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Is Amanda Knox extraditable from the United States to Italy?

The Amanda Knox case is complex in view of Italy’s complicated procedure in matters involving serious crimes. These crimes are tried before a special court called the Court of Assizes. These courts have two professional judges and six lay judges, much like a jury in Anglo-American cases. But, in Italy, the lay judges sit alongside the ordinary judges and decide on questions of law and fact. In the Italian system, a conviction or an acquittal can be appealed to the Court of Appeals, which can either examine the merits of the case and hold a new hearing on the facts or decide on the proper application of law, or both. It can also remand a case to the trial court for a new trial. Such appeals are trials de novo, but the Appeals Court of Assizes seldom hears witnesses again, though it can. Usually, it decides on the record both questions of facts and law. Any case can be appealed to the Court of Cassation. If any court certifies there is a constitutional question at issue, that court can refer the case to the Constitutional Court. This complex procedure is designed to benefit the rights of the accused.

The Facts and the Procedural History of the Case

Amanda Knox, a US citizen, was a student at the University of Perugia in November 2007 when she was arrested for the murder of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher. The two women were studying in Perugia, Italy. Meredith Kercher was found dead in the apartment she shared with Knox with her throat slit and with evidence of a sexual assault. Knox, her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, and Rudy Guede from the Ivory Coast, an acquaintance of the couple, were all charged with murder and sexual violence.

2009 – The Perugia Trial Court of Assizes convicted Amanda Knox for murder and slander.

All three pled innocent but were convicted by the Assizes Trial Court in December of 2009 for murder and sexual violence. Amanda Knox was also convicted for slander, having accused Mr. Patrick Lumumba (the owner of the bar in which she occasionally worked) as the murderer. Amanda Knox was sentenced to 26 years in jail, Raffaele Sollecito to 25 years, and Rudy Guede (who had opted for the accelerate procedure) to 30 years (a conviction now affirmed by the Italian Court of Cassation, but with a reduction of the sentence to 16 years).

The convictions of Knox and Sollecito were due to the court not being convinced of Knox’s story that she and Sollecito were not in the apartment the night of the murder but were instead at Sollecito’s apartment. Witnesses testified that they had seen Knox and Sollecito near the apartment where Meredith Kercher’s body was found at around 23.00 hours; and the main scientific exhibits—specifically, Exhibit 36, a 6.5 inch knife found in Sollecito’s apartment with Knox’s DNA on the handle and Meredith Kercher’s DNA on the blade (low quantity of DNA)—were compatible with the wounds according to court experts, and Exhibit 165, a clasp, was found on the murder scene with Meredith Kercher’s DNA and Sollecito’s DNA.

The Appeal Is Held Of Amanda Knox Over The Guilty Verdict In The Murder Of Meredith Kercher

2011 – Amanda Knox appealed to the Appeals Court of Assizes of Perugia, which acquitted her of murder and affirmed her conviction for slander.

In October 2011, the Appeals Court of Assizes of Perugia acquitted both Knox and Sollecito after questions were raised by the defense regarding the protocol followed by the Italian police while gathering the forensic evidence that was used to convict them in 2009. The court’s judgment was also based on new scientific examinations that were previously requested by the defense during the first trial but were not authorized by the trial court. This evidence, according to the defense, would have disproved the presence of Knox and Sollecito at the crime scene. The appeals court concluded that the evidence that proved persuasive to the Perugia Trial Court of Assizes was obtained in a contaminated environment. More specifically, the appeals court concluded that (1) certain footprints initially attributed to Sollecito were also compatible with the size of Rudy Guede’s feet and (2) subsequent analysis on the 6.5 inch kitchen knife supposedly used to slit Meredith Kercher’s throat showed that the kitchen knife did not contain Kercher’s DNA and that the kitchen knife could not have been the murder weapon.

2013 – The Prosecution appealed that decision to the Court of Cassation (Supreme Court), which remanded the case to the Appeals Court of Assizes of Florence.

Following the acquittal by the first appeals court in 2011, Knox left Italy and returned to the United States. In March 2013, the Prosecution in the Knox and Sollecito cases appealed to the Court of Cassation, Italy’s Supreme Court, which remanded the case to the Appeals Court of Assizes in Florence for reconsideration on the basis that there were discrepancies in testimony, inconsistencies, omissions, and contradictions in the ruling of the Appeals Court of Assizes of Perugia in 2011. The Court of Cassation upheld each of the grounds raised by the Perugia Chief Prosecutor. The Court of Cassation concluded that the Assizes Court of Appeals of Perugia, which reversed the murder conviction for Amanda Knox in 2011, had weighed the evidence in an inconsistent and piecemeal fashion.

2014 – The Appeals Court of Assizes of Florence overturned the acquittal by the Court of Appeals of Perugia for murder and affirmed the previous conviction of the trial court for murder and slander.

The case was then assigned to the Appeals Court of Assizes of Florence, which, on 30 January 2014, overturned the acquittals of the Perugia Assizes Court of Appeal based on the Court of Cassation’s previous judgment. This appeals court convicted Knox in absentia and sentenced her to 28 years and six months of imprisonment and sentenced Sollecito to 25 years of imprisonment. The Presiding Judge of the Florence Court has 90 days as of January 30, 2014 to write his judgment (with reasons) on the ruling. Lawyers for Knox and Sollecito have stated that as soon as the judgment is filed, they will appeal it to the Court of Cassation. The judgment is not final until the Court of Cassation rules on the eventual appeal of Knox and Sollecito.

