Law Offices of Tim Powers, Denton, Texas
Seven and a half years ago, Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were accused of stabbing Knox's 21-year-old roommate, Meredith Kercher to death. This case has been a very long but very interesting case. It has also been a very difficult case due to the fact the she was a U.S. citizen being charged with a crime in another country. There were also a lot of mistakes that happened on the Italian's side when dealing with the investigation. In 2009, both defendants were found guilty but were released in
2011. This past January, both defendants were found guilty by a separate court. The
Court of Cassation overturned the acquittal and sent the case back to an appeals court in Florence, Italy where she was found guilty again.
When Knox was released in 2011, she came back to Seattle. When she was found guilty in January, Italian authorities tried to get her to go back to Italy to serve her sentence of 28 and a half years. In earlier articles, we saw that they questioned Italy and whether they had any double jeopardy laws such as the U.S.?
Well, Italy's legal system is a bit different than our legal system in the U.S. In Italy, a person cannot be tried a second time for the same crime if the TRIAL court renders an acquittal. Ms. Knox's case involved an appeals court overturning the conviction and rendering a verdict of acquittal. Italy's double jeopardy law only applies to the court of original jurisdiction because only their judgment can be final in Italy.
Another common question that was asked was the effect this conviction would have on the U.S. and Italy's relations? Well, America's extradition treaty with Italy prohibits the U.S. from extraditing someone who has been 'acquitted,' which under American law generally means acquitted by a jury at trial. But Ms. Knox was acquitted by an appeals court after having been found guilty at trial. So would her circumstance constitute double jeopardy under American law?"
The answer is uncertain. That is what made this case really tricky. In the United States, appeals courts don't retry cases and acquit defendants. Knox's Italian lawyer has said the appellate acquittal doesn't constitute double jeopardy under Italian law because it wasn't a final judgment.
This argument will probably carry considerable weight with U.S. authorities, likely yielding the conclusion that her extradition wouldn't violate the treaty. Still, a sympathetic U.S. State Department or judge might find that her appellate acquittal was final enough to preclude extradition on double-jeopardy grounds.
Although this was a difficult case, Italy's highest court finally ruled to overturn the murder conviction of Amanda Knox. In addition, the Italian government is offering Knox a
compensation for her time spent in prison. After seven and a half years, this case is finally over.
If you are seeking aggressive criminal representation by an experienced criminal defense attorney for your Denton County criminal case or arrest in Denton County, contact the offices of Tim Powers today. There is no charge or obligation for the initial consultation. 940.483.8000
*Tim Powers is an attorney licensed to practice law by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice about any specific legal question you should directly consult an attorney. Criminal Defense Lawyers with Unparalleled Passion for Success Providing Quality Representation for your Denton, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Carrollton, Corinth, Highland Village Dallas, Plano, McKinney, Denton County, Tarrant County, Collin County, or Dallas County criminal case