retains that in fulfilling its duty, it must limit itself to a reasoning that is founded upon objective facts;"
[Just not SCIENTIFIC facts]
"An argument characteristically objective that emerged procedurally was evidence that, after the murder of Meredith Kercher, selective or not, there was a clean-up of the traces of the murder, and a maneuvering of the body of poor Meredith into a position (between the armoire and the wall of the room and covered by a duvet)"
[None of which is supported by a scintilla of physical evidence or testimony]
"...that certainly doesn’t correspond with the position in which the girl died, at the end of the aggressive phase. Someone spent much time within the cottage on the night between November 1st and 2nd, 2007, altering the crime scene and destroying numerous traces."
[Without leaving evidence of doing so.]
"The evidence provided by the Scientific Police proves this incontestable truth, which the reasoning must take into consideration."
[Translation: Amanda and Raffaele, if they killed Meredith, would have left behind evidence of their presence. But no evidence of their presence was there. This is a problem. So....]
1. Either it is possible (against scientific fact) to selectively clean DNA, or Amanda and Raffaele are innocent.
2. We have already decided that Amanda and Raffaele are guilty.
3. Therefore, the only conclusion left is that it MUST be possible to selectively clean DNA from a crime scene.
Extra credit: Without using blood stains of the victim; locate 3 separate DNA profiles in this photo (identify DNA donor by first and last name), circle their location. Show your work. You have five minutes.
This "logic" is mind-blowing and simply shameful. In order to believe these court motivations, one is required to believe the impossible. This is not an unprecedented requirement in Italian courts. In 2012, a court in L’Aquila, Italy suspended reality and convicted six seismologists of manslaughter for not predicting a killer earthquake. The fact that no earthquake in human history has ever been accurately predicted did not cause the court pause. Or embarrassment. Or shame. The seismologists were sentenced to 6 years in prison, each.
There are only two explanations for arguing the impossible in the motivations: Idiocy or corruption.
I reject the idiocy argument. No human being who possesses the intelligence to study law and rise to sit on a judicial bench, could look at this crime scene and believe the argument of selective and undetectable microscopic cleaning. In fact, I suspect that Nencini, rather than being an imbecile, is quite politically savvy.
No, this is a pre-determined court decision, made in contravention of science and every piece of reliable evidence. What’s the word for that?
Why did they convict? Ah, that’s where the report’s title “Motivations” is a misnomer. For it simply tells us ‘how’ and ‘what’ of the corruption, but not the ‘why.’ Ironically, the “motivations” report ignores the real motivations of the court in framing Amanda and Raffaele. Likely, it involves embarrassment, nationalism, anti-Americanism, money, protectionism or provincialism, or a combination of several. But the ‘why’ is less important than the corruption itself.
The only “idiocy” which manifests itself in this travesty is the belief that the world will look at this decision and not instantly recognize it for what it is—thuggery. It is the kind of idiocy that allows Kim Jung Un to believe that people outside of North Korea accept that he is a beloved leader because his people sing his praises. He hopes we don't notice that they do so at gunpoint. It is the idiocy of a basic underestimation of the reasonableness of the rest of the world. It is also provincialism.
One of the court’s statements says; “It is not believable that a group sexual intercourse had started. This hypothesis is not consistent with the personality of the English girl.” That it was equally (and demonstrably) inconsistent with the personality of the American girl apparently did not matter. It just didn’t register on the court’s Richter scale. This kind of provincialism is Donald Sterling-quality prejudice masquerading as legal jargon. Don't confuse official language with truth. Al Capone gave out business cards which said he was a "Used Furniture Dealer."
The vast majority of Italians with whom I regularly correspond fight for real justice and reject this verdict, hoped it wouldn’t come, but ultimately suspected it might. Likely, they just didn’t expect that it would be this outlandish. They are doing what they can to fight a corrupt system, and I admire them. But there are limits to what you can achieve when one side has the ability to suspend scientific reality at will.
When decisions are repeatedly handed down which fly in the face of science and known fact, and innocents are imprisoned apparently to protect cronies or institutions, it results in an appearance of third-world corruption, or mafia tactics. This primitive, crude and dishonorable verdict is more evidence of a cancer undeserved by the fine people of Italy, a country which was the first to bring the hope of justice for the common man to the entire world.
This unprincipled decision has shaken, and will continue to shake to the core the world’s belief in the justice of Italy's legal system. And we saw it coming. You know, maybe the court in L’Aquila got it right after all. Maybe earthquakes are predictable.
Damage done to Italian courts by L'Aquila earthquake and Knox verdicts.
Recently, the American public has been the eye-witness to a dark and horrible tragedy which sadly, can be attributed to little else but skin color. The Trayvon Martin case.
The formula is painfully obvious by now: Fear that a crime had been committed and the police were going to be of no help, combined with feeling of individual empowerment led to action before all the facts were known. I’m speaking, of course, of the rallies calling for George Zimmerman’s arrest and conviction.
Zimmerman is likely guilty of manslaughter, if not murder. I am NOT arguing that he is innocent. Nor am I arguing that he is guilty. Zimmerman killed because he believed that he was right and didn’t need to wait for the authorities to do what was needed. This is a form of vigilantism. But many in the nationwide rallies are doing the same thing.
