What Not To Do When Your Roommate Is Murdered In Italy: Amanda Knox, Her “Strange” Behavior, and the Italian Legal System

By: Martha Grace Duncan*
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One of the most widely publicized cases of our time is that of Amanda Knox, the college student from West Seattle who was convicted of murdering her British roommate in Italy and served four years in prison before being acquitted and released.  Retried in absentia, she was convicted again, only to be exonerated by the Italiaan Supreme Court, which handed down its final opinion in September, 2015.  Throughout its eight-year duration, the case garnered worldwide attention, in part because of the pretty, photogenic defendant and the drug-fueled sex game that the prosecutor adduced as the motive for the crime.  Interest in the case spiked again with the release of a Netflix original documentary, Amanda Knox, in the fall of 2016.

While the Amanda Knox case has been remarkable for its ability to fascinate an international audience, it is not altogether unique.  Rather, it is emblematic of broader themes and a broader problem−that of human beings’ prejudice against “strangeness” and our desperation for a hasty assessment of guilt or innocence‒qualities that can bleed into a legal system to the detriment of the quest for truth.

In this Article, I explore the Amanda Knox case in the context of our defective ability to judge.  In Part One, I use the conceit of a “What Not To Do” list to highlight the role played by Amanda’s “strangeness” in bringing about her arrest and two convictions.  In Part Two, I re-examine the usual rationale for Amanda’s behavior and suggest that a better explanation lies in her age and developmental stage.  In Part Three, I shift from the interpreted to the interpreters, arguing that the latter were powerfully affected by the Madonna/whore complex.  In Part Four, I analyze the impact of cultural differences and the Italian legal system, with its deep roots in the inquisitorial paradigm and its limited adversarial reforms.

This Article is based not only on scholarly research but also on my four sojourns in Italy, where I retraced Amanda’s footsteps and discussed the case with numerous legal experts.  I had the opportunity to interview Amanda herself after she was free in Seattle.


Youth is the season of credulity.

Sir William Pitt[1]

When I was twenty years old, during a brief sojourn in a poor, deathly hot Venezuelan border town called San Antonio del Táchira, I accepted a free ride from a stranger and nearly got myself raped.[2]  Why, the reader may wonder, did I take such a chance?  The answer is simple:  to save money.  I was a student, living in Colombia on a college fellowship, and the desire to conserve my dwindling funds outranked, in my mind, the need to protect myself from any risk I might run by getting into a stranger’s car.

This was hardly the only foolish and hazardous mistake in judgment that I made in my youth, or even later in life, but it is the one that springs to my mind when contemplating Amanda Knox.  For Amanda, too, was twenty years old and living in a foreign country when she made a series of impulsive choices that would stain her reputation, deprive her of freedom, and—after two years in preventive detention—catapult her from murder victim’s roommate to convicted murderer.

To be sure, some of Amanda’s hapless decisions were quite different from my own; for instance, performing a gymnastic stunt in the Perugia questura (police station),[3] wearing a sleep T-shirt reading “All You Need Is Love” to her trial,[4] and singing out “Ta-dah!” while thrusting out her arms in front of police officers at the crime scene.[5]  However, we both unwittingly put ourselves in dangerous territory:  I by getting into a stranger’s car, and Amanda by showing up, uninvited, at the questura, begging to be allowed to wait inside while her boyfriend, Raffaele,  was interrogated.[6]

Later she would explain that, believing there was a murderer on the loose, she was afraid to stay alone in Raffaele’s apartment, or outside in his car, by herself in the dark.[7]  Moreover, she was still under the sway of a powerful illusion, namely, that the police viewed her as a helpful witness,[8] not as the prime murder suspect.  Because of this illusion, she failed to foresee that just by walking into the police station, she would put herself in peril.  Young and female, without a family member or even a lawyer, she made herself extremely vulnerable—as vulnerable as that most helpless of literary characters, Thomas Hardy’s Tess, in Tess of the d’Urbervilles.[9]

Near the beginning of that classic novel, Tess Durbeyfield, who has little experience of life or men, enters a fruit garden with Alec d’Urberville.  When the wily Alec attempts to insert a strawberry into Tess’s mouth with his fingers, she initially bars the intrusion, saying: “No, no! . . . I would rather take it in my own hand.”[10]  But Alec insists, and she reluctantly complies.  At the end of this encounter, Hardy writes the words that, foreshadowing Tess’s doom, could apply equally well to Amanda when she walked, oh so innocently, into the questura: “Thus the thing began.”[11]

. . .

Since no project comes to a writer out of a clear blue sky, I owe the reader an account of the origins of this one.  More than a decade ago, I began to notice the abundant references to remorse or, more exactly, lack of remorse in news stories and legal opinions about accused murderers.  Often it was unclear why the accused persons had been judged remorseless, but in many instances the indicator was simply an impassive face, a failure to cry, laughter, or one seemingly callous remark observed in the moments immediately following the crime.

I reacted skeptically to these interpretations, which attributed unequivocal meaning to equivocal behavior and often involved judgments made hastily, when the accused may have been in shock or denial.  Because of my personal history as someone who, at age twenty-two, had been unable to feel sadness or grief following my father’s suicide, I had good reason to know that it could take years to respond to a horrible event—not on account of callousness or depravity, but because the feelings were simply too awful to be borne.[12]  Thus, I doubted the interpretations of remorselessness and, naturally, also doubted the law’s use of these interpretations to decide a person’s fate.

My concerns gave rise to years of research.  With the help of my student assistants, I amassed cases of individuals who had been charged with murder or attempted murder and then exhibited supposed indifference to their crimes.  Both to render the project manageable and to make the strongest possible argument, I focused on children and adolescents, choosing seven cases for in-depth exploration.  Among the seven were a nine-year-old boy who shot a girl and  then remarked, “If you don’t think about it, you won’t be sad” as he walked by her moribund body on his way to play Nintendo;[13] a fourteen-year-old girl who beat her mother to death with a candlestick holder and then joked to a policewoman that she didn’t have body parts in her pocket;[14] and a fifteen-year-old boy who participated in a fatal assault on a Ph.D. student and  then giggled through the night, making up rap songs and saying that his cellmate’s nickname was “Homicide.”[15]

In all these examples, the law interpreted the defendants’ “lack of remorse” as a sign of vileness and treated them more severely because of it.  Most severe of all was the penalty imposed on Chris Thomas, a seventeen-year-old boy who was found asleep on the sofa a few hours after killing his girlfriend’s parents.[16]  This ability to fall asleep so soon after committing a heinous deed was construed as a sign of remorselessness, which, in turn, enabled the court to find vileness, an aggravating factor required by law to sentence him to death.[17]

Based on this research, I published a law review article, “So Young and So Untender”:  Remorseless Children and the Expectations of the Law,[18] which drew on developmental psychology, sociology, and literature to re-interpret the “callous” acts.  Emphasizing that the root of remorse is remordere, “to bite again,”[19] a meaning that Nathaniel Hawthorne picks up in his phrase, “a gnawing of the inmost heart,”[20] I described remorse as acute agony over past wrongdoing—an emotional state that some people might well seek to avoid.  Thus, I argued that we should anticipate resistance to remorse, especially in juveniles, who are less likely to show or even feel this deeply painful, complex emotion.

