Does double jeopardy apply to Amanda Knox?

posted at 4:01 pm on February 1, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

Before everyone’s eyes begin glazing over or rising toward open revolt, let me assure you that this isn’t an article about Amanda Knox. I have little or no interest in her specific case and I have no idea if she’s guilty or innocent. (Of course, you have no need to worry if you are interested, since I’m sure Nancy Grace will be talking about it until one of them dies.) The real question for me is the difference between the Italian and American justice systems and how the two interact in the case of an ex-pat like this. The short version of the story is that an American living in Italy is arrested for a crime, goes to trial and is convicted, but on the next level of review, the conviction is overturned. She’s released, but then yet another level of review essentially reinstates the conviction.

Apparently this isn’t all that unusual in Europe, (or the rest of the world outside the United States) but it should be disquieting to Americans who are used to the mostly iron clad constitutional protection against double jeopardy we enjoy here. To a layman like myself, it seems that if you are either found not guilty at trial or subsequently acquitted after a conviction… that’s it. It’s over. You don’t get tried for the same crime again. But what is the US government to do if another country without such protections wants to put one of our citizens in the slammer under those same circumstances?

Fortunately, Dr. James Joyner has looked the case over and explains a few of the complexities.

[N]o country, much less a superpower, is going to turn over one of its citizens to another government to serve punishment that goes against its own principles of justice. Many very strong American allies, for example, routinely refuse to extradite their citizens for capital crimes because they consider the death penalty abhorrent.

It’s worth noting, though, that the United States is virtually alone in its strict interpretation of the double jeopardy doctrine (with some caveats that I’ll address later). Even though the principle was enshrined in the British Common Law centuries before the colonization of North America, the UK has long recognized exceptions, especially in murder cases. Similarly, while most European Union and Commonwealth countries have basic double jeopardy protections, there has been movement in recent years to grant exceptions in cases where the interests of justice demand it, such as proof that the accused perjured himself in trial or finding of major new evidence that makes guilt clear.

Regardless of what either of us might like to see, Joyner goes on to point out that the case is far more complicated than I first thought and standing agreements between the two countries (we have an extradition treaty with the Italians) make things less certain. But that doesn’t mean we should turn her over, either.

Given that Knox was in fact acquitted on appeal and is now residing in her home country, it would be inappropriate, in my view, for the United States to extradite her. But the new verdict doesn’t strike me as a damning indictment of the Italian court system. They do things differently there but it’s not obvious that their way is worse than ours.

Whatever the international diplomacy questions may be, Joyner brings up several aspects of such convictions which still bother me. For the case in question, no matter how we choose to define it, it certainly looks like double jeopardy. According to the treaty with Italy, in order for either of us to extradite someone, “the offense must be a crime in each country.” Murder is certainly a crime and the punishment fits the terms, but isn’t there also a case to be made that it’s not really “a crime” if the person was acquitted?

As a side reference, Joyner also talks about two other types of distortions in the American criminal judgement system which are similar in nature. One of them is the scenario where someone is tried for a crime by a state, found not guilty, but is then tried in federal court under a similar, but technically different law. Joyner describes this practice as “outrageous” and I have to agree. I was under the impression that you were protected from from being taken to trial multiple times for a single incident. It was, as I understood it, the action you were alleged to have taken which was the defining factor, not the wording or origin of the legislation in question. When we do that it still looks like getting two bites at the same apple.

The second is the practice – made famous in the OJ Simpson trial – of a defendant being found not guilty but later being taken to civil court and penalized as harshly as possible. No matter what you may feel about OJ, this has always struck me as unconstitutional, or at least a robbery of the right to a fair defense for the accused. (OJ’s defense was barred from mentioning the not guilty verdict in the civil case as I recall.) Once you’ve been found not guilty, (which is not the same as innocent, I admit, but it should hold the standing of saying that the evidence doesn’t exist to satisfactorily determine guilt) how can you be taken into civil court and sued? Shouldn’t your lawyer’s first statement be to say that any financial claim against you must be based on the conclusion that you were guilty and that had already failed to happen in a court of law?

As I said in the beginning, Knox may or may not be guilty. But I don’t think the US should serve up one of their own citizens to an Italian jail under these circumstances.


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In Italy or in the US?

Schadenfreude on February 1, 2014 at 4:02 PM

if you are either found not guilty at trial or subsequently acquitted after a conviction… that’s it. It’s over.

Without the introduction of new and profoundly solid evidence, it should be over. Once and done. Otherwise what’s to say that any particular court couldn’t decide for any reason, including a simple change of judges and/or prosecutors, or a judge or prosecutor succumbing to bribery, that they can haul an individual back in at any time, even years later, and incarcerate them for a crime for which they’d been previously acquitted or found innocent?

I don’t know if Knox is guilty or innocent, either, but it seems to me that since Italy had their chance at prosecuting this case and released her they should stand by that or risk the rest of the world taking a very jaundiced view of their justice system.

thatsafactjack on February 1, 2014 at 4:09 PM

(OJ’s defense was barred from mentioning the not guilty verdict in the civil case as I recall.)

Believe you meant the CRIMINAL case…

Khun Joe on February 1, 2014 at 4:10 PM

so do we force other countries to follow our laws?
service members overseas in germany where I was MP didn’t get these benefits.
I’d say refuse deport and to hell with Italy. If shes dumb enough to leave US again its on her.

dmacleo on February 1, 2014 at 4:12 PM

They do things differently there but it’s not obvious that their way is worse than ours.

