Amanda Knox has now confirmed that she won’t be attending her retrial in Italy, scheduled to begin on September 30.
The 26-year-old student was convicted for the 2007 murder in a 2009 trial that most Americans viewed as a miscarriage of justice. In 2011, an appeals court overturned her conviction, setting her free after four years in prison.
That gave Amanda Knox the chance to return to the United States. However, the prosecutors wouldn’t let the matter drop. In March, the Italian Supreme Court overturned the reversal of the conviction — clearing the ground for the retrial.
Her attorney has said that she won’t go and that she isn’t required to go.
Rudy Guede is already serving a 16-year sentence for the murder of Meredith Kercher. He was caught with many of her possessions, and his fingerprints and DNA were at the scene of the crime.
However, Guede told an elaborate story about a sex game gone wrong, claiming that both Amanda Knox and her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito participated.
Americans are familiar with criminals who invent colorful stories in order to win deals. To most, the motive for Kercher’s murder looks like robbery. And Guede’s wild story looks like a wild story.
But Italy prosecutors have never backed down from their claim that Amanda Knox was involved in the killing. As a result, Knox and her family say she can’t get a fair trial in Italy.
But if Knox refuses to attend voluntarily, can she be extradited? Some media sources like News Channel 9 noted that Italy could always file an extradition request with the United States.
Is the United States under any obligation to comply?
A Slate analysis suggested that Knox is safe as long as she stays in the United States — even if she’s convicted in absentia:
“Article X of the current US-Italy extradition treaty states that the requesting nation must present… a reasonable basis to believe that the person sought committed the offense…The United States will probably use this as grounds for blocking Knox’s extradition.”
The US could also back up a refusal by pointing to our own constitution’s laws against double jeopardy, since Amanda Knox was previously cleared of the crime and released.
The ABA Journal said it’s more complicated than you might think because of differences in Italian and United States law. But in general “America’s extradition treaty with Italy prohibits the US from extraditing someone who has been acquitted.”
Slate concluded that Italy is unlikely to ask the US to extradite Amanda Knox. They might wish to avoid creating an international incident over a request that’s unlikely to be granted.