By now the reader will have noticed several similarities between the cases of “remorseless” juveniles and that of Amanda Knox.  For instance, all but one of those cases, like Amanda’s, involved a homicide.  In addition, the accused were all very young.  While Amanda was not a minor, she was still—throughout her first trial and imprisonment—in her early twenties, and this is a period that some psychologists recognize as a developmental stage between adolescence and mature adulthood.[21]  Furthermore, all of these defendants were judged to be evil, depraved, or dangerous based on acts that were irrelevant or only tangentially related to the homicide, and most of the acts—from the young girl’s joke about body parts to Amanda’s notorious cartwheel—occurred very soon after the crime.

Along with similarities, there are also significant differences between Amanda’s case and the cases of the remorseless children.  Amanda was not tried under American law, with its sacrosanct presumption of innocence, but rather under Italian law, which makes it easier for defendants to be convicted but also easier to obtain a reversal on appeal.[22]  In another contrast, Amanda’s strange detachment worked primarily to target her as the main suspect and provoke her arrest, whereas in the remorseless children cases, the “callous” behavior influenced the decisions at waiver and sentencing—later stages of the process.

Finally, unlike the defendants in “So Young and So Untender,” Amanda has been cleared of any involvement in the homicide.  The DNA at the crime scene matched that of another suspect, who was eventually convicted of Meredith’s murder.[23]  Amanda’s DNA was nowhere present,[24] and she has now been fully exonerated by Italy’s highest court.[25]

These similarities and differences afford us a chance to reassess the seven American cases in the light of a case tried in a continental European country, where both the law and the culture pose a dramatic contrast to the United States.  By exploring how Amanda’s quirky behavior led to her murder convictions in a legal system that is still largely inquisitorial and a culture that highly values appropriate dress and behavior, we can learn more about the ways that legal systems, expecting proper tears rather than playful antics, may make flawed decisions and arrive at unjust results.

The benefits of comparison run in the other direction as well.  Until now, most writers drawn to Amanda’s case have examined it in isolation.[26]  Viewed this way, it has been tempting to see her story as bizarre and sui generis, something that could only happen in Italy and for which Italian law was to blame.[27]  But, as a broadly comparative approach reveals, the kinds of mistakes made in Amanda’s case are not limited to Italy’s legal system, to inquisitorial systems generally, or to cultures that value propriety and decorum over “being oneself.”[28]  This Article will shed light on the reasons that a criminal justice system would prosecute a young person not just once, but off and on for nearly eight years, despite what the Italian Supreme Court would describe in its final opinion as “investigative amnesia” and “culpable investigative omissions” as well as an “total absence of biological traces” belonging to Amanda or Raffaele at the crime scene.[29]

. . .

This Article unfolds in three parts.  In Part One, “What Not to Do When Your Roommate Is Murdered in Italy,” I lay the foundation by telling the story of Amanda’s odyssey through the byzantine Italian legal system.  To highlight the choices that caused Amanda to be fingered as the prime suspect and twice convicted of murder, I employ the conceit of a “What Not To Do” list,[30] identifying the cultural taboos and social conventions that Amanda violated, to her great regret.

In Part Two, “Behind the Cartwheel,” I turn from the story to the underlying causes of what some have called Amanda’s “bizarrely inappropriate” behavior.  One of the most oft-cited reasons is naïveté; indeed, Amanda herself has adduced this concept, saying that, vis-à-vis the Italian police, she was “a mouse in a cat’s game.”  However, I will endeavor to show that naïveté, being vague, moralistic, and culturally relative, is a weak explanation at best.

In place of naïveté, I will propose that we focus on Amanda’s developmental phase, in particular, “emerging adulthood,” the part of the human life cycle extending from eighteen to twenty-five years of age and even beyond.  Two features of this phase—“intense identity exploration” and “a focus on self”—seem particularly applicable to the twenty-year-old Amanda.  I will delineate these features and correlate them with her inappropriate actions, thereby demonstrating that the concept of emerging adulthood offers an alternative, benign way to account for her “bizarre” behavior between the fall of 2007 and her first conviction in the early winter of 2009.

In Part Three, “Interpreting the Interpreters,” I shift the focus from Amanda’s improvident choices to society’s response.  Specifically, I ask why many observers—in Italy, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere—were so incapable of empathy for Amanda, so quick to place her beyond the pale, and why the Italian police and judiciary were so ready to believe her guilty of murder based on her failure to mourn in the expected manner.  In my quest for answers, I will explore the Madonna/whore binary, the cultural differences between the United States and Italy, and the Italian criminal justice system, with its inquisitorial roots and its partial shift to the adversarial model in 1989.

In researching and writing this Article, I have not relied solely on written sources but have also traveled several times to Italy, experiencing firsthand the mysterious ambience of Perugia, the medieval walled city where the murder occurred.  In addition, I witnessed part of Amanda’s appellate trial in a postmodern courthouse in Florence, the Palazzo di Giustizia.   During these expeditions, I interviewed Italian criminal lawyers, law professors, journalists, and interpreters.  They afforded me perspectives on Italian law and culture that would have been impossible to gain on my own.  In search of a deeper, more intuitive understanding of the case, I traveled to Amanda’s hometown of Seattle, where I spoke at length with Amanda’s best friend, Madison Paxton, and—over brunch on a drizzly, gray Sunday—with Amanda herself.

I. What Not to Do When Your Roommate is Murdered in Italy: Advice for Amanda, with the Benefit of Hindsight

[T]he impression of reality . . . is a delicate, fragile thing that can be shattered by very minor mishaps.

Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life[31]

Momma says presentation is everything.

Jennifer Lauck, Blackbird [32]

Before Departing for Italy

  1. Do not carry a vibrator, pink and bunny-shaped, inside a see-through toiletry bag to Italy.

Though an innocent parting gift from a friend, intended as a joke, the pink vibrator will bring you more trouble than you can possibly imagine at the moment you toss it heedlessly into your clear plastic bag before rushing to the airport.[33]  Later, after you leave it out in a shared bathroom, still in the transparent case, the vibrator will make your British roommate uncomfortable, although you do not know this at the time.  In fact, you learn of Meredith’s discomfort only at trial, after she is dead, when a friend of hers, testifying that Meredith was bothered by your overt sexuality, cites the pink vibrator in its see-through beauty bag.[34]  This testimony will enable the prosecution to say there was antipathy between you and the victim, thus providing a motive for the crime.[35]

In addition, your vibrator will contribute to the reputation you will acquire as a sex-obsessed woman.[36]  In the coming criminal trial, your reputation will matter; those who sit in judgment upon you (a panel of professional and lay judges) will not be sequestered and thus will be exposed to the sensationalized media accounts of your character.[37]

  1. Do not adopt “Foxy Knoxy” as your profile name on MySpace.

Like the pink vibrator, this nickname too has an innocent origin: when you were thirteen, your soccer teammates called you “foxy” because of the way you deftly maneuvered the ball down the field.[38]  You put this moniker on MySpace, thinking it safer than your real name,[39] but when MySpace falls into desuetude and your nickname languishes, forgotten, Italian reporters will uncover it.  They will now refer to you as Volpe Cattiva, “Wicked Fox.”[40]  You will realize later, while in prison, that when people think of you as a wild animal, they find it easier to hate you.[41]