Extradition from the United States to Italy

Italy is one of the few countries with this complex procedure, which it does not consider to be in violation of the constitutional prohibition of ne bis in idem (double jeopardy) reflected in article 649 of the Italian Code of Criminal procedure. The prohibition of ne bis in idem is included in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, but, so far, the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) has not interpreted Italian law as violating the European Convention. Thus, the procedure described above has not been found to be in violation of ne bis in idem under the ECHR.

The 1983 U.S.–Italy Extradition Treaty states in article VI that extradition is not available in cases where the requested person has been acquitted or convicted of the “same acts” (in the English text) and the “same facts” (in the Italian text). Treaty interpretation needs to ascertain the intentions of the parties by relying on the plain language and meaning of the words. Italy’s law prohibiting ne bis in idem specifically uses the words stessi fatti, which are the same words used in the Italian version of article VI, meaning “same facts.” Because fatti, or “facts,” may include multiple acts, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals applied the test of “same conduct” in Sindona v. Grant, citing international extradition in US law and practice, based on this writer’s analysis.

Whatever the interpretation of article VI may be—“same act,” “same facts,” or the broader “same conduct”—Amanda Knox would not be extraditable to Italy should Italy seek her extradition because she was retried for the same acts, the same facts, and the same conduct. Her case was reviewed three times with different outcomes even though she was not actually tried three times. In light of the jurisprudence of the various circuits on this issue, it is unlikely that extradition would be granted.

The US Supreme Court can also make a constitutional determination under the Fifth Amendment of the applicability of double jeopardy to extradition cases, particularly with respect to a requesting state’s right to keep on reviewing its request for the same acts or facts in the hope of obtaining a conviction. But, no such interpretation was given to the Fifth Amendment in any extradition case to date. Surprising as it may be, neither the Supreme Court nor any Circuit Court has yet held that the Fifth Amendment’s “double jeopardy” provision applies to extradition. So far, double jeopardy defenses have been dealt with as they arise under the applicable treaty.

Conclusion: Amanda Knox’s extradition from the United States to Italy under existing jurisprudence is not likely.

Image credit: PERUGIA, ITALY – NOVEMBER 24: Amanda Knox is led away from Perugia’s Court of Appeal by police officers after the first session of her appeal against her murder conviction on November 24, 2010 in Perugia, Italy. © EdStock via iStockphoto.

Recent Comments

  1. Dr David Anderson

    One error in the above (under 2011 ruling); there has never been dispute that the kitchen knife contained Knox’s DNA (as she had used it to cut bread). The Court ruled that it did not contain Meredith Kercher’s DNA (or any blood). This was sustained with further tests on another part of the knife in 2013.

  2. j radd

    What I find most troubling about this analysis, is the presumption of good faith in the prosecution and judges opinions, and the implication that the US is required to accept the outcome as a legitimate result. I’m certainly not suggesting all court cases in Italy are products of corruption, but the case against Amanda Knox could hardly be seen as reasonably otherwise.

    There are a few glaring errors of fact in the above summary as well that rather illustrate the matter.

    For example; “Witnesses testified that they had seen Knox and Sollecito near the apartment where Meredith Kercher’s body was found at around 23.00 hours…” There was only one purported eye witness who was in fact a homeless heroin addict, who had been used twice before as a key witness in other cases by the same prosecutor Mignini. HIs testimony was confused and self-contradictory.

    The initial motive put forth by the prosecutor was that the murder was the result of a satanic orgy, a theory he had first put forward in an earlier investigation in the so-called, “monster of florence” case – a theory which he had pursued on the word of a psychic medium Gabriella Carlizzi, documented by Preston and Spezi in their book on the case. At the time of the Kercher murder, the prosecutor Mignini was under indictment for abuse of office for his conduct in that case, and was initially convicted at a lower court (though later set aside for jurisdictional issues, and charges may be refiled in Turin).

    Additionally, there was a trial of a pharmacist in connection with the MOF case in Florence at the same time as the Kercher trial, and a conviction on sexual orgy murder conspiracy in the Kercher case could have been helpful to furthering the idea that these irrational and devastating claims against many innocents might be more than the mad ravings they were and are.

    In addition, the Perugia police had Rudy Guede released from being held on burglary charges in Milan 5 days earlier. If Guede alone is responsible for the Kercher killing, then the police and very likely Mignini himself are similarly responsible. I believe this single fact more than anything else explains the numerous Italian judges in this case who have clung irrationally to the insistence of a “staged break-in” and ‘multiple attackers” when both of these claims are demonstrably false, and flatly contradicted by the actual evidence.

    Add to this the intentional perjury on the witness stand from the lab technician Stephanoni, claiming footprints revealed by luminol testing were in blood when she knew they had tested negative for blood, and intentional lies to the press from the prosecutor Mignini’s office to poison the jury pool for a year in advance of the trial, and it is impossible to believe this trial was either fair or held in good faith.

    Simply analysis of the legal issues, in the absence of the true and openly corrupt manner in which the case was conducted, puts the US in a position of legitimizing a fraudulent process. Even if Amanda Knox isn’t extradicted, Rafaele will surely end in jail, and they will both carry a wrongful conviction forever.

    The US needs to challenge the legitimacy of this case in the ECHR, reverse these unjust convictions, and hold criminally accountable all those who participated (including the police, prosecutor and judges) in the manufactured witch hunt and unjust imprisonment of two innocent kids.

    We ought not be obligated to respect a corrupt judicial process, nor assume such is legitimate, simply by virtue of a treaty in place. The law must be decent and just to retain legitimacy, and not blind to the delusional ravings of the mad prosecutor of Perugia.

