Amanda Knox, Innocent or Guilty?

Is Amanda Knox...

Guilty?
4
20%
Guilty?
4
20%
Innocent?
6
30%
Innocent?
6
30%
 
Total votes: 20
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Glaucon
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Re: Amanda Knox, Innocent or Guilty?

Postby Glaucon » Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:21 pm

Right. Let's judge a country's legal system by some of it's less sane verdicts:

Here is one:

Early on the morning of July 7, 2001, a prankster dumped detergent into Canal Park's Fountain of Wind in Duluth, Minn., creating a mountain of bubbles. Several hours later, passerby Kathy Kelly walked into the suds and slipped into the fountain, sustaining a laceration to her left lower shin. Due to her diabetes the cut later became infected, resulting in $43,000 of medical expenses.

Kelly sued the city because it had not cleaned up the suds or posted warning signs, despite the fact that municipal workers had received a call concerning the hazard some four hours earlier. In March 2004, a jury found the city 70 percent responsible and Kelly 30 percent responsible for the injury, awarding $125,000 to the plaintiff. The fountain is now encircled by a railing.


And I could list dozens of others (people on the internet are nice enough to make lists).

And judging a country by it's previous leader? W...

Apparently, the US legal system really sucks. And so, everyone convicted there must be innocent.

But thank you for illustrating what most of you lot base your judgment regarding a very complicated legal case on. :problem:
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Re: Amanda Knox, Innocent or Guilty?

Postby Anarch Allegiere » Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:28 pm

Pretty sure the US takes the cake when it comes to absurd court case rulings and corrupt politics. So I don't see how the US can point their fingers at Italy. Italy is US-light when it comes to all those things.
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Re: Amanda Knox, Innocent or Guilty?

Postby DarbyDollinger » Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:29 pm

I think we can all agree that Europe is a corrupt and decadent continent.

o/
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Re: Amanda Knox, Innocent or Guilty?

Postby Leah » Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:36 pm

It is important to understand that the US Civil Law System and the US Criminal Law System are not the same.

They have different standards of proof (such that someone who is acquitted in a Criminal court could actually be found guilty in a Civil court), different punishments (a Civil court cannot send you to jail), completely different sets of judges, procedures, etc.

The case you are citing, Glaucon, is a civil case. The case I was citing was an actual criminal case that resulted in a criminal record.

Civil Judgments don't do anything to your record. You don't end up on a sex offender list, you don't end up with a felony popping up on your record, and you can't be sentenced to death or jail time in a Civil Court of Law. All Civil Courts do is handle monetary compensation.

Again, the burden of proof is different, Civil Courts rely on precedent to determine their rulings (in most cases, Louisiana Civil Courts are not necessarily bound to that because we do not have Common Law here), and never actually deal with criminal codes. The Civil Codes and Criminal Codes are totally different. You really can't compare the two.

While it is true that anyone can sue anyone in this country for any reason (or no reason at all - no kidding, they don't read the Petitions until it goes to a Judge), that doesn't mean it will hold up in court. Everyone who works in Civil Law knows that putting something before a Jury Trial heavily, HEAVILY favors the plaintiffs because juries tend to side with the "little guy" instead of the "big bad company/governmental entity." Quite honestly, the city was stupid as hell to put that before a jury and should have settled.

Edited to Add: Also, there is no "guilty or innocent" verdict in a Civil Court and there is no "double jeopardy" restriction. Most of what foreigners hear about "court judgments" are actually Civil judgments that don't pass through the criminal legal system. Remember - the only things that our Criminal system handles are criminal offenses. The Civil Courts handle everything else - Divorces, child custody, property disputes, wills, successions (i.e. when someone dies and their estate must be handled), lawsuits over traffic accidents, medical malpractice, etc.

An interesting anecdote, if you are involved in a car accident in Texas, the police who respond to the scene will assign blame on their police report. For the purposes of a civil lawsuit regarding that accident, you are either responsible or you are not. In Louisiana, however, the courts can (and usually do) overrule what the responding officer put down and assign something called "comparative fault." It basically says that even if you were not at actual fault for something, had you had better reactions or done something differently, you could have avoided the accident so therefore you share the blame - even if the other party broke laws or acted recklessly. lol
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Re: Amanda Knox, Innocent or Guilty?