In Italy, before the Murder

First Chronological Interlude

September 2, 2007:  Twenty-year-old Amanda Knox arrives in Perugia seeking a place to live during her junior year abroad.  Purely by chance, she meets a young Italian woman, Laura Mezzetti, who has rooms to rent in a picturesque villa, No. 7 via della Pergola.  Laura and her best friend, Filomena Romanelli, are already occupying two rooms on the upper level, while four Italian male students reside on the lower level.  Upon inspecting the villa, Amanda, enchanted, signs the lease and then departs on a trip to Germany.[42]      

September 20, 2007:  Amanda returns to Perugia, moves into the villa, and meets Meredith Kercher, a British student who has taken a lease in the interim and now occupies the room next to Amanda’s.[43]

Early October, 2007:  At the Università per Stranieri, Amanda begins classes in Italian language and culture.  Feeling that she has too much time on her hands, she takes a part-time job at Le Chic, a bar owned by Patrick Lumumba.[44]  

  1. Do not embark on a “campaign to have casual sex”[45] when you arrive in Italy, notwithstanding your friends’ pressure to do so.[46]

Not only will you contract oral herpes from your first essay into meaningless intimacy,[47] but also you will enable the prosecutor to portray you as a femme fatale, even at times a “whore,”[48] whose wantonness stands in ironic contrast to your Madonna-like beauty.[49]

Your experimentation with casual sex will come to light after a prison doctor announces that you have tested positive for HIV.[50]  Shocked and frantic with fear, you will soothe yourself, as is your custom, by writing.  You will make a list of your former lovers and the kind of protection used with each one, and this list will become public when the police search your cell, confiscate your writings, and share your sexual history with the press.[51]  By mistake, newspapers will report that you have slept with seven men in Perugia in six weeks, instead of seven in the United States and Italy over a period of years.  Two months after the initial diagnosis, you will learn that it was an error; you are not HIV-positive after all.[52]

  1. When texting your boss, Patrick, on the evening of the murder, do not write: “Ci vediamo più tardi,” the literal translation of “See you later,” if what you mean is “Goodbye.”

The literal translation will hurt you badly, for although the Italian words allow for the meaning you intended—a casual signing off, rather than an appointment[53]—the police will not acknowledge the ambiguity.  Rather, they will interpret the text as clear evidence that, shortly before the crime, you made a commitment to go out and see Patrick.[54]  Since you claimed that you stayed in all evening with your new boyfriend, Raffaele, the message seems to catch you in a deception and undercuts your alibi for the time of the murder.  During the long hours of interrogation on November 5 and 6, 2009, the police will wave your cell phone in your face, repeating your words, “Ci vediamo più tardi,” and calling you a liar.  When you are no longer able to withstand the pressure, you will sign a statement in Italian, adopting the detectives’ understanding of those fateful words: “See you later.”[55]

The Day after the Murder

Second Chronological Interlude

November 2, 2007:  Amanda awakens in the apartment of her boyfriend, Raffaele, where she has been spending the night ever since they met at a concert eight days earlier.
When she returns to the villa to shower and change, she notices things that seem odd:  the front door standing open, blood drops in the sink and on the bathroom rug, and feces left in the toilet

Worried, Amanda calls her mother and her housemates but is unable to reach Meredith.  After eating breakfast at Raffaele’s, she takes him back to the villa, where they discover a broken window and other signs of a break-in.  At the suggestion of his sister, a police officer in Rome, Raffaele calls the Carabinieri, the paramilitary unit in charge of violent crimes.[57]

In the meantime, members of a wealthy Perugian family find two mysterious cell phones in their garden; the phones will later prove to be Meredith’s.  The family contacts the Polizia Postale, the police that investigate Internet crimes.  It is they who reach the villa first and find Raffaele and Amanda waiting outside.[58]  Housemates and friends converge at the villa, but no one has heard from Meredith, and the door to her room is locked.  When one of the young men kicks it open, Amanda, who is too far from the doorway to see inside, hears voices shouting the Italian words for “foot” and “blood.”   Then the police order everyone out.[59]

  1. Do not kiss your boyfriend right outside the villa where Meredith’s dead body lies or sit on your boyfriend’s lap in the police station, cuddling and making funny faces.

Like Meursault, the protagonist of The Stranger, who smoked a cigarette at his mother’s wake, and who swam, made love to his girlfriend, and watched a movie—a comedy no less—the day after his mother’s funeral,[60] you too will be reviled and condemned for your inappropriate behavior following on the heels of Meredith’s murder.[61]

When you kiss your boyfriend not far from the scene of the grisly crime, your kiss will be filmed and played on television in a nonstop loop to display your indifference to your roommate’s death.[62]  When you sit on Raffaele’s lap, making faces in the police station, your behavior will be remembered and recounted at trial as evidence of your failure to mourn.[63]  Testifying before a packed courtroom, Meredith’s British friend Robyn will describe how you stuck out your tongue at Raffaele and “showed no emotion,” while everyone else was distraught.[64]

An observation of the brilliant ethnographer Erving Goffman is relevant to your predicament here: “A demand regarding engrossment,” he writes, “is a demand on the inner spirit,” and, as such, is a requirement that some individuals cannot meet.[65]  In that case, Goffman advises, they should either feign engrossment or stay away from the place where people will notice their distraction.[66]

  1. When Meredith’s friend Sophie, seeking consolation, gives you a hug in the police station, do not turn away without reciprocating.[67]  

Too exhausted to even make the effort of hugging her back, you will try to make amends later the same evening, with comforting words—but to no avail.[68]  In court, Sophie will testify about the initial rebuff, describing you as “cold.”[69]

  1. When Meredith’s friend Natalie expresses the hope that Meredith had not suffered, do not respond, “How could she not have suffered?  She got her fucking throat slit.”[70]

You will say this because, being in a state of “righteous fury” at Meredith’s killer, you cannot understand the relative self-control of Meredith’s British friends.[71]  But your words will come across as crude and unempathic when Natalie repeats them during the trial.[72]  In relation to the Italian standard of la bella figura, you will fall far short, actually presenting yourself as its “evil twin,” la brutta figura (“ugly face”).[73]

  1. Do not stay in Perugia after the crime, though it may seem like the independent and admirable thing to do.

Most of Meredith’s British friends, aided by the British Consulate, will leave Perugia within a few days of the murder,[74] and you, too, have the option of leaving, for you could go home to Seattle, or to stay with “Aunt Dolly,” your mother’s cousin in Germany and your contact person in the event of an emergency.[75]  Like the British students, you are worried about your safety,[76] but your reasons to stay will prove more powerful than your fears.  Not only do you aspire to help the police find Meredith’s killer,[77] you are also determined to salvage your hard-won year abroad—a year you earned by working odd jobs in Seattle, saving money, and persuading your parents to let you go—all so that you might have a culturally enriching experience.[78]  These reasons are noble, but in the end they will not be justified, for by staying in Perugia, you will be forced to undergo the trauma of a murder conviction and incarceration.

