Discovery Violations, Corruption and Perjury
Corruption And Perjury Timeline
Four computers belonging to Romanelli, Knox, Kercher and Sollecito are destroyed by electric shock.
Computer consultant’s report detailing computers damaged by prosecution’s experts – (English) – (Italian)
June 3, 2008
Prosecution DNA expert Patrizia Stefanoni produces the RTIGF Report of her “technical analysis”.
- Omitted from the report is all the luminol prints tested negative for blood with tetramethylbenzidine (PDF pages 223-229, original 218-224);
- Knife samples A-B-C are recorded as being assessed with real time PCR….they weren’t;
- No mention of the ‘Qubit Fluorometer’ being used and that sample 36B failed to register for quantification;
- Sample B is falsely recorded as testing positive for quantification (page 78 original, page 81 pdf);
- Samples marked as ‘cat blood’ were positive for human DNA.
September 25, 2008
Stefanoni provides Bates-stamped collection of printed electropherograms.
October 4, 2008
October 4, 2008 Transcript page 178 – Stefanoni pre-trial perjury saying the DNA on the knife (sample 36B) was in the order of a few hundred pictograms and quantified with Real Time PCR.
Question: After which you passed to the quantification phase?
Question: Quantification which you did with Real Time, I imagine?
Answer: Indeed yes.
DOMANDA – Ma secondo lei era nell’ordine di qualche nanogrammo o quasi al picogrammo?
RISPOSTA – Sì, era nell’ordine di qualche centinaio di picogrammi, questo sì, sulla quantità totale.
Question – But in your opinion was it in the order of a few nanograms or almost [at the level of] picograms?
Response – Yes, it was in the order of a few hundred picograms, yes, for the total quantity.
Conti-Vecchiotti Report page 62
Since from the Real Time quantification (never carried out!) she obtained a concentration of “a few hundred picograms of DNA” (GUP, page 178) she took steps to further concentrate the extract in order to obtain a final volume of 10 μl which she would have used for the PCR reaction
Feb 07, 2009
Postal Police officer Michelle Battistelli testified (on February 6) that he never entered the murder room after the door was broken down on November 2. However, witness Luca Altieri saw him enter the room and start to lift the duvet. Battistelli checking if the victim might still be alive was a perfectly reasonable thing to do but lying about it is perjury. If he lied about that then what else did he lie about? The defense also noted another contradiction in his testimony. He testified only knowing about one of the stolen phones when he went to the cottage but his police report on November 2 said he knew about both phones. Battistelli also swore he arrived at the cottage at 12.35pm and had checked his watch. The defense showed his arrival time was really 12.58pm.
Transcript February 7, 2009: Witness confrontation Michele Battistelli v Luca Altieri pages 1-2
Judge Massei: Of having seen, having received news was more neutral, of having seen that Battistelli entered the room. Maybe on this point we can hear what the two witnesses have to say, let’s see. Continue Altieri.
Altieri: Your Honor as I already said yesterday, in the moment that I broke down the door everybody rushed outside the house and I remained a few seconds longer at the entrance to the room where I saw Inspector Battistelli enter, like I already said yesterday he arrived at the point of the victim’s head and I saw his movement of lowering himself to lift up the duvet, rightly I believe, to ascertain whether she was dead basically and in that instance when I realized that he was about to lift up the duvet I also rushed out.
Judge Massei: Do you [Battistelli] remember what you stated on this point yesterday…
Battistelli: Absolutely and I confirm it.
Judge Massei: Noted…
Battistelli: They were all accompanied outside the house, from that moment on nobody entered again.
Judge Massei: So you didn’t…
Battistelli: Absolutely [not].
Judge Massei: You confirm that you saw this?
Altieri: Of course, of course.
Judge Massei: After that what were his movements, if you can…
Altieri: Look as I already said, I repeat, he entered to the left of the body that was covered by the duvet.
May 09, 2009
Discovery Violation: Prosecution expert Lorenzo Rinaldi testifies about footprints and the diluted bloody bathmat stain before the defense had inspected it or the pillowcase.
Rinaldi Original Italian – (OCR)
May 22, 2009
Transcript p108-110 – Stefanoni testifies she doesn’t know how much DNA was on the key piece of evidence (bra clasp) against a defendant but does reveal it’s Low Copy Number (LCN). 1/7 of 1ng = 140pg.
