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View Diary: The Italian Courts Overturn Amanda Knox's Acquittal For The Murder Of Meredith Kercher (16 comments)

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  •  One clear argument in favor of the (14+ / 0-)

    English common law tradition; an aquittal is final, and not subject to appeal.

    -7.25, -6.26

    We are men of action; lies do not become us.

    by ER Doc on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 07:11:02 AM PDT

    •  The curious thing about the Italian system (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ER Doc, historys mysteries

      is that this re-trial is not necessarily based on facts or outcome, but on misgivings regarding procedure during the last appeal.  In that sense, the Corte di Cassazione is not questioning the guilt or innocence of those brought to trial, even though the outcome of this new appeal could be different than that of the last one.  I don't know if the American standard of double jeopardy would apply here.  It's almost as if the Court of Cassation is stating a mistrial.  

    •  That was the first thing that struck me (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JackND, ER Doc, SilentBrook

      when I heard the news. I can't believe there is a first world country that allows double jeopardy.

      I don't know the facts of the case but allowing the prosecution another bite at the apple is just not right for any defendant.

      •  You might want to look deeper (6+ / 0-)

        First, not every country is the US and assuming the same laws and rights apply is never to your benefit. Good example: in the US, when you ask for an attorney and say you won't answer any more questions from police, the interview is generally over. In Canada, you also have the right to remain silent, however, that right doesn't stop the police from continuing to ask questions, and if you respond, that's your problem.

        Getting back to double jeopardy, in many nations it only comes into play once the court system is completely done with the case (all appeals finalized). In Canada, the prosecution can appeal the acquittal: if the appeal is thrown out, the case is over and double jeopardy applies. If the appeal is allowed, then the original trial is considered to have been annulled, and since it officially never happened, there was officially no verdict, therefore no jeopardy.

        The European Charter of Human Rights makes this clear when it talks about someone being "finally acquitted or convicted". Appealing an acquittal may be considered a normal part of the judicial process, therefore there's no jeopardy attached because the trial isn't effectively over until all appeals, by both sides, have been completed.

        In some nations, this even allows a case to be reopened if new evidence is discovered. For instance, in some countries if OJ Simpson committed the crime there, was initially acquitted, but then released a book which revealed details that only the murderer could know, the prosecution could ask the court that the case be re-opened to consider this new evidence (in essence, a confession by the accused).

        The United States is one of the very few countries on the planet where the double jeopardy rules are as broad as they are.

        •  interesting (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hnichols, SilentBrook

          I can see how it might work in Canada, which has enormous stability and almost nonexistent corruption. But when you look at Italy, a country which has remained politically volatile for it's entire modern history and has dealt with rampant corruption fairly recently, the extra leeway seems a recipe for disaster.

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