Knox and Sollecito trial: 40-day delay requested

Further to the possible delay to proceedings I posted about last week, Umbria24 is reporting that Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti, the experts reviewing DNA evidence in the case of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, have asked for a 40 day extension because they wish to look at certain documents which are not part of the official record and to which they do not currently have access.

What these documents may be isn’t stated. It could be that they are asking to look at preliminary notes or computer records produced by Patrizia Stefanoni, the scientist who originally conducted the DNA tests, if there are any of these they don’t have available. Alternatively, it could be that they are asking to see documents somehow relating to the gathering of evidence at the crime scene. As always, I am speculating. It could also be anything that may be relevant but isn’t amongst material filed with the court.

A decision about whether to grant an extension will be taken by the court at the hearing already scheduled for 21 May. According to Umbria24, if the extension is granted, then the trial may continue into the autumn as a consequence.

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9 Responses to Knox and Sollecito trial: 40-day delay requested

  1. RoseMontague says:

    This is interesting in light of the claims made that the defense team/experts did not have everything they needed to properly evaluate the DNA results either. I know Halkides has been posting about this for a long time. Comodi said that the defense team did have everything they needed.

    Hmmmm.

  2. The prosecution never release the electronic data files or standard operating procedures. Both Greg Hampikian and Dan Krane asked the defense to ask the prosecution for them, but the requests were always refused.

    • maundy says:

      Chris, that’s because neither Greg Hampikian or Dan Krane have any standing in the case. Forensic science is not like academic science where you can expect to be given datasets just because you have expressed an interest. Contrary to this being at all suspicious, it would be absolutely disgraceful if prosecutors were to start handing out data to any scientist anywhere in the world who asked for it. They’re not only within their rights, but very probably obliged, to refuse any request which does not come from the defence lawyers or the court for the legitimate purposes of the trial. And the defence lawyers will, for obvious reasons, only provide data to scientists they have instructed.

      I also find it inconceivable that Hampikian and Krane don’t understand this perfectly well.

      The only real question is whether any data has been unreasonably withheld from the scientists who are actually entitled to ask for it. I see no indication that this has been a problem. But if it has, we will know about it when Conti and Vecchiotti report.

  3. The electronic data files are critical for a thorough case review, and their release is standard almost throughout the world. The American Bar Association makes specific mention of them, as I have documented elsewhere.

  4. Dr. Hampikian has publicly referred to this crime as one of his cases more than a year ago in an interview that appeared in an Irish news outlet. Dr. Krane’s request went through the defense; this information that comes from both him and his associate Dr. Jason Gilder. It would seem that they are consultants. Moreover, Sarah Gino (who was an expert witness) complained about the lack of information in a September (25?) 2009 article written by Ann Wise of ABC, IIRC. Your statement that Drs. Krane and Hampikian have no standing in this case is exceptionally baffling, and (it seems to me) misrepresents the situation completely. I still have emails from Drs. Krane and Gilder to support my position. Do you have any information with which to support yours?

    • maundy says:

      Chris, Greg Hampikian works as a consultant to Knox’s parents – this is what is actually said in the Irish Times article I think you are referring to. He doesn’t work for Knox herself or for the defence team. Krane and Gilder’s only connection to the case, AFAIK, is that they both signed a letter on behalf of Friends of Amanda in 2009. Why not email them again and ask them to clarify this?

      Because none of these three have a direct relationship to the defence, they are not entitled to be sent documents as if they did. I can only speculate as to why they decided to make requests anyway.

      Sarah Gino is so entitled, but she has not raised any complaints about anyone withholding data from her. She has complained about testing that was never done and in her view ought to have been. Maybe her complaint is valid – I have no idea. Presumably this is what you are recalling from ABC.

  5. What Sarah Gino complained about was not knowing such basic things as the dates on which certain items were tested (David Muir, ABC News, 28 September 2009; Ann Wise, ABC News, 26 September 2009)). Th dates are critical “because they would tell us what samples were tested together on the same day, which might indicate if some of them could have been contaminated.” This also indirectly shows that the electronic data files were not released to the defense, because those dates are part of the EDFs. Moreover, Guilia Bongiorno. “addressed the court for 20 minutes arguing that the defense was not provided with crucial details of Sollecito’s DNA allegedly found on Kercher’s bra hook until July 30. The rights of the defense were damaged, she said, when ‘documents regarding the quantity of biological material on the bra hook and documents regarding the procedure used to attain DNA results were not made available to the defense.’” (ABC News story by Ann Wise on 14 September 2009)

    You seem to be ignoring that Dr. Hampkian’s and Dr. Krane’s requests went through the lawyers for the defense. Would the lawyers have the files themselves and not release the files to them? That does not make sense. I emailed Dr. Gilder several times on this question to pin the matter down. If you wish to read comments from Dr. Krane and Dr. Gilder for yourself, I have quoted both of them on my blog, several entries of which are devoted to the electronic data files. I think you are mischaracterizing the open letter of 19 Novemer 2009. This grew out of a session at a scientific conference (Murder in Italy, p. 301). Do you claim that the electronic data files, standard operating procedures, and machine logs were release to the defense? If so, what is your evidence?

    • maundy says:

      Okay, I’m assuming you know the context of the quotes you give from September 2009. The defence were appealing to the judge for additional documentation, which they were granted. Since no more was heard about that, I’m assuming they got what they asked for. If they didn’t and for some reason decided to take it lying down, I expect there’ll be some reference to that in forthcoming report.

      The only quote that I think really matters from Krane and Gilder begins “We were consultants for the defence and…”. Anything else is just “so what?”.

      Would the lawyers have the files themselves and not release the files to them? – Yes, I think it would probably have cost them their jobs and jeopardised the trial, because in Italy, as in other countries, there are strict rules governing who you do and don’t provide case evidence to.

      Lastly, although I don’t think it’s a big issue, I don’t think Murder In Italy can be sensibly taken as reliable for important questions of fact to do with this case. This newspaper article indicates something slightly different about the Johnson letter.

  6. It may be an exaggeration to say that I do not agree with a single sentence you wrote in your most recent reply, but it is not much of one. Let’s start with Dr. Hampikian. He referred this matter as one of his cases, and the Idaho Innocence Project included it on their website before they removed all active cases from it. The version of events that you have suggested (that the defense refused Dr. Hampikian and Dr. Krane) is unsupported by any news stories that I have seen. If your version were true, the defense would simply tell the two scientists that they are not entitled to see the data unless certain conditions are fulfilled. Moreover, your version does not jibe with the conversations I have had with some of the principals. I trust Dr. Krane and Dr. Hampikian (both of whom have worked in other countries besides the U.S.) to know their business better than I trust you to know their business. Finally, if leaking information were such a big deal in Italy, the police would all be in prison themselves, if this case is any indication.

    By late September the prosecution had turned over some unnumbered pages, yet Sarah Gino was still saying that she did not know the dates of the testing. Therefore, your argument is wanting. Using what the defense does or does not choose to do is not a very persuasive argument, IMO. They have to make decisions based on legal strategies, and perhaps they chose to put all of their eggs in one basket.

    The story you cited with respect to Dr. Johnson’s involvement is not incompatible with what Ms. Dempsey reported, quite the contrary. I have found numerous errors in Ms. Nadeau’s book, and Paul Russell’s book is even worse. In contrast, I have found very few errors in Ms. Dempsey’s book. Do you have anything factual to back up your attack on Murder in Italy? Ms. Dempsey also used the trial transcripts as a source for her book. What do you use as source material? With due respect you have not been very forthcoming in this regard.

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