Something like 70% of criminal court convictions are overturned in Italy. I think it is indeed obvious their way is worse, sparky.

rcpjr on February 1, 2014 at 4:12 PM

Does Italian law provide for a prohibition against double jeopardy? If not, then it doesn’t apply to this woman who was tried in Italy. The US may object based on its own rules of fairness but it can’t force those values on a foreign nation.

rplat on February 1, 2014 at 4:13 PM

As I said in the beginning, Knox may or may not be guilty. But I don’t think the US should serve up one of their own citizens to an Italian jail under these circumstances.

…well.it is Eric Holder…and… the rest of his clowns…I’m looking for a surprise!

KOOLAID2 on February 1, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Once you’ve been found not guilty, (which is not the same as innocent, I admit, but it should hold the standing of saying that the evidence doesn’t exist to satisfactorily determine guilt) how can you be taken into civil court and sued?

Because the standard of proof is lower and the rules of evidence are different.

myiq2xu on February 1, 2014 at 4:16 PM

She was found guilty, then innocent, then guilty again. Isn’t this actually triple jeopardy?

Mark1971 on February 1, 2014 at 4:17 PM

She should not have to go back but from what I read previously the US may have little choice.

CWchangedhisNicagain on February 1, 2014 at 4:17 PM

isn’t there also a case to be made that it’s not really “a crime” if the person was acquitted?

No. No there isn’t. Acquittal means that they were found not guilty, not that no crime occurred.

Stoic Patriot on February 1, 2014 at 4:19 PM

So they could do this back and forth to her for her entire life?

Let’s say we extradite her – she goes to prison for another 4 years while her appeal is heard. She is acquitted and comes back to the US. Then what they do it again?

I don’t know if she is guilty or not but come on there is a point.

gophergirl on February 1, 2014 at 4:20 PM

But I don’t think the US should serve up one of their own citizens to an Italian jail under these circumstances.

This isn’t a matter of technicalities or legalese or treaties. This is a matter of delivering justice. If we think that this is simply a case of the Italians being out to lynch the foreigner, then we should protect her and refuse to extradite. But if we think the evidence introduced indicates that she did it, then we should send her on the first plane back.

Stoic Patriot on February 1, 2014 at 4:23 PM

Our nation isn’t being asked to fix the Italian judicial system, nor are we being asked whether that system is fair or corruption free, although this latest demand for extradition of a US citizen already tried and freed invites speculation regarding that justice system, and perhaps deeper, and likely unwelcome inspection, ultimately.

The question is whether to acquiesce to an extradition demand from Italy for this American citizen or refuse that demand.

Since Italy had their opportunity to convict that US citizen, took their time and tried this case based on the evidence, rendering their decision and setting that US citizen free, and they’ve not produced any new and damning evidence of guilt, I’d say refuse the demand for extradition.

thatsafactjack on February 1, 2014 at 4:26 PM

But if we think the evidence introduced indicates that she did it, then we should send her on the first plane back.

Stoic Patriot on February 1, 2014 at 4:23 PM

That determination would require a trial in this nation.

thatsafactjack on February 1, 2014 at 4:28 PM

How accommodating are the Italians when we ask for someone to be extradited? I know Polanski was in Italy directing a play of Amadeus in 1999. I don’t know if we asked them to, but they didn’t send him back here.

Flange on February 1, 2014 at 4:33 PM

Once you’ve been found not guilty, (which is not the same as innocent, I admit, but it should hold the standing of saying that the evidence doesn’t exist to satisfactorily determine guilt) how can you be taken into civil court and sued?

Because Trial Lawyers need an alternate way to make huge sums of money?

Johnnyreb on February 1, 2014 at 4:33 PM

Of course, she should never leave the US again. A third country might nab her and extradite her. Italy could even put in such a request via Interpol.

rbj on February 1, 2014 at 4:34 PM

Of course, you have no need to worry if you are interested, since I’m sure Nancy Grace will be talking about it until one of them dies

Ain’t that the truth

Rio Linda Refugee on February 1, 2014 at 4:36 PM

Waste of bandwith dicussing this psychopath but there is an interesting article from her prison guard:

Meredith Kercher killer Amanda Knox is an ICE MAIDEN says her prison guard

No Niks on February 1, 2014 at 4:37 PM

Even though our courts may be slow and it’s all a matter of interpretation what the “right to a speedy trial” actually turns out to be, the cases I’ve heard of in Europe are laughable. It’s taken the cops in Portugal 6 years to figure out anything about Madeleine McCann’s disappearance. Today Scotland Yard chimed in with a story of 3 burglars might have taken her.

The same thing was done to Amanda Knox, the kind of incompetent “professionalism” demonstrated by the Boulder Police trying to solve Jon Benet Ramsey’s murder. I don’t know if Amanda’s innocent or not, but the Italians had their whack at her. That’s enough.

vityas on February 1, 2014 at 4:39 PM

My understanding is that she wasn’t really acquitted (by the Italian system) when she was released. It was known at the time that their system could retry her because it wasn’t technically an acquittal.

Bitter Clinger on February 1, 2014 at 4:40 PM

I don’t see how anyone can consider it “double jeopardy.”

The Italian case simply has never reached a final conclusion. Their appeals process works differently than ours does.