During the Investigation

  1. Do not ignore Aunt Dolly’s first phone call, in which she suggests that perhaps you should get a lawyer or seek assistance from the American Embassy in Rome.[79]

Knowing yourself to be innocent, you will be unable to imagine why you would need legal counsel.  You have yet to learn that mere innocence will not protect you.  You will likely be suffering from what is called the “illusion of transparency”:  the belief that others can see through to your nonculpable self.[80]  Or perhaps you will be relying too heavily on the presumption of innocence familiar to you from the American legal system.  It may behoove you to model your actions after those of your Italian housemates, Laura and Filomena, both interns at Perugian law firms, who seek legal counsel after Meredith’s body is found.[81]  As the saying goes, “When in Rome . . . .”[82]

  1. Do not ignore Aunt Dolly’s second phone call, in which she no longer suggests but tells you to call the American Embassy.[83]

It would be good to have the facts “on the record,” Aunt Dolly says, “just in case.”[84]  At the time, you will ask yourself: “Just in case what?”, but later you will wonder whether things would have turned out differently had you taken her advice.[85] 

  1. When the police take you back to the villa and provide you with protective gloves and booties, do not—when you finish dressing—sing out “Ta-dah” and turn your arms out, like a star in a Broadway musical.[86]

You will do this to make up for a faux pas that you committed a few minutes earlier, on the ride to the villa in the police car.  You complained of being tired, and your complaint irritated one of the officers, who replied, “Do you just not care that someone murdered your friend?”[87]  So now, always fighting the last battle, you try to seem friendly and cooperative, but the police will only look scornfully at your antics.[88]  One of those present, a specialized detective brought in from Rome to help with the investigation, will later tell reporters that you suggestively swiveled your hips as you put on the booties.  This seductive movement, known in Italy as la mossa (“the move”), was one of the first things that aroused his suspicion of your involvement in the murder.[89]

  1. Do not stay away from the memorial service for Meredith or in other ways fail to mourn her death.

You will miss the service partly out of fear of attending alone and also out of concern that strangers will approach you with awkward questions.[90]  But your absence from the candlelight memorial on the public square as well as your “strange coldness”[91] and “odd detachment”[92] will have an impact that may hurt you.  As Goffman says, “The impression of reality . . . is a delicate, fragile thing that can be shattered by very minor mishaps.”[93]

  1. Do not go with Raffaele to a store called Bubble[94] and purchase bikini panties in red, adorned with a caricature of a cow.[95]

Barred from the villa, which is now a crime scene, and suffering through your period,[96] you are compelled by necessity to buy new panties.  But try to avoid the color red and its associations with sin, as in the prophet Isaiah’s words: “[T]hough your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”[97]

The scene of you and Raffaele buying underpants will be captured on Bubble’s video camera and sold to the Italian media.  Described by some reporters as “a saucy G-string” and by a lawyer during the trial as “sexy lingerie,” the underpants will be featured in newspaper stories about your shopping excursion the day after Meredith’s body was found.[98]  Those who sit on your case at trial—a panel of two giudici togati (professional judges) and six giudici popolari (lay judges)[99]—will be at liberty to read these media accounts of your conduct.  They may conclude that you are indifferent to the crime, preoccupied with your alluring underpants instead of your roommate’s murder.

  1. Do not close your ears to the warning implicit in Aunt Dolly’s third phone call, when she asks whether you have called the American Embassy.[100]

You will tell her that you have not had time, although, in fact, you have not even considered calling the Embassy.[101] Intent on proving your independence, you are trying to give her and your other callers the impression that you have things under control.  But later, you will reflect that Aunt Dolly’s warning had presented you with your “last chance to alter the course of coming events.”[102]

  1. Do not perform a gymnastic stunt in the police station, despite an officer’s inquiry about what you can do.

While you are waiting for Raffaele in a chair near the elevator, a police officer will sit down beside you.  “As long as you’re here,” he will say, “do you mind if I ask you some questions?”[103]  During the ensuing talk, your back begins to ache, so you will stand up and stretch, touching your toes, and raising your arms over your head.  “You seem really flexible,” the police officer will observe,  “What else can you do?”[104]  In reply, you will perform a stunt— an act that most accounts describe as a cartwheel,[105] but that you say was “a split.”[106]

Whether a cartwheel or the splits, it will turn out badly.  According to your version, at the moment when you are on the floor, your legs splayed in a perfect split, the elevator doors will open in front of you to reveal Police Officer Rita Ficarra, the chief interrogator on your case.  She will ask, “What are you doing?” in a voice that strikes you as “full of contempt.”[107]  In court, she will testify about her astonishment at seeing you showing off your gymnastic ability, saying that it “honestly seemed out of place.”[108]

  1. Do not submit voluntarily to an interrogation because of your trust in the police and your belief that, being innocent, you have nothing to fear.

You will think that the police are merely seeking your help, even when they keep asking the same questions over and over.  You will assume that you are all on the same side even while the police yell at you relentlessly: “Who did you meet up with?  Who are you protecting?  . . .  Who’s this person?  Who’s Patrick?”[109]

Too late, you will realize that the police consider you a suspect, not a witness,[110] and— what is even more frightening—they have done so from the start.

  1. When a policewoman pokes her head in the door and announces, with a hint of glee, that Raffaele has destroyed your alibi, [111] do not give up hope in your boyfriend’s essential goodness and loyalty or allow his betrayal to shake your belief in your own memory.

At the time you will feel deserted.  You will think, “Now it [is] just me against the police, my word against theirs.  I [have] nothing left.”[112]  And it is true that Raffaele did betray you during the harsh interrogation on November 5 and 6, signing a document saying that you had gone out for several hours on the night of the murder.[113]  But eventually you will learn that he, too, recanted his statement in the clear light of day.  From then on, you will find that he is steadfast.  His family will pressure him relentlessly, asking why he “couldn’t say [he] was asleep on the night of the murder and had no idea what Amanda got up to.”[114]  But he will refuse to abandon you or to compromise with the truth.[115]  He will send you a bouquet of roses on your first birthday in prison,[116] and his other gifts and letters will help you endure the years of confinement.[117]

  1. Do not make a false “confession” in which you accuse an innocent man of murder and place yourself at the scene.[118]

In the wee hours of the morning of November 6, succumbing at last to the interrogators’ pressure, you will sign a statement placing yourself at the crime scene and implicating your boss, Patrick Lumumba, in the murder of Meredith.[119]  While you never admit to any actual participation in the assault or murder, this statement, being a radical departure from your original story, will make you look like a liar.  In addition, your accusation of Patrick, a man who can easily prove his innocence, will come across as the desperate ploy of a guilty person.

Why will you do it?  Exhaustion, fear, isolation, and youth—all may have played a part.   By the time you sign the incriminating statement, you will have been interrogated repeatedly over a five-day period.[120]  On the final night, in a small crowded room, you will be questioned for four hours straight while deprived of food and water.  During this interrogation, several police officers will threaten you, charge you with lying, plead with you to remember, and slap you on the head.[121]  As you will later write in your memoir, “I would have believed, and said, anything to end the torment I was in.”[122]

  1. Do not try to undo the false “confession” by voluntarily writing an amended version of the same story.

From the age of seven, whenever you got in trouble with your mother, you would take out your Lion King notebook and compose an explanation and apology.[123]  You could count on your mother to respond with hugs and reassuring words.[124]  So, in the Perugia police station, when you start to suspect that you have not actually remembered the crime scene but only imagined it, you believe that you can make things right with words you scribble on a page.  You thrust the page into a policewoman’s hand, confident that you have cleared everything up.[125]

But what worked with your mother, your original authority figure, will only make things worse with the authorities you now face.  For it will turn out that your initial “confession,” having been made without a lawyer present, will be inadmissible in the criminal trial,[126] whereas the statement you write to repair the damage—in which you repeat your “vision” of the murder but with the strong suggestion that it was only a dream—will be treated as voluntary and admissible.[127]  Thus, ironically, your self-incriminating words will be used against you because of your very attempt to mitigate their impact.  Your noble desire to be helpful and honest with the police and prosecutor will be the very thing that, for many, establishes your guilt.

