Thursday, 30 January 2014

Knox Guilty, So Now For The Extradition

Now that the Italian court has upheld the guilty verdicts on American Amanda Knox for killing British student Meredith Kercher in 2007, all eyes are on what America will do next with regards to the extradition of the 26 year old to serve her sentence.
Before the verdict Knox said that she would expect the Italian government to approach the US government with a request for her extradition and that she hoped that her government would refuse to extradite her.
'I'm definitely not going back to Italy willingly. They'll have to catch me and pull me back kicking and screaming'.
If President Obama's government decide against extraditing Knox as expected in defiance of the extradition treaty between the two countries, she would be effectively trapped in the USA as she would face arrest and deportation to Italy as most countries are bound to intervene under the rules of the extradition that Italy has with most of the rest of the World, including Canada.
Some US lawyers have argued that having been acquitted in 2011, she would be protected under the US Constitution from being tried twice for the same charge yet this argument has been dismissed as the US-Italy extradition treaty only protects Americans from extradition to face prosecution again in Italy for an offence that has already been dealt with by the US legal system.
President Obama is sure to come under pressure to turn down any extradition request however it would need to weigh this against the blow to co-operation from other Governments when it makes future extradition requests especially in such a high profile case as this.
After the Spying scandal Americas reputation is in the bin so what it does now regarding Amanda Knox could go some way to fixing it or could drive it even further down.


Nog said...

A couple issues that I know of:

1. It's my understanding that there may be a double jeopardy issue, which would be the issue preventing extradition. Even if the treaty doesn't expressly provide for it, "public policy" (in the legal sense) would prevent extraditing someone for a second trial if one resulted in an acquittal. If one of the appeals constituted an acquittal as understood under American Law (or British Law before you guys abandoned reason and justice in 2003), jeopardy would "attach" and a new prosecution would not be allowed.

2. I have tried valiantly, with some success, throughout the entire life of the Knox case to pay as little attention to it as possible. However, from the bit of the portrayal of the case that has seeped through my anti-smut filters, I get the impression that you Brits are doing a shit job of beating in the point that a young, relatively attractive, Anglo-Saxon was the victim of the murder. From the narrative I hear, it seems more like it's those, to be blunt, slightly browner-skinned non-English speaking Southern Europeans against a pretty white girl.

Actually, if there had been a trial in Britain about this, I can't imagine anyone here with half a bit of sense complaining about the outcome (unless you seek to try her twice under your barbaric 2003 law permitting double jeopardy, in which case we'd all go mad).


Unknown said...

It's curious to say that one have tried to pay as little attention as possible, and then emit prejudices with no basis. As Nog has no idea about the matter, because has tried and got not to know about it, simply he/she looks nationality, skin color and language of the characters in this issue and emits his/her sentence.

Lucy said...

Indeed Samuel, he also obviously never read the post properly before emitting either which would have saved himself all that typing about the double jeopardy ruling.

The second point, i'd like to think as he is a student with aspirations of becoming a lawyer, he read back and instantly regretted.

haveaniceday said...

Will USA extradite her or will they protect her as one of their own?
America's reputation as a country that respects the law is on the line.

Nog said...

First off, if Knox got a fare shake (both procedurally and substantively) in the Italian courts, my view would be to extradite her to Italy or Britain or whoever wants her. I have no idea whether she did or she didn't.

There are two issues intertwined with double jeopardy and extradition:

1. Whether the extradition is somehow in direct violation of a treaty.

2. Whether public policy concerns (which is going to be a part of American common law and not in any statute) dictate that, notwithstanding the treaty, an American court should not extradite someone who has previously been acquitted.

You seemed to talk about #1. I was pointing out that #2 may prevent extradition even if #1 allows extradition.

And I wasn't emitting any prejudices. One thing you can do in a legal proceeding if the underlying party on the other side is sympathetic (a murdered British woman) is to recast the dispute as between you and someone less sympathetic (i.e. the Italian legal system). Right or wrong, race, age, sex, attractiveness, and nationality are going to be factors in the sympathy given to a party in a legal proceeding. I didn't make these prejudices, nor do I particularly like them, but they're there and are something that must be dealt with.

It was my point in discussing Kercher's various demographic attributes to illustrated that to the extent that a judge sees what's going on in this recast light, he isn't going to extradite. If anyone wants or is supposed to advocate for the view that the issue is who murdered Kercher and how that person should be punished as opposed to the qualities of the Italian legal system, they have not done a good job here in America. And it's going to be an American judge who watches American news calling making the decision at the extradition hearing.


Cheezy said...

Some fairly bizarre stuff from Nog here, I'm afraid.

I think you might have had it right when you were ignoring it all, mate.

For a start, Meredith Kercher is half-Indian... but I'm buggered if I can work out the relevance of anyone's race here anyway.

