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?