  3. Dr. Christopher Halkides

    Both of the DNA tests requested by the appeals courts were independent (not defense) experts. The additional DNA test in 2013 was supposed to be decisive. Yet when a small portion of DNA was found again to belong to Ms. Knox and not Ms. Kercher, the Florence court convicted anyway. The Carabinieri responded to questions about the number of replications needed in low copy number work by saying at least two were needed. The original low template DNA finding on the knife was only done once. Simply put, the Florence court should have thrown the knife out on multiple grounds, yet they convicted anyway. It was the Court of Cassation whose grip on logic, law, and science was worse than tenuous, not the Hellmann-Zanetti court.

  4. […] University Press examines the legality and likelihood of Amanda Knox’s extradition to Italy if her appeal is thrown out and she is found guilty in absentia for the murder of roommate […]

  5. Gallagher

    Mr. D. Anderson,

    The court absolutely did not rule that the knife had no trace of Kercher’s blood – that would be impossible. The ruling was to do with another and previously untested trace which proved to be Knox’s.

  6. Joseph W Bishop

    Some notes on the above article:

    (1) The best argument against extradition is a 1957 US Supreme Court decision, Reid v. Covert, which holds that a US citizen’s Constitutional rights, including the right to due process, cannot be superseded by an agreement with a foreign government. American experts have repeatedly called into question the quality of justice in the case.

    (2) The double jeopardy arguments rely on the fact that a jury at the second level had found Amanda not-guilty. In the US a higher court can reinstate a guilty verdict that was set aside by a lower appellate court. The participation of the jury in the Italian case makes the case more complicated.

    (3) It’s not fair to say that Amanda and Raffaele were “acquaintances” of Rudy Guede. Raffaele had never even met him and Amanda had only crossed paths with him very briefly. He was a hanger on in the student bar scene so he had briefly interacted with many young people in the college town.

    (4) The American experts who have repudiated and ridiculed the trial and police investigation include three retired FBI agents, an American judge, a private investigator placed in Italy by CBS, a Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times Columnist, and many others. These people are breathing fire.

    (5) This type of crime is invariably committed by a troubled male just like Rudy Guede. Female participation is extremely rare and when it does occur the woman is an empty shell in a long-term dysfunctional relationship with an evil manipulative male.

    (6) Rudy Guede’s DNA indicates sexual penetration of the victim. He fleas to Gremany; he has defensive wounds; he first says in wasn’t there in police monitored telephone calls then admits he was. In addition he had been involved in a series of break-ins in the weeks prior to the crime. In one of those incidents he threatened a home owner with a knife.

    (7) No scientific evidence of Amanda Knox was found in the room where the murder took place. None. Her DNA was found in other places in the house because she lived there.

    This case was tragic but it was not complicated. Amanda found herself in a perfect storm of predatory journalism and third-rate police work. I felt this was a cause worth standing up for.

  7. Professor Christopher Halkides

    “were compatible with the wounds according to court experts…” This is not an accurate statement. The kitchen knife is too large to have made two of the wounds, and the third could have been made by any sharp knife.

  8. Proud Kercher Family Supporter

    I think this is a good summation of the facts although it glosses over the evidence of a staging and the sheer ridiculousness of defendants’ alibi. The author, who is clearly an authority on the relevant law, concludes in essence that the extradition treaty violates the fifth amendment, though the Supreme Court has never considered this question. Although I by no means claim the same level of expertise it seems to me that many US allies allow prosecution appeals and a Supreme Court ruling that invalidates a pillar of those legal systems could throw international law enforcement cooperation into chaos. It must be remembered that the US requests the extradition of three persons for every request that it receives. The author is well aware that pragmatic considerations often prevail in extradition law, and one wonders if he has purposely taken a dogmatic stance in order to advertise his (quite good) legal textbook.

  9. Eric

    I just posted this at another Amanda Knox website:

    I’ve put this as an “original” post because the system wouldn’t let me post it as a reply. It relates to the “extradition” article mentioned by EdwinH, by Prof. Bassiouni, a retired law professor from DePauw University (Indiana).

    My analysis may be too arcane for non-lawyers, but here it is for other lawyers and anyone else who cares to read it. You can find the article itself at this link:


    My analysis of Prof. Bassiouni’s article:

    Essentially Prof. Bassiouni interpreted Article VI of the US/Italy extradition treaty (its sole “double jeopardy” provision, which consists of just the following sentence) as if the words “by the Requested Party” were not there. Here is what Prof. Bassiouni writes on this point:

    “The 1983 U.S.–Italy Extradition Treaty states in article VI that extradition is not available in cases where the requested person has been acquitted or convicted of the “same acts…”

    But Article VI actually states that extradition is not available in such circumstances ONLY if this has occurred in the “Requested Party” (i.e. in the US). Here is the full text of Article VI:

    “Extradition shall not be granted when the person sought has been convicted, acquitted or pardoned, or has served the sentence imposed BY THE REQUESTED PARTY for the same acts for which extradition is requested.

    (I recognize the possible argument that “by the Requested Party” modifies ONLY “served the sentence imposed,” but I’m confident that all or nearly all courts would conclude it applies as well to “convicted, acquitted or pardoned.”)

    Having left out this important element of Article VI, Prof. Bassiouni proceeds to evaluate whether Italy’s complex criminal-case procedure would violate the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Though he acknowledges that the ECHR has never ruled on this (and doesn’t explain why, exactly, the ECHR would have jurisdiction to decide this question — but that’s beside the point here), he opines that it would so hold. Whether one agrees or not with his conclusion really doesn’t matter, since he’s answered a question that’s irrelevant: Article VI applies if and only if the defendant has been placed in jeopardy IN THE REQUESTED PARTY (i.e. in the US, in this case). Clearly that hasn’t happened — no dispute at all about that.

