Amanda Knox, what lies ahead?
Questions and Observations I have
Regardless of anyone’s opinion concerning the guilt or innocence of Amanda Knox last Monday’s decision issued by an Italian Appeals court in Perugia, Italy acquitting her and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito of the murder of British exchange student Meredith Kercher drastically alters what may lay ahead for her. One thing that is certain is there are no other options available for the victim, Miss Kercher or her family.
While I don’t have any ties to the family or friends of Miss Knox, Mr. Sollecito or Miss Kercher as a father of a murdered son who like all the participants in this or any murder trial have been forced to experience a crash course in the criminal justice system, I am very intrigued by what happens next. While my journey through the American Justice System was not as extensive as is the case for this trial because the crime took place in another country and one of the accused, Amanda Knox being an American citizen has been forced to deal with a system that is drastically different from the American Criminal Justice System, one can only speculate what other roads her journey will take her down. Her rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution when compared to those afforded to persons accused of crime in Italy are at distinct odds as what the investigation, trial process, sentencing and appeals would be here in the U.S. This being said I want to devote the balance of this article as an interested observer, questioning what comes next for Miss Knox and the ramifications of any future proceedings that most certainly seems will happen.
As has been reported, the Italian Prosecutor, Guiliano Mignini will file an appeal seeking to reverse the appeals court’s decision that allowed Miss Knox and Mr. Sollecito’s earlier conviction to be overturned, permitting them to go free. As my research and what I have read in various news accounts reveal no appeal can be filed by Mr. Mignini until the court that overturned their conviction publishes a formal explanation of (its) decision, and as I understand this could take a few months before it will go to Italy’s highest court for review. Then, if Italy’s highest court overturns the acquittal Mr. Mignini would be free to request that Miss Knox be extradited back to Italy to finish whatever remained of her sentence which could be increased to life in prison instead of the 26 years she was originally sentenced to. It is also up to the Italian Government to decide whether such a request (for extradition) is made. I don’t know if they are legally obligated to request extradition or if they have the discretion to not do so.
I have researched the existing (I believe) Extradition Treaty between the U.S. and Italy signed in Rome on October 13, 1983 during the Reagan Administration and I would imagine and hope the dialogue concerning what happens next will be considerable, not only in the court of public opinion and discussion but also in the legal community as I feel certain it will be required to be as well. I hope my questions and observations I am trying to make in this article will be answered, and I also would like to think they are or would be considered salient and articulate, not just dismissed as irrelevant, dumb or rambling.
In a worst case scenario for Miss Knox, the Italian High Court overturns the appeals court’s decision could the U.S. Government refuse her extradition under the provisions of Article VI of the Extradition Treaty, “Non Bis in Idem” which states in part “Extradition shall not be granted when the person sought has been convicted, acquitted or pardoned” as she was? If Italy’s extradition request was granted would Miss Knox have her U.S. Constitutional rights take precedence prohibiting “double jeopardy” even though it is allowed under Italian law? Could or would the U.S. State or Justice Department make this argument on her behalf? Could her attorneys argue this point?
While I am only an interested person who has experienced the intricacies of the American Criminal Justice system as a survivor of a murder victim I am not an attorney, and would be interested in the opinion of one that specializes in criminal or international law. Also, while I am not even remotely versed in it and given various happenings during the course of this trial no matter the final outcome I hope true and correct justice will prevail.
I welcome anyone’s comments as to what may or may not lay ahead for Amanda Knox purely and strictly from a legal standpoint and her U.S. Constitutional rights. Not whether what one’s opinion might be if she is innocent or got away with murder as I believe this matter will ultimately be decided by a much higher court.