Amanda Knox Retrial: Extradition Research

May 16, 2013

By now nearly everyone is familiar with the story of Amanda Knox: In 2009 Knox, a University of Washington student studying abroad in Perugia, Italy was convicted of the November 2007 murder of her roommate, Meredith Kercher. Her Italian boyfriend, Rafaelle Sollecito, suffered the same fate. Knox and Sollecito were sentenced to 26 and 25 years of incarceration, respectively. A third defendant, Rudy Guede, was sentenced to 16 years in prison in a separate trial.

In October 2011, after years of struggle, an Italian jury cleared Knox of murder and other charges. She was sentenced to three years on a defamation charge but received credit for time served. Knox eventually returned to her hometown of Seattle where she resides with her family. She had reportedly resumed her studies at the University of Washington. However, the Italian High Court recently quashed her acquittal and ordered a retrial for Kercher’s murder. The retrial is expected to be heard early 2014 in an appellate court in Florence. If convicted in the retrial, Knox would have the option of appealing to the High Court.

The retrial raises issues regarding extradition and the principle of double jeopardy. If convicted, Knox could be ordered to return to Italy. Should she refuse, the Italian government could seek her extradition. This initiated debate focusing on the extradition treaty (1983 WL 472059) between the United States and Italy, and its reference to double jeopardy. Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor, noted that in the United States, “when you appeal a conviction, you waive your double jeopardy rights.” It remains to be seen whether double jeopardy will be binding on the Knox case. She has vowed to fight the charges, and her attorneys have stated that Knox one day hopes to visit Italy again as a free woman.

It’s been said that freedom isn’t free, and if Amanda Knox retains her freedom after the retrial she will have paid a very heavy emotional, physical and psychological price.

To find extradition treaties, navigate to United States Treaties and Other International Agreements (Home > Administrative Decisions & Guidance > Federal Administrative Decisions & Guidance > Department of State > United States Treaties and Other International Agreements)  Enter extradition into the title field:

 

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DOUBLE JEOPARDY

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