    I have no doubt that Knox supporters will dismiss my analysis of what Prof. Bassiouni has written. That’s anyone’s right, of course — but a suggestion: try to remember what he wrote (see link above), and try to remember my analysis of it, and down the road ask yourself: Who was correct?

    Incidentally, Professor Bassiouni also notes that neither the US Supreme Court nor any federal circuit court (the level just below the Supreme Court) has ever ruled on the question of whether the Fifth Amendment’s “double jeopardy” clause applies to extradition cases. (He doesn’t mention whether any US district court has ever ruled on the question, but it’s likely that any district-court ruling on such an important question would have been appealed (at least unless the case was then settled), in which event we’d have had a circuit court ruling, which Professor Bassiouni says has never occurred.)

  10. Grahame Rhodes

    Dr David Anderson is wrong of course because the defense never questioned the existence of both the DNA belonging to Knox and Kercher on the knife. That is why the defense tried to claim contamination which was dis-proven.

    Further. Knox is not in any condition to claim double jeopardy because it was not a trial but an appeal which both Knox and Sollecito lost.

  11. Kay

    She can’t use double jeopardy as she wasn’t trialled by USA legal system so wrong there. She should be sent if she was innocent she would want the world to know who killed her best friend the girl who lived and are with her not hide and show no emotion

  12. Angela Smitherman

    “I think this is a good summation of the facts although it glosses over the evidence of a staging and the sheer ridiculousness of defendants’ alibi.”

    There is zero valid evidence of a staging and the defendants’ alibi, you know – that one given when not under police coercion, is perfectly reasonable. They were at Sollecito’s flat the entire evening the murder occurred.

    As for “Gallagher” it is completely possible for a court to rule the knife had none of Kercher’s blood. Because at no point was blood ever found on the knife. So you tell me, how was Kercher’s DNA deposited on the knife when no blood was?

  13. Nam

    When Amanda’s and Raffaele’s convictions are written in stone, Raffaele will present a serious problem for the Italian government.

    If they decline to seek extradition of Amanda, they either must (1) let a convicted Italian murderer go free because they’ve let his convicted American co-defendant go free, or (2) imprison a convicted Italian murderer for 20+ years even though they’ve let his convicted American co-defendant go free.

    The first choice will annoy the Italian public greatly since it will allow a convicted murderer to go free in Italy. Yet the second choice would be unfair. Either choice would make the Italian government look weak, as if it had caved in to pressure from the US — which, of course, it will have.

    How can the Italian government avoid this dilemma?

    The only two possible answers I see are: (1) demand that Amanda be sent over; or (2) cut some imaginative deal with both defendants just before we reach the point where not demanding extradition starts to make the Italian government look weak.

    Extradition is a complex process, and there are two parts in the US to consider: the legal process in the federal courts (judicial), and the international relations aspect in the US state department (executive).

    For the federal court process, there have been many past US extradition cases that have had similarities to Knox’s potential extradition. In 1974, defendants tried a double jeopardy defense to avoid extradition to Canada, where their acquittal was overturned (CourtListener). The federal court denied that defense and extradited them to canada. In 1995, a defendant attempted a double jeopardy defense to avoid extradition to Turkey, where they had two prior acquittals overturned. The US federal courts again denied that the US constitutional protections do not apply “extraterritorial” protections to crimes in other countries, and the defendant was extradited (CourtListener).

    Any questions about the fairness of the Italian court proceedings against Knox would not be dealt with by the federal courts, but by the US state department. The federal courts have said several times that those questions belong to the executive branch of the US government, which is responsible for the extradition treaty with Italy (US vs. Kin-Hong, 1997). Once the extradition request is made, most likely, Knox will be arrested by US Marshals and incarcerated in a tough federal prison as she is now a known flight risk with her publicly stating that she’ll become a “fugitive”. She would then remain within Seatac throughout the long extradition process. This could all begin to happen sometime next year.

  14. Barry Tumwater

    As I understand it, if evidence can be presented that shows she wouldn’t have been convicted in a US court, the court will deny extradition. If the absolutely illogical decision carries to its logical end, the man who never met the murderer until the trial will be cast into prison for the better part of his life; the innocent woman hides out in the United States and the murderer is set free.
    PM Renzi talked about Constitutional reforms. Could this be on his agenda?

  15. Professor Christopher Halkides


    Three separate tests were negative for the presence of blood, and all three had a very low limit of detection. Three strikes and you are out in anyone’s baseball game.

  16. TomM

    Article VI actually states:

    “Extradition shall not be granted when the person sought has been convicted, acquitted or pardoned, or has served the sentence imposed, by the Requested Party for the same acts for which extradition is requested.”

    The United States is the Requested Party; Amanda Knox has not been prosecuted in the US for this crime. Not only does Professor Bassiouni misread Article VI, he also ignores the well-established “non-inquiry rule” that normally the justice system of the Requesting Country will not be examined.