Third Chronological Interlude

November 6, 2007:  Amanda and Raffaele are arrested and incarcerated, along with Amanda’s boss, Patrick Lumumba.[128]  Patrick, who has a solid alibi, will be released two weeks later.[129]  However, Amanda’s false accusation has lasting repercussions.  In particular, Amanda will be charged with defamation of character.  The civil trial will proceed simultaneously with her criminal trial—in the same courthouse, in front of the same jurors—resulting in the admission of evidence into the criminal trial that would not otherwise have been allowed.[130]

November 15, 2007:  Police declare the murder weapon to be a kitchen knife selected at random from a drawer in Raffaele’s kitchen.  They state that Amanda’s DNA is on the handle and Meredith’s on the blade.[131]  However, forensic experts object that the DNA on the blade is a “low copy number,” too small to be admitted in a British or American court.[132]

November 20, 2007:  Rudy Guede, a casual acquaintance of both Amanda and Meredith, who played basketball with their male housemates, is arrested and charged with Meredith’s murder.[133]  Rudy’s handprint, set in Meredith’s blood, has been found on the pillowcase under her body, and his bloody shoeprints have been picked up in the hall and bedroom of the villa.  His DNA has been discovered inside Meredith’s vagina, on the cuff of her sweatshirt, and on her bra strap.[134]

December 18, 2007:  The police return to the Villa and retrieve a clasp from Meredith’s bra, which had been left on the bedroom floor for forty-six days.  After testing, the police announce that the clasp contains traces of Raffaele’s DNA.[135]

Between the Arrest and the Trial

  1. Do not keep a diary in prison.

To be sure, many who follow your case will understand why you are tempted to record your prison sojourn.  We will sympathize when we read on the first page of your diary that you are writing this “to remember . . . because not that many people will ever have this experience.”[136]  To some readers, including me, your diary will be the most poignant and moving artifact of your case.  Its form, even more than its content, will seem touchingly resolute, with its cover page neatly laid out:  first, the title, “MY PRISON DIARY,” printed in shaky block letters, and, further down the page, with asterisks flanking it, the dutiful translation into the language you are hoping to master: “*Il mio diaro del prigione.*”[137]

The diary comes across as very young.  In fact, journalist Nina Burleigh describes your script as “childishly rounded,”[138] while author Candace Dempsey writes that the big block letters on the cover page reflect the “grandiosity of youth.”[139]  In me, it evokes memories of my own childhood diaries:  an azure one with stars and a moon and a brass lock on its leather cover, and a red one in which I wrote “reviews” of all the books I read in eleventh grade.  On the front cover of the red one, I printed the words, “MY FRIENDS IN THE WORLD OF BOOK LAND,” a title so earnest and clichéd that I cringe now to think of it.  Yet it is the very earnestness of your cover page that moves me.

On November 29, 2007, your cell will be ransacked by the police and your diary confiscated.  The police will leak your private musings to reporters, who will publish excerpts in their newspapers.[140]  In some of these excerpts you marvel at the prosecutor’s theories, presenting them as preposterous.  But unfortunately, tone does not translate well from one culture or language to another; thus, the media will ignore your sarcasm, framing your reflections as serious when you intended them to be absurd.[141]

Fourth Chronological Interlude

October 28, 2008:  After a “fast-track” trial, Rudy Guede is convicted of murder in Meredith’s death and sentenced to thirty years in prison.  On appeal, his sentence is reduced to sixteen years.[142] 

January 16, 2009: The trial of Amanda and Raffaele begins in Perugia.[143]

During the Trial

  1. On Valentine’s Day, do not go to court wearing a sleep T-shirt with pink letters six inches tall reading: “All You Need Is Love.”[144]

It may seem unlikely that something as “frivolous” as clothing would have an impact on your case, but remember that when Joan of Arc was tried for heresy in Rouen, five of the charges against her concerned her “inappropriate” way of dressing, such as her donning of garments made of luxurious fabrics like “gold and silk . . . trimmed with fur.”[145]  And while it will not lead to your being burned at the stake, you too will pay a price for your decision to wear the oversized T-shirt to court.

Why will you do it?  Perhaps the T-shirt—a gift from your stepmother, Cassandra,[146] that is adorned with lyrics from your beloved Beatles—functions as a soothing “transitional object” in this frightening place.[147]  Or perhaps it is simply what you say in your memoir: that by dressing in your “usual jeans and a T-shirt,” you hope to enable the jury to see the real you.[148]

But rather than making you seem normal and innocent, your flamboyant T-shirt will be interpreted as “obnoxious,” a sign of your “attention-grabbing narcissism” and of your disrespect for the Italian judicial system.  In the British press, the T-shirt will even be read as a sign of your “psychopathic” personality.[149]  Your choice of attire on that one day will be, as you later reflect, “what did the most damage in those early weeks.”[150]

  1. Do not wait until the last week of your trial to start wearing conservative clothes to court.

Even after suffering through the Valentine’s Day debacle, you will not appreciate how much your fashion choices differ from Italian expectations.  Thus, in the autumn of 2009, once the weather turns chilly, you will go to court every day wearing the same red hoodie.[151]  When you finally abandon the hoodie in favor of a more professional look, the Times of London will consider the change newsworthy enough to run an article with the headline, “Amanda Knox’s switch to a more sober style of dress may have come too late.”[152]  While acknowledging that your new clothing (white slacks and a lime-green blazer) is an improvement because it is more in keeping with the serious charges against you, the Times of London article will also quote an American journalist who says that you should have dressed that way from the start.[153]  In a similar vein, Nina Burleigh will conclude that your belated adoption of formal clothing, while a “nice gesture to la bella figura,” was “not enough, and everyone knew it.”[154]

Fifth Chronological Interlude

December 4, 2009:  Amanda and Raffaele are convicted of murder.[155]

  1. When you are convicted of murder and sentenced to twenty-six years in an Italian prison, do not despair.

Upon hearing the verdict, you will slump against your lawyer’s chest, while your mother and sister—their voices the only ones you can distinguish in the tumult—sob behind you.  Because your legs are too weak to support your body, the guards will lift you under the arms to remove you from the courtroom.  They will deposit you in a chair to wait for the prison van, and you will moan: “No, no, no,” while Raffaele and the guards try in vain to comfort you.[156]

Sixth Chronological Interlude

October 3, 2011:  After independent experts release a report highly critical of the police’s handling of forensic evidence, the appellate court acquits both Amanda and Raffaele.[157]

When the acquittal is announced, Amanda cries convulsively, her tears subsiding only after guards escort her to the basement of the courthouse.  There, she will tenderly squeeze Raffaele’s hand before being whisked away in a car to Rome and then on by plane to the United States.[158]

Five and a half months after her release, Raffaele visits her in Seattle, where her mother and stepfather host an elaborate party to celebrate her freedom, with an all-American cheesecake in honor of Raffaele’s twenty-eighth birthday.[159]  During the few moments when they are able to speak privately, Amanda tells Raffaele that she wants only good things for him, that she is pleased he came.  And although their love affair has long since ended, Amanda and Raffaele give each other an embrace of rare warmth when they say goodbye.[160]

March 26, 2013:  The Court of Cassation, Italy’s highest criminal court, overturns the acquittal of Amanda and Raffaele and orders a new appeal.[161]

