Amanda Knox in Court for Slander Case

Amanda Knox is expected to be in court on Tuesday, June 1st, regarding her accusation of abuse by Perugia police.  Ms. Knox has claimed that she was struck in the back of the head during questioning and this resulted in cries of slander by Prosecutor Guiliano Mignini.

Amanda Knox

While scouring the news this morning, I came across a post by the Barbie Latza Nadeau, a journalist for the DailyBeast.com. She is also the author of the book “Angel Face”, the first book about the case written by a bi-lingual journalist who attended the trial (she is fluent in English and Italian). Ms. Nadeau poses 10 questions to Amanda Knox in today’s blog on the DailyBeast.com. The questions are of the variety that are meant to provoke the Knox camp – and they have responded en force.

I am a study abroad administrator and not an attorney or juror. I again will state that it is not my role to form an opinion on whether Ms. Knox is guilty.  What I will say is that the 10 questions and comments under Ms. Nadeau’s post are full of strong opinion, passion and rage in support of both sides.

As a study abroad administrator, this case again reinforces for me how necessary it is to have frank dialogue with students about the serious consequences of being accused of committing a crime abroad. While pre-departure orientation tends to focus on the academic processes, travel logistics, cultural adaptation and such, it tends to gloss over the challenges of how being treated under local laws in a foreign country can land you in a different cultural pot of hot water.  As I do not know the details of the pre-departure study abroad orientations at Ms. Knox and Ms. Kercher’s home schools in the US and England, I will refrain from commenting about the specifics of what “should” have been covered in the pre-departure orientations.

Most US based schools review policy about the use of alcohol and drugs in pre-departure orientation materials and/or group meetings.  However, the focus is often of the institutional policy position related to the home school’s student code of conduct and often speaks to representation of the home school, home country, etc.  The Knox case adds a whole new layer to the seriousness of engaging in ‘recreational’ use of illegal drugs. It is clear that Ms. Knox’s confession of smoking marijuana the night of the murder has certainly diminished the credibility of her recollection during the trial.

Let me again remind you that I am an international educator with no firm answer as to “whodunnit.”  It isn’t my role to argue a position and it would be irresponsible of me to form an opinion based on press reports, tabloid media, and pressure to do so. But what I can express, with a heavy heart, is that two young women who left their home countries to embark on an exciting academic and personal experience in Perugia, lost their lives the night that one was murdered in Perugia.

  • j

    yes both young women as you state lost their lives, except that Mredith will never come back to her parents, but knox even behind bars can continue to study and see her family. U brought out a very important point, cannabis what knox alleged to smoke heavily that nite and in USA, they wanto legalize it. People dont realize in this country that cannabis is not a soft drug. Recently studies have shown that it can induce psychosis and schizophrenia in long term.By the way i dont think that cannabis wiped out her memory that she could nt tell the court the real story, i think she just lied over and over again because she is guilty as hell. But u know u do a crime like murder someone the u do the time

    • Please don’t misunderstand me – Ms. Kercher being brutally murdered is the utmost tragedy for any parent. I cannot imagine how her parents, siblings and friends survive each day knowing that she is not here with them, living a full and beautiful life. They were all robbed and Ms. Kercher’s simple presence in their lives, I’m certain, made each of them better people. However, I do stand by my statement; Ms. Knox has lost her life also. She has lost the life that she has known, her reputation, her youth, her hope. Today’s photos in the press show a woman who is depressed and completely unable to control her circumstances – and she has claimed to be not guilty. If this is the case, she has lost her life, and this too has seriously impacted her parents, siblings and friends. One wonders if seeing what you believe to be your innocent child in prison thousands of miles from home in a country that has vilified her is not like a death.

  • Zooks

    I have been VERY disappointed the UW has not stood by and helped Amanda Knox more. She was a foreign exchange student who got herself in kinds of trouble. The UW should pull all their student from Perugia because of this case. It would be a powerful statement.

    As for Barbie Nadeau and her tabloid book and article – arghhh. I saw and responded to her list of questions. You are correct they were meant to prevoke and sell more books. She knows the answers to those questions and seems to encourage doubt to things already answered.

    This site will give you clear information – http://www.injusticeinperugia.org/index.html

    • I am completely guessing here – as I do not know what UW’s response has been – but knowing how litigious the US is, they are likely being advised to tread very carefully in any attempt at support.

  • Lisa

    Ms. Gluckmann –

    Your article focused on actions of the students themselves, and not the actions of professionals in other countries paid to find fault in others. You neglected to emphasize that American students traveling to other countries should also be aware that the legal systems and attitude of local people towards citizens of other countries could cause them trouble in the future in their travels, through no fault of their own.

    The Amanda Knox case is highlighting that any student traveling abroad should have a very mature, adult attitude towards cultural differences. It’s looking more and more like Amanda did not have the “street smarts” to understand the behavior and aims of the local police when it was discovered her British roommate had been murdered.