  17. DJR Blackhat

    Extradition should be off the table. Universal laws were violated by the courts and authorities in the Knox Solectico case, Italy has continually tried to catch up to cover these accusations with little success. She was denied council. Arrested, publicly viewed, transported to Capange and processed before a magistrate before any allowed contact with council. See book, “Waiting to Be Heard”. A, Knox. Any council! Police officers, (6) lead officer Migini and (?) verses A. Knox alone, 90 days from home? 20 years old? No voice! Miginni has released to the BBC a recording after the fact of the interrogation. Italians signed into law that interrogations would be recorded. Where is that tape. It is to be noted that Amanda was moved from a hall way to a room and in the later hours a third room. Indications? Taped room. Known? No, but obvious just the same. Since Miginni recorded the after interrogation does it not ring true the original would be taped. That 8 hours of interrogation would need recording to illicit the facts? Hold water? The known knife, is a folding pocket knife silhouetted by saturated, (massive) amounts of blood. outlined on a bed sheet next to where Meridith died. The saturation is evidence itself, jugular. It coincides with the blood hand print on the wall identified as Rudy’s. The alleged knife would hold similar value as would a purse, pocket, drawer. The original Massi court denied by insistence the review of the kitchen knife cementing it into evidentiary fact. It was and is NOT! Under review it did not hold water. The CSI of the original test admitted it did not have Meridiths DNA on it, but retested outside the allowed spectrum of the manufacturers specifications to achieve a positive. Court should not have allowed testimony. For those at Oxford, Miginni failed to protect Amanda Knox. As an officer of the court and first line attorney his job was to protect Amanda as her council until council for her was present. To protect her against any violation of universal civil liberties. He did not. Instead because he did not follow this protocol he is being accused of framing a young innocent foreign visitor. This is somewhere along 4 or 5 BIBLICAL law violations, accepted western civilization laws.

  18. Gallagher


    We all know the blood test had a negative result – the prosecution never claimed otherwise.

  19. Gallagher


    You raise a very interesting point with extradition issues.

    Knox is an American citizen, presently residing within the USA. Even if Knox is declared guilty by the Supreme Court, the Italian government cannot in any way force her return so I don’t really see what your point 2 is about. Personally, I feel that if declared guilty, they will obviously start extradition procedures, though I think they will not force the issue – they must realize that there is a fair probability that the defendants are innocent, and even should they really believe in her guilt, Knox, after all is really an American problem – not theirs.

    There is another side to this, and in reality what will probably happen. If Sollecito is convicted and imprisoned, how is that going to make Americans look and feel. Knox will not be able to travel outside American borders to any country with an Interpol agreement. The Italian kid is having to do his time, but the American is free inside the USA. That may not give too good an impression. People will think justice doesn’t function within the USA and that the place is coming down with convicts etc.

    It all really depends on what your beliefs are – who is innocent or guilty, right or wrong , strong or weak. The issues in this case have been clouded over by the opposing sides to such a degree that it is extremely difficult to discern the genuine facts. This is one area were extradition procedures will undoubtedly enlighten us – the Italian government will have to explicitly state the evidence and forensics, and the State Dept. will have to digest these without the input of a PR agency.

  20. Grahame Rhodes

    Nice to see some common sense for a change instead of the vitriolic hysterical nonsense from the pro Knox sites.

  21. Ralph

    Italy does have a dilemma

    Rudy Guede, the man who left DNA all over the crime scene while having “consensual” sex with Meredith has been paroled and is majoring in History courtesy of the Italian government.

    Amanda Knox has returned to the U.S.

    Only Raffaele is in Italy.

    If the Court of Cassation upholds the conviction—only Raffaele will be in jail.

    I see a way out of this embarrassing situation for Italy and the Court of Cassation. Ignore the evidence Rudy Guede left at the scene and Pardon him. It was only a hot date. Convict only Amanda but don’t extradite her.

    That way Amanda and Raffaele don’t go to jail for a crime they did not commit (IMHO). The Amanda guilters and haters can sleep at night knowing Amanda is being punished by limiting her life to the 50 states. And Rafelle can go on with his life.

    Or the highest court could do the right thing find Amanda and Raffaele innocent. Like the Duke Lacrosse case.

    And what about Meredith? The British Tabloids’—if they really cared—could start a endowment fund in her memory with all the money they’re making on this story.

  22. Pat Az.

    I’m not sure why the rest of the language in Article IV was ignored in this post; the conclusion is invalid since it doesn’t examine the text of the full article it cites.

  23. Proud Kercher Family Supporter

    NB: I have emailed the author for clarification of his interpretation of Article VI. The article states: “Extradition shall not be granted when the person sought has been convicted, acquitted or pardoned, or has served the sentence imposed, by the Requested Party for the same acts for which extradition is requested.” In contrast, the author seems to interpret the article this way: “Extradition shall not be granted [by the Requested party] when the person sought has been convicted, acquitted or pardoned, or has served the sentence imposed, … for the same acts for which extradition is requested.” The latter interpretation is at odds ordinary English grammar, as well as the findings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee which has written, “prosecution appeal after acquittal is often permitted in European countries with civil law traditions … although the Treaty does not address this situation, it is the understanding of the Senate that under U.S. law and practice a person sought for extradition can present a claim to the Secretary of State that an aspect of foreign law that may permit retrial may result in an unfairness that the Secretary could conclude warrants denial of the extradition request.”

  24. Dr. Christopher Halkides

    Gallagher, Not one but three tests came back negative for blood. No one has ever explained how a knife that could be cleaned of blood but not DNA. As for the DNA test in 2013 (the one you mentioned), it was supposed to be “decisive,” according the the Court of Cassation. It came out negative for Ms. Kercher’s DNA (the finding of Knox’s DNA was unremarkable, inasmuch as her DNA had been previously shown to be on the handle). Moreover when asked, the Carabinieri indicated that when working with such small amounts of DNA, there must be a minimum of two amplifications. Their response should have been enough to convince the Florence court that trace 36B was indeed not up to recognized standards. Thus the test was indeed a “decisive” win for the defense, yet the court convicted anyway.

