Review of Bruce Fisher's Injustice in Perugia: A book detailing the wrongful conviction of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito ( Amazon.com; (http://www.amazon.com/Injustice-Perugia-detailing-conviction-Sollec...). by Susan Marie Kovalinsky
Having run the gamut of stances regarding the case of Amanda Knox, from belief in guilt, to obsessive researcher, to defender of innocence, I have now had the pleasure to receive a digital copy of the nearly 350 page text from the author of Injustice in Perugia .
On finishing the manuscript, I can say that the case for "Injustice in Perugia" has been made: Fully, compellingly, and clearly.
I know that Mr. Fisher has been derided on a website of a certain popularity, and that this derision has been intense and unprovoked. I would say that the ad hominem attacks on the author are an indictment of his accusers.
Notwithstanding, Mr. Fisher has written poignantly and with full factual evidence. He has uncovered the bias inherent in Mignini's "sex game gone wrong" theory, and has exposed it as the shared delusion of Mignini and Judge Matteini. Although his critics charge him with writing a polemic, Fisher's text is a clear expository and argumentative treatise based on evidence which is meticulously laid out and thoroughly delved into.
Not an indictment of the Italian judicial system, Fisher's text is an actual cry for justice on behalf of all who have been wrongly accused and convicted - indeed, he uses these words in the book's opening dedication. We know that false accusations and convictions belong to no country and are not limited to any culture: They happen everywhere. It is the folly of specific investigators, actual media venues, and the darkness and bigotry which reside within the human heart which are at fault, and which form the impetus for the social media flames which fan out of control.
Fisher's text takes from the initial investigation, to the point at which it ought to have shifted radically: With the arrest of Mr. Guede. That it did not bespeaks how deeply-rooted was Mignini's theory; one might say he suffered from an idee fixe: and this fixed idea was able to translate itself to investigators, legal persons, and the media, until it took on a life of its own. In this sense, Mignini is a formidable man: We have seen how strong is his power to persuade, and how his paranoia about the darkness which encroaches on traditional culture transmits itself deeply. Mignini is a sympathetic character, culturally. But in the legal sense, he has spawned a judicial travesty. One of the most important aspects of Injustice in Perugia: Fisher delves into the infamous "Monster of Florence " case (and Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini's even more infamous part in it), in which author Douglas Preston became ensnared, and no less than 20 persons were unfairly indicted. Although Mignini's claims were ultimately dismissed, the damage was done, and Fisher has expertly given us to understand that Mignini has a history of being unable to retract his odd theories, once made public. That he was found to be subject to mania in his thinking on so prominent a case ought to give us stern pause. History has a way of repeating itself in persons and in events, and Mignini is not exempt from such a cycle. The possibility that all which came after was symptom, consequence, incident of an original and ill-conceived theorizing cannot be ignored. This is worrisome, in the extreme.
Fisher brings another aspect into focus involving the media circles which swirl around the Knox case: That the career ambitions of certain persons feed off the idea of Knox's guilt. This is understandable: many writers can relate here. But there comes a point at which a false theory and a biased investigation leading to the destruction of two young lives - on top of the initial life lost, that of the worthy victim, Ms. Kercher, for whom everyone must have sympathy and sorrow - must be seen for the unethical venture it is, and must be called a miscarriage of justice.
Mystery colors the personae of Knox and Sollecito, and some of it may be of their own making, inadvertently, and likely from a mix of youthful inexperience and plain quirkiness. But there is grave danger in projecting too much into their images, and Mr. Fisher admirably shines a flood light on the actuality of an investigation gone rather terribly wrong, and with profound consequences. It is not simply error upon error which infuriates, but the fact that evidence was made to fit a pre-existing theory that was spun mainly out of thin air, and Fisher makes this point relentlessly and boldly. In a black and white photo of Ms. Knox on page 171 of Fisher's book, Amanda's eyes look wistfully at the camera, the soft focus making her face appear pale and school- girlish as she smiles shyly for the camera. It is a pre-Perugia Amanda, and one is given stern pause at just what the consequences of Mignini's theorizing have been. Fisher makes it clear that Knox and Sollecito were never wavering on their alibis until after relentless interrogation. This is a point which has been too often overlooked : I know I missed it in my own initial surmising on the case.
Further, in Chapter 14 Fisher makes a strong case for the virtual contamination, by law enforcement, of key aspects and items within the crime scene. Improper procedural and collection methods, carelessness as to swab collecting, and the failure to change gloves are among numerous charges of an almost deliberate incompetence.
All in all, Bruce Fisher has shined the light of empirical analysis on the facts of the Knox case, and not only does the guilty verdict in December 2009 come up wanting, but anyone in possession of the facts can no longer believe that the conviction of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito is anything but a mistake, and a profoundly tragic one, which cries out to be rectified.
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