January 30, 2014:  The new appeal ends with the court reinstating the murder convictions of both Amanda and Raffaele.  The court increases Amanda’s sentence to twenty-eight and a half years, while leaving Raffaele’s sentence of twenty-five years unchanged.[162]  In a written statement, Amanda says that the verdict has “frightened and saddened” her.  She adds:  “My family and I have suffered greatly from this wrongful persecution. . . . Most troubling is that it was entirely preventable.”  Amanda and Raffaele’s lawyers announce that  they will appeal the conviction.[163]

March 29, 2015:  The Supreme Court of Cassation overturns the murder convictions of Amanda and Raffaele and drops all charges against them.[164]  Tearfully, Amanda expresses her gratitude for “having her life back.”[165]

September 7, 2015:  The Court hands down its formal explanation, citing “stunning flaws” in the investigation.  In particular, the Court stresses the “absolute lack of biological traces” of Amanda or Raffaele at the crime scene.  It also criticizes the prosecutor and lower-court judges for failing to establish any plausible motive for Amanda to commit the crime.[166]

Continue to Part Two: Explaining Amanda’s “Strange” Behavior


* Ph.D., Columbia University; J.D., Yale University; Professor of Law, Emory University.  An early version of this Article received the Judith Siegel Pearson Award for Nonfiction in 2014.  I am grateful to the judges.  Previous versions of this Article were presented at the Dipartimento di Giurisprudenza, Università degli Studi di Torino; the European University Institute, Fiesole, Italy; the Emory Law Faculty, the Emory Psychoanalytic Studies Program, and the Emory Workshop on Geographies of Violence.  My thanks go to the participants.  My thanks also go to Robert Ahdieh, Giulia Alagna, Cathy Allan, Flavia Brizio-Skov, Michele Caianiello, Elisabetta Grande, Joe Mackall, Stefano Maffei, Alice Margaria, Claudia Marzella, Gaetano Marzella, Colleen Murphy, David Partlett, Lucia Re, Bob Root, Elena Urso, and Liza Vertinsky.  Deep appreciation goes to my research assistants: Stefania Alessi, Mary Brady, Andrew Bushek, Peter Critikos, Sarah Kelsey, Tess Liegois, Zishuang Liu, Mike McClain, Jon Morris, Kaylie Niemasik, Sarah Pittman, Faraz Qaisrani, Deborah Salvato, Shannon Shontz-Phillips, Anthony Tamburro, and Michelle Tanen.

[1] William Henry Davenport Adams, English Party Leaders and English Parties 218 (1878) (quoting Sir William Pitt’s speech to the House of Commons, Jan. 14, 1766).

[2] For an account of this attempted rape, see Martha Grace Duncan, Beauty in the Dark of Night:  The Pleasures of Form in Criminal Law, 59 Emory L. J. 1203, 1224‒25 (2010).

[3] See, e.g., Candace Dempsey, Murder in Italy 284 (2010); Barbie Latza Nadeau, Angel Face:  Sex, Murder, and the Inside Story of Amanda Knox 65 (2010); Raffaele Sollecito, Honor Bound:  My Journey to Hell and Back With Amanda Knox 54−55 (2012).

[4] See Nina Burleigh, The Fatal Gift of Beauty:  The Trials of Amanda Knox 256 (2011); Nadeau, supra note 3, at 126.

[5] See Amanda Knox, Waiting to be Heard: A Memoir 91 (2013).

[6] Id. at 107−08.

[7] Id. at 107.

[8] Id. at 108.

[9] Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles passim (Scott Elledge ed., W.W. Norton & Co. 2d ed. 1979) (1892).

[10] Id. at 34.

[11] Id. at 35.

[12] See Martha Grace Duncan, “So Young and So Untender”:  Remorseless Children and the Expectations of the Law, 102 Colum. L. Rev. 1469, 1470 (2002).

[13] Commonwealth v. Kocher, 602 A.2d 1308, 1312, 1317 (Pa. 1992).

[14] See Duncan, supra note 12, at 1480−85.

[15] See Commonwealth v. Archer, 722 A.2d 203, 207 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1998); id. at 1502−07.

[16] Thomas v. Commonwealth, 419 S.E.2d 606, 619 (Va. 1992); see Duncan, supra note 12, at 1486–87.

[17] Id. at 619 (citing Bunch v. Commonwealth, 304 S.E.2d 271, 282 (Va. 1983); Duncan, supra note 12, at 1486−87.

[18] Duncan, supra note 12.

[19] Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English Language 2108 (2d ed. 1947) [hereinafter Webster’s New International Dictionary].

[20] Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter 182 (Sculley Bradley et al. eds., W.W. Norton & Co. 2d ed. 1978) (1850).

[21]See, e.g., Emerging Adults in America passim (Jeffrey Jensen Arnett & Jennifer Lynn Tanner eds., 2006) (including chapters on emerging adulthood by different authors); Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, Emerging Adulthood: A Theory of Development from the Late Teens through the Twenties, 55 Am. Psychologist 469, passim (2000).

[22] See James Q. Whitman, Presumption of Innocence and Presumption of Mercy, 94 Tex. L. Rev. 933, 933‒34, 988‒89 (2016) (contrasting the criminal justice systems of the United States and continental Europe, with special emphasis on the Italian system).

[23] Rachel Donadio, American Testifies in her Murder Trial in Italy, N.Y. Times (June 12, 2009), http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/13/world/Europe/13italy.html [https://perma.cc/B3HY-MWGS]; see also Ian Fisher, German Police Arrest Third Suspect in Perugia Murder Case, N.Y. Times (Nov. 21, 2007), http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/21/world/europe/21italy.html [https://perma.cc/Y9V6-7J3P].

[24] See Stephanie Kirchgaessner, Amanda Knox Acquitted Because of ‘Stunning Flaws’ in Investigation, Guardian, Sept. 7, 2015, https://www.theguardian.com/lus-news/2015/sep/07/amanda-knox-acquitted-because-of-stunning-flaws-in-investigation [https://perma.cc/A2Q9-ED3D].

[25] See Stephanie Kirchgaessner, Meredith Kercher Murder: Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito Acquitted, Guardian, Mar. 27, 2015, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/27/meredith-kercher-amanda-knox-and-raffaele-sollecito-acquitted [https://perma.cc/55NL-S9FQ].

[26] Many books have been written about the Amanda Knox case; however, most of these accounts were published several years before the case ended in 2015. See, e.g., Burleigh, supra note 4 (published in 2011); Dempsey, supra note 3 (published in 2010); John Follain, A Death in Italy (2011); Gary C. King, The Murder of Meredith Kercher (2010); Nadeau, supra note 3 (published in 2010); Mark C. Waterbury, The Monster of Perugia: The Framing of Amanda Knox (2011). In addition to the works just listed, some books treat Amanda’s case in a comparative context.  See David C. Anderson & Nigel P. Scott, Three False Convictions, Many Lessons (2016) (examining empathy in three cases, including Amanda’s); Ellen Nerenberg, Murder Made in Italy:  Homicide, Media, and Contemporary Italian Culture (2012) (including an Epilogue on Amanda’s case); Stevie Simkin, Cultural Constructions of the Femme Fatale: From Pandora’s Box to Amanda Knox (2014).