Postby Glaucon » Thu Feb 06, 2014 6:25 pm

I am not going to go look for it, but I am sure I could find a ludicrous and fairly recent criminal justice verdict pronounced somewhere in the USA as well. That silliness with the scientists won't stand, most likely. It is political, and Italians are less rational when it comes to politics (same might be said for Americans). But one example doesn't mean anything. Show me some study or statistic that somehow shows that Italy has a crappy criminal justice system, and I will be forced to agree. But I doubt you'll find it anywhere.

I will say one thing for Americans: most are less likely to consider Italy a crazy country because of it's previous leader. But that is mostly because the majority has never eve heard of Silvio.

@ Leah: General point: Most likely, knowledge of DNA has made criminal justice more exact. But that doesn't mean that there was no such thing as conclusive evidence before. And the majority of the cases of proven wrongful convictions were about more than just the lack of this sort of forensic science.

You may have noticed that I didn't bring up the knife among my reasons for thinking that there was indeed enough proof to convict. I can't deny that the police and the magistrate in charge made serious mistakes. Their insistence that the knife they had found was the murder weapon was one of those, I think.

You know what? Debating this and reading some more about it is making me start to feel a lot less certain. Sure, the stories and the actions of the pair don't hold up (and no, not all of those inconsistent statements were made within just a few hours, the later statements didn't add up either). But that is not proof. When I try to reason it out, logically, there does need to be proof linking the pair to Guede and the crime-scene, and the DNA evidence may be crucial for that. Like the boy's DNA on the bra clasp, and Kercher's on the knife. Maybe that DNA evidence is more essential than I had realized, which would mean that your objections are more relevant than I had realized before.

However, the claim that it is somehow really significant that they didn't find the DNA of Knox in that room is clearly BS. For all we know, she could have been standing at the doorway looking in when the murdered and the attempted break-up staging went on. You don't automatically leave detectable amounts of DNA just by standing still in a room. And given that the Italian investigators were fairly 'shoddy' (missing key evidence at first and later making those procedural errors), there may well have been something there that they missed.
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Re: Amanda Knox, Innocent or Guilty?

Postby Leah » Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:26 pm

But that's kind of the point, Glaucon. It isn't actually about whether Knox is innocent or not - at least, not in the US courts. In the US courts, it's about reasonable doubt. Every fuckup and mistake that the State makes while processing a scene, every test that doesn't match the state's theory, etc, goes towards reasonable doubt. If the fuckups are bad enough, the judge can simply throw the case out, because the Prosecution has essentially shot themselves in the foot.

It is not, and never has been, on the shoulders of the Defendant to prove their innocence. It is, and always has been, on the shoulders of the Prosecution to prove guilt. All the Defendant is supposed to have to do is provide reasonable doubt. This is why we have something called "innocent until proven guilty," which I think you referenced in the Woody Allen thread?

While it is true that there is some circumstantial evidence in this case, and that Knox gave conflicting testimony at the time, the fact that the DNA points straight away from her would be pretty damning of the Prosecution's case in the US system.
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Re: Amanda Knox, Innocent or Guilty?

Postby Danika Stenvaag » Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:58 pm

Whoa, calm down James Brown.

This is how you argue Leah and draw assumptions:

Leah wrote::-\ It disturbs me that you're basing your information off a damn TV show.

I guess I shouldn't really be surprised, though.


Leah wrote:I am just...kind of flabbergasted that you don't seem to understand...


Leah wrote:The focus of my Bachelor's was Forensics. Go back to playing with your daddy's money, sweetcheeks. :thumbup:


Leah wrote:No, you're just kind of a bitch. You were the one who decided to get shitty about the whole thing, call me names and put me down. If I responded in kind, it's your own fucking fault. :wave: And quit the pity party. "Oh woe is me, people think I'm stupid." If you want people to stop thinking you're an idiot, stop acting like one.


Leah wrote:Unless you're psychic or a trained psychologist, you're full of shit. You don't know a fucking thing.


Harsh words. As I said before, I don't watch TV and have never watched CSI. I'm not throwing any pity parties any time soon. I don't think my presenting facts and my thoughts on this matter is "my fucking fault" [sic] or makes me an "idiot" [sic]. Yet, according to you, my personal opinion is “full of shit” [sic] and I “don’t know a fucking thing” [sic]... And of course you included all the little patronizing head slapping emotes...

