As news spread across the world early last week of an Italian Supreme Courts decision to overturn a 2011 acquittal for American Amanda Knox, the United States quickly realized they were thrusted into what could become an international nightmare. Knox, who currently lives in Seattle, was originally convicted in 2009 for the murder of her roommate. The conviction was then acquitted in 2011, after the Italian court system ruled the case against Knox and her co-defendants was filled with flaws, inaccuracies and tampered evidence.
So what is the United States to do with Knox if the Italian Supreme Court comes calling for her extradition? In the United States, a defendant cannot be tried twice for the same crime, following a legitimate acquittal or conviction, otherwise known as Double Jeopardy. Italy for their part, signed the European Convention on Human Rights, in essence stating the same criteria as Double Jeopardy, unless new evidence is found and valuable to the case. The Italian Supreme Court has stated they have new evidence against Knox and have scheduled a re-trial for Knox and her co-defendants for early 2014.
Luckily for Knox, it would appear at this point, the United States is in no hurry to extradite her back to Italy. Knox is not required to be present for the re-trial and her lawyers have stated the evidence against her will lead to another acquittal. But what is the verdict returned in the re-trial is “GUILTY”? The Italian government has already stated they want Knox returned to serve her sentence, if found guilty. But, Italy and the United States have a treaty that prohibits the extradition of a defendant who was acquitted previously. Only time will tell how the U.S. will handle the situation, but one thing is for certain, international civility will be at the core of their decision!