  25. David Barneby

    In Italy , as I understand , the supreme court is the highest level of the judicial system , it is Not answerable to any government or higher authority , so I contend that there is no automatic follow on that would compel the government to extradite . In Britain there is the Lord chancellor and the House of Lords is the highest legal authority . I am sure that in the US there is a state department that supercedes their court system and judges . The US practices law that was derived from English Common Law . In Britain extradition cases are heard and judged in a court of law , where the case for extradition will be closely examined as to the justification of extradition . The defendant would be represented by defence lawyers and a specialist in Extradition law . I am surprised to read a comment here that the US would not examine the Knox/Sollecito case in a court of law , where the person to be extradited has the full cooperation of the US Legal System to defend themselves . I am not convinced that is true .
    Particularly in view of the worldwide divisions and doubts about this case , I believe the whole case and following judicial reviews would be examined by a US Court . Extradition law is not confined to the law as enacted in the country seeking extradition , it also has to match in this case US law and proceedures .
    The case against Knox and Sollecito is built upon imagined and fanciful scenarios , conjecture , character assassination , with not a shed of factual evidence and DNA that links them to the murder scene . The Perugian prosecutor had built a fanciful case against Knox and Sollecito , before it was discovered that Guede committed the murder , because of the sensation in the world press they have not felt able to admit their mistake . Why did Guede have his sentence halved , if not for saying thay Knox and Sollecito participated in the murder with him , having previously and since said they were not involved at all . This case STINKS OF INJUSTICE , I would be very surprised if the US didn’t see through it and maybe even the Ministry of Justice in Italy .
    Sollecito is being persued solely to catch Knox . All Sollecito has to do is to say that Knox committed the murder with Guede without him knowing and he is a free man . After the Florence appeal Judge Nencini commented that if Sollecito had taken the stand , meaning making himself available for cross examination , they might have been able to help him , no doubt meaning persuading him to change his story and give them Knox .
    I do not think the Italian people in general would be the slightest concerned if Sollecito were freed because Knox couldn’t be extradited . The general public is too appathetic about such matters and politics . It would not be the first time someone convicted of murder has been freed after a very short time . I recall the case of a young man who got his girlfriend at university pregnant and murdered her . He was found guilty , but was sent home after a very short while . I was very surprised , but there was no public outcry . The Italian people think all public officials and politicians are corrupt , so no surprise at any irregularities .

  26. David Barneby

    Proud Kercher supporter

    I feel so sorry for the Kercher family and their supporters .
    The persuance of Knox and Sollecito as conspiritors and co murderers with Guede has created world wide sensation and divisions which have completely swamped pity for the Kercher family . Guede’s sentence has been halved for his implemening Knox/Sollecito in the murder , so he may be due for parole this year . If as many people believe , Guede was the only murderer , the Kerchers are likely never to see justice done . I read that their Italian Lawyer Francesco Maresca is a friend of prosecutor Mignini and has been hotly persuing Knox in particular for financial compensation , giving the impression that the Kerchers will appreciate the justice in a large sum of money . My guess is that Knox has no money , could easily declare herself bankrupt , that neither her family or the US would be under an obligation to pay her debts , beyond defending her in court .

  27. David Barneby

    ” Most countries also refuse to extradite individuals over criminal charges of which the person has already been found not guilty.” – See more at: http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-procedure/extradition.html#sthash.qJ5bv0FX.dpuf

  28. Professor Christopher Halkides


    Not a negative test but three negative tests for blood from two different labs. And no one has ever explained how one can clean a knife of blood but not DNA. The DNA test in 2013 (the one you mentioned), was supposed to be “decisive” according to the Court of Cassation. None of Meredith’s DNA was found (the finding of Amanda’s DNA was unremarkable, inasmuch as her DNA had already been found on the handle. When asked, the Carabinieri said that when working with such tiny amounts of DNA, at least two replicates must be run. That acknowledgement should have been enough for trace 36B to be tossed as evidence (among other reasons). Thus, the findings of the Carabinieri were indeed a “decisive” win for the defense, yet the Florence court convicted anyway. This, among many things, raises the question of which court was logical and which was not.

    Mr. Rhodes,

    The Court of Cassation has now adopted a standard for contamination (that the route must be proved), that not even well-studied cases of contamination (Jaidyn Leskie and Farah Jama) could pass. Moreover, they accepted Novelli’s assertion that there was no contamination without defining what methods he used. If he had the electronic data files, then he had more evidence than either the defense or the independent experts. If he did not, then he did not do a thorough case review. Your claim that contamination was disproved is itself nonsense.

  29. Gallagher


    That is an astounding and woeful misrepresentation of the facts.

    There was no decisive win for defence or prosecution. The trace had been previously identified by court appointed specialists but deemed too small to analyse. The examination by CIS proved the trace belonged to Knox. When asked why they had split it, they explained that this was desirable when possible and appropriate. They categorically did not state that this must always be carried out for a forensic examination to be deemed reliable. Stefanoni explained to the court why she could not have split the trace she found.
    The courts and defence lawyers are well aware that blood tests for the knife proved negative. The Court of Cassation has not adopted a standard that contamination must be proved – that would be quite unrealistic. They stated that if the defence wishes to postulate contamination, they must at least demonstrate a possible route or theory. They did not accept Novelli’s or anyone’s assertions – it is not for them to do so.

  30. Nam

    The United States extradites more people than any other country in the world. If we want to retain that right with Italy, just consider the implications with organized crime alone, we’re not about to give up that right solely based on one Amanda Knox. That’s the leverage, and it’s pretty substantial.