In the US, it is more difficult for prosecutors to appeal and overturn rulings favorable to the defense. It can happen, but it is tough. Our system says once you get a win as the defendant, that’s pretty much game, set, and match.

Italy has a different system. Deal with it.

~~~

Guilty people go free all the time. O.J. got away with it for years. Bill Ayers laughed about his aquittal. It happens.

But please, no one be as dumb as Ace and swallow Amanda’s third lawyer’s fourth version of the story whole.

Adjoran on February 1, 2014 at 4:42 PM

This isn’t a matter of technicalities or legalese or treaties. This is a matter of delivering justice. If we think that this is simply a case of the Italians being out to lynch the foreigner, then we should protect her and refuse to extradite. But if we think the evidence introduced indicates that she did it, then we should send her on the first plane back.

Stoic Patriot on February 1, 2014 at 4:23 PM

That’s all well and good. So long as you are prepared to see Italian nationals commit crimes here and flee to Italy, and have the Italian government do precisely the same.

Especially if the charge is capital murder. The Europeans really don’t like the death penalty…

JohnGalt23 on February 1, 2014 at 4:42 PM

Meredith Kercher killer Amanda Knox is an ICE MAIDEN says her prison guard

No Niks on February 1, 2014 at 4:37 PM

That guard sounds so full of it. Why would Amanda, whether guilty or innocent, want to socialize with the other prisoners? Why would she want to listen to stories of the murder? Of course Italy is well known for corruption and I bet the guard is as corrupt as most government officials.

Flange on February 1, 2014 at 4:45 PM

Was she really fully acquitted on appeal or was the original trial found to be in error when she was found guilty. Many cases go to appeal court after a guilty verdict and they are not acquitted outright but ordered a new trail because of a technicality and it is not called double jeopardy. Only new evidence can get a guilty verdict overturned outright. Marissa Alexander (the 20 years for a warning shot) was not set free on her appeal but gets a new trial for the same crime because of improper jury instructions and it is not called double jeopardy.

When Italy allowed her to leave the county before the appeals are all done, they lost any chance to get her back.

tjexcite on February 1, 2014 at 4:46 PM

Does double jeopardy apply to Amanda Knox?

Jazz, by “double jeopardy”, if you mean that she’s both obviously innocent and really cute.

/So … yes, it does.

Paul-Cincy on February 1, 2014 at 4:48 PM

Presiding Judge Alessandro Nencini has 90 days to write his arguments behind the jury’s ruling. Once that is out, lawyers have 90 days to appeal.

Knox’s attorney, Ted Simon, said there will certainly be an appeal and cautioned that extradition shouldn’t yet be a part of the conversation surrounding the case.

“It’s really not in play right now, because first of all, she has another appeal to the Supreme Court of Italy,” he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360. “In Italy, under their system, you’re still actually presumed innocent until that third, final stage.”

Simon said that if extradition does become an issue, Knox has “very substantial defenses” that can be used.

“But I think we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves,” he told CNN. “The bottom line is, there is no evidence. There was no evidence, and there never will be any evidence, and that’s why this is such a gross miscarriage of justice.”

Legal analysts debated whether the U.S. would send Knox back to Italy if Rome requests extradition.

It is unlikely that Knox will return to Italy to serve additional prison time because U.S. law dictates that a person cannot be tried twice on the same charge, a legal expert told CNN.

“She was once put in jeopardy and later acquitted,” said Sean Casey, a former prosecutor who is now a partner at Kobre & Kim in New York. “Under the treaty (between the two nations), extradition should not be granted.”

CNN legal analyst Mark O’Mara said that the United States has to respect the treaty.

“We have to follow the letter of the law,” he said Thursday.

thatsafactjack on February 1, 2014 at 4:51 PM

Guess the party:

Let’s see: Fire Chief with long criminal history just arrested on drug charges, Deputy Clerk is a convicted felon recently arrested again, former Police Chief is in prison, former Mayor who served two years in prison is the mother of the recently-arrested Deputy Clerk, current mayor is facing charges… guess which political party runs the city.

http://www.ihatethemedia.com/alorton-illinois

davidk on February 1, 2014 at 4:51 PM

The key distinction between a civil trial and a criminal trial is that in a criminal trial, the prosecution has to prove your crime beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a very high standard. In a civil trial, you only have to show that the defendant “more likely than not” did the thing he is accused of.

That is why a criminal defendant cannot introduce his criminal acquittal in a civil trial; the standard for a criminal conviction is MUCH higher. Really, 30 minutes or less of research or less on Google should have resolved the issue for you.

Disappointing article.

boone on February 1, 2014 at 4:51 PM

That’s all well and good. So long as you are prepared to see Italian nationals commit crimes here and flee to Italy, and have the Italian government do precisely the same.

Especially if the charge is capital murder. The Europeans really don’t like the death penalty…

JohnGalt23 on February 1, 2014 at 4:42 PM

European countries already won’t allow extradition without assurances that the death penalty won’t be applied.

kcewa on February 1, 2014 at 4:52 PM

Does Italian law provide for a prohibition against double jeopardy? If not, then it doesn’t apply to this woman who was tried in Italy. The US may object based on its own rules of fairness but it can’t force those values on a foreign nation.

rplat on February 1, 2014 at 4:13 PM

Very true. It’s like the Mexican government screaming whenever Texas executes a Mexican national (aka illegal alien) who is convicted of murder.

bw222 on February 1, 2014 at 4:53 PM

