First Thoughts on Marasca

by Lenroot

I can add a preliminary two-cents worth, while making it clear that I am awaiting a good translation of the Marasca report. What I have to say here is based upon press reports and upon comments by friends—both Italian and not—who have read the report.

There appears to be some mild confusion over the fact that Marasca let stand the finding that there had been multiple attackers and a staged break-in, while noting the slight possibility that Amanda “could” have been in in the vicinity at the time of the murder. A few not-very-bright commentators have noted–as if it were significant– that the judge also let Amanda’s calumny conviction stand.

But all this is nothing to the point and reflects an unfamiliarity with Italian legal procedure and/or the way legal opinions are typically expressed. Regarding the calumny conviction, it simply was not in Marasca’s power to reverse  since it had already been confirmed by a previous Cassation panel. Indeed, Amanda long ago appealed that conviction to the ECHR.

Marasca’s acceptance of the multiple attackers and staged break-in theories largely reflects the well known preference of Italian judges not to have judicial rulings in direct conflict with one another. The Guede trials had established as “legal truth” that there were multiple attackers and the break-in was staged, and Marasca did not want to contradict these findings directly. He felt it enough to observe that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were not among the attackers and had nothing to do with the staging.

As for the hint of a suspicion that Amanda may have been at the cottage near the time of the murder, Marasca is merely repeating—without necessarily endorsing—a lower court finding. Marasca did not need to contradict a colleague to accomplish what we wanted to accomplish and so he didn’t.

It is important to step back a bit and see what Marasca did accomplish:

  • He annulled the conviction definitively without further possibility of review.
  • He states in the strongest possible terms that Amanda and Raffaele had nothing to do with the murder.
  • He eviscerates the prosecutor and police over the deplorable quality of the investigation.
  • He strongly criticizes the likes of Massei and Nencini for ignoring evidence that undercut their theories and, more generally, for not evaluating evidence in ways clearly established by Italian law.

In short, the subtext of everything Marasca says is that Guede, acting alone, killed Meredith Kercher. An American judge might well have felt free to state this plainly. A subtle Italian judge, operating in an environment where professional courtesy is important,  pays you the compliment of assuming you are smart enough to work this fact out for yourself following the clues he has given.

Of course, subtle analysis and intelligence is not the strong suit of the guilters or their allies in the press. But if you hear someone saying “Knox knows more than she is saying,” you are in the presence of a fool. You are also in the presence of a fool if you hear it suggested that we may “never know” what happened on that fateful night or if you it hear it suggested that there is an unacceptable contradiction between the acquittal and the multiple attacker theory.