Amanda Knox Judge Faces Allegations Of Impropriety
The judge that sentenced Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend to prison is facing allegations of impropriety that could result in disciplinary action.
Last week, a new verdict in the murder case of British exchange student Meredith Kercher was read, reinstating the original charges against the American young woman and her co-defendant Rafael Sollecito.
CBS reports defense lawyers for Sollecito said Monday they will request disciplinary action against Florence Judge Alessandro Nencini following comments he made on Sollecito’s defense strategy to Italian media following Thursday’s guilty verdict — and that the comments could form part of their planned appeal of the verdict.
“This is not a vendetta because a judge handed down a sentence other than what we expected,” defense lawyer Luca Maori said by telephone on Monday.
Maori added Sollecito’s defense will ask that the Judicial Ministry — the magistrate’s governing body — and Italy’s supreme Court of Cassation take disciplinary action, calling the comments on defense strategy a “serious” breach.
Amanda Knox defense lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova — who is also planning to appeal the verdict — said he will await on any action until the court’s reasoning for the verdict is issued — which is expected within 90 days from the sentence.
The Judge suggested on Monday that Sollecito might have avoided his fate if he had blamed Amanda Knox for the murder of Kercher, which caused outrage in legal circles.
It is very unusual for an Italian judge to comment on a case, except through official details published months later, and since this has been such a controversial case all along his remarks got the attention of the lawyers in the case immediately.
Nencini gave Sollecito 25-years for Kercher’s murder, while Amanda Knox got a 28-and-a-half-years sentence.
If — as is expected — both parties appeal the latest verdict, it would mark the fourth trial following a 2009 conviction, a 2011 reversal of the original verdict, and last week’s decision reinstating the original conviction.
Not only did Amanda Knox and Rafael Sollecito’s lawyers slam Nencini for his comments, but the Italian media did as well, accusing the Judge of being biased:
“The conviction is the result of a clear bias from the judges against the defendants and in particular against Sollecito,” Luca Maroni, Sollecito’s attorney, told the Milan newspaper Corriere della Sera.
Maroni said the defense team would study the comments and other behavior during trial to see whether they would request the new verdict in the Amanda Knox case be thrown out.
However Rome-based lawyer Jessica Ball, said Nencini’s remarks were certainly inappropriate but unlikely to have an impact on the verdict.
“He shouldn’t have given an interview and certainly shouldn’t have talked about the case,” Ball said. “But it’s much more likely the remarks will result in some kind of sanction against him, than it is that the verdict be adjusted.”
Many Italians feel embarrassed about how the case has been handled and don’t like all the irregularities that have been reported throughout.
Amanda Knox has vowed to never return to Italy and become a fugitive is she is forced to go back to face her fate in the murder of her roommate Meredith Kercher in 2007.