The reason you can still sue civilly for something for which a defendant has been acquitted in criminal proceedings is simple: the standard of proof is very, very different. Criminal conviction in our system requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Civil liability some level of a preponderance of the evidence. A civil jury reading evidence that shows X probably is guilty, but it’s not quite proven, can find liability and award damages, where a criminal jury looking at the same evidence and coming to the same conclusion about the likelihood of guilt would be required to acquit.

CatoRenasci on February 1, 2014 at 4:56 PM

Very true. It’s like the Mexican government screaming whenever Texas executes a Mexican national (aka illegal alien) who is convicted of murder.

bw222 on February 1, 2014 at 4:53 PM

A more accurate analogy is that Mexico will refuse to extradite one of their citizens to the US if they face the type of justice Mexico doesn’t agree with.

Flange on February 1, 2014 at 4:59 PM

Who cares…. Let TMZ deal with it……

FlaMurph on February 1, 2014 at 4:59 PM

Murder is certainly a crime and the punishment fits the terms, but isn’t there also a case to be made that it’s not really “a crime” if the person was acquitted?

Maybe. It depends on the circumstances, Jazz. There might just as easily be the case to be made that there was not one, but two crimes if the person was acquitted. The first crime, of course, was the underlying crime for which the person was acquitted. The second crime was the ‘crime’ of incompetent prosecution of the person charged, which caused the person charged to be acquitted.

If that is the case, maybe it is right for the person charged to not be charged again provided the investigation and possible subsequent prosecution of the incompetent prosecutors didn’t reveal a conspiracy to lose the case. I don’t mean to suggest this occurred, I only cover the base for it, here. I don’t believe that happened, but I do believe the incompetence in trying Knox was of such a magnitude that someone in government should be thrown in jail for it.

Read this and you’ll get a hint as to why I’d consider jailing a prosecutor for malevolent incompetence.

Dusty on February 1, 2014 at 5:06 PM

Amanda Knox did all but prove her innocence. She’s being offered as a sacrificial lamb in the Italian media to cover up an incompetent investigation. The murderer’s DNA was all over the crime scene — and it wasn’t Knox.

gryphon202 on February 1, 2014 at 5:07 PM

Italian criminal justice is insane
There is something that translates into the principle of free conviction (libero convincimento) a judge can find you guilty in spite of the evidence without giving any reason. On the other hand Italian jail sentences while seemingly harsh are always mitigated by regularly announced amnesties or general sentence reductions. Also the Italians are notoriously and perhaps deliberately slow and sloppy in their extradition requests. A defendant like Knox could probably find some error to justify a long delay in the extradition proceeding while her purported sentence would be reduced or eliminated by regular amnesties. A US judge could also review the evidence again to determine whether there was even probable cause for the original charge. this is usually a low standard but is probably greater than the free conviction standard of Italian justice.

In short Knox isn’t going to jail anytme soon.

oznerola on February 1, 2014 at 5:07 PM

She doesn’t interest me one way or the other. This does. We have an administration that doesn’t care for the US Constitution, and is always happy to defer to “the world community” over it. Keep a suspicious eye on the State Dept here. Ultimately they’d love to sign away the 2nd Amendment by treaty.

dhimwit on February 1, 2014 at 5:08 PM

Italians are nuts, in all regards. This will go on, forever.

tafj is correct.

However, obama would send her back…but, imagine if she were a Muslim, for ex.

Schadenfreude on February 1, 2014 at 5:09 PM

No Niks on February 1, 2014 at 4:37 PM

Even if true, that prison warden, Angelo, looks like she didn’t get any from Knox.

Schadenfreude on February 1, 2014 at 5:14 PM

This is only complicated if you’re Jazz and sharing a Hot Tub with llapundit – and you’ve got “Loofa Duty”…..

YES – Double Jeopardy APPLIES, PERIOD!! So she was acquitted once, and convicted twice…..

If Double Jeopardy Doesn’t Apply To Her – Then OJ would be in Prison……

williamg on February 1, 2014 at 5:19 PM

When the Italian ambassador makes his request for extradition DoJ an DoS should politely mention the name Leon Klinghoffer and then call the ambassador a cab.

xkaydet65 on February 1, 2014 at 5:22 PM

If Double Jeopardy Doesn’t Apply To Her – Then OJ would be in Prison……

williamg on February 1, 2014 at 5:19 PM

OJ is in prison :)

kcewa on February 1, 2014 at 5:23 PM

The question is whether to acquiesce to an extradition demand from Italy for this American citizen or refuse that demand.

Since Italy had their opportunity to convict that US citizen, took their time and tried this case based on the evidence, rendering their decision and setting that US citizen free, and they’ve not produced any new and damning evidence of guilt, I’d say refuse the demand for extradition.

thatsafactjack on February 1, 2014 at 4:26 PM

this +十

DarkCurrent on February 1, 2014 at 5:24 PM

When the Heilmann court found that there was insufficient evidence to convict her, it should have been game over. You don’t get a do over. The treatment of her by the Italian courts and the brits calling for her blood is outrageous. It is pure anit Americanism.

Blake on February 1, 2014 at 5:24 PM

When the Italian ambassador makes his request for extradition DoJ an DoS should politely mention the name Leon Klinghoffer and then call the ambassador a cab.

xkaydet65 on February 1, 2014 at 5:22 PM

This

kcewa on February 1, 2014 at 5:25 PM

A US judge could also review the evidence again to determine whether there was even probable cause for the original charge. this is usually a low standard but is probably greater than the free conviction standard of Italian justice.

In short Knox isn’t going to jail anytme soon.

oznerola on February 1, 2014 at 5:07 PM