QUESTION – The quantification of the trace on the clasp.
RESPONSE – Utilizing the Applied Biosystems Quantifiler kit.
QUESTION – And what is the quantity, exactly?
RESPONSE – I’m sorry, I don’t understand, the quantity of what? Of the entire DNA sample?
QUESTION – Yes, yes.
RESPONSE – At the moment I don’t have it but, let’s say, it’s a suitable quantity to have it amplified, that’s why it was amplified.
QUESTION – Yes, you know, the two of us have already seen in the preliminary hearing, that one of the things that we point out is the quantity of the trace. I was interested in if this trace was quantified.
RESPONSE – With the appropriate software for the quantification that is practically included with the instrument, in the 7700 that we use.
QUESTION – Yes, what I’m asking you is this: granted that we are talking here, you said it already, with a trace on the hooks, is that correct?
RESPONSE – Yes.
QUESTION – Because there is no DNA that you have attributed to Sollecito on the small piece of cloth, correct?
RESPONSE – Correct.
QUESTION – Nor on the bra.
RESPONSE – Correct.
QUESTION – So given that we are therefore talking about DNA that is only on the hooks I wanted to know what the quantity was.
RESPONSE – I cannot tell you, numerically I don’t know, certainly is was… since the product of amplification is completely, let’s say a result absolutely of good quality. I suppose that at least in the amplification test tube there was at a nanogram of DNA in total.
QUESTION – However, you understand well that this is an assumption of yours. I wanted to know if you were able to give me the documentation of this.
RESPONSE – Ah, the documentation of that quantification, yes, but not now however. Unfortunately, that is, numerically the number that came out of the analyzing software, I don’t have it now.
QUESTION – Are you able, nevertheless, to produce the quantity?
RESPONSE – Yes, the quantity, yes.
QUESTION – So you will be able to tell us how much of a trace there was?
RESPONSE – How much total DNA there was, because there was a mix, I don’t distinguish DNA of the victim quantitatively from the DNA of Sollecito, I can distinguish it… rather, I can make a quantitative relationship between the two DNA only looking at the electropherogram. Therefore, looking at the electropherogram I estimated it to be a 1 to 6 ratio. That is, the victim’s DNA is 6 times more than the DNA of Sollecito, however…
QUESTION – Let’s start by saying this, therefore in the area of the trace found on the hook we have a quantity of DNA attributable to the victim,
which is 6 times more than that of Sollecito?
RESPONSE – Yes.
QUESTION – The quantity, however, the number you cannot tell me?
RESPONSE – The total, no, I don’t have it here.
May 23, 2009
Transcript page 166 – Stefanoni testifies she can’t remember how much DNA is on the knife.
DEFENSE – Attorney Ghirga
QUESTION – One last question precisely in relation to how much emerged, the DNA extraction on the knife, you I believe, had said that you don’t remember how much DNA you extracted from the blade, from the scratches.
ANSWER – No.
QUESTION – Is it possible to check the extraction log?
ANSWER – Yes, one can check.
QUESTION – Is it a number that can be acquired?
ANSWER – Yes.
QUESTION – One can obtain the extraction in the extraction log as you say.
ANSWER – Yes.
QUESTION – But you do not remember, correct, how much DNA you extracted…
ANSWER – One can obtain the true extraction amount from that S.A.L., that one yes.
QUESTION – But you do not remember now?
ANSWER – No, here, no..
QUESTION – Can one acquire this data?
ANSWER – Yes, the data of the extraction, yes.
QUESTION – While you confirm then how much was… how much was the elution and the collection of DNA to do…
ANSWER – Yes, it was concentrated in the first sweep, then it was quantified, and then after that it was re-concentrated to 10 microlitres.
QUESTION – Now, being interested in the exact quantity of DNA extracted from the scratches we can obtain it, let’s say in the court files, is that so?
ANSWER – Yes.
DEFENSE – Attorney Ghirga – Thank you
May 25, 2009
Four months into the trial, defense expert Professor Vinci is given access to the bathmat and pillow case and discovers the semen stain.