And this is what started it... I posted a disagreement with your comments that DNA samples are collected and stored in plastic bags at the crime scene. I rang the school bell, said you were wrong and you had to stay after school. Playful enough poke. It was said light heartedly but I did disagree with you. I said DNA samples collected by investigators are stored in paper bags or envelopes at the crime scene. Yet you were gravely insulted:

Danika Stenvaag wrote:Bzzzzt! Nope, you’re wrong! Stay after school. This is CSI Science 101. DNA is a double helix. It looks pretty complex, but it's really made of only four nucleotides. It only takes a few cells to get enough DNA information to identify a suspect with near certainty. So what happens is when investigators find a little bit of evidence, like a spec of blood, saliva on a cig butt, toothpick, postage stamp, partial fingernail with a teensy weensy bit of scraped skin, that’s enough. Then investigators place it in a paper bag or envelope, not in a plastic bag!!!! This is important coz plastic bags retain moisture, which can damage DNA. Direct sunlight and warmer conditions can also damage DNA, so officers try to keep biological materials at room temperature.

As for Amanda Knox, she's hiding something, covering up. She's lying.


So we went back and forth and you insisted you knew what you were talking about and threw up a big smoke screen and lots of red herrings the way Ann Coulter likes to argue, going on and on about what goes on with analysis and all the scenarios and all I had done was simply correct you on an error about how the DNA samples were stored at the crime scene, nothing more. You went way off topic.

So I said:

Danika Stenvaag wrote:What I was saying was DNA evidence collected at a crime scene by investigators is normally put into paper bags or envelopes, not plastic. Plastic bags retain moisture, which can damage DNA. Direct sunlight and warmer conditions can also damage DNA. That's why paper should be used at the crime scene.


And you Leah said this:

Leah wrote:It's actually very important for the integrity of DNA evidence that items be placed in plastic bags, not paper ones.



And I corrected you and you got pissed off.

I told you I did a random google search and found all kinds of articles that back up what I'm saying. Here's one for example:

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Latest-News-Wires/2011/0726/Amanda-Knox-appeal-gets-support-with-DNA-analysis-VIDEO

Part of that article said this:

One of the two experts, Stefano Conti, cited dozens of cases of forensic police entering the crime scene or coming into contacts with objects there not wearing protective equipment such as masks or hair caps. He said that while evidence should be wrapped in paper or kept in a paper bags, police often used plastic bags, heightening the risk of contamination.


So the experts are saying the opposite of what you said, Leah, they used plastic when they should have used paper bags...

You refuse to own up to that, Leah.

The rest was simply my opinion. I don’t state it as fact. You can disagree. It’s ok. We’re stating our opinions here on the OP. My opinion was this:

Danika Stenvaag wrote:As for Amanda Knox, she's intelligent, she's a cool customer, and watching her talk, all my female instincts also tell me she's lying about something. I admit, it's harder to tell when someone has sociopathic tendencies, but I usually can still tell. Hanging out with my friends, I usually know when someone is holding back or telling a lie and I find out later I was right about my feelings. I can't say it's scientific, but the OP is about opinion, innocent or guilty... I'm not saying Amanda Knox did any killing. I'm saying she's holding something back, hiding something, covering up. I know it. She's caught up in this.


Your opinion of my opinion was this:

Leah wrote:Unless you're psychic or a trained psychologist, you're full of shit. You don't know a fucking thing.


That said, here’s some more of my opinion... I do think there are some issues with the Italian judicial system - and yes, some of their political leaders. But... we here in the USA also have our issues and problems with our own judicial system and wacky politicians and it’s hypocritical of us to point fingers at other countries while ignoring the log in our own eye. And the USA expects other countries to extradite those charged or convicted (Snowden anyone?) back to the USA and yet Amanda Knox’s conviction in Italy could spur a lengthy extradition fight. She may never be extradited.

I don’t know... she’s a dark horse. In a weird way, I kinda like her. She’s only 3 years older than me and I want to think she got caught up in something and she spun her wheels and sank deeper into the mud. But I do think she’s hiding something.
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Re: Amanda Knox, Innocent or Guilty?

Postby Glaucon » Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:52 pm

Leah wrote:But that's kind of the point, Glaucon. It isn't actually about whether Knox is innocent or not - at least, not in the US courts. In the US courts, it's about reasonable doubt. Every fuckup and mistake that the State makes while processing a scene, every test that doesn't match the state's theory, etc, goes towards reasonable doubt. If the fuckups are bad enough, the judge can simply throw the case out, because the Prosecution has essentially shot themselves in the foot.