Correct. I do feel bad for Sofficito. He’s stuck there.

And for the record, foreign countries that we have extradition treaties do not always cooperate with us, either.

Blake on February 1, 2014 at 5:28 PM

People should really read up on The Monster of Florence case, it oddly dovetails into Amanda Knox – In that the prosecutor involved in both cases, seems to do be a conspiracy nut, looking for Satanic cults under ever rock… And bypassing clear leads, involving physical evidence (the gun in the MoF case) that does not support his pet theories.

Just read a book by Douglas Preston, that Ace recommended. Good read.

Sharr on February 1, 2014 at 5:32 PM

Unfortunately, the US recognizes a HUGE exception, too. If you’re tried in state court and acquitted, the US government reserves the right to try you again in federal court if there’s any federal law which might apply to you, and if your case becomes cause celebre.

SCOTUS declared long since that this didn’t count as “double jeopardy”, though I sure don’t understand why not.

Steven Den Beste on February 1, 2014 at 5:32 PM

I can’t make my mind up about this until I hear from Alex Trebek.

DarthBrooks on February 1, 2014 at 5:33 PM

SCOTUS declared long since that this didn’t count as “double jeopardy”, though I sure don’t understand why not.

Steven Den Beste on February 1, 2014 at 5:32 PM

Because the elements of the state and federal charges are not identical. There has to be additional elements that must be proved in order to charge in another court.

Blake on February 1, 2014 at 5:39 PM

“… the mostly iron clad constitutional protection against double jeopardy we enjoy here.”

The cops in the Rodney King assault learned all about that “mostly”

J_Crater on February 1, 2014 at 5:41 PM

Hellman is the judge who overturned her conviction. Here is a copy of hi opinion translated into English:

http://hellmannreport.wordpress.com/

Blake on February 1, 2014 at 5:44 PM

Because the elements of the state and federal charges are not identical. There has to be additional elements that must be proved in order to charge in another court.

Blake on February 1, 2014 at 5:39 PM

Funny who the Constitution doesn’t talk about elements, it says ..

nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb;

What part of the first trial doesn’t put life or limb in jeopardy ?

On the other hand, if they declared capital punishment unconstitutional, by this definition, no trial would ever put you in jeopardy of life or limb which would mean they could try you over and over and over again. Kafka would be proud.

J_Crater on February 1, 2014 at 5:47 PM

Funny who the Constitution doesn’t talk about elements, it says ..

nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb;

What part of the first trial doesn’t put life or limb in jeopardy ?

On the other hand, if they declared capital punishment unconstitutional, by this definition, no trial would ever put you in jeopardy of life or limb which would mean they could try you over and over and over again. Kafka would be proud.

J_Crater on February 1, 2014 at 5:47 PM

You make no sense and I will not waste my time on you.

Blake on February 1, 2014 at 5:59 PM

Amanda Knox did all but prove her innocence. She’s being offered as a sacrificial lamb in the Italian media to cover up an incompetent investigation. The murderer’s DNA was all over the crime scene — and it wasn’t Knox.

gryphon202 on February 1, 2014 at 5:07 PM

Exactly. The charge is spurious. Now it’s no more than a tabloid sensation.

nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb;

What part of the first trial doesn’t put life or limb in jeopardy ?

J_Crater on February 1, 2014 at 5:47 PM

I NEVER got being tried twice for the same actions, even if you want to split hairs about it being a different offense. There’s a long tradition of combining like charges. How about combining charges based on IDENTICAL actions?

So, maybe in Mississippi, 50 years ago, some white guy got off because of a racist jury, so they had to get him on federal charges. I’m sick of having to live under laws designed to rectify the wrongs of 1960s Mississippi. I’ve never even been to Mississippi.

Paul-Cincy on February 1, 2014 at 5:59 PM

Before everyone rises up in outrage that the rest of the civilized world doesn’t follow the U.S. interpretation of double jeopardy protection, it might be helpful to stop and consider the fact that our nation is the only one in the world that guarantees only one side of a criminal trial what we like to call a “fair trial.”

There is no remedy, in the U.S., for clear legal error at trial, so long as the error helps the defendant rather than the public. The State is not allowed to appeal a verdict no matter what level of egregious conduct might have taken place, whether it’s a paid-off judge or an entire paid-off jury (for two extreme examples).

The Knox case is not nearly as clear cut as the water cooler pundits suggest. And the correction of legal error is perfectly valid under Italian law.

In most states, criminal cases are titled The State v. John Doe or The People v. Jane Doe. Ask yourself, which side should be guaranteed a fair trial under the law? Why not both?

IndieDogg on February 1, 2014 at 6:04 PM

How is someone “acquitted” on appeal? Doesn’t an appeal just overturn the verdict on a technicality?

Count to 10 on February 1, 2014 at 6:05 PM

If she isn’t extradited, what are the chances of the next American being released pending appeal?

meci on February 1, 2014 at 6:12 PM

so do we force other countries to follow our laws?
service members overseas in germany where I was MP didn’t get these benefits.
I’d say refuse deport and to hell with Italy. If shes dumb enough to leave US again its on her.

dmacleo on February 1, 2014 at 4:12 PM

I was full time SP (USN ver of MP) in Japan for a bit over 2 years. In Japan and most assuredly Germany as well. The American Government has negotiated “Status of Forces Agreements.” These Agreements do NOT allow American Servicemen to commit crimes in the respective Country. They are intended to insure that an American Serviceman who commits a crime in the Host Country gets a fair trial. The US JAG lawyers do follow these cases closely.

