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Event Analysis: Amanda Knox and Aileen Wuornos - Assignment Example

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Current Event Analysis: Amanda Knox and Aileen Wuornos [YOUR NAME HERE] [INSTRUCTOR NAME HERE] Abstract In this paper we are to consider two cases: first, the case of Amanda Knox, an American college student accused of murder in the country of Italy, and second, a “current events” case of our choosing…
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Event Analysis: Amanda Knox and Aileen Wuornos
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Download file to see previous pages In the case of Wuornos, it is interesting that there was not only prior evidence introduced at her trial due to a Florida law, but she also pleaded no contest before beginning a string of appeals that she ultimately stopped. Both cases have interesting legal points to be addressed and analyzed, especially comparing and contrasting the American and Italian legal systems for Knox to case precedent for Wuornos. Amanda Knox: Innocent or Guilty? In watching the documentary “American Girl, Italian Nightmare”, both similarities and differences in the Italian justice system as opposed to the American justice system were brought to the attention of viewers. First, there is a trial procedure in both countries that is similar. A person is accused of a crime, and is allowed a trial where a jury hears the evidence. However, there are two differences in Italy. First, the jury is composed of eight, not twelve people, and two of them in the Italian jury also being Italian judges. In the United States, a person is entitled to “a jury of their peers” (Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago, n. d.). Even though this principle appears nowhere in the Constitution, it has been proven in the 1986 decision in the case of Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U. S. 79 (1986), in which the Supreme Court held that the accused, while not having the right to a complete and total jury of their peers, is entitled under the Equal Protection Clause not to have the prosecutor exclude people unnecessarily, thereby guaranteeing at least a reasonable sampling of their peers on the jury. According to Theodore Simon, who specializes in International Law, the Italian system is different in that the two judges on the jury will act as leaders of the six others and have a “significant impact” on the facts of the case, as well as explaining the law. In any case, it is doubtful that Knox received a jury of her peers, unless the laypeople were six American college students. It is a reasonable assumption that they were not, and that they were Italian laypeople. This demonstrates that beyond the fact that there is a trial and there is a jury, the two justice systems are almost wholly different in their approaches. Also, Italy allows media coverage of the proceedings and the accused to be viewed by the jurors. In the United States, juries are instructed to decide cases based on facts alone (Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago, n. d.). They are also instructed, during their term on off service, to avoid any media coverage of the case that they are deciding (Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago, n. d.). Studies have been done and showed that should the jury be exposed to pretrial media coverage, they are more likely to find the defendant guilty (Steblay et al., 1999). By allowing the jurors to follow the trial in the media, they are no doubt influenced by it. In comparing similarities, it is found that both Italy and the United States have a presumption of innocence. This was determined for the United States in the 1895 decision in Coffin et al v. United States (1895), in which the judge stated that “the law presumes that people charged with crime are innocent until they are proven, by competent evidence, to be guilty. To the benefit of this presumption the defendants are all ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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