Professor Vinci Pillow Stain Analysis (English) – (Italian)
Professor Vinci’s Bathmat Analysis – (English) – (Italian)
July 18, 2009
Comodi asks Professor Tagliabracci about whether a certain quantity of DNA is of value when doing an analysis. Bongiorno realizes from these questions that Comodi knows something about the quantity of DNA on the bra clasp that are not in Stefanoni’s records. Bongiorno laments that she’s been asking for a year and a half for the electropherograms but she had been under the impression that they did not exist. Dalla Vedova comes in asking for the record of what was analyzed in that same period in the lab. Comodi responds that there was a defense expert present at the time of all DNA examinations. Bongiorno asks “do they exist?”. Comodi responds: ‘Yes’. Bongiorno states she wants to see them. Comodi says it’s a bit of a late request, and why didn’t the defense consultant experts ask for them? Massei then suspends the hearing and states that all of Stefanoni’s documentation of the DNA will be deposited within 30 July 2009. Comodi then informs Massei that “Stefanoni has informed me it is enormously difficult for her to respect the deadline”. Massei lets the deadline slip to 20 August 2009. Comodi wants to restrict the request to the quantifications. The defense want to see all the logs of the lab records, which Massei agrees with. In the end Massei indicates 30 July 2009, and suggests that if there is still documentation missing at that point, he will allow more time for it to be completed.
Transcript– (English) – (Italian) English is google
July 30, 2009
Partial discovery data dump – The Work Status Report (SAL) and Quantification Report are made available.
September 14, 2009
The defense is given 300 pages of not numbered photocopies. The lab data shows the opposite of what’s in the “technical report”. Knife samples A-B-C were not assessed with Real Time PCR. Sample B was a few cells not a few hundred picograms. The quantification report shows “too low” for 36B – it failed to register for quantification. Professor Tagliabracci testifies about what her lab work really shows and there are missing results. Some of the “cats blood” samples tested positive for human DNA.
All Rudy Guede SAL reps suppressed: 3, 14, 29, 58, 148-151, 154-163, 203-222 (page 50)
Transcript – (Italian)
Exhibit List Translated To English
September 26, 2009
Dr Sarah Gino reveals all of the luminol prints and blobs tested negative for blood with TMB and there are results missing and the RTIGF report is marked incorrectly.
Transcript – (English) – (Italian)
October 09, 2009
Knox defense requests independent experts.
Court of Perugia Assise Request Pursuant to Art.507 Code of Criminal Procedure – (English) – (Italian)
The Missing DNA Controls And Suppressed Electronic Data Files
What is the raw data and EDF’s?
They are the actual results produced in the lab as opposed to a modified/edited presentation of the real results. Raw data includes sample files, project files, injection lists, sample sheets and injection logs. A laboratory test such as a DNA genotype analysis is not simple. The electropherogram presented in court is actually an interpretation of the results of a multi-step process where the precision and validity of each of many steps determines the quality and usefulness of the end result. The EDF’s are the computer files generated by the instrument that analyzes the DNA produced in a genotype test (called STR PCR products, which are small pieces of DNA). Each DNA fragment has a size, a quantity, and a color; the raw data is these values, measured by the instrument, organized into a table. In practice, the data is next loaded into a software application (e.g. Gene-Scan™ and Genotyper™ (which must be used in tandem), Gene-Mapper®, PowerTyper™, and TrueAllele) where the lab technician manipulates and transforms the data to create an electropherogram. In this case, the prosecution has suppressed the vast majority of the actual laboratory data that was analysed. The refusal of the prosecution to produce it calls into the question the validity of every result from the lab. DNA for the Defense Bar 2012 authored by former attorney general Eric Holder covers standard practice for DNA disclosure in American courtrooms, none of which occurred in the Kercher murder case.
April 05, 2011
“On 4/5/2011 at 10:10 am, at the Department of Forensic Medicine of the University of Rome — La Sapienza, Forensic Genetics Laboratory, 336 Viale Regina Elena, as ordered at the hearing of 1/22/2011, testing by the Appointed Experts Prof. Carla Vecchiotti and Prof. Stefano Conti was begun, in the presence of the following consultants for the parties:
– Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, consultant for the Prosecutor’s Office;
– Prof. Giuseppe Novelli, consultant for the Prosecutor’s Office;
– Dr. Emiliano Giardina, consultant for the Prosecutor’s Office;
– Prof. Francesca Torricelli, consultant for the civil plaintiff;
– Prof. Adriano Tagliabracci, consultant for Raffaele Sollecito;
– Dr. Valerio Onofri, consultant for Raffaele Sollecito;
– Ms. Donatella Donati, attorney for Raffaele Sollecito, acting on behalf of Mr. Luca Maori;
– Prof. Carlo Torre, consultant for Amanda M. Knox;
– Dr. Sarah Gino, consultant for Amanda M. Knox;
– Dr. Walter Patumi, consultant for Amanda M. Knox.