Odd, that. I guess that, to Americans, it is a game. You'd think that it would be about finding out whether the accused was guilty of the charges, not about foot-shooting or the number of mistakes made by the State. But hey, different system... the USA has juries and all that. In Smurfistan, we have judges (Papa Smurf, usually). I'll take your word for it when it comes to the criminal justice system in the USA.

But while you may be right about that system, that really doesn't matter, because the crime didn't take place in the USA. And so the finer points of whether or not someone is legally guilty from a peculiarly American perspective are not relevant. If you want to argue the principles of justice from a legal standpoint, you'd have to argue that with reference to an Italian perspective. Lex Terrae and all that.

So, for us, it makes no sense to speculate whether or not they would have been found guilty in the USA. All we can really do is speculate whether she was 'guilty' or not in the 'normal people' sense. The 'moral sense', if you will. Whether we think it is quite certain that she was involved, or not.

It is not, and never has been, on the shoulders of the Defendant to prove their innocence. It is, and always has been, on the shoulders of the Prosecution to prove guilt.


Agreed, of course (that holds in Italy as well).

All the Defendant is supposed to have to do is provide reasonable doubt. This is why we have something called "innocent until proven guilty," which I think you referenced in the Woody Allen thread?


Thanks for explaining. But you clearly have another meaning in mind when it comes to that. You seem to think (and you might be right that this is actually a thing in the USA) that 'reasonable doubt' is an entity in itself, and that mistakes made by the State/prosecution 'add' to reasonable doubt. But 'reasonable doubt' is the tail of 'proven guilty beyond a...'.

And that means (or at least, is generally taken to mean, here in Europe) that the evidence placed before the court must leave no reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the accused. It does not refer to mistakes made by the State. Mistakes made by the state do not create 'reasonable doubt' directly. They only do so in so far as they detract from the evidence, potentially weakening it to the point where doubt about the guilt can exist. So, if 1 chunk of evidence is rendered questionable (because of such mistakes), this will only lead to reasonable doubt if the remaining evidence made such reasonable doubt possible.

In other words, if the evidence is strong enough, the State could make a complete mess out of part of it and there could still be a fair conviction, with guilt being established beyond a reasonable doubt. In Europe, at least.

At the moment, I will admit that I am no longer sure the rest stands up as sufficient evidence without the DNA, in this case. Then again, I got my info from some articles and stuff around the internet. The Italian court had the full thing in front of them, spend a lot of time on it and they are experts in criminal law.)

While it is true that there is some circumstantial evidence in this case, and that Knox gave conflicting testimony at the time, the fact that the DNA points straight away from her would be pretty damning of the Prosecution's case in the US system.


I don't see how the DNA points 'away' from her. It doesn't point directly AT her., directly, but it does, indirectly, because of her own testimony and other evidence. IF the DNA evidence (that you say is tainted, which you might well be right about) IS to be taken as truth, then it is certain Knox is guilty. Her account (including the later versions) ties her firmly to her then boyfriend, so if he is taken to have been there (because of his DNA on the bra-clasp at the scene) and the murdered girl's blood on a knife found at his home, then she, at the very least, knew about it (and didn't say anything).

But without the DNA... I am not so sure anymore. Starting to change my mind for the appeal. Might change it back later on. ;)
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Re: Amanda Knox, Innocent or Guilty?

Postby Caius » Fri Feb 07, 2014 6:22 am

I have no opinion about Amanda Knox. Is she guilty or not? I have no clue about that, I only know that court in Italy thinks she is.

But I know this: mankind is faulty and makes errors from time to time. So, of course, also the justice system of any country in the world is prone to errors.

So a judge in any country of the world should never be able to make decisions, which cannot be remedied later, like sentencing someone to death.
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Re: Amanda Knox, Innocent or Guilty?

Postby Glaucon » Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:17 am

Caius wrote:I have no opinion about Amanda Knox. Is she guilty or not? I have no clue about that, I only know that court in Italy thinks she is.

But I know this: mankind is faulty and makes errors from time to time. So, of course, also the justice system of any country in the world is prone to errors.

So a judge in any country of the world should never be able to make decisions, which cannot be remedied later, like sentencing someone to death.


It is a fair argument (though, personally, I am of two minds about it). Opponents of the death penalty usually believe that a criminal justice system that uses the death penalty is barbaric.

Italy does not have the death penalty. The USA does.

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