Carol Hills: I'm Caroll Hills, this is The World.
Amanda Knox said today that she'll never willingly go back to Italy. That's after yesterday's ruling by an Italian court, which found the 26-year old Seattle resident guilty of murder, and sentenced her to 28 years. Knox denies any involvement in the death of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, in the Italian city of Perugia back in 2007. But twice now, Italian courts have ruled against Knox and her former Italian boyfriend. In between, a third verdict declared the pair not guilty.
Stefano Maffei is a lawyer and professor at the University of Parma, in Italy. He thinks Italian authorities will ask the US to extradite Knox once the appeals process is exhausted, but he doesn't think they'll succeed.
Stefano Maffei: If you want my opinion, my opinion is that Amanda Knox will eventually not be extradited. The reason is that the treaties between Italy and the United States, as is usual in a case of extradition, allows a component of a political assessment on the part of the authorities. Namely, I expect the US authorities to put forward a number of reasons based on the fairness of trial, so which will eventually not allowed the extradition of Amanda to Italy.
Hills: And if the US denies extradition in the case of Amanda Knox, could Italy retaliate by blocking the extradition of suspects back to the US from Italy?
Maffei: Well, yes, that would be certainly the typical political debate in situations like this one. And yes, you could retaliate in theory. Now whether I think that would happen, well, that's another story. Because it would have to do with the political relations between the country and the profile of the individual defendant concerned.
Hills: So, so far, Italy has never taken that step in any case?
Maffei: No, no. No, it would be rather difficult for Italy to take such a stand, given the relations with the US. While on the other hand, we are very much aware that the trial by jury system of the United States, gives to the Unites States leverage to argue that because there was no trial by jury, that alone is a good enough reason not to extradite.
Hills: Stefano, some Americans might sympathize with Amanda Knox, out of a lack of confidence in the Italian justice system. How do Italians feel about that perspective?
Maffei: I totally understand that opinion. The public opinion is often based on the media reporting of the case. So I don't blame the American public opinion for that stand. On the other hand, one should consider that yesterday's ruling simply confirmed the ruling of the first instance court, which was the court that heard the evidence, saw the witnesses, heard the stories, and assessed beyond reasonable doubt that the two defendants were guilty. Over 27 individual judges heard this case, in panel or individually, and they all consider the evidence to be beyond reasonable doubt. The only exception was the judgment of the Court of Appeal, the first judgment of the Court of Appeal, which was eventually quashed. My opinion is the decision yesterday was right, and grounded on reliable and solid evidence.
Hills: And what's the buzz in Italy about this case? Is this just a topic that's always on the minds of Italians?
Maffei: Yes, it was. Yesterday, of course, first news on all channels. And once again, the comment was justice was done, but it was done in the Italian way. Meaning, too late to be executed, and it's too late for us to execute the sentence against Amanda Knox.
Hills: Stefano Maffei is a law professor at the University of Parma in Italy. Thank you so much, Stefano.
Maffei: Thank you.
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