Acquittal of Amanda Knox: Italian Supreme Court Presiding Judge Talks to Media

Judge Gennaro Marasca Speaks About the Verdict

[A word of acknowledgment to the translators — including Jools — of an article appearing in Corriere del Mezzogiorno on March 29, 2015. Your work is much appreciated.]

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Gennaro Marasca

Gennaro Marasca

A couple of days following the Italian Supreme Court’s acquittal this March of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito (for murdering  Meredith Kercher), presiding Judge Gennaro Marasca of the Cassazione’s 5th Division was deluged with phone calls. Curious colleagues were blowing up his phone regarding the unexpected acquittal.  Marasca, the well-respected President of the Fifth Chamber Division of the Court, uncharacteristically granted the following original Italian interview to Corriere del Mezzogiorno on March 29, 2015.

The Murder of Meredith Kercher  — Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, the evidence was insufficient

The doubts of Gennaro Marasca, the Neapolitan judge who presided over the Supreme Court of Cassation panel that acquitted the two defendants accused of the murder of Meredith in Perugia.

Someone like him, someone who has spent a whole career condemning ‘the judges who speak to journalists’ (the last time he did was on the board council of the Supreme Court, criticizing his colleague Antonio Esposito for the interview granted after the conviction of Silvio Berlusconi), someone like this is certainly not a magistrate to go for interviews — after the verdict that has split Italy sending [sic] definitively discharged Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, defendants in the trial for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher.

Yet, despite the [his] reluctance, the judge was unable to avoid the phone calls from colleagues and friends from Naples, all looking (in vain) for any details.

And now, the President of the Fifth Chamber of the Supreme Court that issued the ruling two days ago is a magistrate from Naples — Gennaro Marasca, one of the best known “robes” in the city.  He, with the always [sic] courtesy, has limited himself to respond to everyone that the sentence will speak for itself, but that the decree of ruling issued at the end of the trial can already say many things.  What acquitted Amanda and Raffaele was the same identical manner in which the former senator for life Giulio Andreotti was acquitted — that is, applying the second paragraph of Article 530 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

There is, in this Marasca explanation, most of the reasons for the judgment, since the rule states that “the judge pronounces judgment of acquittal even when it fails, is insufficient or is contradictory evidence that the fact exists or that the accused committed it.”  And, not surprisingly, at the Palazzaccio [SC] Piazza Cavour in Rome, it is noted that an article of the law is rarely indicated (as in this case) in a decree of ruling of the Court of Cassation.

An Excellency

And to say {sic] that Marasca wasn’t even supposed to get to those courtrooms. — certainly not because of demerits (he is considered one of the best judges in Naples, and not by chance. On January 25th 2014,  the head public prosecutor of Nola, Paolo Mancuso, cited him among the “excellency” (together with Carlo Alemi. Giuseppe Fusco and Nino Vacca), but because his ambition – four years ago – was to be nominated prosecutor general of Naples.

He applied to the CSM [translator’s note: the magistrates’ governing body, but it was rejected. The reason? It so happens that, in the country where judges put their robes back on after doing politics, the magistrates’ governing body decided not to nominate him because “it can’t be ignored – as written in the motivation report – that Marasca has held for several years after 1994, the post of council member for the city” at the time when Antonio Bassolino was mayor.

 Justice was served: it’s our job

That episode is now forgotten. Marasca more than once has reiterated that “I like my job at Cassazione,” also because – he confided to some of his colleagues – it’s that place where “we try to apply the law sometimes forgotten in local offices.”  And as an experienced judge, Marasca has even been able to manage the sudden popularity in an Italy that was divided between those who exulted at the acquittal of Amanda and Raffaele and those who instead contested the decision. To those who asked him [Marasca] if justice had been served, he replied that a judge must base his decision on the elements of the trial and that, therefore, “justice had been served only because we did our job.”  Of course, the most simple solution would have been to annul the appeal and remand to a new trial, but the “insufficient evidence” was judged “difficult to be filled” even later.  And therefore – the president explained to the colleagues – if those are the elements, “what need is there to have a new trial?” [End]

 

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Cited below is the specific criminal code

Italian Criminal Code of Procedure Article 530 Paragraph (2)  Il giudice pronuncia sentenza di assoluzione anche quando manca, è insufficiente o è contraddittoria la prova che il fatto sussiste, che l’imputato lo ha commesso, che il fatto costituisce reato o che il reato è stato commesso da persona imputabile.

English Translation (Google)  The judge pronounces acquittal even when there is insufficient or contradictory evidence that the thing certain, that the accused committed it, that the action constitutes a criminal offense or the offense was committed by a person due The court judgment of acquittal even when it is missing, and insufficient or contradictory evidence that the fact there is, that the accused has committed, that the fact is a criminal offense or the offense was committed by a person eligible. [END]

Judge Marasca did deliver a brief oral statement to the press at the conclusion of deliberations on the night of March 27, 2015, but there is not an official summary, nor is the Dispositivo (verdict) published on the Court’s website.

Judge Marasca compared the Knox-Sollecito acquittal to the 2002 conviction of former Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti (for murder), and subsequent acquittal. Rarely cited in Cassazione rulings, this code seems to be the catch-all for awkward acquittals.

Meredith Kercher

Meredith Kercher

 

For Meredith.  RIP.