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Knox Going Nowhere

Amanda Knox after her acquittal (Reuters)

It was 2009 when American student Amanda Knox was convicted of murdering her British roommate—21-year-old exchange student Meredith Kercher—in what some believed was a kinky sex act gone wrong.

Knox has always denied this allegation, of course, pointing out that she has never “strapped on leather or [bore] a whip.” And I believe her, if for no other reason than the fact that people who enjoy kinky sex rarely broadcast this desire publicly.

At any rate, Knox spent several years in an Italian prison until her case was overturned for lack of evidence in 2011 and she was finally able to return home. Since her acquittal she has been living peacefully in Seattle, Washington and keeping a low profile… at least until last year.

That’s when the Supreme Court in Italy reviewed Knox’s case, decided some evidence had not been considered and questions still needed to be answered, and decided to retry her for Kercher’s murder. The retrial is scheduled to begin this fall, but now it looks as if the defendant may not even be present.

A spokesman for the Knox family recently announced that Amanda would not return to Italy for her retrial since there is “no requirement she be there.” And Knox never said she would attend in the first place. This means that if the Italian government eventually orders her to return, they will have to go through the American government and request her extradition.

Meredith Kercher (Reuters)

Many believe any such extradition request would be denied by the U.S., but I have my doubts. I worry because of an unrelated case that could toss a proverbial monkey wrench into Knox’s plans: the case of NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

When Snowden fled to Russia after revealing top-secret information about several NSA surveillance programs, the United States requested his extradition and was denied. In our government’s view, Snowden was a traitor and was guilty of jeopardizing America’s national security, so he deserved to return home to face justice. The Russians obviously disagreed and even granted Snowden asylum for one year, renewable indefinitely.

Needless to say, President Obama and the American government were pissed. Despite efforts to improve relations with Russia—efforts they thought were being reciprocated—it looked as if things were destined to get worse. After all, how could the Russians protect someone with the potential to harm America if they were truly interested in improving relations between the two countries?

What the f—?

This is why I think Amanda Knox could be in trouble if Italy appeals for her extradition from the United States—even though the concept of retrying someone a second time for the same crime seems utterly ridiculous to me. Assume, for a moment, that the Italian authorities actually have some new evidence that might prove Knox’s guilt. Would America allow the Italians to extradite Knox simply because of the injustice they suffered when they requested Snowden’s extradition from Russia?

Put another way: Can we really deny an extradition request when new evidence could result in true justice being served?

I worry for Amanda Knox. And I hope no one sends her back to Italy since she was acquitted for this crime years ago. In America we have something called double jeopardy, which prevents a defendant from being tried a second time for the same crime. I know I’m biased since I am an American, but I like to think I would agree with this regardless of my citizenship.

It is all about fairness, and to me that is pretty important.

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