The part that I have an issue with, is that the US Military can try the same individual for the same crime after the Host Government has released the person from Prison and can even charge him for AWOL for the time that he spent in the Host Country Prison.

Linh_My on February 1, 2014 at 6:16 PM

So they could do this back and forth to her for her entire life?

Let’s say we extradite her – she goes to prison for another 4 years while her appeal is heard. She is acquitted and comes back to the US. Then what they do it again?

I don’t know if she is guilty or not but come on there is a point.

gophergirl on February 1, 2014 at 4:20 PM

Like liberals, they will keep abusing that chicken over and over and over and over again until they get the result(s) that they want.

At some point, it’s time to realize failure. I have no idea if this woman is guilty or not, or even what the facts are beyond that she’s been through the court system a number of times and they still can’t come to a conclusion.

Are they going to be at her until she’s 90? This is more trying to pretend there’s a workable system and less of trying to figure out why a system needs all these kicks at the can.

kim roy on February 1, 2014 at 6:21 PM

Amanda Knox did all but prove her innocence. She’s being offered as a sacrificial lamb in the Italian media to cover up an incompetent investigation. The murderer’s DNA was all over the crime scene — and it wasn’t Knox.
gryphon202 on February 1, 2014 at 5:07 PM

Totally agree. America should not extradite their citizens to countries who do not have evidence collection standards on par with their own. She was targeted because she was ‘foxie’ and she was American.

What’s next? We send hot Americans accused of adultery back to the Middle East for stoning?!

HellCat on February 1, 2014 at 6:23 PM

In most states, criminal cases are titled The State v. John Doe or The People v. Jane Doe. Ask yourself, which side should be guaranteed a fair trial under the law? Why not both?

IndieDogg on February 1, 2014 at 6:04 PM

If the state needs to be protected from itself then it shouldn’t exist. The defendant doesn’t have any where near the resources the state has.

Flange on February 1, 2014 at 6:37 PM

the real question is — would anybody care if she wasn’t an attractive white woman?

theblackcommenter on February 1, 2014 at 6:44 PM

AManda Knox better hope her father isn’t a well known Republican donor. This Justice Department and this President interpret the law in different ways, for different people.

bflat879 on February 1, 2014 at 6:52 PM

the real question is — would anybody care if she wasn’t an attractive white woman?

theblackcommenter on February 1, 2014 at 6:44 PM

Kenneth Bae isn’t an attractive white female. And yet there is public interest in his case. Explain that you racist.

Happy Nomad on February 1, 2014 at 7:17 PM

Americans who are used to the mostly iron clad constitutional protection against double jeopardy we enjoy here

Really

Bwahahahahahahahahahahahaha

The Feds are still mulling over to Try George Zimmerman again.. the GubRmint just calls the old crime by a new name ….and presto….

roflmmfao

donabernathy on February 1, 2014 at 7:18 PM

They do things differently there but it’s not obvious that their way is worse than ours.

Which is why they had to build a special prison/courtroom to try the mafia. Which is why they had to make the names of judges and prosecutors secret in organized crime trials secret (to protect family members) Yeah plant a picture of George Washington behind the giudice and you’d think that you were in America. /

Happy Nomad on February 1, 2014 at 7:23 PM

donabernathy on February 1, 2014 at 7:18 PM

That’s different. Blacks have decided that Trayvon Martin was coming back from Bible study or something. Blacks are going to enshrine his hoodie at the Museum for Blacks being built by the Smithsonian. They’ve long ago painted Martin as a 21st century Emmit Till.

Florida did its best to get George Zimmerman convicted- including ignoring the grand jury system and simply indicting him by a “special” prosecutor who clearly had her marching orders to ignore the law and get a conviction. Still those crackers got it wrong- even the black crackers. So the DoJ is trying to find a way to make the death of a worthless street thug into a hate crime instead of what it really was. Sweet justice.

Happy Nomad on February 1, 2014 at 7:29 PM

If Knox is sent to Italy, it would be an outrage. Heck, I pretty much cancelled plans to travel to Italy because the state of the law there as revealed by this case gave me second thoughts.

WannabeAnglican on February 1, 2014 at 7:44 PM

If Knox is sent to Italy, it would be an outrage. Heck, I pretty much cancelled plans to travel to Italy because the state of the law there as revealed by this case gave me second thoughts.

WannabeAnglican on February 1, 2014 at 7:44 PM

I’m headed to Italy in June. I should be okay so long as I don’t murder my roommate. ;0

Seriously, one racist said that there was only interest in this case because Knox is a white woman. There is another reality here. These prosecutions are only going on because the Italians are trying to make this all about foreigners and not their local non-Italian communities which are teeming and apt to explode for any little pretense.

It is much the same reason why George Zimmerman HAD to be put on trial. To do otherwise would have resulted in race riots.

Happy Nomad on February 1, 2014 at 7:51 PM

In most states, criminal cases are titled The State v. John Doe or The People v. Jane Doe. Ask yourself, which side should be guaranteed a fair trial under the law? Why not both?
IndieDogg on February 1, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Thank God American jurisprudence assumes the accused is innocent until the state can make its case beyond reasonable doubt. It strikes to the heart of the matter that base rights to the individual.

anuts on February 1, 2014 at 8:14 PM

The reason you can still sue civilly for something for which a defendant has been acquitted in criminal proceedings is simple: the standard of proof is very, very different. Criminal conviction in our system requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Civil liability some level of a preponderance of the evidence. A civil jury reading evidence that shows X probably is guilty, but it’s not quite proven, can find liability and award damages, where a criminal jury looking at the same evidence and coming to the same conclusion about the likelihood of guilt would be required to acquit.

