As I write, Amanda Knox is on a British Airways plane to London on her way home to Seattle after an Italian appellate court overturned her murder conviction. The majority of Americans (not as many Italians) are happy. After 4 years in prison, Amanda Knox will return to the United States, to the loving arms of her family, the media, the book publishers, and movie producers.
Like Casey Anthony, much of the Amanda Knox trial was shown on television. Like Casey Anthony, American White Trash's favorite TV hack Nancy Grace spent a great deal of time on the Knox case.
And so yesterday, after the verdict, I commented that now we have "another young female defendant goes free on a murder charge and we all celebrate. Well, the first part at least is true."
Of course the public and private response was that "the cases were different."
I know that, but the real response, never said, was "don't mess with my anger that Casey was acquitted while I celebrate Amanda's freedom, even though I really don't know what happened in either case."
So what was different?
First and foremost, there was a dead toddler in one case.
Second, one case was in America, where we blindly trust the judicial system. The other case was in a foreign country. It doesn't matter which country - we don't trust justice in any other country.
Third, we knew everything about Casey's behavior during the investigation. We viewed her as a liar, and therefore a murderer. We didn't follow every move since the murder in Amanda's case. We saw her as a pretty young exchange student.
In the end, Amanda's case was too far away and involved much of the unkown regarding Italian criminal law for us to find her guilty before trial. Sure, there were scandalous allegations about Amanda's sex life and reputation, but those came from foreign prosecutors, so they were disregarded, by Americans.
What do we know about Amanda's case that comforts us in our happiness over her freedom - the DNA was contaminated. With that, we cheer her freedom. We need to know nothing else.
Did Amanda participate in the murder? Amanda is coming home, and that's all we care about.
Sure, the cases are different. Every case is different. But one thing is the same in both cases - we don't know what really happened.
Welcome home Amanda.
Non-anonymous comments welcome.Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court, and the author of The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. Post to Twitter
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