  31. Professor Christopher Halkides

    There are a number of small errors in the summary, such as describing Mr. Guede as “an acquaintance of the couple.” Ms. Knox was introduced to him once and may have seen him at her place of work, but Mr. Sollecito never met him. These errors do not seem to weaken the main point of the article, but they detract from it slightly.

  32. […] appears in Oxford University’s blog, OUP, that based on the 1983 U.S.–Italy Extradition Treaty, Amanda Knox’s extradition from the United States to Italy is not likely under existing […]

  33. Jay

    Other commenters have pointed out minor mischaracterizations of fact, such as Guede being “an acquaintance of the couple”, and other points that somewhat cloud what I would suggest is the most important point I would like to see addressed.

    The investigation, prosecution, and all court proceedings, with the exception of the Hellman acquittal, lack any semblance of legitimacy.

    To entertain an extradition request confers a blessing of legitimacy on an openly corrupt judicial process. The Italian prosecutors, police, technicians and judges; they didn’t make a mistake; they committed a crime.

    The US should appeal to the European Court of Human Rights for relief, on behalf of Amanda and Rafaele. And it begs the question that perhaps citizens in the EU ought to have the option of being tried by authorities in the EU, since Italy has so devastatingly failed in this most basic function of the honest and competent administration of justice.

  34. Nam

    Questions also have been raised about whether the State Department might conduct a review of the evidence and ultimately decide it doesn’t support extradition. The treaty says the country requesting extradition shall provide a summary of the facts and evidence in the case that establish “a reasonable basis to believe that the person sought committed the offense.”

    But Christopher Jenks, a former Army attorney who served as a State Department legal adviser and now teaches at Southern Methodist University’s law school, said that’s a low bar, and that there’s “no reason why Italy wouldn’t be able to put together a sufficient extradition request.”

    He also noted that although any request would wind up before a U.S. federal judge, the court’s role would largely be to ensure the paperwork is in order and that basic requirements are met.

    “She’s not going to be able to relitigate ‘did she do it’ in a federal court,” he said. “Your chances of anything coming of that are slim to none.”

  35. Fran

    I agree that there is little in the extradition treaty that would prevent extradition based on article six. There are however legal reasons that could prevent extradition. First the extradition treaty says the extradition will be denied if it is based on political reasons. Judge Hellman stated that the Supreme Court overstepped its authority and based its decision on political reasons. He expands on this in an interview he did after the Supreme Court decision.

    In addition there are a few pieces of evidence to suggest Amandas human rights were violated. First the Supreme Court ruled that Amanda’s interrogation was unconstitutional however the same Supreme Court ruled that her interogation could be used to prove guilt or innocence.

    Second Amanda or Raffaelle were not present at the Guede trial and had no legal representation. In the judges motivation report in the Guede trial the judge clearly states and Amanda and Raffaele were co conspirators in the murder. The Supreme Court in deciding to overturn the Hellman verdict stated that the new court should consider the motivation report in the Guede trial as evidence for determining guilt or innocence.

  36. Nam

    @Fran Hellman’s acquittal was “razed to the ground” based on “faulty logic”, “conjecture”, “a combination of inconsistencies” and a “large spectrum censorship of the facts”. Particularly noteworthy was Hellman’s refusal of the prosecution’s request for a second DNA test of the knife. This was granted by the Nencini court and Knox’s DNA was found once again. Despite Hellman’s hearsay, it wasn’t politics that convicted Knox, it was evidence. It should also be noted that Hellman is now retired.

    Also, Knox’s interrogation was never admitted as evidence against her. What was admitted was her next-day entirely-voluntary “memoriale,” which she wrote without being asked to do so, indeed, without the authorities even being aware she wrote it until she handed it to a guard and asked him to deliver it to the prosecutor.

    Rudy Guede’s fast-track trial was held behind closed doors for the same crime. Both Knox and Sollecito were offered that same exact type of trial if they were willing to cooperate, but they both refused to take that option. All of the documentation from Guede’s trial was admitted as evidence in both Knox’s and Sollecito’s trials. Their lawyers had full access to all of it and were able to defend against it in their own trials. So there was no violation of human rights involved at all. It could be seen as prejudicial, but not as a violation.

  37. Fran

    Nam: It is nice to cordially talk.

    As of this email we don’t yet know why Knox and Sollecito were convicted because the motivation report has yet to be issued. I would like to think it is evidence, but if it is the knife then I would question my wish. Knox’s DNA was positively on the knife. This is rather inconsequential since she spent considerable amount of time in Sollecito’s apartment. The more important piece of data is Kercher’s DNA was not on the knife. Also a second unknown female’s DNA was on the knife. The knife would have to have been plundged clear through Kercher’s neck. Blood would have flowed all over the knife and into every crack of the knife. Blood would have gotten between Knox’s hand and the handle forcing blood into the handle’s wood fibers. Now we are to believe that Knox cleaned the blade of all Kercher’s DNA (Dominant DNA) and still was able to keep the DNA of hers and the unknown female. There are many theories for how this could happen but the most probable is the knife was not used in the murder weapon. This would be evidence in favor of acquittal.

    The article was about extradition, so I’ll also comment about Knox’s human rights violation.

    Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights states: Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:
    6.e.d) to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;

    This was further clarified in S v Motlatla
    “The right to confrontation means more than that an accused person must know what the state witnesses are saying or have said about him, or that he shall be able to hear them saying it. There must be a confrontation in that he must see them as they depose against him so that he can observe their demeanour, and they for their part must give their evidence in the face of a present accused.”

