Top Court's Amanda Knox Ruling Coming Today
But this may or may not turn out to be the final one
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2015 6:45 AM CDT
In this Jan. 31, 2014 file photo Amanda Knox prepares to leave the set following a television interview, in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

(Newser) – Yet another ruling in the Amanda Knox case is coming from Italy's highest court today. Knox and then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted in the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher in 2009, acquitted on appeal in 2011 (at which point Knox returned to the US), had that acquittal overturned in 2013, and were then found guilty again last year. As the New York Times and the AP report, Italy's top court, the Court of Cassation, has a number of options:

  • Confirm the convictions: That would mean Italy would likely attempt to extradite Knox, who has maintained her innocence and vowed not to return to the country willingly, though there is a chance the Justice Ministry would decline to do so. Sollecito, who is still in Italy, would go to prison immediately to serve his sentence.

  • Order new appellate trials for Knox and/or Sollecito: Yes, you read that right: This saga may still not be over. If this court decides to throw out all or part of the appeals court's guilty verdict, it will likely order a third trial. (To give you an idea of how long this could go on, one 1972 murder case went to the Court of Cassation nine times before a final verdict was issued, 28 years later.)
  • Throw out the guilty verdict without ordering new trials: This would amount to an acquittal, leaving Knox free to visit Italy without fear of arrest, but the AP notes that "such a decision is rare."
If an extradition request is made for Knox, a professor of international law tells the Times the US will likely grant it, though it would be a "hard" decision. The two countries do have an extradition treaty, and another expert tells the AP there is no formal reason—though there are a number of political ones—for Italy to not bother asking in the first place. (Some have argued the concept of "double jeopardy" could be used to block Knox's extradition, though others have debunked that idea.) It's not clear when the ruling is expected, but the BBC's live updates noted that the hearing was "underway" as of 7am Eastern time.