In Defense of Amanda Knox – What to Expect From Her Lawyers’ Closing Argument

What will Amanda Knox’s lawyers say on her behalf when they deliver their closing argument Wednesday?  I am predicting that they play it fairly conservatively, and that they don’t try to oversell the defense. They will tailor their arguments to the judge and jurors and not the world stage.  We will have to wait and see, but here are a couple of themes that I am predicting they focus on.

No Motive (Women don’t commit rape)

We are accustomed to the outlandish sort of crimes that occur on T.V. shows, but in reality but the fact remains that women don’t commit rape. There are many technical rules that apply in a court of law, but that doesn’t mean that you have to check your common sense at the door.  Women don’t rape.  Italian women don’t commit rape.  American women don’t commit rape.  Women aren’t committing the rapes that are happening in the Sudan right now.  It is not in their nature.  It is usually committed by men – acting alone.

What a “Not Guilty” Verdict Means

All a “not guilty” verdict means is that the government, for whatever reason, hasn’t proved their case.   It doesn’t mean the police did a bad job.  It doesn’t mean that Amanda is “innocent”, and it doesn’t mean she is a perfect person.  A “not guilty” verdict doesn’t amount to putting a halo over Amanda’s head.  It just means that there is a doubt.  And if there is ever a doubt in any case, it is this one.  We don’t send people to prison for life unless we are absolutely sure.

I am not expecting that the defense team will attack the police and prosecutors too aggressively.  It is a trial lawyer’s job to attack the thoroughness, the fairness, and sometimes the professionalism of the police during a trial if need be.  But during the closing argument it is best to tone it down and be a little more magnanimous.   It is sometimes best to credit the police for the things that they did do correctly.  Jurors generally feel loyal to to the police on many levels, and are dependent on them for public safety.  They are slow to buy off on a world view where the police are dysfunctional to the level outsiders have seen.  I am sure that many of Knox’s supporters would love to see a blistering attack on the police, and to see them called out on their misdeeds.  However, if Knox’s lawyers push that too hard, then it becomes an issue of national pride, and the next thing you know we are at the supreme court in Rome.

It is sometime acceptable to try a riskier strategy to try to shake things up, but this is when you feel you are not succeeding and you have nothing to lose.    I guess you saw that with Giuliano Mignini last week.  But to be honest, that man is so erratic, it is hard to say what he is thinking.  The closing argument of Patrick Lumumba’s lawyer Carlo Pacelli was just plain odd.  Not to be upstaged by Mignini, Pacelli called Amanda Knox a “witch of deception”.  I am not sure if he is just trying to get some publicity, or if he thinks that is good lawyering.  Doesn’t he know that we sometime refer to this case as a “witch trial” already?  Isn’t he just proving our point?

What do you think?  What arguments do you think Amanda’s defense team should advance?

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15 Responses to “In Defense of Amanda Knox – What to Expect From Her Lawyers’ Closing Argument”

  • Patrick King:

    No blood from Amanda Knox at the scene. No bloody foot prints but Guede’s. Cell phone companies do not process when cell phone are powered off and on.

  • Mariana:

    They should go with the facts, no motive, no DNA, the 2nd analysis of DNA was by independent people that the court choose, no other evidence from Amanda or Soletcitto in the room and plenty from Rudy, is impossible to clean all you evidence and live only the one from one guy in a very violent crime come on! even a child can understand this, this guy Magnini obviously is not in his right mind, he is obsess with her, and already have a record to manipulate evidence for his benefit, not sure why he still there, hope the jurors see this, at the end of course everyone wants justice for Mederith but justice is not putting two innocent people on jail, that is a crime also. any way hope they get free really think she is innocent..

  • Jaime Trosper:

    I would undoubtedly attack the methods the police used to collect/store the physical evidence. A lot can be said about the characters of such people that are careless enough to collect evidence in a manner that would frame two innocent people.

    I’d also point out that Rudy Guede didn’t pin the crime on Amanda and Raffaelle until sometime later. That skype call should be the say all and end all of his accusations.

  • Steve Graham:

    Because the Italian appeals process is so slow and laborious it is hard to think of how the lawyers (on either side) would think of something new to say. This case is pretty complex, it will be interesting to see what they say.

  • anon:

    Rudy’s crime spree, leading up to the crime of murder, why no arrests? What was his business in Milan? Where is that wealthy “foster” father, why isn’t he being slapped w/ a civil suit? Just who is that man & what does he do for a living, what were his extracurricular activities? Relationship to Mignini? What were the terms of his sentence being cut in half? What drugs did he sell? Who did he work w/for? What about his being a known police informant? What was his M.O. for breaking & entering? A rock through a second story window? Stealing cell phones & credit cards? Harassing women out of his league? Threatening a bar owner w/ a knife? Found in the children’s school he broke into w/ a large knife? What was the bomb threat about that was phoned in to the house where he threw the cell phones? What are the odds of that?
    Why was the semen stain under Meredith’s body not tested? Why was the coroner not allowed to test for TOD? How did the computer “experts” fry the computer(s) thus stealing the alibi for Amanda & Raffaele? Why an interrogation violating Italian law w/ no attorney present and allegedly not recorded? How did Meredith’s bloody “jumper” wind up at the bottom of a basket of dirty laundry long after the initial “evidence gathering” in itself a fiasco? Esp. since nothing else Guede did at the crime scene showed much effort to cover his tracks, except covering her body, after he returned. His M.O. was to return and express remorse. Why did Amanda’s article of clothing show up on her bed after it was insisted she ditched it after the crime, by the prosecution? What about that Harry Potter book? The one that showed up in the video at Raffaele’s and a second copy existed at Amanda’s? Why no cross examination of the boys downstairs, one of whom Meredith was having sex with, who grew pot, who knew Rudy, who Rudy had visited there more than once? Why no questioning of Amanda’s roommate whose alibi was the same as Amanda’s, staying w/ her boyfriend? Why the orchestrated leaks to the tabloids, incl the one Mr. Kercher writes for? How did they get Amanda’s diary? Legally? What about the lie that she was HIV positive? Torture much? What about paying people in Seattle to slander her? What about the ridiculous witnesses of the prosecution? What are Mignini’s motives? Marcesa’s? As clearly it is not justice for Amanda Knox & Raffaele Sollecito. The list goes on and on and on….

