tub of homogenous filth (tpy) Mon 7 Mar 11 12:09
thanks for your response candace. i feel so strongly that she is innocent, and a victim of the conservative and traditional italian justice system.
Paulina Borsook (loris) Mon 7 Mar 11 13:19
candace, do you feel there was a latent anti-american showtrial aspect to the proceedings?
Candace Dempsey (candace777) Mon 7 Mar 11 21:31
Hi tpy, If you feel strongly about Amanda, you may want to check out the Injustice in Perugia site. Obviously the stories are pro-Amanda and Raffaele, but they have a good forum and they try to honor all points of view. A a near impossibility in this case, which is very polarized (at least on the Internet). http://www.injusticeinperugia.org/Forum.html Raffaele's sister operates this Facebook page. She scolded me one time about one of my stories on my Facebook page. It was very Italian. http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001382935225 Amanda goes back to court this week, so watch for more fireworks. Here are the upcoming court dates.As I mentioned earlier, Amanda is also being sued for slander, in a separate trial. Her parents are being sued for slander as well. Raffaele's family will soon go on trial for leaking a crime scene video to an Italian TV station. Mar 12, Mar 26, Apr 16. May 21 - DNA result hearing Amanda and Raffaele Feb 15 Slander Edda and Curt Feb 24 Supreme Court confirms Rudy Guede's 16-year sentence Mar 28 Arbitrary publication of judicial acts Sollecito Family - Francesco (Father), Vanessa (Sister), Mara (Step-Mother) Giuseppe and Sara (Uncle and Aunt). May 9 DNA experts turn in results May 16 Slander. Amanda.
Candace Dempsey (candace777) Mon 7 Mar 11 22:11
Paulina, there was definitely a show trial ambiance. The Italians even called it "The Amanda Show" (in English). That was the headline in the Italian newspapers all across town. What you saw in court had little to do with what was really going on. We saw jurors napping every afternoon; the head judge talking on his cellphone. On the other hand, when I studied the transcripts, I saw that a lot of work got done. Certainly every bit of evidence made it through the trial. However (no offense, Rob, if you're listening)the end was only too predictable. I'm sorry to say that. I'm an optimist, so I'm always ready to believe, get disappointed, and believe again. The trial really tested my patience. No trace of the 2 college students in the murder room? Beyond a reasonable doubt? Really? As for anti-Americanism, no question that played a role,although it wasn't the major factor. That would be Amanda's false confession. Very, very hard to dig your way out of that, as any lawyer would tell you. Better for Amanda if she'd never written or said a word after Meredith's body was found. But she talked and talked. She wrote and wrote. All of that hurt her in court, when it came back to her in mangled form. Remember that Amanda got arrested in the final years of the Bush years and that didn't help her cause. I saw a cartoon of her with Karl Rove and they both had Pinnochio noses. We often heard references to the Marines landing, Guantanomo Bay, American movies like Natural Born Killer etc. But as one English reporter told me, Italians in general like Americans. Think how many Italians have immigrated to our country and still dream of making money there. So being American is a double-edged sword. Everyone was kind to me in Perugia and I have a very heavy American accent. When they learned that I was from Seattle, they wanted to talk to me, to explain that their beautiful city didn't deserve its bad reputation. They would find me sources, suggest restaurants. It makes me smile just thinking about it.
Paulina Borsook (loris) Tue 8 Mar 11 09:10
i sometimes have felt that in these situations, or ones analogous to them, once the outrageous/untrue/wrong wrong wrong position gets staked out by the powers that be, even though they might want to back down/out --- they see no way to do so without losing face/institutional credibility. do you feel that might be going on now?
