Once Praised, Liberals Turn Against European Justice
By Michael P. Tremoglie
Tremoglie's Tea Time Blog
Hillary Clinton says she will confer with Sen. Maria Cantwell,(D- Wash.) about the conviction of American student Amanda Knox, of Seattle, for the murder of her roommate in Perugia, Italy. Cantwell believes the Italian justice system to be substandard.
Her ignorance of Italian criminal justice - and that of the American media, incapable of accurately reporting it - is most revealing. I have chronicled, in my Philadelphia Bulletin pieces, the factual errors about the Italian justice system, made by the Associated Press and the BBC, among others.
Two of the most common misperceptions were:
1- The media repeatedly referred to "jurors" in the news reports. There are no jurors in the American sense. There is a mixed tribunal more akin to an American military tribunal.
Two trial judges and six lay people, who are called "popular judges" vote on guilt or innocence. It is not determined independent of the judge.
2- The media also said Knox was denied bail. There is no bail in Italy.
Not only has the liberal mainstream media proven to be ignorant, they have revealed their hypocrisy – again.
Liberals love to point to Europe as the paradigm to use for reform of the American criminal justice system. Capital punishment abolitionists routinely mention “America is the only industrialized democracy (i.e. Europe) that uses capital punishment.”
Liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has referred to European law in his Constitutional rulings.
Now, suddenly, according to Hillary Clinton, Sen. Cantwell and others, European criminal justice is suspect. Why?
Because Knox has been convicted of murder by an Italian court and they do not like the idea of American college students being convicted of crimes in foreign countries.
Knox, an American student studying in Italy, was convicted for the gruesome murder of her British roommate. She, her Italian boyfriend and an African immigrant, brutally killed the woman after a night of sex and drugs.
Predictably, the mainstream American media - the same media that expressed concern about America's image in Europe during the entire Bush administration - criticized the Italian justice system. Numerous reports in American newspapers and magazines second-guessed how the Italians mete out justice.
The media presented Knox has being persecuted for being an American. They completely ignored the fact that the two others convicted for the crime were Italian.
Time magazine published, in June, what was effectively the defense attorney’s case. "Questions remain" about the prosecutions case they said rhetorically.
The implication being that there were no questions about the defense's statements.
Newsweek wrote in July, "It is not uncommon in Italy to give equal weight to circumstantial evidence." As if this is something unique to Italian courts.
Apparently, Newsweek forgot the Scott Peterson murder trial. He was convicted almost completely on circumstantial evidence.
The New York Times commentary piece called Knox an "Innocent Abroad." Is it not interesting how liberal journalists, who profess to believe in due process, always, pronounce guilt or innocence before a trial? They love to pronounce police guilty immediately.
The media is not alone. Liberals of all stripes have turned against Europe.
Academicians, quoted in the New York Times, have called the Italian criminal justice system “not among Europe’s most distinguished.” Hypocritically, some of these same academicians have praised Italy’s criminal justice system in the past because of its prohibition of capital punishment.
Liberals always criticize America for "cultural imperialism." What more egregious example of cultural imperialism is there than to interfere in the judicial process of a sovereign nation simply because one does not like the results of the verdict.