Criminal Defense Attorney on Amanda Knox Verdict

October 3, 2011 by David S. Seltzer

As a Florida criminal defense attorney, I was pleased to read that an Italian appeals court has freed American Amanda Knox. Knox was a 20-year-old studying abroad in Italy when she was accused of the murder of her roommate, British national Meredith Kercher. Also convicted were Knox's boyfriend at the time, Italian national Raffaele Sollecito, and a transient born in the Ivory Coast, Rudy Hermann Guede. Knox was convicted in 2007 on the strength of DNA evidence that was later refuted, an interrogation that she said was entirely in Italian and a confession she said she signed under duress and without a translation. The trial also attracted a lot of media attention, with its lurid allegations that Knox and Sollecito murdered Kercher as part of an attempted sexual assault or even a Satanic cult. According to the Wall Street Journal, an Italian appeals court found today that there was insufficient DNA to connect Knox and Sollecito to the murder. Both were freed effective immediately.

This case is attracting major media attention because of the understandable desire to see an American freed from a foreign prison. But as a Miami criminal defense lawyer, I notice that many of the elements of this trial that cast doubt on the conviction are the same elements present in doubtful convictions at home. For example, confessions under duress are unfortunately not uncommon; police may be as unkind as they like in interrogations as long as they don't cross a few specific lines. DNA testing that does not meet standards is also a factor in some wrongful convictions -- and high-profile cases involving scandalous facts or allegations by prosecutors also tend to create problem convictions. For American defendants at home and abroad, this means it's absolutely vital to have the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as you know you are suspected of a crime.

If you're under investigation or have been charged with a crime in Florida, call Seltzer Law, P.A., for help. We answer the phone 24 hours a day and seven days a week because we know arrests don't stop after office hours. You can send us an email or call 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (1-888-843-3333).