Candace Dempsey (candace777) Tue 8 Mar 11 15:51
Yes, Paulina, it's hard for all of us to admit that we're wrong. We get stubborn. We won't consider other possibilities. Then you throw a U.S. suspect into the trial and make her the center, and it becomes us vs. them. Tunnel vision. Confirmation bias. It can happen anywhere. Some Italian reporters say this trial would not have taken place in Rome, because people are more sophisticated and people wouldn't be so judgmental about sex and drug use. Not that there isn't plenty of both in Perugia. In any case, it's too bad that Italy doesn't offer change of venue. That would at least create a sense of fairness--and that is so lacking in this case, as I mentioned before. The court doesn't even pretend. Just as an example, Amanda and Raffaele have been behind bars since Nov. 2007. Italy usually offers house arrest, even to murder suspects. Alberto Stasi, arrested about a month before they were (for the murder of his girlfriend) has resumed his wealthy lifestyle and has even been seen at chic ski resorts, while his case is on appeal. Another example: Until now, three years into the case, only one expert has ever been allowed to evaluate the DNA evidence. At the pretrial, do you know who was brought into court as a independent expert to evaluate her work? Her boss! He said everything was done correctly. Both claim that contamination has never occurred in the uncertified Rome lab, not a single time. I have some hope that this new judge will take a clear look at the evidence and will not start from a position of guilt. That hasn't happened yet. The pretrial judge said he started his thinking with "all three suspects in the room." At the trial, the jury never considered guilt or innocence, only whether the two defendants should get life (30 years) or a lesser sentence. They thought they were being kind when they gave Amanda 26; Raffaele, 25. And Rudy is serving only 16. I do want to stress that injustice, if that's what this is, can happen anywhere. In Seattle for sure.
Candace Dempsey (candace777) Tue 8 Mar 11 16:20
Hi everyone, Feel free to ask me about the very controversial Lifetime movie. Hollywood Reporter has my 27 flubs. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/27-fact-flubs-hayden-panettieres-163554 Big showdown this week. Amanda vs.the homeless man who claims he saw her and Raffaele casing out her own house on the night of the murder. He lives on a park bench and has somehow been a star witness in 3 murder trials, in a town where murders are rare. He's also confused about what night he saw the 2 students. He mentioned Halloween costumes when he first told his tale--and the murder occurred on Nov. 1. He'll come to court in handcuffs, because he just got jailed for dealing heroin. And he's the star witness against Amanda Knox. I wrote about this showdown here: http://blog.seattlepi.com/dempsey/2011/02/28/superwitness-against-amanda-knox- put-behind-bars/
Kathy (kathbran) Tue 8 Mar 11 16:45
The slander cases sure look like a system that's insecure about itself.
Paulina Borsook (loris) Tue 8 Mar 11 18:03
i can imagine a scenario that might take place at some point in the not-so- distant future when the media spotlight is gone --- that someone who is in a position of authority in italy would grant a 'pardon' to amanda --- so the question of the adequacy (or lack thereof) of the italian criminal justice system and its particular conduct in this regard --- dont come under scrutiny.
Kathy (kathbran) Wed 9 Mar 11 09:35
Ok, I'll bite: What do you think about the Lifetime movie?
Candace Dempsey (candace777) Thu 10 Mar 11 20:56
Paula, yes, I think that even now the Italians could find a face-saving way out, since Amanda has been behind bars now for three years, and say well, perhaps we made a mistake. Hi Kathy, Well, actually I didn't hate it the way I thought I would. Hayden actually does look like Amanda and I could see that she had done a lot of thinking about her role and actually has a bit of talent. Marcia Gay Harden did a good job of channeling Ellas Mellas, the "mother from Central Casting," as the reporters call her. But it didn't actually show all sides, only the various prosecution theories. Have you seen it? What'd you think?
Kathy (kathbran) Fri 11 Mar 11 10:00
Candace, did you get access to everyone and all the documents you wanted to interview for the case?
Candace Dempsey (candace777) Fri 11 Mar 11 12:21
Yes, Kathy, I was able to get everything I needed to write the book, because as I said in MURDER IN ITALY, the Italian courts leak "like sinking yachts." As another reporter said, everything is supposed to be secret, and everything is available. My editor said I had enough for eight books. She usually edits mystery books so she was expert at deleting fascinating tidits that were "tangential to the plot." I've recycled much of that into my blog. Since the case is on appeal, I'm still learning new things and getting new documents.
Kathy (kathbran) Fri 11 Mar 11 12:42
(No, I didn't see the movie.)
Paulina Borsook (loris) Fri 11 Mar 11 14:47
i read today that there are some attempted reforms being made to the italian judicial system --- but reforms maybe intended to benefit berlusconi. do you know anything about these, and how they might bear on amanda's case?
Candace Dempsey (candace777) Sun 13 Mar 11 00:12
Paulina, I am not sure. It's very complicated and may not happen. No, it won't have any effect on Amanda, since she's already in the court system.