It is noted that Prof. Novelli removed himself at 10:35; subsequently, the Appointed Experts and the consultants for the parties [i CTP, presumably Consulenti Tecnici delle Parti] reported to the Histology Section of the Appointed Experts’ home Department, where the slides [vetrini] relative to the Items 36 (knife) and 165b (clasps) were prepared and examined. The Experts and the consultants examined the results with a microscope and agreed to photographically document the item labeled with the letter H (handle-blade contact edge). Prof. Tagliabracci and Dr. Onofri asked that the experts proceed to request the raw data (electronic files generated by the instrument) relative to the quantization and electrophoretic analysis relating to Items 165 B (clasp) and 36 (knife). Dr. Gino, Dr. Patumi, and Prof. Torre concurred with the request. The present memorandum ends at 1:50 pm.”
Conti-Vecchiotti Report – (English) – (Italian)
The correspondence between Judge Hellmann, Patrizia Stefanoni & Stefano Conti Requesting Data
7th April 2011 – message from Stefano Conti to the Judges of the Court:
For the kind attention of the illustrious Mr. President Dr. Hellmann and the illustrious Mr. advisor Dr. Zanetti
We kindly request the illustrious Mr. President the authorization for the handing over of the following documentation that should be in the court records:
- CD of the electropherograms
- CD RAW DATA (data relating to the electrophoresis run generated by the automatic sequencer)
- All the records, in all phases, of the depositions of Dr. Stefanoni and of the technical consultants for the parties (CTP), including the documentation deposited (considerations and notes, including any CDs that there may be).
- CD of video, photo, sequester report, methods of collection, conservation and transport to the Scientific Police laboratories relating to the seizure of the knife in Sollecito’s home, including the transcripts of the depositions in all their phases.
If the data, even partially, is not found in the court records or not received and/or not submitted, kindly, taking into account the complexity of the evaluation, given that they are an integral part of the analysis carried out on the two exhibits and given their importance in being able to fully respond to the task required of us, we request that they are made available for collection at the laboratories of the Scientific Police, through an official communication.
Thank-you for your kind attention,
On behalf of the assessors,
(Professor Stefano Conti)
11th April 2011 – hand-written note added by Judge Hellmann to the letter above:
With this, I authorize the handing over of the documentation listed above, where not already submitted in the court records of the trial and I authorize the handover at the premises of the laboratories of the Scientific Police.
14th April 2011 – message from Maria Centorrino, the registrar of the Penal Section of the Appeal Court of Perugia, to the Procura di Perugia:
The following is kindly requested of you as soon as possible:
- CD of the electropherograms filed by Dr. Stefanoni on 8th October 2008 requested during the preliminary hearing of 4th October 2008 relating to exhibits 165/B (bra clasp) and 36/B (knife)
- Sample data information relating to the electropherogram runs and any CDs with sequester report on methods of collection conservation and transport relating to the collection of the knife in Sollecito’s house that took place on 6th November 2007.
This request has been authorized by the President of the Appeal Court of Perugia Dr. Claudio Hellmann Pratillo which is attached.
14th April 2011 – message from Maria Centorrino, the registrar of the Penal Section of the Appeal Court of Perugia, to Dr. Stefanoni:
We kindly request the delivery to this registrar of the CD RAW DATA (records of the electropherograms run generated by the automatic sequencer) as presented by the President of the Appeal court of Perugia following the request of the authorized experts which is attached.
20th April 2011 – message from Dr. Stefanoni to Judge Hellmann:
On 7th April 2011 the expert assessors, as signed by Professor Stefano CONTI, you received a request to authorize the handing over of technical documents relating to the findings on the subject of forensic analysis performed by yours truly and documented in the report dated 12th June 2008.
The request that you received (which I attach for ease of reference), authorizes the expert assessors for this acquisition, even in the case of documents not produced at that time and so not available in the court records.
Among the documents requested, that which specifically interests the technical activities performed at the laboratories of this office, are found to be the following:
- CD of the electropherograms;
- CD RAW DATA (data relating to the electropherogram runs generated by the automatic sequencer).
