Critical Analysis: Judge Overturns Acquittal in Amanda Knox Murder Trial

Amanda Knox was initially convicted of murder in 2009 in Perugia, Italy, following a highly publicized and sensationalized trial. (nydailynews.com)

Amanda Knox was initially convicted of murder in 2009 in Perugia, Italy, following a highly publicized and sensationalized trial. (nydailynews.com)

The Amanda Knox saga is far from over, as Italy’s highest court overturned a judgment of acquittal and has ordered a new trial. The initial conviction, which came in 2009 in Perugia, Italy, followed a highly publicized and sensationalized trial. After deliberating for 12 hours, a jury convicted  Knox and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, for murder of their English roomate, Meredith Kercher. In 2011, this conviction was overturned by an Italian appellate court in a decision that brought relief and prompted cheers from the American families present in the courtroom.

Seemingly exonerated of all charges and freed from her 26-year prison sentence, the then 24 year-old former University of Washington student returned to America. However, prosecutors appealed to the Italian Supreme Court and prevailed in March of this year when it overturned the acquittal. The initial trial headlined around the world, as an unlikely 22 year-old visiting American college student was accused of the 2007 brutal murder of her roommate. As the prosecution rested most of their case on circumstantial evidence, including very small amounts of DNA on the murder weapon and on a bra clasp, their case was further complicated with reports of the police’s mishandling of the material.

As Amanda Knox faces the reality of revisiting a nightmare that included 4 years of imprisonment in Italy, questions about her trial and guilt are raised, including why she acted so strangely at the police station following her roommate’s murder, and the unusual friendship between Knox and Kercher. Among the controversy is the release of her memoir, Waiting to Be Heard. She uses the memoir as an opportunity to defend herself and explain her reaction and behavior following the murder of Kercher, explaining that it was a very “confusing and terrifying situation” that resulted in unusual emotional responses. She also describes her promiscuous life as a student in Italy as well as the life she led with co-defendant and former boyfriend Sollecito. Knox also reveals that she wrote a letter to Kercher’s parents saying she did not kill their daughter, but did not send the letter upon advice from counsel. While capitalizing on her experience, as HarperCollins reportedly paid around $4 million for the book deal, Knox must still face the reality of a new trial.

Knox is admittedly afraid to return to Italy and believes there is an absolute lack of evidence and insufficient grounds supporting a conviction. She is still fighting critical comments regarding her apparent cold and insensitive reaction following Kercher’s murder. Still a student at the University of Washington, Knox will have to prepare for any potential outcome in a new trial.

Lydia Rice is 2L and a Candidacy Editor on the Denver Journal of International Law & Policy.

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