The retrial of Amanda Knox for the now-famous 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher is due to open in Italy soon, according to the BBC, but the American will not be in court. Ms. Knox spent four long years in prison before her acquittal and she has always insisted that she is innocent.
Ms. Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito were found guilty in 2009, then acquitted on appeal in 2011. However in March, Italy's highest court overturned both acquittals, ordering a fresh appeals process. The court strongly criticised the way the appeals court had dismissed important DNA evidence, ordering the whole process to begin all over again.
The retrial that the prosecution has taken to Italy's Supreme Court will open in the central Italian city of Florence. Reportedly, the first session is will most likely discuss procedural issues such as dates for further hearings.
Ms. Knox, 26, is not required to be present for the retrial, however, if her previous conviction is confirmed, Italy can be expected to request her extradition. Earlier this month, she said she expected to win another acquittal, but that "common sense" told her not to return to Italy. "I was already imprisoned as innocent person in Italy," she said. "I just can't relive that."
"I thought about what it would be like to live my entire life in prison and to lose everything, to lose what I've been able to come back to and rebuild. I think about it all the time. It's so scary. Everything is at stake.''
Meredith Kercher, a 21-year-old student from Coulsdon, south London, was found dead in an apartment that she shared with Ms. Knox, a fellow exchange student. Prosecutors said Kercher, who had been repeatedly stabbed, apparently died in a sex game that went wrong.
Ms. Knox insists that on the night of Kercher's death she was at Mr Sollecito's apartment, smoking marijuana while watching a movie. Another man, Rudy Guede from Ivory Coast, was convicted in a separate trial and sentenced to 16 years for his role in the killing.
According to The Daily Beast, this is how it got to this point in Italian court proceedings: Guede’s murder conviction is final, having passed all three levels of the Italian judicial system, which would be first level, second level and high court. He is eligible for parole in 2016, but on Monday, Knox and Sollecito will have the chance to again appeal their first-level murder convictions in a new second, or appellate, trial.
Italian law differs from American law in that this second appellate trial is not considered double jeopardy, because they are not being tried twice for the same crime, they are still being tried for the same crime. This step is merely a continuation of the original Italian judicial process. As crazy as it sounds, it is simply just how the justice system works in Italy.
Image via wikimedia commons