In relation to the request to receive the CD containing a collection of DNA profiles (in the form of electropherograms), we wish to inform that a copy has already been submitted to the court records on 25th September 2008 to the preliminary trial of Dr. Paolo Micheli of the Tribunal of Perugia and all the electropherograms relating to the genetic profiles extrapolated from the technical analysis were collated in a separate attachment from the main body of report.
In relation to the request to receive the CD RAW DATA, we are obliged to report that the information in the form of files present in the sequencer are never an integral part of the technical report, in that the evaluation by the forensic scientist, and therefore the DNA profile, is already represented by the printed electropherogram, attached to the technical report on which all the usable data for an evaluation of a genetic profile.
In addition it should be remembered that the files contained in the sequencer named “Sample File.fsa” contain sub-folders named “Info”, “Raw Data” and “EPT Data”, that don’t permit any kind of human intervention to modify and/or add data, and therefore, their viewing, does not contribute in providing additional elements for the evaluation of the genetic data.
Finally, we would inform that the request made by the expert assessors relating to the handover of the CD RAW DATA is incomplete in that the name of the “sample file” requested has not been specified, without which it’s not possible to precisely identify the documentation being requested for handover.
Remaining at your disposal for any clarification on the matter, with best regards,
Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni.
20th April 2011 – handwritten note from Judge Hellmann to Dr. Stefanoni:
Dear Dr. Stefanoni,
I received your note dated 20 April and take note of its content. I ask you however, to please kindly confer with the official experts on this matter, to whom copies of your and my responses have contemporaneously been sent, delivering directly to them that which they deem useful to acquire for the purpose of completing the review, subject to clarification of the perplexity expressed by yourself.
Thank you and cordial greetings,
Claudio Pratillo Hellmann
June 29, 2011
C&V Report – Assessment of the Forensic Genetic Tests Conducted by the Scientific Police on Item 36 (Knife)
In the case in question, it is recalled that Exhibit 36 was placed for testing into a context where a considerable number of samples belonging to the victim had already been examined; therefore, it cannot be excluded that contamination by the aforementioned methods may have occurred – all the more so because the negative controls, which should have been amplified contextually and which could have given an indication as to the absence of contamination, were not produced
employment of negative controls in the amplification procedure to check for the presence of contamination. In the attached eletropherograms, neither negative nor positive controls are reported.
July 25, 2011
Vecchiotti Testimony p128
Prosecutor: So, do you think this is enough time to avoid the risk of contamination in the laboratory, the fact that for 12 days no sample had been analyzed, no sample containing Sollecito’s DNA had been analyzed?
Vecchiotti: It’s enough time
Prosecutor: Did you examine the negative controls relating to this sample?
Vecchiotti: They were not attached.
Prosecutor: To what?
Defense Ghirga: We continue to say, excuse me…
Vecchiotti: The negative controls were not attached.
Prosecutor: What were they not attached to?
Defense Ghirga: Your honour if you’ll let me speak…
Vecchiotti: To the electropherograms
Defense Ghirga: … if they are the negative controls from this morning, we still don’t find them eh.
Prosecutor: What do you mean from this morning?
Judge Hellmann: Yes we checked for them at the hearing on this matter…
Defense Ghirga: We didn’t find them there either your honour.
Judge Hellmann: Which was the 8th October if I’ve understood.
Vecchiotti: I have the electropherograms that were sent to me on the 8th October and they’re not there…
Prosecutor: In a moment let’s have a look at the delivery note. But even if you didn’t find them didn’t you feel the need to ask Stefanoni for them?
Vecchiotti: I asked Dr. Stefanoni twice for the electropherograms taking for granted that she would have included them.
Prosecutor: That she would have included the electropherograms for the negative controls?
Vecchiotti: No that she would have… that in the electropherograms there would be the samples, there would be the negative controls, because why shouldn’t they be there?
Prosecutor: Yes but when did you notice that they weren’t there…
Conti S: We asked for them again.
Prosecutor: Because then you’d have noticed that they weren’t there, right?
Vecchiotti: It’s obvious but it’s her responsibility to attach them, because why do they need to be asked for? It shouldn’t be necessary to ask for them.
Prosecutor: You’re the expert Doctor.
Vecchiotti: Look they don’t need to be requested in that case, they should be produced by the those who have them.
Prosecutor: Is this also an international rule, universally recognized?
Vecchiotti: That the negative controls are included, yes.
