Judge Nencini Translation of Media Interview
(Judge Nencini Translation)
Amanda and Raffaele, the judge speaks: “I have children myself, it was a difficult decision.” “The defense had asked us to separate the positions of the two defendants But Raphael was not cross-examined.”
“I feel relieved because the moment of decision is the most difficult. I also have children and to impose sentences of 25 and 28 years to two young people is something that is emotionally very difficult.” At 10 am the following morning, Judge Alessandro Nencini is in his office. The President of the Appeals Court of Assize of Florence who two nights ago found Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito guilty of the murder of Meredith Kercher is aware that “the judgment will open a new debate, especially in the media,” but because of this agreed to explain how he arrived at a verdict.
You were twelve hours in closed session. Was the tribunal divided?
“The documents in this trial filled half a room, there are 30 exhibits. The jurors (lay judges), who are not accustomed to the work, had to learn the details of the whole case to arrive at a joint decision, as it must be in a Court of Assize. We must examine the documents make determinations about them. We did this by taking all the time necessary and taking into account that the victim was a young woman.”
And then you have reached unanimity?
“I spoke of shared decision-making. I can say that in all these months, and especially at the time of the last meeting, we felt the severity of a verdict involving young people and their families. This is a story that has affected many people. “
Yours was a narrow path, the Supreme Court was urged to ‘remedy’ the judgment of the second instance in Perugia that had acquitted the two defendants?
“Not so, we had maximum flexibility. The only constraint was that in case of acquittal, we would have to give reasons in a logical manner. There was no stake.”
Even with respect to the verdict against Rudy Guede?
“In fact the peculiarity of the process was this: A person already convicted by summary judgment in a fast track trial for complicity in the same homicide. The Supreme Court asked us to evaluate the role of accomplices. We could have said that they were not the two accused, giving a convincing motivation. But we did not consider this to be the truth.”
Why did you decide not to interrogate Guede?
“For what? He never confessed and even if we had put him on the stand, he has the right to say nothing. We did not deem it necessary. Instead it seemed important to investigate other aspects and in fact we have an expert report and heard the witnesses about which there were doubts. It is the role of the Appellate Court. In four months we were able to move towards definition.”
Sollecito ‘s lawyers had asked you to separate the positions (of the defendants).
“We will motivate in depth about explaining why we did not agree to this approach. In any case Sollecito decided never to be (put on the stand or) cross-examined in the process “
And this has influenced the choice to condemn him?
“It is a right of the accused, but it certainly deprives the process of a voice. He was limited to spontaneous statements, saying only what he wanted without submitting to the cross-examination. “
In the years different motives have been hypothesized. An idea on what you made of it?
“We have a conviction and will make this explicit in our judgment. At the moment I can say that until 8:15 that evening the young people had different plans, then the commitments were skipped and this created the opportunity. If Amanda had gone to work, we probably would not be here.”
It means that the murder was a just a chance occurrence?
“I want to say that it was a thing between the kids, there were coincidences and we developed a line of reasoning about them. I am aware that it will be the most controversial part.”
The Supreme Court demolished the acquittal. Will you do the same?
“We do not even talk about it. We must focus on the facts in the first instance that we have confirmed.”
And do you not believe that there were errors?
“I never said that. Some I think were made and we will highlight.”
You have condemned Amanda Knox but you do not have any protective order issued against her. Why?
“It is legitimate that she is in the United States. At the time of the crime, she was in Italy to study and returned to her home after being acquitted. She is an American citizen. The problem will arise if there were to be a need to enforce a sentence. Now I do not think anything was needed.”
So why has Raffaele Sollecito’s passport been confiscated?
“It was the minimum deal (or indicated measure). In these cases, the order is to prevent something and we had to prevent him becoming untraceable while waiting for the final verdict.”
And do you believe it’s enough to issue the travel ban?
“Yes, we felt it was more than enough. If there were to be any developments, we will evaluate.”