CatoRenasci on February 1, 2014 at 4:56 PM

+1000

unclesmrgol on February 1, 2014 at 8:21 PM

the real question is — would anybody care if she wasn’t an attractive white woman?

theblackcommenter on February 1, 2014 at 6:44 PM

Do you care less?

unclesmrgol on February 1, 2014 at 8:24 PM

the real question is — would anybody care if she wasn’t an attractive white woman?
theblackcommenter on February 1, 2014 at 6:44 PM

What do you mean by the real question? Is that supposed to be some relevant commentary on justice?

anuts on February 1, 2014 at 8:33 PM

I have little or no interest in her specific case and I have no idea if she’s guilty or innocent.

Regardless of what either of us might like to see, Joyner goes on to point out that the case is far more complicated than I first thought

If you don’t know what you’re talking about and, furthermore, you don’t give a damn about the case, then don’t write about it.

clear quadruped

Elephant

MisterElephant on February 1, 2014 at 8:35 PM

If Double Jeopardy Doesn’t Apply To Her – Then OJ would be in Prison……

williamg on February 1, 2014 at 5:19 PM

OJ is in prison :)

kcewa on February 1, 2014 at 5:23 PM

…..Not for the double murder he committed, smartass….

…..he’s also in a “white upscale” prison – instead of the Nigerian section of the Angola prison….where he SHOULD be!

williamg on February 1, 2014 at 9:10 PM

Another rather weak argument from Jazz. I wish he would limit himself to posting on items where he had some modest amount of knowledge at least. Others have commented on the difference between criminal and civil trials as to the level ‘guilt’ required so I will skip this rather ignorant aspect of the post.

Ignoring the fact that the Italian system is staged far differently from ours, We regularly have defendants who are convicted, have the conviction overturned on appeal but then have the appeal overturned. Sometimes even this appeal is overturned(district court, Federal appeals panel, full court review and finally SCOTUS) If that wasn’t the case, there would be almost no one serving time in Federal prison in the 9th district.

I am starting to wonder about the folks who review this stuff.

OBQuiet on February 1, 2014 at 9:12 PM

Jazz said,

As I said in the beginning, Knox may or may not be guilty. But I don’t think the US should serve up one of their own citizens to an Italian jail under these circumstances.

There may be other good reasons to deny/fight her extradition if it ever gets to that point, but to use Italy’s different view of double jeopardy as a reason is unwise imo. Italy’s SC was correct to overturn the appeals court’s decision.

She’s psychopathic & guilty as sin, if you look at the evidence apart from her, her family’s, and their PR firm’s laughable lies and propaganda…for one reason among many, her alibi & testimony has changed numerous times, as have the others accused in the case.

Anti-Control on February 1, 2014 at 9:18 PM

looking at the article, It doesn’t even seem to rise to the point of double jeopardy. As I read it, she has NEVER been found not guilty or acquitted. What seems to have happened was the original conviction was overturned and a new trial ordered. This is not unusual here either.

So either they missed something in the article, I missed something reading it or the lawyer spouting off in the quote is just trying to get the verdict he wants in the court of public opinion.

OBQuiet on February 1, 2014 at 9:26 PM

OBQuiet said it best. A conviction at trial in the US can be reversed by an intermediate court of appeals, but reinstated after an appeal to the Supreme Court. Double jeopardy doesn’t apply unless the defendant is subjected to a second trial in the same jurisdiction after having been acquitted at trial in that jurisdiction.

The issue of being subject to trials for violating both state and federal laws is simply one of federalism. If you commit an act that violates the laws of the state, the state – as a sovereign entity – can prosecute you for it. If your actions also resulted in the violation of federal law, the federal government – as a separate sovereign entity – can also prosecute under its laws.

KYpatriot on February 1, 2014 at 10:22 PM

Other countries deny us extradition all the time because we allow for the death penalty. So screw ‘em.

John the Libertarian on February 1, 2014 at 10:44 PM

Other countries deny us extradition all the time because we allow for the death penalty. So screw ‘em.

John the Libertarian on February 1, 2014 at 10:44 PM

I think in this case only how Italy has responded to our requests matters. If, like you say, they don’t honor our request, then screw them. If they have been good about it, it’s harder to say no to an ally like that.

Flange on February 1, 2014 at 11:01 PM

I’m not sure what I’m missing, but this entire premise seems wrong.

I can assure you that convictions in the United States are reversed and then reinstated all the time.

At both the state and federal levels in criminal cases, you have three levels: the trial court, the appeals court, and the supreme court. It is not unusual at all for the appeals court to reverse a conviction for some reason only to have the supreme court reinstate the conviction.

I imagine this has happened thousands of times, but one famous example that comes to mind is that of Jeffrey MacDonald, the “Fatal Vision” Green Beret convicted of murdering his family. He was found guilty at trial. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the conviction, but the United States Supreme Court reinstated the conviction.

Jingo95 on February 2, 2014 at 1:40 AM

It was surprising to me that Knox went along so quickly with the do-over extradition. Seemed like they did not fight it.

virgo on February 2, 2014 at 5:37 AM