Kathy (kathbran) Sun 13 Mar 11 15:21
Do you think the University of Washington will consider any changes to their year abroad program in light of this?
Candace Dempsey (candace777) Sun 13 Mar 11 16:19
Kathy, the UW did hold behind-closed-door meetings about its study abroad program and says it's made changes. I don't know what they are. To be fair, Amanda could have studied at the UW's Rome extension on gorgeous Piazza di Popolo, but she chose Perguia because you have to use Italian there even to mail a letter. In Rome, she would have lived with other students in safe lodgings, although murders occur anywhere. She could also have gone to the Umbra Institute in Perugia, which has 400 students, mainly American, and she would have gotten to travel around Italy and also vacation anywhere in Europe, even Eastern Europe. However, she wanted to spend all her time with Italian students, and that's hard to do at the Umbra Institute. You do travel around in a pod of students from your own country. Where the UW goes wrong, IMHO, is that they don't help students find safe housing. There should be a list of approved dwellings and warnings about seedy neighborhoods. A foreigner often can't tell the difference. I'm always surprised myself. Amanda was on her own, studying at the U. for Foreigners. I would have jumped at the chance to live in the cute little cottage where the murder occurred, with its fabulous view of the Umbrian hills. Like Amanda and Meredith, I had no idea that Perugia has very serious drug and crime problems. The cottage is outside the protection of the city walls and isolated on a hill, dimly lit at night, with a faulty front door and windows too easily broken. Both Amanda and Meredith saw it on a beautiful warm day, when none of these flaws were apparent. They weren't looking to live a wild life. They were both hard-working, middle-class scholars who didn't even throw parties, not a single one. They had no way of knowing that drug dealers haunt that neighborhood and the parking lot across the street is a gathering place for criminals, as is the basketball court. It's chilling when you locate the cottage on a city map. They were steps away from real danger, mostly at night. What a tempting target that house is for burglars. Other houses on the hills have high walls and beware of the dog signs. Not the house of horrors. Still, their roommates were both legal trainees in their late twenties. Four nice strong Italian boys lived in the flat downstairs. They called them "our protectors." The timing of the murders is also chilling. Eight people lived in the house, upstairs or down. On All Saint's Day, when Meredith was murdered, all six Italians were either out of town or staying elsewhere. That left the two beautiful foreign girls alone that entire holiday weekend. Amanda went to Raffaele's house. As an Italian blogger pointed out, Meredith was murdered the first time she spent the night alone in the cottage. Again the timing: They'd met Rudy Guede briefly about two weeks before; after which, an intruder was spotted was spotted in the garden twice--once by Meredith, at around 9 p.m. (She would die somewhere around that time on Nov. 1, 2007).
Kathy (kathbran) Mon 14 Mar 11 12:19
Did anything significant happen on the March 12th court date?
Candace Dempsey (candace777) Mon 14 Mar 11 22:09
Yes, the defense did a great job of discrediting the super witness against Amanda Knox, a homeless heroin dealer who claims that he saw her and her boyfriend hovering near the crime scene on the night of the murder. It was a freezing night in Perugia, he had cozy apartment nearby, they'd been lovers only 6 days, but this witnesses claims they out at a seedy piazza for two hours. See Amanda Knox vs. the heroin pusher http://blog.seattlepi.com/dempsey/2011/03/11/amanda-knox-vs-the-heroin-pusher/
Gail Williams (gail) Thu 17 Mar 11 10:14
Thank you for a very interesting look at both the story of a crime and the Italian justice system, Candace. It's been a pleasure reading this interview.
Kathy (kathbran) Thu 17 Mar 11 10:56
Yes, Candace, thank you for talking with us about your book.
. (wickett) Thu 17 Mar 11 17:11
Thank you for the insights into the Italian legal system.
Julie Sherman (julieswn) Thu 17 Mar 11 19:13
Yes, thank you so much for this conversation. While the attention of Inkwell has moved on to a new discussion, this topic will stay open indefinitely for more discussion of the book and the Amanda Knox case. Thanks again, Candace, and everyone who contributed, for an interesting discussion.
Candace Dempsey (candace777) Sun 24 Apr 11 23:45
It was a honor. Thanks for your perceptive questions. I enjoyed my time in the spotlight!
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