Live Blogging from the XXXVth IALMH Meeting in Prague: Panel on the Amanda Knox & Raffaele Sollecito CaseExonerated: Ten Years and Many Insights Later

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We presented this week at the XXXVth International Congress on Law and Mental Health, the bi-annual meeting of the International Academy of Law and Mental Health (IALMH), at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, in a panel session “Exonerated: Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, Ten Years and Many Insights Later.” The panel was chaired by my sister, Anne Bremner, lawyer for Amanda Knox, and had the following program:

The Multifaceted Advocacy Waged on Behalf of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito
Anne Bremner, Stanford University

“First Do No Harm”: What Forensic Professionals Can Learn from this Case
Richard Adler, University of Washington

What a Detailed and Competent Crime Scene Analysis Can Tell Us about the Murder of Meredith Kercher
Loren Atherley, Seattle Police Department, Seattle, USA

The Role of Medical Science: Physiology and False Memories
James Douglas Bremner, Emory University

Looking Back and Looking Forward: The Objective and the Subjective
Raffaele Sollecito, Memories IT Company, Bisceglie, Italy

You can see a copy of my slides here.

I previously presented at this meeting in 2005 on an interesting topic related to memories of traumatic events and a specific case involving the prosecution of a solider in a rape case during the Bosnian War. The case revolved around inconsistent memory of the event in the victim and the effects of stress on memory and recall, we published a paper on the case in the society’s journal with Dr. Landy Sparr Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Memory: Prescient Medicolegal Testimony at the International War Crimes Tribunal?.

Anne outlined the history of the case (you can read about the background here) and her history of advocacy and dealing with the press. Dr. Adler talked about the literature related to the likelihood of crimes being committed based on motive and logic and the importance of focusing on simple explanations. Loren Atherley talked about the forensics of the case, and I talked about the role of medical science related to the physiology of stomach contents related to setting the time of the crime and false memory related to forced confessions as I have written about before.

Raffaele Sollecito talked about his experiences as a wrongfully accused and the ongoing difficulties in Italy with a judiciary and public that doesn’t accept innocence and wrongful trial.

Raffaele Sollecito
Raffaele Sollecito

Sollecito outlined how he had been denied compensation for legal fees and time spent improperly in jail as is his right under Italian law based on a convoluted judgement.

As translated by Sabina Vaccarino Bremner:

Indeed, in light of the trial data reconstructed by the exonerating verdict regarding the presence of Ms. Knox in via della Pergola number 7 at the time of the homicide, it appears clear that if Mr. Sollecito would have stated immediately, without subsequent contradictions, that the girl had remained far away from him in the hours of the crime, and if he had clearly specified the hour in which she had reached his home as well as the presumably altered or even disturbed conditions in which she found herself in that moment, his position in the trial would certainly have been different. It appears probable that he would not have even been investigated, or even if he had, the precautionary requirements would have been considered unnecessary or less severe, since he would not have been seen to be unforthcoming or dishonest in his statements.

In other words, if he had just lied and said that Amanda Knox was not with him in his apartment at the time of the murder of Meredith Kercher, and instead said she had gone out that night (they were together in his apartment the entire night) they would have given him the money. Hey, why dontcha just throw the American chick under the bus already, fella! Stop being so stubborn!

The following day there was a nice lecture on the role of Jewish intellectuals in the development of concepts of the law and justice in Prague in the early 20th century in the Spanish Synagogue.

Spanish Synagogue, Prague
Spanish Synagogue, Prague