And extradite her to Britain? Wtf? There's been no crime committed here!

I couldn't understand much of the rest of what Nog said... (Like, we're doing a shit job of what?), but I might have a strong coffee and give it another go in a bit. Or not.

Anyway, as someone who's had a lot of dealings in Italy lately, I can categorically affirm that the entire place is in a fairly broken state. So I'd hardly put my last shekel on the judiciary having got this (or any) decision correct.

A lengthy extradition fight will no doubt ensure... (extradition not being an automatic consequence of verdicts like this, despite the treaty that allows it).

Lucy said...

I think what Nog was trying to say was that the Brits were doing a shit job of pushing the 'a pretty white girl got killed' angle to gain sympathy and ensure Knox's extradition instead of just relying on 'Amanda Knox was found guilty of a heinous crime against another person' angle.
It's quite disturbing that nog considers using her race as the best way to ensure justice is served.

Cheezy said...

Thanks for trying to clear that up... However...

She wasn't white though! Or 'Anglo Saxon' as he put it...

And even if she had been, I can't think of anything more utterly irrelevant.

I also don't know who he's referring to when he says 'the Brits'? Who over here has been saying she was white and this is why it's important Knox be extradited? I can't think of anyone but I'm keen to see any links that might clear this up...

Lucy said...

We know she wasn't Anglo Saxon but i don't think he was just saying it when he said that he had paid as little attention to it as possible.
He is having a bad innings with this one.

Nog said...

The "shit job" is making the issue about a human being as opposed to a legal system. And saying "a person was murdered" isn't the same as saying "Meredith Kercher was murdered." Who was Meredith Kercher? Why is her murder offensive to everyone in the world other than the fact that she fits the bland Italian statutory criteria for a human? Kercher is a human who should be humanized and put in a sympathetic light.

Everything over here is about: 1) Amanda Knox and 2) the Italian legal system. Knox isn't going to do time unless there is an extradition order signed by an American (not Italian or British) judge who would be subconsciously affected by American (not Italian or British) sentiments.

And again, I'm not making any point about what ought to be considered or what is nominally supposed to be considered. In real life, you can do an excellent job of illustrating those factors that ought to be considered and that are supposed to be considered, and still lose because of those factors that are absolutely not supposed to be considered.

Having some experience in how, in practical settings, being the attractive or local party wins you points and being the unattractive or non-local party loses you points, it is unpleasant to see what looks like the folks trying to get Knox extradited getting hometowned when this should be avoidable by effectively humanizing Kercher.

1. Folks get "hometowned" in courts quite often depending on where you are. Some places are pretty fair, but others will hold it against you even if you're just from the neighboring county, let alone another state or another country. It isn't fair or right. I hate seeing it. It's certainly rough being on the non-hometown side. A couple of years ago, I would have been horrified at being reduced to defend against being hometowned by any method other than saying "well the law says that being a local shouldn't win you any points." But I learned quickly that you've got two choices: 1) play the game or 2) lose. #2 is a whole lot less fun than #1.

If you're getting hometowned, an effective method of reducing the harmful effects of being the out-of-town party is to emphasize your commonalities. That means you may need to suck it up and show a photo montage, etc.

2. Nobody says they're playing the "I'm from here, they're from out of town" card. Nobody says "I'm more attractive so therefore less likely to be guilty/liable." There is no set of written rules on it. Technically, it isn't supposed to matter. But it does matter to some degree almost all of the time.

3. Nobody that I know has sympathy for the Italian justice system. The Italian justice system is in Italian, requiring translators, which are cumbersome. The Italian justice system is a non-common law legal system, which American lawyers (including judges and folks at the state department deciding extradition issues) usually don't like dealing with. And last, but certainly not least, the Italian justice system is not a human being, while Meredith Kercher was.

4. Turning the issue into one about punishing someone for Kercher's murder gets you attractive, female, and the other demographic factors without having to say them. And nobody is going to delve into the factual nuances demographic factors, so having a picture and a name gets you that she's "British" and nobody will care if she's technically half Indian. So just going for "guilty of a heinous crime against another person" is fine. But nobody seems to be doing an effective job of this. I certainly wouldn't show up at a hearing trying to get an extradition order with some old (probably male) Italian legal expert if I could show up with some member of the Kercher family.


Anonymous said...

I think nog is simply pointing out that, like it or not, politics and bias are a part of every criminal proceeding - regardless of venue.

Knox has a lot of things going for her in the USA from this perspective: young, female, attractive, white.

There is a national, cultural bias in the USA to trust her and protect her. Especially with the way we view double jeopardy. Our press is presenting the news in a manner favorable to knox, without trying to. She is being presented as a defenseless, distraught princess that needs to be protected by a knight in shinning armor from an arbitrary and politically motivated italian dragon!


Cheezy said...

Thanks for clearing all of that up, Q.