Prosecutor: Whatever, they should be included, and one time they forget to include them but they exist…
Conti S: They were requested twice.
Prosecutor: …it’s good practice for the expert to ask for them…
Conti s: In fact we asked for them twice.
September 05, 2011
Stefanoni produces electropherograms belonging to another court case and tries to pass them off as belonging to this case.
Raffaele Sollecito 2014 Appeal Document page 257
With regards to the few documents related to positive and negative controls submitted during the hearing of 5th September 2011 (controllo neg.doc, controllo pos.doc, I Sample Info REP.36-B.doc, II prova 36-B.doc, II Sample Info REP. 36-B.doc, Rep.165-B.doc), we note that:
1) from the file “I Sample InfoREP.36-B.doc” it can be deducted that the negative control (ID778) and the positive control (ID777) are quality controls relating to the analysis session of exhibit ID771 (trace B of exhibit 36, knife);
2) the electropherograms of these controls were not provided and so it is not possible to evaluate them;
3) Instead the electropherograms of a negative control (ID732) were provided and one positive [control] (ID731) for which, however, it is not possible to determine which session of work it refers, nor which proceedings (they could in reality be controls from another court case);
4) for exhibit 165B-clasp no controls are provided, neither positive nor negative: to date there is still no evidence that PCR quality controls exist relating to this exhibit;
5) however it is improbable that the controls 731 and 732 refer to the clasp, considering that, if the number of the exhibits is progressive as one would expect, they should be preceding the exhibit 36-B (771), and so before the 13th November 2007; the clasp was instead analyzed from 29th December 2007 onwards.
In conclusion, it can be established that the appealed sentence fell into a serious misrepresentation of a decisive piece of evidence, that, if properly evaluated, would have permitted to ascertain the occurrence of laboratory contamination..
September 06, 2011
Stefanoni admits she didn’t provide the raw data to the independent experts. p253
Dalla Vedova: The raw data, several times our consultant asked us to request for them to be submitted and we did so, can you tell us in a few words what this raw data is and if this data is available today in the case files?
Stefanoni: So, the raw data is not available in the case files, because they were never, let’s say, handed over. I can explain what they are…
Appeal Document Summary
Sollecito Appeal Document 2010
On the basis of the forensic documentation in the possession of the Prosecution since the preliminary investigation, but deposited in the court records only on 30 July 2009, even though it’s not possible to establish with certainty the quantity of material found on the bra clasp, it’s possible to demonstrate that it is Low Copy Number.
On the basis of the acts deposited on 30 July 2009, in addition, it was documented the lack of correspondence between what was stated in the “Technical report of the Genetic Forensic Investigation” – for which the quantification of trace B of exhibit 36 results as positive – and what follows from the quantification with the fluorometer, whose result is “too low”, i.e. negative.
9th October 2009, The first level court rejects all requests for an independent review of the DNA evidence because it would result in “a variety of elements and of assessments”.
P47 Elements of proof considered essential were not made available to the defense. Sollecito’s shoe print was supposedly found on the floor under the duvet. The defense did not have the photo album that included this shoe print, that was dated 7 November 2007 16:30. The defense complained in a hearing of 8.11.2007 that it was left at a disadvantage, and despite the defense’s complaints, the judge gave a decisive interpretation to this shoe print.
Pg 50: The defense claims that documents that were essential in supporting the prosecution’s theory were not made available. This went on all the way into the first level trial, and defense requests on the matter were ignored.
Pg 51: Following the preliminary investigations, the defense was given access to Stefanoni’s report, but it only showed the number of alleles, without any other information. On 24th June 2008 the defense requested the Prosecutor for the electropherograms which led to the DNA results. The Prosecutor rejected the request with the following justification “because the entitlement provided by article 415bis relates only to the documents submitted into the court records”. In response to this the defense, on 3rd July 2008, requested the laboratories of the Scientific Police for the numerical RFU values and the peaks for all exhibits or, in alternative, a CD ROM containing the raw data for RFUs and peaks. On 11th July 2008 the request was rejected with the following justification “on the graphs provided by the Scientific Police there are already to be found the bars with the generic values related to the fluorescent peaks”.
As a result, the defense found itself lacking important information when the preliminary hearings commenced. In these preliminary hearings, on 16th September 2008 the defense reiterated its request to have the numerical RFU values and peaks for all exhibits, or as an alternative the CD ROM containing the raw data for RFUs and peaks.