    I urge any parent sending their child to a foreign country to bang into their heads that if ANY crime occurs near them, to demand an attorney hired by them before speaking to local police, even if it causes them several days in jail.

    • Study abroad pre-departure usually includes a section about having an awareness of how your home country is perceived abroad. The US has been decreasingly popular with Italy for several years. Needless to say, our government hasn’t been popular with Italy for some time. I hope that Ms. Knox’s school covered this important information, however, if she did return to her home and was concerned about her roommate, I can see how a young English speaker could rely on her Italian beau to call the police and handle the discussion. The moment her housemate’s body was found she “should have” called the US Embassy. I can assure you that the way that the vast majority US students operate during times of crisis abroad is to call home, even if their most immediate local resource is the local US Embassy hotline. Please also keep in mind that for the most part, American culture trusts the police. We are trained from the time we are little to call the police if we are unsafe or in harm’s way, from the time we are children we are taught the local emergency number and applauded if we have to use it. While asking for an attorney can lead others to believe that it is a reflection of possible guilt, we are a litigious country and this is how we operate in the US. I would also imagine that if Ms. Knox called for an attorney right away, the Italians could have believed she had something to do with the situation that required protection from the start. The cultural and legal differences here are vast. And while I’d like to hope that all students that go abroad from the US (or UK, or from anywhere, for that matter) are mature, the reality is that they often aren’t. The human brain doesn’t finish growing until young people are in their early 20s – they simply don’t always make the choices that we that claim to be wiser or older would like all of the time. It is one of the biggest challenges in study abroad program administration. I would expect that Ms Knox, having studied multiple languages and having been an exchange student in Japan, might have envisioned herself as more mature and worldly in matters of culture. Not knowing her, I cannot compare her to my “average” study abroad student over the years. What is average for many US students abroad is to meet boys from the other culture, explore possibly a bit more than at home, sometimes be open to experimentation when they know there could be legal consequences (ie. marijuana) – and like Ms. Kercher, sometimes to spend time with home country friends for a quiet evening and an early night after a late night of fun on the “new” town. As I didn’t know Ms. Kercher either, it is hard for me to speculate about either of their patterns beyond what the press has written. However, I can say that it is a study abroad program’s responsibility to talk with students about what to do in an emergency and provide a list of emergency phone #s for different scenarios.

  • Marijuana was nothing more than a reason to convict when they did not have credible evidence to warrant a conviction. The jury reasoned they were high so they could have committed the crime. That is stupid and not a reasonable excuse to convict. If Hitler was a pot head instead of a methamphetamine head it’s likely WW 2 would not have happened however there are/was plenty of scum bags in positions of authority to assure that many people die due to their greed and ambition. History proves what I say. Nearly 1/2 billion people were killed due to war during the 20th century. Over half were civilians.

    Amanda was from an sheltered enviroment and did not realize that many people in positions of authority are nothing more than the scum of the earth. She did not realize that a fruit cake (my opinion) such as Mignini was lurking about.

    FBI STEVE MOORE: Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have been wrongly convicted. Please visit the Injustice in Perugia website and read the three powerful new articles from Steve Moore. Steve is a veteran FBI agent who has 25 years of investigative experience. His experience includes the investigation and prosecution of violent crime, from murder to mass-murder and terrorism. Steve has researched the Meredith Kercher murder case extensively. Steve’s expert opinion is one that comes from years of experience and one that must be respected when it comes to crimes of this nature. Please take the time to read Steve Moore’s articles and learn the facts about this case from an expert that you can trust. http://www.injusticeinperugia.org/

    Bonus. Steve Moore on the radio with Frank Shiers
    http://www.mynorthwest.com/?nid=577&a=17573

    • The reality is that Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito were said or implied that they were together at his home the evening of the murder – and he claiming that he could not remember if Ms. Knox spent the night simply feeds any doubt that the jury may have had. However, my primary point is simply that we reference alcohol/drug use in pre-departure orientation in reference to getting arrested for using an illegal substance or for being underage and drinking – and the consequences of that. The case, from a program administration perspective, reminds us to talk about the rare, yet larger implications of recreational drug use abroad and how it can be perceived by the local culture and in Ms. Knox’s case, a jury. Again, I am not here to comment on her guilt or innocence; I write about her because she was a study abroad student and international educators need to know about her case to better prepare students for what can happen abroad, even if it is very rare.

  • Lisa

    Ms. Gluckmann –

    The facts are: When pressured by police during grueling interrogations, young, innocent and naive students do NOT know how to respond. Raffaele Sollecito stated to the police that basically he could not vouch for Amanda’s every move through the night because he was sleeping, and that got translated that she may not have been there the entire night. An innocent comment gets changed to fit a prosecutor’s need.

    This fact speaks to your own comment, and I quote you, “The US has been decreasingly popular with Italy for several years. Needless to say, our government hasn’t been popular with Italy for some time.” Whatever Amanda Knox said or did was seen negatively, and she was not mature enough to understand this.

