Westchester attorney says verdict is on horizon in Sex Lies and Baci Trial of Amanda Knox.

What do the Washington Redskins and American student Amanda Knox have in common? They are the Top 3 posts of Lady Litigator in the eight months since I have launched this blog. If you are reading this, you are already one of those rabid Foxy Knoxy fans looking for any last drop of news or gossip coming out of Perugia. If you happened upon this article any other way, then you might be wondering what all the fuss is about.

Today, the Italian murder trial of Amanda Knox goes to the jury after nearly 18 months, mostly spent in days out of court, since Italian justice grinds forward at an alarmingly slow pace. The case has it all sex, lies, drugs, murder and baci. Miss Knox, known as “Foxy Knoxy” on her Facebook page, and her ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, are accused of murdering Meredith Kercher, after she refused to participate in a drug-fueled sex game. Yet, if this was an American student on trial in Seattle for the murder of her roommate, we all know it would not play out in headlines around the globe. So, why do we care?

This trial had all of the above and so much more including allegations of prosecutorial misconduct, possible defamation charges against both Knox and her parents and the big glare of the American media. When the bright lights and big cameras of American news crews come to a small northern Italian town, that alone makes headlines.

I have not reviewed all of the evidence of this case. I readily admit that, and as an attorney, I would not attempt to second-guess a jury and how they will weigh the evidence. However, if Amanda and Raffaele are religious, they may want to start praying because the cards seem stacked against them despite careless police work and a contaminated crime scene.

Murder victim Meredith Kercher, Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda Knox

Murder victim Meredith Kercher, Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda Knox

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Knox claims she went home and saw Kercher’s door closed and figured she was sleeping. I guess the blood droplets in the bathroom seemed normal to her.
  • Knox then goes to her honey’s house, Raffaele Sollecito, and tells him that something’s wrong and she’s worried. Now, wouldn’t a normal person have knocked on the door and upon receiving no answer then opened it? I’m just saying! (By the way, he claims their relationship was too new and he was not Amanda’s puppet)
  • Crime scene investigators say there was only one fingerprint in the whole house belonging to Amanda. Hmmmmmm. Did she live there with gloves on? My young cousins visit for only a day and I’m cleaning fingerprints off of every imaginable surface, even weeks after their visit. I realize the prosecutor’s case may be circumstanial but people have been convicted on less than what appears to be here.
  • Sollecito’s DNA was found on a clasp from Kercher’s bra. Defense attorneys argue it was contaminated and not found for more than a month. However, one has to wonder why such a small amount of his DNA was anywhere near her undergarments if his relationship with Knox was “new” and he wasn’t sexually involved in this scene.
  • bloody footprints outside the victim’s door point to Knox and Sollecito

    On the other side, there’s the defense’s version of the evidence:

  • Defense experts say the knife offered up as the murder weapon did not make the cuts to the victim’s body and that there was none of her blood on the knife.
  • Sollecito proclaimed in court that he did not kill Kercher and hoped the real killer would come forward. Well, Rudy Guede has already been convicted in a separate trial but he’s appealing because he too says he’s innocent.

    Whatever the outcome, it will be a sad day in Perugia where four young lives have been forever altered and not for the better.

  • Westchester attorney looks forward to a Supreme season on the high court

    The first Monday of October is always a memorable day for fans of the Supremes – as in the nation’s high court and not the 1960s trio featuring Diana Ross.  This season for the U.S. Supreme Court promises to be quite interesting since we now have Sonia from the Bronx on the bench and she may likely butt heads with the conservative majority.  However, more important, are the arguments the justices will take up, including:  dog-fighting videos (no, not videos of Congress at work);  a cross in the desert; and whether juveniles should be sentenced to life without parole for serious crimes like rape and robbery.

    1.  Animal Cruelty in U.S. v. Stevens is first up and will look at whether the government can ban photos of animal cruelty.  The government banned such photos in 1999 but the only man ever prosecuted challenged to protect his right to sell dog-fighting videos.  An appeals court ruled the ban violates First Amendment rights but the government argues that much like child pornography, such images contain no redeeming value and might fuel further harm to animals.

    2.  A cross in the middle of a desert takes center stage in Washington on Wednesday in Salazar v. Buono.  Park officials erected a cross in the Mojave National Preserve and Congress supported them doing so,  but an appeals court ruled that maintaining a Christian symbol on public property violates the constitutional mandate of separation of church and state.  First the high court must decide if an individual can bring a suit like this before it even gets to the argument about the cross itself.

    3.  In November, juvenile sentencing comes before the panel when they must decide if kids can go to prison for life without the possibility of parole for serious crimes when no one dies – crimes like rape and murder.    In 2005 the Supremes ruled it unconstitutional to execute juveniles and now they will look at strict sentencing in Graham v. Florida and Sullivan v. Florida and whether such sentencing mandates would violate the Eighth Amendment ban on “cruel and unusual punishments.”

    So, should we lock up kids forever for something they did when they were 16?  What do you think?  Click on the poll below to cast your ballot.

    All of this makes me wish I lived closer to Washington  just so I could visit the Supremes more often.

    Westchester attorney amazed by the low blow nature of highbrow politics in the County DA race

    As a broadcast journalist for many years whose beat was Westchester, I reported with an objective eye coupled with impeccable research and fact-checking.  Those latter skills have served me well, as an attorney here in the same County.  Now, however, I have been called upon to get back into the political fray as a commentator and what I witnessed last night at the Democratic primary debate for District Attorney appalled me, both as a journalist and as an attorney.  I don’t have to be objective any longer; I don’t have an editor, a producer or a News Director – this is the fun part.

    Incumbent DA Janet DiFiore

    Incumbent DA Janet DiFiore

    Westchester Democrats must select between incumbent Janet DiFiore and Tony Castro in next Tuesday’s primary election and I would urge all to watch repeats of the News 12 Westchester televised debate to witness the banality and juvenile behavior of two presumably intelligent , well-educated individuals.  They are so concerned with beating each other and chasing their own tails that they avoid getting to the heart of any issue and gloss over anything of substance with pat responses and blatant misstatements.  If DiFiore called Castro a liar once, she must have said it a dozen times; therefore, he was forced to address those statements and this went back and forth for an hour.

    There’s an old joke:  How do you know if a politician is lying – their lips are moving.

    The debate spectacle is exactly the reason voters are disgusted with politics and politicians.  They spend so much time and money patting themselves on the back with one hand and slapping their opponents with the other, it is amazing they don’t strangle themselves in the process with all of this cross-checking.

    Democratic Candidate for DA Tony Castro

    Democratic Candidate for DA Tony Castro

    Once again, this season, I will be called upon to join my colleagues over at News 12 Westchester for a final debate in the DA race, to question the candidates one last time.  My suggestion to them would be to drop their current media mongers and just speak directly to issues, the pros and cons, of things of importance and stop wasting time with schoolyard antics.  It does not serve anyone and, in fact, it is quite boring!