Amanda Knox Cleared of Murder by Italian Court, Will Seek Financial Compensation
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UPDATED: Apr 1, 2015
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Late last week, the Italian Court of Cassation fully cleared Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito of any involvement in the 2007 stabbing death of Knox’s British roommate, Meredith Kercher. Although Italy’s highest court wrapped up Knox’s 7-year legal saga, attorneys for the 27-year-old Seattle resident have announced she intends to seek millions of dollars in compensation for the time she spent in prison following her initial conviction.
Italian High Court Overturns Amanda Knox Murder Conviction
Italy’s highest court announced its decision to overturn the murder convictions of Amanda Knox, 27, and Raffaelle Sollecito, 31, last week. The ruling fully clears the former lovers of all legal responsibility for the 2007 stabbing death of Knox’s roommate, Meredith Kercher, while the two were living as exchange students in Italy. The case, which has gained international attention from both legitimate and tabloid media services, provided a roller coaster of legal rulings, convictions, and acquittals that raised serious questions about the integrity of the Italian criminal justice system and the quality of the investigation of Knox after Kercher’s tragic death.
Knox was initially convicted for her role in Kercher’s murder in 2009 and sentenced to serve 25-years in Italian prison. After two years of appeals, her conviction was reversed by Italy’s Court of Appeals in 2011, allowing her to return to her Seattle home. Knox’s story was not over, however, as a second appeals ruling issued in 2013 reversed the decision to overturn her conviction and sentenced her to serve 20-years, leaving open the possibility that she would be extradited to Italy to finish serving her sentence. Knox’s Italian-based legal team initiated a final appeal to the Italian Court of Cassation in an effort to again have the conviction overturned. In a surprising decision, Italy’s highest court decided to clear Amanda Knox of the murder charge, bringing a final conclusion to her Italian criminal case.
The Italian court upheld a slander conviction against Knox for falsely accusing the owner of a local bar of the murder. The slander conviction carried a sentence of 3-years, but the court allowed the four years Amanda already served in Italian prison to negate any possibility that she would return to jail. Ultimately, the lack of physical evidence placing Amanda in the room where Kercher was killed seemed to convince the Court of Cassation and put an end to the Knox family’s ongoing legal ordeal.
Amanda Knox may seek Millions in Damages over Italian Prison Time
Amanda’s initial public response to the verdict was summed up in a statement to the media, “I am incredibly grateful for what has happened, for the justice I’ve received, for the support that I’ve had from everyone, from my family, from my friends, to strangers, to people like you. You saved my life. Right now I’m still absorbing what all of this means… What comes to mind is my gratitude for the life that’s been given to me.” Both Knox and her co-defendant Sollecito have maintained their innocence over the past 8-years, including the four that each spent in prison during their initial trial and appeal process, and according to attorneys representing both parties they will be seeking financial compensation for the time spent behind bars.
As Amanda Knox begins life as a free woman, her Italian attorneys will prepare and pursue her case for financial compensation, writing what will be the final chapter in Knox’s Italian legal saga. Carlo Della Vedova, a defense attorney for Amanda Knox, told reporters that the Knox family would “be seeking compensation for wrongful imprisonment.” Although no further details have been provided, similar claims have sought millions of dollars to recompense long durations of prison time due to false convictions. Knox’s pursuit of financial reparations will likely focus on the accusations of police ineptitude, prosecutorial bias against her, and the refusal of the Italian legal system to acknowledge that the evidence connecting her to the crime was contaminated and questionable from the start of the trial.