I am not surprised that there are people like George Zimmerman around. That’s not the issue in this case; the issue is the failure of a police department to act in a responsible manner, and the drumbeat for Zimmerman’s “arrest and conviction” at rallies around the United States. Calling for arrest, while premature, is understandable. Calling for a conviction is vigilantism. The facts are simply not known. As an FBI agent, even when I knew every fact there was to know; the court still decided whether the person was guilty; not me. This case has become tragically polarizing. It’s like the O.J. Simpson case, where evidence inexplicably appeared to break on lines of race. Both sides are suffering from extremism at their fringes. This case pushes all the standard liberal v. conservative buttons: Guns, race, the South, police, and prejudice. It's an absolute goldmine for people like Al Sharpton and Rush Limbaugh.
While it APPEARS to me that Zimmerman killed Trayvon without any real legal justification, I am troubled by the calls (from people like Al Sharpton) for Zimmerman's conviction and punishment. There is one incontrovertible, undeniable and obvious fact when any person calls for Zimmerman's "conviction": The person who uttered those words has prejudged the case. Prejudge is, of course, the root word for prejudice.
From a law enforcement point of view, it is hard to argue self-defense when Zimmerman appears to have chased down an unarmed man and confronted him in what appears from the phone tapes to be a very aggressive manner. Why he was allowed to possess a concealed weapon after an arrest for assaulting an officer, why he could carry a gun after domestic violence allegations is incomprehensible to me. If I had to make an educated guess, I'd say he's guilty of at least manslaughter and possibly 2nd degree murder. But that's why we have courts and juries. All the facts are not in yet, it has not been before a judge or a jury (all of the things we fight and die for), and nothing is certain. O.J. Simpson was exonerated on much more substantial evidence of his guilt than exists for Zimmerman's guilt.
The point is this: WE JUST DON'T KNOW ALL THE FACTS YET! Even if we did, we're not the jury.
That said, it would be hard to mismanage a case worse than the Sanford Police Department has this one. A man was killed; and there is ample evidence that Zimmerman may have committed a crime, yet nothing was done--not even a cursory investigation, it appears. Even if the police had been pursuing an indictment or arrest, they told nobody. When a case begins to have a life of its own and the public has been given enough facts to feel resentment (justified or not), it is incumbent upon the authorities to completely inform the public on their actions and the reasons for their actions, if for no other reason than to prevent frustration, outrage and mass demonstrations.
However, with the exception of the shooting itself, there is nothing more troubling about this case than the demands from some immoderate people (e.g. Al Sharpton) for Zimmerman's "arrest" and "conviction." Not a thorough investigation; an "arrest and conviction." In the late 1800's and early 1900's, some white Americans in the south, with some regularity, decided that a certain person was guilty of a crime because of half-truths, rumor and skin color. If the police didn't do anything about it, they went out and lynched "the guilty party." These are some of the darkest and most repulsive acts in American history. And they all started with someone deciding on guilt before the courts had a chance to.
If you are right now searching for a label with which to brand me in order to marginalize the value of my words and are considering "racist," let me remind you that I spent nearly half my investigative career on civil rights and hate crimes squads. I was for several years the Los Angeles FBI coordinator for all white supremacist crimes. I was for many months the acting supervisor of all white supremacist investigations in Los Angeles. I lived among the Aryan Nations in Idaho and Washington in the mid-80's during a particularly violent period in their existence.
If you think my rhetoric hyperbolic; know that today, March 27, 2012, the New Black Panther Party has offered a $10,000 reward for the “capture and citizen’s arrest," of George Zimmerman, "dead or alive." Mikhail Muhammad, Southern Regional Director of the New Black Panther Party said today; “It’s time for us as black men to take justice in our own hands,” said the voice of moderation, “You kill mine god-damn it I got to kill yours.” Don't forget the rope, Muhammad.
The NBPP are sick, hateful people. But when people like Al Sharpton call for Zimmerman's conviction, he has in my humble opinion crossed a line into the very reasoning that was so prevalent in the south at the turn of the last century. The formula is the same: You have at least half the facts, a crime was committed wherein a person of your race is the victim and a person of another race is the perpetrator; therefore the alleged perpetrator is convicted in your mind. What else do you need? With few exceptions, the raising of a lynch mob certainly started with the phrase: "We all know he's guilty!" Al Sharpton says all he wants is "justice," which he defines as Zimmerman's conviction. This is frightening to me, but not surprising, as I have long been convinced that Sharpton a racist and an opportunist.
I do not think the rallies per se are problematic. When they simply demand a full and complete investigation they are in the greatest tradition of America. But there is a fine line between a 'rally' and a 'mob.' And it is this: When the rally demands an arrest, they presume to know all the facts. When they demand a conviction, they presume to be judge and jury. Sharpton has called the crime "murder," a legal term which presumes Zimmerman's guilt, and when asked to define what he means by "justice," he said that it included, "arrest," "a fair trial," "conviction," and "punishment" for Zimmerman. Calling for a "fair trial then sentencing" is a self-contradicting statement that originated in the days of the gulags.
In reality, Sharpton has shown himself to be a clone of Zimmerman. Zimmerman made assumptions based on race. Sharpton is making assumptions based on race. Zimmerman may have believed in his mind that he was doing what was best for society, that he was an avenging hero, and that he was ensuring justice. Sharpton seems to believe the same thing about himself. The allegations against Zimmerman are that he thought he knew all the facts he needed to make a life and death decision, that he was a person who had the delusional believe that he was the final arbiter of "justice," and because of that, acted before he really understood the truth.
Who does that sound like to you?