[27] See Olga Khazan, Amanda Knox and Italy’s ‘Carnivalesque’ Justice System, Atlantic, Jan. 30, 2014, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/01/amanda-knox-and-italys-carnivalesque-justice-system/283487 [https://perma.cc/FY3Z-D6T4] (“It wouldn’t have happened in the U.S., legal scholars write, because Italy doesn’t forbid double jeopardy.”); See also infra text accompanying notes 327−43.

[28] See infra Part IV (comparing the Amanda Knox case with cases in Australia and the United States).

[29] Cass. sez. quinto, 24 settembre 2015, n. 32598, Foro. it. V 2015, 4, 25,42 (It.), translated in Supreme Court Motivation Report, Injustice Anywhere 45 (Sept. 7, 2015), http://www.amandaknoxcase.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Marasca-Bruno-Motivations-Report.pdf [https://perma.cc/4NP5-676J]. See also Elisabetta Povoledo, Italy’s Highest Court Explains Decision to Clear Amanda Knox, N.Y. Times, Sept. 7, 2015, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/08/world/europe/italys-highest-court-explains-decision-to-clear-amanda-knox.html?_r=0 [https://perma.cc/A99Y-LZ3L].

[30] For a discussion of the infinite forms, including lists, that writers can employ to shape creative nonfiction, see Brenda Miller & Suzanne Paola, Tell It Slant: Writing and Shaping Creative Nonfiction 74‒89 149‒(2005). See also Carolyn Forché & Philip Gerard, Introduction to Creative Nonfiction: An Adventure in Lyric, Fact, and Story, Writing Creative Nonfiction: Instruction and Insights from Teachers of the Associated Writing Programs 1, (2001) (describing creative nonfiction as “factual prose that is also literary—infused with the stylistic devices, tropes, and rhetorical flourishes of . . . fiction”).

[31] Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life 56 (1959).

[32] Jennifer Lauck, Blackbird: A Childhood Lost and Found 5 (2000).

[33] See Knox, supra note 5, at 13−14.

[34] Id. at 293−94.

[35] See Nadeau, supra note 3, at 29.

[36] Simkin, supra note 26, at 168.

[37] See Amanda Knox Case Puts Spotlight on Italy’s Courts, CBS News, Oct. 3, 2011, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/amanda-knox-case-puts-spotlightspotliht-on-italys-courts/ [https://perma.cc/8TUS-HFGZ] (quoting author Douglas Preston, as saying, “[T]he failure of the Italians to sequester a jury was a key factor in Knox’s conviction on murder charges”).

[38] See Knox, supra note 5, at 31.

[39] See id. at 206.

[40] See id. at 207.

[41] See id. at 207.

[42] See Knox, supra note 5, at 20‒22.

[43] See id. at 25.

[44] See id. at 40‒41.

[45] Id. at 102.

[46] See id. at 14.

[47] See id. at 23.

[48] See, e.g., Sollecito, supra note 3, at 63.

[49] For a discussion of Amanda’s resemblance to the Virgin Mary, see infra text accompanying notes 275−76.

[50] See Knox, supra note 5, at 213.

[51] See id. at 215‒17.

[52] See id. at 213−17; See Nadeau, supra note 3, at 27, 84 (quoting Barbie Latza Nadeau, a journalist considered unsympathetic to Amanda, stating that “the police set a trap for Amanda by telling her she had tested positive for HIV”).

[53]  See Sollecito, supra note 3, at 58 (noting that in Italian, as in English, these words can “simply mean ‘See you around’”).  But see Burleigh, supra note 4, at 194−195 (explaining that ‘See ya later’ in American idiom doesn’t translate literally into Italian”); Nadeau supra note 3, at 69 (saying that “in Italian, the same phrase generally suggests a fixed appointment”). For Amanda’s explanation of the linguistic confusion as told to the author, see infra text accompanying notes 233−234.

[54] Nadeau, supra note 3, at 69.  

[55] See Knox, supra note 5, at 115‒19.

[56] See id. at 65−67.

[57] See id. at 67−70.

[58]See Nadeau, supra note 3, at 41−43.

[59] See Knox, supra note 5, at 71‒72.

[60] See Albert Camus, The Stranger 8, 20‒21, 64 (Matthew Ward trans., Everyman’s Library 1993) (1942).

[61] See, e.g., Follain, supra note 26, at 93.

[62] See Knox, supra note 5, at 74, 206; Nadeau, supra note 3, at 55.

[63] See Burleigh, supra note 4, at 175; Nadeau, supra note 3, at 128.

[64] Nadeau, supra note 3, at 128.

[65] Erving Goffman, Behavior in Public Places 38 (1963).

[66] See id.

[67] See Dempsey, supra note 3, at 81; Follain, supra note 26, at 90‒91.

[68] See Knox, supra note 5, at 80 (explaining that she was “too wrung out at that moment to reciprocate”).

[69] See Sollecito, supra note 3, at 173.

[70] See Knox, supra note 5, at 82.

[71] See id. at 80, 82.

[72] See Burleigh, supra note 4, at 175.

[73] See Carol King, Bella Figura and Brutta Figura: Italy’s Beauty and the Beast! Italy Mag., Aug. 8, 2012, http://www.italymagazine.com/featured-story/bella-figura-and-brutta-figura-italys-beauty-and-beast [https://perma.cc/M3MA-V8TL].

[74] See Burleigh, supra note 4, at 103; Dempsey, supra note 3, at 92; Sam Tanenhaus, Trial and Error: ‘Waiting to Be Heard: A Memoir,’ by Amanda Knox, N.Y. Times, May 24, 2013 http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/26/books/review/trial-and-error.html [https://perma.cc/53DL-RUKU].

[75] See Knox, supra note 5, at 10, 85, 93, 102.

[76] See id. at 86.

[77] See id. at 85.

[78] See id. at 5–10.

[79] See Knox, supra note 5, at 89, 93−94.

[80] See Thomas Gilovich et al., The Illusion of Transparency: Biased Assessments of Others’ Ability to Read One’s Emotional States, 75 J. Personality & Soc. Psych 332 (1998); Saul M. Kassin, On the Psychology of Confessions: Does Innocence Put Innocents at Risk?, 60 Am. Psychologist 215, 218.

[81] See Tanenhaus, supra note 74.

[82] See John Bartlett, Familiar Quotations 144 (1968) (quoting St. Ambrose’s advice: “When you are at Rome live in the Roman style; when you are elsewhere live as they live elsewhere.”).

[83] Knox, supra note 5, at 102.

[84] Id.

[85] Id.

[86] See id. at 91.

[87] Id. at 90.

[88] See id. at 91 (explaining that “having just been reprimanded for complaining, I wanted to be friendly . . . [but] they looked at me with scorn”).

[89] See Sollecito, supra note 3, at 48; Ian Leslie, Amanda Knox: What’s in a Face?, Guardian (Oct. 7, 2011), https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/oct/08/amanda-knox-facial-expressions [https://perma.cc/T49K-Q9U6].

[90] See Knox, supra note 5, at 107.

[91] See Burleigh, supra note 4, at 195 (quoting Amanda’s first interpreter as saying that she seemed “strangely cold”).

[92] See Nadeau, supra note 3, at 63.

[93] Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, supra note 31, at 56.

[94] See Knox, supra note 5, at 94.

[95] See Jon Swaine, Amanda Knox asks the Kerchers to take her to Meredith’s grave, Telegraph, (April 30, 2013), http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/10028484/Amanda-Knox-asks-the-Kerchers-to-take-her-to-Merediths-grave.html [https://perma.cc/7RS5-6PLP].