    • Greetings Lisa. It has been written throughout the media that the prosecutor in this case is particularly aggressive and intimidating. I am not disputing that Ms. Knox had no idea what she was dealing with. I’d imagine that 99% of young people, particularly those in a foreign country, would not understand the potential implications of comments or non-verbals. It will be interesting to see what happens next in her appeal. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

  • My advice is to keep your children near home and teach them NOT to trust people, especially people in positions of authority. I’ve seen a lot, I’ve read a lot and I know what I’m talking about. My children will never attend school in Italy.

    • Greetings Grace. With all due respect, I’m going to firmly disagree with you on this one. In the year that Amanda Knox was accused of this crime, more than 30,000 US students studied in Italy. If we consider the number of students in Italy (2nd most popular study abroad country for Americans according to a report compiled by the Institute of International Education), the odds of being accused of a crime of such a magnitude are quite slim. In addition, if we use your philosophy of not allowing our young people to cross borders, then one might conclude that studying abroad in the United States is not safe. Here is a link to a summary of what happened to a Japanese exchange student, Yoshihiro Hattori, who was gunned down when he arrived at the wrong house for a Halloween party: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoshihiro_Hattori. We have to believe that what happened to Amanda Knox is not the norm for study abroad. In my nearly 20 year career in the field of international education, it is the first time I have read about any student being arrested abroad for suspicion of murder. While those who believe Ms. Knox is innocent have plenty of frustration and anger to express, it would be a shame to label all of Italy and all Italian judges as tainted and untrustworthy. Ms. Knox and Ms. Kercher were in Italy because the country has so much to offer our young people. To write it off as a possible study abroad location would be a missed opportunity for the hundreds and thousands who have studied there over the years without incident, as it would be for the thousands that have studied in the US from Japan despite what happened to Mr. Hattori. In the US we can own a gun and shoot someone on our property in a moment of indecision – this resulted in the murder of a 16 year old boy trying to find the right house to attend a Halloween party – I’m sure his family in Japan found this rather unjust, but it does not mean we should allow fear of one extremely unusual incident to taint our view. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts.

  • Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito repeatedly told the police a pack of lies in the days after Meredith’s murder.

    On 5 November 2007, Knox and Sollecito were confronted with proof that they had lied and were given another opportunity to tell the truth. However, they both chose to tell the police even more lies.

    Sollecito’s new alibi was shattered by computer forensic evidence and his mobile phone records.

    Knox accused an innocent man, Diya Lumumba, of murdering Meredith despite knowing full well that he was completely innocent. She didn’t recant her false and malicious allegation against Lumumba the whole time he was in prison.

    Knox’s account of what happened on 2 November 2007 is contradicted by her mobile phone records.

    Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito both gave multiple conflicting alibis. Neither Knox nor Sollecito have credible alibis for the night of the murder despite three attempt each. At the trial, Sollecito refused to corroborate Knox’s alibi that she was at his apartment.

    Rudy Guede’s bloody footprints lead straight out of Meredith’s room and out of the house. He didn’t lock Meredith’s door, remove his trainers, go into Filomena’s room or the bathroom that Meredith and Knox shared.

    He didn’t scale the vertical wall outside Filomena’s room or gain access through the window. The break-in was clearly staged. This indicates that somebody who lived at the cottage was trying to deflect attention away from themselves and give the impression that a stranger had broken in and killed Meredith.

    Guede had no reason to stage the break-in and there was no physical evidence that he went into Filomena’s room.

    The scientific police found a mixture of Amanda Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s blood on the floor.

    There was no physical evidence that Rudy Guede went into the blood-spattered bathroom. However, the scientific police found irrefutable proof that Knox and Sollecito tracked Meredith’s blood into this bathroom.

    Amanda Knox’s DNA was found mingled with Meredith’s blood in three different places in the bathroom: on the ledge of the basin, on the bidet, and on a box of Q Tips cotton swabs.

    Sollecito left a visible bloody footprint on the blue bathmat.

    Amanda Knox left a bloody shoeprint on the pillow under Meredith’s body.

    Knox’s and Sollecito’s bare bloody footprints were revealed by luminol in the hallway. Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s DNA was found mixed together in one of the bloody footprints.

    An abundant amount of Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA was found on Meredith’s bra clasp. Sollecito must have applied considerable pressure to the clasp in order to have left so much DNA. The hooks on the clasp were damaged which confirms that Sollecito had gripped them tightly.

    Amanda Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of the double DNA knife and a number of independent forensic experts – Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo and Professor Francesca Torricelli – categorically stated that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade.

    Sollecito knew that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade which is why he twice lied about accidentally pricking her hand whilst cooking.

    The defence experts were unable to prove that there had been any contamination. Alberto Intini, head of the Italian police forensic science unit, pointed out that unless contamination has been proved, it does not exist.

    Amanda Knox voluntarily admitted that she involved in Meredith’s murder in her handwritten note to the police on 6 November 2007. She stated on at least four separate occasions that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed. She also claimed that Sollecito was at the cottage.