The GUP invited Stefanoni to provide the information requested by the defense. On 25th September 2008 a CD ROM containing the data was provided to the defense.
At the hearing of 27th September 2008, the defense requested additional documents due to the fact that the data provided was incomplete. For this reason, the defense requested the GUP to have the log files.
To this request, after requesting Stefanoni’s opinion, the Judge rejected the request with the justification “the information in the log files would not be necessary (which is data that is never shown in forensic cases, coming from standard approved parameters in the international arena and that one must assume is in use in all laboratories that work in Genetic Forensic analysis)”.
In the hearing of 4th October 2008, Sollecito’s defense consultant forced Stefanoni to take note that a recommendation of the International Society of Forensic Science states that the most utilized method for interpreting mixed DNA traces “takes into consideration the area and height of the peaks”. At this point the GUP requested Stefanoni to make available by 8th October 2008 the data relating to the calculation of the area of the peaks for exhibit 165B, including the diagrams for the second electropherograms run for exhibit 36B.
On 8th October 2008 Stefanoni provided the “CD ROM containing the data relating to the electrophoresis run of the amplification of exhibit 165/B (pieces of Bra cloth with clasp)”, as well as “CD ROM containing: data for samples relating to the two electrophoresis runs of the amplification of 36/B (knife) electropherograms of the second electrophoresis run”.
So only after the completion of the preliminary hearings did the defense have access to data that permitted defense consultants to see the area of the peaks and conclude that the quantity of DNA was extremely modest, and that the interpretation of the Scientific Police did not respect in the slightest international guidelines for DNA analysis. Lack of discovery was also highlighted on 18th July 2009 during the testimony of Adriano Tagliabracci (defense consultant), when the Prosecution asked questions of a nature which showed that they were in possession of information/data that had not been provided to the defense regarding the quantity of biological material on the bra clasp. The Prosecutor was forced to admit that it had access to information provided by the Scientific Police that was never submitted into the case files or to the GUP (Preliminary Judge Micheli) who sent Knox/Sollecito to trial.
In other words, the Prosecution did not provide full discovery of the genetic results.
The American Bar Association On DNA Disclosure
In connection with disclosure, American Bar Association Standards for Criminal Justice: DNA Evidence, 3d ed. © 2007 states as follows:
Part IV: Pre-trial Proceedings
(a) The prosecutor should be required, within a specified and reasonable time prior to trial, to make available to the defense the following information and material relating to DNA evidence:
(i) laboratory reports as provided in Standard 3.3;
(ii) if different from or not contained in any laboratory report, a written description of the substance of the proposed testimony of each expert, the expert’s opinion, and the underlying basis of that opinion;
(iii) the laboratory case file and case notes;
(iv) a curriculum vitae for each testifying expert and for each person involved in the testing;
(v) the written material specified in Standard 3.1(a);
(vi) reports of all proficiency examinations of each testifying expert and each person involved in the testing, with further information on proficiency testing discoverable on a showing of particularized need;
(vii) the chain of custody documents specified in Standard 2.5;
(viii) all raw electronic data produced during testing;
(ix) reports of laboratory contamination and other laboratory problems affecting testing procedures or results relevant to the evaluation of the procedures and test results obtained in the case and corrective actions taken in response; and
(x) a list of collected items that there is reason to believe contained DNA evidence but have been destroyed or lost, or have otherwise become unavailable;
(xi) material or information within the prosecutor’s possession or control, including laboratory information or material, that would tend to negate the guilt of the defendant or reduce the punishment of the defendant.
The complete and rigorous ABA standards are available here: Standards on DNA Evidence
Additionally, the document complete with explanatory commentary is available at the same link.
Quoting from the commentary : “Comprehensive discovery is critical in scientific evidence cases, and DNA discovery is no exception. The National Academies 1992 Report recommended extensive discovery in DNA cases: “All data and laboratory records generated by analysis of DNA samples should be made freely available to all parties. Such access is essential for evaluating the analysis”. (Page 95 of the document/88 of the numbered pages).
In the Meredith Kercher murder trials, the withholding of data supporting (or rather failing to support) forensic evidence, in US terms would amount to a breach of Brady disclosure requirements:
The prosecutor must disclose evidence or information that would prove the innocence of the defendant or would enable the defense to more effectively impeach the credibility of government witnesses.