  • anon:

    correction…Freudian slip…”What are Mignini’s motives? Marcesa’s? As clearly it is not justice for” meant to say, Meredith Kercher.

  • anon:

    & the obvious, the science, the truth, the facts…NO DNA FOR AMANDA OR RAFFAELE AT THE SCENE OF THE CRIME WHEN GUEDE’S IS EVERWHERE!!!

  • Ryan Dodge:

    Amanda came to Italy an honor student who worked two jobs while in school in order to come to study in our country. She has no history of violence. She comes from a good family. A family who know she is innocent, and has stood by her, and loved her. She was a friend to Meridth Kercher. Even in her wrongful incarceration, she has completed her college studies, learned the Italian language, sang in the choir, befriended and been befriended by her guards and fellow inmates alike.

    Amanda came to Italy a peaceful young woman from a good family. Italy doesn’t change peaceful young people into she-devils or witches.

    She has been respectful to this court, and expressed her confidence that this court will find the truth. She has sat at this table with grace beyond her years while bullies have attacked her with lies, because they have no proof, and with graphic pictures of Meridith because they want you to forget they have no proof. And they have disrespected this court with fantasies they have invented in their own sick minds.

    It is time to show Amanda that her confidence in Italian justice is not misplaced. It is time for Amanda to go home with her family.

    (With apologies to Rafraele, who has also displayed amazing grace under fire, but about whom I know less)

  • Kelli:

    All I know is I’m nervous for her. I don’t know how she can stand it. To hope she might be released, but maybe not. My stomach lining would be gone. I’m scared for her.

    • Evergreen:

      Me too. I also have the same fear I had nearly 2 years ago about the verdict, that what if she gets released? About her safety, both in Italy, and here in Seattle? News cameras will be everywhere. I noticed that NBC Today’s coverage went in recent weeks from occasional, to weekly, and now daily, with Matt Lauer himself on location in Perugia. As I said, the NBC correspondent that has covered the trial is one of the few reporters covering this case that I trust, plus his opinion on the Italian Justice system he made to an Italian Journalist might get him in trouble with Mingini.

      I found this article from the Leeds Student Newspaper(Leeds University is where Meridith Kercher studied) that included an interview with a professor there that believes in innocence. What I liked about this article, was that the comments lacked the usual commentary I have seen in comment threads in the main news sites on this trial.

      http://www.leedsstudent.org/2011-09-30/ls1/features/justice-for-meredith

  • anon:

    one of the recent news stories commented on the horrible showing of explicit if not pornographic images of Meredith Kercher’s body, from head to toe, by none other than Marcesa, allegedly representing the Kercher family. It was stated that it is hard to imagine the Kercher’s authorized that. I wonder…

    • Evergreen:

      That seems very outrageous, but the way the original trial and the prosecution/civil plaintiff’s behaved in the appeal, nothing surprises me anymore. I wonder if it was done for media effect, because supposedly they usually cleared the courtroom before the Kercher photos were shown? No matter the outcome, I think there will be more surprises, especially if and when it is an acquittal. It seems if this guy will do whatever it takes to get the case to trial, I think his history shows he does not like losing.

  • Michael:

    What will happen to Mignini now?

    • Steve Graham:

      It will be interesting to see if his own appeal succeeds. But I hope they get rid of him. An individual verdict never has a direct effect on the prosecutor’s employment – he doesn’t work on a contingency fee basis.

      • mark:

        there are several satellite trails going on right now. on friday, the sollecito family will stand trial for passing internal case information to the press (they have been wiretapped by mignini over months). mignini just lost the case, it has been moved from perugia to bari (where mignini has no control). chances are good that the familiy will be aquitted. http://www.lanazione.it/umbria/cronaca/2011/10/07/596105-foto_morta.shtml

        migninis appellation trail regarding his 14 month sentence over abuse of office in the spezi case is due on november 10. this is going to be interesting!

        rudy guede’s cassation trail is waiting, also the knox/sollecito case surely will go to the cassation/high court in rome.

        and now it might get messy: if knox/sollecito are aquitted by the high court (which is rather likely), guede can call in a revision (which means: no cassation, but a completely new trail for him), where his verdict would be suspended until a revision is under way (if it is accepted by the court). this means: he could leave his prison cell very soon. http://ricerca.repubblica.it/repubblica/archivio/repubblica/2011/10/05/guede-si-ritrovo-senza-complici-il.html

        as for the responsible for this mess, mr. mignini: he surely has some unpleasant times before him, but at least he can take comfort in the fact, that he now is a worldwide known prosecutor, important enough to have an international media and politics “conspirancy” going after him.

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Photo of Steve Graham Steve Graham is a criminal defense lawyer, and he splits his time between Spokane and Seattle, Washington. Visit his website by clicking: www.grahamdefense.com
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