    Having access to court documents is not sufficient for meeting this human right. The Italian supreme court just mentioning Guede could be interpreted as violating this right. Giving instructions to the next court to consider the Guede ruling is worse.

  38. Will

    I agree with the conclusion, but not for the reasons stated. Extradition is primarily a political and diplomatic issue, not a legal one. Given the renewed derision and scrutiny of the Italian legal system that a request for extradition would invite, I doubt very much that Italy would ever make a request under the Treaty. And if they do, I doubt that the State Department would comply for domestic political reasons.

  39. John Peddubriwny

    I am at a loss to understand your “same acts” “same facts” point.

    As far as I am aware it is common procedure in the US for an Appellate court to overturn a conviction, and for the prosecution to appeal to the Sate Supreme Court, who will either, confirm the appeal court, overturn the appeal court or order a retrial for the “same acts” for which the prosecution will introduce the “same facts”. How is that any different from the Italian system and why should the fact that the state has a right of appeal, penalise them?

  40. Trev

    In Burks v. United States [437 U.S. 1 (1978)] ” For the purposes of determining whether the Double Jeopardy Clause precludes a second trial after the reversal of a conviction, a reversal based on insufficiency of evidence is to be distinguished from a reversal for trial error. In holding the evidence insufficient to sustain guilt, an appellate court determines that the prosecution has failed to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Given the requirements for entry of a judgment of acquittal, to permit a second trial would negate the purpose of the Double Jeopardy Clause to forbid a second trial in which the prosecution would be afforded another opportunity to supply evidence that it failed to muster in the first trial.

    In other words, trial error can be further appealed, but not a rejection of evidence. Where a retrial does occur, the prosecution might re-argue the same facts in regards to the same acts, but might lose in front of a different jury.

  41. truth and sense

    of course she is extraditable. there is nothing special about Knox. the treaty says she is extraditable and she is. there is no double jeopardy. Bottom line, you don’t know what you are talking about.

  42. truth and sense

    error of dr. david Anderson: yes the kitchen knife contained Knox’s DNA. he is making a supposition that she used it to cut bread even though it is not a bread knife. and the Court ruled that it DID in fact contain Meredith’s DNA.

  43. truth and sense

    yes J radd the US is required to accept the legitimate verdict of the Italy judiciary. that is the point of having signed the Treaty with a country that affords all due process just like (if not more than) the US. The guilty verdict is not a product of corruption and there is nothing to suggest that it is. also, there was never any theory put forth involving a satanic orgy; the fact that you think so shows how little you know of the facts. and Carlizzi has nothing to do with the case, nor do Preston and Spezi who are reliable for nothing. the Perugia police had nothing to do with Guede not being held since he was never charged with burglary anyway, and would not have been held regardless. the ECHR cannot reverse convictions and the US has nothing to do with the ECHR. J Radd, simply put, you are misinformed and don’t know what you are talking about.

  44. truth and sense

    there is enough evidence to convict without the knife DNA. or without any DNA at all. keep on harping on the DNA. the guilty verdict will be confirmed and Knox will be extradited.

  45. truth and sense

    there are no American “experts” who have called into question the quality of justice in this case.
    there is no double jeopardy argument;none.
    no one except the murderers know the extent of the two fools’ relationship with Guede, and of course they lie about it as they lie about everything.
    again, these dumb ex-FBI etc. are not “experts.” -not at all.
    it is not proven Guede was involved ina series of break-ins – although I know for Knox idolizers proof is not required when it comes to Guede only.
    DNA of Knox may not have been found in Kercher’s room which doesn’t mean she wasn’t there. Guede was never in Filomena’s room as he didn’t break in.

  46. truth and sense

    yes, instead of scrutiny of the Italian legal system, why not try a scrutiny of the U.S. legal system? I know what would be found. Do you?

  47. truth and sense

    Judge Hellman is a fool and everything he says with respect to this case is meaningless. His verdict was bent and now he tries to save face. the evidence (all of it, not just DNA) overwhelmingly shows guilt.

  48. Annie

    “Amanda Knox would not be extraditable to Italy should Italy seek her extradition because she was retried for the same acts, the same facts, and the same conduct”
    Again with this double jeopardy nonsense and yet another US lawyer who has NO understanding of the legal system in Italy, no understanding of the full extradition treaty.
    Amanda Knox was NOT retried for the same facts, etc. These were APPEALS. In Italy, a conviction AUTOMATICALLY garners an appeal unlike in America. Her second go round was an automatic appeal brought by her and the acquittal was anulled for tampering with evidence by the defence so it now no longer exists. The next, was an APPEAL brought by the prosecution and the third was HER APPEAL, which she never bothered to show up for.

    Mark my words, Knox will be extradited if Italy requests it. The US has no choice but to comply. Knox is not important enough for the US to risk relations with Italy and with NATO members despite how many petitions her ill-informed supporters sign. America will be a laughing stock if they were to even consider refusing based on this. A laughing stock of great magnitude and they would find themselves unable to request extradition of any of their citizens.

  49. Jeffrey Rubin

    I disagree with your reading of Article VI of the Extradition Treaty. The Requesting Party is Italy and the Requested Party is the United States. The provision says is that if the person sought has been convicted, acquitted or pardoned, or served a sentence imposed by the Requested Party, for the same acts for which extradition is requested, extradition shall not be granted. This would, for example, be applicable had Amanda Knox been tried for the homicide in the United States. Because she has not been charged with the crime in the US, Article VI is inapplicable.

  50. Giancarlo Ricciardi

    speriamo che il vostro presidente non conceda l` estradizione.

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