[96] See Knox, supra note 5, at 98.

[97] Holy Bible: King James Version, Isaiah 1:18. See also Jolande Jacobi, Symbols in an Individual Analysis, Man and His Symbols 323, 350 (1964) (describing red as “the symbolic color of feeling and passion”); Knox, supra note 5, at 94 (saying it “probably would have been better if I’d chosen a more sedate color than red”).

[98] See Knox supra note 5, at 94; Burleigh, supra note 4, at 5; Nadeau, supra note 3, at 60−61.

[99] See Michael A. Livingston et al., The Italian Legal System: An Introduction 67 (2d ed. 2015).

[100] See Knox, supra note 5, at 105‒06.

[101] See id. at 105.

[102] Id. at 106.

[103] Id. at 108.

[104] Id. at 109.

[105] See, e.g., Burleigh, supra note 4, at 193 (describing Amanda doing a cartwheel to oblige a police  a cartwheel to oblige a police LE]TO CHEofficer); Nadeau, supra note 3, at 65 (describing Amanda doing a cartwheel and splits).

[106] Knox, supra note 5, at 109.

[107] Id.

[108] Id. at 309.

[109] Id. at 116.

[110] See Burleigh, supra note 4, at 236.

[111] Knox, supra note 5, at 113−14; Nadeau, supra note 3, at 66‒67; Sollecito, supra note 3, at 57−58.

[112] Knox, supra note 5, at 114.

[113] See Sollecito, supra note 3, at 57‒58.

[114] Id. at 222.

[115] See id. at 219−24 (describing how Raffaele staunchly resisted the urgings of his family to destroy Amanda’s alibi and distance himself from her to improve his chances of gaining freedom).

[116] See id. at 149‒50; cf. Knox, supra note 5, at 268 (recalling Raffaele’s gift of flowers but remembering them as “a huge bouquet of white lilies.”).

[117] See Knox, supra note 5, at 266 (describing her correspondence with Raffaele as “soothing”); see also Sollecito, supra note 3, at 189 (describing their “blossoming correspondence,” and gifts exchanged while in prison).

[118] See Nadeau, supra note 3, at 72‒73; For an analysis of Amanda’s false confession, see Part II of the Article, infra text accompanying notes 228−52.

[119] See Nadeau, supra note 3, at 72‒73.

[120] See Burleigh, supra note 4, at xxiv.

[121] See Knox, supra note 5, at 103, 116‒17.

[122] Id. at 104.

[123] See id. at 159.

[124] See id. at 60.

[125] See id.

[126] See Nadeau, supra note 3, at 72‒73.

[127] See id. at 74‒75 (stating that the spontaneous statement would “seal her fate”).

[128] Burleigh, supra note 4, at xxiv−xxv.

[129] Id. at xxv.

[130] Dempsey, supra note 3, at 308.

[131] Burleigh, supra note 4, at xxv; Knox, supra note 5, at 197.

[132] Burleigh, supra note 4, at 263−64.

[133] Id., at xxv, 98; see also Rachel Donadio, Man Guilty of Killing of Briton in Italy, N.Y. Times (Oct. 29, 2008), http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/29/world/europe/29italy.html [https://perma.cc/SQ66-BKP6].

[134] Burleigh, supra note 4, at 14; Dempsey, supra note 3, at 219.

[135] Burleigh, supra note 4, at xxv.

[136] For a digital copy of Amanda’s diary, see www.injusticeinperugia.org/diary.html [https://perma.cc/HCP2-L4QP].

[137] Id.

[138] Burleigh, supra note 4, at 284.

[139] Dempsey, supra note 3, at 180.

[140] See, e.g., Burleigh, supra note 4, at 283; Dempsey, supra note 3, at 337; Simkin, supra note 26, at 172‒73.

[141] See Knox supra note 5, at 234.

[142] Id. at 281‒82; see also Gary C. King, The Murder of Meredith Kercher 185 (2010).

[143] Dempsey supra note 3, at 268.

[144] See, e.g., Nadeau, supra note 3, at 126; Sollecito, supra note 3, at 174.

[145] See Marina Warner, Joan of Arc 143, 161 (1981).

[146] See Knox, supra note 5, at 298.

[147] Cf. D.W. Winnicott, Transitional Objects and Transitional Phenomena—A Study of the First Not-Me Possession, 34 Int’l J. Psychoanalysis 90 (1953) (defining “transitional objects” and explaining their role as a defense against anxiety, particularly depressive anxiety. Note that the article deals primarily with the psychology of infants).

[148] See Knox, supra note 5, at 299.

[149] See id.

[150] See id. at 298.

[151] Burleigh, supra note 4, at 3.

[152] Richard Owen, Amanda Knox’s Switch to a More Sober Style of Stress May Have Come Too Late, Times of London  (Dec. 4, 2009), https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/amanda-knoxs-switch-to-more-sober-style-of-dress-may-have-come-too-late-kz7vb6lp0cp [https://perma.cc/GGH5-FU3C].

[153] Id.

[154] Burleigh, supra note 4, at 3.

[155] Id. at xxvii.

[156] See Knox, supra note 5, at 360−70.

[157] See Elisabetta Povoledo, Amanda Knox Freed After Appeal in Italian Court, N.Y. Times (Oct. 3, 2011), www.nytimes.com/2011/10/04/world/europe/amanda-knox-defends-herself-in-italian-court.html [https://perma.cc/KJJ8-2HM3].

[158] See Knox, supra note 5, at 444−47, 52.

[159] Sollecito, supra note 3, at 253, 259.

[160] See id. at 260.

[161] Elisabetta Povoledo, Italy’s Highest Court Overturns Acquittal of Amanda Knox, N.Y. Times (Mar. 26, 2013), http://www.nytimes.com/2013//03/27/world/europe/amanda-knox-retrial-ruling.html [https://perma.cc/TVE5-V474].

[162] Elisabetta Povoledo, Amanda Knox is Re-Convicted of Murder in Italy, N.Y. Times (Jan. 30, 2014), https://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/31/world/europe/amanda-knox-trial-in-italy.html [https://perma.cc/3J3J-5EJS].

[163] Kevin Rawlinson & Mark Smith, Meredith Kurcher Murder: Knox and Sollecito Lose Appeal—As it Happened, Guardian (Jan. 30, 2014), https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/30/meredith-kercher-murder-knox-and-sollecito-appeal-verdicts-due-live [https://perma.cc/4EU2-MSV6].

[164] Elisabetta Povoledo, Amanda Knox Acquitted of 2007 Murder by Italy’s Highest Court, N.Y. Times (Mar. 27, 2015), https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/28/world/europe/amanda-knox-trial.html?_r=0 [https://perma.cc/V6DW-29DD].

[165] Yamiche Alcindor, Kercher Family Shocked After Knox is Cleared in Murder, USA Today (Mar. 28, 2015), https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/03/28/kercher-family-shocked-as-knox-is-cleared-of-conviction/70592860/ [https://perma.cc/RC5X-9KJ8].

[166] Greg Toppo, Italy’s Top Court: Amanda Knox Conviction Based on Poor Case, USA Today (Sept. 7, 2015), https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/09/07/italy-top-court-amanda-knox-conviction-based-poor-case/71844786/ [https://perma.cc/MUU6-5BGN].