Yes.. This is what disquiets me about the Amanda Knox case. It seems like this is a case where political pressure has more to do with it than a search for justice. It seems to me it was a horrific crime and it was botched by the police. And the Italians are willing to make that conviction stick to save face. This is similar to what happened in Portugal with the little girl. The authorities botched the investigation and went after her parents for the little girl’s disappearance. It seems that the poor little girl was instead taken by a pedophile and killed. However, you would think that Italy would at least have some competence in murder investigations because of the Mafia.

I do like America’s strict interpretation of double jeopardy. It is better that a thousand guilty men go free than one innocent man be convicted. And I do agree about the federal/ state double jeopardy. However, I disagree about the civil suits. It seems like there can be civil culpability in certain instances when there isn’t any criminal culpability.

Illinidiva on February 2, 2014 at 7:04 AM

looking at the article, It doesn’t even seem to rise to the point of double jeopardy. As I read it, she has NEVER been found not guilty or acquitted. What seems to have happened was the original conviction was overturned and a new trial ordered. This is not unusual here either.

So either they missed something in the article, I missed something reading it or the lawyer spouting off in the quote is just trying to get the verdict he wants in the court of public opinion.

OBQuiet on February 1, 2014 at 9:26 PM

There actually was a second trial. The Italian Supreme Court ordered a new trial. It didn’t overturn the conviction on a technicality. This would be like someone getting convicted at the first trial, getting acquitted at the second trial, and then getting convicted at a third trial. In the U.S., it would have been finished after the second trial.

Illinidiva on February 2, 2014 at 7:07 AM

Maybe the doj will study the extradition request as long as the Keystone XL has been studied. By the time they make a decision Italy might not exist as a country anymore.

Kissmygrits on February 2, 2014 at 9:04 AM

I say that as long as a country won’t extradite in capital cases because of the possibility of the death penalty, we refuse to extradite to them in cases of double jeopardy. If they want to bring their own judicial values into the equation, then we can too.

No matter what you may feel about OJ, this has always struck me as unconstitutional, or at least a robbery of the right to a fair defense for the accused.

Jazz, there’s quite a bit of difference between civil and criminal trials. First, the different standards of proof between civil and criminal trials could produce different results even with a consistent finding of the facts. The preponderance of evidence standard used in civil trials requires a finding that it was more like than not that the illegal act occurred. The trier of fact can have a reasonable doubt about whether the accused is liable in a civil trial and still find against the defendant. Not so in a criminal trial. Second, criminal trials, with limited exceptions, vindicate the interests of the public. Victims and their families and friends have very few opportunities to have their voices heard in criminal trials. Civil trials are designed to give them a means to make them partially whole.

blammm on February 2, 2014 at 9:55 AM

There is a simple mistake being made here. This has nothing to do with Double Jeopardy.

Amanda Knox wasn’t acquitted. She was found guilty. Her conviction was overturned on appeal, but appeals are not about questions of guilt or innocence but, rather, are about questions of trial procedure.

The Prosecutors, unhappy with the appellate decision, brought their own appeal against that adverse decision, and a still higher court found in their favor. A new trial was ordered to rehear the evidence and decide on the questions of fact. This is not unheard of in our own system of justice. Upon reconsidering the evidence, a guilty verdict was reached yet again.

potkas7 on February 2, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Of course we should not extradite her. A US citizen, domiciled in the US, doesn’t lose his or her constitutional rights based merely on the possibly of having committed a crime in another country. A request for extradition should always be considered as an appeal for justice. If justice won’t be served, as in this case, then extradition should not be granted.

Knott Buyinit on February 2, 2014 at 11:02 AM

Once you’ve been found not guilty, (which is not the same as innocent, I admit, but it should hold the standing of saying that the evidence doesn’t exist to satisfactorily determine guilt) how can you be taken into civil court and sued? Shouldn’t your lawyer’s first statement be to say that any financial claim against you must be based on the conclusion that you were guilty and that had already failed to happen in a court of law?

I don’t see where your confusion is. Whether you are “satisfactorily determined” guilty in criminal court is completely different from civil court. “Not guilty” in criminal court means that there is some reasonable doubt. That is and should be, completely different than the one for civil court. The purpose of the latter is to rectify a dispute between two parties.

I do agree that the fact that you were found “not guilty” should be relevant to the case, but only from the standpoint of determining the appropriate damages – a “not guilty” verdict should be a basis for saying something along the lines of “because there was some reasonable doubt, the punitive portion of the civil penalties should be capped” (or perhaps removed entirely – I could see an argument that punitive
damages should be held to a much higher standard.)

RINO in Name Only on February 3, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Whether you are “satisfactorily determined” guilty in criminal court is completely different from civil court. “Not guilty” in criminal court means that there is some reasonable doubt. That is and should be, completely different than the one for civil court.

My writing is occasionally redundant occasionally.

RINO in Name Only on February 3, 2014 at 11:49 AM

And here I am, on thread that died over a day ago, talking to myself. That’s chaos theory.

RINO in Name Only on February 3, 2014 at 11:55 AM